Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bus

So far on our trip around the east coast, we've taken a few short bus trips.
  • We took a chinatown bus to Boston (not bad)
  • We took the Bolt bus from NY to DC (a very nice bus- I wholeheartedly recommend it)
  • A 4 hour greyhound trip from DC to Charlottesville
But none compared to the 16 hour bus trip that we just took from Charlottesville VA to Columbus OH. Here is my account of our epic trip:

9:00PM arrived at bus station in Charlottesville
9:30 PM The bus was supposed to leave, but it wasn't there yet.
10:00 PM Cam asked why the bus still wasn't there, the desk lady said because they changed the schedule on our tickets, but no one told the drivers... so They would be in at 10:30.
11:00 PM our bus finally leaves.
12:15 AM I woke up from a brief nap in Lynchburg VA
1:30 AM Woke up again in Roanoke VA
3:45 AM Got dropped off in Wytheville VA for our transfer. Unarguably the most disgusting place I've been in my life (and I lived in Harlem). It was tiny and dirty, and bugs covered every surface of it since they left the door open and they all flew to the light. Suddenly I was so glad that our bus had been late, because it turned our 4.5 hour layover into 2.5 hours. There was an out of place flatscreen playing Transformers 2- Only the creepy desk attendant was watching.
5:00 AM Transformers was over, so the desk attendant started watching an 80's movie called "the Highwayman"- quoting his favorite lines at the top of his lungs.
5:30 AM It started getting light out so we moved to the less gross bench outside. And cameron enjoyed his breakfast snack-pack.
6:00 AM McDonald's across the street opened- so I went to use a restroom that didn't repulse me.
6:30 AM The next bus came and I happily got on. I was in and out for the next 3 hours.
10:00 AM Charleston, West Virginia
11:00 AM Kentucky? didn't see that one coming
2:15 PM finally rolled into Columbus, Ohio after nearly 17 hours for the very last leg of our journey.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The capitol in an hour

Wednesday we drove out to visit Williamsburg. We were about to drive past Richmond, but we saw a sign directing us to the visitor’s center, and decided so we could stop in for a second. We went in and asked the elderly volunteer what the things are that one must see in Richmond, VA. He asked how long we were staying and we said that we had about an hour. I think we personally insulted both him and his beloved city because he went off about how you can’t see the capitol in an hour. There was another man in the center who suggested we go to the art museum, to which our guide said the art museum required a whole day.

He eventually decided to send us down Monument Avenue, “one of the most beautiful avenues in America” with monuments to civil war heroes. We took his advice and did a drive by, literally (Pictured here, the monument to Jeff Davis and the back seat of the car). We also drove passed the White House of the Confederacy, which was surrounded by taller industrial buildings.


Then he told us that at very least, on the way out, we should take the scenic hwy 5 instead of the interstate because, “on 64 you won’t see anything, just more interstate. 5 is the oldest Hwy in America, lined with old plantations.”

I think my favorite part is that everything in NY was the biggest, but everything here in Virginia has to have its own superlative also. We passed a lot of “first” “oldest” and when nothing else qualifies, “most beautiful” sites, on our way out to Jamestown, the first settlement.


I don't think that I have ever been as hot in my life as I was that day in Williamsburg. 110 degrees and ridiculously humid. 2 hours of walking around was all I could handle before we had to make a Baskin Robin's stop. We also walked around Jamestown, which was cool, because the whole site is still being dug up, so the archelogist who was there was showing us how they find things in the dig and what they look for.


After that, we drove down to North Carolina-which leads us right in to the post about NC and the power outage (in case you missed it, click here).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Roughing it Unexpectedly

So I had a post ready for posting Thursday, but I have to interrupt it in order to explain why I haven't been able to post for the last five days.
Cam and I went to North Carolina on Wed to see my former roomie Brooke and her husband Kevan. We had fun catching up and discovering things like NC style BBQ, Shaved Ice, and their awesome museum of natural history.
Then we drove the four hours back to Charlottesville (drive highlight: fireflies on the windshield). When we got to the exit, the traffic lights were out. As we drove back to Cameron's aunt's we noticed trees and branches all over the road and power was out everywhere. It turns out they had a huge windstorm just hours before we got back. Luckily the two trees that went down in the yard missed the house.
So the power went out Thursday night at 5 or so, and was still out when we woke up the next morning. We didn't have phone lines, or even cell phone service, which meant no internet. But Cam and I needed to get our bus tickets, so we drove out to go find a starbucks with wireless and ended up finding one in a mall. It was also nice to be somewhere with air conditioning because it was 100 degrees that day.
We finally got cell phone reception at 5, and power back around 9 friday night. But the internet was out until just before we left at 9 on Saturday. Perhaps the coolest thing that happened was the guy that came to fix the tree in the back yard. half the tree came down, but the other half was still up, without a counterbalance, hanging over the neighbor's house. It was so cool how he would one-handed chop a branch with his chainsaw and had it tied just right to it would swing around so he could lower it down.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Longest Day of the Year

