Friday, August 26, 2011


We slept in this morning, which was wonderful. When we woke up, we walked across the parking lot to the IHOP and had some breakfast.

Once we returned, Mike did a load of laundry in our floor’s laundry room. It was very needed for him as he was almost out of clean clothes.

For lunch we headed out to see just how close the ball park was and get our bearings straight. We ended up eating at the Black Pea Restaurant, where I had a schmorgasbord of fried southern food and sweet tea. It was a fun culinary experience.

After lunch, we headed toward the ball park, to check out how to get there, and stopped by Cowboy’s Stadium on the way. We walked through their gift shop and were amazed to see just how many NFL products there could be.

Then we headed to the Rangers Ballpark to try to find where to park, but eventually we decided to just take the free trolley (an amenity of our hotel).

When got back to the hotel, we just relaxed and took in the great A/C as it was more than 100 degrees outside.

At about 5:30 we headed back down to the sports bar for Mike to grab a beer before we caught the trolley to the ball park. While sitting at the bar, we encountered Daniel once again, this time in his street clothes. He was drinking a beer and seemed pretty intoxicated at this point as he began to repeat something he had already talked about last night. Once the bar keep returned to the bar (after being in the back) he told Daniel that the manager wanted to see him, then Daniel came back out, finished his beer in one gulp and exited the premises.

After Mike finished his brew we hit up the trolley, which took like 40 minutes to ride on and was so hot. It was about 104 degrees outside and 35 percent humidity. Once we finally arrived at the ballpark, we got out and entered (not before Mike was scanned by security first).

We arrived at our amazing seats to find we were surrounded by Red Sox fans, which was great. We talked to the couple beside us and in front of us for the most time we were in our seats. But man it was so hot. We we both sweating bullets as there was little to no wind and the heat just seemed to be stagnant. Mike ate a gourmet hot dog and I had an Icee (as it was too hot to consume anything else!).

About halfway through the game, when the score was 4-0 and we had seen two home runs already, Mike and I decided to walk around the ball park and get out of our sweat pods (better known as our seats). The walk was refreshing and there were some other awesome places to watch the game in the ball park.

Because the score was 6-0 at the seventh inning stretch and we were dying in the heat, we decided to grab the trolley home early (they had signs that if you waited until the end of the game to take the trolley, you might have to wait more than an hour to get back to your hotel).

We finished watching the game in the bar back at the hotel (no Daniel this time, yay). I got really tired and headed back to the room, but Mike got deep in conversation with this guy from Southern Alabama who was in town on business. He worked for Lockheed.

The Rex Sox ended up wining the game 6-0 and we saw A-Gon hit 2 home runs, Big Papi hit one home run and the catcher Saltamalachia hit one as well.

Travel Day- Nashville to Arlington, Texas

Today’s driving was through Tennessee, Arkansas and onto Texas. There was not much to report about the drive itself, except that once we got to Arkansas we drove through several hours of rain and thunderstorms.

Partway through the drive, we popped in the Eskimo Brothers CD, only to be somewhat disappointed with their taste in lyrics and the fact that they basically dissed country music on CD. Weird, very weird.

Somewhere in Arkansas, we saw a roadside restaurant on fire and many fire trucks racing to the scene. Later we drove over the Mighty Mississippi River, which was neat.

When we arrived to Arlington (after some traffic through Dallas) we checked in to the Holiday Inn, which we discovered was built 2 and half years ago when the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium was built. When we got to our very nice room, we looked out the window and could see the Rangers Ballpark and the Cowboy’s stadium, which was cool.

We headed to the Sports Bar that was connected to our hotel and ate dinner with a particularly chatty waiter Daniel. As we were eating we were watching the Red Sox annihilate the Rangers on TV, it was great!

After the game, we headed back to our room to go to bed.

Travel Day – Washington DC to Nashville, Tennesse

Today we hit the road early, trying to beat the downtown DC traffic. We spent most of the day driving through Virginia and then through Tennessee.

For lunch we stopped somewhere in Virginia, at a Shoney’s, which was a small little southern place that served southern comfort food. This was our first stop in a small town where everyone had accents and were very friendly to us.

After lunch, as we were driving in Tennessee, all of a sudden our GPS coordinates got all off and our GPS started saying “recalculating” even though we didn’t move off the guided path of the freeway. About a minute later we heard on the radio station we were listening report to that there was just a 5.9 earthquake centered outside of Washington DC in Virginia. We didn’t feel anything, but think that is what messed up our GPS. After that we got a million texts and some phone calls asking if we felt this “crazy east coast quake.”

