Tag Archives: Travel

Washington D.C. – Day #1

We started early with a long walk (14 miles if you ask Lindsey) from the hotel to Eastern Market, and had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, which was more expensive than it should have been, but tasty. I had an omelette and Lindsey had an egg scramble. The best part was the dark chocolate spread for the bread.

Then we perused the flea market, outdoor booths, and indoor food offering at the Eastern Market. There was not a single cloud in the sky, and the temperature was approaching the mid-50s. Very comfortable. We met a small Saint Bernard.

We took the metro to Arlington Cemetery, which was a calculated risk because the metro trip the night before made Lindsey a little nauseous. We made it up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just in time to see the changing of the guard and then a wreath switching ceremony, which involved Boy Scout Troup 187. Those little guys looked so nervous. On the way out, we confirmed that the eternal flame of JFK was still going strong.

It was.

The cabbie that was supposed to take us in to Georgetown saw the traffic on the bridge and said, “It’s better for both of us if you just get out there!” That was a wast of a trip, and Georgetown was way to busy to be enjoyable.

Back to the hotel we headed after a thin-crust pizza at Paolo’s, which was my third choice after we found La Madeline to be closed and Martin’s Tavern to be way too busy. I explored the area around our hotel – J. Crew, H&M, Verizon Center, Ford Theater, Verizon Center, Clyde’s, etc. – while Lindsey napped. Turns out we’re in a great area, and we can shorten our breakfast walk in the days to come.

Post-nap, we switched hotel rooms because there was a ticking/tapping sounds atop our room throughout the night, that sounded as if a woodpecker was sending a Morse code “SOS” to no one.

At 6pm, we walked from the hotel past the White House and to Foggy Bottom where we met Ben (Piehl) for dinner at Bobby’s Burger Palace. I had a good burger and fries, and an excellent dark chocolate milk shake. It’s good to start and end the day with dark chocolate!

Off to Washington D.C.

Lindsey and I are flying to DC at this moment. It will be fun to see the sights and walk through Georgetown to see what has changed since I was 22 and first drove in on a sweltering July 5, 2004.

I am listening to Modest Mouse as I write this. I will always associate their two songs, “The World at Large” and “Float On,” with my first few weeks in DC. Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, and Muse can be added to the bands whose music sounds like DC to me. It was the most musical time in my life to that point and since.

What a different world that was. Many of the friends I spent my days and nights with moved to the West coast where there were originally from. I moved up the East Coast, and then back to the Midwest. We all seem to like where we are from, although that isn’t a universal truth. I’m okay with it.

Anyway, I will reminisce more as the trip progresses. I’m looking forward to it.

My rough itinerary for the trip is as follows:

Saturday – “See the City”

  • Eastern Market
  • Trolly around sights
  • Dinner in Georgetown

Sunday – “Hang with Ben”

  • Mount Vernon
  • Great Falls
  • Stop by Reston and Herndon, where I used to work at Ruckus
  • Dinner at the Green Pig

Monday – “Go to Congress”

  • Museums
  • More sights
  • Capital Tour
  • Dinner with Allie and Dave

Tuesday – “Shop and Eat”

  • Shop in Georgetown
  • See what we need to see
  • Fly to the UP

More to come!

Our Year in Cities 2011

During 2011, Lindsey and I spent at least one night in each of the cities listed below. We hope to travel more in the future, but had the wedding and house purchase to contend with this year – worthwhile events for which to stay put, if you ask me. This was the most amazing year of my life, and will be tough to top going forward. Instead, my focus will be on loving every day I get to spend with Lindsey, enjoying time with both of our families (our united family), and anticipating the big events in others’ lives – marriages, babies, retirements, birthdays, etc. I am happy and can’t help but smile while I write this. I will speak for both of us when I wish everyone the Merriest of Christmases and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

  • Traverse City, MI – (Hometown)
  • Ishpeming, MI – (Grandma Rogers’)
  • Marbella, Spain – (Honeymoon – destination)
  • London, England – (Honeymoon – return trip*)
  • Chicago, IL – (NFDA Conference)
  • Troy, MI – (Christmas shopping and Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

*The night in London was spent sleeping – or trying to sleep – in the baggage claim area of Heathrow Airport. Lindsey slept a little and I did not sleep at all. I paid for it.

Recollection of Driving Alone

I park my 1996 white Ford Explorer outside each night. The snow piles on. The plow plows it in. The moisture inside from the tracking in of snow on my boots is frozen deep into the synthetic gray carpet fibers and won’t escape until late spring. There is ice on the windshield from the warm defroster air blowing on it during my five minute drive home from work the night before.

My car is exceptionally clean on the inside. Especially for such an old car. There are only a few things inside it: an ice scraper, a pair of snowshoes, and a frisbee leftover from summertime fun.

