Manual For Ever!

The manual transmission is having a come back - yes! I can't believe they want to drop manual transmissions from Lamborghinis

New York, New York - We made it! (#1)

I had been to New York City (not counting the airport) just once before, during my Middlebury days.  I spent about 8 hours there, and didn't really see anything.  I was determined that this trip would be different.

Someone once called Doc "the Devil"
while in this suit
We road the bus from Pennsylvania through New Jersey and in to New York City.  I woke Doc up about 30 minutes before our scheduled arrival time so he could change.  My attempts at changing in the bathroom failed, resulting only in me hitting my head and getting motion sick.  We got dropped off around 6:45pm.  Dominic immediately turned back in to the New Yorker he is inside, and took off for the exit, with Doc and I scurrying to keep up with him.  He expertly hailed a cab that takes us to the Lincoln Center.

Since we were not that far off, it only took about 10 minutes to get there.  We lugged our bags out of the cab and tried to figure out where the opera house was.  After wandering around a bit and getting some much needed hydration, we found the Metropolitan Opera House.  It was about 30 minutes before the show was to begin. And we had all of our bags. Dominic, being the amazing friend that he is, volunteered to take all the bags and drop them off at the apartment where were were staying.

Our seats were amazing.  I never want to sit anywhere else at the opera.  I was able to see the orchestra pit for the first time.  The opera itself was very good.  Lady MacBeth was far and away the show-stealer.  MacBeth was ok, but was overshadowed consistently by both MacDuff and Lady MacBeth.

I learned later that you are not allowed to take pictures inside the opera house. I'm glad I found that out after I took all of these.


MTD - Miles to Date

March 22nd NYC - approximately 1960 miles

The big push - NYC Opera Countdown

We left St. Louis around one in the morning on Sunday with the realization that because of our set backs, we had about 900 miles to travel and 2 and a half days until the opera. That is a lot of miles to put on that car in a very short period of time.

We didn't stop much. We took a "heat of the day" break in Dayton and surfed the internet for the first time really since we left.  We didn't want to and could not afford the tolls all the way across Pennsylvania, so we took this strange route that weaved us in an out of PA, WV and MD.

While we were getting gas and looking for somewhere to eat, we ran into a nazi. This guy was talking to Doc about the car, which happens practically every time we stop. I had gone inside to use the facilities, and when I returned I asked the man about places to go for food. While I was asking him, his shirt collar fell open and he had a bunch of nazi tattoos including a broken cross. Since we were in a part of the country where nazis take their miscegenation seriously, I promptly ended my conversation and got in the car.  There was no confrontation, but it did rattle us a little bit.

About midnight on Tuesday we were caught in a sudden rain storm and had to pull over to the side of the road for a couple of hours in the middle of rural Pennsylvania; our windshield wipers, which had worked before the trip, decided to not turn on.  Instead of going straight to New York, we had to make a detour to Nikki Rolo's house in Philadelphia. Nikki is a great friend, and we planned on seeing her after New York. However, we needed to leave our guns in a place were they were actually legal. We finally arrived at her place in Phillie at about 10am Tuesday, or several hours after we said we would.  Surprise, surprise. We stopped briefly for a shower, while I hatched a plan with my friend Dom.

Three pictures of our brief time in Phillie

Dominic Monfre is a good friend from my undergrad years at UofA who lived in PA. We had already made plans to meet up in NYC (his former hometown), since we had not seen each other since 2003. At this point, though, I was thinking about the car.  Driving in to NYC, with all the cost of tolls and parking, and leaving her with all of our worldly possessions in a big parking lot for a week did not sound appealing.  Also, as time grew closer, the distance between the parking lot, on the far side of Manhattan, and the Lincoln Center seemed to grow further and further. So, we decided to drive to Dominic's town of Bethlehem, PA, and leave the car at his house in his nice, safe suburban neighbourhood, and then all three of us would catch the bus up to New York together.

We got going and drive to Bethlehem and meet in a Sonic parking lot.  Doc and I frantically packed because we were trying to catch the 1pm train to get us to NYC at 3pm - time to drop our stuff off and change.  Little did I know that arriving at noon would not give us enough time to drop our car off and get to the bus station.  We missed the 1 o'clock bus by about 15 minutes; the next train was at 4pm, with an arrival time of 6:30pm.  The opera was set to begin at 7:30.  We would have to change on the bus, and take a cab directly to the Lincoln Center, and haul all our bags with us.  I was stressed.

We have lunch and a beer at a brew pub Dominic raved about.  The beer was tasty, he was right.  The food was good, but nothing stellar.  We arrived early back at the bus depot, boarded, and promptly slept for a bit to be as fresh as possible for the opera.

Old hobbies are new again on the road

I am so far behind in the story of our trip.  Each post takes a lot out of me if they are to be anything beyond just a ton of pictures.  Soon....soon....

There is not a whole lot to do on the road.  I mean when physically on the road.  Driving requires your full attention for a variety of reasons, such as the lack of a speedometer; monitoring engine noises; the actual act of driving a non-power steering, non-power brakes vehicle.  On top of this, Pearl is a loud vehicle.  She has about 8 inches of exhaust pipe right now, which means not only is the engine noise deafening, but the windows need to be down so as to not breathe in fumes.

As a passenger, this precludes most chatting.  In fact, I wear ear plugs most of the time.  Neither of us have a data plan, so that cuts out internet surfing.  There is always taking in the wonderful scenery, except that we do most of our traveling at night.  So, I have fallen back on some old hobbies that I have not had time to pursue in the past couple of years

I am an avid reader, and I have been since childhood.  Since I quit my job at Euclid Hall I have read 32 books. In a month.  And I didn't read every day.

I love studying.  I'm one of the only people I know that can say that.  I love learning things.  I am very lucky that this trip has given me the opportunity to pursue more knowledge.  I am now studying for my level 2 Sommelier and Cicerone, as well as brushing up on my French

I used to crochet a lot when I was younger, and then as I became a teenager I just stopped.  Just before we left my amazing friend Crickett, who herself had renewed her interest in crochet a couple months previous, gave me four of her grandmother's old crochet needles, and some yarn (some black, white, and red, of course!)  At this point I can crochet by feel, since much of the time I'm doing it in the dark.  In about 4 days got halfway through a basic lap blanket to get me back in the flow.  Now that we are in a place for more than a couple of days, and I've had time to check out patterns for ideas, and I've been even more productive.  Pictures below

small travel makeup bag


my new hat, with clip-on flower from H&M