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This should be a fun travel year…

January 15, 2024, 1:06 PM

The sense that I’m getting for this year is that it ought to be a fun one for travel.  I’ve got my three-day weekends all picked out through the end of June (our vacation year at work runs from July 1 through June 30), and so now is as good of a time as ever to plan.

Right off the bat, I’m getting together with Aaron Stone later this week, and we’re going to do a weekend trip to New York, similar to what Elyse and I did in April.  Elyse is unavailable for that trip, as she will be at MAGFest.  That’s going to be the case where we drive up, unload the car at our hotel, stash the HR-V until the last day, and then enjoy a lot of what New York has to offer.  Elyse has a pretty decent amount of experience with New York, and so she typically takes the lead when we go, since she knows where she’s going.  I don’t know New York as well, so when I’m taking the lead, it’s a bit more of a measured approach.  Recall when I went last January, my first visit completely by myself, I didn’t stray that far off of the 1 line the entire time, as all of my destinations were somewhere off of that line, seeing Tom’s Restaurant (i.e. Monk’s Cafe from Seinfeld) at my northernmost extent, and the World Trade Center shopping mall at my southernmost extent.  Not bad.  This time, we’re staying in Brooklyn again, so that will have me taking multiple subway lines out of necessity, but Aaron knows less about New York than I do, so it should be fun as we explore the city that never sleeps together.

Then in late March, Elyse and I are doing the usual quarterly Staunton trip.  Doing it in late March should be a benefit, because that means that we will be in daylight saving time again, i.e. the daylight hours line up with our typical active hours.  Let’s admit: I work late nights, typically getting off around 12:30 AM, and bedtime is usually around 4:00 AM.  As such, I usually get up around 10:00 AM, though it’s usually a little earlier when I’m traveling.  But all the same, when it gets dark around 5:00 PM, that does tend to put a pinch on my photography plans, not to mention that it gets really cold at night during that time of year.  I’m not sure what we’re doing in that trip other than seeing my parents just yet, but with my completing a bunch of activities that Elyse would have no patience for on the last trip, I got a whole bunch of things out of my system and into the processing queue, which will make room for other things.  Should be fun.

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Categories: Travel

A weekend in Augusta County, unsupervised…

December 22, 2023, 5:00 PM

I did my quarterly trip down to Augusta County on December 13-15, and this time, unlike most occasions when I do this trip, I was doing it completely unsupervised.  Elyse was pet-sitting for a friend of ours, and so she was in Fort Washington while I went down to Virginia.  With that in mind, I took full advantage of this situation, packing in all of the stuff that I would want to do that Elyse would probably not have the patience for.  In other words, lots of drone photography, mostly photographing Augusta County school buildings, with the thought’s being that very few people would get good aerials of these relatively small schools.  I had a good time, and I felt very productive.

I got out of the house around 11:00, and then hit the road.  This was a trip where I went down via US 29 and back via I-81, and things immediately did not look good, as I encountered major traffic on the Beltway.  That was annoying, but I recovered well enough, though I did start to contemplate how much of a difference it would have made to go an alternate route for a Charlottesville trajectory, with the thought’s being to 270 to 15 to 29, going via Point of Rocks and Leesburg, or something similar to that.  After all, the alternate route works well when I’m going to I-81.  That alternate route bypasses the Beltway and I-66, going to I-81 via US 340 and Route 7 via Harpers Ferry and Winchester, and only adds seven minutes to the trip.  I ran my proposed alternate route for 29 through Google, and it adds about thirty minutes to the drive to go across Montgomery and Frederick counties via local roads, and then 15 at Point of Rocks, and joining 29 just south of Haymarket.  This also bypasses the busiest part of my route on 29, in the Gainesville area.  The question really becomes a matter of whether this alternate route is worth the additional time to travel it vs. dealing with the annoyances of the Beltway and 66, as well as the additional cost involved with taking the express lanes.

