The Boys of Summer Visit the Big House – Major League Madness

Greetings from the Windy City!

Since departing Cleveland last Thursday, we’ve been to Detroit and Chicago hitting up stadiums, city landmarks and so many more fun activities!

We toured Comerica Park in the Motor City last Thursday and on Friday saw the Tigers take on the Indians amongst a sell-out crowd. We stayed after the game for a booming fireworks show and had a blast playing mini-golf, go-karting and swinging at the batting cages in Detroit too. Ross, Ethan H, Harrison B and many of our trip members snagged a solid collection of game-used baseballs and autographs including 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, two-time World Series winning manager Terry Francona and MLB all-stars John Axford and Michael Brantley. Harrison N. already has over 20 autographs!

We ventured out to Ann Arbor, Mich to see “The Big House,” home of the Michigan Wolverines and got to run on the field and watch the football team labor through their conditioning training. Season ticket holder Zach helped show us around the biggest stadium in America. Afterwards we stopped at the “M Den” pro shop, where we all bought some wonderful souvenirs and cleaned out the store’s supply of Toronto Maple Leafs Winter Classic hats. We have lots of new Leaf fans now, much to the delight of the trip staff!

Upon arriving in Chicago, we traveled to U.S. Cellular Field to see the White Sox host the Astros on Saturday night. On Sunday, we took an awesome bike tour of downtown Chicago and rode through some of the city’s neighborhoods and the lakefront. Following a relaxing lunch on the patio of the Navy Pier, we checked out “The Bean” to take some selfies, and rode to the top of the “Willis Tower,” to see the city skyline from 110 stories above. Jesse even did some pushups on the glass floor of the Sky Ledge!
Major League Madness
After dinner, we visited the legendary comedy club Second City and were treated to a hilarious night of sketches and Improv scenes from a very talented cast. Staff member Tyler was even called on stage for a skit! The show was definitely a hit amongst our trip members, and the cast came out to meet our group after the show.

On Monday we headed to Charlie’s hometown of Milwaukee for a tour of Miller Park, home of the Brewers. We had an afternoon of touring and laser tag where Alden and Matt O bought Brewers hats, while Greg got a new Montreal Expos hat! Then we took part in the Brewers vs. the Reds game where Ethan C, Harrison B, Matt R and a bunch of us tried specialty foods like deep fried cheese curds, spaghetti-stuffed meatballs and bacon-wrapped sausages. Josh and Richie started numerous chants as our group sang and cheered on our new favorite player, Scooter Genett. We also saw Brewers stars Ryan Braun and Matt Garza during our tour of the field earlier in the day! They gave us a friendly wave.

Our group is having an amazing time, and we can’t wait for our speedboat tour of Chicago and then heading to the historic Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play.

Thanks for reading and we’ll keep in touch as we get ready for Pittsburgh, New York, Cooperstown and Boston!

All the best,

The Westcoast Blogger

Exploring The U.S – US Explorer

Good afternoon!

After an incredible two days in Niagara Falls, we headed to Cleveland, Ohio. Our stay in Niagara Falls began at the KOA Campground where many trip members pitched tents for the first time! We then traveled to the magnificent Falls and explored the lit-up town of Clifton Hills.

Our next day in Niagara Falls was one for the books. We began the day by viewing Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat ride. We all were stunned by the view of this incredible landmark as we were all dressed up in the famous blue ponchos. The good times kept on rolling as we went jet-boating through Niagara on the Lake.  It was an awesome experience to go 60 mph through the rapids and whirlpools. Julia S and Zach came prepared with their go-pro cameras and caught our whole ride!

Following our Italian feast at the campsite, the trip members participated in The Quest.  Our trip split into five teams and competed in various competitions such as taking funny “selfies”, making a human pyramid, finding various campsite objects, and a 30 second choreographed dance with their team. We all shared laughs and had a blast. Congrats to the yellow team – Jacob, Lainie, Matt Z, Alec, Sydney L, and Julia S for being named the Quest Champions! We ended the night perfectly by making tasty s’mores over a bonfire.

After an amazing visit to Niagara falls, we headed off to Cleveland for some more fun!  Needless to say, we had many unforgettable memories in Cleveland, Ohio to look back on as we move on to our next adventure in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Cleveland allowed us to experience a great mixture of the city and camping lifestyle. Before arriving at our KOA campsite, we stopped at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland. Located right next to the Cleveland Browns’ stadium, trip members had the opportunity to explore six awesome floors full of vintage music memorabilia. Ben loved the entire floor dedicated to the Rolling Stones, where Mike’s personal favorite was the large Beatles collection. Matt A’s day wasn’t complete without finding the Tom Petty section! Everyone also loved seeing the different outfits from many of today’s big stars such as Lady GaGa, Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry.  After this incredible museum, we headed to our campsite. We all came together to set up the tents – everyone seemed to be experts after our first camping experience in Niagara Falls! After a delicious taco dinner, we bonded at night with a great Fears and Goals program in which everyone anonymously expressed their trip fears and wrote down their own goals for this 40 day experience. The staff collected the goals to hand back on the last day. We are all looking forward to seeing if their goals were reached. Afterward, we had a special birthday in the group – David T turned 15! The bus was decorated with balloons and streamers and we celebrated at night with some tasty birthday cake.

Our second day in Ohio kicked off with a delicious pancake breakfast. Shout out to Sabrina and Sydney L who cooked up a storm! We spent the day at the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” also known as Cedar Point! We all had the time of our lives running around playing carnival games, riding roller coasters, and taking the skyride across the entire amusement park! Many trip members aimed to get on as   many rides as possible! Bailey, Eric and Ross flew all the way 140 feet in the air on the MaxAir ride. Sydney D, Julia G, Rebecca, Matt Z, and Jon spent the day together and accomplished their goal of riding all the extreme rides.  The carnival games were just as popular as the rides! David T showed off his basketball skills and won two gigantic life-size bananas. None of us could stop laughing when Ethan, Jared and many other trip members joined in with choreographed dances of the Johnny Rockets waitresses. At the end of the day, all of the girls ran together across the amusement park for one final ride on the Iron Dragon. For the second day in a row, there was a birthday in the group. Lily turned 14! We had another birthday cake and broke open the piñata along with David T.  We ended this perfect day with a chocolate fondue spread in which we dipped bananas, Oreos, and strawberries into melted chocolate while enjoying a campfire.

We had an unbelievable time in Cleveland and we can’t wait to see what Ann Arbor has in store for us.  Make sure you see our photos online. Shoutout to Jared for helping us out by taking pics!

US Explorer Dancing

Until next time,

Lauren, Larissa, Phil, Jessica, Ryan

An Amazing Adventure! – U.S. Explorer

An update from the U.S. Explorer Welcome back U.S. Explorer parents! Our 3rd stop in Cleveland has come to an end, and as we embark on our next journey to Ann Arbor, Michigan we are all going to miss the KOA campsite! In Cleveland we experienced a mix of city and camping life.  Before arriving […]

An Amazing Adventure! – U.S. Explorer

An update from the U.S. Explorer Welcome back U.S. Explorer parents! Our 3rd stop in Cleveland has come to an end, and as we embark on our next journey to Ann Arbor, Michigan we are all going to miss the KOA campsite! In Cleveland we experienced a mix of city and camping life.  Before arriving […]

America’s Favorite Pastime – Major League Madness

We’ve officially made it to the All-Star break, and although we’re only 3 days into our tour, we sure have accomplished a lot! After completing a 3 game in 3 day stretch, we just arrived at our hotel in Cleveland. The three games provided much excitement for the group. Brandon came within inches of retrieving […]

Fun in the Sun at Niagara Falls – U.S. Explorer

The US Explorer checks in from Cleveland. We can’t believe we are already a week into our awesome adventure – it feels like we’ve known each other for years!  After loading the bus and saying goodbye to our parents, we set out nervous and excited.  We played bus “speed dating” to get to know everyone […]