Packers Road Trip: Alumni cruise along the Mississippi on Day 3

The Packers Road trip traveled from Hudson to La Crosse on Day 3, making stops at local high schools along the way. Other visits included the Kwik Trip Bread and Bun bakery facility and a La Crosse Loggers baseball game.

Former Packers LB Mike Neal

Breakfast at the Keys Café in Hudson was the first order of business for the Road Trip on Day 3, but food was not the only thing on Mike Neal's mind.

His t-shirt needed some adjusting. 

With a borrowed scissors from the staff and a Clark Kent-like slip away into the restroom, Neal emerged with a freshly trimmed top.

"Way more comfortable," declared Neal with a smile.

"Now my arms can breathe," added Spitz, which drew a laugh from the group. 

Murphy piled on, "Hey, do you realize how expensive those shirts are?"

The group returned to Hudson High School to visit with about 80 student athletes participating in summer workouts. The players shared some of their approaches that helped them reach the highest level of competition.

To the rapt attention of the students, Tramon Williams spoke of working on being mentally tough as a youth. He also shared that he boxed as an additional workout regimen that kept exercising fun and fresh.

When asked about a favorite football memory, he was quick to speak of his pick-six in the 2010 NFC Divisional playoff in Atlanta, an electrifying play at the end of the first half that changed the momentum of the game and put the Packers up 28-14 in an eventual 48-21 thrashing of the Falcons. 

"I knew that when we got past Atlanta, we would win the Super Bowl," said Williams.

Neal's arms again were a subject of discussion when a student asked him what was the circumference of his arm. 

"What do you think it is?" Neal responded. 

"Thirty-two," said the student.

"That's a waist!" exclaimed Spitz.

Twenty-two is the actual size.

The Packers Road Trip began Day 3 at Prescott High School visiting with student athletes, followed by a tour of the Kwik Trip Bread & Bun Bakery facility.

A similar conversation took place later in the morning with student athletes at Prescott High School, a visit that also included a $5,000 donation to the school's physical education program.

Neal encouraged the students to establish good habits and a strong work ethic now, as that sets the foundation for what they do when they get older.

Williams' father was an example of work ethic for him, as the elder Williams rose every morning at 4:30 to work at the shipyard. When Tramon was 12, he started work, too. 

"My mom said, 'If you want to be talking to girls on the phone, you need to be helping with the phone bill.' That's when I learned the value of work," he recalled with a laugh.

The discussion resonated strongly with Prescott senior Brady Block.

"It is amazing," he said. "As a lifelong Packers fan, this is just super exciting for me and the great lessons like self commitment and mental toughness to help us through our careers and high school athletics." 

As the motorcoach continued south along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, a stop was made in Pepin at Villa Bellezza winery for lunch, where winemaker Katie Kujak led the Packers on a tour of the facility. 

Moll and Spitz, who with another former teammate, Daryn Colledge, started Three Fat Guys Wines, appreciated the opportunity to take a walk and look at the grounds. 

"There's so many ways to make wine, so I really enjoy seeing how others do it," said Moll. "They've got a beautiful spot here and a really nice facility." 

When the Road Trip reached La Crosse, the first stop was at the Kwik Trip Bread and Bun Bakery where the group toured the location where the production of baked goods takes place for the more than 400 Wisconsin locations. The Kwik Trip logo was familiar as the company is a major partner of the Packers and has a Lambeau Field gate sponsorship.

Greeting employees as they were led on the tour, the group was impressed as they learned various details about the world's most automated bread and bun facility that has been in operation for three years. 

Moll, whose family runs a pizza restaurant in Sonoma, California, was especially impressed that the facility can produce 17,000 pounds of dough in an hour. 

"I called my wife and asked how much we can produce and she said we do about 80 dough balls a day." 

In La Crosse, the group stopped at Copeland Park to see fans of the Loggers baseball team take on the Bismarck Larks. Murphy and the players visited with the team near the dugout before each was introduced to throw out a pitch.

Moll, a baseball prospect in high school, especially appreciated the opportunity to take the mound. 

"Baseball's another passion of mine so it's always fun to get out on the mound," he said. "If I had to guess, I was easily in the high 70s." 

Team photographer Evan Siegle even got to mound a couple times as a courtesy pitcher for a couple members of the group who wanted to save their arms.

Loggers general manager Ben Kapanke appreciated the stop by the Road Trip. 

"It means a lot as the Packers are so big in the state especially this area," he said. "Talking to our guys was great, too. They are aspiring to reach the pros and to hear it from the Packers, to keep working hard and doing all the right things, is important for them." 

The evening ended with a surprise stop at a wedding reception with all the nearly 180 in attendance heartily enjoying the Green and Gold crashers. 

"I didn't know what to expect, but I think we were pretty well received," said Spitz. "Plus, I always enjoy the opportunity to see Tony dance."

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