This is the first in what I hope will be a series of reports of bus routes from around the world. I’m very grateful to Andy for doing this and being the guinea pig for a part of the site that I’d love to grow and become a repository of bus routes from all over the globe. I have reports from Brussels and Florida also lined up in the coming weeks. So, if you’d like to contribute your local route, whether it be Sheffield or Manhattan, please do get in touch via twitter or email.
This section won’t replace my London routes – I’m going to continue to do them as often as possible – but merely add an international flavour. Anyway, here’s Andy’s trip on route 90 in Milwaukee as he makes his way to a baseball game.
I’ve got used to spending the first couple of weeks of April in the USA over the last few years; you see I am one of those weirdos who really enjoys ice hockey (like Mr 1-499 himself), baseball and basketball and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The most recent trip took me to Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis and the subject of this little article – Milwaukee.
It’s not all that popular a holiday destination – no golden beaches, no glitz or glamour and the highlights – and the MillerCoors Brewery and Harley Davidson Museum might not thrill anyone, but it’s a cracking place to visit. Who can really argue with sunshine, beer, baseball and more beer?
I’d visited the MillerCoors Brewery (free tour with samples, albeit piss-weak, carbonated shite) the day before I made my second trip to Miller Park (they dominate the city with their sponsorship deals) on Route 90.
It’s not a long trip, it’s not a particularly inspiring trip in terms of visual beauty, but it does its job – Downtown Transit Center to Miller Park, home of the wonderfully named Milwaukee Brewers.
The stop was right outside my hotel, possibly down to me planning it that way or maybe just blind fortune, and within 12 minutes I was standing outside Miller Park gazing over the widest scene of Opening Day tailgaters I had ever seen.
Hot dogs and burgers were being grilled, beer (this will be a repeated theme) was being guzzled and many were playing the Brewers Tailgate Toss. I’ll leave out the three hours of baseball (Milwaukee lost 11-5) but fair to say it was good fun (for those who like the sport), much beer (shit, over-carbonated and now very expensive) was imbibed and the players were booed mercilessly for not winning despite there still being 161 games left to redeem themselves.
Among the highlights – the Klements Sausage Race and Bernie the Brewer diving down his theme park style chute to celebrate the Brewers only home run in the ninth inning. (You had to be there to appreciate their highlight status!)
I was heading back into downtown for a basketball game in the evening, so it was back on to Route 90 soon afterwards – no tail-gating for me – and it was nice to see buses queued up waiting to go back. American public transport may not always be frequent but it’s well planned when it comes to big events like this.
The talk on the bus had changed from looking forward to the season positively to bating the under-performers, but the main focus was on a huge plume of smoke coming from the south of the city.
I thought it looked remarkably close to where my hotel was (it wasn’t) but was quickly assured it was a fire at a tyre warehouse. It’s hard to take your eyes off something dominating the skyline and many people were quiet and thoughtful heading back into the city – thankfully it turned out no-one had been hurt and it had burned out by the time I came out of the Bradley Center three hours later.
But there were some interesting characters aboard, most notably the guy sat in the opposite back corner to me.
He regaled us (by that I mean he was quite shouty and I heard every word of his conversation) with tales of this being his 40th Opening Day, dating back to the days when the Brewers were the Braves and playing at the old County Stadium that was replaced by Miller Park in 2001.
You had to feel sorry for him really – they haven’t had much success and last season’s National League Central title was their first championship of any kind since 1982.
He enjoyed some fine banter with a couple of St Louis fans on the bus (they won the World Series last season) and there were times when I thought one of them was going to turn around and give him a slap, but I then realised it was the USA not the East End, and it would all end in smiles. (or gunshots – ed)
Sadly I had to get off before the end of the route on the way back, but it was with fond memories that I sat down and wrote this, hopefully the first in a series of tales from the US public transport system. Now who’s going to pay for my next trip?