By CAROL BLODGETT

Part 2 of 4

In March 2016, I started planning for the July trip to the MLB ballparks to the north. We decided to start in Minnesota and end in Pennsylvania. This trip would take us into Canada, so we secured passports. Along with our agenda were the staples of CDs, snacks and suitcases.

It was a very long 11 hour trip to Minneapolis that first day. The Twins game had a home run hit and a replica of Minnie and Paul representing the two cities were shown shaking hands. It was really cute!

After the game, we went to the Mall of America. After spending several hours in the kids area, I realized we didn't even get to any stores or the center of the mall!

After Minneapolis, it was time to head on our way to Milwaukee to see the Brewers. We had some extra time ,so Jordan and I went to a movie one afternoon just to break up the long driving time.

The roof panels at Miller Park close from the foul lines to over the pitcher's mound in about 10 minutes, but it was a night game so we didn't get to see that happen.

Carmen and Shannon Hale, Jordan's parents, drove to Chicago for a Sunday afternoon game at the White Sox stadium. Shannon drove back to Ohio after the game and Carmen stayed in Chicago a few days to see the sights with us.

We purchased a City Pass which gives a discount on attractions and lets you go to the head of any line! Our chosen sites to see were the Willis Tower, where you walk out on a glass floor and look down on the city from 100+ floors high; the Planetarium, to learn more about space and planets; Shedd's Aquarium; Navy Pier, with a big ferris wheel and shopping; and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Our game at the Chicago Cubs stadium was exciting for me because the former manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, where I lived and saw games, Joe Maddon, was now the manager of the Cubs. Even seeing the ivy covered walls in the outfield was great in the light mist that was falling.

After the first two weeks of the trip were over, we headed home to do laundry and check on my cats, Mingo and Cleo. After a short break at home, it was on to Detroit. The motel was only a few blocks from the river walk on the Detroit River separating the U.S. from Windsor, Ontario. The Tigers ballpark was easily accessible and the giant tiger sculptures at the entrances were quite the sight to see!

The entrance into Canada required me to show proof that Jordan was legally with me. It took about two hours to pass through the traffic jam and go through the underwater tunnel into Canada.

After several hours of looking at wind turbines, we did a side trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

We took a boat under the falls seeing both the American and Canadian sides and we got wet! Thank goodness we were given rain ponchos on the ferry ride! Very touristy but well worth going.

The hotel in Toronto was within walking distance of the ballpark so we did a little looking and shopping along the way. The Blue Jays had the dome open and it was a very hot day with the thermometer showing 102 degrees inside.

Needless to say, we left after the seventh inning stretch. While in the area, we stopped at a bank to get Jordan one of each coin and paper currency currently used in Canada.

We crossed back into the United States with just a nod from the customs attendant and headed into New York on I-81.

It took us several hours of driving down past Watertown before finding a hotel, so it made for a very long day of driving from Toronto.

After an extra day at the hotel to rest, we set the GPS for Cooperstown, New York to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Do not always take the way the GPS directs you to!

Our four hour “scenic” trip through the mountains was not the most pleasant, considering we could have been on the interstate. This would have saved an hour or so driving time, plus gas used climbing mountains!

I had also planned this stop to avoid the induction of the newest Hall of Fame players by a week, but I was wrong and the little town was inundated by people!

The ceremony was taking place about two miles from the museum so we had a lot of time and few people to contend with during our visit there!

After New York, we headed to Cleveland to see the Indians play the Washington Nationals. Seeing some well known players was exciting. Jordan didn't know who they were, but I certainly did! This is a very nice ballpark and we did see the drum being played in upper center field. If you have ever watched an Indians game on TV, you know the sound of the drum I'm talking about.

Our last game for this trip was to Pittsburgh at the PNC Park which sits next to the Allegheny River. Since this was an evening game, not too much could be seen from the ballpark.

We have now completed eight more games and visited Cooperstown, New York! Our travels took us 4,000 miles this year and Jordan knows every word on the Adele 25 CD!

Next week, Carol and Jordan are heading to the East Coast! They will hit up NYC, Boston and Washington D.C. on the next leg of their great baseball stadium journey.