Home > Uncategorized > Day 16 – Home Sweet Home

Day 16 – Home Sweet Home

Location: Endwell, NY

Miles Driven: 208

Total Miles: 3,367

Greetings from upstate New York.  I am sitting in the comfort of my parent’s living room, remembering all the nights I’ve been up late working on computers from high school and all those subsequent years.  Now this time it’s not a paper for a class, nor is it some project for a job, but it’s just fun time now – updating this website.

Woke up early this morning at Sam’s after a peaceful sleep on the couch, and I headed over to the Mt. Laurel, NJ area to meet up with my friend Keith for breakfast.  Keith and I met in an interesting fashion just over a year earlier.  He was an instructor at a work conference in Bethesda, and after his class got to chatting for a bit as he worked in Owego, NY just like I had.  Much later that night, I was watching the NBA Finals with friends at the hotel bar, but the bar closed and we were forced to watch the game in the lobby area.  Keith walked in and the group of us conference attendees watching the game flagged him down, as we found him to be one of the most engaging instructors in the whole conference.

See, the session Keith instructed was about uncomfortable work situations between a manager and a subordinate, and all of the situations we had time to discuss were role-played.  Here’s some of the situations we covered:

  • Employee shows up consistently late, and mgr. has to address it.  (Mgr does not know employee’s son has cancer)
  • There’s an employee in the office who has a body odor issue
  • Theft on the job

Keith led a great session on all these situations that are very real in the corporate environment, and the role-play in our group got pretty intense (I played the father of the kid with cancer).  Keith brought a great real-world perspective to these types of issues and I think that’s what made it the top-notch session it was.

So anyway, the group of us are sharing work stories, Keith’s sharing more of those uncomfortable situations he’s encountered over the years, and eventually my buddies are heading off to bed.  Keith and I find we have a few more things in common such as a couple mutual acquantainces, etc., and so we had a lot of laughs telling more stories until the early hours of the next day.

Kept in touch with Keith over time, and here we were again sharing some stories over breakfast at a Panera.  He’s been a big supporter of what I’m doing.

Me and Keith

After we parted ways I headed back to Sam’s place.  There I got my stuff together and played a little FIFA World Cup on PS3 (It’s a great game, by the way, but sadly, my stacked Spanish national team lost to Sam’s plucky American Samoan squad.)  Sam and I said our goodbyes, and I hit the road shortly after noon to make my way towards the Valley Forge National Historical Park near King of Prussia, PA.  Thanks to Sam for some more fun times in NJ.  And congrats to the same guy who just dominated the NJ Bar exam.  Nicely done, buddy.

Arrived in Valley Forge about an hour later and pulled into the parking lot of the historical site.  Despite growing up just a few hours away, and having visited the Philly area a number of times, I never visited this park.  My knowledge of what happened at Valley Forge was pretty shameful, as well.  All I could recall from some history texts was that the Continental Army had a cold winter winter here during the American Revolution.  I couldn’t even recall if a battle took place here (I’m much more up to speed when it comes to Civil War confrontations).  So to get more familiar with this place, I visited the theatre where they played a 20 minute movie about what happened in the winter of 1777.

Unfortunately I was a little tired and nodded off a bit during the film, but I learned some of the major details about Valley Forge.  At first some 12,000 men were there to encamp during the winter, and by spring of 1778 about 2,000 men had died from a host of diseases.  There was no fighting that took place at Valley Forge, but from there George Washington and the Continental Army could keep an eye on the British who had taken Philadelphia (about 18 miles away).

After leaving the theatre, I joined a ranger walk to learn more about what happened.  I was the only dude in a group of junior high girls and their moms, but it was a valuable experience.  Sara, the ranger, felt the story of Valley Forge contains a lot of myth and that myth gets spread in history textbooks, which claim that the conditions were freezing, men were dying of frostbite, and there were several feet of snow to deal with that winter.  According to the records kept, Sara said, there is no evidence of men dying of frostbite or that it was a particularly brutal Philadelphian winter.  The men built huts, to George Washington’s specifications, in order to stay warm.  The problem there was 12 men living in close quarters, with little ventilation, and that is what helped disease spread.

