This isn’t the first time we’ve shared this particular photo set on MCC, but it’s been a few years since I reused them for a miniseries about our multiple Chicago experiences in general. Anyone who read that miniseries is probably dead or no longer reading blogs, so these pics should be new to you, at least. I promise at least 95% of the rest of Our 2009 Road Trip features Photos Never Before Seen on MCC. Honest!
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.
2008 was by far our least favorite road trip to date, and still holds the ignominious title as of 2018. Driving out to Virginia Beach to see the ocean seemed like a good idea at the time. We weren’t prepared for the medical issues that plagued me all week long. We were disappointed with the beachfront tourist-trap economy. Worst of all, we learned the hard way that we’re simply not beach people. Our next vacation had to be better. Step one was plain enough: we looked at Anne’s brainstorming list of future road trips and chose the one that screamed “dream vacation”.
That’s what led to our long, long drive out to the farthest reaches of South Dakota and beyond. If you know anything about American tourism, you know some of the most iconic landmarks and attractions located way out there. South Dakota would be our most ambitious trip yet. At nine days it was the longest we’ve ever taken. The farthest point of 1,180 miles made it the longest drive of our lives. It would be the farthest west we’d ever been up to that time. It was also our first vacation using exclusively digital cameras to record the experience, leaving behind the 35mm film of our childhoods forever. They weren’t expensive cameras for their kind, certainly not the most advanced as of 2009, but we did what we could with the resources and the amateur skill sets available to us.
We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.
When we decided to devote one day of our ostensible Philadelphia vacation to visiting the Statue of Liberty a reasonable distance away, we had no idea what to expect from the journey. We certainly didn’t envision it as a prequel to future vacations. And yet, there we were, and there it was.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: back in April my wife and I attended C2E2 in Chicago. Rather than stay in the adjacent hotels where all the drunken partying happens, which has nothing to with us, instead I found a nice deal through AAA to stay at the positively luxurious Swissotel Chicago, just north of Millennium Park. Our 26th-floor room had the largest windows we’ve ever seen in a hotel room from the inside. To the northeast of us, that’s the Chicago River down below. In the distance you’ll note the Ferris wheel at the Navy Pier out on on Lake Michigan. Grandiose stuff.
When we began brainstorming the to-do list for our encore visit to New York City, we wanted to see new places and object we missed the first time around. The list included a handful of places we’d seen before but wanted to revisit — either to relive the same impressions or to catch up with recent changes.
Five years ago, when last we visited the World Trade Center plaza, this skyscraper was an extra-large stump. Today it’s the all-new all-different One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Americans may know it better by its original nickname, the Freedom Tower. On the morning of Day Two, we called it our obvious first stop.
[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]
On this trip we limited ourselves to two modes of transportation: walking and subway. Cabs and buses are popular options with some folks, but cabs are expensive and buses…frankly, I have no idea why we avoided buses. Soon we would learn that New York City’s subway system is extensive, but it doesn’t make every attraction an easy convenience, especially not in 90-degree temperatures.