Category Archives: Travel

My Kind of Town

As I mentioned before, Chicago is my first love.  At the end of the day, I firmly believe that either the City of Broad Shoulders or DC will be my forever home, but for now, I’m back in the Buckeye State.  But last week, I got to spend four days tromping around a city I love, acting like a tourist and visiting old friends.  I wish I could’ve stayed longer, done more, taken more photos, but alas – time got away from me, as usual.

Thursday was the only day I really played solo.  I went to the The Skydeck at the Sears Willis Tower, enjoyed the view, and watched people take pictures of their feet:

downOf course, I can’t judge…

toes

After that, I just walked.  I saw art…

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Calder’s “Flamingo”

…and boats on the South Branch of the Chicago River.

dearbornI met up with my friend Dave and then we walked some more!

pb1 cropDave literally dragged me across street, gasping “Oooh!  You’ve GOTTA see Puppet Bike!!!”  I was not disappointed.  So cute!

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Kids frolicking in Crown Fountain, Millennium Park

We moseyed along the lake shore and skirted Navy Pier.  We grabbed a drink in The Globe Pub and dinner at Smoque.  As much as I love the tourist-y stuff, I enjoyed getting out of the loop and exploring a bit more of the city.

Friday, I flew solo.  I managed to hang in there during a three-hour rain delay, spending WAY too much time and money at Murphy’s Bleachers, but in the end, I got to go to my first game at Wrigley.  SO worth the wait.

delay

First Pitch!

First Pitch!

Go Cubs Go

Go Cubs Go!

Unfortunately, my phone died during the rain delay so playing meetup tag with my friend, Tamara, was a bit tricky, but we eventually got together and I spent a couple of days with her.   My last couple of days are a blur of food and friends and it couldn’t have been better.

Looking towards Hancock

Looking towards Hancock

Logan Square

Logan Square

Spicy Bloodies

Spicy Bloodies

elevated

Elevated

I can’t wait to go back!

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Casa Sweet Casa

I’ll do a real blog thing where I organize pictures and try to utilize some sort of narrative, but it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.  As usual, I had a fantastic time in Chicago, although once again I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do (e.g. nighttime photos, Navy Pier, water taxi).  I really didn’t take nearly as many photos as I really wanted to – mostly because I didn’t want to drive my friend Dave insane with my constant stopping and sitting and focusing and fidgeting.

wrigleyDespite the best laid plans, I didn’t get to go to two Cubs games this weekend.  SO glad I waited out the rain delay and went on Friday because Saturday wasn’t meant to be.  The lost to the Astros 4-3 so I wouldn’t have gotten to sing again anyway.  Apparently they slaughtered Houston today, 14-6, so apparently they weren’t all that broken up about me leaving town.

 

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TTFN

Alarm is going off in, oh, 6ish hours for my mini-trip to Chicago with HRG.  I’m really very excited, but that 0800 departure is going to come very, VERY early.

I’ve managed to overpack, as usual, and am forcibly keeping myself from adding a couple more items to my bag.  Sure, I’ll come to regret it, but that’s what happens when I travel.  I’m equipped with two guidebooks, two iPods, one camera and not nearly enough money to do all the playing that I’d like (but who ever does?).

The weather is looking shaky for both Friday and Saturday – scattered thunderstorms both days.  I really, REALLY hope that I can get to see the Cubs play.  That’ll make this whole trip worthwhile.

bean2I seriously doubt I’ll be able to maintain my daily blog posts while on this trip.  I’m not taking my laptop because I don’t feel like lugging it around and blogging from my phone is just weird.  We’ll see how I feel once I’m on the go.  Wish me bon voyage!

Best Intentions

I had every intention of staying away from the Garden of Doom today, but HRG wanted to check out the work I’ve done so away we went.  We didn’t stay long – pulled a couple of weeds, admired a baby grape tomato that has begun to grow (SQUEE!) – and then took off before the skies opened up.

