Themed Road Trip – Western Baseball Parks

    My western baseball trip begins in Los Angeles, home of both the Los Angeles Angels of the American League and the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League. Angels Stadium is actually located in Anaheim, the famous suburb of LA which is also the home of Disneyland. It was inaugurated in 1966 but has been modernized and is still in excellent condition.
    The Dodgers play in an even older ball park, called Dodger Stadium, just east of downtown Los Angeles, in an area known as Chavez Ravine. They have been here since 1962, moving from the original franchise location in New York City. The Los Angeles area has a considerable number of significant tourist attractions, when you are not watching baseball.
    From here, travel south on I-5 to the incredible city of San Diego, home of the National League Padres. Petco Park can be found just south of the city center, in an ideal location for great views of the city. It is a recent ball park, having opened in 2004. San Diego is about 125 miles from Los Angeles. While in the city, be sure to check out some of the major attractions, such as Balboa Park, one of the largest and most beautiful urban parks in the world, the San Diego Zoo, world-renowned for the diversity and quality of its denizens, and Old Town San Diego, which recalls the days when the city was ruled by Mexico.
    After your visit to San Diego, travel east on Interstate 8, and then west on I-10 to reach Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, also a National League team. Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, has a retractable roof and air-conditioning, to give protection from the hot, desert sun. This stadium will host the All-Star Game next year (2011). The trip to Phoenix is about 390 miles long.
    The next leg is even longer (distances can be considerable in the American West). Take I-17 north to I-40 east until you reach Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then, turn northward on I-25 all the way to Denver, Colorado, home of the Colorado Rockies, another National League team. This road trip is 800 miles long, so my advice is to take at least two (2) days for the drive, perhaps stopping overnight in Santa Fe, a lovely New Mexico city. When you get to Denver, you will find Coors Field in the downtown, at the corner of 20th Street and Blake Street. This ball park is known for home runs, since the thin air in Denver makes it easier to hit the ball out of the park.
    Another long ride awaits when you leave Denver. Begin this marathon by traveling north on I-25 to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and then turn westward on I-80 into Utah, where you can turn north on I-84, through Idaho and Eastern Oregon, into Washington. At the interchange with I-90, take I-90 west into Seattle, home of the American League Seattle Mariners. Safeco Field is another ball park with a retractable roof (Seattle gets a lot of rain!). This great park opened in 1999. This drive is a whopping 1300 miles, so should be negotiated over a number of days. Spend some time in Salt Lake City, Utah, for instance and, perhaps, Boise, Idaho, to break up the ride. Once you are in Seattle, there are a wealth of attractions, so you might consider resting for two or three days.
    The penultimate leg of this trip involves a drive south on Interstate 5 to San Francisco, the lovely "city by the bay." Once again, the travel time is lengthy because of the great distance (808 miles). Again, this leg must be subdivided, but there are some great places to visit along the way which may wrest your attention away from baseball for a few days. You might consider driving along the lovely Oregon coast, on Route 101, or making a stop at Crater Lake National Park, Redwood National Park, or Lassen Volcanic National Park. When you reach the San Francisco area, there are, once again, two major league franchises in the vicinity. In Oakland, just to the north, you will find the Oakland A’s, of the American League. The Oakland Coliseum dates to the 1960s but has been renovated several times. It is also the home of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League.
     San Francisco is the home of the Giants. AT&T Park replaced the old Candlestick Park in 2000 and provides great views of the bay. This great city is a treasure-trove of tourist sights, so plan to spend a few days before you complete the loop by driving south on I-5 to Los Angeles, a distance of about 450 miles. The total mileage for this mega-road trip is approximately 3,900 miles and eight (8) major league ball parks.


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