Monthly Archives: August 2003

the trip home

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 – We had the option of spending most of the day on the cape, but when we got up and looked outside it was still very grey and foggy so we decided to turn towards home rather than driving out to the tip of the cape. Our first stop was in Newport, RI where we got some travel information at the visitor’s center and then took the scenic ocean drive among famous mansions such as “The Breakers” after returning along Bellview before leaving town on the Pell Bridge. There would have been much more to see and do in Newport but the city was quite congested due to a large folk music festival going on this week. We decided to continue on our southerly route into Connecticut rather than back through Massachusetts. Driving through Connecticut we realized that we wouldn’t be far from Yale so we should stop to see that school as well. Yale was much more like Mom envisioned Harvard would be like, lots of old stone buildings surrounding a common green area leading up to a gothic library. We poked around the campus for a bit including looking at one of the last collegiate library paper card catalogs still in use. While there we asked a librarian for a local pizza place frequented by the students and she gave us the name of two places to check out. We settled on Yorkside Pizza, a typical college town pizza place paper cups and plates to boot. The pizza was quite good, but nothing fantastic; I thought it was quite similar to Pizza by Evan. On the way back to the car we stopped to hear the six o’clock Caroline bells which played “The Entertainer.” Though both Mom and Dad preferred Yale to Harvard I disliked it very much, it was too secluded from the town with it’s gothic architecture and high walls. I like schools that become an integral part of the community; it does wonders for community spirit, and brings about a sense of ownership in the community. I dislike schools such as Yale that seclude themselves with lofty walls and imposing architecture, it creates a false world where you learn without experiencing the real thing which makes for a nasty shock once you get out. In any event we left Yale and decided to continue eastward into the southern tip of New York skirting New York City rather than the upstate route we had originally planned on. During this leg of the trip it was Noah’s turn to watch a movie and he chose to watch National Security an action comedy that, in my opinion, has no value to it whatsoever and contains a lot of immature (cheap) comedy that only rots the brain. Instead of watching the movie I continued to work on writing these descriptions of what we did on the cape catching up on all the days I was behind on. After we got a bit further on I took over driving while Anna watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the back, one of Shakespeare’s best and funniest comedies. Watching the sun set over the hills as I pushed west into Pennsylvania (one of the most scenic states in the East) was a great experience. Eventually I ended up stopping in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 14, 2003 – After much discussion last night we decided to try and get home late today and to take a southerly route through Pennsylvania on the turnpike, then through mid-state Ohio with a stop in Champagne/Urbana, IL where our uncle George will be teaching this year. We got an early start to the day getting up at six and on the road by seven in the morning. The fog has definitely gathered in the valleys this morning, as I look out the window I can see a huge oval shaped ravine off to our right filled that looks like a lake of fog. Pennsylvania is one of my favorite eastern states to drive though; it certainly has some of the most interesting scenery to look at. We had forgotten how long it takes to drive across Pennsylvania and were surprised to be in the state as long as we were. Noah was anxious to take a turn driving so he drove from Beford, PA to Washington, PA. Then Mom took us through West Virginia and into Columbus, OH where we stopped for a late lunch. During this leg of the trip Josie chose to watch The Parent Trap, if you ask me the original version is better. Everyone other than me stopped at a Wendy’s; however, we have some friends who moved from the Columbus area and love Cincinnati Chili which isn’t available outside of Ohio so when we stopped at a Skyline Chili restaurant I ordered two cheese conies and a cheese skyfries. For those not familiar with Cincinnati Chili it’s a soupy chili without beans, basically beef and spices, and a cheese coney is a small hot dog in a deep bun with Cincinnati Chili, onions and cheddar cheese on top of it. The other common way to serve Cincinnati Chili is called a 3-way, 4-way or 5-way which is spaghetti with chili, cheese and (depending on which one) various other toppings. If you’re ever in Southern Ohio I highly recommend stopping at a Skyline or Gold Star Chili restaurant and trying either a 5-way or a cheese coney. After making these stops in the Columbus area Dad took over driving until we got to the West side of Indianapolis where I took over and drove us to Champagne-Urbana, IL. We stopped in Champagne around 7:30 to visit Uncle George, take a very brief tour of the University of Illinois where he will be teaching law in the fall, and get a slice of pie. When we got there he also was the first to inform us of the major blackout in the northeast that hit at 4:11 yesterday, apparently due to a plant problem the grid was overloaded in that area causing cascading outages. After leaving Champagne I continued driving until we reached Peoria, IL where we decided to stay the night after almost 17 hours of driving (including the stops in Columbus and Champagne.) We drove over 876 miles today which is certainly the most in a single day for this trip and just over our previous record of Washington, D.C. to Chicago, IL in one day.

