Fearless Forecasters: Roadtripping as a reporter

Matt Forman

At home, we hop in the free Ryan Field shuttle among the everyday Big Ten faithful, assessing how outnumbered Northwestern fans will be in the upcoming game. On the road, we evaluate the lovely terrain of the Midwest en route to our destination.

As collegiate reporters, we don’t exactly travel in luxury. But as the 2008 season progressed, we learned how to better embrace the roadtripping mentality.

Duke – Hurricane Hanna hit the east coast on Sept. 5 as we rolled into Durham, N.C., sparking a series of traveling difficulties, including a flight cancellation and a broken down car.

We just failed to execute.

Iowa – A foam-fingered Value City saleswoman, two cross-country bicyclists and one highway fire later, we made a quick pit stop in DeKalb, Ill. We indulged in five…five…five dollar foot longs. Two hours later, we arrived at the Amana Colonies in Iowa, and treated ourselves to the Amish playground. Unfortunately, the mini-golf course closed an hour before our arrival, but the view of OxYoke Restaurant from the hotel window made it worthwhile.

We flushed the good and the bad.

Indiana – The state of Indiana features the best road signs – religious ones. And the people are so nice. But nothing beats checking into a hotel after midnight being welcomed by a local. John of Bloomington, who was enjoying an alcoholic beverage in the lobby, told stories of watching USC great O.J. Simpson play in college. At Indiana. The Quality Inn offered quality comfort and even offered to sell their room amenities.

We did our jobs.

Minnesota – The Black River Falls nature walk provided a scenic overlook to…well, nothing. Maybe the Tee Pee Cafe. Either way, Halloween in Minneapolis provided the perfect opportunity for celebrity imitations. We capped off the trip by saluting the state of Wisconsin with two Roman candles.

It was one of the best, if not the best, road trips of the season.

Michigan – Nothing beats a night out in Ann Arbor. The only thing better than the Big House was running out of the tunnel at Michigan Stadium, sprinting a 40-yard dash and doing the board drill on the Michigan ‘M’ at the 50-yard line.

It’s safe to say we went 1-0.

And while we won’t be roadtripping again until the fall, here’s to a solid 2009 season of Fearless Forecasters.