Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our annual road trip in thirty-three episodes, from Indianapolis to Boston to Cleveland to home again. Next came a three-part collection of outtakes for hardcore MCC fans or just people who like photos of places they’ve never been. Part One gave you more photos from the Boston area; Part Two, more photos around the rest of Massachusetts in general.
Here, then, in our grand finale: outtakes from everywhere and everything else we saw. Pretend these are the bonus photos you’re watching during the “Our 2013 Road Trip” end credits, while the names of myself and my wife scroll past repeatedly for every possible position we served for this production.
Speaking of which: on Day 8 in Cleveland at the A Christmas Story house, my wife Anne tried on a replica of Flick’s aviator cap, one of the perks of the house tour.
Meanwhile on Day 9 at the Ohio State Reformatory, she caught me entering one of the spooky upper-level cell blocks, seconds before I dropped my phone and watched it tumble one level down into a Do Not Enter section. Fortunately the phone was undamaged and I wasn’t shot on sight for venturing three feet past the rope to fetch it.
Scary untold trivia: the Reformatory is adjacent to a detainment facility that’s still in use. According to the signs, pamphlets, and stern warnings from employees, no one is legally allowed to take any photos out the reformatory windows facing that side. Their sincere threats of prosecution successfully encouraged us to comply.
My son, who’d just graduated high school and considered this his last family vacation with us, didn’t appear in many shots. I’ve used him in a “Where’s Waldo?” capacity in a few previous entries. On Day One in Springfield, Ohio, here’s him resting in our rental car, entertained by good ol’ Uncle Galaxy S II while my wife and I go walking around downtown. I’d hoped to find humor in the fact that we stopped in not one, but two Springfields this year, but the Ohio version didn’t offer much beyond some peculiar sculptures.
You’ll note this was the same Ford Escape that broke down on the Boston interstate on the morning of Day 4 and had to be swapped out for a much less maneuverable, even more greedily gas-guzzling Chrysler Town & Country. Special thanks to Avis for coming to our rescue and not taking all day to do so.
This static shot of the ACS living room provides a better sense of our surroundings, how they chose to place all the props and replicas so that everything you saw in the movie would fit. Walking into this warm Christmas glow in mid-July was a bit surreal.
The ACS gift shop and museum include a room filled with a combination of movie props and period-specific artifacts that resemble said props. Fans of old-time radio might dig the Little Orphan Annie secret decoder collection. Past those is a fuzzy shot of an ACS poster from one of its foreign markets.
With this year’s travelogue I found opportunities for experimenting with some entries, deviating from the format a tad to see what I could pull off. There was the Dr. Seuss rhyming entry and the Christmas entry that was posted five episodes ahead of schedule for holiday tie-in purposes, but my favorite of the series (and the hardest to compose) was my homage to Harvey Pekar and his comics career, done as a fumetti (read: comic book made of photos). For anyone who had moral objections to my captioning, here’s an unedited, uncovered closeup of Harvey’s statue.
We cover a lot of ground on our annual road trips, but time and circumstances sometimes force us to skip places along the way. We’d hoped to make time for a stopover in Scranton as a nod to The Office, but it was too far off our path, a detour that ultimately wasn’t fruitful enough to incorporate.
On Day 7 we saw Rod Serling’s hometown of Binghamton, and I’m still kicking myself for not titling any of those entries “Stopover in a Quiet Town”. Regardless, this shot features two of their Twilight Zone themed sights — the “Walking Distance” rotunda marker and the TZ indoor carousel.
Downtown Binghamton had its share of non-Rod architectural features that caught our eye. Exhibit A: giant non-capitol dome.
Exhibit B: this cast-iron building designed by Isaac Gale Perry, for some reason recolored turquoise in later years.
On our way out of Jamestown, NY, we drove under this Erie Railroad bridge that reminded me of Monopoly, even though none of the four railroads are named Erie. I blame the generically named Pennsylvania Railroad for this old man’s moment of confusion.
I could spend days posting more photos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, but I’d prefer not to. Please accept Michael Jackson’s Thriller Grammy as a token of my apologies for this omission.
The top of the James A. Garfield Presidential Memorial has an impressive view of the rest of hilly, densely forested Lake View Cemetery as well as surrounding Cleveland. Through the distant haze you can barely make out downtown in silhouette. Since the zoom feature on my wife’s camera has mine beat, her version of this photo became the first panel of the Pekar comic.
Also, award yourself one thousand points if you noticed while reading this series that President Garfield and Lucille Ball are buried in two different states, but their cemeteries have the same name.
We conclude with a photo taken not by us, but by a fellow tourist — one of those kind souls who share knowledge of the fact that couples on vacation have a tough time snapping pics of themselves together. The tourist code of honor asks that if you see a couple taking turns photographing each other in front of something, it’s polite to offer to take a pic of them together with their camera. That’s assuming you’re not a despicable thief, of course. My son’s done this for us on occasion, but at this particular moment he was waiting in the car again.
Nine days. Six states. 2000+ miles. 36 entries. One vehicular breakdown. Two Springfields. Two Lake View Cemeteries. Three Presidential gravesites. One actor’s autograph. At least three whales. One major storm. Two boat rides. One incident of tiptoeing through an imam’s sermon. Another set of memories for the books.
The End. Roll end credits, which do not include Production Babies, marketing department, or product-placement acknowledgments.
Thanks for following along. Lord willing, we’ll see you next year. 🙂
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]