Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sluggy's Solo Road Trip.....Part 1....PA to OH

Up to the moment I actually pulled out of the driveway, I didn't know if I could go through with this trip.

I had new wheels.....my cute little purple car.......and I had the time, but I still wasn't sure I had the nerve to make this trip that would take me approximately 3200 Miles, through 8 States in 16 Days.

I haven't traveled solo in many years.
Yes, I use to take the kids alone on trips down to my mother's house in Virginia when they were young.  But that really wasn't traveling alone since the "brat pack" was in the backseat, was it?
The last time I traveled alone I can't even remember.....probably in college.

I use to love to drive.
Since I've gotten older, not so much.
People on the road anymore drive like maniacs....at least in the crowded eastern part of the country.

So with great trepidation I pulled out of my driveway on July 10th and headed toward western PA for the first stop on my journey, at my son's apartment in Pittsburgh.

I ended up using the On Star GPS feature that first day, as I wanted to avoid traffic snarls once I got near Pittsburgh.  The GPS took me the back way to son's place and I got there around 3pm without hitting rush hour traffic.

My grandkitty, Lilly, was there to greet me......

We marked one of my items on my Trip Bucket List off right away, as my son and his GF took me to the newly opened Trader Joe's store down in the gentrified part of town.

A container of these came home with me.  My verdict......not so great and not worth the price.

A green pea "snack"???
I have an aversion to peas so no thanks......but I did like the name.....lolz

I found some interesting teas and a couple of boxes of these left the store with me.....

I shot this video in the backseat of the car, after leaving Trader Joe's.  It was just the beginning of what was to be a very long and spendy trip.....ouch!

I kind of spazzed out when I realized how much I spent on so little food!

After dinner and chillin' at the apartment, the kids took me out to hit another item on my trip bucket list.

The Duquesne Incline.
If you don't know what this is, it's a passenger cable car on the side of a mountain that runs on a track, taking people up and down the cliff that overlooks downtown Pittsburgh.

We entered the Incline area from the bottom.
I thought I would DIE before I even got TO the Incline!

Son parked in the lot below the Incline.
You have to climb two flights of stairs to get to 2 MORE flights of stairs over the highway to get to the lower Incline station, where you buy your tickets and board the car.

The upper station building has an observation deck too.
I took this shot from the observation deck of the track we had just come up on....

And here is a shot, in front of the iron fencing on the observation deck of the passenger car in mid-journey going back down the track.

Not many of my pictures taken in the car came out since most of the views were from behind screened windows and the car was too full of people to move to another space. 

Here's a shot of the inside of the car.....the ceiling area so I didn't get any strangers in the shot.

And don't even get me started on the insipid photographer and engaged couple who hired her to take shots of them in the car while we were taking our ride.
If you want to take pictures of yourselves fine but wait until there aren't a million people crammed into the car and make them all move so you can get shots without other people in them. 

Go and reserve the danged car and pay to rent out the entire car if you want to do that and don't go and IMPOSE on people and spoil their experience because you are too self-centered and ignorant!

See!?  It's a good thing you didn't get me started.......*snort*

Here's a shot from inside the car when we went back down......

Here are a couple of shots I took inside the car, when I get a chance to shoot through the glass and not the screens.  They still came out with glare...ugh.....

The best shots were from the observation deck.

Looking east down the Monongahela River and the Fort Pitt Bridge that crosses it......

The waterfront triangle of Pittsburgh, at the confluence of the 3 rivers.  To the right is the Monongahela, to the left is the Ohio and in the back center is the Allegheny.
You can see the fountain down by the water in the triangle and the Fort Pitt Block House is off to the right of that.

A close-up of one of the paddle wheel tourist boats that ply this area....

Trying to take a shot of my son and his GF.....

Then they took some selfies......

And I took a selfie......or tried to......

Let's try this again, shall we?.......

Ok, how about from this angle with the Ohio River in the background.......

Then son was trying to take my photo and these blasted women just refused to get outta the way!
Suit yourselves.  Your large ass gets to be in my photo.....

Ok. let's crop them/her out.....

This one is better but cropping large butt out also removed part of the view......oh well......

Then the platform was overrun with brides-to-be, grooms-to-be who looked like they'd rather be anywhere else,  and more photographers.......

So I was reduced to taking shots of the signage......

And inside you can see the gears of the mechanism that hoists the cars up and down.......

The historic landmark sign.....

And son bought me a souvenir.....one of those smashed pennies with the view from the Incline on it.....

And I bought me a button for a whole $1.25 and wore it the next day......

And at the end of it all I got to climb DOWN 4 flights of stairs too!
My knee was thanking me for that!

I curled up on the couch that night while grand kitty bounced off the walls for 3 hours in the dark.
I awoke to grandkitty sleeping on my hip.  Yes, I make an excellent cat bed it seems.

I had bought some Lobster Ravioli at Trader Joe's the day before so I set out to make a decadent breakfast for son and myself.  I made a quick Béchamel Parmesan sauce and after a quick boil of the ravioli, we had Lobster Ravioli in Parmesan Sauce for breakfast......

I could get use to this! lolz

Day 2 found me still in Pittsburgh.  I spent the day hanging out with my eldest son.

