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Day 23: Remember me? I was about 8 years old when we last met

June 22, 2010 6 comments

Location: Riverside, RI  

Miles Driven: 168  

Total Miles: 4,040  

4000 miles.  All right!  

  

Left Ya-Wen’s place around 8AM as she headed off to work.  Thanks again, Ya-Wen.  I didn’t think I’d have any home to stay in while I was in Connecticut, and turns out I had a home to stay in along with a good friend to visit.  Ya-Wen and I were in grad school together, and though we’ve seen each other here and there since graduation, it still had been a couple of years since we’ve met up.  

The previous night in NYC, I had come across a Forbes article linked from MSN.com that highlighted some scenic drives across the country.  I had recognized a couple – the Overseas Highway going along the Florida Keys, the Pacific Coast Highway, and others.  One of the drives mentioned that I didn’t recognize was the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut.  Luckily, that parkway was just north of me and ran parallel to I-95 for a stretch, so I figured I could drive the Merritt Parkway for at least a little while and then link up with I-95 towards Rhode Island.  I’m glad I came across that article – the drive along that road was very enjoyable.  

Driving along the Merritt Parkway

Around New Haven the Merritt Parkway turned North, so I got back onto I-95.  

  

The destination was Riverside, Rhode Island, where my cousin (Mom’s side) Lynn lives.  I hadn’t seen Lynn and my other cousins from Rhode Island since my grandma’s funeral back in the late 80s, so I was looking forward to meeting up with everybody and learning more about the family (the Sevigny’s) from here.  

Lynn was very welcoming from the start, as she grabbed some snacks and had me come sit out by the pool.  My gregarious cousin Eddie came by, as well, and I began to make the connections of how everybody was related.  The common reference was my Grandma, Aldora, who was Eddie and Lynn’s aunt.  Lynn kindly drew up a quick family tree for my reference:  

Note the Curtin children near the bottom left

 My grandma Aldora (we called her “Memere” when we were kids) was the one girl out of four children born to my great-grandparents (EJ and Olivine Sevigny), immigrants from Canada.  I couldn’t recall seeing a visual representation of how the family was broken out, so this helped a lot in figuring out how everybody was related.  

Enjoyed hearing a few stories about “Auntie Aldora” and her brothers (Paul, Albert “Minno’, and Omer) before Eddie had to head out, though we planned to meet up later in the day with more family members.  Lynn had to attend a jewelry show in nearby Bristol, as she did a lot of artwork for the restaurant that was hosting the show.  Here’s the cover of the invitation she designed:  

  

Pretty cool, eh?   

So although the jewelry show (I had no idea necklaces could cost upwards of $3,000) wasn’t something I’d normally seek out on my own, I’m glad we went as the restaurant was right along the water.  I spent some time walking up and down the main drag in Bristol, and near the water.  There’s a lot of history in this town – you’ll see homes built in the late 1700s, and I learned from a police officer that Bristol hosts the longest-running parade in the U.S. on the Fourth of July (first mention of it goes back to 1777).  In fact, the lane divider markers on the parade route are painted red/white/blue year-round, as opposed to the traditional solid yellow.  

  

  

  

  

As the sun was coming down, Lynn and I headed out and she drove me by some of the buildings my great grandfather and great uncles had built.  I had no idea how much the family had contributed to the development of places like Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island.  Houses they all had built decades ago still stand and are being used to this day.  

Nearby lived another cousin, Paul, who everybody says really has the gift the great uncles had for building.  Got to visit with him for a little bit, and it was good to finally put a face to the name.  

Lynn and Paul

 We returned to Lynn’s where cousin Eddie, his wife Sandra, his son EJ, along with our cousin Mike came to meet up with this wandering relative of their’s from NY.  This had to be one of the top experiences of the trip as I heard first-hand stories about my grandma and her family, and about the raw ability and drive of people who lacked little formal education (my great-grandfather EJ had a 6th grade education), and really made themselves into something.  EJ became a Rhode Island representative for over 20 years and was very politically connected, evidenced by him managing to get Paul, Omer, and Albert a brief return home (all away serving during WWII) to attend their sister Aldora’s wedding.  And although the brothers did not attend any kind of architectual school, they became experts at designing and building.  And I would be remiss not to mention the funny stories showing their idiosyncracies, their tempers, and their humor (like when Uncle Omer knocked Eddie down with the rounded edge of a backhoe).  Thanks to Mike, Eddie, and Lynn for sharing all of that with me – stories I had never heard, and may not have heard anytime soon without this gathering.  

