Advertisements

Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 1: Hanging with the Hillbillies

Hillbilly sign!

Welcome to the mountains of West Virginia! And one of the better meals on this trip.

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.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had been a fun mix of famous theme park and American spaceflight, with one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression.

For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

Little did we know it would be our least favorite road trip to date. 9½ years later, it still holds the title of The Worst.

Today we kick off another special MCC miniseries representing the original travelogue from our 2008 drive from Indianapolis to southeast Virginia. Some hindsight editing will be included along the way as part of the “special edition” processing. Special thanks as always to my wife Anne, who — for reasons that will become more apparent in the narrative — co-wrote far more of this travelogue than any other we’ve done.

Despite our pain and disappointment: enjoy!

Read more of this post

Advertisements

The Man Who Invented Chicken

Colonel mask!

Darrell Hammond. Norm Macdonald. Jim Gaffigan. Vincent Kartheiser. Rob Riggle. Before those modern actors, kids in the ’60s had their chance to play Colonel Sanders, too.

Read more of this post

A Right Way and a Wrong Way to Do Coffee and Donuts

Hilligoss Bakery donuts

Three fine ways to kick off a Saturday morning before a shopping spree.

Behold my Saturday morning sugary wake-up call from Hilligoss Bakery, a local establishment in the nearby town of Brownsburg since 1974. They relocated several years ago to a standalone building that once housed a frozen custard joint, but have made the place their own with an exemplary array of donuts and danishes, as well as fast and reliable customer service. They sell a limited selection of drinks on the side, including a couple of different varieties of freshly brewed coffee — nothing fancy, no aspirations to double as an artisan coffeehouse, but they keep it brewing steadily for not-so-finicky coffee drinkers like me. They’re pastry purveyors non pareil located fifteen minutes from our house, but in a direction we rarely find reason to travel, so we’re not quite regular customers (yet). We do recommend them to anyone with an excuse to be in the vicinity.

This morning I made the command decision to go out of our way toward their vicinity. To be honest, Hilligoss wasn’t our first stop, but our day had started off on the wrong foot and I knew they’d set it right.

Read more of this post

Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 34: Tour of Little Italy

Vaccaro's pastries!

Who needs artisan donuts when you can have bona fide Italian pastry?

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…

Throughout our stay in Baltimore, nearly all our paths to and from the Inner Harbor took us through the heart of their very own Little Italy. We’ve walked near Manhattan’s version a few times on our 2011 and 2016 vacations, but were hobbled both times by a third companion who is among the six people nationwide that dislike Italian cuisine. Also, Manhattan’s is only a couple of blocks long and adjacent to Chinatown, so its restaurants are too easy to bypass in favor of the dozens of other nearby options. This time in Baltimore, it was just the two of us — no excuses and almost no barriers.

Baltimore’s Little Italy comprises several streets and blocks, encompassing both the African American History Museum and the Flag House to the west, and ending with its southeast corner a convenient block away from our hotel. When we weren’t stopping inside it, we were still walking through it here and there for frequent glimpses at an eminent immigrant neighborhood whose origins date back to the mid-1800s.

Read more of this post

Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 25: Bountiful Bites of the Bay

soft shell crab sandwich!

Of all the seafood-based meals we had on this vacation, Anne’s lunch on Day 3 was the crabbiest. But in a good way!

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…

Days Three through Five kept us busy with attractions a-plenty. Whenever time and location permitted, we tried to seek out local Baltimore cuisine within a reasonable budget. We can’t do four-star dining for every meal (most of our trips never had one), but it’s a major bonus whenever we can grab our meals someplace besides nationwide chains. As you’d expect, result may vary.

Read more of this post

The Birthday Gal and Me and Stella Makes Three

Stella, Indianapolis

The lovely lady and the surroundings (including wood-fired oven!) that made our night.

This week my wife Anne turned 47 and still looks half my age even though she’s a year-and-a-half older than me. The physical aging disparity has been a source of amusement for years. The best example happened about 18 years ago on an evening we took my son to Red Lobster. The hostess grabbed a kids’ menu for my son, then turned to me and asked if my daughter would also like a kids’ menu. I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure Anne had us tip her far beyond 15%.

Officially her birthday road trip was last weekend, for which we have more photos to share in the near future. We took tonight for an additional birthday dinner to round out the occasion with flair, and without settling for Red Lobster.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: