As the sun was setting on the last night of our 2007 WVO Roadtrip, we started feeling a little hungry.
All along Highway 2, we saw signs for these mysterious “Pasties.” We decided to pull off and find out what all the fuss was.
We entered one of the few shops that was still open around 9pm, and asked the clerk what a “pasty” was. We pronounced it “pay-stee.” Without flinching, we reached behind the counter and handed us a few boob tassels.
Hardy har har.
That yooper got a chuckle out of goofing on us, and then told us it’s pronounced “pa-stee.” And a pasty is basically a meat pie in a calzone crust. We got two pasties and headed back on the road.
It was a terrible drive back to central Wisconsin. There were deer and moose everywhere, so we had to drive 35-40mph for the entire time in the U.P. and Wisconsin. We made it back just in time to crash out in a tent that my family had set up for us on our journey back from the roadtrip.
One of the greatest engineering wonders is the Mackinaw Bridge connected the peninsulas of Michigan. It’s REALLY long.
It kind of felt like we were driving forever. And that was at 55mph.
You could see the towers in the distance long after we had traversed the bridge.
We finally made it to the Upper Peninsula! Onward!
Just for shits and giggles, rather than driving the quicker and safer route through Chicago back to central Wisconsin, we elected to drive the rural and forested route through the Upper Peninsula, or as we like to call it, the “U.P.” But first, we have to traverse the entirety of the Lower Peninsula to make the round trip.
We headed north of Grand Rapids after stopping there for a fender from a junk yard. They screwed us by saying it was ready to hang, but the idiots lied and asked a lot more money than it was worth.
We drove up Highway 131. It’s a very scenic drive, but since we both grew up in northern Wisconsin, we are pretty used to this type of wilderness. This is nearly identical to the Highway 51 from Stevens Point to Minocqua.
If you drive far enough north in Michigan, you’ll get to Mackinaw, which is the location of the narrow straight that separates the Upper from the Lower Peninsulas.
We entered Flint Michigan a full year before the major financial collapse of 2008. Even then, it was a pretty depressing place.
We got in really late after spending a day at Niagara Falls and Toronto. We booked a hotel room at some seedy place, as we tended to do in those days. We were low on funds, so we didn’t stay at some fancy Baymount Inn and Suites.
That night, we walked over to the neighboring Taco Bell to get some late night dinner. It was the only thing open, and I remember walking up the drive through because their dining room was officially closed. Glenn ate a whole 6-pack of tacos, and that “meat” percolated in his belly overnight.
The next morning, we left the hotel room and Glenn had some monster gas. It was horrendous. As we walked down the hallway to the lobby, Glenn let out a lava fart and closed the lobby door behind him. It should have been trapped in the hallway, but this was no normal gas-blast. It permeated 2 layers of drywall and was on the advance.
While I was checking us out of the room, the toothless brute of a woman behind the desk caught wind of the gaseous discharge. It took her breath away, and that is really saying something because she didn’t have all her teeth or digits, not to mention she had a rather noticeable body odor stench of her own. She gasped, “Was that you?!?”
Before I could look up and respond, Glenn chimed in and pointed to me, “It was him.”
She covered her face with her hand and cried, “Holy Christ! That is horrible.” She was physically ill and had difficulty breathing.
I noticed a misspelling on the checkout receipt and told her my address was incorrect. She pleaded, “I don’t care! Just get out of here! I have to leave! This is horrible.” We all started giggling and I just signed the form. She snatched the paper from my hands and ran off to the back room, probably to find fresh oxygen or to throw up in a bucket.
I never found out what happened to that poor woman. But I’m sure she still thinks I was the one that farted that fate-filled day. But it was Glenn, I assure you.
And from that day on, we now have a policy regarding Taco Bell: Never again. It’s just too risky, for us, and for all the innocent bystanders out there. God Bless.
On our way out of Flint, we found this car at a dealership. No joke. No engine and no tranny. Holy balls, this town is on hard times.
213582 952.0 1cube added. Toronto Ontario CA
After driving across southern Ontario, we came up on the Toronto skyline.
We only had a day to blow here in Canada, because we lost a day in Milwaukee fixing the oil feed line. To continue our pattern of climbing the top of tall buildings (Sears Tower in Chicago, Empire State Building in NYC, and so on), we elected to top the CN Tower.
As we pulled up, we asked a CN Tower worker at the base some questions:
He had seen all our cubes of veggie oil and was confused on why our little car was so full of crap.
Eventually we found parking and headed to the top of the tallest structure in Canada.
They even have a glass floor. Now why the hell would anyone design something as terrifying as that. Glenn didn’t seem to mind.
I liked the open air observatory. This place really is high up.