Friday, August 15, 2003 – We got on the road this morning by eight and will certainly make it home today. From Champagne home is roughly nine hours and we’re an hour out of Champagne as of last night. We’re going to attempt a different route home this time, rather than cutting up through Chicago and Wisconsin or taking I-80 West to Des Moines and up I-35 we’re planning to go through Iowa City then North to Waterloo and on to Rochester, MN which (in theory) is a more direct, if possibly slower, route to take. Luckily we’ve been able to shake the bad weather that’s been following us for so long and finally have some blue skies to look at; unluckily we haven’t had any rain up in Minnesota since we left. Anna, Mom, Josie and Noah are finishing Minority Report which they started late last night on the way to Peoria. We’ve now returned to the familiar scenery of soybeans and corn so familiar to those passing through southern Minnesota and Iowa. Dad continued driving until we were just outside of Waterloo, IA where we stopped for gas. At that time I took over driving on the two-lane road stretch leading to Rochester, MN, although it’s somewhat slower than the interstate (but more direct in this case) I often prefer driving on the two-lane US highways as they tend to be more scenic. Between Waterloo and Rochester the backseat theater was showing Maid In Manhattan. We stopped at Culver’s restaurant in Rochester for a late lunch, but we decided we wouldn’t have time to stop in and see Uncle Greg and our cousins. After lunch Noah offered to drive us the rest of the way home. I also noticed that I received a few text messages on my phone from my server at home stating that our power flickered a little after nine this morning, hopefully when we get home everything will be working fine. The rest of our trip home was uneventful and we got home around 4:30 this afternoon, got some groceries and filled the car with gas to prepare for another adventure…the return of school.

the Cape Cod

Sunday, August 10, 2003 – Before leaving Boston this morning Mom and Dad took a walk through the Boston Commons and Public Garden area. On our way out of town I convinced them to stop at the little pub on the north side of the Boston Public Garden that was the inspiration and exterior for the hit TV series Cheers I was able to take a few photos there before we drove south out of the city and on to our next destination. After about an hour we found ourselves just outside of the town of Plymouth, MA at the “Plimouth Plantation” [sic]. This plantation contains a town representative of Plymouth in 1626 complete with characters that lived there and know nothing of events past 1626. It was very interesting for me to be able to apply the knowledge gained in my American History courses through the years and have intelligent discussions with them regarding New Amsterdam/New Holland and other events of the era to test their knowledge. The plantation also contains a sample Native American settlement that might have been found in New England during the 1620s complete with people to describe the settlement and what would have gone on in those early years of European settlement. After spending a couple of hours at Plimouth Plantation we continued on to the modern city of Plymouth, MA home to “Plymouth Rock” and Mayflower II. Our first stop was to see the ship Mayflower II, a replica of the Mayflower sailed by the Puritans that was built in England in 1957 and sailed to Plymouth without escort or modern conveniences. I was especially interested in the building and sailing of a 17th century ship in the 20th century but there were also plantation staff on hand to answer questions about the original voyage. After seeing the ship we walked down the street to see the famous “Plymouth Rock” which is supposed to be the actual rock where the Puritans first touched America, but I have my doubts about that, as do a lot of scholars. It was a quite ordinary, quite boring rock; I didn’t even bother to take a picture. After seeing the rock we walked back up the street to Isaac’s where we were meeting Miss Daisy from Leoville for dinner. Meeting someone who you’ve only written to and never seen is quite an experience and we had fun trying to guess which person coming up the stairs to the restaurant was her, in the end though it was she who immediately spotted me. We had a very good dinner, my Dad said his seafood was fantastic, being a very small seafood eater myself I opted for steak which was also very good. Even better than the food was the conversation, Daisy and the family hit it right off and we had a great conversation about all sorts of things, it’s also great to make that human connection with someone after simply corresponding for so long. After leaving Isaacs we continued south along the Massachusetts coast to Cape Cod. It was getting pretty late by the time we found West Yarmouth and our hotel, partly because of the lack of adequate signage on the cape (read on for more on that!) in any event we soon retired for the night.

