Created:Sunday, September 20, 2009 11:26 p.m.CDT
FONT SIZE: Road Trip Vol. 2: Horror movies and Eddie Money


Editor’s note: will be traveling to each Northern Illinois football road game this season and then writing about the road trip. This is installment two.

The question came from a gray-haired woman. She had a pretty face, wore a blue T-Shirt, was roughly 5-foot-6 and held a photograph in her hand.

“Do you like horror movies?”

Standing in line at a Subway housed in a convenience store in Indiana, I paused for a second. Growing up in the suburbs, attending college in Chicago and spending a lot of time in the city I am pre-conditioned not to talk to people. Most of the time, I don’t want what they are selling.

But I told her not really, because I find the genre kind of cheesy. She reveals the face on the photo as her own. She’s on her knees and looks a bloody mess in the 3X5 picture.

“That’s me in the new movie Halloween 2,” she said.

My colleague John Sahly and I exchange puzzled glances, I make small talk for a few minutes and she leaves through the front door but not before telling us she has an agent. Perhaps she thought we were movie producers and not a pair of sports reporters that had just covered the Northern Illinois’ football teams 28-21 win over Purdue on Saturday.

After our brush with “fame” in an Indiana gas station, we devour a pair of six-inch subs and return to the task of getting back to DeKalb. On the ramp, Sahly shows his cat-like reflexes behind the wheel and avoid shaving our own horror story written as he narrowly avoids a deer that decided to play chicken with his silver coupe.

Daily Chronicle Sports Editor Jon Styf has ditched us to head to Michigan for a 10-year high school class reunion, so it’s Sahly and I for two more hours. We listen to WSCR on the AM radio.

To and from Purdue, we spend almost every moment in the car talking sports; either rehashing Friday’s night’s high school games, sharing old memories or making prognostications sure to go wrong about future college and pro games. Then we spent all day covering a football game and writing stories of the action on the field.

Maybe those ex-girlfriends were right; I am addicted to the games people play on fields and courts, because from the moment we left in the Daily Chronicle office in pre-dawn darkness at 6 a.m., sports has been the predominant topic.

The trip on I-65 North and 294 is a maze of construction cones and narrowed lanes. We eventually arrive back in Illinois, blanketed in the same darkness in which we left. We pass under the legendary Hinsdale Oasis, where we stopped for a McDonalds breakfast 11 hours ago. At 7 a.m., a woman was sleeping in her car in the parking lot. I wonder if she’s since moved on.

Fast forward to I-88; 20 minutes from DeKalb, Sahly decides to make a switch.

“It’s time to see what is on the FM radio,” Sahly said.

The answer is not much. After so many hours of talk radio, music fills the car with a foreign sound. Sahly flips through station after station until finally the 80s live. Eddie Money is confidently imploring listeners with “Take Me Home Tonight,” the next song is “Open Arms,” and Journey’s Steve Perry is belting out the monster ballad.

Suddenly I am in a time warp to last call at a local establishment or maybe even prom night. When Sahly flips the station we are welcomed to the ringing guitar riff of “Start Me Up,” by the Rolling Stones.

“Yes!” Sahly said.

We name our favorite Stones’ songs, pull into the Daily Chronicle parking lot and laugh for a second about our experience with FM radio and how it was a bit of its own horror movie.

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?