The Last Day: Gettysburg and Baltimore

June 11, 2023 - 3:04 am No Comments

Woke up to the most glorious blue skies and sunshine in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. An absolutely perfect morning. We’ve really lucked out with the weather, somehow avoiding most of the smoke and haze from the Canada wildfires and hardly seeing a drop of rain for the whole trip.

Our drive to Gettysburg took us past red barns and deer, both of which we’ve seen every day on this trip. The number of red barns we’ve passed is uncountable, and deer have made daily appearances in cemeteries, in run-down residential neighborhoods, at place crash sites, and walking through outdoor patio furniture displays and across parking lots in small towns. They really are everywhere, and they’re pretty chill around humans.

Gettysburg on a sunny Saturday morning is swarming with tourists. The visitor center was packed with old folks, families, and school groups of rowdy kids who were really just there to goof off. We picked up a map for an auto tour of the Gettysburg battlefields, Rob got his souvenir squished pennies for his girlfriend, and we were on our way.

Gun Display at Gettysburg National Military Park
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In and Out of Cleveland

June 10, 2023 - 1:30 am No Comments

Just outside of Cleveland is the grave of deadball baseball star Ed Delahanty. He’s an interesting figure in baseball history.

Edward James Delahanty (October 30, 1867 – July 2, 1903), nicknamed “Big Ed”, was an American professional baseball player, who spent his Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career with the Philadelphia Quakers, Cleveland Infants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Senators. He was renowned as one of the game’s early power hitters, and while primarily a left fielder, also spent time as an infielder. Delahanty won a batting title, batted over .400 three times, and has the fifth-highest career batting average in MLB history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

Delahanty died when he was swept over Niagara Falls in early July 1903. He was apparently kicked off a train by the train’s conductor for being drunk and disorderly. The conductor said Delahanty was brandishing a straight razor and threatening passengers after he consumed five whiskies. After being kicked off the train, Delahanty started his way across the International Railway Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York with Fort Erie (near Niagara Falls) and fell or jumped off the bridge (some accounts say Delahanty was yelling about death that night). Whether Delahanty died from his plunge over the Falls or drowned on the way to the Falls is uncertain. His body was found at the bottom of Niagara Falls two weeks after his death.

Calvary Cemetery is huge with meandering roads over gentle slopes. There are some impressive tombstones in this one, making our slow drive through serenely beautiful. Using the map posted by the entrance, it was easy to find Delahanty’s section. He rests in a Delahanty family plot right next to road, buried between his parents and sister. There were no baseballs or memorabilia this time, just a standing tombstone with the family name and small markers for each family member, all of them filthy.

Ed Delahanty Grave Read the rest of this entry »

Two Graves & an Empty Gas Tank

June 8, 2023 - 12:46 pm No Comments

Woke up this morning to reports of air quality conditions reaching unhealthy levels in many east coast cities. Those Canadian wildfires are really messing things up. Outdoor events and at least 3 MLB games in the region have been postponed or canceled due to the horrible air quality. We must be in a lucky pocket of clean air. Aside from a light haze, things seem mostly pleasant around here. I hope we stay lucky for a few more days as we continue our road trip.

We loaded up the car, said goodbye to our little Red Roof Inn, and hit the road. Shortly after getting on the interstate, Rob hit a bird with the windshield. We debated for a moment whether or not it was dead before cranking up the music and continuing on our journey.

Liberty Tunnel
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The Train, the Acorn, and the Pirates

June 8, 2023 - 12:26 pm No Comments

Rob and I woke up early to load his adorably sporty Kia Forte with clothes, gear, and snacks. GPS was configured. Wheels up at 6:11am with an odometer reading of 29,195. Rob immediately fired up “Beep Beep” by the Playmates, one of the songs from our western US road trip that still gives us a giggle.

Jeff and Rob Ready to Go

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Baseball, Death, and Aliens

June 7, 2023 - 1:35 am 1 Comment

After years of talking about it and a couple of months putting together a plan and getting our schedules lined up, Rob and I are finally taking another baseball road trip.

Rob’s a guy I went to high school with. We bonded by riding the bench together on our high school baseball team and shared the somewhat dubious honor of winning the 110% Hustle Award, a plaque to players who shag fly balls and don’t complain about it. It’s basically a participation trophy that our coach signed with a worn out Sharpie because he couldn’t be fucked to find one that wrote properly. Since then, we’ve become good friends for things baseball and otherwise. He’s a cool guy to shoot the shit with and he loves to drive, both great qualities to have for a road trip partner.

