Things I Think – Thursday – PA Road-trip Edition

11 States, 3368 Miles, 2-Races, 1-Speeding Ticket

Every once and awhile you need to take a road trip and experience what this great country has to offer you. If you are lucky enough then you can take your time and explore some of the great things that are out there. So, while we had to do a cannonball run up to PA and back, it was without a doubt a fun trip filled with adventure and laughs.

Initially I was going to travel alone as I could not find anyone to travel with me, then my good friend Natasha from Making Natasha a Spartan said she has nothing else going on and since we choose to LIVE OUR LIFE, off we went.  Life is too short these days and without knowing if another opportunity like this would ever happen for her, it was awesome she wanted to go.

Louisiana

OIMG_5039ur first state was Louisiana. We stopped in Shreveport first and we had a few items we needed to see, so off we went! Here is our list:

  • 14-Story Mural – this is the largest mural in the United States. It was created in 2000 and contains 19 people and 40 objects, capturing the people of Shreveport, their treasures, triumphs, and tragedies.IMG_5043
  • Giant Dalmatian -“Art” is 19-foot-tall statue peeking in the window of the Central ARTSTATION. He is said to be the guardian of the arts in Northwest Louisiana.  At night the spots light up in the dark!

The other highlight of this city was see what is claimed to be the only “World’s only Tattoo School”. I am not sure about this one and I can’t make this up I swear, but this little jewel deserves its own photo, well just cause it makes you think about who would actually go in and get tattooed by one of these “students”? I had an apprentice give me a tattoo once and I had to have it redone because it was so bad and looked nothing like the picture I had picked out. Needless to say we did not get any new ink!

IMG_5088

 

IMG_5156We then made our way on to Monroe, LA and no road trip would be complete without seeing the Duck Dynasty place. It was shocking how it was the same building you see on TV. The loading docks and everything. I was not surprised that they sell everything under the sun in products. They have their label on just about everything there.

Mississippi

So the only cool thing we stopped to see here was the great Mississippi River. Oh and there was a cool ass cannon at the top of the hill too! Otherwise there wasn’t really any cool roadside attractions we found on our route.

IMG_5253

 

Alabama

Sorry Alabama, but we kinda flew through your state and we didn’t stop to see anything. Not that we didn’t have a couple of items on the list, but by the time we got to Birmingham, everything was closed and it was dark out. But we did have these two places…maybe next time.

  • Statue of Liberty Replica
  • World’s largest Motorcycle Museum
 Tennessee

Traveling at night through a state makes it very difficult to actually experience anything. Especially when you are driving in the wee hours of the night.  On the return trip it was more of the same, we entered the state in the early morning hours and left at 0600.

Virginia

Sorry Virginia, while I am sure you have a lot to offer since you are made for lovers, we were on a mission to get to Phily to see some cool stuff.

Maryland

Your morning traffic sucks! We didn’t see much because of it.. I know you have some cool stuff and things, maybe on a different trip.

District of Columbia

The only non state we visited, we drove right though and waved. I will admit that I did hold my breath through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, just to see if I could. I did and I didn’t pass out thank goodness!

Delaware

I think I sneezed and we were already out of the state.

Pennsylvania

PA how I am growing to love you. I don’t think I had been to PA since I was 16 and now I have been there twice within a months span. Opposite ends of the state but I never thought I would say I was in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (even if Pitt was just the airport).

So off to Phily and yes I had to refrain from yelling “How ’bout them cowboys!” for the fear of being stoned by batteries! But none the less we were able to take in a few sights.

  • IMG_5483Rocky Statue – no trip would be complete without visiting the statue and going up the steps. While I had this whole video parody planned, it just was not as feasible as it was in  my head. Next time I will take a film crew! But we did get to see the statue and walk up the steps.  There was also this really cool statue at the foot of the museum and I took some rather interesting pics there too!  So some of the funnier things to happen was watching Natasha look both ways before crossing the street and then walking out in front of a bicycle. While I yelled ” Waiiiitt” in slow motion voice, somehow they just missed each other and she stopped before crushing into the bike.
  • IMG_5579Love Park – this was cool, we saw this love statue and what could be better then a rally for legalizing pot! I kid you not, they had flags, big ass bongs and legalize it everywhere. Of course it was right were all of us “tourists” were trying to take our pictures and they were annoying. It was definitely a hodge podge collection of people, because you also had kids playing in the fountains like it was a water park and the homeless hanging out like they were on the couch watching TV.

quote  “Have you seen a big bell around here? It has a crack in it, maybe bronze in color?”

  • IMG_5549Liberty Bell – now this was probably the most interesting part of the trip as we found the plaza where the phone said it was; however, it was not visible as I thought it would be. My co-pilot who has since been nick named Magellan for her awesome navigational skills (NOT), was lost getting there, so I basically rolled down my window and asked the question “have you seen a bell around here? It has a crack in it, maybe bronze in color?” Needless to say that after circling the block no less than three times, getting honked at at every green light because we didn’t take off like a bat out of hell, we finally parked and found our precious bell.

I am having a hard time finding this to the city of brotherly love when people drive in walking lanes, almost run over a man in a wheelchair and don’t give a crap.  One of the other funnier moments in the trip had to be when I was trying to find the bell and I casually say, where is this damn bell and Magellan responds with “what smell?” Oh that’s great, the wax in your ears is working perfectly! (she had an ear infection and put wax in her ears) It reminded me of my grandma who was hard of hearing and never heard anything correctly…so this became the new joke of the trip, yes I can’t ever let anything go.