Monday, August 11, 2003 – We were able to sleep in a bit this morning but after we got up and had breakfast our first stop was one of the candy companies on the cape. We all picked out ten pieces of salt water taffy and got some fudge to share in the car. It was still pretty gray and rainy, weather we picked up in Illinois and haven’t been able to shake all trip so we decided to try visiting Cuffy’s Factory outlet. Cuffy’s is a Cape Cod company that makes many of the t-shits, sweaters and other souvenir clothing items for the cape. Many of us found some nice t-shirts at fantastic prices and by the time we were finished the clouds were starting to break up and the sun was coming out. This made our next stop the Mayflower beach near the city of Dennis, MA. Here the sand was fine and smooth but the water was cool so we waded in the ocean but didn’t get too wet. Our next stop was at Pizza by Evan which is supposed to have the best pizza on the Cape. They did have some of the best pizza crust I’ve had in a while, but the sauce was nothing special and could probably have been improved some; nonetheless it was quite good. As it became increasingly sunny and warm we decided to try and find a water activity. Eventually we settled on renting two Jet Skis to take out in the ocean and hop over some waves. It took us a while to find the rental place, we’ve found the roads are narrow, winding and not well marked at all on Cape Cod, it’s a very difficult place to get around if you’re not a local, good maps are also hard to find. Once we were situated we ended up with a four person and a two person jet ski. Papa drove the two person jet ski with Noah riding and I drove the four person jet ski with everyone else. After about halfway through our thirty minute rental Mom decided she wanted to get off because she wasn’t having any fun so after dropping her back off at the beach the rest of us returned to jumping waves for another fifteen minutes. After returning the jet skis we all agreed that it was quite a fun activity and I especially enjoyed it. We were all pretty tired and wet from the Jet Ski adventure so we turned back to the hotel to clean ourselves off and relax for a little bit. After we had all showered we drove to a local supermarket and got some cookies and milk to eat in the car on the way to see the movie Seabiscuit. It took quite a long time to find the (poorly marked) theater and we almost missed the beginning of the movie after stopping to ask for directions from locals several times. I would say that the movie is pretty good, especially if you just go to see a good movie. If you attend with the preconception that you’re going to see a horse movie you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s clear that the movie is aimed more at the connections between the life of Seabiscuit and the jockey than a movie about a horse. After a full and tiring day we made our way back to West Yarmouth and our beds.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003 – Because we were so tired last night we decided to take the noon ferry instead of the nine-thirty ferry to Nantucket Island, this allowed us to sleep in, at least for a while. After we got up and had breakfast we drove down the cape a bit to get to the ferry, but it took less time than we had anticipated so we stopped at a Reebok outlet store where Mom got a pair of shoes and I got a polo shirt (for $6.99!) After a while we headed back down to the docks with our ferry tickets and soon were aboard the ferry. It was pretty grey out and rained while we were on the ferry but stopped soon after we landed in Nantucket about an hour later. Nantucket looked much more like how we had envisioned the rest of the cape would look. Lots of small seaside businesses and homes covered in weathered cedar shingles. It was still a bit rainy so our first stop was to get some lunch at the Fog Island Café. After eating we walked around Nantucket Town for a while and then stopped at the Juice Bar for ice cream, they had delicious hand rolled waffle cones and a good selection of ice cream to go along. Finishing our desert we walked across the street to one of the bus stops on the island and all bought one day passes for the island bus system. We rode one of those busses out to Jetties Beach which was warmer than Mayflower beach on the cape but it had coarse sand, lots of shells and seaweed which made it much less inviting for wading but a better swimming beach. We spent about an hour on the beach and in the water before it started to sprinkle and we took the bus back into town. After talking to the bus driver Mom and Dad decided to take the bus to Sisconset(sp?) while the rest of us took a walk around the town and read some magazines and newspapers in the local library before taking another bus out to Madaket beach to watch the sunset. As it turned out they were back before we needed to leave for Madaket so they were able to join us. Madaket beach turned out to have nice sand similar to the sand we found at Mayflower beach, but it had big waves and a strong undertow. We chased the waves for a while; unfortunately, it turned out the sky was too cloudy for a sunset which would have been fantastic from this vantage point. After we took the bus back to Nantucket Town we checked out desert at a few places before settling on “The Tavern” restaurant near the wharf. I had Hula pie which is an island specialty made locally by the Juice Bar. We finished just in time to catch the 10:00 PM ferry ride back to the cape and drive back to the hotel exhausted from another full day.

