Best American Roadtrips
I've traveled from coast-to-coast dozens of times in my trusty '02 Ford Escape (RIP) so this might have to be a series. This entry will be about the cities I visited while playing hockey in the USHL for Lincoln between 2004-2006. Loosely ranked based on how often I've been there and how much I liked it
- 1.Indianapolis, INI had the most fun I've ever had playing hockey when I got traded here my second year in the league. The city is big enough that it feels urban but it's also very open and easy to get around. The town of Fishers in which I lived was quiet and upscale with a very homey feel. Highlights of Indy include the state fairgrounds where our rink was, St. Elmo's steak house, a decent downtown area and tons of sports.
- 2.Lincoln, NEThe team I was drafted to and the first time I lived away from home at age 17. Still holds a special place in my heart. PO Pears had the best burgers but is unfortunately closed now. Husker games were nuts as the whole town pretty much got into it on game day, even if they serve these weird nuclear-pink hotdogs at the games. We also played at the state fairgrounds here and we packed the barn full of 5,000 dedicated fans every night.
- 3.Kearney (Tri-Cities), NEThis is a smaller triumvirate of towns clustered closer to central Nebraska. I stopped here a few times on road trips because it's not too congested and still has a good amount of amenities (I.e. Bars and food.) I also got back to back shutouts here when I played with Indy, which led to a shutout streak that still stands with that organization (they folded years ago unfortunately. So it'll stand forever!)
- 4.Chicago, ILThe team and the rink for Chicago's USHL offering was mediocre at best, but as a city it's top notch. Despite having inferior pizza to New York, there were plenty of amazing food and restaurants and so much to see and do. One of my favorite nights on a road trip was spent at the Hooters near one of the airports where traffic was so bad we stopped and got a room for the night. Story ends here for general audiences 😅
- 5.Omaha, NEOmaha is a great city even if it's team was our big rival. The college hockey team at UNO is solid and worth seeing when you're in town. There's a casino right across the river as well and a great Zoo. Also Warren Buffett. A very underrated Midwestern city.
- 6.Des Moines, IAWe always had our preseason tournaments here, in which I always played poorly. We had our bus's heater break down in the middle of winter on the way back to Lincoln and the 3 hours driving home in subzero temperatures led to some serious man-spooning to keep warm. Gotta do what you gotta do. Des Moines' fans were always kinda dicks to the other team's goalie so there are some rough memories here. On a positive note, I first had Sonic here. It was meh.
- 7.Green Bay, WICold and very north. Went to a cool old Packers' bar for lunch but none of us could drink so it was mediocre. Didn't get to explore here too much because it was a hike to get up there and we didn't have much free time. Lambeau and the surrounding area were cool though.
- 8.Sioux Falls, SDAnother one that I didn't really get to explore much. The rink itself was a converted basketball arena so the dimensions were way off. Also in the locker room, the shower heads were like 8 feet in the air which was weird.
- 9.Cedar Rapids, IACedar Rapids is a decent city and was not bad to drive through. Played well here sometimes and not so well other times. I had an ex-girlfriend that lived here for a while so while we were not on good terms I avoided this city in general. Everything's good now so maybe I'll have to give the city a shot on my next road trip.
- 10.Sioux City, IAThe bane of my existence. I hated playing here and the fans hated me. They don't call it Sewer City for nothing. The only time I've ever been challenged to a fight across the ice by the other goalie was at this rink.
- 11.Waterloo, IAI don't remember enough about Waterloo to even comment on it