Glenn spent the majority of his time staring into the abyss.
We got a bite to eat at the restaurant and hung out for a while. Afterwards, we walked around downtown Toronto for a few hours. It’s a lot like the US, but a lot different too. It’s the little differences. Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Canada?
After driving all through the night from NYC to Plymouth Rock to here, we finally made it to Niagara Falls.
From the 2007 WVO Roadtrip log:
The drive across upstate New York was tough, because we were constantly worried we would smuck a deer.
Niagara Falls lives up to the hype. Apparently the Canadian side is a better tourist trap, but we didn’t care. We were living on zero sleep and just going with the flow.
Glenn felt that there wasn’t enough water going over the falls. He decided to “add” to the volume.
Then we crossed the bridge and US-Canadian Border Station and were officially in Canada! This was the first time we visited Canada on all our roadtrips. And the first time I had been back to Canada since 1982 and 1989.
Tim Hortons and Boston Pizza, here we come!
We had two options when we left NYC: Find a hotel and head to Buffalo, or spend the entire night driving to Plymouth Rock.
We elected to see Plymouth Rock, thinking it would live up to the hype.
We ended up driving through Rhode Island and Connecticut to get there. From the log:
The rock didn’t live up to the hype. It was just a rock, and it wasn’t even like a big rock.
Now Independence Rock in Wyoming, that’s a freaking impressive rock. But Plymouth Rock was maybe a few hundred pounds if that. We had made a major detour in deer country in the middle of the night for not a lot of gain. Maybe it’s a nicer place in the daytime, but at night, this sleepy town hits cardiac arrest.
Glenn, after driving for a long time, had to relieve himself at a nearby plot of grass. He has a bladder and indecency issue.
We headed to upstate New York to get to Buffalo by sunrise.
After a nightmare hotel situation the night before (read below for the details), we finally got to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philly.
The Liberty Bell is a fuckload smaller than we expected. I could wear this as a condom.
Since we had that mechanical issue in Milwaukee, we were a day behind schedule. That put us IN PHILADELPHIA ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. Just our luck. It was VERY crowded, but still kind of neat to experience the birthplace of America on its birthday.
There is a tour of the Hall we got to see the inside.
Of course Glenn had to show off all his Benjamins to verify that the building on the back truly was Independence Hall.
Onward to NYC. If you want to read more about our tribulations at the Chester Hotel, read below.
We got a hotel in Chester PA on the way up to Philly. From the 2007 WVO Roadtrip Log:
It was the Fourth of July, and we had a full day to spend dinking around The Big Apple. As we drove up from Philadelphia and Delaware, we could see the skyline on the horizon.
Our first stop was the WTC construction site.
This was 2007, so things were still VERY early on in the development and foundation phases.
Then we sauntered down to Battery Park to see the WTC sculpture and other sights.
Naturally, we had to get to the coastline and see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. It’s pretty far away from Manhattan, so it’s tiny in these film pictures. What a way to spend our Independence Day.
Of course we had to hit the skyview of the Empire State Building. As we were waiting in line to take the express elevator to the top, the line attendant was talking to the tourists. He asked, “So where you guys from?”
We replied, “Wisconsin.”
He responded, “Nice. What country?”
Immediately thereafter, his coworker and other tourists started laughing. He didn’t know Wisconsin was in the United States. LOL.
As it got dark, we strolled around on Times Square.
And walked around the southern end of Central Park.
Also, the Apple Store had just opened and it was all the rage. We never gave a crap about Apple, but thought it would be cool to enter a huge glass cube.
And lastly, we ate dinner at the Seinfeld diner, which looks nothing like the diner in the TV show.
We had a big decision to make. Find a hotel and go to Canada, or drive through the night and visit Plymouth Rock. We made the crappy decision to not sleep and drive to what we thought might be a cool sight to see.
I’m glad we left town when we did. As it was getting dark, people started shooting fireworks off the tops of buildings. It was like a war zone. New Yorkers…..
From the 2007 WVO Roadtrip log:
After visiting Fort McHenry, we cruised into DC hoping to see the Smithsonian before they closed. We needed a parking garage, so we pulled into the entrance of the Ronald Reagan Building. The security team saw all our cubes of fuel and pulled their guns. After a brief conversation about our biofuel, they holstered their guns and had a good laugh. We almost died.
We rushed over to the National Mall and got to the Smithsonian just in time.
We have visited a lot of NASA sites, and Glenn has a thing for the Lunar Rovers. We always get a pic of him with his rovers.
We meandered around the mall and visited monuments. We had a roll of film showcasing our sightseeing, but it must have gotten lost in the veggie car or at the film developers.
