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

Small note

I forgot to mention:

The speedometer and odometer stopped working on Pearl about 20 miles after we left Strausburg, CO

"Was you ever bit by a dead bee?" redux

Slim: You have? Why don't you bite them back?
Eddie: That's what Harry always says. But I ain't got no stinger.
Let's go back in the Way Back Machine for a moment, all the way back to the early part of 2009 (I think - I'm getting old!), to when I met Doc's family for the first time.  We journey to the Bay Area for Doc's birthday, and I would be meeting not only his family, but most of his good friends.  I was anxious as to what they would think about me, this girl who stole their oldest son away to southern California.  I was dressed in a very cute short blue plaid skirt (this is important later).

Doc and I arrived at the Hayward BART station in the evening, met by two of his long-time friends Tim and Cat. Doc and I and all of our luggage piled into the back of their car.  About 2 or 3 minutes in to the drive, the back of my upper thigh began to sting and hurt.  I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to be that whiny, high-strung girlfriend.  It hurt more and more over the course of the short ride to his parents house.  By the time we stopped I was in such pain that I had to run into the house, bypassing greetings and pleasantries, and go straight to the bathroom to see what was going on.  Much to my chagrin, I was too short to see my legs in the bathroom mirror.  Embarrassed, I had to leave the bathroom, and ask Doc to follow me and inspect the area.  His mother was going to think I was crazy.

Come to find out, I had sat on a dead bee in the back of the car, and I somehow managed to get stung.  By a dead bee.

Fast forward to St. Louis, MO, 18 march 2012.  When we arrived, we were able to stop in on Doc's Great Uncle James.  James runs a NC-style bbq joint in the city.

 We had a lovely dinner, drank beer, and discussed business.  James is a wonderful man.  He kept trying to convince us to stay, and I intending on taking him up on that offer when we go back through.  We did avail ourselves of his shower, however.  In the guest bathroom, getting ready to shower, I stepped on something hard.  I pick my foot up, and what do I see?  A dead bee.  Sigh.

Abilene KS

In the middle of all the car troubles we were making some, albeit slow, headway east.  For one of our numerous stops we decided to go to Abilene KS to the the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.  As is usual for a Holliday, instead of getting there at 2 like we wanted, we arrived at 4:30.  The library and museum close at 4:45. Luckily the grounds were open later, so we wandered a bit.

I love President Eisenhower for many reasons, not the least of which is creating the interstate highway system.  During this same part of the trip we drove the first 8 miles of the first highway.  Almost brings tears to my eyes.

All about Ike

Eisenhower's boyhood home

Gratuitous artsy photo #2 - cool tree edition

My favourite

This is for Amanda - on the way out of town we happened across this awesome place

Colorado and Kansas - car woes

We got on our merry way in the late evening on the 15th.  A scant 40 miles outside of Denver all of my dread is realized.  A loud, clearly abnormal, thumping began emanating from the rear driver's side.  We pulled over to the side of the road, and Doc tried to check under the car to see if he could tell what was wrong, without getting run over by oncoming traffic.  Did I mention that Pearl doesn't have hazard lights?  Oh, the joys of old cars.

He couldn't determine what is wrong with the car, although he guess is either the brakes, or the wheel bearings.  The rim of the back tire was hot, and once that cooled down, the sound stopped.  That lasted for maybe a mile.  We pulled off the highway at the next exit, in Strasburg, CO.

We pulled in to the parking lot of a gas and tire store, and Doc spent an hour or so in the freezing wind trying to jack up the car high enough that he could see what was going on, to no avail.  I convinced Doc that the best thing to do was get some sleep, and wake up when the store opened to see if they would jack it up for us, and continue from there.  
Our first sleeping spot
Once day broke we spoke to the owner of the store, who directed us to the mechanic just down the way - John's Repair.  They didn't have space for us until noon, so we spent the morning wandering Strasburg.
Decent breakfast place

Strasburg is a cute little town. Small of course, but I liked it.  Everyone was very kind and outgoing.

