Battling a global pandemic can do many interesting things to Men. One of them is to suspend rational thought and conjoure ideas that any normal person would dismiss with immediacy. The Weekend of Man 2021 would start with the irrational: Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy would drive a 33 year old car with no air conditioning almost 2,000 miles across the U.S. Without using any interstate freeways.
While this adventure built stories that will carry it into the future, the crescendo of The Weekend of Man 2021 would be delivered by Scottish Rob after another set of irrationally thoughtful decisions involving single malt Scotch.
And so it began...
Day Zero: The Gathering of People - Portland, OR
Undrafted Jeff flew to Portland, Oregon from Minnesota the day before their scheduled ground-based departure back
to Minnesota. His flight schedule left little time for antics near the west coast. Shortly after his arrival, a meal of grilled meats and vegtables was prepared with some other out-of-town guests from Europe, and then the real work began: Rebuilding and regripping all
of Undrafted Jeff's golf clubs. This activity finished well after dark.
With the final preparations of the vehicle, a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S Silver Rose named "Elsie", Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy retired for the evening, with a scheduled 7:00 am departure the next morning. It would be the last reasonable night of sleep for many an overnight.
Day One: Rumors of Small People - Portland, OR - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy departed Portland shortly after 7:00 am. To avoid the interstate system, they headed north to the state of Washington. A brief fuel stop in the community of Camas, WA would mark the real beginning of their Lewis & Clark-in-Reverse expedition.
The first segment of the day, from Camas, WA to Kenniwick, WA went smoothly with Undrafted Jeff at the controls, aside from one wrong turn which was quickly corrected. Their route took them across WA-14, paralleling the Columbia River on the northern shore of the Columbia River Gorge. While mostly overcast, skies broke clear once they reached East of the Gorge. Outside temperatures began to rise quickly, yet Elsie soldiered along smoothly.
They dined exquisitely at a McDonalds in Kennewick, seated outdoors and adjacent to the drive-thru lane. Both observed that temperatures continued to rise to somewhat uncomfortable levels. As it turned out, their journey was being made during one of the worst heat waves in Washington and Oregon. By the time they departed Kennewick, temperatures were over 100 degrees.
In order to hold true to their abandonment of the Eisenhower Interstate System, Elsie was pointed towards the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway, a meandering and confusing two-lane artery linking the Tri-Cities area with the Idaho border. Unbeknownst to Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy (who was in the captain's chair) when this leg began, this leg would prove to be the riskiest and most physically challenging of all the miles they would cover.
Approximately 15 miles outside of Pasco, WA, the asphalt of the road ended. This forced Elsie, a vehicle with no business away from pavement, into several miles of dirt and gravel. After surviving this unanticipated rough stretch, exterior temps would rise to over 108 degrees. While attempting to navigate several highway merges and branches, the temperature inside the vehicle would reach over 115 degrees, forcing all mobile electronics to shut off due to excess heat. Backup paper navigational charts were prepared prior, and they were necessary to complete the last several hours of navigation. Elsie's auxiliary radiator fan ran non-stop to keep the engine coolant just inside levels that would cause alarm, with the coolant temperature hovering precariously close the higher limits of normal operation. Both occupants consumed somewhere around a gallon of water, yet never stopped to pee. A small portable ice-based air conditioning fan was of little help either.
The other challenge to this routing was the lack of any sign of civilization. From the time they left the city limits of Pasco until they reached their destination, no other human outside of a vehicle was seen. Endless fields of wheat, organic artisan small-batch wheat mind-you, was all anyone could see. For 186 miles. A later text to a friend who went to school in and around these parts would indicate that there are only "Rumors of Small People", the wheat field version of "Children of the Corn".
After crossing the Idaho border and leaving the desolate, humanless wheat fields behind, temperatures would drop to a balmly 105 degrees. For the last 50 miles through Idaho, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy would observe an interesting contrast: When driving through a grove of trees, the land would be Native American and feature casinos and tobacco shops. When the trees would clear to wheat fields, the shops would shift to guns and ammo. Some may call it a stereotype, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy called it an actual observation.
