Well Hurricane Irma was driving hard for Tampa as a CAT5 storm and it had us all pretty rattled so we boarded up and headed to out as fast as our wheels would take us....which was pretty slow considering the traffic. After a 10 hour dash to attach the storm boards on our house, we landed in Nashville. The drive is normally 11 hours but it took us 18. Once there, we found that the Hyatt had refunded our reservation and rebooked us for a single night, claiming we had never booked multiple nights. At this point 6.5 million Floridians has evacuated and there we zero vacancies in Nashville. So we made alternate plans but before we left we stopped by Hatchshow Print and geeked out on their set up. Hatchshow was started off the stream laid by William H Hatch in 1870-something in Prescott, Wisconsin. (Which is the town over from where i grew up in Hastings, Mn and unbeknownst to us, one of the towns we were about to visit on this road trip) Check out these picks and visit http://hatchshowprint.com/ for more info about their history.
After Nashville, my best bud, Tim Beidron, who runs Pioneer Tattoo in Chicago had offered up his condo for us, so we packed up and drove another 8 hours north.
Chicago was as grand as usual. I lived there and worked with Tim at Deluxe Tattoo back in 2000 & 2001. It is always a good town to visit and this time we didn't have much for an agenda and we had my kids with us. We spent a day at the Field Museum and the Montrose dog park, ate lots of food and had a general good time. We also stopped by Sarah's favorite printer's studio, Star Shaped Press in Ravenswood. Jennifer was as pleasant as pleasant can be and she entertained us for far too long, considering she was in the middle of her work day when we just dropped by. Her studio is small and perfect, as is her work. She really is brilliant and her typesetting had us both baffled. You can check her out at http://www.starshaped.com/
After my best bud threw my youngest son a belated birthday party (since his was somewhat ruined by the storm evacuation), we were back in the car driving even further north to Minneapolis.
I was born in St. Paul and sent most of my adolescence in the south suburbs of the twin cities and in the farm country of Hastings, Mn. I can't say I wouldn't move back in a heart beat if those stars ever aligned for me. I do adore Minnesota and always will so being in Chicago just felt to close to not brave the highways a few hundred more hours. We landed at an airbnb in Prospect Park and stay for a week. We could not have had a better time. But as life happens and storm vanish into mere mist, schools reopen and the kids had to go, so we put them on a plane back to their mother's home and we continued our trip sans-children. We were amped to swing by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and check out their set up. It is a really cool facility. We really didn't hang out very long, or meet anyone really although the people their were still nice as midwesterners typically are. Honestly, we were kind of in and out...we hit the gift shop and bought some cool small run books.
Great weather even tho it was a bit rainy at times. We hikes some falls and my unrelated friend, Brandon Holt, took me fishing on the Mississippi... caught some smallies and drank some beers, had some cheese curds. Twas a good day for sure. While fishing he set me up to take a tour of Studio of Fire and fuck me if that isn't the best name for that print shop....Seriously on fire. Holy smokes, it is as Brandon said "Printers Heaven." I could ramble all day about how magnificent Studio on Fire is but you should just follow the link and check them out for yourselves. http://www.studioonfire.com/
Then, after all that inspiration, we realized we had 2000 miles to drive to get home. If you have never driven across the great country we live in, you should. Although, be warned, there is a lot of corn and trees and crappy fast food chains where you can eat cheap, food like substances. We certainly found ourselves happy to find a Starbucks and I doubt I will ever admit to anything as shameful as that again. It takes a serious bit of road burn to enjoy/support that crap.
We are glad to be back in Tampa drinking fresh roasted coffee and enjoying the comfort of having a roof on our home.
Truly, no place like home.