Chicago is just over a week away, so at  some point, I need to figure out what I’m going to need for this trip.  What am I talking about – I know exactly what I need: a fully-charged camera battery, comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses, & a baseball hat (scratch that – I need a new Cubs hat).  Anyone have any recommendations of what not to miss in the Windy City?

It’s a Trap

Growing up, I was fortunate in that my immediate family lived within a 120-mile radius of home. Major holidays were spent hopping on the “big road” (AKA interstate) and alternating between my maternal and paternal grandparents’ houses. Aunts, uncles and cousins were only a short car ride away as well, so it was years before I did any “real” traveling.

When I was sixteen, I scrimped and saved my money from my crappy fast-food job, researched airfares (by calling airlines listed in the phone book – the humanity!!!), and begged my parents to let me visit my aunt and cousin in Chicago. As I sat in my seat over the wing with my nose pressed to the glass – this huge metal bird gaining speed as we barreled down the runway – my stomach dropped as the nose lifted to the sky. This was the moment I became a traveler.

winging it

That’s not entirely true. That was the moment I decided I wanted to become a traveler. To this day, however, I’m still a tourist. This is a fine distinction – one that mainly lives in my mind – but a distinction nonetheless. I love tourist destinations; I adore taking those same photos that everyone else has and don’t even talk to me about hop-on, hop-off bus tours! Someone once told me that those hideously tacky bus tours were a great way to get an overview of a city, plus you get a free map of the good stuff. They were right. I continue to work on getting off the beaten path, avoiding the tourist destinations and submerging myself in the spirit of a place. To paraphrase, someone once said “Travel like you’re going to return” – which is to say, don’t try to do everything in one fell swoop.  I fail at this – miserably – every single time.

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Since that first United flight into ORD, I have adored travel. Cross-country roadtrips, Caribbean cruises, trans-oceanic flights – I love it all. Someday, I’ll get to do it again.  Ideally, I would find a job that allowed me to travel.  I’d settle for any job that allowed me to save money to use my vacation time to visit a faraway place of my choosing.

As far as Chicago is concerned, “someday” will come later this month.  HRG has a conference to attend at the end of the month, when her ride fell through, I volunteered to go with her and help with the drive.  I can’t wait to visit the Windy City again; with any luck I’ll be able to take in a game at Wrigley, meet up with some friends, grab a Goose Island Summertime and snap some photos.

chicago

[Though off by a day, this post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt for June 3: Tourist Trap]

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Today marks the beginning of my week-long visit to the mid-Atlantic. I’m looking forward to my weekend camping, bookended by a couple of days on either end in VA.

The sheer comfort of being back on my home turf is difficult to put into words. There are a couple more unnecessary condos and the never-ending construction but I’m so happy to be back.

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A Three-Hour Tour

Saturday, I zipped in and out of Columbus to celebrate my friend Tina’s birthday.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of her shock, but Brunny was accomodating:

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I almost bailed at the last minute, but I’m really glad I went.  I ended up driving back late last night but hopefully the next time I head west, I can stay longer.  I wish I’d gotten a chance to see Slapper, but time got away from me and I didn’t get on the road as early as I’d like.  I also met a couple of hashers from down this way so hopefully if I make it out to Dayton or Sin City, there’ll be at least one familiar face.

jengaBar Jenga!

I70Ohio is flat.  That is all.

 

 

 

Worth the Sniffles

It was a chilly weekend in Ocean City, MD, but I love going to the beach in the off season.  While I had a teensy, weensy headache, I’m glad the early dawn light streaming through our east-facing windows woke me up so I could shiver on the balcony and snap a few pics.

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Playing Catch Up

This weekend was all about catching up with old friends.  Holly and I hopped in her car and headed north on a quickie roadtrip to catch up with some Hash friends in eastern PA.  After I dragged her through the woods on a four-mile mosey, we ate, drank and caught up with some folks that I haven’t seen for years.  It’s always great to reconnect with these idiots that I only see once or twice a year.

Before the descent into low-grade debauchery, we did manage to get a little yarn ogling in.  The Yarn Garden in Carlisle was lovely and cozy and all those things I like in a yarn store.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a MadTosh colorway that I couldn’t live without but I did snag some DIC Smooshy for a shawlette to be whipped up one of these days.