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Matanuska Glacier & A Yak Burger

May 15, 2022 - 5:07 am No Comments

The jack-ass sitting in front of me decided to fire up Lord of the Rings on his phone’s tinny speakers. Of course, when the flight attendant came by and insisted that he put on headphones, he put them on, fell right asleep, and started obnoxiously snoring. Meanwhile, the woman to my left whose arm was encroaching on my personal space kept unabashedly wide-mouth burping through her mask without a single “excuse me” for 6 hours. Some people are just born to be annoying.

My research had suggested that sitting on the right side of the plane would offer the best views for the trip up. For most of the trip, it didn’t matter, as most of Canada was blanketed by clouds and I couldn’t see much. Every once in a while, through some of the clouds and haze, I could see some lakes partially frozen. As we continued northwest over the top edge of British Columbia, the lakes completely froze over and all vegetation was gone, replaced by scraped, rippled, dark brown wasteland. The rolling hills gradually grew steeper and pointier and whiter with snow. By the time we approached the Alaska border, the mountains ere getting really big. I peered out the window the whole time, loving all the scenery, but most others were not. Most had their shades down and many were sleeping. Leads me to believe that it’s mostly regulars and locals who do this route, not tourists.

Through breaks in the clouds, I could see glimpses of majestic mountains as we flew into Anchorage.

Canadian Rockies
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Alaska Bound!

May 13, 2022 - 8:30 pm No Comments

Mostly thanks to COVID, it’s been a while since I’ve done any real traveling. So it was with great jubilation when I learned my work would be flying me and our whole department to a fancy resort in Alaska for our off-site team event this year. It’s nice to work for a company that has money. 🙂

Once getting the itinerary from my company, I decided to take full advantage and go up a few days early to have my own little adventure before joining the work team. I booked a little hotel in Anchorage, and I’ve got some fun activities planned, including a Matanuska Glacier hike, a train ride from Anchorage to Seward, and a Kenai Fjords cruise for some whale-watching.

This is my first trip after the federal mask mandates have been lifted in airports and on planes. A few people, including me, are still voluntarily wearing them. I’m seeing about 25% masking in the airport and on the plane. Such a polarizing issue, isn’t it? I will say that I was especially aware of a guy coughing a few rows back from me, and I’m sure a few people sitting nearby are on edge.

A customary northbound take-off from Reagan National Airport took us by the monuments on the National Mall and offered a fleeting glimpse of the White House before we disappeared into a layer of low-hanging clouds. A few moments later, we punched through the clouds and were flying up into brilliant blue sky. So cool.

National Mall After DCA Take-Off
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The Boys in Bergen

September 9, 2016 - 9:15 pm No Comments

After a quick train through the last bit of fjordland, we were in Bergen. As the second largest city in Norway, it’s a pretty good size, and there’s a good energy here. The tourists are almost exclusively Japanese, English, and German.

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The Fjordlands of Norway

September 8, 2016 - 11:41 am No Comments

Our early morning train took us west from Oslo. The first part of the trip was nothing special, with suburbs giving way to the occasional lake. But eventually, the mountains turned into giant boulder piles stained green by lichen, forests got denser, views became more majestic. We’d spend a few minutes in a long tunnel, and then BAM, we’d emerge to a breathtaking vista. The views are reminiscent of the highlands of Scotland and New Zealand.

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Oslo: The A-Team Reunited

September 6, 2016 - 7:36 pm No Comments

Emerging from Oslo Central Station, the streets were filled with people who were smiling, laughing, going places. Street performers played music and danced on flattened cardboard boxes. Norwegian flags hung from buildings. Homeless people sitting on either side of the pedestrian streets. There is an energy here that Stockholm didn’t have.

The Airbnb apartment that we booked for Oslo was not ready yet, so we parked ourselves at a pub for a drink and a bite. We saw a bunch of people walking around with German soccer jerseys, and a quick look online revealed that there was a match between Norway and Germany that night. We decided to go for it and splurged on some tickets.

But before the game, we headed to Martine’s place for dinner. Martine is Jerry’s Norwegian wife, and the whole reason Jerry is here in Oslo. Her family lives in Asker, a small town just outside of Asker and a short train ride away. Jerry had no idea that Doug made the flight over, so when Doug showed up with me and Conrad, it was quite a surprise. The A-Team was finally reunited.

After dinner, we headed down to Ullevaal Stadion for the soccer match. Doug and Jerry are huge soccer fans, so this was quite a treat for our first night in Norway. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me into the stadium with my camera because it was a “professional” camera, so the others went in while I spent a half hour being led around by incompetent ushers and security guards and circling the stadium looking for the ticket office to store my photo gear for the game. Missing the national anthems and the first few minutes of the game for this pissed me off.

Germany v. Norway at Ullevaal Stadion Read the rest of this entry »