Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013—Hello potato fans, this is your friendly potato driver Paul! I’m filling in for your usual bloggers Kristie and Tyler, figured I’d give ya a taste of the driver’s point of view. Tonight they are enjoying a play in downtown Chicago, so I thought I’d give this a go. Well, where do I begin? It’s been a long and enjoyable week with plenty to catch you up on. Let’s start with Indiana…
We began the week with a visit to Richmond, Indiana where we caught up with Dave and Dawn McConkey. The citizens of Richmond helped us welcome the Petrified Potato Artist to the City Hall. We got to examine close up Dave’s potato carvings. After checking out his work we came outside to find most of the city of Richmond checking out our giant spud. Lots of new friends at this awesome event. On the way out of town we made a quick stop at an elementary school where we “blew” the minds of an entire school of “tots”
Our next stop was a visit to the “Egg Basket” of the country in Mentone Indiana. No tour would be complete without a stop at the giant egg. We can’t thank the good people of Mentone enough. The enthusiasm was more immense than the egg, if that’s possible.
Next we bring the Big Idaho Potato to the windy city, Chicago. This was a special visit for me for several reasons. First, I grew up here, so I got the chance to hit my favorite hot spot for the best Italian beef, Chicago style hot dogs, and the moistest (is that a word? if not it should be) chocolate cake you’ll ever eat, Portillos. Second, we got to fill our tummies at the NRA show and help out at the Idaho Potato Commision booth, where we made some hilarious music “tater” videos. Third, we got to have dinner with Don Odiorne, and the rest of the commissioners and reps, as well as food writers. Seems my reasons for enjoying this leg of the tour revolves around food, but that’s not all…lol. This was my 43rd birthday and I got to celebrate it with my family and with my friends from the IPC. I’d like to thank everyone for the warm birthday wishes, the cake, cupcake and pie, as well as the singing!
We also got to help open the newest member of the Shop and Save family in Downers Grove Illinois. Brian Holzkopf, manager of the store honored our big spud, with a huge spud sale and Mickey having fun with the kids. We wish them the greatest success in the world, its a beautiful store and I hope if you’re ever in the neighborhood you give em a visit.
Anyway, that brings me to the end of this “guest” blog, I’ve probably gained 50 pounds here, but it’s been worth it. Now down to Florida where I need to get back to hitting the exercise rooms at my hotels again. Keep an eye out for us, and keep on trucking.
Paul does much more than just drive the team. Here he is handing out postcards to the kids of Mentone, IN
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013—It has been told to us on this tour, many times, that the tater team has the coolest job ever. While I agree with this statement this job is much more than the “coolest job ever.” While the movies and media may bring attention to people who do not like their jobs or are looking for a constant switch, there are plenty of people of there like the tater team who wouldn’t trade their job for anything!
I think the reason for this is simple and it all comes down to excitement! Each and every day we wake up knowing that our job will be different and exciting whether its the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival, the Five Guys corporate event or making a stop at a local grocery store (all of which was accomplished in the last week) that tater team does it with excitement. Can you imagine running into a grumpy and tired tater team!? Neither can we!! We make an deliberate effort to bring the joy and honor that we have to a town near you. We have this excitement because we get to drive around the country promoting an awesome cause, Meals on Wheels, and an awesome product, Famous Idaho Potatoes. We get to see the country and run into many of you and that brings us all the excitement in the world!
What brings your excitement in the workplace or at school? Although we are still doing our job, we get EXCITED about it. I encourage you to pursue something that you too can get excited about! For me it was combining my love to talk to people with my desire to travel the country. Maybe you want to go back to school and get that graduate degree, maybe its turning your excitement about drawing into a painting business. Whatever it is , get excited about it, because as the tater team will tell you, having a job with excitement is awesome.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013—
We’ve officially logged one month in the books – 6 more to go! This week Tyler and I along with commissioner Dan Moss and his wife Jann got to ride on top of the potato in the Pegasus Parade. One of the events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It was more fun then you could imagine, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
With this ‘job’ we have had the luxury of seeing some incredible sites, visiting cities and states that I don’t know if I would have ever had a reason to. Traveling the country was an undeniable perk when I applied for the job. In the little travel I had done before I knew it’s not so much the places you see but rather the people you meet. This trip is no exception.
From cab drivers to waitresses to hotel staff and everyone in between, it seems they all have a connection to either Idaho or potatoes or both! Of course driving around with a 6 ton potato is definitely a conversation starter but so many of those curious questions lead to real connections and friends all around the country.
Remember Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist, Wipe a Tear, Blow a kiss,