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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Today’s life pro tip. When the pavement ends, without warning, do not continue on. Even if the map you looked at said the road goes through to a road you know is paved.

At first, when I got stuck, I tried to dig myself out. No luck. So I called USAA roadside assistance. They immediately dispatched a tow truck. A few minutes later, I got a call from the guy from the tow company. He asks: “You passed the fairgrounds?” Yep. “Are you past the church?” Yep. “One or two one-lane bridges?” Two. “Did you pass the state hunting grounds?” Nope. “I know exactly where you’re at. I used to live out that way. I’ll be in my 30-foot truck, you can’t miss me. We’ll pull you out.”

It took 2 hours to pull me out and load my car on the tow truck, and then 20 minutes to get me to pavement. As we’re driving back, the tow truck driver says, “Pulled a 4X4 out of there a week or two ago.”

 

Going over the first (second I passed on the way in), he says, “This bridge didn’t used to have guard rails. One beer and you had to call your friends to pull you back on the road.”

Four miles closer to pavement, “Pulled a Jeep out of there about a month ago. You got pretty far.”

I responded, “I don’t do anything half-assed.”

“Nope,” he said, “you’re a pretty good driver. Is your car four-wheel drive?” Nope.

And my car, here’s a picture of Tincup Tina, the brave 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage that took me on this adventure: 

At least it was free with my USAA insurance roadside assistance. Him coming to get me 10 miles off-road was $300, plus at least $250 for the pulling me out of dirt. Nice.

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NYC Trip

I went to NYC last week.  I arrived Wednesday and took the AirTrain to the subway into Manhattan.

JFK Airport

I got off the subway at 40th Street, and walked to Bryant Park.

Bryant Park

then I walked to…

NYPL

I then walked to the hotel on 56th between Broadway and 8th.

Hotel Room

Then I met a friend for dinner at Vanessa’s Dumplings (we had Peking duck sesame pancakes and pork dumplings!  YUMMY!).  This was when I realized there is no escaping the people!  There are people everywhere!  We then went to a trivia night at People’s Lounge, which was fundraiser for the New York Women’s Foundation.  In the raffle, I won a bracelet and earrings, my friend won 2 bracelets!  I took the subway back to the hotel  and slept.

Thursday morning, I woke up early and bought a muffin and coffee from a newsstand, then walked to Columbus Circle and sat at the southern edge of Central Park to eat breakfast.

Columbus Circle

Central Park

I then went to MoMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit (FABULOUS!!) and other art.

MoMA Art

I then met one of my bosses from my research job for lunch at Good Burger (think Five Guys but better).

Subway to Battery Park to see the Harbor,

NY Harbor

And the first National Park on my tour, Castle Clinton.

Castle Clinton

Then I walked up to Wall Street!

NY Stock Exchange

To the next National Park – Federal Hall (where George Washington was sworn in).

Balcony that GW was sworn in on

Inside Federal Hall

I then walked to City Hall Park to see the Peter Coffin exhibit “Untitled (Sculpture Silhouettes)” – silhouettes of famous sculptures.  Very interesting!

City Hall Park

Then I walked another few blocks to the next National Park – African Burial Ground.  Amazing.  The museum portion is housed at the street level of the federal building, the burial area around back.  If you don’t know about this, please look it up!  It still gives me chills thinking about it.

I went back to the hotel and rested for an hour or so before taking the subway to Strand Books.  I walked around Union Square and the shops for a bit, before catching the subway to Greenwich Village.  I walked around there a bit, then ate dinner at Caliente Cab – really good Mexican food, if a bit pricey.  Then I took the subway back to 42nd Street to walk and sit around Times Square.

Times Square

Times Square

Then back to the hotel.

Friday, I got up, grabbed a bagel and coffee from the street cart, and went to my final National Park of the trip – the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace.

TR Birthplace

I then ran back to the hotel to check out, then took the subway back to Greenwich Village to have a slice of pizza at Famous Joe’s.  Then off to the airport and back to PGH.

I had a great time!  I loved the food and subway.  I got used to being around so many people all the time.  I loved the big, tall buildings.  And the go, go, go of the city was great.  I’m already planning my return trip to NYC!

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PA Backroads

Today I drove around the back roads of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Here’s the route I took –

– choosen at random, knowing I wanted to go south and west, then north, then east and south to get back to Pittsburgh.  No pictures, as I was driving, but here’s the highlights:

  • Saw an Amish buggy
  • A big, fuzzy bumble bee flew in the car window, hit me in head, landed in my lap and flew out the door when I pulled into someone’s driveway to get out of the car (I won’t mention the singing to screaming in .001 seconds that I did!)
  • Singing along to sateliete radio – on which I managed to listen to a Dave Matthews Band every 5-10 songs
  • Driving is awesome!

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REALLY!?!?!?

My ALA Conference, in pictures.

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus...uh, drink!

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus...uh, drink!

Billy Goat Tavern

Billy Goat Tavern

Billy Goat Tavern

Billy Goat Tavern

That’s it basically – well, that’s it because I forgot to take my camera with me on Sunday to the Book Cart Drill Team Championships.  Oops.  I’ll be getting pictures of that from friends, and will post them as soon as I get them.

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Here’s the links for the Steel City Kings Book Cart Drill Team (I was a member) in the National Competition – we took 3rd place and won a “bronze” book cart!