a few days in Boston

Wednesday, August 6, 2003 – We got up this morning and after a complimentary breakfast and a brief drive on the Mass. Pike we found ourselves in Salem, MA. The first destination for us was the National Parks Service information pavilion where we got some maps and information as well as a peek into their small museum about the maritime and textile industries that formed the area. Soon after we found ourselves in the Salem Witch museum which essentially provided a recap of the events that took place in 1692 with audio and still displays, I found this to provide rather basic information and nothing that I hadn’t heard in history classes. Leaving the museum, we took a brief walking tour of downtown Salem as well as a look at the exterior of some of the older homes in the city. I would recommend skipping the witch museum and spending a little more time in the town of Salem if you plan to visit the area. After we got back in the car it was a very brief drive up to Marblehead where we had reservations for the night at the beautiful Marblehead Inn. After driving through downtown Marblehead, we drove out to the Marblehead Lighthouse and poked around for a bit, taking some pictures before heading back into town. After finding our Bed & Breakfast just outside of downtown and checking in, we parked the car downtown and took a walk around scoping out a few of the various restaurants for dinner. We eventually settled on “The Barnacle” which is a seaside seafood and steak restaurant where we ate our dinner. While the food wasn’t fantastic there is something to be said for eating right out on the ocean. After dinner we poked around downtown a little bit more, including stopping at a local grocer for milk, cereal and a few other supplies, before heading back to the Marblehead Inn. We got back to the B&B with plenty of time to relax and recuperate from the days in the car before turning in for the night.

Thursday, August 7, 2003 – We got up this morning and ate a continental breakfast at the B&B before heading out to the “Terminus” of our trip, Boston; however, before we got to Boston itself we had decided to make a detour to see Gordon College, where one of Anna’s friends will be attending school in the fall. We left some notes in the mailroom for her so she would have some mail as soon as she got to school later this week. After this brief stop we continued on our way into the city of Boston. We soon learned that the immense number of pedestrians did not mix well with heavy traffic and constant construction. After several zig-zags, detours and much confusion we found ourselves outside of Prudential Center, landing site of the Boston Duck tours. Everyone from the area that we spoke with said that we simply had to do the duck tour while in the city, but after a brief inquiry we found out that they were already sold out for the day and we would have to come back tomorrow to try and get tickets for Friday. However, we were able to secure tickets for an 8:00 Blue Man Group show, we had hoped to get student rush tickets, but they were already sold out and we ended up paying full price for the tickets. While we were at Prudential Center we also made sure to get three day transit passes as similar passes have served us well in New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Soon we found ourselves in the subway heading out to Cambridge for a look at Harvard, the school and the square. While mom was somewhat disappointed by the look of the Harvard campus (not at all as she had imagined it) I found it to be essentially what I had expected, a cramped compact urban campus that had overgrown it’s original land and spread into the surrounding neighborhood. After this stroll through the campus we spend quite a bit of time in the Harvard Book Store looking through the Boston section as well as the used and remainder sections, though we didn’t buy anything it was very interesting to see the large selection of books they carried. Just a hop, skip and a jump down the street found us at Herrell’s Ice Cream getting a fantastic snack; I had the peanut butter cookie dough (highly recommended) but also sampled the chocolate pudding (also highly recommended) amongst others. After boarding the subway again our group split up; Anna, Noah and Dad went back to Prudential Center to pick up the car while Mom, Josie and I continued on to the New England Medical Center stop where our Hotel is conveniently located right next to the subway exit. After a little bit of confusion over the reservation we found ourselves in two neighboring hotel rooms and our car in parking for the remainder of our three days in Boston. While on the subway mom talked to a native of the area who suggested we go to Jacob Wirth’s for dinner, so after we got our things into our hotel rooms we headed over there for a quality German dinner. Following dinner we walked up the street to the Charles Street Playhouse where we picked up our tickets for Blue Man Group. The intimate setting of the Charles Street Playhouse gave the show much of its energy and provided a unique experience would not have received had we gone to one of their national touring shows. After a brief wait we found ourselves enjoying this modern example of experimental performance art mixed with hilarious non-verbal comedy, outside the theater we even got a blue man to “autograph” a program by leaving a blue handprint on the cover.

