Afterglow 2015 - Day 1 Saturday




Even though this was Afterglow and not one of the Rage for Timmy trips, the focus was still on him. It's hard not to think about Timmy when you are up here. Afterglow wouldn't be as special as it is without all of the memories he helped create. This would be the 5th year up here without him, which is a huge benchmark. But we've been down this road before. The rage must go on. It would be a disservice to him if we didn't have the best damn time possible. And that is exactly what we were going to do. Have a damn good time here.
I spend my entire year counting down to Afterglow. This is not breaking news. My Brewers one-a-day calendar not only gives me fun facts about the team and historical facts, but with every passing day it reminds me how close I am to being back at Afterglow. On the eve before we leave, it brings me great joy to tear off that last page and write a 0 on that calendar. So tomorrow the fun can begin. One of the things I also do is to leave an out of office sign at my desk in case anyone comes looking for me. It always says "Gone Fishing" (even though I don't fish) with a caption. This year it was "where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine."
















I usually try to pick up my booze right after work on Friday instead of Saturday at the grocery store in Eagle River. That way Mom doesn't see it (out of sight, out of mind) and I get to have a few sips while packing. Once I leave the office on Friday, I'm officially on vacation. But I still feel the need to take it easy. Safety first though. I need to pace myself for a whole week's worth of rage.








But that's not to say that things don't get weird the night before I leave for Afterglow. Even though I countdown to the next year from the minute I leave, I don't plan ahead. I save all of my packing for the night before. This leads to me staying up until the wee hours of the morning. Once I introduce a couple of sips of the good stuff, I'm suddenly wearing a beer box, sombrero and holding a pirate flag. I wish I could say that this was the first time my cat Korben Dallas saw me this way, but he's been exposed to this for all of his life with me.











Korben Dallas and I have had a few squabbles. That's what happens when you live with someone for a few years and spend every day together. But still it was going to be hard to leave for a week and not see him every day. I love going on vacation, but I wish that I could take my little pal with me. I don't know if he would like to travel with me though. I'm sure he appreciates a break from my nonsense.



















Brandon would not be joining us at Afterglow, making his run at one and done. He couldn't get off of work, but he still came by to drop off Jenny and see us off. It was a lot of fun with him last year, but it happens. It won't stop the rage. Nothing can.


We pack a week's worth of things (and 3 people) into Mom's VW Jetta, which is pretty impressive. Since I am responsible for packing the car, I have a good amount of pride in my Tetris-like precision. It ain't easy being the best, but it sure feels good.











Before heading out on the road, we stopped to grab some gas, snacks and a slushie. Some things are essential for a road trip. They say getting there is half the fun, but I think that applies to all trips except for this one. I just wanted to be at Afterglow.
It is inevitable that we are going to make a stop along the way. Because of the route we take, it makes sense to stop in Stevens Point. I know that this particular gas station has a coin shelf machine. It's no coincidence we stop there to stretch our legs.











When we get to Eagle River, we always make a stop at Bonson's Pick N' Save to grab groceries for the week. Inside the store we always run onto our family or other people staying at Afterglow. I took a picture of THAT MEAT!!!! and sent it to BK, Kevin and Jenny in case they didn't see it for themselves in here. But if they did, it was worth another look. You can never have too much of THAT MEAT!!!! Fitting all of the purchased groceries into the car is always a challenge, but thankfully it is only 15 miles to Phelps. We stuff these items into every nook and cranny in the car and Jenny bears the brunt of the burden. But fear not young lass. We are almost there.










The car was packed to the walls with stuff, groceries and Jenny Reck. It was a whole lot of nonsense, but it was the kind of nonsense that tucks you in at night and reassures you that there are no monsters under the bed. You know, the good nonsense.









We ran into Stacy and Jessey in the parking lot. I don't feel like being my own historian (so I can't verify this), but I think this would be his 2nd year up here. I hope he brought his big boy pants because we planned on running him through the ringer.


Even though I got off work at 6pm last night, spent 5 hours in the car and have been in vacation mode for quite a while now, it didn't really feel like it until we pulled into the parking spot in front of Cabin #2. Once I parked (and opened up a Rhinelander shorty), nothing else seemed to matter and I knew that it was official - Afterglow 2015 could begin. As we unpacked the car and carried things into the cabin, other cars pulled up and Cousin Kevin joined the party. And things all the sudden got weird. I wouldn't have it any other way.
























I brought a shit ton of sombreros (which in reality was all that I had left from the box of 30 I purchased last year) up to Afterglow so that everyone could have one. By now you understand that this is kind of our thing. Don't leave home without them! You never quite know when the situation arises that a sombrero will come in handy, so it is best to wear one at all times just in case. There were too many sombreros for one head (trust me, it is a thing) so we had to place them on top of the wooden bear. He's an inanimate object, so he can certainly handle this responsibility and simultaneous burden. When you are made of wood, multiple objects can be placed upon your head and they don't weigh you down. I wouldn't know. I'm not made out of wood. I'm made out of THAT MEAT!!!