To celebrate the longest day of the year Monday- we decided it was time to go on a hike. Aunt Jolene was kind enough to let us borrow their car (which was much faster and more fun than trying to get there by bus).
Our hike was to the top of Humpback Ridge- It was fantastic how a little increase in altitude saved us from the 90-something degrees that it was in the valley
T0 finish off our hike, we found a "swimmin' hole." Okay, so it was actually a small lake in Mint Springs Park that even had a lifeguard, but I'm going to call it a swimmin' hole based on the fact that it also doubled as a stocked trout pond. Cam spent a significant amount of our time swimming trying to catch a fish by pouncing on it.
I on the other hand took a nap on a blanket in the grass, which was great except for the two (bug?) bites I now have on my derrière. I voted against us living in Virginia based on the fact that there are an awful lot of bugs.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First stop-DC

I saw my first firefly last night! For some reason in my head I always pictured them like bees that glowed yellow as they flew around... but apparently that's not true at all. The ones I saw anyway were greenish, and only lit up for just a few seconds. (Tried to take a picture for you but to no avail.)

Cameron, impressing me with his southern knowledge (mission in Missouri you know) caught one to show me- and it looked like a big ant. Then if flew off into my face and I may or may not have screamed a little.

The last couple days, we stayed here at Cameron's cousin, Rachel's house in Arlington. She was generous enough to let us use her futon for the last two days (and her TV so Cam could watch the game friday). From our base of operations here we visited Arlington, and then Headed over to DC to meet some friends doing internships there who were happy to be our tourguides.
We had a great time walking around- but by the end of the day I was ridiculously sunburnt. So I told the guys I could not spend any more time outside. They agreed I was quite burnt, and decided that we should only visit one more memorial- Jefferson (those of you who have been there know that this is on it's very own, out of the way 4ish mile loop...which I did not know). Needless to say I am now deep fried.
The one building that we were planning to visit, but didn't was the Capitol-which I entirely admit was due to my own stubbornness. We waited in line and got the the front and they said no food or drink (all the other memorials let granola bars and water bottles in my purse through) but they were stubborn about it. So we went and ate our snacks and drank our water and went back. Then they said no containers, meaning my empty water bottles. It was 93 degrees and only 1:00 and I was not going to throw out my water bottle and die of dehydration that afternoon. We skipped the building.

Last night we hopped onto a bus-tired and sunburnt after running around DC-and made it down to Charlottesville VA. Hopefully today we'll figure out where we're going next!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goodbye New York!

Goodbye New York!
We will miss you.
As I am writing this I am on a bus leaving NY. What? You thought we were flying home after our 2 months here? Hardly. This is where our next adventure begins.

My Brother is getting married on June 29 in Ohio- which is two weeks away. Well, we decided that rather than fly home and fly back out here, we’re just going to spend the next two weeks wandering the east coast, wherever the wind will take us (i.e. wherever we can get cheaply by bus). Stay tuned for some great stories of bumming on futons of people I’ve never met as I try to rack up as many states as I can while I’m out here!

First stop: Washington D.C.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

(sur)PRIZES!

Yes- it’s that time! We’ve been here now for 6 whole weeks- and yesterday was our very last Saturday in NY, which means that we have now accomplished as many of your recommendations as was physically possible! Seriously, your suggestions helped us find some of our favorite places. Here’s what we did (in no particular order):

Lizzy- I think Chocolate Babka is Cameron’s new favorite food. We went twice- and even used it as Cam’s birthday cake!

KayCee- Turns out tickets to the statue of liberty crown are sold out through August. Oh and I definitely saw my share of the purse guys without even going to basements- they walk around battery park with huge boxes on dollies and say, “Coach? Prada?”

Trevor- When we come back to New York once I have a job that’s paid, we will for sure check out the helicopter tour and let you know how it was…

Carissa- I saw the turtles and really wanted one! The only problem was that I didn’t know how to get them home on the plane. If you have ideas let me know- I still have a few days to run down and get one!

Emily- The Natural History Museum didn’t have many of the exhibits that I expected after Night at the Museum, but I liked the fossil gallery and Cam liked the exhibits about the different peoples and how they lived.

Dad- The line for the Empire State Building is like 10years long, so rather than enact sleepless in Seattle, we chose to do the Newsies.

Brandon- I don’t know if we can give you credit for the advice to see a Broadway show… there was no way that Cam was going to come and not see one. We went to 2.5 actually- Phantom (Great) Lion King (Splendid) and Cam went to Wicked (Favorite).

Grandma- Ground zero was really interesting- I just couldn’t believe everything that went on in such a small place. They had a temporary visitor’s center that had a recording booth where you could record your story about where you were and what you remember. I love the design for the monument that is being built there- very fitting I think.

Bryson- It’s called Screme. I had a coconut and a mango Gelato. Cameron had grapefruit (surprisingly tasty). The guy was patient while I sampled 3 and then picked 2 that I didn’t sample… which puts this place head and shoulders above street venders.