Once into Coeur d'Alene, their first destination on this magnificient voyage, they immediately fueled Elsie for the next day's work. Before even heading to the hotel, Undrafted Jeff, with layers of sweat glistening across every inch of fabric covering his body, immediately purchased a six pack of beer. After checking in to their hotel, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy would consume it all within 20 minutes. This happened at the same time Undrafted Jeff cleaned 1/8" of an inch of dust and dead bugs off the window sill and air conditioner. A future Yelp review would illustrate their satisfaction with this lodging in ways that would make a real Ron Swanson proud.
Dinner that night took them a few blocks west, where they dined outside under a red and smoky sky. Wildfires in nearby Washington and Montana cast an erie glow over the sky, while the sun still pushed enough heat to keep the temperatures above 100 degrees. Several more beers were consumed with an agreeable meal that kept them safe from viral infection as they were the only
people to even attempt to eat outside in the punishing heat. Odd looks covered the faces of locals and other tourists, bemused by the discussion between Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy at how much the air that evening had cooled off.
Retreating to the hotel with another
six pack of beer, Undrafted Jeff became infatuated with the number 107. For those wanting more information on this, they can inquire directly with Undrafted Jeff. Both retired to bed with equal parts of empty High Life bottles occupying their respective night stands.
Day Two: Hill People - Couer d'Alene, ID - Kalispell, MT
Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy awoke after little rest. They made their way to The Resort at Coeur d'Alene, where they would play the well-known golf course featuring a floating green. Exemplary customer service started almost right away. When on the driving range warming up pre-round, Undrafted Jeff received a chair massage. The Bobocracy took no advantage of this, to later regret.
Their golf paired them with an older couple, who happened to be the founders and owners of one of the largest manufacturers of bowling balls in the country. She was more memorable than he, as she named her alter-ego "Janet", and after every bad shot would yell "Damn-it Janet!" Her originally icy demeanor warmed to Undrafted Jeff when after one of these outbursts, he replied with "Get your shit together Janet!"
They made their way around the course under the navigation of a fore-caddy, who both Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy where convinced was sleeping with every female caddy at the resort. His advice and machismo must have had some
effect, as The Bobocracy piloted his golf ball around the course in a mere 74 strokes, tying a personal low score. Both Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy made the green on the famous 14th floating hole.
A post-round lunch was had at a restaurant near the clubhouse before they both packed back into Elsie for the shortest driving day of the entire trip. A mere four and one half hours separated them from Kalispell, Montana. This did require them to drive north, just shy of the Canadian border before turning east, again an unneccesary necessity to avoid the interstates.
Shortly before reaching the junction of US Highway 2, which they would travel for almost 1,500 miles all the way deep into Minnesota, they came upon the small community of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Truly realizing they were not in the metaphorical Kansas any longer, flags, home-made signage, and entire driveways and household roofs of paint made it very
clear of the political leanings of this community. Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy had originally planned a fuel and potty stop in this community, a plan that was quickly
rejected when they realized physical harm could come to them. It's not often two Men in shiny sunglasses emerge from a pink
Porsche and put on masks to go into a gas station. At least not in Bonners Ferry.
Signs of these "Hill People" would continue well into Montana, until reaching the Flathead Valley just outside Kalispell. The attention of Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy turned away from the Hill People however, as their routing took them within one mile of one of Montana's largest wildfires at the time. Signs informing motorists to not stop and maintain a minimum speed, combined with an excess of fire trucks and other firefighting equipment made clear that hastily moving through this part of Montana was in everyone's best interests. Evidence of the Hill People continued to provide eastward motivation to Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy.
Shortly before Kalispell, it began raining heavily. While soldiering through the rain with The Bobocracy in command of Elsie, the road would again become gravel. A very bumpy two miles took place, and it would be discovered several weeks later that this caused one of cylinder #2's exhaust manifold studs on Elsie to break. It would cause her to run just a little off for the rest of the voyage. Once within Kalispell city limits and on paved streets again, they would have to dodge flooded roads in search of a gas station and their hotel. They arrived, exhausted and hungry.
