2007 COOPERSTOWN ROAD TRIP Day 16: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY

9 Jul

FINALLY!  The big day was here.  The culmination of 2 weeks of traveling was our visit to baseball’s Mecca:  Cooperstown.

Surprisingly, this was our first time renting a car during the entire trip.  After grabbing a quick bagel from the corner market across the street from our hotel, we picked up our rental car in Midtown.  Now normally, I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy, but when I got behind the wheel of our rental in Manhattan, I immediately assimilated to my surroundings.  I became as ornery as your stereotypical NYC driver, using my horn, yelling at people, etc.  It was the strangest phenomenon.  It was as if I was possessed.  And quite frankly, it scared the bejesus out of Blake.  In fact, when he politely offered to drive, I snapped back with, “No!  I’ve got this!”  What was even more strange, was that once we got through the Lincoln Tunnel into New Jersey, I was back to normal!

Our drive to Cooperstown was actually very delightful.  Blake and I traded driving shifts a few times.  We were both pleasantly surprised to find that New York had some of the cleanest rest stops we had ever seen.

When we finally arrived in Cooperstown, it was early afternoon.  We had about 3 hours to see everything, as the Museum closed early that day and we had to have our rental car back by midnight, or else we would not only be charged for an extra half day, but we would have been responsible for paying for parking in Midtown Manhattan for approximately 8 hours.

Blake is the right person with whom to visit a museum, as he takes the time to view everything in detail, rather than moving through quickly.  Unfortunately, there is just so much to see in Cooperstown.  The National Baseball Hall of Fame is not something you can see in 3 hours.  You really need a few days in Cooperstown to take it all in.  I made sure to monitor our time so that we could see as much as we could in our limited time.

We began on the second floor, which had rooms dedicated to the origins of baseball in the 19th Century, a 20th Century timeline, Babe Ruth’s career, women in baseball, African-Americans in baseball, and today’s game.  In the photo above, I am pictured with the bat the Babe used to hit his 714th home run.  In the picture to the left, I am pictured with the Angels’ locker in the Hall of Fame containing a number of items from the 2002 World Series including a pair of thunder stix, a Troy Glaus jersey, and Scott Spiezio’s bat from Game 6.

We ended up having to rush through the third floor in order to make it to the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery with enough time to view it and spend some time in the gift shop.  Again, three hours just wasn’t enough time for us to see everything the way we would have liked.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before a return visit.

After the Museum closed, we found a local gift shop that had “Cooperstown Road Trip” t-shirts.  We each purchased one, then grabbed some food for the road because we were going to attempt to find White Castle before we headed home to California.

The drive back was rather peaceful.  As we got closer to Manhattan, it became imperative for us to find a gas station in New Jersey to not only have a full tank, but also to avoid the high prices in the city.  It took a little bit of doing, but we finally found one.

Next came the task of finding White Castle in Harlem with enough time to return our rental car by midnight.  As it turned out, we had come within a block of it the day before.  When we finally found White Castle, it was 11:30 PM.  Fortunately for us, there was a drive-thru, and no one was in line.  Unfortunately for me, because of my behavior behind the wheel while in Manhattan that morning, Blake wouldn’t let me enjoy my fresh White Castle burger until we returned the car.  At least at 11:35 PM, there was no traffic in Manhattan and we were able to get from Harlem to Midtown in ten minutes.  We returned our rental car with fifteen minutes to spare, and I was finally able to sink my teeth into that first White Castle burger.

Before turning in, we began packing for the trip home, including bubble-wrapping twelve individual bottles of two varieties of Yuengling, and four cans of Ballentine’s . . .

 

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