Friday, October 17, 2008

My First Ballpark Road Trip (4)

Read entire series here.

Oops, here's a link to the boxscore to my first ballpark visit. With the game over, I headed out to find a motel for the night. This was about 11pm. I had tickets to a double header in San Diego the next day, starting at 2pm. San Diego is about an 85 mile drive south of Anaheim. But this is where being young and extremely naive came into play in a big way. You simply don't travel to Southern California in August without room reservations. Two out of every three families in the entire USA vacation at Disneyland or Seaworld just before school starts. I learned this the hard way.

Disneyland is only four blocks away from Anaheim Stadium, and I travelled down boulevards for miles in each direction. There are thousands of motels. "No Vacancy" was all I saw. This went on for at least an hour. I finally found one motel, and it looked dark and seedy. It was run by foreigners who obviously never watched June Cleaver clean her house on TV. The room was filthy and infested with insects, so I got my money back and split. With no light at the end of the tunnel, I decided that maybe I'd have better fortune if I hit the freeway south toward San Diego and got away from Disneyland. No such fortune. I hit every exit for 60 miles looking for a motel room. There were none. I resigned myself to sleeping in my car in a motel parking lot somewhere near Carlsbad. I dozed off for a bit, and I can only conclude that it was about 2am, when suddenly I was awakened by a noise. Okay, this was a bit creepy. I heard sirens in the distance. Then a man came flying over the concrete wall and landed right in front of my car and dashed off. Cop cars came screaching into the parking lot and chased this guy down on foot. This scared the crap out of me, and I was out of there. I had no trouble staying awake for quite a while.

So I kept going down toward San Diego, still hitting each exit. Finally I made it there, and with nowhere to go and wide awake I decided to go see where the ballpark was located. It was 3:30am. The stadium lights were on at Jack Murphy Stadium. Hmmm. I figured out that they were changing the stadium over from football to baseball. Back in those days the Padres shared the place with both the NFL Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs college team. Sometimes the Padres' three game weekend series would have a Friday night game, then a football game on Saturday, followed by a baseball doubleheader on Sunday. I settled in to yet another motel parking lot. By this time I really had to relieve myself, so I went in the bushes in front of the car parked next to me, and fell asleep in my car.

I awoke in the early a.m. to daylight, about 7am. I looked around me and noticed that there was a family asleep in the car next to me. Whoa, was I embarrassed. I went inside the motel to see if by chance they had some kind of room. The clerk said I could wait for cancellations but that it might take a while. There were several people in line in front of me. Hours later, somebody cancelled for four days. Wahoo! I wanted to stay there longer, but it was a break. I took the room. BUT... It wouldn't be available until 2pm when maid service was done. But I had to be at the game before then. I broke down in the desert, sweated a lot and slept in my car. I needed a shower bad. I asked the clerk if he knew of any place I could shower. His only suggestion was at the beach using the shower heads to wash sand off. It was better than nothing, so I went to the beach and showered, wearing my bathing suit. How humiliating. I went to the ballpark to see the games. To be continued...

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