Done with Roadtripping
Soooooo grumpy today. Fair warning.
I've been thinking about how it's nice to start this adventure with a road trip that leads into a "vacation", because long term, I don't think I want this to be a road trip or a vacation. It's easy to fall into that mindset when you're driving around in a van with no obligations. I feel like driving out to NYC and hanging out there for a bit is a good way to get it out of my system. I'm certainly ready for the road trip portion to be over. Last night I got into Philly, and I'm just tired of driving. I'm especially tired of trying to find parking in tiny crowded cities with cranky people. Unfortunately, I still have to get to Brooklyn. So, just a little bit more driving to do. And I've got to admit, I'm not looking forward to driving in NYC. I'm not the best of drivers in the best of conditions, and maneuvering a giant van through New York sounds like one of the circles of hell. Not the one as far down as driving around Boston, but still. *deep breaths*
I wholeheartedly reserve the right to take back everything I'm about to say about Philadelphia, because I think it has more to do with my current grumpiness than Philly itself. Also, I didn't actually get to do much there. But first impressions: What the fuck. The roads are narrow, confusing, and in shit condition. It feels dirty. Why are people parking in the median? I should have stayed in Pittsburgh another day.
Okay, wait, let's talk about Pittsburgh: I was completely blown away by Pittsburgh. I didn't know what to expect. I don't think I was prepared to expect anything. In my mind, Pittsburgh was just some sports teams and steel. What a gorgeous city. So much green, the river is actually blue (Chicago, take note), and the city just seems to spring from the nature around it, not dominate it. I'm a little smitten with Pittsburgh. The parking sucks ass though.
My impression of Pittsburgh might also be colored by the fact that I got to serendipitously meet up with a friend of mine there a bit earlier than expected. Bob and Nicky had flown out to Ohio and were taking trains to NYC, and happened to be in Pittsburgh the same time I was driving through. It makes sense that I would randomly meet up with Bob, because that's how I first met him in person.
Okay, story time: Once upon a time, I decided that it had been too long since I travelled to another country, so when I saw a ridiculously cheap deal on tickets to Copenhagen, I booked a hostel and flew out there. One day at the hostel, I threw on a Windy City Rollers t-shirt (a roller derby team I used to shoot photos for) and headed to breakfast. As I'm eating my cereal, two women come up to me and say they noticed my shirt, because they play for the London Rockin' Rollers, and a WCR skater had come through to do a training session the prior year. They're staying at the hostel because they're playing a bout in Malmö which is just a half hour train ride away. We hang out and have a wonderful time. I make friends that trip that I'm still good friends with today. They tell me about this superfan, Bob, who I would totally get on with, but unfortunately, he's coming in after I leave, and I won't be able to meet him. Fast forward a year (a couple years? I'm bad with time.) and I'm at the first Roller Derby World Cup in Toronto. I sit down at one of the stands before the next bout, and about 10 feet to my right, there's a guy talking to a skater from England. Her shorts have the London Rockin' Rollers logo on them, so after she skates off, I lean over and ask this stranger, "Hey, are you Bob?" He's appropriately suspicious, until I say, "I'm Travis! I met a bunch of LRR skaters in Copenhagen", to which Bob replies, "Oh! I've heard so much about you!"
They were right. Bob and I got on famously. So it was a real treat to meet up with him a couple days earlier than expected. And also to meet Nicky again for the second first time. We had met before in Ireland, but as I barely recall, we were both a bit drunk.
In fact, that random morning in Copenhagen is why I'm heading to NYC right now. There are more friends connected to LRR that I'm meeting there for some mermaid parade on Coney Island. (I'm intentionally staying a bit in the dark about it. I know I'm going to have fun just because of the people I'm with. That's all I really need to know.)
Maybe it's the coffee, maybe it's just taking a break, but probably it's due to reminiscing for this blog post, but I'm feeling excited again. I think I'm ready to get back on the road.