They chose to stay at the Kalispell Grand Hotel, celebrated as one of the oldest in Montana. It also advertised on its website that it was the first hotel in the state with locks on the room doors. Undrafted Jeff was able to confirm this directly upon reaching the hotel door where a working key was necessary to gain entry.
After taking in the hotel decor, which by today's standards is horrifically racist to Native Americans, they made tracks for a nearby brewpub with a large outdoor patio. They drank good beer and ate mediocre food, while watching a man ride a four-wheeler back-and-forth through a flooded parking lot separating the brew pub from a mall. It was determined without evidence that this individual must have been the store manager of the adjacent J.C. Penney's.
That night they would settle in to their hotel room, with both window air conditioners going at their maximum level. While temperatures outside were pleasant and the air conditioners were pushing out cold air, a nexus of physics existed within the room that caused the temperatures to rise,
along with a significant increase in humidity levels. It was as if they were both bedding with swamp creatures. Sleep was difficult.
Day Three: Heritage People - Kalispell, MT - Williston, ND
The purpose of this detour to Kalispell and into the far north of Montana was to visit one of the most scenic drives in the country: Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park. Gaining entry to this road required a number of actions pre-trip to acquire the necessary park passes and
road permits. Despite the preparatory work, they would still need to be up early to maintain their schedule and enter the park before the daily limit of visitors was reached.
Elsie was re-packed and her oil was checked shortly after 5:30 am that morning. A quick stop for some morning caffeine was the only barrier between Undrafted Jeff, The Bobocracy, and the west entrance to Glacier National Park. Under heavy fog and light rain, they would reach the park gates shortly before 7:00 am. A friendly park attendant verified entry documents and wished them a pleasant visit. Roughly 15 miles of road that slowly climbed through heavy trees and forest was alleged to soon give way to some of the most spectacular mountain vistas and scenic splendor anywhere in the world.
Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy would see none of it.
After breaking through the tree line, the fog thickened considerably. This coincided with the road meandering from the valley that it slowly climbed, to clinging on the northwestern flank of one of the mountain massifs running through the park. This narrowed an already very narrow road, with small stone block walls roughly one foot high separating Undrafted Jeff, The Bobocracy, and Elsie from the valley floor - thousands of feet below. Shortly before reaching Logan's Pass, the crest of the park and the site of the Glacier National Park Visitor's Center, visibility would drop to approximately 30 feet.
Upon reaching Logan's Pass, The Bobocracy parked and got out of Elsie, soaked in sweat. It was only 45 degrees outside. The sheer stress of the drive was the cause of his excessive persperation. When asked to take the wheel to do his scheduled shift and navigate down the east flank of Glacier National, Undrafted Jeff responded with a very loud and very clear "Fuck that." The Bobocracy would see Elsie down the mountains as well. Son of a.
After tucking behind a Glacier National shuttle bus to guide them, the fog slowly started to lift. This gave them both a hint of the scenery that surrounded them, but only a glimpse. Mountains still poked into the clouds and visibility was still limited. Once they reached the east park entrance at Saint Mary, they stopped for a deep breath, a bathroom break, and a driver swap that Undrafted Jeff was now willing to make.
With Undrafted Jeff in the driver's seat, they would navigate down the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. About 30 miles outside of the park, they would come upon a herd of cattle grazing in the middle of the road. After a honk of the horn and a brief wait, their journey continued, with much more attention paid to the potential for bovine road interference.
As the journey continued east, the Rocky Mountains continued to fade further behind the horizon in the rear view mirror. While unaware of how pervasive the change in scenery would be at the time, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy found themselves looking at a near endless horizon of near-nothingness. There's a reason they put "Big Sky Country" on Montana license plates.
Undrafted Jeff began what would become a consistent refrain, whining about soreness in his knee and/or hip while driving. Tucking into their next scheduled fuel stop at Shelby, Montana, they switched drivers and The Bobocracy again took over, sustaining Undrafted Jeff's objections of phantom pains.