It’s not the detail of my car that I’m reminded of this morning, but the trips I have taken in it. Specifically, not any one trip in particular, but any of the long cross-half-country trips that began before sunrise on the cold like today.

There was a routine to it all. I’d unlock the driver’s door and pull it open slowly so that the snow along the top edge wouldn’t fall and blow all over the driver’s seat. Then I would set my full travel mug of hot coffee down in the cup holder before starting the car. Once it was cleared of snow, I’d jump in (careful, always, to know my shoes together to rid them of snow).

Like we’re taught in elementary school that stories have a beginning, middle and end, the drives that began before sunrise and lasted through the day had the same progression. The beginning and end were enjoyable – the middle I just had to get through.

Early on in the drive, my leather seats were cold and warming up. I was settling into the seat and the heat in the car was still cold. My coffee kept me warm, but the empty bottom of the mug always showed itself before my first stop for gas. Early morning radio – usually Mike & Mike or another news variety show – was better than the repeat information I would hear the rest of the day. I rarely listened to music.

Eventually, there was a point – maybe an hour into the ride – when I would feel settled. I would enter the zone and just keep the car rolling. This was maintained, despite stops along the way.

Getting out to get gas, snacks, more coffee – that was a challenge. Usually the weather was cold and blowing. There were times when the gas would blow on my pants and I’d have to change to escape the smell.

My Year in Cities 2010

In 2010, I slept at least one night in each of the following cities. The asterisks denote multiple-visit cities.

After drafting the following list of cities, I now realize how close-reaching my 2010 travel has been. This indicates a big shift in my life from looking far away for what I want, to being happy with that with which I’ve chosen to surround myself. I have nature. I have family. I have love. I have work and play. I have entertainment and downtime. And all of these things are in my backyard (so to speak). They are closer than they’ve ever been in my life, and I intend to cherish that by spreading my roots far and wide and making a mark on the local community. Of course I hope to travel far and wide for many years to come, but now, more than ever, I’ll do it knowing where my true home is.

  • Traverse City, MI* (Hometown)
  • East Lansing, MI (MI bar exam)
  • Ishpeming, MI* (Grandma’s house)
  • Wilderness State Park, MI (Camping)
  • Charlevoix, MI (Wedding)
  • Holland, MI (Wedding)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (UM v. BGSU)
  • Chicago, IL (Wedding dress hunt)
  • Grand Rapids, MI (Law seminar)
  • Olympia, Washington (Wedding)

Chicago Bound!

Chris, Dan/Dad, Peg/Mom, and I will be headed to Chicago this weekend! I am hoping to find “the dress”, so send me some good vibes…..It occured to me yesterday, not only do I get to find a dress, I also get new shoes! I am not sure which I am more excited about, but I can not wait! I will report some time next week, hopefully with good news!

I Live In Chicago Now

On Sunday, May 17, 2009, one day after graduating from law school, I drove from Concord, New Hampshire to Chicago, Illinois. Aside from the first two hours through the hills of southern New Hampshire and Vermont, the drive was simple and entirely on Interstate 90, the longest interstate in the United States at 3,084 miles (Seattle, WA to Boston, MA). 805 (84%) of 960 miles of my drive were on I-90.

The drive was uneventful and I arrived 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled, in time to drive around and scope out possible self-storage sheds. I said I would never again use storage, but dumping my car load of stuff seemed like the wisest thing to do. I needed my car to do some fast apartment hunting, wanting to find a place to live asap.

It took all of a day to find an apartment, and I found a great one mere blocks from my bar review class. My room has good light, which will be nice during the endless hours of studying I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll be moving in tomorrow.

My next goal is to get back to working out. I’ve been off for a few weeks now, thanks to exams, graduation, and moving. Until I find a reasonably priced gym, I plan on focusing on running and other self-sufficient workouts such as push-ups, sit-ups, etc. I’ve found that YouTube is a good source for inspiration for different activities.

I’ve already got a wishlist for my time in Chicago:

  • Single-speed bike

Chicago Tips? Things to do? Want to say hi? Email me via the Contact form in the upper right of this page.

My Year in Cities: 2008

I spent one or more nights in each of the following cities in 2008. Looks like I didn’t get around much. Hopefully, 2009 will take me to many shiny new places.

Traverse City, MI
Ishpeming, MI
Concord, NH
Park City, UT
Chicago, IL
Rogers, CT
Grand Canyon, AZ
Las Vegas, NV
Ann Arbor, MI
Lansing, MI
Grimsby, ON, Canada

My Year In Cities: 2007

Here is a list of the cities in which I spent one or more nights in 2007. I visited the cities marked with asterisks more than once on non-consecutive occasions.

