One Pack. No Turning Back.
Wax Pack Inside the Numbers:
Total miles driven: 11,341
Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? Starbucks is truly America's coffee shop.
Starbucks' record (# of days Starbucks was more common): 30-16-3
Cheapest gas: $1.99, somewhere in Arkansas
Most expensive gas: $4.89, in Los Angeles
Number of states visited: 30
Number of red states visited (as of 2012 presidential election): 14 (Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Utah)
Number of blue states visited: 16 (California, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada)
Number of oil changes: 3
Number of oil changes done by me: 0
Number of times I was propositioned by prostitutes: 1
Number of players I showed how to use Tinder: 2
Most embarrassing Cards Against Humanity card dealt during 4th of July game at Jaime Cocanower's house: Pixelated bukkake
Best advice from a player: "Never come in too hot." -Randy Ready
Hardest player to track down: Vince Coleman
Biggest Vince Coleman fan: Vince Coleman
Player most likely to give you the shirt off his back: Rance Mulliniks
Most expensive autograph: $69 (Carlton Fisk)
Least expensive autograph: Free (Everyone else)
Number of times I passed out drunk on the side of the freeway: 1
Most underrated state: Arkansas
Best scenery: Utah
Favorite activity with a ballplayer: Tie (zoo with Don Carman and kung fu movies with Garry Templeton)
Number of pounds I gained: 8
I pulled up in front of my house about an hour ago, turned the ignition, and exhaled deeply, my shoulders slumping. The odometer read 165,434. I had made it.
I emptied out the Accord and dragged my life inside, up five steps and to the right to my bedroom. My wall decorations welcomed me back--the framed autographed Mike Schmidt photo, the Iron Sheik doll, the Phillies pennant.
I set out to track down a pack of cards, and ended up with a complete set of memories. The lessons I learned are many, some still forming and swirling in my head. It will take some time to sort through it all, but when I do, it will congeal in a book that will hopefully do it justice. I hope you'll still be interested enough to read it.
I had one more thing to do: For the duration of the trip, I carried a second 1986 wax pack with me, unopened, to use as a prop when explaining the project to players and people I met along the way. I let them cradle it, feeling the wax paper and the outline of the fossilized stick of gum inside. By the end of the trip, the wax seal had all but worn off.
Back in my bedroom where this all began, I took it out and opened it up:
Steve Carlton, Phillies
Keith Hernandez, Mets
Cardinals Leaders (Bob Forsch pictured)
Davey Lopes, Cubs
Eddie Murray, Orioles
Dan Driessen, Giants
Bryn Smith, Expos
Aurelio Lopez, Tigers
Wayne Krenchicki, Reds
Dan Gladden, Giants
White Sox Leaders (Richard Dotson pictured)
Alvin Davis, Mariners
Floyd Bannister, White Sox
Mario Ramirez, Padres
and, get this...
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My trusty steed, the '02 Accord
Day 49: Los Angeles, CA to Oakland, CA, 8.6.15