They continued swiftly east, following "The High Line", the old Northern Pacific (now BNSF) northern transcontinental railroad mainline, paralleled by U.S. Highway 2. An unplanned stop was made in Havre, Montana so Undrafted Jeff could call his father-in-law at one of the few communities they would pass through with reliable cellular phone service. After both returned to the confines of Elsie, The Bobocracy started her up and was greeted with the master engine caution and oil warning light glaring back from the dash at him. Havre, Montana was quite literally the worst place to have any kind of engine trouble in a 80s vintage Porsche.
They gently backed Elsie closer to a gas pump where the ground was more level and popped the hood. They had to wait several minutes before the dipstick and oil cap were cool enough to be handled safely. An inspection of the oil level revealed it was slightly more than a quart low. Proving that proper planning prevents poor performance, The Bobocracy made sure to stock Elsie with tools and supplies necessary for this risky voyage. She was topped off with the specific oil needed by her turbocharged aluminum four cylinder engine. After doing so and starting Elsie back up, all the engine and oil warning lights went out. Undrafted Jeff was so struck that a car this age contained such oil monitoring intelligence, he called his motorsports-loving father-in-law back to tell him what just happened.
Back out on U.S. Highway 2, they continued another 160 miles to Glasgow, Montana, their next scheduled fuel stop. Along this leg temperatures began to rise again, as clouds thinned and the sun beamed down. The cabin of Elsie would again grow uncomfortably warm over the next several hours, however the temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s would remain almost 20 degrees cooler than their first day's travels.
While pumping fuel in Glasgow, Montana, Undrafted Jeff began a conversation with an east-to-west traveler at the adjacent pump. This person's car was absolutely covered
in dead bugs, something that took Undrafted Jeff's comedic interest. If only he was paying attention to the fact they would be driving directly into where that person came from. It was an omen of future insect death at the hands of Elsie's front clip and windshield.
Undrafted Jeff, with some resistance, took over for the final leg of the day. 145 miles separated them from Williston, North Dakota, their overnight stop. Bugs of increasing size began to hit the windshield with increasing frequency, something neither journeymen considered to be a problem. Somewhat unnoticed, the coolant temperature began to rise very slowly. They passed through many, many, many small towns each having a single closed gas station and a bar/casino combination structure, some of which were in poor condition, some of which were near collapse. The scene became humorous in its repetition. After a lengthy dialog, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy could only determine that an individual or group of individuals would continue to live in such places because of heritage and tradition. It was the day of Heritage People.
Shortly after crossing the Montana/North Dakota border, with 667 miles of U.S. Highway 2 in Montana alone
behind them, a new troubling site appeared. As the road widened to four lanes, they found Elsie, a small 2-door import, surrounded exclusively
by diesel-powered pickup trucks. Not a single vehicle on the road aside from their own was less than a three-quarter ton pickup. Flanking the trucks and the highway itself was evidence of the geography: Oil derricks in every direction signaled Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy's arrival to the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota.
The surroundings and occupants of Williston, North Dakota made The Bobocracy very anxious. After fueling Elsie and checking into their hotel (the first modern, fully air-conditioned hotel of their journey), they walked across town while Undrafted Jeff attempted to talk The Bobocracy off his anxiety ledge. Their journey took them to the Boot Barn, where The Bobocracy, after several days of sweating through synthetic fabric polos, came to the realization that nothing works better in a hot car that a good ol' fashioned cotton T-shirt. While they were there, because it was a Boot Barn and they couldn't resist, they also bought cowboy hats.
On the walk back to the hotel, they dined at a local establishment named Outlaws Bar and Grill. They sat on the patio to again avoid viral infection where everyone believed there was no virus, much to the dismay of the staff. Undrafted Jeff worked his gift of the gab however, and convined the waitress ("Cherish") that good service would be handsomely rewarded. She greeted this news by sitting down at their table and smoking a cigarette. The meal would end with a still-anxious The Bobocracy walking off with two logo'ed beer mugs, with Cherish's approval.