Eddie, Lynn, Mike, and EJ

All the cousins together

What a great visit.  

joe

Categories: Uncategorized

Day 22

June 21, 2010 3 comments

Location: Norwalk, CT

Miles Driven: 119

Total Miles: 3,872

Woke up to a humid day in NYC, but it certainly beat waking up to a jarring cell phone alarm going off.  Got to mosey around a bit in the morning, hung out with Mike for a bit, then made moves to get my stuff together.  I wanted to arrive in Roselle, NJ between 11AM-noon, so around 10:30 I got in the car, said adios to Mike, and headed in a SW direction.  Thanks again to Mike and Sarah for letting me crash at their place.  I had a great time.  (Also, an added note of thanks to Mike, for helping make the “Joe tracker” application on the right-hand side more accurate than it had been.)

Crossing the Verrazano Bridge

I was heading to Roselle to meet up with my great uncle, Bernard.  Uncle Bernard is a retired Marist Brother (Catholic religious order), and served as a missionary in The Phillippines for 25 years.  Today he lives with some other brothers, and just celebrated his 90th birthday last week.

We watched the remainder of the Italy/New Zealand soccer game (good job, NZ) while chatting and I got to hear some of Uncle Bernard’s great life stories – his independence as a kid, waiting outside Yankee stadium to see the stars of the 1920s exit (Babe Ruth included), and how his older brothers taught him not to take any crap from anybody.

Uncle Bernard kindly had got together a lot of photos of extended family throughout the country, and provided their contact info, as well.  Look out, Curtin relatives – I may be seeking a place to crash.  He also made sure I raided the brothers’ freezer for ice cream. What a great visit.

Oh speaking of photos, my parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and newborn newphew had just visited Uncle Bernard right before his birthday.  Among all the photos taken, there was one that especially stood out to to me – four generations in one shot.  Here’s the picture from my sister’s photo page:

My brother Jon, his son Nico, Uncle Bernard, and my Dad

So late last night, I was able to make contact with my friend Ya-Wen, whose number I had lost when my last cell phone went missing.  All I knew was that she lived in Connecticut, and that was the path my journey was taking me.  She said she was free to meet up, so she gave me her address and I got on the road from Roselle, NJ towards CT (you’ll note the map takes me on a circuitious route, but that was intended – trying to avoid Yankee game traffic near the city).

Met up with Ya-Wen at her place around 3PM, and she took me out for a tour of Norwalk – it’s a quaint area with a lot of charm.  We ate a tasty lunch at a restaurant called ‘The Brewhouse”, she took me out to the beach area, and then we headed to the movie theatre to catch Toy Story 3 in 3D – amazing film, by the way.  You would think quality of a franchise would decline by the third film – but no way.  And this edition of the series was expecially touching.  Pixar succeeds once again.

Here’s some photos from our time in Norwalk:

At the Brewhouse

View of the Long Island Sound

I initially wasn’t planning on it, but Ya-Wen kindly offered me a couch to crash on, and since she’s the only friend I have in Connecticut, I gladly took her up on that.  I’ll be heading east on Monday, as I work my way towards nearby Rhode Island, where I will be meeting up with relatives I haven’t seen in who knows how long.  Great start to the New England portion of the trip!

joe

Days 20 and 21: Homestay done, Roadtrip continues

June 20, 2010 2 comments

Location: Forest Hills, NY (Queens)

Miles Driven: 208

Total Miles: 3,753

I had a lot to do on that last full day home (Friday), so I awoke early to get a head start.  In addition to organizing all the items I wanted to take with me on the roadtrip, I wanted to get the car cleaned up a little bit, as well as stock up on some supplies.  It was relatively easy packing the car in Georgia – everything I didn’t ship home I packed in the car.  But now I had to be more selective, as the moving portion was over and I just needed to decide what was needed for the remainder of this trip.  Afterwards, I took my car to get a car wash; 3500 miles or so will make a car look a rough, but after the wash it looked good as new.

Also, it was my hope to make the most of a last night back home, as it probably won’t be until September that I return.  Had a great Thai dinner with my friend Giac and my sister Colleen, and then had a good night out in Binghamton.  Thanks to Brian and Heather for showing us another fun time.

"Jagshemash!"

