Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thursday Morning - The City Museum, St. Louis

St Louis has one of the most unique and weird places I have ever been -  The City Museum.

Originally a 10-story 600,000 square foot shoe factory, it was bought by artist/sculptor Robert Cassilly (who clearly was nuts) as a place to display his art. 

What is really is, is a playground on steroids meant for as many ADHD kids as possible to enjoy at the same time. The noise level is deafening. Tip - go when school is out and not every kid in St Louis is there on a class trip. 

Did I mention there are two 10 story slides? I thought there was only one, but found out there were two when I ended up in a dark catacomb with no obvious exit, in the bowels of the building somewhere, instead of the base of the (other) 10 story slide where Bob was waiting for me.  I'm lucky to have made it out. 

These are some of the questions I asked a very helpful staff member:
1. How do you make sure that everyone is out at the end of the day?
2. How often does someone get stuck and need help getting out? 
3. How often do kids get lost and you need to organize a search party?  

Here is a question for you to ask:

Q - How did I get so many photos without hordes of kids in them? 
A - It wasn't easy

I really can’t describe it adequately. Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Day 2 - Triadelphia, WV to St Louis, MO

Bob has shared our location through google maps with our kids. They are much more engaged in this trip than any other because they are following us on google maps in real time.  

Today Aryeh is in LA, Yoni is in Chicago, Eli is in NJ, and they are all following along and are providing suggestions along the way: Eli - Graeters ice cream in Dayton, Palo Duro Canyon, TX. Yoni - The City Museum St Louis, the pods at West Virginia University. Aryeh - Columbus Air Force Museum.

On previous trips I would send daily emails to our kids (We are ok! Don’t worry!) and photos. These were mostly ignored. I would skip a few days to see if any of them would start worrying. Didn’t work. “We just thought you didn’t have phone or internet coverage.” Eli will finally be concerned that we are ok at one point on this trip when we have fallen off the map for a few days because we actually don’t have phone or internet coverage. "Here be dragons."  

At 907 miles on the trip odometer the time changes from 5:48 to 4:48. Approaching St Louis.  Earlier rain has cleared up and we have bright sunny skies, with the great lighting that comes late in the day.  Spectacular bright green fields sprinkled with yellow flowers.

We are planning to stay 2 nights in St Louis (Comfort Inn, not camping).  Although we are tired, we decide to see the Gateway Arch now because the weather forecast is for rain all day tomorrow.

We get to the park visitor center at 4:45. It closes at 5. Just enough time to use bathrooms, and ask the rangers a few questions.

We are really on vacation now! We pose for pictures. We take a picture for a Kentucky couple who are also there for the first time. “We had to put on shoes and everything.”
With the sun striking the arch at this time of day, it looks like a slice of sky.

Near the Arch

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

#GONM_2019 The First Day - We leave

Why is it that the second I sit down in a car for a long trip, bam!, I am starving? I feel like I haven’t eaten in days. Even though we just had lunch? 

Is it because of (choose one):
A: an irrational fear that we won’t find kosher food on our trip?
B. I am thinking of all the yummy food in the giant cooler as well as the smaller cooler in the car, both packed to the gills? (Not to mention the soft sided cooler on the floor in front of me conveniently placed for easy access. Or of all the snacks that don’t require refrigeration.)
C. I associate sitting in a car with eating, like Pavlov’s dog (the bell was just a translation error from the Russian)?  
D. all of the above?

We leave at 2:10 pm on Tuesday April 30th. Pesach was over motzei Shabbos. 2 ½ days ago.  
Car odometer is at 880 miles. Trip odometer, 0.
We are apparently taking everything we own. The car seemed so big when we got it.

Sprinkler is set up to water the front lawn. We do not know that it is going to rain the entire month of May in NJ. (June apparently also, but we will be home by then.)

Waze directs us to the NJ turnpike S to the PA turnpike W.
Everything is so green. Picturesque farms with picturesque cows.

I follow along with a map on my lap. We have already gone 2 ½ inches!
I collect travel info I don’t need at each stop. I can’t help myself.
Hit 1000 miles on the new car at mile 120 on the trip odometer.

I love the Susquehanna River!

At 4 hrs we have gone 250 miles.
Logged the first one or two stops with great precision - name of rest area, time and odometer at stop, length of stop.  After a few stops, who cares.
Lighting changes from sunshine and blue skies to rainstorms and fog.

Am expecting Ohio after we pass south of Pittsburgh. Suddenly we are in West Virginia. Huh? Examine the map closely.  Who knew there was a 5-15 mile wide tentacle of West Virginia between Pennsylvania and Ohio?
We stop for the night at the Comfort Inn Triadelphia, WV. Mostly pickup trucks in the parking lot.

We have already driven thru 3 folds of the map and are starting the 4th.
1st day Edison, NJ to Tridelphia, WV. 389 miles. 6 hours 15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday April 20th - On the Road Again!

We are off on another adventure! Our immediate plan is to be in Denver for Shabbos, then a 10 day flatwater canoe trip on the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Followed by a few days in Canyonlands this time on land, and Shavuot in Phoenix. After that, who knows?

But for the next few days we are going to be spending most of our time driving.

The past week had been extremely stressful due to a family medical issue and even though we continued preparing for this trip, we were not even sure we would be able to go until about 17 hours before we left.

Once we started driving, however, we started unwinding. We enthusiastically sang Simon and Garfunkel’s “Looking for America,” off key and settled in for the long haul.

This first day, we drove from home to John Bryan State Park, just east of Dayton, Ohio. 9 1/4 hours driving, 587 miles. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. We could see redbuds and something(s?) with white flowers blooming along the highways most of the way!

By the time we got to the campground, the adrenaline that had been fueling our drive along with plain old gasoline, had just about run out. This was not the nicest campground, but we were very glad to be here.

We walked around a bit just to stretch our legs. Tons of spring wildflowers! Perfect end to the day.