And now *drumroll please*:

Runner-up award for the best laid plans: Scott- We loved that you were even detailed enough to have the afternoon planned out for us! Dylan’s Candy Bar was Yum- we loved the chocolate-covered Oreos, but we are sad to inform you that the tram to Roosevelt Island is out of service until October. We still took the subway over to see the view and took the bus around the whole island which took about 10 minutes. You also get props for being the most "on brand"...

And our seriously very hard to choose winner is:

Alie- Levain’s Bakery for the best cookie I’ve had in my life! It was so thick and gooey it was almost a brownie. Cam got a glass of whole milk (ick) with his and called it dinner. On par was the recommendation to visit the Sony Technology Lab- our favorite part was the machine that sensed your body movements and made an animated character dance like you. Altogether a very cool and fantastically free experience.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions/entries!

Friday, June 11, 2010

WICKED Awesome

I won the Wicked lottery today- Which was exciting and thrilling because I absolutely love that show! That means that I won the opportunity to buy two front row tickets to Wicked tonight for only 25$ each!

What you may be asking right now is, "then why is she blogging and not watching the show?"

Funny story.

So this actually isn’t the first time I’ve won the Wicked Lottery. Those of you who have been following my life for awhile now know that almost 3 years ago I won tickets for me and my roommate Alana in LA-and it was amazing! We split front row center, with only the conductor between us and the stage.

Some of you may also know that when I went to London two years ago, our directors took the whole group to Wicked-and it was amazing! The actors had fantastic English and Scottish accents, which made them so much more awesome.
Today I entered the lottery with Cameron and one of my good friends who was here on an internship with me. Cameron has always wanted to see Wicked. Sarah has tried to enter five times while we were here, and she’s leaving tomorrow. I have been twice. So I made them go. I went shoe shopping, called my mom, and then went home to eat cereal and blog. Altogether a very accomplished day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tourists

The question that I get asked at work just about every morning is, “what did you do last night?” Usually I have a pretty good answer, since Cam and I try to go have an adventure every day. The funniest part though is how many times I hear, “huh, I’ve never been there” as a response.

When we went to the statue of liberty and Ellis Island 2 weekends ago, I was telling my supervisor about it and she mentioned that she had never been there- after growing up in New Jersey and now working in New York for 6 years. I actually can’t tell you how many people in my office said the same thing.

I think it’s because there isn’t any urgency. When you’re a tourist you have 3 days to see everything, so you’re going to plan to squeeze it all in. For us, we have 7 weeks so I’ve noticed there are some things we haven’t done because we’ll “do it next week”. If you lived here, we’ll then there’s no deadline at all (since landmarks don’t really wander off).

One of the guys in my office worked for 3 years in the basement of the Empire State Building and he’s never been to the top. I lived in Utah for 4 years and never went skiing. Where haven't you been?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stuff I Get Geeked Up About

I've always known I'm a bit of a geek- but I realized this week that there are things that I get really excited about that even my geeky advertising buddies have to roll their eyes at...
  • I find a ridiculous amount of joy in watching my google analytics go up. In fact, so much that I'll share it with you-here are my views/week since my blog began:
  • I love sending out surveys and watching the results come in! The best part is reading what people put for text entry questions- people always surprise me.
  • I get a real kick out of finding numbers to prove something. It's awesome how much insight you have when you're basing things off 5oo opinions, instead of just your own
  • I like making graphs- you just get so much more impact.
  • I think my very favorite is being able to look at a client, and without either of us feeling like I'm bragging, I can say with numbers, "look how awesome I did" and neither of us can argue with the numbers :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Follow the Red Brick Road

We decided to spend our Memorial Day in Boston for 3 reasons:

  1. Neither of us have been there and we thought it would be cool to visit, especially on such a patriotic day
  2. Bus tickets were only $15 each
  3. I am greedily state grubbing while I’m here on the east coast, and the trip added Connecticut and Massachusetts to my “been there, done that” list

We decided that the best way to see the city was to walk the freedom trail. I assumed that it was a trail you follow on a map, but no, it’s a very literal stripe of red bricks in the pavement that goes through all the important sites you’ll want to see. Thanks Boston, for making my tourist experience so ridiculously fool proof!

Cam’s favorite part was the tour we took of the USS Constitution. We did the guided tour and got to go below deck which was pretty cool. Once we got off the ship we noticed zillions of jellyfish surrounding the boat. I asked the guy at the info booth if that’s normal and he replied, “yea, there’s sometimes jellyfish in the ha-ba.” Love it.

The thing that was most surprising was that I assumed tons of people would have the same idea as we did, but that was the opposite of true, in fact, by 5pm Boston was pretty much a ghost town and we walked all over tying to find a restaurant that was open to eat at- and ended up in a mall food court because everything else was closed either for the holiday or the Celtics game.


It was also really cool to see places that were so influential in our country becoming what it is today, and to learn about the events that transpired there... so that hundreds of years later we could be out here having a great vacation day.