Category Archives: Travel

2017 Travels, Part Two

The past couple of years have found me in Pittsburgh in early June, doing their 5K on marathon weekend.  With one of my best friends living in Buffalo – a city I visited once in high school on a field trip and barely remembered – I decided to continue to change things up and go on a road trip to western New York.  Since my good friend is a teacher and had to work on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I headed up early and went on a side trip to Niagara Falls, because you know how I delight in playing tourist.

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For the end of May, it was a chilly, windy day but that didn’t keep me from going full on Maid of the Mist. I could almost feel my toes at the end and everything. Even with the clouds and the bluster, the views were lovely.

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The rest of the trip was a whirlwind of food, beer, an architecture tour with Explore Buffalo and, of course, the Buffalo Marathon 5K.  I even managed to squeeze in a hash, even if it was more of the “auto” variety. I’ll definitely have to make another trip back to Bison City but hopefully it’ll be a bit warmer.

A trip to Buffalo wouldn’t be complete without wings and beef on weck.

 

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2017, Part One

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 was to try to do more new things, a little bit less of the same ol’, same ol’. In the 5 years since I’ve moved back to Ohio, my “social” life – such as it is – has been remarkably predictable. Being an introvert makes it incredibly difficult to make new friends, so the vast majority of my social interactions have involved hopping in my car and driving to Pittsburgh (for weekends with friends, campouts, the occasional 5K).

To change things up this year, I decided to do a r*ce I’ve been contemplating for the last couple of years: The Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.  I’d never been to Charleston, so I figured doing a 10K with friends was an ideal way to combine exercise, travel and my comfort zone.

A Krispy Kreme doughnut at the finish line, fantastic food at the beach and great friends in a huge beach house to pass the time. I’d definitely like to do it again, but I’m going to skip 2018 in the hopes of finding a new adventure. The tentative plan is a jaunt across the border, but I have to renew my pesky passport in order for that to happen. Stay tuned.

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…

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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.

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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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