Once we arrived at our hotel in Nashville, we unpacked and settled in. We got the handicapped room at the Best Western, which was a little weird. As soon as we arrived we headed out to Broadway, which was about three blocks away.

Once on Broadway we hit up the Bridgestone Arena where the Nashville Predators play (to get a shot glass) but were bummed to see the gift shop closed an hour before we got there. After that, we walked up and down the famous Broadway Avenue and listened to all the live music coming from the many bars lines along the avenue. Eventually we settled on Rippy’s Bar & Grill where we shared a basket of Fried Dill Spears and I had a sweet tea and Mike had a Fireball shot and a beer.

After about an hour at Rippy’s, we moved on to The Wheel, which had a live band playing. The place was practically deserted that night, being that it was Tuesday, so the band practically played a concert for just us. There was this drunk girl at the bar who kept getting up and dancing all weird by herself, she had wild bleach blond hair that was short and sticking strait up – she was crazy. As we watched the band, Mike sipped on some local brandy and then some local beer.

After our own private concert, we left and got the Eskimo Brothers CD on our way out. We walked to the end of the road and got dinner at the Big River Restaurant and Brewery. Mike was feeling pretty good at this point, so he had a lengthy conversation with our server who told us all sorts of tips about Nashville. Mike had a true southern meal of shrimp and grits and I just had some coleslaw because I did not feel super well (I think it was the heat).

We turned in early to prepare for our next day’s drive.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Washinton DC - Day Three

Today the minute we stepped outside we could tell it was going to be a better day. The weather was much cooler and WAY less humid. We started the day by going to a cafe next door - The West Wing Cafe (which was an affordable great option for a quick meal).

After breakfast we walked to the Newseum which was an amazing seven story museum chronicling journalism through the years (obviously perfect for me). Some noteable things we saw: Daniel Pearl's press pass and laptop, Hurricane Katrina coverage stories about saving lives then reporting, a heartbreaking story about a photo-journalist who died photographing 9-11, a piece of the World Trade Center, the largest piece of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany, a 4-D movie experience, many historical front pages and so much more! The Newseum was easily the best museum of the whole trip.

After the Newseum we walked a few blocks to the Capitol building where we saw a few of the memorials out front and made our way to the Visitor Center in the back. We arrived to our tour and began an hour tour of all the meaningful historical rooms in the Capitol. We saw the historic Supreme Court room, where the house used to convene and the center rotunda where there was beautiful art and paintings. After the tour, Mike and I got passes to see the actual rooms where Congress and the House convene. That was amazing to actually see where our laws are made.

From the Capitol we walked to the nearest Metro station and arrived to the Ford Theatre where Lincoln was shot. We were unable to tour the inside because it was too late, but it was still neat to see. We also saw the house across the street where he was taken (to a doctor's) and eventually died.

We headed a few blocks away to the restaurant district and stopped at a great little place for Spanish tapas. This was the best deal of the trip. Three dollars tapas, $3.50 for beer and sangria. It was the perfect stop for the light dinner we were looking for. Best Happy Hour ever!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel, where we are now doing a little packing and getting ready for our departure first thing tomorrow morning!

Next stop: Nashville!

Washington DC - Day two

Today began with breakfast at the hotel restaurant - Article One (where, according to the hotel channel on our TV, "since we are down the street from the Capitol, you never know who you might be dining next to!") Eye roll.

After breakfast we headed out to get a cab to the Lincoln Memorial, all the way on the opposite side of DC. The memorial was very exciting to be at, but we were very disappointed to realize the reflecting pool was nothing but dirt. What a way to ruin a beautiful photo!

After the Lincoln Memorial we decided to walk the to the Washington Monument and see all the memorials in between. But man, it was SO hot and humid it took us over an hour to see the Korean War Memorial and the World War II memorial and get to the Washington Monument. From the Washington Monument we took a few shots of the front of the White House (since last time we were there we couldn't bring our camera because we went inside).

After the memorials, we walked back toward the mall and eventually made it to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We were so overheated at this point we just needed to sit for like 30 minutes to cool our cores down (Mike almost fainted on the way there, and yes we were drinking TONS of water, it was just that humid). At the museum we saw the Hope Diamond, a cool mammals exhibit showing all different sorts of animals and environments, the ocean exhibit and a bones exhibit which basically was CSI for history buffs.

As soon as we exited the museum we hailed a cab and took it back to the hotel. We needed the afternoon off to rest. We watched some TV, Mike browsed the internet and we relaxed. It was very needed and the heat and humidity made it difficult to want to do anything else.

