Advertisements

Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 16: The Art of Pittsburgh

Honus Wagner!

For the sports fans out there: we ran across Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner in front of PNC Park while searching in vain for a Mister Rogers statue. Not really the same thing.

Every vacation has a final day, by which time everyone’s overloading on new memories and experiences, exhausted and ready to return home to the comfort of their own bed, and in dire need of time apart from their travel companions. On our early road trips we came to learn that the final day of our trips felt ten times longer if we didn’t give ourselves something to do on the way back, something to look forward to besides the open road itself. Downtown Pittsburgh had more than enough character for the three of us, even on a deserted Sunday morning.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 2: Steel Glances

Big Jim the Cowboy!

Howdy and welcome to the Keystone State, pardner!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

After the record-breaking nine-day epic that was our 2009 trek to the farthest reaches of South Dakota, we decided to scale back in 2010 with a shorter drive in a different direction. We previously drove through the corners of Pennsylvania in 2003 and 2004 — through Washington in the southwest corner on our way to Washington, DC; and through Erie in the northwest corner on our way to Niagara Falls. This year, that extra-large wooded state would be the center of our attention.

As one of America’s original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania contains multitudes of U.S. history and authentic places and things from centuries past. For the three of us, we figured it would do well. Anne is a big history buff. I’m willing to drive just about anywhere within reason. My son would be dragged along for whatever ride until such time as he developed a separate life and identity.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

Another few hours of I-70 brought us from out of Ohio’s clutches, across a short span of West Virginia, and into Pennsylvania, our adopted home state for the next several days. We would have felt right at home among its copious forests and construction sites, if it hadn’t been for the occasional verdant mountains to remind us we weren’t in Indiana anymore. At least they guaranteed we were free of Ohio.

Continue reading

Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 41: A Meeting on Mount Washington

Points of View!

Two men enter. Two men leave. It was more of a debate than a cage match.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

DAY SEVEN: Friday, July 14th.

When morning came, I didn’t want to leave the Omni William Penn, but we didn’t want to live there, either. It was time to go home. Before we left Pittsburgh we made one last stop — beyond downtown but with a fantastic view of it. We previously visited the elevated neighborhood of Mount Washington on our 2010 road trip, but somehow missed one of their storied attractions, a reminder of a pivotal time in pre-American history.

Continue reading

Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 40: A Night at the Omni

chandelier!

I double-dare you to top this backdrop, Hyatt.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

In our travelogues we rarely share in-depth about our hotel experiences. The three-diamond service level that usually fits our vacation budget doesn’t lend itself to many five-star anecdotes of above-and-beyond awesomeness. If we mention the hotel in context other than as a basic setting, that’s not always a good thing. Exhibit A: the Hyatt Place where we stayed in Baltimore. Our check-in process on Day Two was one of our Bottom 5 hotel experiences to date. And the drawbacks didn’t end with that single evening full of hitches. A week after we returned home from this trip, I reviewed my credit card bill and found that the Hyatt charged us a second time for the five nights we’d prepaid through AAA, and charged us full price rather than the agreed-upon sale price. It took me a month of negotiations between the two companies to get the larger, erroneous charge off my bill, long enough for it to incur a finance charge while I waited.

Thankfully our final hotel stay on our 2017 road trip was the complete opposite of our Baltimore Hyatt letdown.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: