Traveling in Style
Speaking of football, I kicked off 1979 in grand style, driving a new Cadillac from a Detroit-area dealership to Pasadena. On that epic road trip, I lived on sandwiches and Christmas cookies; and on my first night west of the Mississippi, I slaked my thirst for Coors. Cadillacs weren’t exactly fuel efficient, but they handled well in the wind and snow. Good thing, too; I barely dodged a Rocky Mountain blizzard that could have trapped me in Wyoming until Easter. The Caddy also had a trunk roomy enough to hold several cases of Stroh’s, which I bartered for steaks and barbecued chicken outside the Rose Bowl. Fortunately, I had a couple left to soothe my soul after the game. My Wolverines lost, thanks to a touchdown that should have been ruled a fumble.
In 1979, Stroh’s was still being “fire-brewed” at the brewery on Detroit’s east side, and members of the Stroh family were still in charge. Like many breweries, it offered tours. It wasn’t uncommon to turn a day off into a Motor City trifecta: Beer tasting at the Strohaus, followed by a ballgame at Tiger Stadium and drinks at the Lindell A.C.
The Lindell was a sports bar before that phrase officially entered the English language. Its walls were covered with rows of autographed photos of local athletes, along with more dubious memorabilia like the jockstrap worn by ex-Detroit Lions linebacker Wayne Walker. On a given night, anyone from the local TV weather guy to the umpires who worked that night’s Tiger game were liable to drop in.
Closer to home, my favorite haunt was Fraser’s Pub where, as a student, I was introduced to Molson Golden. Fraser’s was also a sports bar, one of the first in town to get a wide-screen television. It was—and still is—a place where they always know your name, even on a busy football Saturday.