NPR – All Things Considered – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106561675 Mari, one of the team members, is the first one interviewed on the “listen now” button.  There’s also a link to the video of the first place team’s performance.

Cognotes – the ALA Conference daily newsletter – http://www.ala.org/ala/conferencesevents/upcoming/annual/2009/Cognotes%20Mon%20July%2013%202009%20Part%201.pdf The picture of our team is on page 8.

Here’s our dress rehearsal videos (recorded in Pittsburgh July 2nd) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBH2idwcQB0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqbJ8V8BjMA

The team that placed second – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwYJT-wOehI

I’ll post a link to the video of the performance at ALA as soon as I find it online!

I’ll also post tomorrow about my trip to ALA in Chicago.

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For the Fourth of July Weekend, I decided I needed to get out of town.  So I rented a car, printed some directions and was off to traverse the state routes of West Virginia because, well, why not?

I left Friday night, and drove the interstate to Morgantown, then drove the state routes to Elkins.  I stayed at the Graceland Inn at Davis and Elkins College.  The Inn was right out of Jeeves and Wooster!

Graceland Inn

Graceland Inn

And here’s the view from my room – the valley that is Elkins.

View of Elkins

View of Elkins

There was a classic car show in the park across from campus, but I forgot to take pictures!  I drove around looking for dinner and was so stunned by this sign –

Humbertos

Humbertos

I ate Mexican food in West Virginia.  As P told me today, “There’s something very wrong with that sentence – ate Mexican food in West Virginia.”  I agree, but I was stunned by seeing a ‘bertos sign!

I drove around Elkins some more, and as I was getting chilly and didn’t have a coat with me, I stopped at the Goodwill and picke dup an awesome jacket for $4!  Then I headed back to the hotel and watched some TV.  I watched What Not to Wear, Deadliest Catch, Forensic Files, a Michael Jackson special (I think it was Dateline), and CSI Miami.  I fell asleep at some point, and woke at 3 am to turn off the TV.

In the morning, 4th of July, I drove south from Elkins to Mt. Hope (outside Beckley).  I stopped at a convenience store for a breakfast of a pepperoni roll and coffee.  I continued on to Mt. Hope and found a cute little antique store – Aide’s (I kid you not!).  I found the cutest little plastic picnic set (only $5! and it matches my melmac collection!) –

Picnic Set

Picnic Set

And I found a journal from the early 1930’s that a woman used to record her travels around PA, WV, and NY.

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Then I went to largest single span bridge in the Western Hemisphere at the New River Gorge National Park.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures.  I swear, the only reason I took pictures on my cross-country drive was because E was taking pictures too!

Then I checked into my hotel and went to Kroger where I picked up my 4th of July feast.

Hotel Picnic

Hotel Picnic

Actually, I ate some of it for dinner and had plenty to eat on the road the next day.  Of course, I watched more TV – Dogs 101, Forensic Files, CSI Las Vegas, CNN, a debate on C-SPAN (I know, I’m a total dork!), part of a spooky movie on HBO, part of a movie on Lifetime, and Animal Hospital or some such on the Animal Planet.

I woke up Sunday to rain!  The rain cleared after an hour or so, and I took the state routes up to Wheeling.  I took the interstate to Washington, PA, and then took the 40 east to the 51 north to Pittsburgh.  10 hours of driving on Sunday, and worth every minute of it!

There’s nothing like a good road trip to clear my head and make me focused.

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(HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!)

On Monday, we got to “sleep in” until 7:30!  We went to the Louisiana Children’s Museum to help with school groups.  B, E, and I worked in the “grocery store” helping the children locate items that started with “M” and to “checkout” using those items.  It was, um, eventful.  So eventful in fact, that at lunch I had a scotch and soda.  Yeah.  We had lunch at Leonardo Tattoria in the warehouse district.  I had a pizza with pesto, shrimp, and pistachios – it was awesome!

French Quarter Fun

French Quarter Fun

We walked over to the New Orleans Public Library, but the person were were to meet there to volunteer didn’t show, so we went walking around the French Quarter and went to Cafe du Monde for beignets.

Yummy Beignets

Yummy Beignets

We went back to the hotel for a much needed nap.  B wasn’t feeling well, so us gals went to Landry’s for dinner.  I had the 20 shrimp platter – 20 shrimp served 4 ways (fried, scampi, roumelade, and lemon pepper).  I’m pretty shrimped out!  We went to Harrah’s, then called it a night.  At Landry’s E was excited to see a vacuum backpack in use.  So excited, she grabbed my camera and took a picture!

s5031957

Tuesday, we really slept in (I slept until 10!) then we walked around the warehouse district and ate at Sugar House Restaurant, where I had a shrimp Po-Boy.  B and R headed back to the hotel to rest, while E and I walked around Canal Street to  pick up some snacks for the plane (Zapp’s and Pralines) and then we went to Community Coffee where I picked up some chicory to mix with my coffee.

We went to the airport and flew home.  It was a great trip – we did a lot of volunteer work and saw a lot of the city.  Most of the city has recovered from Katrina, but there are still areas where there are condemned houses standing, waiting for someone to care enought to rebuild.

Parting Shot: a light post in Uptown NOLA.

s5031945

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