In any case, once I got to the express lanes on the Beltway, I took them, and continued in the express lanes on I-66, because I didn’t want to risk any more delays.  I made a pit stop at the Sheetz in Haymarket, and then from there, I took 15 to 29 and then the rest was normal for a trip down via 29.  The plan was to dip into Warrenton on the way down to photograph some converted restaurant buildings.  I had spotted a few of these on past drives through Warrenton, and now I was going to do them, along with whatever else I found interesting on the way down.  This was also why I hit up the Sheetz in Haymarket rather than the third Sheetz (Bealeton) like I normally would.  Warrenton came before the third Sheetz, and I wanted some food inside of me before I got busy.

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A trip to the Midwest…

November 11, 2023, 10:17 AM

From November 2-9, Elyse, our friend Kyle, and I took a road trip out to the Midwest.  We went to Austintown, Windsor, Detroit, Dearborn, Chicago, Sheboygan, Gary, Elkhart, Cleveland, and lots of places in between over the span of eight days.  The genesis of this trip was a desire to visit Chicago to see my sister and do stuff there, and then it expanded a bit into a much larger adventure.  This was always intended to be a road trip, and we put quite a few miles on the HR-V over the course of the trip.  It also means that the new HR-V has traveled further in its first year than any of my other vehicles ever did over their entire careers.  The new HR-V has gone as far north as Ottawa, as far south as Charleston, as far east as Brooklyn, and as far west as Chicago.  The only vehicle of mine that has gone further in any of those directions is the Sable, which traveled as far east as Quincy, Massachusetts in 2010.  The highlights were a visit to The Henry Ford, where we not only saw the exhibits, but I also viewed a photo of mine that the museum licensed from me a long time ago, doing my own version of a walk through a Chicago neighborhood that SpinnWebe did as a spoof of a photo set of mine, a visit to the Kohler factory up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a siren test in Niles, some drone flights around Gary, Indiana, a visit to Garfield Heights, Ohio to see the former City View Center shopping facility that was later successfully repositioned as an industrial park, a visit to the Kent State University May 4 Visitor Center, a small museum about the Kent State shootings, to see a photo of mine that was used there, and finally, a ride on Cleveland’s RTA system.  Unfortunately, my DJI Air 2S drone did not survive the week, as a stronger-than-anticipated wind caused it to run out of battery power on the way back from a flight in Sheboygan, which caused it to force-land into Lake Michigan, taking all of my drone shots from that day with it.  However, I had my original drone, the DJI Mavic Mini, on hand in case Elyse had wanted to fly, so it was quickly pressed into service to complete the trip.

I’m going to do a full photo set about this trip for Life and Times, so right now, I’m just going to share a few photos of the highlights.

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I can’t believe that we went to South Carolina…

October 13, 2023, 5:51 PM

First of all, I have some news for you: I bought a bus.  Elyse had been trying to talk me into buying a bus for a while, and I had consistently said no.  But then one came up on GovDeals, which is a website where public agencies sell surplus property, that had promise, and I said okay.  This unit was a New Flyer D35HF from CARTA, which is the transit agency serving Charleston, South Carolina.  If this sounds familiar, “Biscuit” at Commonwealth Coach is another unit from the same agency, and is the same model of bus.  I won the auction for a surprisingly low amount, as we paid nearly twice as much to get “Biscuit” for Commonwealth Coach.  We then immediately made a deal with Trevor Logan, a fellow transit enthusiast in the DC area who runs the TTMG website, to trade this bus for an Orion V that he owns after he expressed his thoughts about the significance of the unit.  It worked out quite well, because while Elyse and I simply wanted a bus to have as a fun vehicle of sorts to take places and show off, Trevor wanted to fully restore and preserve the bus for sentimental reasons, as he had a close relative who worked for CARTA some years ago, and that relative had operated this specific unit.  So swapping made everyone happy, as Elyse and I would get a bus to have fun with, and Trevor got something of great personal significance that he would restore.

