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Saying so long to San Antonio

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In which the author prepares to move back to California after two years covering the Spurs in the Alamo City.

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Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Caeser, a Roman emperor of some note, supposedly once said, "I came, I saw, I conquered."

Well, the past two years I've had the chance to witness the Spurs empire up close.

I came, I saw, I got my ass kicked.

I knew going in that the odds were overwhelmingly against me, so on the macro level this isn't at all surprising. When I moved to San Antonio, away from my friends and family in California, I knew there'd be a 99 percent chance I would come back with my tail tucked between my legs, and here I am moving back home. I don't regret it though, and I thank J.R. Wilco for the opportunity.

I wish I could adequately peel back the curtain and really explain what covering the Spurs in person was like. Some individuals were friendlier and more accessible than I imagined -- both in and out of the locker room. Sports media is a very competitive business to begin with and the Spurs are notorious for not being overly media-friendly. That part I expected, going in. What I wish I understood ahead of time was what the atmosphere would be like behind the scenes, because I really wasn't prepared for it at all.

Here's something for aspiring writers to understand about the business: Everyone sees and reads everything. You can write a hundred nice things, but any critique, any joke, any smart-ass throwaway comment, it's always going to come back to that person eventually. Expect teams to read everything you write -- Twitter and Facebook feeds, even replies in the comments section.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Paul Garcia, of ProjectSpurs.com, and to Riccardo Pratesi, who covered the Spurs for various Italian outlets for the 2014-15 season and who remains one of my best friends in the biz. They put up with me through the games and were polite enough to laugh at my lame jokes. If it wasn't for them, I probably would've lost my mind along the way.

The idea was that the move would be a stepping stone to hopefully bigger and better things. It's not like I thought I'd be replacing Buck Harvey or living in San Antonio forever. The bottom line is I'm just not good enough. I'm not Grant Brisbee, who's the Tim Duncan of this. I'm not even the Jeff Ayres of this. I can write a little bit, and I feel like I understand the game fairly well, but I probably have too high an opinion of myself in both respects. The thing is that being able to write and analyze the game is like five percent of the job. And I absolutely suck at the other 95 percent. If I were a basketball prospect it'd be like I can dunk well, but I can't shoot, can't dribble, I don't care about rebounding or playing defense, and every time a coach says something to me, I go Draymond Green on them.

Now before you feel the need to say something nice and reassuring in the comments. Please don't. I'm not looking for that. I've applied for a couple things with SB Nation, and I've received a opportunities from a couple of other folks, but it's not exactly ESPN or Yahoo! beating a path to my door.

So what does the future hold?

Honestly I'm not sure just yet. JRW will have someone else cover the home games and the recaps and they'll probably do a better job than I did. I don't know if I'll go back to doing the road recaps like I did in 2013-14, or if I'll just be a part of the rotation or what. I'll probably write here and there but I don't know if I'll be a regular contributor. I'll may write more about the Warriors (no, that doesn't mean I'm a fan of theirs now) for a couple of sites and about the NBA in general.

I'll miss a lot about San Antonio. It took four tries, but I finally found a cool place to work at with a lot of nice, friendly people and managers who were very understanding and accommodating of my sportswriting schedule. I'll miss the cheaper rent and gas prices and the relative lack of traffic. I'll miss current and former Pounders I've met and hung out with. I won't miss the weather or the Asian cuisine here (you folks mean well, but just... no).

What I can tell you is that I'm pretty excited about the next two weeks. It won't be a simple move back home. Instead my best pal Manoli and I will be taking a road trip through the mid-west and northwest where we'll watch baseball at several parks we've never been to, and do lots of other fun stuff. JRW asked me to document the trip on here and I agreed, even though I think it's tremendously self-involved and nobody will be interested. It won't be about the Spurs or basketball at all.

Here's the itinerary. Just so you know, I've spent more time planning it -- to the last detail -- than the trip itself will actually take.

Monday July 25th:

1.     Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, International Parkway, DFW Airport, TX 75261

2.     29 minutes, 23.2 miles

3.     11AM Lunch Wabi House 1802 Greenville Ave Ste 100, Dallas, TX 75206. YelpWebsite.

