It’s time for a little recap of the last few weeks’ events, as it was full of visits to family and friends, good food, a little sight-seeing, a respectable amount of running, and lots of other stuff in between. In total, we drove 2700 miles on the dot from the time we left Findlay, Ohio on August 5th to the time we arrived back in the driveway on August 21st. We visited friends and family in the following places, in their order, along with the highlights from each place:
Toronto, Canada – We canoed 6 miles around Toronto Island with Matt and No Car, a fellow 2007 PCT thru-hiker. We also spent quality time with Yes Car and Side Car (as named by Jackie Urbanski when she heard the parents’ names), No Car’s wife and two and a half year old daughter. It was my first time to Canada, and we had great weather, great food and great company, and even went for a run with No Car while Side Car was in the baby jogger.
Portland, ME – We were lucky enough to stay with another fellow 2007 PCT thru-hiker, Achilles, and his fiancé, April, in their fabulous downtown apartment, located among all the bustle of Portland, just a few blocks from the water and a great running path. Achilles was a great Settlers of Catan player, one of our favorite board games. April is not only a professional pastry chef, but a wonderful chef in general, and we were spoiled with mouth-watering meals. We also went out for amazing local ice cream two nights in a row with Achilles, the favorite flavor being Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, a chocolate ice cream laced with brownie bites and cherries. It is no wonder we gained a few pounds on this trip, and this was only the second stop!
Lynn, MA – This was a last minute stop to visit a friend from Matt’s days at Fisher, to a home just outside of Boston, MA. We spent a few hours just discussing topics all over the place, all over a few cups of very strong coffee and a plate of veggies a hummus. The visit was short, but power packed with good conversation.
Cranston, RI – A visit to a long-standing family friend was well worth the stop to a home just outside of Providence. Our friend Kris opened her beautiful home and fridge full of healthy veggies to us for a day and a half, gave us a tour of her current life projects of renovating two homes, and spent lots of quality time just talking with us in her cozy home. We also lucked out and were across the street from a huge park with dirt trails, so the running seemed nearly endless. It was hard to leave such a relaxing, restorative home with a gracious host.
NYC, NY – I can see why a lot of people would love to live in New York, particularly Manhattan, where we were staying, but I have no idea how they do it. We went to New York to visit Matt’s cousins and their two sons, who live in a two bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side (look at me, throwing out the local lingo as if I actually know my way around). Visiting them was so fun, as we filled our time with a ferry to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty, runs in Central Park, play time with the boys both in the apartment and the local parks, and awesome food. I say that I don’t know how people do it because the traffic and drivers are crazy, the rent is outrageous, and the price of food and drink in a restaurant is heart stopping. When we went out for ice cream, at a local make-your-own kind of place where it’s charged by the ounce, we spent $30 on four people. It’s a life I could see living for at least a short period of time, but man, the sticker shock would take some getting used to.
Ocean City, NJ – After the fun, yet tiring trip to New York, we had a short hop to visit friends all the way back from our lives in California. Our friends Vince and Doris have a wonderfully comfortable, welcoming home just blocks away from the ocean, and they too opened up their schedules to spend time with us, and their fridge to feed us well once again. Though the weather in the OC wasn’t the best it could have been, we were still able to run along the beach in the morning and take a walk along the boardwalk with Vince and Doris, eating our way through the walk by trying a slice of pizza, thick cut fries, and a funnel cake. It doesn’t get much better than a visit like that.
Millerstown, PA – We had a little flashback to our days on the AT, as we visited our friend Aaron in his family’s cabin that’s just 20 minutes from the AT. Though we didn’t hike on the AT, we ran around the gravel roads and roads with Aaron, spent time reading and relaxing on the cabin’s porch, and true to form, ate some good risotto and veggie omelets prepared by Aaron. The cabin was without electricity or running water, but we managed to make it just fine, and even had time for a little visit to Duncannon, PA, one of the trail towns that we visited back in May.
Washington, DC – The longest stop along the road trip was our visit with our friend, Steve, one of the masterminds behind the website. We worked with Steve for updates to the website, ran along the Towpath near Georgetown, and once again had good food. I was even able to bake some cookies and brownies for the first time in months, so that was very fun.
Gambrills, MD – A visit to our old roommate, Brian, took us to his home between DC and Annapolis, for a short, yet fun visit. We managed to stay up talking and looking at pictures with Brian until 2am, woke up early for a run with him around the hilly neighborhoods, and had lunch before Brian had to head to work. It was a tiring drive-by visit for just the evening and next morning, but worth every ensuing yawn that next day for spending time with an old friend.
Baltimore, MD – A quick trip just north of DC took us to visit Matt’s cousins and Aunt Dottie and Uncle Don for a birthday party for Don. It was a little bit of craziness with kids running around, dinner being made for 11 people, and a card game of Oh Hell to top off the night. I have to say the dessert was the highlight of the night’s food for me, Peaches and Cream cake with vanilla ice cream.
We are now out on the West Coast, having spent a day driving back to Ohio, a day to pack for our bike trip, and a day to fly to Portland. The road trip was a true success, as we were able to spend quality time with friends and family in so many different settings, often over a delicious plate of food or bowl of ice cream. I just hope that all the people we visited and their homes are able to weather the upcoming storms all over the East Coast. Thank you to all our friends and family that so graciously opened up their homes, schedules and hearts to let us in for such wonderful visits.