For dinner we walked around the corner to an Irish restaurant The Dubliner. Mike had some local brew and we ate dinner at the local-ish feeling pub.

We returned to our hotel after dinner to relax some more and turn in early.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Washington DC - First full day

Washington DC was not starting out on the right foot. Not only did I sprain my ankle, but when I awoke first thing this morning at 12:20ish a.m. I was violently throwing up. Apparently I had food poisoning. So for the next hour or so I was dealing with that. Yuck.

In the morning Mike and I slowly made our way to the White House at 7:30 a.m. We finally got there around 8:15 (everything takes so much longer with me on this ankle, it doesn't help our hotel is pretty far from things too).

The White House tour was really neat. We got to see the room where the President holds all his conferences and even got to walk down the hall where he walks out to make his speeches. We also saw some famous sitting rooms and the dining room. We also so saw some of the presidential china and the famous painted portraits of each president, even the famous one of George Washington.

After the White House, we slowly made our way back to our hotel (with a quick stop for some breakfast and to CVS to get an ACE bandage). I wanted to rest for an hour or so because I had lost a few hours of sleep the night before.

It was probably 1:30 p.m. before we were on our way again. We overslept, but I suppose we needed it! Anyway this time we set out to visit the National Mall, and boy was it hot getting there. The heat and my ankle makes walking places really really slow.

Anyway we finally got to the National Mall and went straight to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. This museum has three floors and we spent a few hours there. Incredible stuff. We saw the benches the four African Americans refused to get up from in Greensboro, North Carolina, we saw a ship from the Revolutionary War was which was preserved underwater for close to 200 years, the ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Michael Jackson's hat, gowns from a slew of the first ladies, Abraham Lincoln's hat, George Washington's official military outfit, a ton of war stuff, Julia Child's kitchen and so much more!

After the museum we slowly made our way to the Capitol City Brewing Co., which Chris has recommended we go to. This place had a very BJ's vibe to it but I was just so happy to sit down at this point. Also we slept through lunch so this was our first true meal of the day. Mike had a wonderful rib dinner and tried a few of their different brews and I had a few sides (was still be being cautious about what to eat).

After a few hours at the brewery we walked back down to 7th (the area where we ate before) in search of a Washington Capitols shot glass. We finally arrived at the Verizon Center, where they play, and found the gift shop for their merchandise. There was an event going on there that night, a WNBA game. Anyway after the shot glass we headed back to the hotel.

When we got back to the hotel I iced my ankle (which was super sore from all the walking) and took some Advil. Mike and I spent the remainder of the evening in, watching silly movies and relaxing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Travel day- Boston to DC

So today started at the early hour of 5 a.m. so we could hit the road and get to DC at a decent hour.

The drive today was a lot more difficult and expensive than we expected. It seems like almost every state we went through had a toll, just to drive through. Deleware had two! One to get over the bridge and one it took to drive 20 minutes through the state. Ridiculous.

Anyway as we approached NYC we were really getting nervous that our GPS might drive us right through Manhattan. Turns out we only had to go through the Bronx, but that was a bit stressful!!! After the Bronx we rode over the historical George Washington Bridge – which was really high up.

Once we got to DC (and we sat through a ton of traffic getting here), we realized our hotel was not as "in the thick of it" as we had hoped. So that got us a bit down, that and the fact that it was 90 plus with 90 percent humidity. Blergh.

So after we got settled in we walked about 15 minutes (in the heat and sun) and got to RFD, a place with a million beers on tap (perfect for Mike). After eating we headed back to the hotel to call it an early night (because we got so little sleep last night). Anyway, as I do every several months, on the way home I biffed and fell and sprained my ankle and skinned my knee. We had two blocks to walk home and that was very painful but we made it.

We got an ice pack at the concierge and Mike walked across the street to the Fire Station to get a wrap for my foot. We spent the rest of the evening in and just relaxing. Thank goodness we did, it started raining cats and dogs as soon as we got home and there was a lengthy lightening and thunder show outside.

We're calling it a night now, we have an appointment to visit the White House first thing in the morning (I think we'll take a taxi to get there).

Boston Day 3

(I wrote this last night but didn't have internet access so I am publishing it now!)

This morning Mike and I got lost the minute we got out of the hotel. We were trying to find a place to eat breakfast, but the area around our hotel is just so confusing to figure out. This city is not a grid, we learned the first day that the roads were created by the cattle that used to graze in Boston, or something like that. So where we are staying there are all these little half blocks that curve in very strange ways. Anyway it took 45 minutes to walk like two blocks, it was annoying.

