This summer as we’ve written stories about people from the Illinois Valley who travel to attend games, it’s reminded me of all the fond memories from my travels.

The most epic sports trip I’ve taken was with my dad about 10 years ago.

At the time, my sister was living in Newport, R.I., so my dad and I took a road trip to see her and along the way we stopped to see a Major League game in Cleveland, a minor league game in Scranton, Penn. and went to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Once we got to Rhode Island, we went with my sister to see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and we also checked out a minor league game in Pawtuckett, Mass.

For anyone who loves baseball but hasn’t been to Cooperstown, I’d highly recommend taking the trip.

It’s a little out of the way and takes a while to get there, but it’s well worth it.

There is so much incredible memorabilia in the museum that we spent the entire day there but it only felt like a couple hours.

After seeing the Hall of Fame, we watched a couple innings of a college prospect league game.

My wife and I saw a game at Coors Field when on a vacation to Colorado just before we got engaged, and she still makes fun of me for eating a piece of frozen cheesecake on a stick that fell in the aisle.

If she thinks I was going to waste that bite that probably cost a dollar, she must not know me at all.

We also went to a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park — at the time, now it’s Oracle Park — when we visited my sister in Petaluma, Calif. and went to a Braves game at Turner Field with my friend Chris.

Of the 15 MLB parks I’ve been to — current and defunct — Oracle Park or Fenway Park are my favorites (aside from Wrigley Field). San Francisco is a top pick for the views, atmosphere and food options and Fenway for the history and unique architecture.

I’ve been on Spring Training trips to Arizona with my dad and my cousin and went on Spring Training trips to Florida with my college friends — both when we were in school and after graduation — when I suffered a ridiculous sunburn, ate too many chicken wings and consumed a lot of other stuff too.

Former NewsTribune sports writer Jared Bell, former NT sports editor Jackie Pokryfke and I took a few memorable baseball trips.

We saw a 16-inning game in the Quad Cities and drove for hours to see games in Kansas City, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

I missed a foul ball off the bat of Milton Bradley in Pittsburgh, and the screen shot of it from the TV broadcast is still in a frame sitting on my desk taunting me daily.

I also fell asleep at the Cardinals game on the last day of one of those trips. Maybe Kris Bryant was right that St. Louis was boring. Just kidding Cardinals fans.

In college, my friends/co-workers at the student paper drove all over the Midwest to various Mid-American Conference schools chronicling Ben Roethlisberger’s domination of the college level.

I saw LeBron James play fairly early in his Cavaliers career when I was in Cleveland for work for a week.

My cousin and I drove to Milwaukee and Cincinnati to see Cubs games. In Cincinnati, we got to see the classic brawl when Kyle Farnsworth beat up Paul Wilson.

Obviously, watching games, checking out different stadiums, seeing what their different features, history and unique foods is great, but I also enjoy the opportunity these trips provide to bond with family or friends.

I’ve spent many hours in the car with my dad traveling to and from games and during that time we’ve talked about all sorts of things from his childhood, our jobs, memories and what’s going on in the world.

Same with my wife, my cousin and friends.

Those are great times — even when I had to endure listening to Jared go on and on with his ridiculous argument about how Butler didn’t deserve to be in the NCAA championship game.

Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.

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