With that said, buying a bus from a transit agency in South Carolina meant going down to South Carolina to retrieve it, because these auctions are typically as-is-where-is, i.e. the agency provides little to no assistance with the removal of the item.  I wanted to line this pickup trip with a three-day weekend that I had later in the month, but unfortunately, with deadlines for removal and such, it couldn’t wait.  So I would spend October 5-6 traveling down to Charleston and back with Elyse and our friend Montigue to retrieve this vintage bus.  The whole week prior to our heading down, I was saying to myself, “I can’t believe that I’m going to South Carolina.”  Then on the way down, I was like, “I can’t believe that we’re on our way to South Carolina.”  And then once we were there, I was saying, “I can’t believe that we’re in South Carolina.”  Seriously.  This was not something that I had anticipated doing this year.

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Categories: Transit, Travel

Toronto was fun, and flying… wasn’t bad.

August 11, 2023, 8:09 PM

So the trip to Toronto that I discussed in my earlier Journal entry about going flying again was a whole lot of fun.  I did not know that one could pack that much fun into three short days.  Seriously, this was a really fun weekend trip, where we got to spend time with friends and see lots of interesting things.

First, though, let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, I went through with it and went flying, and no, I didn’t die.  I don’t know if I would necessarily characterize flying as “enjoyable”, but it was at least relatively painless.  This trip was in part a test to see how well I would tolerate flying, with one of two possible results: either my horizons would be expanded greatly, or I would never fly again.  Fortunately, it was the former, as I think that my being much more mature since the last time I flew, plus my doing a little bit of research did me well.  I also had Elyse with me, who is something of a seasoned flyer and knew what we needed to do, so I just had to do as I was told.  We took public transit from the house to Dulles, via the 58 bus, the Red Line, and the Silver Line.  Then security at Dulles was relatively straightforward, throwing all of our stuff on a conveyor belt and running it through this massive machine.  Though I did roll my eyes at having to take my shoes off – but I wore flip-flops on purpose in order to expedite that process.  Once we got through security, it was just a matter of waiting until our plane arrived and then it was time to board and depart.  This whole airport thing was totally new to me, so I was just sort of taking it in.  I’d never been past the main atrium at Dulles before, so there was lots to see.  We took the air train to our terminal, which was pretty straightforward, but seeing as it was fully enclosed, it was no fun for fanning, since there was no real angle to get a photo of the vehicles.  Though with its being fully automated, there was no cab, which meant that you got a great view of the roadway ahead.

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I’m going flying again…

July 21, 2023, 8:07 PM

Remember when I wrote that Journal entry about how I had not flown on an airplane in more than two decades?  That non-flying streak ends next week.  Elyse and I are taking a Wednesday-to-Friday “weekend” trip to Toronto in order to see an exhibit at the Myseum of Toronto about television in Toronto.  As you probably guessed, there are elements from Today’s Special involved in this exhibit.  The exhibit runs through the middle of next month, and so I figure, we’ve got to go see it.  I found out about the Myseum exhibit from Nina Keogh (who played Muffy), and it opened just after we had finished our trip to Ottawa.  I really wanted to go to the exhibit, but I felt like I couldn’t do another trip to Canada so soon after the last one, both for cost reasons, but also for time reasons.  But eventually, I determined that I couldn’t resist, but that the only way that the trip would make sense would be if we flew.  I played with it in my head, and then pitched it to Elyse, and she was supportive of the trip, but was surprised that I suggested flying.  But an exhibit about Today’s Special will mean a lot to me, so I considered it worth it.  I loved the children’s television exhibit when we went to Ottawa, and so I’m excited to see this second take on a similar subject.  If it tells you anything, I heard Muffy’s voice in my head, telling me, “I know you want to visit me, but to do it, you’ll have to fly, you see.”  Damn it, Muffy, you talked me into it.