When they returned to the hotel, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy decided to give Elsie a more thorough examination while it was still daylight. They would discover that they killed so many bugs, and that the bugs were so big, they had literally clogged the radiator air inlets. The next 30 minutes would involve disolving and wiping the bugs off with a heavy-duty remover from Griots Garage. Both were in alignment that this cleaning chemical may have been as important as the oil they packed.
They returned to their room and for once slept in a room with forced air HVAC. Sleep was actually had, but an early morning alarm clock awaited them.
Day Four: People of the Eternal Flames - Williston, ND - Biwabik, MN
Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy awoke early. They re-packed Elsie and prepared for the final day of driving before they would reunite with the other Pioneering Men of The Weekend of Man. At 5:45 am, with a fresh Diet Coke each, they departed Williston, North Dakota. This calmed the nerves of The Bobocracy substantially.
They ventured again onto U.S. Highway 2, where they would spend all but the last 90 miles of the day. As the highway turned from north to east and crested a hill approximately 10 miles north of Williston, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy were greeted with the most unusual site. In every direction, as far as the eye could see, twinkling orange lights appeared. They were everywhere, and they were countless. They would come to discover, after passing closer by one of these glowing lights, that each one of these was a flame from an oil derrick, burning off the natural gas byproduct of oil drilling. It's simply easier and cheaper to burn the gas than recover it. While most refer to this part of the country as the Bakken Oil Fields, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy will forever refer to it as the land that belongs to The People of the Eternal Flames.
Where the expectations for Montana scenery were high and it under-delivered for more than 600 miles, North Dakota was a pleasant surprise. While boring and flat, there was enough greenery and towns that had actual people and operating businesses in them to give Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy hope. One of these towns, Rugby, North Dakota, is also the geographic center of North America. Elsie was parked next to it for a photo op.
The trip continued uneventfully through larger "urban" areas such as Minot, North Dakota and Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Bobocracy took the longest leg of the entire trip, covering over 243 miles in one shot. Undrafted Jeff would take the next leg, scheduled to begin in Devils Lake, North Dakota, and terminate in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He made it only 90 miles before his belly aches over phantom hip pains forced another driver change. The Bobocracy took over and they finally crossed into friendly territory, over the Red River and the Minnesota state line.
This leg was the toughest of the entire trip. Both Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy finally succumbed to get-there-itis, and were simply ready to join the other Pioneering Men at El Toro in Cotton, Minnesota. The stressor of this leg was a 61 mile portion through the Cass Lake Indian reservation, where a nearly straight road devoid of anything put a mental strain on both driver and passenger. Over three hours later, after finally reaching Grand Rapids, Minnesota for a fuel stop, Undrafted Jeff was ordered into the driver's seat for the short-and-final 69 mile leg to their destination point. Grand Rapids, Minnesota also represented the last mile of U.S. Highway 2 they would cover.
And arrive at El Toro they did. After a journey of 1,807.9 miles across four days and six states, they arrived seven
minutes early for a planned 4:00 pm rendezvous that was set prior to their departure. Sam Adequate was already present, and shortly behind him were Kahnke Kong, Macho Rod, Cinnamon!, and even Sporadic Jack. Undrafted Jeff again began bitching about his phantom pains in a blatant and transparent way of rationalizing him being the one of the two that would be drinking beer while The Bobocracy handled the last 40 or so miles to Giants Ridge.
After 45 minutes or so, all were anxious to make tracks to Giants Ridge. They went directly to Dino's Liquors in Aurora, Minnesota, to procure a case of Blatz Light and the cheapest 30 pack available for sale, again being fine stewards of Pioneering Men tradition. Macho Rod, living up to his name, walked out of Dino's with a 40 ounce bottle of Mickey's malt liquor. He consumed it quickly that evening. After making the last five mile drive to Giants Ridge and checking into their Villas, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy finally shook hands and toasted to their magnificient journey.
