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3:22 am EDT 61°F (16°C) in Paw Paw, MI
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After letting another 10 days pass between updates, I find myself waiting to get loaded here in southwestern Michigan tonight. Again, as always, there has been just too much shit to do and not enough time to do it.
I was headed up to central upstate New York when I made my last update; after delivering that load to Wal-Mart’s famous (or infamous?) distribution center in Marcy, not far from Utica, I picked up another load in Cortland and took that to Toledo, OH, to hand it off to another driver. The load he brought me went back up into Michigan to be delivered in the wee hours of Friday morning, and after sleeping in Monroe, MI overnight, I headed back up toward Detroit to get my car. Almost immediately, I had to pack and take off to Pittsburgh, PA, for the first-ever National Road Enthusiast Meet that was held last weekend. I had already missed all of the planned activities for Friday, so I just checked into the hotel, grabbed food and a shower, and did my own little 40-mile drive around various freeways and streets of Pittsburgh.
I went out to the Comfort Inn near the Pittsburgh airport on Saturday morning to meet with the group, at which point we would form three carpools and head downtown. We had planned to eat lunch aboard the Gateway Clipper Picnic Luncheon Cruise, but since that cruise was sold out, we had to opt for a later lock and dam cruise and eat lunch on land. After lunch and the almost three-hour cruise, we returned to the hotel and then proceeded to the new Findlay Connector/“Turnpike 576” construction project, parking all of the cars on the shoulder of U.S. Route 30 and walking up the on-ramp onto the yet-to-be-opened freeway. We were eventually chased off of the Connector by a Pennsylvania State Police trooper who was assigned to patrol the route; he was at least reasonable and polite about it, so I can’t complain there.
After getting chased off of an unopened freeway, we were off to PNC Park on the North Shore and Saturday night’s game between the Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. We had some of the worst seats in the stadium, right under the scoreboard in left field, so I spent the first four innings or so wandering around the facility and shooting a shitload of pictures. I talked to several of the stadium ushers, including one woman who was working section 317 (behind home plate in the upper deck), for quite some time, asking a number of questions about the facility and comparing it to Detroit’s Comerica Park. After the sun went down, I returned to where our group was sitting, and stayed there for most of the rest of the game, straying again in the eighth inning to shoot some pictures from the River Walk out behind right field.
Mostly playing small ball, manufacturing one run at a time, the Pirates took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a sacrifice fly and never relinquished said lead. This would be the middle game of a three-game sweep the Pirates completed over the Cardinals over the weekend. Additionally, both teams were wearing historical uniforms for the game; the Pirates were wearing those of an old Negro League team, the Homestead (PA) Grays, and the Cardinals donned old St. Louis Browns unis. (The Browns moved to Baltimore and become the Orioles in 1954.)
I went to a Denny’s restaurant a few hours after the game; I mention this because I think the fuckers made me sick for the next few days. For most of Sunday, I got these real nasty burps that smelled like rotten eggs, and I had a lot of abdominal pain and diarrhea on Monday. It’s only been yesterday and today that things have started to feel back to normal, although I still seem to have massive amounts of gas for some reason. (My friend Marc, who finds such things hilarious, knows the drill: GAS from my ASS! (hyena laugh) ) I suspect it might have been food poisoning from bad eggs in the omelet I ate there, although I’m not ruling out other possible causes like an ulcer — I’m just going to see how everything progresses, and this may go away on its own for all I know.
On the way back on Sunday, I decided to go a little bit out of my way for some more roadgeeking and county collecting. Rather than merely taking Interstate 79 back to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and then the Ohio Turnpike to head home, I took U.S. 30 from Imperial, PA all the way to East Liverpool, OH, cutting through roughly three miles of the northernmost tip of West Virginia and making Hancock County, WV, the 1,500th county I have visited. (Of course, Columbiana County, OH, would then have to become #1,501 immediately after I crossed the Ohio River.) At East Liverpool, I hooked up with Ohio State Route 11 and took that all the way back north to Youngstown, where I used a short piece of Interstate 80 to connect back to the Ohio Turnpike. It was a really amazing contrast, in that U.S. 30 in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is a twisting, very hilly road on which 55 mph (88 km/h) is only safe on the straight sections, while S.R. 11, once out of East Liverpool, is a fast freeway that transitions from big hill country to fairly flat terrain in less than 40 miles (64 km).
Well, they appear to finally have all of this load on my trailer, but at this point, they have delayed me so long that there is no fucking way in hell I’m going to make Omaha, NE by 4:00 am CDT tomorrow morning. It’s off to my long-delayed sleep now, and we’ll see what becomes of this load later.