4.     36 minutes, 29.3 miles

5.     1230PM NRH2O Water Park 9001 Blvd 26 North Richland Hills, TX 76180

6.     19 minutes, 14.9 miles

7.     7PM Rangers vs. A's 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX 76011 33.30 (16.65) (Smokehouse 557, Ice Cream 112, 123, 136)

8.     39 minutes, 30.8 miles

9.     Buc-ee's 15901 North Freeway Service Road East, Fort Worth, TX 76177 Yelp.

10.  Drive toward OKC (2 hours, 43 minutes, 184 miles)

Tuesday July 26th:

1.     Drive remainder to OKC

2.     10AM Cowboy Museum 1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111 Website

3.     7 minutes, 4.5 miles

4.     1130AM Lunch Tucker's Onion Burgers 5740 N Classen Blvd Ste 3 Oklahoma City, OK 73118 Yelp. Website.

5.     3 hours, 23 minutes, 237 miles

6.     3 PM Coke Can Silo Graphic Arts Rd, Emporia, KS 66801

7.     1 hour, 41 minutes, 112 miles

8.     445 PM Negro League Museum 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108 Website

9.     4 minutes, 1 mile

10.  6PM Dinner The Brick! (Fried Ravioli) 1727 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 64108 Yelp. Website.

11.  11 minutes, 7.8 miles

12.  7PM Royals vs. Angels One Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129 53.80 (26.90)

13.  15 minutes, 11.2 miles

14.  La Quinta Inn Kansas City North 2214 Taney, Kansas City MO 65116

Wednesday July 27th:

1.     11 minutes, 6.3 Miles

2.     10 AM WWI Museum 100 W 26th St, Kansas City, MO 64108 Website.

3.     9 minutes, 5.1 miles

4.     Noon Lunch Joe's Kansas City Barbecue 3002 W 47th Ave Kansas City, KS 66103.   Yelp. Website.

5.     2 hours, 16 minutes, 151 miles

6.     3 PM Ozarkland 3233 County Road 211, Kingdom City, MO 65262 Website.

7.     3 Hours, 1 minute, 199 miles

8.     Restored 1910 Gas Station 17082 U.S. 45, Effingham, IL 62401

9.     1 hour 6 minutes, 68 miles

10.  Larry Bird Statue 200 N 8th St, Terre Haute, IN 47807

11.  1 hour, 15 minutes, 77 miles

12.  915PM Dinner St. Elmo's Steakhouse* 127 S Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46225   Yelp. Website.

13.  12 minutes, 7.6 miles to hotel

14.  La Quinta Inn Indianapolis Airport Executive Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46241

Thursday July 28th:

1.     32 minutes, 17.7 miles

2.     830AM Indianapolis Arts Park (Twisted House) 820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, IN 46220

3.     30 minutes, 13.4 miles

4.     11 AM Lunch Gaslight Inn 2280 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225.  YelpWebsite. Ghost Tour? Text 317-501-0117 Laura

5.     Drive 2 hours, 15 minutes, 143 miles

6.     145PM John Dillinger Museum 1 Courthouse Square Suite 200, Crown Point, IN 46307 Website.

7.     2 minutes, 0.1 mile

8.     230PM John Dillinger Jail House 232 S Main St, Crown Point, IN 46307

9.     1 hour, 10 minutes, 50.3 miles

10.  4PM Dinner Giordano's 730 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611.   YelpWebsite.

11.  3 minutes, 0.6 miles

12.  530PM Bob Newhart Statue 430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

13.  545PM Billy Goat Tavern 430 N Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 Yelp. Website.

14.  20 minutes, 6.9 miles

15.  625PM Murphy's Bleachers 3655 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60613 Yelp. Website.

16.  4 minutes, 0.2 miles

17.  7PM Cubs vs. White Sox 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL 60613 164.01 (82.00)

18.  55 minutes, 37.3 miles19.  La Quinta Inn Chicago Matteson 5210 Southwick Drive Matteson, IL 60443

Friday July 29th:

1.     37 minutes, 32 miles

2.     7AM Michael Jordan Statue 1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612

3.     16 minutes, 3.8 miles

4.     730AM OZ Park 2021 N Burling St, Chicago, IL 60614

5.     3 minutes, 0.6 miles

6.     830AM Site Where Dillinger Was Shot 2433 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

7.     4 minutes, 0.8 miles

8.     845AM St. Valentine's Day Massacre Site 2122 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

9.     11 minutes, 4.1 miles

10.  915AM Cloud Gate Sculpture 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

11.  2 hours, 26 minutes, 144 miles

12.  1145AM Einstein Tosses A Frisbee Statue College Circle, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

13.  42 minutes, 40.7 miles

14.  1230PM Museum of Magic 107 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068 Website.