Once we get to Toronto, we’re staying at the Chelsea again, which is within walking distance of the Myseum and also “The Store“.  My plan for the day is to visit the Myseum and the store, and see what else I can get myself into in that general area.  It all works out because the Chelsea is about four blocks from the store, and then the store is about four blocks from the Myseum.

I suppose that this trip is the logical conclusion of a process that had led me to do a lot of thinking.  For about seven months, from early November to early June, I was working various services that took me past Washington National Airport several times a day.  I would roll up and see all of these people boarding with their little suitcases and going wherever.  I also saw the planes take off and land as I went by.  This happened day in and day out.  And it got me thinking.  It made my flightless life feel quite confining, as I saw people traveling the world, and I was under a self-imposed limitation based on how far it would be practical to travel via road or rail.  I did a whole lot of regional travel, but I started to feel a little constrained, as there were things that I wanted to do but were either unreachable by car or impractical to do with the time that I had available.

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A fun weekend where no photography goals were met…

June 29, 2023, 8:44 AM

From June 21-23, Elyse and I made a weekend trip to Virginia, but instead of centering on Staunton like we usually do, we centered on Roanoke (but don’t worry – we still saw my parents in Stuarts Draft).  We had planned this trip largely as a photography outing, and then the weather didn’t cooperate.  It was raining continuously almost the entire time, which made for a more difficult drive than I would have liked, but the trip was worth it.  I guess that you could say that while we didn’t necessarily do much in the way as far as photography, we laid the groundwork for future trips by identifying potential subjects.  I didn’t want to lay groundwork for the future this time around, as I really wanted to bring home the goods, but such is what happens when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  I brought my DSLR and my drone on this trip, but neither one of them ever left their respective carrier.

The plan was to drive down from the DC area to Lynchburg via US 29, spend the afternoon and early evening of the first day in Lynchburg, and then head over to Roanoke, where we were staying at the Hampton Inn located downtown (the one built on top of a city parking garage).  Then we would spend the entire second day in Roanoke, largely with Commonwealth Coach & Trolley, which is a bus museum that Elyse and I both serve on the board of.  Then on the last day, we would head up to Staunton and Waynesboro, where I had some things that I wanted to get over there, before going over to see my parents.  What ended up happening was pretty similar to plan, but not quite.  Our departure was delayed, because we already knew that much of the day would be a rainout.  The drive down to Charlottesville was fine, making one stop for food at the third (Bealeton) Sheetz.  We made a brief stop at Barracks Road in Charlottesville, and then we were back on the road.  It started raining harder once we cleared Charlottesville, and we saw three different accidents between Charlottesville and Amherst where people had clearly wiped out after driving faster than conditions allowed.  One of those accidents was a police car, which was clearly totaled in its accident.  We took it slowly, especially since I didn’t have that much experience taking the new HR-V in driving rain like this before, plus I wasn’t as familiar with the stretch of 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg (particularly from I-64 to VA 151) as I am with 29 north of Charlottesville.

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A weekend trip to Pittsburgh…

June 11, 2023, 2:25 PM

From May 31 to June 2, Elyse and I made a little weekend trip to Pittsburgh, where we explored around a bit, saw some friends, and got lots of photographs.  Pittsburgh was something that we had wanted to do for a while, after our very fun and productive trip in 2016, but I didn’t want to do Pittsburgh as a one-day trip ever again.  It’s far too much to pull off in one day, even though our 2016 trip was wildly successful as far as accomplishing our objectives.