Friday, August 08, 2003 – Dad woke up early this morning and got us Boston Duck Tour tickets for 11:00 so the rest of us got up and hiked over to the Prudential Center to meet him shortly after 10:30. Our duck driver was fantastic and it showed that he really enjoyed his job, even letting Noah and Josie drive the duck for part of the trip in the river. The tour gave us a good overview and history of the city of Boston. We knew the Johnson’s were in the Boston area taking Joanna to college and had a few messages on our phone from them but we hadn’t hooked up with them yet so when we finished the duck tour we headed over to Quincy Market where they were going to be eating lunch sometime around one. We took a brief walkthrough Faneuil Hall “The Cradle of Liberty” but the large meeting room on the second floor was closed for the day due to a special event so we weren’t able to hear the rangers give their talk. Next we moved on to Quincy Market, a large Greek revival building that currently houses a large food court. Though my dad thought the chances of running into the Johnson’s were slim, I never really doubted that we’d find them; after all it’s hard not to spot us if we’re in your vicinity. Sure enough, we found them finishing up their lunch in the center of the building. It’s always fun to run into people you know when you’re off on vacation somewhere, once before on our trip to Yellowstone National Park we unexpectedly ran into our dentist and his family which was also a fun experience. After a few minutes of walking through the markets we decided to stop for lunch at Durgin Park which is an excellent restaurant in the North Market. After a hearty lunch including some Boston Baked Beans we started on part of the “Freedom Trail” which is about a three mile walk through some of the historical sites in the Boston and Charlestown areas which is delineated by either a red brick or printed red line on the sidewalk. We followed the trail from the markets up into the “North End” to the house where Paul Revere and his family lived, which has been restored to its appearance in the early eighteenth century. After stopping to see and walk through his house, which contained some of the original furniture provided by the Revere family, we continued on to Old North Church where the famous “One if by land…” lantern signal was given during the revolution. The trail continues on to Bunker Hill monument, which actually doesn’t even sit on Bunker Hill, but we had been told that it wasn’t worth following the trail over the Charles River to go see the few things in Charlestown so we headed back towards the center of Boston. On the way back I made a point of stopping at Mike’s Pastry up on the North End as it had been recommended to me as a place to see while in Boston. Even though the food there looked delicious I was still quite full from our lunch at Durgin Park so we were able to see the shop without actually buying anything. By this time we were all quite tired out from all the walking we had been doing after so many days of riding in the car, and based on the fact it was starting to rain pretty well we decided to head back to the hotel to rest up for a while. We walked back to North Station which was still a little hike and we all ended up getting a little wet before we got back to the hotel. Once we got there Noah and Papa went to the attached YMCA to go swimming in the pool, which was free to use as hotel guests. I was able to get a slow modem connection set up on my laptop and finally able to check email and a few web pages of things going on in Boston. I also set up my laptop to provide wireless internet access through my modem to Anna’s laptop so she and the others could check their email as well. After refreshing ourselves for a few hours Anna and Mom decided they would like to try and catch the outdoor performance of Macbeth in the Boston Commons at eight. The rest of us were going to head over to the Charlestown Navy Yard to see an outdoor performance of South Pacific which was a special three day performance being put on by the Boston Orchestra and Opera companies. We were told that the easiest way to get there was to take the subway up to Sullivan Square and then take bus 93 back down to the Navy Yard, unfortunately for some reason we waited and waited but bus 93 never came to pick us (or any of the other people waiting for it) up. After a while we gave up and took the subway back over to the hotel where we read the paper and had a small snack before heading out again to meet Anna and Mom for a late dessert. Our original intent was to meet at a dessert spot called Finale but since we had a little more time to poke around than we had anticipated we found that it wasn’t quite the spot we had hoped for and we found a place next door called M.J. O’Conner’s Irish Pub where we ended up meeting for dessert, which was quite good. By the time we all got there and had eaten it was getting quite late again so after a brief walk back to the hotel including a stop at the neighborhood 7-11 for some more milk we fell into bed.