15.  1 hour, 4 minutes, 67 miles

16.  230PM Michigan Stadium 1201 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

17.  33 minutes, 34.3 miles

18.  315PM World's Largest Tire Interstate 94, Allen Park, MI 48101

19.  17 minutes, 5.6 miles

20.  345PM Lunch Stache International 1416 E Fisher Fwy, Detroit, MI 48207.  YelpWebsite.

21.  10 minutes, 5.2 miles

22.  445PM Motown Museum 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208 Website.

23.  8 minutes, 4.5 miles

24.  615PM Dessert Astoria Pastry Shop 541 Monroe St, Detroit, MI 48226.    YelpWebsite.

25.  5 minutes, 0.8 miles

26.  7PM Tigers vs. Astros 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 69.52 (34.76)

27.  10 minutes, 3.9 miles

28.  Joe Louis' Arm E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI29.  Drive couple hours towards Milwaukee, find motel

Saturday, July 30th:

1.     11AM Planes,  Trains & Automobiles Hotel 36355 Route 41, Gurnee, IL

2.     50 minutes, 50.8 miles

3.     1230PM Lunch Milwaukee Brat House 1013 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203.  YelpWebsite.

4.     3 minutes, 0.6 miles

5.     130PM Bronze Fonz Statue N Riverwalk Way, Milwaukee, WI 53202

6.     4 minutes, 0.7 miles

7.     145PM Safe House Bar 779 N Front St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 Yelp. Website.

8.     8 minutes, 3.8 miles

9.     230PM Basilica of St. Josaphat 2333 S 6th St, Milwaukee, WI 5321 Website.

10.  5 minutes, 2.7 miles

11.  315PM St. Joan of Arc Chapel 1250 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233 Website.

12.  8 minutes, 1.7 miles

13.  4PM Milwaukee Art Museum 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202 Website

14.  7 minutes, 3.4 miles

15.  515PM Potawotami Casino 1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53233 Website.

16.  7 minutes, 2.4 miles

17.  7PM Brewers vs. Pirates One Brewers Way, Milwaukee, WI 53214 35.06 (17.53)

18.  Drive couple hours toward Minneapolis, find motel

Sunday, July 31st:

1.     10AM Cathedral of St. Paul 239 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102 Website.

2.     4 minutes, 0.6 miles

3.     1020AM F. Scott Fitzgerald Landmark 479 Laurel Ave, St Paul, MN 55102 Website.

4.     5 minutes, 1.1 miles

5.     1035AM F. Scott Fitzgerald Statue 25 North Dale Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

6.     9 minutes, 3.1 miles

7.     11AM Wabasha Street Cave Tours 215 Wabasha St S, St Paul, MN 55107 Website.

8.     22 minutes, 13.1 miles

9.     1 PM Twins vs. White Sox 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis, MN 55403 77.08 (38.54)

10. Order Jucy Lucy at ballpark!

11.  29 minutes, 21.8 miles

12.  530PM Purifying Ourselves In The Waters of Lake Minnetonka (Jetski Rental)           2630 Commerce Blvd, Mound, MN 55364 Call: 952-474-0366

13.  33 minutes, 24.3 miles

14.  La Quinta Inn Minneapolis Airport Bloomington 7815 Nicollet Ave South, Bloomington, MN 55420

15.  15 minutes, 6.9 miles

16.  815PM Dinner Upton Forty-Three* 4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410.  YelpWebsite.

17.  26 minutes, 18.5 miles

18.  Canterbury Park Casino 1100 Canterbury Rd S, Shakopee, MN 55379 Website.

19.  20 minutes, 15.5 miles

20.  La Quinta Inn Minneapolis Airport Bloomington 7815 Nicollet Ave South, Bloomington, MN 55420

Monday, August 1st:

1.     15 minutes, 8.0 miles

2.     9AM Ingebretsen Scandinavian Foods & Gifts (Lutefisk!) 1601 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407 YelpWebsite.  Ask about Lefse and Maple Nut Goodies. Walleye Fish, Gravlax, Kransekake, Potika

3.     1 hour, 1 minute, 60.5 miles

4.     1030AM Warrior King Jesus on a White Stallion 2300 Heritage Place Northwest, Owatonna, MN 55060

5.     6 minutes, 2.7 miles

6.     1045AM Rock ‘N Roll McDonalds 1105 Frontage Rd W, Owatonna, MN 55060

7.     1 hour, 4 minutes, 67.3 miles

8.     Noon Buddy Holly Crash Site 22728 Gull Ave., Clear Lake, IA 50428

9.     1 hour, 26 minutes, 93.5 miles

10.  130PM World's Largest Concrete Gnome 1407 University Blvd, Ames, IA 50011

11.  41 minutes, 41.8 miles

12.  215PM Lunch Maid-Rite 1551 Valley West Dr Ste 132, West Des Moines, IA 50266 Yelp. Website.