After breakfast we went on our way to walk the historic Freedom Trail. On this trail we saw Boston Common and the Frog pond (America’s oldest public park), the State House (with a gold leaf dome), Park Street Church (which we heard chime all its bells at noon), Granary Burying Ground (which had housed John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis and all five of the Boston Massacre victims), King’s Chapel and Burying ground (with super old graves that date back to 1600’s and housed Mary Chilton who came over on the Mayflower), Old South Meeting House (which is where many conversations happened to launch the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution), Old State Museum (where the Constitution was first read to Bostonians) and the site of the Boston Massacre (which was the “shot heard round the world”).

After we walked around, Mike and I returned to the hotel and met up with Amanda! We took the T down to the Prudential Center and had lunch at a Five Napkin Burger and then went on our Duck Tour. The Duck Tour filled in the gaps of what the walking tour didn’t cover and then we went out on the water and got a great view of Boston. After the Duck Tour we went to the top of the Prudential Center and took photos of the 360 degrees of Boston from the Sky. We walked back toward our hotel from the Prudential Center and went to the Public Garden, which was surrounded by weeping willows, beautiful plants and swan boats.

Eventually we all met up with Amanda’s boyfriend Nate at the Bell in Hand Tavern, the oldest continuously operating tavern in the United States. It was originally started by Boston’s Town Crier and used to be frequented by Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere. When we walked in to the bar, some Amstel Light girls gave us free beers. We had appetizers and a drink or two then ventured out again for some authentic Italian in Boston’s northern Little Italy. We found a little restaurant, split a bottle of red and had a pleasant Italian dinner. After dinner we said goodbye to Amanda and Nate and walked back to our hotel.

Once back at our hotel, Mike and I went to the hotel bar and finished watching the Red Sox game (Which was in Kansas City), which of course they won (probably because we weren’t watching in person). And now it is midnight and we have to get on the road at 6am tomorrow to head to DC. Goodnight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boston Day 2

Boston Day 2

Miles driven- Absolutely none!

After taking a very much needed morning to sleep in, Mike and I headed straight to Fenway for our 1:35 p.m. day game. We walked around Yawkey way, took in the sites and crowd at the game and ate at the ballpark. Eventually the game began.

Unfortunately it looks like we traveled more than 3,000 miles to watch the Red Sox lose twice. They were shut out and it is the first time in franchise history they have only had three hits or less in the past three straight games. So as you tell, after today’s shut out, we were more than disappointed. But we tried not to let it get us down as we took some more photos around the ballpark and just appreciated being there.

After the game, we took the T (the wrong way I think) and ended up near the John Hancock building, which we thought had an observation deck. We were wrong. After Sept. 11 they closed it. But we found out we can visit the Prudential Building for another good view, which we might do tomorrow.

On our way back toward our hotel, we decided to stop for dinner at Legal Seafood (which was recommended by several different people). Even though we weren’t dressed up, we went and called it our anniversary dinner (since we didn’t have a chance to celebrate our actual anniversary Aug. 7). I had some great dessert wine and Mike had a Ciopinno plate and some good clam chowder.

After dinner we headed home and just spent the evening taking it easy, enjoying the luxury of our hotel. To top it off, we are watching The Town on HBO in our room right now, the movie that originally inspired this visit to Boston.

Tomorrow Amanda comes up from Providence and I couldn’t be more excited.

Boston, Day 1

Today started at 6am with a five hour drive into Boston, which unfortunately was completely in the rain. The traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be and Mike's friend from Sharks Ice, Dave, warned us it would be. We got in at about noon, got into our AWESOME room at the Hyatt and got situated for about an hour.

After that we ventured out and ate lunch at a place near our hotel, then walked around some more and found a local bar where we could watch more of the Red Sox game (there was a double header yesterday, we went to the night game). At the bar we witnessed some strange goings on. There was this random creeper guy at the bar, and he left while were there, only to come back and go around a corner to get out stacks of cash from his pockets! The bartender then came over, put the cash into this weird gray satchel and gave the guy a beer and some other bills. It looked like some sort of transaction. Very strange. Anyway after the bar we went back up to the room to get ready for our game.

We took the T to Fenway and followed the crowds. Unfortunately we were following the crowds the wrong way because they were leaving Fenway after the first game, whoops. So we turned around and eventually found the Ball Park and the iconic facade at Yawkey Way. We browsed the shops and waited for Mike's friend Dave (who hooked us up with the tickets). We finally met up with Dave and his friends and Dave introduced us to his Red Sox contact. She walked out and let us try on our World Series ring, SOOOO COOL.