Men found food to dine on that night and took in a warm and magnificient evening on the decks of their villas. The Smoking of the Pipes took place and a significant amount of Blatz Light was consumed. Scottish Rob arrived that evening as well, rounding out the full compliment of Pioneering Men. There was comfort in the company of others, something many were without for almost 18 months prior, due to the nature of a global pandemic. Others took comfort in simply being able to relax from the daily cares of the workday. Two in particular took comfort in being able to sit more than 10 feet away from each other for the first time in four days.
Day Five: Pioneering People - Biwabik, MN
A handful of Pioneering Men awoke early Wednesday morning. They were en-route to their now-annual ritual of Subway breakfast sandwiches as the local gas station by 7:40 am. For Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy, it was their first minute in a car with air conditioning in four days, covering over 31 hours and 38 minutes. Somehow, Sam Adequate ended up riding shotgun.
Significant road construction was successfully navigated, sandwiches were enjoyed, and bait was retrieved from the on-your-honor bait shop the next town over. All of this under bright blue skies, a theme that would repeat for the entire weekend.
Upon returning, the Super Game Fisher was put to sea by Macho Rod, who can handle a boat trailer with much more dexterity than most other Men, specifically Undrafted Jeff. The Super Game Fisher's initial sea trials went without incident, and soon Sam Adequate, Undrafted Jeff, and The Bobocracy would set sail for The Honey Hole. They would return having only boated one eight-inch Perch, courtesy of Undfrafted Jeff's pink hooks and a night crawler.
Macho Rod began tuning up his mountain bike, as Giants Ridge re-opened and expanded their downhill mountain biking trails. Using the chair lifts that provide skiiing in the winter, cyclists were chaired up and could race down. The body armor to protect oneself during this activity that Macho Rod inventoried gave other Men pause.
Scottish Rob took to some general R & R, much-needed since he retired, or so he says. Signiicant photo evidence of Scottish Rob in a number of different locations exist, proving one can explore without exploring.
The afternoon was consumed at the driving range. One of the newer acquisitions of The Weekend of Man is a professional-grade launch monitor. Sporadic Jack was the primary benficiary. He had gone to Club Champion for a fitting and was dismayed at the service and extortion-like markup he was being offered. Club Champion has since been placed on The Weekend of Man Sanctioned Vendor List, and our business they will not receive.
This club fitting to many hours, and once the proper data was gathered, other Men's clubs and distances were measured and properly gapped. After all driving range activities were complete, Sporadic Jack's clubs were dis-assembled, properly weighted, and rebuilt. This consumed the entire afternoon.
Dinner was had at the lodge restaurant, where Men enjoyed a picture-perfect evening, dining outside with food, wine, and beer. A relatively quiet evening followed, as evidenced by Scottish Rob spending the evening with a couch, a laptop, and Eclipse development studio.
Day Six: People of Action - Biwabik, MN
Thursday began the sojourn into the land of rational irrationality for other Men. Macho Rod was the first to bend to this pressure, taking charge of a morning project to completely re-build the boat trailer for the Super Game Fisher, again suffering from malfunctioning lights. This started with a trip to what is still believed to be the world's largest Walmart, 43 miles round-trip in distance. Macho Rod scoured the store and found a collection of lights, wires, and fasteners that met his standards. Satisfied, he and the others who accompanied him returned to Giants Ridge for the repairs.
Macho Rod started by single-handedly flipping the trailer on its side and began dismantling the bunks, cross-members, and removed all the wiring from the harness to the tail lights. He was able to leverage all the tools, wrenches, and socket sets brought by The Bobocracy to support the journey with Elsie. After about two and one half hours, Macho Rod had completely rebuilt the trailer, repairing the bunks and installing new wiring and lights with mounts he custom-fabricated in a resort lodge parking lot. He was and still is commended for this irrationally heroic act.
Upon completion of the trailer repairs, the boat itself was sent for surgery. Undrafted Jeff, Sam Adequate, and The Bobocracy took to replacing seats, paddles, and tie-downs to improve comfort and function. When they were unable to repair a seat by separating it from its pivoting mount, Macho Rod took charge and literally ripped it in half with his bare hands. Scottish Rob was also present and can testify to this event.
