What’s in Michigan?

Well, if you must know, that’s where professional football dreams go to die.

Also, a GORUCK Heavy.

Last summer when the temps were still hovering around 100 here in Texas, I was promised a terrible, terrible time in Michigan with two of my northern-most GORUCK friends Phil and Tom. This was to be the second Reunion Tour I had with these guys this year as we’d met up in Bragg back in February and we continued our tiny group chat. Somewhere in this chat the following conversation happened, as best as I can recall:

“Hey you should come to Michigan and do the Sleepy Hollow Heavy with us.”


“Hey you should come to Michigan and do the Sleepy Hollow Heavy with us.”

“Oh OK.”

Fast forward a couple of months and I’m outside of the airport at DTW waiting for Nikki and Phil, both of whom arrive within two minutes of each other- Phil in his sweet car and Nikki via bus + sky walk. I’m wearing my hoodie because it was a bit chilly at 55 and contemplating busting out the shemagh but decide against it. More work than I want in my life right now. Phil picks us up in shorts, a t-shirt, and freaking flip flops. This bitch.


Brief introductions are made and we head over to get Phil’s gear from his house, meet his lovely family, and then we start out for a sweet ass tour of Detroit but first we had some shawarma and falafel best afel.

GM headquarters. Under that light is the way to the fabled Canadas.


We’re taking a scenic route through some of the outer parts of Detroit and Phil is giving us a tour. Here are some dumpy areas. Here are where the car manufacturers are. Here’s where Ford does cool shit like testing new engines. Lots of huge factories and warehouses dot the landscape and there’s something distinctly not-Texas about the area.  We have lots of large buildings and factories, sure, and when you drive around the DFW are you get a feel for the lay of the land – spaces above and between homes, commercial areas, and everything in between. In Texas, you get one vibe here but in Detroit it’s decidedly different. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it seems as if there’s a weird amount of openness about the place.

Giant abandoned building?

In (most?) parts of Detroit there are a bunch of burned out, remains of homes on just about every street. Not so much in Euless. Phil says that on Devil’s Night that lots of homes go up in flames. First of all, what in the hell is Devil’s Night and second of all, why? Apparently people aren’t able to afford these homes (taxes, thanks Obama) so they just get burned down and just about every street has a home (or eight) that’re boarded up. Also, red lights are optional at night. “Don’t call the cops ’cause they aren’t coming” and “who do you think told us to run the red lights?” WHAT IN THE HELL

Allegedly Phil and I had met before this year. I gave him a ride after the marathon he did in Dallas with Mark Webb (and others) and I gave him a brief tour of downtown Dallas and where all the GORUCK shenanigans happened. So he kindly repaid the favor and showed me how the GORUCKs in Detroit go. You either start in one of two places but eventually you end up on GORUCK Hill and you roll down that sumbitch. He offered to pull over and let me run up it and then roll down it and against my better judgement, I declined. But he said that basically I don’t have to do any GORUCKs in Detroit.

Dunno what it is but it’s cool as shit

We made our way to the end of the Detroit tour and headed up to Lansing to check-in to the hotel and grab some dinner. Luckily Deane was in charge of that so we went and crushed some sushi together. Dinner is winding down when the cadre stop by to shoot the shit with us. We get to see the patch for the first time and it’s a pretty sweet deal but as you know by now, it’s not about the patch.

Sup Deane

We drop Nikki off at her hotel and then head back across the highway to ours. I turn on a baseball game called the World Series, hit the shower, and come out to prep my gear for the big day.

I keep the volume down pretty low as Phil is about to turn in for the night. He is oddly calm. Some of the sounds in the room I noticed (mindfulness?) before this event are cool- the unraveling of leukotape, the slice of a knife, bitching because you turned the tape over on itself, more unrolling, more cutting, tape rubbing, the filling of water bladders, phones dinging, vibrating, and it’s all low key tense in there. We’ve been here before but that doesn’t mean we’re ready. Or does it? No, not at all. We share in the observation that prepping for an event is way easier than it used to be. Throw in the weight and shit, sack up, roll out. Our first event, pack and repack shit 5 times and still not have it right.

*beep beep beep* and I’m up.

Game day.

Hell yes.

I take care of the morning stuff and as I come out of the restroom, I see Phil is all packed up and ready to rock.

“Hey Phil that’s all you’re wearing?”

“Yeah, I’ll be OK.”

This dude is in pants, flip flops, and a lightweight hoodie. Michigan GRTs are #strongasshit

Croissants is life

We look for a breakfast place but can’t find anything open and decide to check the hotel and they have a small breakfast bar so we dine there. We go out to the car and mother fuck it’s cold as hell outside. 35 degrees or something dumb and then we go pick up homegirl and head north to the park.

Not the last time I’ll see this.

The drive up there is uneventful but man, I haven’t seen color on trees like that except in movies. Instead of one shade of green like we have here, they have orange and yellow and reds. Like what alien world is this? We get parked and here’s where the fun starts. You start meeting your teammates and then you run into people you’ve met from other events. Some might call them friends but not me.

Hey we’re over here, dude!

Everyone is loaded up ready to rock but for some reason I don’t see Phil.

“Hey Phil you’re on the wrong side of the event!



Devil’s Night

Devil’s Night fires

Sleepy Hollow State Park