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Taking in the Grey Cup experience in 24 hours

Why not? As I relaxed on a Saturday, looking forward to our Battlefords Publishing Christmas party that evening, my fingers got a workout from texting.

Why not?

As I relaxed on a Saturday, looking forward to our Battlefords Publishing Christmas party that evening, my fingers got a workout from texting.

Why? Because I was inviting people over to my house to watch the Grey Cup the next day and setting up a bit of a gathering. Those texts eventually turned into cancellations, as a plan to go to the Grey Cup was quickly in motion.

Tim, a friend of mine, had two Grey Cup tickets he'd sell me for less than what he bought them for simply to get rid of them the day before.

After deciding I would go, I lined up a ride with Curtis and other friends Tamara and Lorne, who found tickets that day as well, and gathered up my green stuff. Unfortunately my green gear isn't really winter worthy and that certainly would be a factor come Sunday evening at the game.

After collecting my green jersey, green baseball socks, mitts, fleece blanket and my trusty Rider hard helmet, I was pretty much ready to go.

Minutes after posting on Facebook that I was headed to Edmonton, my brother told my mom and she instantly called me.

She asked jokingly, "What do you think you're doing?"

My response was that I think I might go to Edmonton that night - just for something to do.

She wanted to see if what brother had told her was true and since she has become accustomed to my weekend plans changing almost instantly and lack of pre-trip planning it wasn't really much of a surprise.

Through the help of Facebook, I also got Jane to take the second ticket on extremely short notice and everything was in motion, if she could find a dog sitter.

Once I got to the Christmas party I had to tell Becky, out editor, I might not be in as early as usual Monday morning. That wasn't a problem with Becky, a true Rider fan herself, who had been to Grey Cups before. The only stipulation was that I do a First Person on going do the Grey Cup and that I get to Riderville in Edmonton.

Well I held up half the deal, since we never had time to get to Riderville Sunday.

After meeting with the Wilkie crew following a senior hockey game, we were loaded and on the road before 11:30 p.m.

We rolled into Edmonton, and thanks in large part to the GPS system in the truck the five of us arrived at Brad and Jayden's house and were ready for bed, Well, maybe not just yet.

After another two hours of catching up and a beverage here and there it was finally time to "bed down" and rest up for the game tomorrow.

Two of us took the L sectional couch, one was content on the floor and the other two got the air mattress. I still think it was unfair how they just assumed they got that with the pillows and sleeping bag. I thought it should be like shotgun in a truck, which I also called and never got on the way to Edmonton.

I had a restless sleep, like a kid going to his first junior novice hockey tournament. I had maybe five hours of sleep between the snoring and trying to keep my feet out of the face of the person on the other end of the coach.

We woke and headed out for breakfast in our Rider colours without showering or anything fancy like that.

We went to a Humpty's and had a great meal, but it took a lot longer than we had hoped. Turns out on a Sunday at 10 a.m. at a breakfast restaurant, quite a few people have the same idea. When you ask for a caesar and some Pilsners, expect some strange looks from the waitress. We knew we were too far away from the stadium when we were the only ones dressed in Rider green, full of energy and the only ones asking for a beer with our eggs.

One thing I will never forget from that breakfast was the waitress made the hottest caesar in the world, as she admitted to not making them very often. I ordered an extra one right before we left. She either was inexperienced at caesar making or a Stampeders fan, because I was left at the table with tears in my eyes trying to finish my drink and without the aid of water I couldn't waste any.

From there we found a store with face paint and finished preparing for the game. We Rider fans painted our faces as the lone Eskimos fan watched and got a laugh from our excitement. We loaded into two vehicles, drove to a parking lot and took the Edmonton version of the C-train to the stadium, which we decided was the E-train.

That was an experience in itself, as young and old Rider fans alike were excited and crazy. We were heading in the right direction.

When we got to the stadium, there was an obstacle for Jane and I getting into the game. Tim was legitimately sick with the flu, and not the self-induced flu either. He was on a buddy's coach in Edmonton. So he had sent the tickets with his friend and I called him and said we'd meet them at the stadium. Well, I knew of the guy who had our tickets, but it had been a long time since I'd seen him. We waited patiently and when I noticed someone who looked familiar I made my move to get the tickets. It worked out, it was the right guys and we were in.

We walked through the concourse as we were there nearly two hours before the game, but as the stadium filled up the lines to the washrooms and beverage stations were nearly impossible to sift through. At one time we ducked out the smoker's door instead of staying in line and ran back to the main gate outside the stadium just to try to make it back to our seats.

As we found our seats, one guy turned to me and said, "You, can't stay there." Saying they had seven seats in a row. I said well no these are our seats and while I was pulling out my ticket and before we got into an argument, I realized he didn't know who I got the tickets from. After explaining I got the tickets from Tim, we laughed and realized I was part of his group of seven people.

By the time the game had started my feet were frozen simply from standing on the ice in the bleachers, but that was a minor issue.

I'm sure everyone watched or has heard of how the game went so I will leave those details out, as many of us have started the healing process already.

One thing I'm sure no one saw on TV was the girl sitting a row in front of us beating a 50-year-old stranger with his own horn in the second half. The guy two seats over from us obviously flooded his body with toxins, as he was overflowing for most of the fourth quarter and nearly got some of that overflow on us and eventually needed a nap in the middle of the bleachers, but back to the horn situation. The guy was upset a younger man in front didn't pull his hood down for O'Canada. Apparently that warranted the older gentleman blowing his horn in their ears for the entire game until the girl grabbed the horn, after several pleas with guy behind her, and whacked him with it. That'll teach ya.

After the game the cell coverage was brutal and so getting back to the truck was a bit of an issue. Curtis, Tamara and Lorne were on one side of the stadium with us on the other. Independently, Jane and I headed back to the train and back to the truck in the parking lot.

We weren't 100 per cent sure which stop we needed to get off at, or which train we needed to be on for that matter. After leaving several voice messages and receiving a single text we got headed in the right direction and eventually found which parking lot we were in to meet the group huddle in the truck.

From there it was back to the house, fill up with diesel, get some food for the road and we were off almost exactly 24 hours after we left Wilkie.

Tamara, the teacher, who needed to be back Monday morning, was elected the driver for the first portion of the ride home, as three of us attempted to sleep a bit in the back seat over the questionable loud music being played.

We made it home and although I was dragging my behind at work the next day, I didn't regret it for a minute. It was a great time, but my advice is if you think you want to go, just do. Go enjoy the weekend, the week, whatever. Making the Grey Cup weekend a 24-hour experience isn't easy on the body, but it does give you some great memories.