First he took me downtown to the Strip District......

This is a section of Pittsburgh where the warehouses and old wholesalers are.  It's become a trendy shopping district now.

Lot of colorful murals on old buildings too.....

And lots of "colorful" characters roaming the streets as well.
We saw this couple from across an intersection while in the car and leaving downtown.
From a distance we couldn't tell if the person in the skirt was a man or a woman.

I snapped a picture as we passed them.....

The five o'clock shadow on his face gave it away.

The sight while stopped at a traffic light.
And I was just wondering where I was going to pick up my Steelers souvenirs......

We parked near this restaurant but didn't go in.

We did go into the Public Market though.....

A local ice cream vendor and their suggested flavors chalkboard

Pickled Watermelon Radishes.....wtf?

I went in here.....

And promptly dropped $69 on balsamic vinegarsl......

I foresee yummy salads in my future!

They also had flavored olive oils but other than the pepper infused one I couldn't tell any difference in the samples I tried.
I guess my palate is that unrefined.

They also sold flavored olives.....

After noting the prices I took a pass on those too.

Then we found the bar......

And a couple of samples of that was in order too.....

If you can't tell mine is the dark one.....I like my beer dark......

We also saw this awesome item.
I was tempted but alack! they didn't have it in my size......

We were parked waaaay far away from most of the things I wanted to see/do on The Strip and I wasn't up for lots of walking as the day was a bit muggy.

After an hour or two we called it done and left downtown.
I did see this on the way out......

A restaurant I'd like to go to when I had a bit more money to spend.....

It was after lunchtime when we finished up at The Strip, so son took me here.....so I could cross something else off my Road Trip Bucket List.....

Love the names of these drinks......I couldn't decide between having Angry Balls or an Angry Cuban....

The Cuban won out......

My son got the "When Pigs Fly" Sandwich and I got a boring old pastrami and cheese sandwich.
Good Lord, that thing was monstrous!
I took half of it back to the apartment.

Then I bought this.....how could I not?!?

And yes I will wear it because Bite Me is one of my favorite sayings. lolz

Next we hit the movie theater and saw "Tammy".
The film had it's moments of good and funny, as well as pathetic, but was very uneven.

I did learn an important lesson during this film however----"Lesbians love to blow shit up."
Am I right?!?

Later that evening, after the GF got off work, we went out for dinner at D's Six Pax and Dogz.

A short film during our meal......

I got a shot(sort of!lol)with the mural wall behind us....

Another selfie shot with both of us fully IN the photo.....I am improving at this! lol

After dinner it was back to the apartment and I loaded my car back up and made tracks for Elyria, Ohio to the motel I was staying at for the night.
I wanted to get some more miles behind me so that the drive on Saturday wasn't so long.

I had trouble finding the motel once I got off the turnpike, though it was right off the entrance/exit to that.  The motel, an older Ramada Inn, with very small signage, was tucked sort of behind a mall,  an older partially abandoned mall.  It was a tad scary at this place being next to a closed up, crumbling mall.
I went into the front desk to check-in and there were big signs about the pool being closed that weekend for repairs and how they weren't giving refunds(partial or otherwise)for that and that you were free to cancel your reservation and go elsewhere.
I didn't care about the pool but their manner of handling this "problem" really turned me off, and had I been familiar with the area and it wasn't really dark outside, I just might have cancelled that reservations and gone elsewhere for the night.
You really blew it in my book Ramada!!!

So I got into my room and prepared for bed.  I was so tired that I didn't even hook up and turn on my computer that night to take advantage of the WIFI that the motel provided.  There would be plenty of time in the morning to get online.

The next morning, when I did try to go online, I found the WIFI worked about as good as the motel pool!.....which means it didn't work at all!
Way to go Ramada!  So I got charged for a full night's room and amenities and got NO amenities.
Well, except for the "free" breakfast that morning before I bugged out.
It was a terrible, rank breakfast.
The $85 I was forced to pay for this stay was true highway robbery!

Once in the car and free of this terrible motel stay, I had trouble finding the turnpike entrance!  This one just got better and better, didn't it? lol
I drove around, found a gas station and right after filling the car's tank, I located how to get on the turnpike and out of this two-bit town, without resorting to the On Star GPS.
By 10 am I was back on the turnpike and heading west toward Indiana for my Day 3 of adventures, but still with some trepidation about this journey in my being.



  1. That was an awesome visit with the son and his GF. I may have to go visit them. You sold them quite well. How horrified would they be? LOL
    No Ramadas for me. I've had that happen before. They were remodeling and told no one. The dust kicked off my asthma terrible.

  2. Haha, how exciting! I love doing long travels, and thus far, they've been solo. I guess I spend too much time chatting with myself. I need to send you Sam. I am sure she'd be more than glad to help you miss your turnpike exit!

  3. Cute kids, be brave and explore the world

  4. What a fun trip! I was going to say on {large social media site} that I thought you were in Pittsburgh, but I'd never heard of the Duquesne Incline! Pretty cool. Much like the cog railroad up Mt. Washington.

    Hope the rest of the trip is grand, too!

    Peace <3


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