United States

* Chicago, IL*
* Edmond, OK
* Herndon, VA
* Hilton Head Island, SC
* Ishpeming, MI*
* Lansing, MI
* Newark, NJ
* New York, NY
* Niagara Falls, NY
* Park City, UT
* Portland, ME
* Raleigh, SC
* Richmond, VA
* Traverse City, MI*

International

* Beijing, China*
* Shanghai, China
* Toronto, Ontario
* Xi’an, China

Hello, Shanghai!

Shanghai, despite being hotter and more humid than Beijing, is far better. The air is relatively clean, I can see blue sky during the day, and the city is far more modern. During the day there is less congestion – both pedestrian and automobile. At night every street is like walking down the Strip in Vegas. Neon lights flicker on-and-off calling my attention in all directions.

It’s busy, yet I don’t feel rushed or scared the way I did in Beijing. It’s simply stimulating.

We made the mistake of starting our first day with a long walk to the metro, which left us momentarily cranky while we cursed the heat and wished to be back in the air conditioned hotel room watching HBO, CNN or ESPN. Yes, you heard me right. There are actual American TV stations here in Shanghai. A few of them at least, and we’ve been taking advantage of them.

We took the metro to the train station to buy our tickets back to Beijing. Flying to Shanghai wasn’t much less hassle than taking the train is. Our flight was delayed, the airport was busier than any I’ve ever traveled in, and the heat was unbearable when standing in line for the taxi in Shanghai. Thankfully, finding the hotel was easy. As was checking in and finding a good noodle place called “78 Noodles,” which we’ve eaten at twice now. (The BBQ pork noodle bowl is tasty.)

From the train station we headed over to Pudong, the modern part of Shanghai east of the Bund. We took a trip up the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, visited the Aquarium, and took a pointless trip up the Jin Bei Building. Both the Pearl Tower and the Jin Bei offer the same view from Pudong back over Shanghai. Beautiful in both instances, but too much overlap.

We saw Nanjing Lu, which was once the busiest street in Shanghai. They’ve since closed the street to cars and pedestrians are free to roam. We went down to the west side of the Bund, which is lined with buildings built in the 1930s and 40s. On top of the Peace Hotel South we had hugely overpriced drinks, but were able to take some nice pictures of Pudong at night.

The only downside to the day was that I lost about 1500 RMB. My backpack was open and someone either reached in and stole it or it fell out for the taking. I think I “Shanghai-ed” myself.

Forbidden City

We went to the Forbidden City today and got caught in the rain. What pictures I did take are up on Flickr. You can click here to see them or on the thumbnails to the right. There are also some more random pictures from around Beijing.

We’re off to Shanghai for our last week in China. The Bund is supposed to be beautiful at night, which sounds nice compared to what I’ve seen so far.

Chinese McDonald’s Sued

A Chinese lawyer sued Mcdonald’s in China for not using enough Chinese on their receipts, thus violating his right to information. We recently studied the right to information in our Intro to the Chinese legal system. It is a new concept to Chinese law, and the person seeking the information bears the burden of proving it is important to him.

Last Day of CHIPSI

Our last exam is over! and it’s time to enjoy China free of the burden of academic study. The Intro to Chinese IP exam was an open book copy-and-paste exercise that took most of the two hours. I don’t know how anyone could do poorly (knock on wood). After the exam, the Tsinghua students took us out for Hot Pot – an assortment of raw meat, fish balls, and vegetables that you dump in a hot pot of liquid to boil before eating.

Later, we went to the CCTV tower, which is like a small and dirty version of the CN tower in Toronto and the only things we could see from the top floor was haze, clouds, and smog. Huuuuge waste of time.

The last hooray for the majority of the CHIPSI group was going out last night. We migrated via many taxis from the hotel bar to the park where we hoped to hear music, but just missed it, to a very laid back bar that had great pizza called, “The Tree,” located in the Sun Lan Tin area.

Most of the other students are leaving today or tomorrow to fly back to the U.S. I’m a little jealous, but I’m also looking forward to seeing Shanghai. I’ve heard many good things about how clean and modern it is. And it is supposed to be a “photographer’s dream.”

There are new pictures up on flickr. Click here or on the thumbnails to the right.

Cart Food In China

Cart food typically costs less than 3 RMB, which is equal to 42 cents. I overheard the following conversation in class yesterday:

You got some cart food, eh?

Yeah, right by the subway.

What’s in it?

Pork, I think.

You know you can get that for 1 RMB across the street.

Faced with the decision of whether to pay 3 RMB on your side of the street or 1 RMB on the other side, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth crossing the street to save twenty-eight cents.

Can you think of any 14 cent meals in the US? I can’t think of anything bigger than a single stick of gum that I could get for 14 cents.