At this point there is only one last thing we need to get before we can take off and make the final destination…you guessed it, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwich. So I asked a local where we should go, the suggestion was “the best” in the city a small place called Jim’s. So we ventured a few blocks and found said Jim’s. Now the first thing you need to know about Jim’s is that they are cash only, well it is a good thing they keep an ATM in the lobby for losers like us who NEVER CARRY ANY DAMN CASH! So we get the sandwich and head upstairs to eat. Now I am not going to say it was a bad sandwich, okay it was a horrible sandwich, I think I have made better ones myself! It was dry and needed salt as it was tasteless. Anyway I am sure it was the best cheesesteak in Philly at one time, actually I know it was, they had a plaque on the wall, “Best Cheesesteak Sandwich, 1979” so there you go, in 1979 they ruled this place!

Spartan Race

What can I say, this is probably a totally different blog post because this was a different kind of race I have not experienced in a long time. So lets just say, I participated in two races and I completed two races and they were on a ski resort. Made me kinda wish it was the winter time again so that I could ski!

Return Trip

So during our trip my shotgun rider took sick and we had to take her to the ER on Saturday and combine that with some family issues going on in Texas, we bolted right after the race on Sunday to get home as soon as possible. For the most part we took our state sign selfies to add to the collection, had another late night waffle house experience and got a speeding ticket!

Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas

Here are the states which were traveled through…nothing exciting except for rest stops and fuel. The bandit was on a mission, had to get back to Texas, family was waiting.

But…that is not to say we didn’t have a few highlights along the way, yes we truly are a comedy of errors and you can’t say that I won’t show you a good time.

  • So we were at this restaurant called Westy Bar & Grill, you know grabbing lunch before the trek home. Anyway they are having a wing special and the menu says flat out “the biggest wings in PA!” Well shit! I gotta have some of them, oh yeah and they are known for their hamburgers. If you know me and my quest for the best burger, hell why not, I’ll take the wings and the burger.  Well without giving a whole burger review (because it doesn’t deserve it) it was not that good. Oh yeah and the wings looked like normal wings you get anywhere, I have had bigger at hooters. Well everything is bigger at hooters! bada-bing!
  • IMG_5840Tasha gets a speeding ticket. Okay so let me set the stage…I’m sleeping. I am suddenly awoken by the rumble strips and I open my eyed to blue lights flashing. Still in a foggy state, Magellan is freaking out because she got pulled over. I have to say I have never laughed so hard in my life while receiving a speeding ticket. Maybe it was the combination of the very thick southern accent the Virginia State trooper had, combined with Natasha’s instantly blonde demeanor acting like she was the most clueless driver on the planet. Well here are a few of the highlights:

circle-dartSpeeding 85 in a 70, we were advised that anything 85 and over is considered reckless driving in the great state of Virginia. Which carries a $2500 fine and or Jail. He also advised he could take her to jail right now if he wanted to. After he leaves I get this “I can’t go to jail Travis, I just can’t go to jail”…ha ha…

circle-dartHe asks for her license and registration. She gives him her license and a copy of her personal insurance. He tells her that is great but he wants the registration. I advise him it is in the window, at this point Natasha grabs the flier from the Spartan race and tries to give it to him. If I had been drinking anything it would have been all over my dashboard. I calmly say, no it is the sticker in the window. To which the response was “they don’t give you a paper copy in Texas along with the Sticker?”

circle-dartSo he cuts her a favor and writes her up for 80 in a 70.

 

circle-dartWhen asked why she was speeding she calmly says she was just keeping up with traffic. I mentioned about how fast she was going to which her response was, “I don’t look at the speed-odometer, I just keep up with traffic”

IMG_5837circle-dartThe best part of the stop was when he goes back to his car and we both bust out out cameras to take selfies with the blue lights in the background. “did you get a good shot?” “No, did you?” “No, I wish he would turn off that stupid spot light!” I think we both took several shots and I can only image what it looked like from the rear, two cameras and arms up taking pictures!

circle-dartUpon completion, I calmly asked the trooper if he would take a selfie with me, I mentioned it would be the perfect end to our epic roadtrip. He politely refused and told us to drive safe!…Dang it!

So there you have it, after that, it was a pretty calm trip home. We will take with us the memories of this and all of the great state signs that were captured to add to our collection!

 

Footnote

So there was as usual a ton of pushback about taking Natasha with me, as people just don’t understand why she does crazy things like this. I am sure I am a hated person as it seems to always be on my watch that the adventures kick in and something arises to cause concern to everyone. So while yes, I can tell you I am greatly concerned about the health of my friend, but sometimes you can’t predict what the future holds for any of us. Any of us could kick the bucket tomorrow and who wants to have regrets? Certainly not me.

While many see this trip as something crazy and hazardous to her health, she viewed it simply as a way to escape from all of the pain she encountered in her life lately. The prior week was filled with heartbreak on a family level. So sometimes people need a good get away to keep their mind off of things. We could never have predicted the complications which lead to taking her to the ER and then checking herself out to get home.

After all of the complications we encountered on this adventure, Natasha has the can do attitude and one comment that will always resonate with me long after she has left us.  When she yelled at me “I am not going to just lay in bed and wait to die!” a cord was struck down to my bones, which although I was very concerned, it made me realize just how much of a fighter this woman was and she is going to live her life. No my friend you are not, your illness does not define who you are and you are going to do whatever you want, even if it does literally kill you one day. Until then, I cherish all of the times we have had and I look forward to many more.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s