My trip to Dallas started off a little dicey, but once I got to my hotel it got a lot better.
When I landed in Dallas and grabbed my luggage from the baggage claim I had to somehow find a taxi to get to my hotel. As I found out earlier in the week, there was a major taxi driver strike in Dallas the week of the Super Bowl. Not all drivers were striking, but from what I understand there were a huge amount of them that were. So when I made my way to the taxi stand, I had to fight through the masses to talk to someone about getting a ride to Grand Prairie, where I was staying. As my luck had it, I got thrown into a cab with a Steeler fan. This guys wasn’t the worst, but I didn’t need to hear every single detail about his last 3 ex-girlfriends. What I thought was going to be a relatively easy ride turned out to be a nightmare.
Before I got to Dallas I searched on Google Maps how far it was from the airport to my hotel. 15.5 miles. Seemed easy enough. Well that was before the Dallas/Fort Worth area got hit with Wisconsin-like Winter weather. That 15.5 mile ride turned into an hour and 30 minute ride from hell, complete with wrong turns and 10 mph speeds on the highway. My cab driver, although a nice guy, had no clue how to drive on wet roads, let alone slippery roads. He was convinced the roads were covered in ice, even though my 15 years of driving in this type of weather knew they were not. I offered to take control of the taxi if he wanted to pullover but he was not too fond of that idea. Any and all conversation between he and I pretty much stopped at that point. I guess I offended him.
When I got to the Super 8 in Grand Prairie, over an hour late mind you, my buddy Scott Schoen was waiting for me. Scott lives in McAllen, TX which is about 8 hours South of Dallas. The lady working the front desk wasn’t much of a help when I asked her if there were any taverns in a close distance to the hotel that we could visit because we were both hungry…and thirsty. Her response, “There’s a Buffalo Wild Wings down the block”. Now I didn’t travel all the way to Dallas to drink at a BWW’s, but we had no choice. We bellied up there and were happy to see late night happy hour (23 oz. draft beers for $3) when we walked in. Our bartender was quite shocked when my 1st beer was done in about 2 minutes. I was on a mission. We sat there until they were ready to close (1 am) and made our way to another “neighborhood bar”….Applebee’s. Freaking Applebee’s. At this point I was wondering what the hell I got myself into.
Although I was very apprehensive, Applebee’s turned out to be a really good time. This wasn’t like any Applebee’s I have ever been in. This place was actually busy and had loud music playing. There were a good amount of young people hanging out and having a good time. Scott and I made ourselves at home with some more tap beers and a shot or two. As luck would have it we met a fellow diehard Packer fan. This guy, Terry from Tomah, WI, was hilarious. He was quite loaded and loved the fact that Scott and I were from Green Bay. He told his life story about how he moved to Texas in 1981 and tries to make it back to Wisconsin a couple of times a year. He bought Scott and I a few beers and pleaded with us to meet him for a few more on Saturday afternoon. His local tavern of choice, KG’s in Mansfield, is a “Packer bar” and is owned by a guy from somewhere in Wisconsin. He was proud of the fact that this bar serves PBR, Dr. McGillicudy’s, and cheese curds. His invitation became a little creepy as he insisted we come and drink with him because, in his words, “My Uncle Roger is paying the tab tomorrow. That cheap son-of-a-bitch walked out on his tab at Bone Daddy’s and I’m going to get him back tomorrow”. Thankfully for us it was time to head back to the hotel as they made last call.
Before actually making it back to the hotel we tried our hardest to try to convince the nice guy at the Valero gas station into selling us beer at 2:30am. Wellingtone, the gas station employee, was not buying it. Scott even tried to use his own form of scare tactics, which involved him using his job title (which I will not divulge), to try to get beer. Wellingtone wasn’t having that either. So we settled for a couple Gatorades and a gas station hot dog as we headed back to the Super 8.
My first night in Texas was in the books. We had to sleep fast, because we had to be up bright and early to head back up to DFW to pick up the next member of our group at 9:30am.