All along West Pomfret, outside the Yarn Garden, the parking meters were decorated with meter sweaters.  I particularly liked the pompoms on this one, but they extended down most of the block.  Holly studiously avoided touching the one that had a vaguely mohair-ish appearance.  I can’t imagine why.

Once again, despite my best laid plans, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done on the road.  The toe on my second Paper Moon / Moon River sock is coming along.  Yes, I cast those socks on en route to Georgia back in October, but we know what a notoriously slow (not to mention easily distracted) knitter I am.  General knitting update forthcoming – I actually have a FO for 2012 already!!!

 

Where I scoff at Denver’s puny 5,280 feet

Childsplay

Well, not really because even that mile kicked my butt.  However, the 9000+ feet I encountered in Winter Park had far more impact on my respiratory system.  Fortunately, that was the only drawback to my time in Colorado – I didn't experience any of the nausea or headaches that I was worried about (at least none that wasn't directly related to my exposure to copious amounts of Ska Brewery product).  At least I learned my lesson the first night and didn't fall down that slippery slope a second time while out west.   But ouch, that first step was a doozy.

For the most part, I had an okay time in Winter Park.  Parts were fantastic, others were so-so, and still others were downright forgettable.  As usual, it was great catching up with other hashers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, N. Carolina and my new friends from Colorado, but I was bummed that everything was so spread out and it was more difficult than it should've been to track folks down.

Zephyr   Trash

East    Mountains
1. Zephyr Mountain Lodge – home sweet home!  2. Takin' out the Trash.
3. East Coast rulz!   4. Hazy Rocky Mountains

I've already signed up for a similar venture to Savannah in a couple of years.  That will simply have the added benefit of trying to hide from my aunt the entire time.  Maybe she'll be  out of town?  Maybe I can arrange for her to be out of town?

On our drive from Winter Park to Denver, some friends and I decided to detour to Fort Collins for a tour of the New Belgium Brewery.  Unfortunately, the traffic was awful, so we missed our tour window, but forged onward anyway.   When we arrived 45 minutes late, Andrew had pity on us and took us on a mini-tour of their operation.  Fat Tire – the beer most people have heard of – was tasty, but I really
enjoyed the Sunshine Wheat, Mothership Wit and especially the Biere de Mars.  Now, if we can only get them to distribute to Virginia!

Brewery

After the debauchery had drawn to a close, I spent a couple of days in Denver trying to detox before heading back home.  The good news is, our hotel was right on the 16th Street pedestrian mall.  The bad news is, it made it very easy to be a tourist and not leave the cookie-cutter, sanitized part of town we were in.   We made a couple of ill-fated trips on the light rail out to Five Points and South Pearl neighborhoods in search of lunch, but never came across anything we were dying to try, so we scurried back to the land of tourists.

Coors   Snp

Tuesday night we suited up and went to Coors Field (no, KP, we didn't literally suit up) to watch the Rockies take on the Reds.   I was largely ambivalent about the outcome – I didn't want to root against the home-state Reds, but they're in the same division as my Cubbies.  Despite some light showers in the middle of the game, the threatening clouds never dumped on us and the home team eventually won 3-1.  Although our Stitch-n-Pitch consisted of a party of two, we got a fair amount of attention from the people around us.  My favorite was the woman behind us explaining the difference between knitting and crocheting to the rest of her group.  She may have even been with the insane woman who spent the entire time screeching from the upper deck about how much she loved Carlos (Gonzalez – center fielder?).  To the point where people were turning around staring at her, to no avail.  He did try to through a ball to her up in the 300's but fell just short.  All I could think was, "Dear gawd, don't encourage this woman!"  Too late.

A handful of other pictures from this trip can be found in my Flickr set.  As usual, I only like about 5% of the pictures I took, but I certainly had fun tromping around taking them.  I just wish I'd been able to get some better ones in Winter Park.  Maybe the next time I'm in Colorado.