Our last stop was to see the White House. In these days, it was the downfall of the George W Bush years, so we made sure to give him the ol’ one-finger salute.
Since we drove through the night, we were getting tired and we wanted to find a hotel near Philly. Time to hit the road.
After driving through the night from Chicago, we got to Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
O’ say can you smell, vegetable fuel power exhaust!
We toured the fort and their museum. Pretty cool.
From the 2007 WVO Roadtrip log:
We crossed the Wisconsin-Illinois border in the morning.
Our goal for the day was to sightsee in Chicago with my college friend, Brett. We met up at the Sears Tower.
I know it’s called the Willis Tower now, but I hate that name so I’m sticking with the real name.
Brett was from north of Chicago, so I’m sure he thought this sky-view tour was kind of lame, but we insisted anyway. Brett is a burly and surly kind of man. He once heaved a frisbee into the stratosphere.
Brett overlooking the Chicago skyline.
After our glorious sky-tour, we stopped off at Pizzanos. This place makes the best Chicago Style Pizza. Y’all gotta get some Chicago Style.
When we left, we graciously shook hands and went about our way. Brett now lives in Germany, likely doing naughty things on the internet.
Thanks for a fun day, Brett.
The 2007 WVO Roadtrip got off to an unfortunate start. We usually have some kind of “First Day Failure” which requires us to do some small modifications to the kit or engine. But this time, we had a major misfortune.
But before I get ahead of myself, we stopped into Milwaukee early in the morning to see the Art Museum on the lake with a great friend, Nate.
Here is Glenn, me, and Nate doing our best to pose for our Christian Rock album cover.
We stopped off for breakfast at one of our favorite old dive restaurants: George Webb. They are open 23.9 hours a day so when we came into town at 5am, we had few other options.
After a greasy meal of crap and chucking some large Mountain Dews, we headed back to the Veggie Passat and Nate went off in the other direction to his work.
He was just over the hill when we realized that the Passat had a massive pool of crankcase oil under the car. After a quick inspection, we found that the VW Turbo Oil Feed Line had a pin hole crack. We were stranded. Without a replacement line, this would be catastrophic.
We tried to call Nate on his new cell phone (this was 2007, and not everyone back in those days had cellies or used them often), but he never answered. After several attempts, we gave up on him, and decided to hike from downtown up to the UWM campus. Nate and I had attended UWM for college a few years back, so I was familiar with the campus and computer labs. We figured we could get online and search for a replacement part.
It was a long hike, but we made it up there. No one had a replacement line in the area or online. We kept on looking. The computer lab supervisor even helped us out.
Eventually after a day of searching and calling, we found out that Ernie Von Schladorn had a replacement line up north of here, but they wouldn’t be open until the next day. And eventually, Nate got done with work and checked his phone. We had left several messages, so he quickly called us up. He met up with us at the campus and took us back to his apartment.
We crashed out in his tiny basement apartment for the night. Natron is kind of a primitive dude. He didn’t have any technology at all. We played cards, and when we asked him to put a TV or radio on, he said he didn’t have any. Then we inquired if he could play music on his ancient computer, but he said the dialup connection was too slow to stream, and his CD player was busted. Kind of wild. If a national emergency occurred and a nuclear blast took out the city of Milwaukee, Nate would have slept through the tragedy without any warning.
I can’t remember how I was the fortunate one that got the couch, while Glenn was forced to sleep on the floor. Whatever… I’ll take it.
The next day, Nate was generous to lend us his car while he biked to work. We drove up to Ernie’s in the morning and got the only VW TDI oil feed line in all of the Midwest. Score!
We drove back to our parked car on the streets of downtown and proceeded to replace the feed line on the side of the road. Thankfully no cops or parking attendants gave us shit. We refilled the oil and were good to go.
Since it was late afternoon anyway, we decided to meet up with Natron one more time after work at one of our favorite Milwaukee restaurants, Bella’s Fat Cat.
We parted ways with Nate and headed south. We crossed this spiffy new bridge on the way to Chicago.
From the 2007 WVO Roadtrip log:
We kicked off the 2007 WVO Roadtrip by meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Capitol. Through an astonishingly coincidence, my girlfriend and I were staying at a hotel for a wedding at the Minona Terrace. We stayed up all night partying, and around 4am, I walked over to the Capitol to wait for Glenn. He had left Wausau a few hours before, and since Glenn is terrified of brain cancer (ridiculous, I know), he doesn’t have a cell phone. He was told to do hot laps around the Capitol until we saw each other. After I sat around for ten minutes, I heard the unmistakable sound of a VW diesel and techno music blasting between the buildings. It was the veggie Passat. We met up and snapped a quick photo and headed off to Milwaukee for breakfast with a friend.