Saturday, August 9, 2003 – Papa got up early again today and went over to Fenway Park to get some tour tickets. As it turned out the tickets weren’t in as big a demand as we had anticipated and we could have picked them up just before out tour and still been ok. In any event we all walked to the Boylston green line station and headed out for a ten o’clock tour of the famous ballpark. We had a large tour group, but a fantastic guide named Steve who made the tour interesting from both a historical and baseball perspective. I personally, found the history of the park itself fascinating to hear and enjoyed the tour thoroughly. Leaving the park we split up again; Mom, Anna and Josie headed down Newbury St. for some shopping while Papa, Noah and I took a walk over to see the MIT campus. MIT was somewhat larger than I had envisioned but was not huge by any means. It was interesting to see the varied architecture of the buildings that make up the campus from a traditional 1930s building that felt like an old high school, to more modern buildings with big screen TVs built into the hallways. On one such screen we were offered an opportunity to watch a real thirty minute Rube Goldberg contraption operate in the film Der Lauf der Dinge which was quite interesting to see. After walking through campus we took the subway back to the hotel where we met back up with Anna, Josie and Mom. We all went to church in the Downtown Crossing area before we headed back to the North End for an Italian dinner in the family owned and operated La Summa restaurant where I had an absolutely incredible fettucini al fredo the white sauce was honestly the best I’ve ever had, I highly recommend stopping here for dinner if you ever have the chance. After dinner Anna and Josie were tired and took the subway back to the hotel, but the rest of us decided to try and make tonight’s performance of South Pacific in the Navy Yard. This time we took the subway only as far as the community college stop and then hiked a few blocks down to the pier with no trouble. I really enjoyed the performance, getting to see a play put on by professional actors is always a thrill and with the ever increasing price of theater tickets getting to see one for free is even better. During the intermission I took a few minutes to call Miss Daisy and firm up plans to meet tomorrow for dinner at Isaac’s in Plymouth, MA where we will be spending the day tomorrow. Thankfully the rain held off until after the performance and we were back at the hotel and safely in our beds.

Welcome to Massachusetts!

Ben’s Boston Trip Travel Log 8/2/2003-

Saturday, August 2, 2003 – I got up this morning about 7:30 which has been my normal weekday rising time this summer. I had made a pretty big list of things the night before that I needed to get together before we headed out on our annual summer vacation, so I was soon busy running about the house trying to get everything I needed done before we left. This year we’re going to hit a family reunion for my mom’s dad’s family in West Bend, Iowa before continuing on the rest of our trip, because of this my youngest sister, Josie, rode down with my uncle Jim so she was not along for the first part of our trip which was also shorter than usual. It took us only a few hours to move south through Minnesota and into Northern Iowa. We spent most of our time settling into the car and listening to some music. After arriving in West Bend and checking into our rooms in the new hotel their we met a number of our relatives for snacks in the park across the street which is home to West Bend’s claim to fame the Grotto of the Redemption. At five o’clock we all got together for dinner in the hotel’s conference room and continued catching up with each other (the last time we all got together was for a reunion in 1994.) At seven we all moved out to a farm outside of West Bend where we had a beautiful outdoor Mass and then a campfire with entertainment and stories provided by each of the families. I had a great time catching up with a number of my second cousins and hearing what they have all been up to. There were also some fantastic photographic opportunities to be had and I can hardly wait to see how the photos I took turn out. Later in the evening those of us still around made some fantastic s’mores over the campfire before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Sunday, August 3, 2003 – We all slept in a little bit this morning and then headed over to the park at nine where we had fresh made to order omelets; and of course, more socializing. Our family headed out about eleven and headed East across the state of Iowa, the sky has just been beautiful all across the state, a light blue with big white clouds just popping out of the sky. In Cedar County I took over the driving while they watched Clueless and John Q. in the backseat. There was a lot of construction going on I-80, and our progress was slowed even more by about half an hour of torrential rainfall, which I later heard had temporarily closed some city streets in Chicago. Once we got to New Lennox, IL we decided to stop for dinner at a local family restaurant. After filling up with food and fuel we continued on through Illinois and Chicago paying a thirty cent toll as we passed the lights of the city. We quickly passed the state line and were into Indiana. I was navigating with my dad driving as the others started to watch the movie Ghost in the backseat, after examining the maps for a bit I decided our best bet was to get on the toll road continuing East to South Bend, IN. It was quite a full day and by the time we got to South Bend I had already called ahead and made a reservation for us to stay the night. I was quite exhausted and soon in bed for the night.