Having procrastinated for a large part of Friday, I spent Saturday morning getting the rest of my stuff together.  Thanks to Colleen for helping me load up and double-check everything.  I’m not returning home until this trip is over, so I was anxious not to forget anything I needed.

I went out to Endicott to visit with a friend (and big supporter of this adventure) Jen, and her daughter Lucy.  I don’t think I’ve seen Lucy since she was a baby – what a cute kid.

Jen and Lucy

Said my goodbyes and since I was in Endicott, I took a quick detour over to Round Top Park.  When I lived in the area, I used to always walk up to this park to get some exercise and get some good views of the area, like so:

A view of Endicott and Vestal

I returned home and finished loading the remainder of the items into the car.  The car was fairly full, but not nearly as stuffed as it was when I started the trip from Georgia.  Who knows, maybe now without the extra ballast my mpg can improve?

All loaded and ready to go. No looking back now.

For the first time on this trip, I was going to have a companion to share the ride.  Since my planned destination for the day was NYC, Colleen came along so she could visit with her friends, and then eventually take a bus back home.  I was somewhat spoiled having her in the car.  Colleen helped open up snacks, took over some driving when I needed a nap, and took some great pictures of the scenic drive.  I had opted to head towards NYC via route 17 (thanks to the recommendation of my friend Mike), and I’m glad we drove that way.  Very beautiful drive.

On the road to NYC

Attack of the killer space bugs!

NYC skyline

After a bit of traffic before the Whitestone Bridge, we finally arrived at our destination – my buddy Mike’s place in Queens.  Mike and I went to grad school together and have been friends now for almost five years.  Fun fact: Mike’s from Hyde Park, NY, and the grammar school he attended was a part of the church where my parents were married – Regina Ceili.  Small world.

Mike and his girlfriend Sarah

Colleen eventually headed towards Manhattan, as Mike and I were going to make our way to Astoria.  Thanks for everything, Colleen!  See you in September.

View of the RFK Bridge from the Astoria Blvd. subway station

In Astoria, we were planning to meet up with some friends from school at the Bohemia Beer Hall and Garden.  Great venue.  Unfortunately, a couple folks couldn’t make it (thanks for trying Milton and Anindita!), but I got to see my old friend Manisha, meet her boyfriend Barun, and my friend Georgie came, as well.  Of course, we made sure to get plenty of pictures from the night out:

The Binghamton University crew

We eventually returned to Mike’s home in Forest Hills and I immediately passed out.  On Sunday, the tentative plan is to visit a relative in New Jersey and grab a bite with a friend in Connecticut, as I work my way towards Rhode Island.  I haven’t been to Rhode Island since I was a kid.  Looking forward to it.

joe

Days 18 and 19: Great people

June 18, 2010 10 comments
Location: Endwell, NY
Though I haven’t ventured far from the vicinity of home in the past few days, it’s still been an enjoyable part of this adventure to reconnect with some old friends.  Wednesday afternoon, I met up with friends I worked with in Owego for two years.  Allan, one of the guys from my former department., kindly organized a lunch outing at the Owego Treadway.

Allan and Linda

In total there were 12 of us together, and we all were able to joke around again as if I have never left the place.  These were some of the folks I started a career with, and I was lucky to have that chance to work with them in those early days of my brief four-year corporate experience.

The generosity of this group was something beyond touching.  Not only did they get me a nice card that everyone signed, but after the card came a box wrapped in an outdoors/wildlife theme.  I was blown away with what was inside.  For one, knowing that I would be encountering all kinds of bugs on this trip and next year’s adventures overseas, they got me a couple mosquito nets for the head, and then a big one for sleeping under.

West Nile and Malaria be damned

Also inside the box were a number of gift cards.  Several Exxon gas cards (because there are Exxon stations in Alaska, as they researched), a gift card for Dick’s, and a VISA gift card.  Unreal.  Such a thoughtful group of people…I haven’t seen most of these guys in about two years, and here they are with all these amazing gifts to help me along in my travels.  I was speechless.  Add this to the fact that all of them took time out to have lunch with this wandering fool.  What a wonderful group.

With hugs and heartfelt words of encouragement, we parted ways. As many have said earlier, I am indeed “rich.” A big thank you to my friends in Owego.

Met up with some friends to play some ball while was in town.  It certainly wasn’t pretty, as I was about 1 for 28 on the night, but still a great time.  With my group of friends, we have some competitive games, but it’s still all in fun.