Since Men were in a working mood, after repairs to boats and trailers were complete, Elsie was given a head-to-toe handwash cleaning 2,000 miles of wildfire ash, bugs, and road dirt from her wheels, paint, and glass. Cleaned and refreshed, she looked the part of the noble charriot she is. This activity concluded within an hour of their first tee times and the rendezvous of the full Class of 2021.
Golf at The Quarry was in near-ideal conditions, with the only challenge being breezy conditions which made the "target golf" demands of The Quarry difficult for many a Men. This did not deter from the enjoyment of one of the finest cathedrals of golf until well into the back nine, when a freak thunderstorm came through. Lightning and heavy rain drove several Men and their carts, led by Bruce-in-Law, to an under-road tunnel near the course, where they pivoted to drinking beer while safe and dry. 15 minutes later the round continued without further incident.
Dinner that night was another low-key affair, with Men dining outside again at a nearby resort restaurant. Post dinner, Men spread across the decks of many villas, continuing through many a beer and cigar. Six Percent as always arrived with some nice wine, both in flavor and price, that he willingly shared with others. He was thanked for this, and despite his profession, saught no commission from it. During the evening, Good Times Johnny also arrived, marking the first time in many years that all five Founding Members were simultaneously present for Weekend of Man.
Day Seven: Mango People - Tower, MN
Men traveled even further north on Friday, venturing to Fortune Bay Resort and The Wilderness for golf. Split into morning and afternoon tee times, the morning contingent was comprised of an unusual grouping of Khanke Kong, "Mark", Good Times Johnny, Sam Adequate, Undrafted Jeff, and The Bobocracy. Only The Bobocracy has a reputation for being a morning person, yet Good Times Johnny apparently responds well to significant amounts of coffee and profanity.
The tee times this day were so early, the driving range was not set up and no starter was present. Despite these setbacks, Kahnke Kong and "Mark" were the first tee time on the course, setting out at 6:30 am. They apparently played 18 holes, but no visual sightings of them were made after the second hole. They played at breakneck speed.
Things were uneventful in the tee time behind them, featuring Good Times Johnny, Undrafted Jeff, Sam Adequate, and The Bobocracy. At the turn, Undrafted Jeff wanted to mess with Good Times Johnny by purchasing the worst flavored beverage available. The staff at the course was unanimous in their selection of Mango White Claw. After starting to consume it, Good Times Johnny had his best drive of the day. After piping a fairway wood for his second shot, he let loose with the most predictable yell ever heard in golf: "MANGO!"
The afternoon group featured Sporadic Jack and Bruce-in-Law in one group, the father of the guy sleeping with the daughter of the other guy. This round was amicable, or so it has been told as such by Farnsworth, who is amused at anyone and everyone with whom he golfs.
The other later tee time featured Cinnamon!, who on Friday entered the society of those making terribly wonderful decisions. Earlier the day before, he discovered that the fine follks at Pabst Brewing had made an alcoholic cold brew latte coffee. Terrible in every way, Cinnamon! suggested it be used as the milk for a bowl of Cocoa Krispies. Terrible idea, wonderfully executed. An entire family-sized box of Cocoa Krispies was consumed by four or less Alumni within two days.
At some point later that afternoon, Sam Adequate disappeared. While normally cause for concern, Men have adapted to this behavior and simply assumed the best. He was later found in and around the Minneapolis suburbs, in good health and spirits.
Macho Rod and Class of 2021 Rookie Man The Seagull spent the day mountain biking. They somehow survived, something difficult for those that watched the Go Pro footage captured by Macho Rod to actually believe. Somehow, gravity, physics, and bone density within Macho Rod exist at levels unseen by what the rest of the Alumni in Good Standing clearly are - Lesser Men. A thorough accounting of runs and miles was made and communicated by The Seagull, but most other Men were ignoring of his facts and figured when presented with Macho Rod's far more compelling evidence of adventure.