Monday, August 4, 2003 – Noah is anxious to get on the road this morning and get to Sandusky, Ohio; home of Cedar Point amusement park. We were all out of bed by 8:30 and downstairs by about 9:20 for an excellent free continental breakfast. At about ten we were packed up, checked out and on the road headed east again. While the people in the back finished up the movie Ghost I continued to navigate for my dad. We soon were out of Indiana and changing our clocks for daylight savings time; although Indiana is in the Eastern Time Zone they do not use DST so during the summer months they have the same time as the Central Time Zone. After getting a little ways into Ohio we stopped for some coffee, to stretch and change drivers. With Anna at the helm we continued our journey Eastward through the vast agricultural land of Northern Ohio. We got to Sandusky around 2:40 and started looking for a place to spend the night. After looking and calling hotels unsuccessfully we decided to drop Noah off at Cedar Point because he could get in with his Valleyfair season pass and the rest of us went out for dinner at Steak n’ Shake. While natives to cities where Steak n’ Shake’s exist may not be excited by the prospect of visiting one, when you only see them once a year or less it’s a little bit more of an event to eat there. We eventually found a room that would accommodate us closer to the turnpike and further from the city of Sandusky than where we had originally looked. After getting our things into our room we headed back out to Cedar Point to join Noah for a starlight admission buy one get one free deal. Everyone except Noah rode on “Raptor” the inverted coaster, and then we met up with Noah and rode “Mean Streak” one of the largest, longest and fastest wooden coasters in existence. Unfortunately, after that ride most of the park closed down due to thunderstorms in the area, we stuck out the first dousing of rain; but when it looked like it would be rainy the rest of the night we decided to head back to the hotel where Josie went for a swim well the rest of us watched Goldfinger on my laptop before getting some sleep.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003 – After getting up and eating a quick breakfast at the hotel we again took off down the Ohio Toll Road pushing further eastward. It was Anna’s turn to watch a movie so we set up my laptop in the car and proceeded to watch Catch Me If You Can while we moved through the rest of Ohio and into Pennsylvania. Before long the movie was over and Pennsylvania was behind us as we drove onward into Upstate New York. We decided it was a good thing that we hadn’t tried to go back to Cedar Point today as we ran into more rain all the way through Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Yesterday we discussed if we should take a northerly or southerly route through New York and I suggested going out on the Northerly route with a brief stop in Rochester, NY to look at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I’m interested in looking at the graduate program, and coming back from Boston along the more mountainous southerly route. I am somewhat disappointed that we won’t be able to spend much time in Pennsylvania during this trip, as I recall the last few times we were out to the East Coast I truly enjoyed driving through the rolling Appalachian Mountains so eloquently showcased in that state. After getting some information on the M.S. IT program at RIT we got back on the New York State Thruway and mom took over driving while we watch The Day of the Jackal on my laptop. The last time we were in upstate NY was on our Niagara Falls trip several years ago and I had forgotten what the scenery looks like. With all the trees bordering the toll way it reminds me a lot of traveling through northern Minnesota. Unfortunately, it’s continued to rain and be a rather dark and dim day, we don’t seem to be able to escape this weather, I’m sure it doesn’t help that we’re headed East, the same direction as the weather, but it would be nice to see some sun again. Hopefully once we stop in Boston for a few days the weather will have time to pass and we’ll have some sun for a change. I’m took the last shift of driving tonight, after a stop for dinner outside of Albany, NY I drove us across the border into West Springfield, MA. In the backseat they watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off while we crossed out of New York and into Massachusetts. It was very dark and rainy so it took longer than we had originally anticipated but we eventually got to West Springfield around 10:30 and promptly fell into bed.