13.  8 minutes, 5.3 miles

14.  245PM Landmark Bridge (Glass Bottom) Center St, Des Moines, IA

15.  3 minutes, 0.7 miles

16.  3PM Pappajohn Scuplture Park (Pondering Rabbit) 1330 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309 Website.

17.  4 minutes, 0.5 miles

18.  4PM Snack/Dessert 801 Chophouse (Corn Ice Cream?) 801 Grand Ave #200, Des Moines, IA 50309 Yelp. Website.

19.  52 minutes, 56.1 miles

20.  530PM Jesse James Train Robbery Monument 1156 Anita Adair Rd, Adair, IA 50002 Website.

21.  1 hour, 9 minutes, 73.5 miles

22.  7PM Lewis & Clark Monument 19962 Monument Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 Website

23.  16 minutes, 9.2 miles

24.  745PM Malcolm X Birth Site 3448 Pinkney St, Omaha, NE 68111

25.  11 minutes, 4.7 miles

26.  815PM Stile de Famiglia Statue (15-foot-tall Fork With Pasta) 1115 S 7th St, Omaha, NE 68108

27.  4 minutes, 1.2 miles

28.  830PM Chef Boyardee Statue S 10th St, Omaha, NE

29.  3 minutes, 0.7 miles

30.  845PM Grotto Next to a Mental Hospital Dorcas St, Omaha, NE

31.  12 minutes, 6.7 miles

32.  915PM Dinner The Drover 2121 S 73rd St Omaha, NE 68124 Yelp. Website.

33.  2 hours, 40 minutes, 180 miles (toward Kearney, NE)

Tuesday, August 2nd:

1.     2 hours, 40 minutes, 180 miles

2.     9AM Bumblebee's Gift Shop 4917 2nd Avenue #1, Kearney, NE 68847

3.     8 minutes, 3.3 miles

4.     930AM Stagecoach Gift Shop 310 3rd Ave, Kearney, NE 68845 Website

5.     57 minutes, 63 miles

6.     11AM Pony Express Station 1500 Lake Ave, Gothenburg, NE 69138 Website

7.     37 minutes, 37 miles

8.     1230PM Lunch Runza (drive thru) 204 S Jeffers St, North Platte, NE 69101.  YelpWebsite.

9.     3 minutes, 1.3 miles

10.  1245PM Fort Kearney Trading Post 221 Halligan Dr, North Platte, NE 69101 Website.

11.  3 hours, 57 minutes, 274 miles

12.  515PM Dinner Tocabe 8181 E Arapahoe Rd, Greenwood Village, CO 80112.  Yelp. Website.

13.  40 minutes, 15.2 miles

14.  7PM Rockies vs. Dodgers 2001 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80205 35.08 (17.54)

Wednesday, August 3rd:

1.     drive 1 hour, 38 minutes, 98.9 miles to Cheyenne

2.     10AM Brunch Luxury Diner 1401 W Lincoln Way, Cheyenne, WY 82001.  Yelp.

3.     7 minutes, 2.5 miles

4.     1115AM Frontier Days Museum 4610 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001 Website.

5.     9 minutes, 8.6 miles (approximately)

6.     1230PM Big Indian Faces Big Mountain (The Greeting and The Gift) I-25, Exit 4

7.     39 minutes, 41.8 miles

8.     130PM Giant Head of Abraham Lincoln 136 US Frst Service Road 705 A, Laramie, WY 82070

9.     13 minutes, 9.7 miles (approximately)

10.  2PM Chief Washakie Statue 1600-1700 Grand Ave, Laramie, WY 82070

11.  1 hour, 35 minutes, 101 miles

12.  4PM Wyoming Frontier Prison 500 W Walnut St, Rawlins, WY 82301 Website

13.  1 minute, 0.3 miles

14.  445PM Carbon County Museum (Big Nose George) 904 W Walnut St, Rawlins, WY 8230

15.  4 hours, 17 minutes, 292 miles

16.  915PM Dinner Red Iguana 736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116.  Yelp. Website.

Thursday, August 4th:

1.     730AM Pyramid of Modern Mummification 707 Genesee Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84104

2.     8 minutes, 2.7 miles

3.     8AM Gilgal Sculpture Garden 749 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84102 Website

4.     46 minutes, 38.4 miles

5.     10AM George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park 1544 Park Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401 Website

6.     2 hours, 45 minutes, 180 miles

7.     2PM Lunch Arugula Deli 151 N Ridge Ave, Idaho Falls, ID 83402 Yelp. Website.