Our route there was pretty typical for Pittsburgh, going from home to Frederick to Breezewood to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  We also spotted the point where the turnpike was rerouted in the 1960s to bypass the Laurel Hill Tunnel.  Then we detoured onto I-70 at New Stanton in order to visit Washington, Pennsylvania.  That side trip was for Elyse, as she wanted to visit a hobby shop at the local shopping mall, and she also wanted to visit the George Washington Hotel, where they apparently had a very vintage toilet.  From there, we headed into Pittsburgh.  I photographed in Breezewood and in Washington,

Then the middle day was largely transit-oriented, as we took the buses all over the city to accomplish our objectives.  I wanted to do the inclines during the day, as I had only ever ridden them at night on my previous two visits.  I also wanted to get daytime photos from the overlooks.  We also went back to the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, meeting up with our friend Patrick Nedz there, and meeting up with our friend Jared Chambers later on.  We saw a few elevators, and rode a lot of buses, and had a good time together overall.  Surprisingly, we never touched the light rail system, aka “The T“, on this trip, other than to purchase our SmarTrip cards for Pittsburgh (which are called ConnectCards) at Wood Street station, and then coming right back out.

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Categories: Breezewood, Pittsburgh, Travel

I went to Ottawa…

May 24, 2023, 2:39 PM

From May 17-20, Elyse and I made a weekend trip to Ottawa.  The primary objective was to go and see the Canadian Museum of History in nearby Gatineau, where a Sam and Muffy puppet from Today’s Special were on display as part of a larger exhibit about children’s television in Canada.  The exhibit was amazing, with puppets and costumes from all kinds of Canadian-made children’s programming on display.  We also explored around Ottawa and Gatineau.  The latter was a particularly interesting experience as that was my first time in a place where the predominant language was not English.  Ontario is largely English-speaking, and signage is largely bilingual, containing both English and French, but once you cross the border into Quebec, it’s like a whole different world, as everything is in French, and only French, and some people over there do not speak English.  It was my first time experiencing a language barrier in a major way, and while I managed, remembering that a large amount of English words are derived from French, it was certainly a challenge nonetheless (but Google Translate helped a lot).

I am planning on doing a larger, more detailed photo set in Life and Times for this trip, so to avoid duplicating efforts, I’m just going to share a few photos here and let that be that for now.

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A weekend in New York…

April 26, 2023, 8:33 PM

From April 12-14, Elyse and I took a little weekend trip to New York City.  This was the new HR-V’s first road trip, and what better place to go to than New York, I suppose.  It was definitely a different experience than the Soul’s first road trip, which was the trip home from Staunton the day after I bought it, as well as the original HR-V’s first road trip, which was a day trip to Philadelphia.

With this trip, I was looking forward to seeing how the new HR-V did on a long trip with the various smart features that it has built into it, such as the adaptive cruise control and the lane watch system.  I had tested these things on my commutes to and from work on various occasions on a somewhat limited basis, but I hadn’t done a long drive with them yet.  The good news was that these systems worked quite well together on our trip, which we took largely via I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike.  I think that this was probably the least stressful drive on I-95 that I’ve ever had, as the cruise control maintained a safe distance from the cars ahead of me, and it maintained my lane quite well, following the various curves in the road.  That put me, as the driver, in something of a more “strategic” role, as I was responsible for navigating and making lane changes and such, as well as watching out for any hazards, but the car largely drove itself.  I wouldn’t use these systems on city streets, but for a road trip on freeways, it was great.  The thing to remember, though, is that these are driver assist features.  This is not self-driving, and should not be confused with that.  This does not absolve the driver from the responsibility of driving at the proper speed for conditions, and it also does not mean that you can kick back and play on your phone behind the wheel.  Not at all – you’re still very much in charge, even if this does automate certain parts of it.

The trip up was fairly uneventful.  We had to detour onto Route 1 from White Marsh to Joppa in order to avoid a backup, and there was a construction project on the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which had a direct connection to the Turnpike that crossed us over to the southbound span.  Additionally, Maryland House, one of the two full-service travel plazas on I-95 in Maryland, was closed for emergency plumbing repairs.  And then, of course, when driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, the speed limit signs are merely suggestions.  Just keep up with traffic, and you will be fine.  And if traffic is going 20 over the speed limit in a work zone, you’re going 20 over in a work zone, too.  Otherwise, you become a hazard to traffic.  Then upon arrival in the New York area, we got on I-278, where we followed roughly the same route that we did in our impromptu 2017 trip to New York, but in reverse.  We parked on the street in front of our hotel, the Aloft, got checked in and brought all of our stuff up, and then I took the HR-V to its own hotel, which was on the next block over.

