My Travels

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: New Hampshire & Maine

Originally, we had decided to cancel this road trip. See, we’ve been traveling like bandits this summer, and though a budget has kept us in line, we still couldn’t justify another weekend getaway on our current funds.

But then an unknown monster broke into our apartment, and we said, “Hey, now’s as good a time as any to get out of town.” Sometimes you just need to leave.

There was no way we could swing Boston, the original destination, on our budget. So we had to think of somewhere new and cheaper. Megan was craving the ocean, and I didn’t blame her. Neither of us had ever seen an Atlantic beach town before. Ocean towns are generally cheap, since beaches are free (usually). We also decided to save on hotels and sleep in the car, i.e., the Walmart Parking Lot Express.

New Hampshire and Maine were both on my East Coast bucket-list, Maine especially (Stephen King fan, ova heer!). New Hampshire was intriguing because their state motto is “Live Free or Die,” so… As it turned out, New Hampshire has a small sliver of ocean-front property, just below Maine. Perfect.

Massachusetts

While we didn’t necessarily “do” anything in Massachusetts, we did drive through the entire the state. This was exciting for me because I have fantasized about visiting Boston for years. My California friends and I used to host “Boston Night” every Tuesday at my old apartment; we would watch a Boston based movie, eat Boston Baked Beans, and swear a lot. Just being in the state was enthralling. My big purchase? A slice of pizza and soda at a rest-stop. Go Sox!

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New Hampshire

Besides the motto, we didn’t know anything about the state. We Googled “Walmarts near coastal New Hampshire” and the results returned a town named Portsmouth. (more…)

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Lake Placid, NY & Burlington, VT

Lake monsters, teddy bears, camping and ice cream—watch out, folks, this was the quintessential Number Kevin weekend. Megan and I have road-tripped and explored many new lands this summer, but this trip (I know I say this every time) was easily my favorite. It was my first time in the Adirondak mountains as well as in Vermont. Believe it, guys and gals, believe the hype.

Lake Placid

Our weekend began in Rochester, NY, where we live. Megan had Friday off, and I took a half day. This afforded us the extra time we needed to get into town and set up camp before sunset. From Rochester, Lake Placid is a five hour drive without hitting traffic or giant alligators. I’m referencing the monster movie, Lake Placid, of course, which was a favorite of mine as child. Sadly, the town seemed more interested in its Olympic history than its cryptozoology.

SIDE NOTE: IMDB told me the movie was actually filmed in British Columbia. Lucky for me, a neighboring lake held its own monster legend (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

As it turns out, the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics were both held in Lake Placid, home of the “Miracle” USA Hockey Team which I found pretty endearing. Also, I found a bobsled.

Not yet sponsored...

Not yet sponsored…

The town itself was quaint and beautiful; its downtown strip was among one of my favorites yet. We filled up on candy-by-the-pound, got some coffee, and did a little magnet shopping for our travel fridge. Because cheesy married couples need magnets. We’ve accepted it. Moving along…

Lake Placid street 2

Main Street, Lake Placid

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Toronto, Canada

Oh my sweet. I sure do love Canada. You know, for a neighboring country to the north, we sure lucked out. They could’ve been jerks. Maybe they would’ve thought maple syrup was dumb; maybe they would’ve specialized primarily in stick figures. I don’t know, I’m spitballing. Luckily, Canadians are incredible.

Megan and I have a rich history with Canada. We honeymooned in Vancouver and White Rock, and we find the memories fond. The vibrant and varying terrain. The food. The traffic ticket mailed to us three weeks later. Well, that wasn’t so great. But that’s another story for another time.

SIDE NOTE: We still don’t know who was driving during the red light ticket. But let’s just say it wasn’t me.

After we moved to Rochester, I looked up a map of the Upstate area and discovered we lived right underneath Toronto, opposite Lake Ontario. Pretty neat. We initially didn’t have time nor the funds to visit. Thankfully, we finally made the time, if only 36 hours.

So, without further adieu, here’s the next edition of Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Toronto.

Touronto

Without traffic, Toronto is about 2.5 hours from Rochester. After passing through Niagara Falls, we headed onto a highway called “Queen Elizabeth Way,” which is about as Canadian a highway name as I could’ve hoped for.