8.     31 minutes, 28.2 miles

9.     330PM Idaho Potato Museum (Potato Ice Cream) 130 NW Main St, Blackfoot, ID 83221 Website.

10.  2 hours, 132 miles

11.  545PM Shoshone Falls Park Twin Falls, ID 83301

12.  15 minutes, 7.4 miles

13.  630PM Perrine Memorial Bridge Jerome, ID 83338

14.  1 hour, 15 minutes, 84.1 miles

15.  730PM Mural of Thousands of Pennies 124 E Jackson St, Mountain Home, ID 83647

16.  40 minutes, 42.3 miles

17.  830PM Dinner Big Jud's (Finger Steak) 1289 South Protest Road, Boise, ID 83706 Yelp. Website.

18.  9 minutes, 2.8 miles

19.  930PM Dessert Westside Drive-In (Ice Cream Potato) 1929 West State Street, Boise, ID 83702 Yelp. Website.

Friday, August 5th:

1.     545AM Marvin the Martian Rocket 5310 W Chinden Blvd, Boise, ID 83714

2.     10 minutes, 4.9 miles

3.     615AM Giant Lincoln 508 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702

4.     3 hours, 20 minutes, 222 miles

5.     10AM SHARP Pendleton Underground Tours* 31 SW Emigrant Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801 Website.

6.     1 minute, 0.2 miles

7.     1230PM Statue of Beloved Brothel Madam S. Main Street, Pendleton, OR 97801

8.     4 hours, 32 minutes, 287 miles

9.     530PM Dinner Palisade* (Cedar Plank Salmon) 2601 W Marina Pl, Seattle, WA 98199 Yelp. Website.

10.  12 minutes, 4.8 miles

11.  7PM Mariners vs. Angels 1250 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134

Saturday, August 6th:

1.     9AM Space Needle 400 Broad Street, Seattle, WA 9810

2.     4 minutes, 0.3 miles

3.     10AM EMP Museum (Science Fiction) 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109  Website

4.     11 minutes, 1.4 miles

5.     1130AM Seattle Aquarium 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101 Website

6.     7 minutes, 0.7 miles

7.     1PM Original Starbucks 102 Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101

8.     130PM Explore Pike Street Market

9.     5 minutes, 0.4 miles

10.  230PM Lunch Pike Place Chowder 1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101 Yelp. Website.

11.  14 minutes, 3.5 miles

12.  345PM Bruce Lee Gravesite 1554 15th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112

13.  7 minutes, 3.3 miles

14.  430PM Official Bad Art Museum of Art 5828 Roosevelt Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98105 Website.

15.  2 hours, 56 minutes, 180 miles

16.  830PM Dinner Pok Pok 3226 Southeast Division Street, Portland, OR 97202 Yelp. Website.

17.  7 minutes, 1.9 miles

18.  Rimsky-Korsakoffee House (Marionberry cobbler?) 707 Southeast 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214 Yelp.

Sunday, August 7th:

1.     8AM Breakfast The Original Pancake House 8601 SW 24th Ave Portland, OR 97201 Yelp. Website.

2.     11 minutes, 5.9 miles

3.     9AM Powell's Bookstore 1005 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97209 Website.

4.     23 minutes, 7.6 miles

5.     11AM The Grotto 8840 Northeast Skidmore Street, Portland, OR 97220 Website.

6.     18 minutes, 9.3 miles

7.     1PM Voodoo Doughnut 22 Southwest 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204 Yelp. Website.

8.     4 hours, 51 minutes, 285 miles

9.     630PM Dinner Standing Stone Brewery 101 Oak Street, Ashland, OR 97520 Yelp. Website.

10.  1 minute, 0.2 miles

11.  8 PM Hamlet Allen Elizabethan Theatre 15 South Pioneer Street, Ashland, OR 97520

12.  1 minute, 0.2 miles

13.  Zoey's Café and All-Natural Ice Cream 199 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520 Yelp.

Monday, August 8th:

1.     830 AM 4 hours, 33 miles, 294 miles

2.     130PM Lunch La Bonne Soupe Café 920 8th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 Yelp.

3.     2 hours, 17 minutes, 115 miles

4.     5PM Manoli's Butt Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Anyway, while I'm saying "good-bye" to San Antonio I'm not saying it to the Spurs or to you guys, so there's no need to get all mushy. I'll probably be writing quite often for the next two weeks... just not about anything that usually gets published around here.