Aug 6, 2018
In our "Top 5 Reasons to Travel" episode, Joe and I made a phone call to our friend Ben to reminisce about our trip to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Due to time constraints we had to keep our conversation brief, which meant many of the details of this epic weekend were left out of the podcast.
Ben and I touched base a few days ago to fill in some of the blanks, recalling such details as bowling ball ice soccer, encountering our Doppelgängers, and Ben finally seeking medical attention.
David Fedor: I remember we took the trip Friday night right after a Cellar Dwellers show. So it was already close to, if not after midnight when we left. The plan was to drive all through the night in your van.
Ben Palmer: Yes. We drove through the night from Beaver County to Windsor. Joe opted to drive the whole way there so he didn't have to drive home.
DF: I know I tried staying awake, but even the chocolate-covered coffee beans didn't do the trick. I woke up just as we were entering an industrial section of Detroit. I opened my eyes and it was smoke and fire everywhere, like a post-apocalyptic hellscape. It was so alarming! I'll never forget it.
Then when we got to the hotel, it was a zoo! Apparently underage Americans from Detroit cross the river to go drinking, and our cheap hotel must have been a popular destination.
BP: As we entered the lobby, the cops were throwing out some kids who were acting like idiots, and we got sort-of lumped into them getting kicked out. After some convincing and smooth talking, we were able to stay and made our way to the front desk. We didn't expect to get to Canada so early, so we asked the hotel if there was a possibility to get a room. They said the earliest they could have one ready for us was 9 A.M. meaning we had about 4 hours to kill. So we did the only sensible thing and walked to the casino.
DF: Naturally. And that's when we came upon the outdoor ice rink with the bowling ball where you broke your elbow!
BP: It was February, so the temperature was a balmy 15 degrees. There were a couple of ice rinks, just sort of oddly placed about the area. No seating or gates, just like, "Hey, here's some ice for you little Canucks to play on!" As we passed one it had a bowling ball just sitting in its center. The three of us shuffled out onto the rink and started passing this bowling-ball back and forth soccer-style. As I was receiving a pass from Dave I lost my footing and slipped. I reached out to catch myself and it was in the process of trying to catch my fall that I broke my elbow. Joe, on his old flip-phone actually once had a picture of me in mid-fall, but alas, that picture is gone. I didn't realize it was broke, I just knew that my elbow was really sore.
DF: Of course, we can't stop to seek medical attention. We have a debaucherous weekend of drinking planned.
BP: The three of us made our way to the casino where we lost some money (Joe probably won... he always did) and left around 7:30 A.M. We spent about an hour sleeping in my van until we could check in at 9:00. We got showers and went to the Walkerville Brewery for a tour. It was a small brewery and I remember they were using whatever returnables they could to bottle their beer, including old Iron City bottles! After starting our day with fresh beer, we headed over to the Canadian Club distillery for a tour and tasting. Our guide was VERY generous in providing us samples.
We took the tour with 3 guys who lived outside Cleveland. We called them our Doppelgängers because each of them had similar traits to one of us. One guy told several stories about his dad (maybe his uncle) introducing him to Canadian Club and he wore a took with the CC logo on the front that belonged to that paternal figure. It was a lively and adventurous tasting, to say the least. My cheeks are bright red, and I can only attribute that to the sheer amount we drank in a short time.
DF: It was crazy meeting up with three other guys from pretty close to Pittsburgh, doing pretty much the same thing that we were doing. Although I don't think any of them had a broken elbow. To think, we're only hours into the first day and you've got to be in so much pain!
BP: We had lunch at a local place and I took a ton of ibuprofen. The three of us slept the afternoon away. That night we hit a local bar, I believe it was recommended to us by our CC tour guide. (That can be the only explanation for what happened next.) As we went in the bar, we again ran into our Doppelgängers from the tour. We had a few rounds of beer and CC and played a bunch of ridiculous 80's music on the jukebox. Then our tour guide walked in: the girl who was giving us the tour of the CC distillery! She had in her possession Canadian Club glasses for all six of us! Rocks glasses that we were supposed to get after taking the tour, but she forgot to give them to us, so she brought them with her to the bar in the hopes that we would be there!!! Talk about service! Yes, it meant that we had to carry these glasses around with us for the rest of the night, but we did it!
DF: I still have mine! It's in my liquor cabinet, I think. The next day we woke up and started drinking again right away. You know the old adages, "When in Rome" and "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!" both apply to Canadian weekends.
BP: Sunday there was curling, and I believe that was discussed on the podcast. I remember watching the Pens lose to the Flyers while we ate lunch, and Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for playing the Joker that night (so that puts this event into a proper timeline for you all).
DF: We got into a little bit of trouble that night, too, but nothing that kept us from getting back into the States. It was Monday on our way home that we stopped to get your shot glass.
BP: Even though the Detroit Hard Rock Cafe was right across the river from Windsor, ON, that was hardly my focus for the trip. It truly was an afterthought. Dave; you and I hit the HRC on the way home from Windsor on a Monday Morning. I do remember it being barely after 11:00 am and ordering a shot from the bar. For the bartender it may have seemed weird having someone walk up to the bar and order a shot that early Monday Morning, but for me it was just what I had to do. [Then again, it was Detroit, so that may not have been that weird at all.]
DF: When you got home, even with days of self medicating with beer, whiskey and extra strength ibuprofen, you were still in a lot of pain.
BP: I wasn't about to stop the weekend for something as trivial as pain! I went to the ER Monday night and they wrapped it up. BAD MOVE. When the orthopedic surgeon saw me Tuesday morning, he cursed the ER nurses up and down. As he unwrapped my arm, it was black and blue from wrist to shoulder. The best thing was to keep it loose so it didn't heal incorrectly. So, alcohol aside, I was actually doing the right thing for my arm!
DF: Ben, thanks for allowing us to interview you
about our trip, and sorry again for interrupting your tax prep.
Hope you got everything filed on time!