When we finally got the car up and looked at, we found out that it was really both things that Doc has supposed.  The wheel bearing had gone out, and the resulting pressure broke half of the brake shoe off, and was rubbing on the brake drum.  Incredibly, the drum was not damaged, so all we needed to do was replace the wheel bearing, and brake shoe, and lube the car.  I was so thankful.  By happenstance, JD and John, the two mechanics, were comfortable with old cars like Pearl, and were very good at their jobs - serendipitous occurrence #2.

Parts were ordered in from Denver, and we got on our way about 4pm, with a somewhat significant dent in our already small bank account, having lost about a day in our, what apparently was to become a race, to NYC to make it to the opera.

Gratuitous artsy photo
We get on the road, and drive

We finally get in to Kansas the next evening.  It was at this point that the shift linkage went.  The impetus of this mechanical failure was yours truly, although we then discovered that due to the poor way the linkage was put together after changing transmissions, it would have happened at any time.

2 hours in the dark Doc spent on the car.  About 15 minutes fixing the bend I caused, and the rest of the time trying to make the shift linkage stay in its proper position, as it has previously been held in my just a wire.

Nothing was working until Doc used vice grips to hold it in, and drive the 60 miles to civilization.  Over the course of the next day or so, he would use various pins to hold the linkage together, which would hold for about 50-100 miles before needed to be replaced.  

It wasn't until Dayton, Ohio that he was able to fashion a better solution that would hold for more than a tank of gas.  

And we had lost 2.5 days to delays.

Preparations, with pics

We spent a while (although probably not enough time)preparing Pearl for her journey.  She lived at Tom's how for a couple of weeks while problems with the trans and electrical system were taken care of.  That and we had to remove the old transmission that had been hanging out in her trunk for about 6 months.
Pearl, getting ready for her journey

A 1959 Edsel Ranger 4-door, Pearl had 10,151 miles on her when we left Denver.  We purchased Pearl in January of 2010, just after moving to Denver.  She had about 7000 miles on her.  Ever.  Yes, this car is all original (can't you tell?) and has only ever been driven around town.  Edsel is a name that is synonymous with "failure."  It was one of the first big failures of the auto industry, and especially for Ford.  They were made for 3 years, 1958, 1959, and 1960.  The 1958 is the most iconic, as it has the larger, more prominent "horse collar" grill.  We have one of only 14,063 1959 Edsel Rangers 4dr sedans made.
 The paint job has faded, and the interior is a mess, but over all she is in amazing condition.
 We said good-bye to everyone in Denver over the span of a couple of days, culminating with Thursday, March 15th.  We had opera tickets at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for the 20th, and 5 days should be plenty of time to get there.  Oh silly us.

Bye lovely Crickett

Our final meal in Denver, with Cathy and Holly
We had a last meal in Denver with the lovely Holly and Cathy, and then finished the final touches as got going after dark.

The journey begins

I have never felt as much anxiety and unadulterated terror as I have these past 15 days. Every hour brought a roller coaster of excitement and fear. Strangely, although not sadly, my last days in Denver were spent awash in a wave of utter apathy.

We got under way about 9 o'clock. The actual departure time itself seemed unremarkable. The nausea hit almost immediately. The 70 stretched before me.

Speckled Purple and Grey Eyes

Every time I try to do a lighter look, it always ends up pretty dark.  This at least stayed some what light.

Primer - UDPP
All over lid, base - bareMinerals 1980's shadow, a nice shimmery grey.
Blended lightly over top - one of ScaredyCatCosmetic's pinkish-purple shadows
Outer v and crease - Fyrinnae's Arcane Magic shadow, Alchemist's Curse.
Blended just above the crease, and highlight - Sugarpill's Tiara
Liner - Urban Decay Perversion (pencil)

Then I just used the side of a mascara wand and speckled the lid.  Pretty happy with how it turned out.

Beer goddess - Life milestone

I passed my level 1 Cicerone on Wednesday!  Very exciting.  Now I have my level 1 in both beer and wine.  I'm looking forward to using this trip to study lots more about wine to be able to take my level 2 soon.