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Making a weekend trip out of a delivery…

April 7, 2023, 10:00 AM

Recently, I was finally able to complete the last little bits of business related to the car accident from last October, and put it all behind me.  On Thursday, March 30, I made the 175-mile journey to Stuarts Draft in the Scion – a trip that would leave it back home with my parents, where it belongs.  And while I was at it, I made a weekend trip out of it, coupling it with a day in Richmond, where I did some photography.  As such, I would traverse what I like to call Virginia’s “Interstate square”.  If you look at a map of Virginia, the various Interstate highways in the state form something like a lopsided square, consisting of I-66 to the north, I-81 to the west, I-64 to the south, and I-95 to the east, and Strasburg, the DC area, Richmond, and Staunton at the corners:

Virginia's Interstate square, with Strasburg, DC, Richmond, and Staunton at the corners.

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Walking through Afton Mountain…

March 20, 2023, 8:38 PM

From March 15-17, Elyse and I did another trip down to Augusta County, and we had a good time overall.  This was typical for these sorts of trips, in that we stayed at Hotel 24 South in Staunton, did stuff, and also visited my parents.  This was supposed to have been the trip where my parents’ Scion xB, which I’ve been driving since late October, went back to my parents to stay, but due to a delay in my new car’s arrival, it ended up being a pretty conventional trip.

On the middle day of our trip, we got together with our friends Evan and Andrew, and we visited the Blue Ridge Tunnel.  For those not familiar, the Blue Ridge Tunnel is a former railroad tunnel that was built in 1858, and was used by various railroads until 1944, when the tunnel was abandoned in favor of a new tunnel constructed nearby, which is still used by railroads today.  I had first learned about the Blue Ridge Tunnel when I was in high school, but while I knew that it existed as an abandoned tunnel, I never knew exactly where it was.  Otherwise, I probably would have sought it out and explored it.  In late 2020, the tunnel reopened as a rail trail, and the public was invited to hike the tunnel.  Elyse and I had it on our list of things that we wanted to do, and since our friends wanted to do it, this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  We all parked at the east trailhead, which is off of Route 6 on the Nelson County side of the mountain.  I got my DSLR and my tripod, and we were off.  We all hiked out to the tunnel together, but then when we got to the tunnel, Elyse, Evan, and Andrew hiked it more or less straight through, while I used the tripod with my DSLR to get some photos of the tunnel itself.

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Categories: Afton Mountain, Friends, Travel

A solo adventure up north…

January 21, 2023, 10:17 AM

On January 5 and 6, while Elyse was at National Harbor attending MAGFest, I did a little overnight trip up north while I was unsupervised.  This was to be a quick adventure, since this wasn’t one of my long weekends, and the goal was to pack as much fun as I could have into two days’ time.  The plan was to leave home in the late morning on the 5th, go up to Philadelphia that day and stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, which would stage me for the second day, where I would head over to Trenton and then take the train up to New York.  I would spend about eight hours in New York, ride the train back to Trenton, and then head home from there.  Interestingly enough, this was an adventure where I put more focus on the logistics of the travel than I did on what I would actually do at the destination.  Thus, the execution didn’t go as well as I had intended, as I ended up getting there and then was like, well, now what? as I more or less played it by ear with less direction than I usually like to give myself.  I also knew that this would need to be a more indoor-focused trip, because it was going to be rainy or overcast all day both days.  This adventure was also unusual because on this adventure, the drone stayed home.  The Philadelphia day was not going to be conducive for flying, and New York, forget about it – too many people to worry about.

