Heros of the Frozen Past... a trip to MTU

by John Johnson and Raman Pfaff
Reprinted from V7N1, June 1994

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(This is yet another tag team writeup by John and Raman. For some reason, all the other PPSA members seem to poop out when a road trip actually comes around... After reading this article you'll understand how easy it is to get pooped out on one of our trips....)


It seems that on every road trip I take, I always try to do everything and see everything. I want to experience it all. I want to live like the natives, eat like the natives. In Washington, DC that means wearing a power suit and eating Ethiopian. In Houghton that means living like a student. Raman and I were determined to crash at Charlie Scripter's house, and live like we did way back when we were students at MTU. We dressed in sweats, slept on the floor and fully intended to recall what it was like to attend the great engineering institution on a small peninsula jutting out into the frigid waters of Lake Superior. We had forgotten what Dr. Bob taught us though... "Suffering is Part of the Undergraduate Experience."

Tuesday, January 26, 1993

John hurriedly packed and loaded the Beretta. It seems he is always pushing the limits of how late he can leave and still make it to the airport. He thought he had lots of time to drive to Santa Fe to pick up a couple of yummy Carne Adovada burritos at Maria's Cafe. Mmmmm-mmmm-good. If you ever visit Santa Fe (or are wealthy enough to live there) you can't go wrong with a meal at Maria's. Of course the burritos were "to go", since he wanted to take Raman something special as interest on his Bank of Raman loan. The chef questioned his wanting to take burritos on the road, but he said he was flying up to Chicago and he'd reheat them there. They were awkward to pack, but he took them through security and demonstrated that they weren't drugs wrapped up as burritos. (Little did John know...)

The flight to Chicago was uneventful. John got a meal on the plane, so he wasn't really too hungry for the burritos. But he knew he and Raman would enjoy them the next day. After all, they would get a nice little hotel room outside of Chicago with a fridge. When John got to O'Hare he stopped at an AT&T tele-terminal to check e-mail. (He had gone a whole 5 hours without logging in after all!) The stupid machine ran on some frigging DOS-like operating system and John crashed it right off. Then he went to meet Raman.

John ended up with a new Taurus from Budget. It only had 6 miles on it. Budget would be lucky to have John be the first to break it in on his voyage to the tundra that was Tech. At first John was a little lost, but he and Raman soon found the highway heading to Wisconsin and blew out of Chicago. They got on 94 north, and figured they'd stop at a hotel somewhere in Wisconsin. The travelers looked for a nice cheap hotel and ended up at a Motel-6, just outside of Milwaukee. Raman and John decided they didn't want to pay for 2 beds (read: 2 people) so Raman registered and didn't mention John. The intrepid pair had a little of their yummy pork burritos and hit the sack, with dreams of snow statues dancing their our heads. (For some reason the dreams seemed more like hallucinations....)

Wednesday, January 27

They awoke at dawn, after an unrestful night. They showered and packed the rental and found a McDonald's for breakfast. Raman chose a Big Breakfast from the menu and then John ordered. Soon John heard Raman asking him to bring extra napkins. He took 3 napkins and used them to remove as much grease as possible from his sausage. John had forgotten how polite a diner Raman could be. They hit the road and soon ended up in Madison. Perhaps traveling by memory wasn't the quickest way to get to Houghton. Raman thought he knew the way, since he had gone to an SPS meeting in Madison a decade ago! John thought they were traveling a little too far West, and as it ended up he was right. After confirmation of this fact, they continued the drive North. This time with a map.

The two amigos began taking bathroom breaks within about 2 hours of leaving Madison. They were, as yet, clueless as to why they were feeling all this turbulence in their nether regions. A thought sprang to mind. "Could it be the pork went bad?," asked Raman.
"No," answered John as he finished off the last burrito, "They taste good, so they must be fine."

John and Raman return to Houghton.

After stopping for an emergency porcelain inspection at the Copper Country Mall, they drove to Charlie Scripter's house. Langer was there shoveling. The boys used Scripter's bathroom, met his roommate Will, and then went out to dinner at the Library. By this time Raman and John were fervently keeping track of who had the most bowel movements. At least it kept them occupied.

The whole gang walked down the street and had fishbowls at the Ambassador. The drinks tasted great when mixed with Immodium AD... then they were off to see some snow-statues being made. Our heros really wanted to lie down, they were thinking that maybe this pork burrito thing was getting out of hand. But they braved the subzero winds so that they could observe the statue building ritual. With sphincters clenched, they proceeded to walk around campus giving advice to the novice sculptors. The night was long, not only did John and Raman get their exercise by taking dumps all night, but Charlie and the gang stayed up 'til about 3 A.M.. The tired travelers would have liked to sleep, but between Charlie's partying and frequent prayer sessions in the downstairs bathroom there was little rest to be had.

John has to stop and use a snow sculpture.

Thursday, January 28

The weather was a tad blustery on Thursday. John and Raman bought sweatshirts at the student union and saw that for all the changes on the MTU campus, much remained the same as when they were students. Then they paid a visit to Dr. Bob at Fisher Hall. John remembered to bring his Dr. Bob fan club pin, and Raman forgot. Dr. Bob was glad to see the long-lost and somewhat wayward products of his teaching. Dr. Bob was sorry to see these founding members of his fan club leave. They brought back memories of the good days when his students cared enough to hire three sorority coeds to sing to him on his birthday. Students really respected their professors back then. Sure they weren't able to copy John's homework without getting caught, but they had shared something special with Dr. Bob when he first came to Michigan Tech. He did more than torture them with mechanics homework, he taught them an enduring philosophy-that suffering is part of the undergraduate experience.

John and Dr. Bob reunite.

After reminiscing, Raman and John headed back to Charlie's to rest. Chuck fixed them some pasties, then the gang went out to the Ambassador and the Library again. John felt healthy enough to grab a pickled egg at the Dog-House on the way back to the car.

Friday, January 29

Today was the day to view snow statues. The weather had broken and Raman pulled out his new camera. He and John walked around, feeling somewhat better than they had the past couple days. In fact they felt good enough to have lunch at the student union. John even had chili. They returned to Charlie's place, but were locked out, so they drove around Hancock for an hour. Deciding not to wait for the house to be opened, they went out to dinner and then off to the big hockey game. Michigan Tech lost by one, but it was fun to watch. After the game, they went home and straight to bed. The God Emperors were feeling good and healthy, but tired as fuck!

Saturday, Jan 30

At about 4 AM the gang showed up, with Rooster. They prevented John and Raman from getting much more sleep that night. When John and weary old Raman had eventually decided to get up, they quickly showered and packed and left Charlie's at about 8:30. John bought pasties in Houghton and some sweetrolls in L'anse. Then the travelers were really tired, but after about six hours of driving they stopped at John's parent's house, just south of the Mackinaw Bridge. By that evening they were in East Lansing at Raman's. Raman got a good night's sleep, but John slept on the ill-fitting couch. It was uncomfortable, but at least no one kept him up with late night partying... and the pork poisoning had subsided.

Sunday, January 31

John left early and flew out of Chicago. That night he was back in Los Alamos. Raman didn't do much that day, and he didn't get around to unpacking from the trip for a few weeks. This adventure had come to a close. The God Emperor's had returned to the birthplace of PPSA. They lived like students, they suffered like students. And another page had been written in the annals of PPSA road trips.

Last Updated 04/13/95.© 1996 PPSA