We walked around Fenway's exterior with Dave and his friends and saw all the statues, then eventually got let in at a back gate right where all the food was. We were able to grab a table and get some food (and beer for Mike). Eventually we made our way to our awesome seats, about 30 rows up from Home Plate. But man, those seats were TINY. They were originally built for smaller people. Man it was somewhat uncomfortable to be in those seats! We finally figured out some comfortable positions, and proceeded to watch the Red Sox lose.

Notable things about the game: The Red Sox had a triple play, which rarely ever happens (last time was 1994 for the Red Sox) and the Rays had a double steal which was interesting/sad to see. The Sox also hit two home runs and a Rays player hit a home run over the Green Monster.

After the game Dave drove us around Boston, in a bunch of circles because of all the one-way streets. Showed us some of the sites: the rich old money of Beacon Hill, Boston Common, the Public Park, the state house, the U.S.S. Constitution, the bar/restaurant area, the downtown and more. It was fun, but it was late and SUCH a long day at that point. When we finally got up to our hotel room it was midnight and we hit the hay!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Epic Road Trip Day 3

Miles driven: 776 miles
States traversed: Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York
Time driven: About 13 hours

Today felt the longest even though our actual drive time was the shorter than our previous two days. We learned the joy of toll roads when we went through Ohio and Indiana, personally I think it is kinda ridiculous to pay for the pleasure of driving through your road construction. I also think its ridiculous to be stuck on the Ohio turnpike and only have road stops with no tables (therefore no comfortable way for us to make lunch) so we have to go inside and buy lunch at the overpriced Burger King or Starbucks. Oh and then we are stuck paying whatever you find reasonable for gas. Not a fan of the Ohio Turnpike. When we finally reached upstate New York we were greeted with wonderful thunderstorms, which made driving pretty difficult. Even more so when it got dark. To top it all off, when we got to our Motel 6 they had us down for a smoking room. Not happy, at least we got 10 percent off.

Overall we are just looking forward to tomorrow and the Red Sox, praying it doesn't get rained out.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Epic Road Trip Day 2

Miles driven: about 900
States traversed: Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois
Time: 14 hours

Today went by pretty fast and believe or not we are not completely sick of driving yet. The day started out with a pretty quick drive into Nebraska, which is sparsely populated and had A LOT of corn. Had lunch at a picturesque rest stop, where a van had just run over a semi-truck's fuel thingie. The story we heard was that the van ran over the truck part and it killed something in the undercarriage of the car (it was leaking some sort of hydrolic fluid) and it ripped apart their tire. Later on the road a couch was sitting in the middle of the road and we nearly missed it, only to watch in the rear view mirror some pick up truck completely obliterate into a million pieces. It made us laugh. We stopped for dinner, after Mike's epic run of 336 miles without stopping, in a small town (Grinnell)in Iowa at a Hardee's (what we know on the West Coast to be Carl's). Another few hours on the road and we were in Illinois at to our sleeping destination of Princeton, Illinois. Interesting facts about Princeton: It was the home of Owen Lovejoy who was an important abolitionist. His home in Princeton was a stop on the underground railroad! And just outside of town is the home President Ronald Regan grew up in.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Epic Road Trip: Day 1

Miles traveled: 900
States traversed: Nevada, Utah and Wyoming
Time on the road: About 14 hours

Today was not as bad as I thought it would be. I learned to love the wonders of cruise control and was super pleased to see the speed limit was mostly 75 miles per hour. I felt like Nevada had a very similar landscape to desert California and it didn't really hold my interest. Mike thinks it looks a little like Arizona. Nevada also had the most construction zones with threatening ticket signs and 55 mph zones. Ate lunch at a Flying J truck stop in the city of Wells in Nevada. Once we arrived in Utah we had miles and miles of salt flats which were really interesting to watch. Driving around Salt Lake City got a little harry, especially when driving up toward the ski resorts. Semi-trucks started bolting forward at 80 mph and riding our bumper, not fun. Once over the mountains in Utah and toward Wyoming we had beautiful geologic landscape to watch. Stopped for dinner at a super cute diner in Green River, WY after getting sucked into the tourist trap that is Little America (where we just got gas and took a few photos). The full moon made it easier to drive in the dark and we pulled in to a windy Laramie, Wyoming at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time.

Tomorrow is supposed be really flat and boring, hopefully it doesn't feel longer.