For the “Philadelphia” day, I actually put more of my efforts into the Wilmington area than I did in Philadelphia.  I have a list of photo shoot ideas on the computer, which I jokingly refer to as “the place where photo ideas go to die”, and initially pulled out the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, which a photographer friend had previously photographed.  However, I wanted to do the interior, and they also closed at 5 PM, so that would have to be a first stop since it closed relatively early.  So while I wanted to do it, I put it into the “we’ll see” pile, because I wanted to do some stuff in Delaware, which would have to come first because of its location.  I ended up spending a lot of time at Christiana Mall, since I’d been going past it on 95 in 15+ years of adventures up north, but I’d never stopped there in all of that time.

When it came to Christiana Mall, I sort of knew what to expect.  Christiana Mall was a one-story mall, and, unlike a lot of malls these days, was doing well.  As such, I didn’t go in expecting something massive like King of Prussia and then experience disappointment when I got a one-story mall.  Even for a one-story mall, the facility was smaller than I expected, being arranged roughly in a loop.  It had five anchor spots, and they were all filled.  I think that the biggest surprise there was the way that Target was attached to the mall.  In most cases where I’ve seen Target at an enclosed shopping mall, the store is either adjoining the mall but otherwise freestanding (i.e. no mall entrance), or the mall entrance is located at the front of the store near the regular exterior entrance.  Not so at this store.  At Christiana, the mall entrance for Target was in the back of the store.  From the perspective of the store, there was a row of self checkout machines in the random location in the back of the store, and there was a mall entrance nearby.  If it tells you anything about how random the mall entrance’s location is, after I finished up at Target, I had to hunt for that mall entrance in order to get back to the mall.  It is very non-obvious in its placement.

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A little adventure in Virginia, mostly in the woods…

October 6, 2022, 8:06 AM

From September 13-15, Elyse and I had a little weekend adventure in Virginia, where we went down to Augusta County stayed in Staunton like we usually do.  This one was a little different than most because it was partly a solo adventure.  Prior to this trip, Elyse had been down in Roanoke attending to business related to a nonprofit that she volunteers with, so she traveled up from there on Amtrak, and we met up in Charlottesville.  My original plan was to go the easterly route down, taking I-95 to Fredericksburg and then taking Route 3, Route 20, US 15, and a few other routes that would take me through Locust Grove, Orange, and Gordonsville.  However, at the last minute, I had a change of heart, deciding that (A) I didn’t feel like wading through traffic on the Beltway or 95, (B) that easterly track would get me to Charlottesville far too early, meaning that I would have to kill time before Elyse would arrive, and (C) I had ideas that necessitated taking other routes.  So I took the westernmost route, which primarily utilizes I-81, and took the “alternate” version of that, which goes through Harpers Ferry and Charles Town in West Virginia via US 340, and then taking Route 7 to meet I-81 in Winchester.  Yes, I’m going north to head south, but the distance and time for going out to Harpers Ferry is almost the same as it is to go through Northern Virginia on I-66, so it works.

My first point of interest was a relatively obscure sign in the middle of a field in Verona:


Image: Google Street View

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A trip to New Jersey with Elyse and Woomy…

August 14, 2022, 7:57 PM

On Thursday, July 28, Elyse and I took a trip up to New Jersey.  The main purpose of the trip was to visit the Scrub Daddy headquarters in Pennsauken, where the company has a retail store.  Then we built a day around this in order to justify the trip.  We were no stranger to Scrub Daddy by any means, as we had previously stopped by their facility on the last day of our Atlantic City trip back in January, just to see where it was.  I remember how excited Elyse was during that visit to Scrub Daddy’s headquarters, and on that occasion, we just photographed the outside of the building, since the retail store wasn’t ready yet.  I could only imagine how excited Elyse would be going in and actually seeing the place.

We left the house around 10:00 AM, and got as far as Delaware House by noon.  This was to be our potty stop on the way up.  Elyse noticed an Edwards Integrity on the outside of the facility, and got some photos of it:

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