Chico, Dan, and Dan

The three Dans. Congrats to the Dan on the left, as he is getting married next week.

Don showing his Celtic Pride

Ended the night with a nice time at Moon Star chinese restaurant, followed with some sitting in some cushy chairs at a local lounge bar.  The fun night ended, and I returned to my woefully unpacked state of a bedroom.

The following morning I dropped off my car for some maintenance work at Mike Shara’s in Endwell.  Mike’s shop has taken care of my family’s cars for years, and we’ve only been treated with friendliness and professionalism from day one (quite a bonus when the shop is just down the street, too).  I requested an oil change, and also asked they take an overall look at the car to see if anything might be needed before this journey expands further across the country.

After dropping off the car, I met up with friends Tony and Katie, along with their son Anthony, for breakfast.  Tony’s family and my own have known each other for years, but I didn’t really get to know Tony until we both started working around the same time in 2006 in Owego. Since that time I’ve gotten to know him and his wife well, and then not long after, their little guy.  And Anthony’s vocabulary has grown exponetionally since I last visited with them.  I was impressed.  What an enjoyable time eating with this family.

Little Tony

After a delicious breakfast of stuffed french toast (gotta be careful, I’ve been eating far too well in this stay at home), I said my goodbyes and headed back home for some more organizing.  I’m happy to know that my car will be less full when I hit the road on Saturday, as I’ll only have roadtrip-specific items in there (as opposed to items I’m also moving home).  However, getting all of that together properly has been a slight challenge.

I was informed by Rick at Shara’s that the car was in good shape, though he advised me that in about 15K miles, it’s recommended that I replace my spark plugs.  I figured since I’d be out West somewhere by the time I reached that point, I might as well take care of that now, and they went ahead and did the work.  Thanks again to the kind folks at Shara’s for helping take care of the Mazda.  On my last trip in 2005, they helped make sure my Neon was in tip-top shape (as tip-top a shape you can get a Neon to be), and I had no issues that whole trip.  I have even more confidence now with my newer Mazda, along with the good luck touch that comes from the guys at Shara’s.

Thanks to my friend Melissa, we had a dinner outing planned that night at Sakura (sushi) in Endicott.  Before that, I went to check out her new place and her boyfriend Ed’s new place as well, both within walking distance of my home.  An added bonus was getting to meet their dog, Niko, whose fun misadventures can be read here.  Niko is a well-behaved Shiba Inu dog who is very smart.  He even knows some unique ways to greet people:

Had the chance to walk with Niko, Melissa, and Ed.  Niko was so well behaved on a pretty decent walk for a little animal.  What a good dog.

Happy Family: Niko, Melissa, and Ed

Before we knew it, it was time to meet everybody for some sushi.  Just another great time sharing good food with some old friends.  Thanks, everybody, for coming out.  Looking forward to the fall when I’ll be back for some more good times.

Lyndsay and Raul. Raul is another buddy I've had since the Kindergarten days. Have fun on the honeymoon, you two.

Tonia and Me. Don't let Tonia's small stature fool you - she is a force to be reckoned with in dodgeball

Team Sushi

Later that night I met up with my buddies Brian and Giacomo, and we enjoyed some good conversation as Game 7 of the NBA Finals played in the background (lucky break this year, Lakers).  Giacomo is a guy I originally met when I spent three weeks working in the UK back in 2007.  His father, Gianni, was my host at the job site and quite possibly one of the kindest, most gregarious people you’d ever meet.  I still remember one of his many unique quotes:

“Variety is the spice of life.  What is the secret of your success, Joe?

Tabasco sauce.”

Gianni has a positive spirit that is hard to top, and his son Giacomo embodies that spirit, also.  Giac ended up moving to the U.S. not long after I met him in the UK, and we’ve since had several fun times hanging out, despite my usually fleeting presence in the area.

There's Giac "taking the pi$$"

I’ve been blessed to know some amazing people, be they from New York, other states, and even other countries.  Friday is my last full day in the area before the roadtrip continues.  I’m glad I’ve been here these past several days to reconnect with everybody.

joe

Categories: Uncategorized

Day 17

June 16, 2010 5 comments

Location: Endwell, NY

What a great feeling to sleep in my own bed.  I woke up early to get cracking on unloading the car and unpacking some boxes.  I’ll have to choose carefully what I decide to unpack vs. what I decide to keep in boxes, as probably a lot of stuff will be going into storage come January.