While driving on the Queen E, after shutting off our cell phone data, we remembered our Garmin GPS is a hyper-patriotic robot who refuses to work outside the States. Further, we forgot to withdraw cash, and we were also without tourist maps and city books. After I suffered a thirty-second mini-freakout in my head, chest, and elbows, I discovered the predicament quite refreshing! Unlike New York City, Cleveland, Ithaca, and anywhere in Rochester (where we use Yelp and mobile apps to tell us how to breathe), Megan and I had to rely on our flesh-harddrives (our brains) and our good ol’ fashioned sense of direction to get us around town. Thankfully, Toronto is one of the best laid-out metropolitan cities I’ve ever explored. (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: NYC!

NYC is a city I’ve been desperate to explore since always. Momentous and classic. Films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York beckoned me. Of course, Seinfeld and any Beastie Boys music video played a similar role. It was only a matter time after moving to Rochester that Megan and I would explore the Big Apple.

NYC

NYC is an intimidating beast, especially for first timers. Where do we start? Where do we stay? How on earth do we drive? Thankfully, Megan and I were joined by two experts: my work friends Kevin (yes, another Kevin) and Anthony. Kevin Two grew up in Brooklyn, so we couldn’t have asked for a better hometown tour guide and “city driving” expert.

What Other Kevin didn’t tell me was that he couldn’t drive at night without his glasses. Annnnnd he forgot to grab his glasses. This meant I had to, wait for it, drive into bustling Manhattan on a busy Friday night, first time in NYC.

Was I nervous? Scared? Thrilled? Probably all of the above. But when it came down to it we were fine. See, I was trained in the mean streets of Los Angeles and Hollywood where everyone drives like a maniac (not just the taxis). Manhattan was a juiced up version of that.

I’m happy to report that everyone survived (including my car), and besides a few near death experiences, the ride was surprisingly smooth.

122… 122 1/8? You’re Standing On It, Dude

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Cleveland, OH

You know Cleveland. Don’t you? The setting for The Drew Carey Show, a rival city for Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, Ted’s hometown from How I Met Your Mother? Yeah, that one. Don’t be fooled, Cleveland is more than a plot device and setting for network TV sitcoms; it is a real town, albeit slightly magical, tucked away in the Midwest (Midwest? Is that what you call it?) on a Great Lake.

Fantastic food, clean city, friendly people, three sports stadiums (in town) and blocks away from each other. Cleveland is wonderful. In fact, it may be one of my favorite cities in America. There, I said it.

Last weekend, my wife, my visiting brother in law, and I traveled to Cleveland for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. I was initially scheduled to run the half marathon with my wife, but my knee decided to be a bastard on me. Since, I have played the role of supporting spouse for my wife who thrashed the Hell out of that half-marathon. Boom! I couldn’t be prouder of her. She was great. Running a half-marathon is hard enough, but doing it by yourself is something I’m not sure I would have the wherewithal to do. Three cheers for my wife!

Among my favorite highlights:

  • The sketchy and delicious Greek food place in the Arcade.
  • Seeing Johnny Cash’s tour bus (see pictures)
  • Losing $5 playing an Airplane (the movie) themed slot machine
  • Morning coffee at Erie Island Coffee Co., a small cafe near the Corner Alley
  • Room service dessert
  • The marathon starting with the theme song from The Drew Carey Show.

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Ithaca, NY

There is no better way to rev up summer than by leaving your town as fast as humanly possible. My wife and I are thinking, Hey, let’s get of here! So, Upstate, East Coast, we got your number. Holla atcha boi (and girl).

It’s no secret we that don’t necessarily love where we live. However, there are lots of cool places outside of where we live, and since we will probably move back to the West Coast in the near future, we might as well see as much as we can. Therefore, (i.e., because we need to stay sane), we will be leaving as many weekends as we can afford.

My 2014 summer travel wish list: NYC, Toronto, Cleveland, Boston, Vermont, Wash DC, (other suggestions?). We are also planning on a family reunion in Austin, TX and are hoping to fly back to Idaho for at least a week. Needless to say, it will be a busy summer.

This is not a travel blog, I know. To keep everything balanced, I will continue to post linguistic chaos from my niche world. That is, expect some deep, thoughtful posts very soon. Stuff like, what does God truly want from me, if anything? How do I work to bring Christians together under one roof? Whatever happened to Bananas in Pajamas? and Why did Bananas in Pajamas even exist?

But that is neither here nor there. As for now, enjoy the very first edition of “Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors.” You’re welcome, Blogmerica.

Trip #1: Ithaca, NY

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