Just like every epic novel needs a good prologue to set the tone, my great California road trip deserved an introductory leg. And today was the day for it.

My friend (and official copilot/navigator), Ten, has been living in Wheaton for the last month. Instead of making him come all the way down to Indianapolis to start our journey, I thought it would be beneficial to make one last gander through Chicago. I was glad to have an excuse to see my grandparents and aunt and uncle one last time, and my folks offered to caravan up to the city. I was eager to spend a few more hours with my family, but there was also another reason I wanted to start in Chicago.

I had never been to Wrigley. In my four years living in Wheaton, I had never managed to make it out to see the Cubs play. For most of the town, the Cubbies are not only well-loved, they are iconic. To my family, however, all they symbolize is the epitome of poor baseball. My dad griped the whole drive, comparing Wrigley Field to the Bedouin camps we saw in the deserts of Jordan. But I was determined.

And it turned out to be a fantastic day. The Cubs played the Red Sox. The Red Sox called up Daniel Nava, a good family friend, a few weeks back. We got amazing seats behind home plate, the sun was bright but not too hot, and the stadium exuded everything “classic” about baseball (“It doesn’t smell nearly as bad as it used to,” my dad admitted by the end of the game).

After a fun dinner with Nava’s, my aunt and uncle, and some other family friends, I retreated to my grandparents house for a good night’s sleep before hitting the road in the morning. My Ford is loaded up with all of my most essential belongings. And the future awaits…