My parents have been quite generous in keeping space aside for my belongings, in addition to the belongings of my sister Colleen, plus some belonging to Yona, a Korean student who lived in the house for a year.  Our basement now somewhat resembles a warehouse, but soon I’ll get my stuff squared away, and Colleen will probably be moving out shortly, and then the basement will be looking pristine like it did before.

Drowning in a sea of boxes

Attended the St. Joseph’s School (our K-8 school for all of us kids) graduation that evening.  It was a nice ceremony, though a bit sad in that it’s the last class to graduate.  Next school year, St. Joe’s will be merged with another Catholic school in the area, but it was a nice end to a school that’s been around for decades.

Colleen and me before the graduation

After the graduation, Colleen and I headed to a local bar to meet up with some old friends for team trivia.  When I was living in the area a few years ago, I played trivia with these guys all the time, with the occasional win.  We didn’t win this time, but it’s always fun to play.

Trivia Question for this post: What year did the first Toy Story come out?  (I happened to know this one).  Post your guess in the comment section!

Great to see some old friends again.  I was able to make a little collage with Picasa to capture all the different photos.

After hanging out some more with siblings Brian and Heather, and Colleen, we returned home.  Interestingly enough when I got out of the car, I realized I could see a good amount of stars in the sky from our house in the suburbs.  I wasn’t able to see as many at my homes in MD and GA, and once I moved to our backyard the amount was even greater.  I decided to take out the camera again and try to get some star shots, and I had a couple that turned out pretty cool:

Trees, clouds, and some stars

Bowl of the Big Dipper shining in between the clouds

Ursa Major nice and bright

Vega in Lyra shining bright

Stars above our neighbor's tree

Ended up being outside until about 1:30AM.  Definitely a great night to be outdoors.  Can’t wait until I eventually work my way West and can see even more stars.

joe

Day 16 – Home Sweet Home

June 15, 2010 12 comments

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.

joe

Categories: Uncategorized

Day 15

June 14, 2010 10 comments

Location: Haddonfield, NJ 

Miles Driven: 190 

Total Miles: 3,159 

3000 miles!  A definite milestone, I think.  The first thing I could think of is a song by one of my favorite folk musicians, Ellis Paul, entitled “3,000 Miles” 

Left Bethesda around noon, said my goodbyes, and headed Northeast towards southern NJ.  I knew I had to be back in the North when I paid around $15 in tolls to travel for under 180 miles of traveling.  I failed to hit up an ATM before getting on the road, so I had to reach into the big bag of coins to pay most of the tolls (I imagine the lady who accepted $5 worth of  coins was not too happy with me). 

Some bug splatter up front, but the Mazda is doing great

Back in somewhat familiar territory

My plan was to head towards the town of Medford, NJ where my friend Kelly’s parents and brother have an ice cream shop called Coneheads.   It worked out that ice cream was the exact pick-me-up I needed, and I couldn’t have met a nicer group of people.  Kelly’s parents, Ken and Mame, and her brother, Brian, were so very welcoming.  They made a great waffle-cone brownie sundae for me, and I enjoyed that while chatting with everybody. 

Me, Ken, Mame, and Brian

I even got a tour of the operations, learning how ice cream gets made.  It was like I was in the TV show “How It’s Made.”  If anyone is in the southern Jersey area, I highly recommend a visit to Coneheads.  Great people, great ice cream, and some great artwork inside.  Here’s one of my favorite paintings that hung on the wall: 

I love the subtle replacement of his microphone

So go check it out!  You won’t be disappointed  

Coneheads 

617 Stokes Rd.  Medford, NJ 08055 

Had just a half hour drive from Coneheads to my buddy Sam’s place in Haddonfield.  Hadn’t seen Sam since New Years.  We arranged a small get together at a nearby bar for my friends in the Philly/Moorestown area to all meet.  It’s been years since I’ve seen some of these guys. 

Jenna and Adam. On my last trip in 2005, saw these guys just a day or two into the trip. Glad we got to meet up again.

Breton (Sam's roommate) and Sam

Chloe and Nachiket. I went to grad school with Nachiket, and this was the first time I got to meet his wife. Turns out she has a brother in Alaska that I'll be able to link up with in Anchorage. Very cool

Best friends since Kindergarten

Thanks to all my friends who came out last night.  What a great time.  The plan for Monday will be to check out Valley Forge, and then I’ll be fixin for home in Endwell, just about a three-hour drive or so away. 

joe

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