The walk lasted about 40 minutes, and she took us to an area with some reenactors near hut replicas.  I walked around and took a stroll amongst the nice scenery.  Unfortunately, it was getting late in the afternoon and I wanted to leave the KOP area before traffic got too bad.  Definitely glad I came by here.  I highly recommend it, and it’s all free – there’s no admission charged, the movie is free, and the ranger walks are free.

Checking out the huts

Great green scenery

Got some gas and blazed a trail for home in Endwell, NY, just under three hours away.  Faced a little traffic on the route close to Scranton, PA, but found a detour and it was smooth sailing from there, and I had some great weather to enjoy the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and New York.  It was certainly an interesting contrast to driving in flat-as-a-pancake Florida just about 10 days prior.

Cool cloud formations

Approaching New York

On my drive around Kamikaze Curve in Binghamton, just minutes from home, a song called “So Far Around the Bend” by The National came on my ipod that’s connected to my car stereo.  I found it pretty ironic, as one of the repeated lines in the song is “There’s no leaving New York”.

Made it home after 7pm and was greeted by Dad at the house.  No one else was around, and he went out for a walk, so I headed over to Endicott to visit my brother Brendan and his wife Nichole.  Caught up on some stories and shared some laughs.  For one reason or another, we got talking about Conan O’Brien and some of the crazy sketches he’s done over the years.  If you have a few minutes, check out the video from his visit with some old-timey baseball reenactors.  Hilarious.

Came back home briefly, saw Mom and my sister Colleen (who, perfectly timed, just moved back from Syracuse with a jeep full of her belongings).

Home with the parents, excited for me to unload the boxes I've been hauling

And from there I headed out to meet up with my buddy Brian, a guy I’ve known since the days of Little League baseball.  I’ll be seeing more of Brian this week, but it was good to have the chance to catch up with an old friend.

Hanging out at the Galley

Soon it was time to sleep, and I was beat from the drive.  Good to be home in New York.  I’ll be here the next several day seeing old friends, taking care of some personal business, along with unpacking a few boxes I’ve shipped from Georgia.  Then on Saturday morning the trip resumes when I head towards New York City.

I’ll try to periodically post on here over these few days I’m back in town.  I had a real nice home in Georgia, and here I am in another nice home 900 miles north for a short respite.  Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Colleen
    June 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I am disappointed that you put on such a poor showing with team Espana. However, I am glad you were able to assist me with unloading the jeep! Good to have you home!

  2. Raul
    June 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    That’s because he knows Argentina is better. 😉

    • June 15, 2010 at 11:46 pm

      hahha all I know about Argentina is that they have cool uniforms

  3. June 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I don’t know how you could have fallen asleep during the VF film!!! So exciting! (If I recall, I was the one to dose off in the Stone Mtn film, so I’ll let it slide!)

    • June 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      hahah I know, and I chided you guys for dozing off! But I was sure to catch the key details of the video

  4. Maria
    June 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Welcome home Joe! Enjoy peaceful Binghamton NY!

  5. Nate Gismot
    June 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Hey Joe,

    I’m stoked for you that you’re taking this trip – I’m living vicariously through your posts. 🙂 My wife and I live near the city in New Jersey, and Jon Pasquale lives about 20 minutes away from me. If you have some free time, give me a shout and we’ll go grab a few drinks.

    Drive safe! Look forward to reading more posts.


    • June 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks a lot, Nate. I saved your number, and will be in NYC this Sat night. Will be giving you a buzz

  6. June 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Welcome back. You should check out this little hole in the wall called Moon Star in Endwell. They make good bean curd homestyle.

    • June 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

      holy crap I forgot all about Moon Star! I know where I’m getting my dinner from tomorrow. (P.S. thanks for the introduction to bean curd homestyle many years ago)

  7. Kelly
    June 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I played the manager of the father whose kid had cancer!

    And really you fell asleep watching a history video?? I’m surprised you admitted that- that’s a free pass for everyone!

  8. Intern
    June 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I’m liking the Cookie + Milk shirt.

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