That evening saw The Weekend of Man 2021 reach its penultimate event. After months of coordination, Scottish Rob and Undrafted Jeff introduced the first-ever single-malt Scotch tasting event. The rules, while simple, create an experience layered with complexity that is still difficult for those present to describe. The underlying principle was to use the purchasing power of a larger group to obtain expensive whiskies. The rules were:
1) All Alumni in Good Standing present that wanted to participate were required to antie $100.
2) The total of all monies ($1,100 in 2021) would be used to purchase a bottle from each malt region in Scotland: Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbelltown.
3) One of the bottles would be at least HALF the total pot.
Scottish Rob started the event with a bag for each participant with a snifter glass, watering straw, and tasting notes for all the whiskies present. His preparation and facilitation of this event is still discussed as the barometer for future similar events, however impossible to meet or exceed. Devout Men who joined this event have been working on documentation for future Canonization of Scottish Rob, with his actions that evening as proof of his first miracle.
After sampling the most expensive of the lot, a 25 year old Bunnahabhain Islay malt, Scottish Rob declared it the second-best of all whiskies consumed in his 45+ years of single-malt experience. While staying up late conversing with The Bobocracy (who knows better than to go anywhere near the single malts after he and Scottish Rob were tossed from a downtown Minneapolis bar many years ago), Scottish Rob amended his silver medal analysis and placed the Bunnahabhain atop the podium as the best malt to ever cross his lips.
For those with interest, the 2021 Single-Malts of Significance were:
ISLAY - Bunnahabhain 25, $670
HIGHLAND - Dalmore 12, $88
SPEYSIDE - Glenlivet Enigma, $121
CAMPBELL - Springbank 15, $126
LOWLAND - Glenkinichie 12, $76
Day Eight: Biwabik, MN
Saturday was uneventful when compared to the other days of The Weekend of Man 2021. Most Men took advantage of a pleasurable round of golf under overcast skies on The Legend. Macho Rod and The Seagull returned to the lifts with their mountain bikes, proving one day's worth of bad decisions wasn't enough. All Men survived, and rendezvoused for a catered barbeque lunch near the base of the mountain biking/skiing chairlifts. After a few logistical challenges, everyone enjoyed lunch, drinks, and general comraderie. Cinnamon! proved the best golfer of the group in a new format The Weekend of Man is now calling a "Ramble", which featured every man playing a net best ball across all three courses and days. Cinnamon!'s total net score was a thunderous -18, and he was awarded the famed Marquee de Sod for his efforts. His handicap will be aggressively adjusted next year.
The last day of fishing commenced, however results were not produced. Good Times Johnny muscled in a suckerfish, boating one of only two fish across the entire afternoon. After pulling the Super Game Fisher back ashore on her recently-rebuilt trailer, the worst fishing year in the history of The Weekend of Man was over.
Dinner that night was handled by Macho Rod and The Seagull, who had purchased a large number of frozen pizzas and prepared them all. While not a member of the Class of 2021, fellow Alumni in Good Standing, Sub-Prime, was at Giants Ridge with another group. He joined the evening events briefly, catching up with many others as the only sustained rain of the weekend fell.
Day Nine: The Return to Normal People - Biwabik, MN - Minneapolis, MN
A round on The Quarry closed The Weekend of Man 2021. Uneventful and again on a day with good weather, it wrapped an enjoyable and equally exhausting weekend for many. For the last time of the entire trip, Undrafted Jeff and The Bobocracy packed back into Elsie for the drive to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Trailed by Cinnamon! in his new Audi SQ5, they made good time back to the estate of Undrafted Jeff. Elsie would spend almost a month in his garage as The Bobocracy would return to Portland the next morning via Delta Air Lines.
Scottish Rob would make time to have dinner with The Bobocracy where they discussed many topics, personal and professional, at a local bar and bowling alley near the airport. It was a quiet and fitting close to The Weekend of Man 2021, which navigated a pandemic to create adventureous and experiencial highs for all those present. Truly a year of success, it in many ways set the bar for events future.
In the meantime, Men are looking to Scottish Rob for his second miracle, and a display of smart stupidity, rational irrationality, and other decision making that elevates the experience of all Alumni in Good Standing.