12/30/2015

The Nick's Big Adventure

Me again. Instead of doing the usual like playing WoW or browsing facebook for random stuff I decided to spend my morning again by writing another blog. I wanted to talk a bit about my cross country trip to Maryland.

First off Andrew and I are friends again. We hadn't spoken for about 3 and a half years. In that time I had been wanting to message him to tell him I am sorry about how our friendship ended and whatnot. Finally after debating it for awhile I finally messaged him. Without really getting into too much detail it is like nothing ever happened. To be perfectly honest the whole reason why we stopped talking in the first place was stupid.

Anyways so we started talking again and the new Star Wars was coming out. I thought it would be an awesome idea to travel to Maryland to go see the premiere of the movie with him. We went to opening night for Episode 3 together (the only time I've ever went to a premiere night) so I thought it would be awesome to do the same thing for Episode 7. The only issue would be me having to drive cross country in the middle of December. I've never driven cross country before and you just don't know what the weather is going to be like that time of year. While it be snowy, cold, icy, etc? I decided it was worth it to take a chance.

I left here on the 14th. The movie was premiering the night of the 17th. I figured I wanted to give myself enough time to get out there in case something happens. It is a 750 mile drive. I was most worried about getting through Chicago and oh the stupid toll booths that I would encounter on the way. I had planned to split up the trip by driving half and half over a course of 2 days. Let me say I am thankful for that decision.

Chicago wasn't too bad. Of course I had to deal with a shit ton of traffic. I got to Chicago and I was all excited. First time I ever drove to Chicago by myself. That excitement ended within the next 15 minutes while sitting in traffic trying to get out of Chicago.

Toll booths. Man they are annoying. Just to take the expressway in Chicago you encounter at least 3 of them, could have been 4. The one that annoyed me the most was leaving Illinois and going into Indiana. It is an unmanned toll booth so you have to slide the money into the slot. Try doing this on a windy and rainy day. I am surprised that I am still not sitting there trying to put money in. The rest of the trip with toll booths was alright. You pick up a ticket at the state line and when you reach your destination or the next state is when you pay the toll. The turnpikes are nice cause you get the rest stops and gas stations spread out across the state. Made things a bit easier. Btw coming back home I had the same issue with the unmanned toll booth but not nearly as bad this time around. Could have been worse. One of the ladies a few cars ahead of me actually had to get out of her car to put money in. She ended up dropping money on the ground too.

Rain and wind. My first stop for the trip was Milan, Ohio. Same thing with coming back home too. On the way there I was getting pounded with rain and wind. Driving with a ton of trucks did not help any either. My car was getting thrashed around. The rain stopped by the time I got to the hotel that first night. Oddly enough on the way back home I dealt with rain the majority of my drive until I got to the hotel that night. Yeah I stayed at the same hotel on the way there and on the way back home.

In Indiana I nearly tripped and stumbled while trying to put gas in the car. I'm sure that would of been good for a few laughs.

The hotel in Milan. I picked this hotel cause it was right off the interstate. In fact it was like 2 minutes away from the interstate. It was a cheap place to stay too. Plus if I was hungry there was a subway up the road, which yes that was my dinner for a couple of nights on the trip. The hotel itself was nice. On the return trip home I ended up getting a room for a 25% discount. Actually when I got to the hotel they upgraded my room to a king suite for free since there weren't a lot of guests there.The king suite was nice. Big bathroom with a walk-in shower, king size bed, chair with an ottoman, desk, refrigerator, and a 2 person jacuzzi. All of that for under 50 bucks btw.

On the first night of my trip when I was unpacking the car to bring stuff in the hotel I saw a mouse running around the parking lot. He came near me and seemed curious as to what I was doing. He stood there for about a minute or two before deciding to take off in another direction. Oddly enough the next day when I talked to my father he told me that all of a sudden we had a mice problem in the sunroom where I kept all the bird food. I thought it was interesting that I see a mouse running around near me and within the next 24 hours we apparently have a mouse problem at home. Prior to that we didn't have a mouse problem in the house. Seeing the mouse in the parking lot was a sign!

Sorry if my blog seems like it is jumping around a bit. I wanted to combine certain things before getting to the main stuff.

The trip itself aka the driving. I enjoy driving. I was a bit fatigued from driving and sitting in a car for as long as I did but I am not use to it so that is expected. I did take advantage of quite a few of the rest stops. I did not eat a lot of food while I was on the road. I did keep bags of snacks in the front seat with me with some bottles of water. I did encounter quite a few assholes on the road but thats to be expected. A few truck drivers also tried to run me off the road a few times. Overall though it was not bad and obviously I survived the trip cause here I am writing a blog about it. I had a lot of help surviving the trip thanks to Metallica and Black Sabbath!

I got into Maryland on the 15th, which was a Tuesday. It was the first time that I've seen Andrew in person in just a little over 7 years. One of the first things that he said to me was "I've lost weight". Yay, somebody finally noticed! We spent time catching up while waiting for his gf to get home so we could go out for dinner. We went to a hibachi grill. Very good food. I hadn't been to one of those since I was living in Florida, so at least 10-11 years. I'll have to find one in Milwaukee.

On Wednesday Andrew and I first went traveling around to various places. He took me to a donut place that had really awesome donuts. Forgot the name. We then went to Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and then the mall. Star Wars stuff all over the place. I did well not spending a lot of money on that crap.

After that we decided to head out to Burkittsville, Maryland. For those that don't know Burkittsville is featured in the movie The Blair Witch Project, which is one of my favorite horror movies. Yes I know the story is not true but I wanted to see the town anyways. It is a very small creepy looking town with a very big cemetery. The cemetery does appear in the film. We went walking around in the cemetery and took a few pictures. Creepy place but maybe thats because I just know it is featured in one of my favorite horror movies.

Later on that day I made my famous stuffed shells for Andrew and Brigid. My shells are always a hit. I really need to make them again for my father and I soon.

Thursday was Star Wars day. After Andrew got home from work we headed out to the movie theater. After he got done getting his hair cut and shit we went to wait in line at the theater. Movie started at 7:20pm and by now it was 4pm. The line for our show was at least 50 people long. There were about 4 different lines inside for different movie times and then they had lines starting outside for the 8pm showings. Lets put it this way, there was a lot of people. How the theater handled everything was great though. Just a bit after 5pm they let us in the theater. They did this so people could go find a seat and then do what they needed to do such as buy popcorn and whatnot. Handled it very well, unlike when we went to see Episode 3. It was a mad rush to get seats cause they started letting us in about 30-40 minutes prior.

On Friday I decided to venture into Washington D.C by myself. I wanted to check out the National Smithsonian zoo. This turned into a mini adventure. Everything was fine until I got to where I was suppose to veer left. GPS told me too late and I ended up going right. So the GPS navigated me in a different direction that went right through some of the residential areas. Finally I get close to the zoo and I didn't notice the turn in for the parking lot. So I had to drive a bit so I could turn around. Well I couldn't find anywhere so I ended up turning left down some random street. So I decided while on this random street I would try to turn in the direction that the zoo is in. This ended up working as I found one of the parking lots.

The zoo itself is pretty big. Sadly the North American section of the zoo was blocked off. They didn't want any visitors going down there. I liked how some of the exhibits in the animal houses looked. Pretty big with lots of space. Since it was the middle of December there wasn't a lot of people walking around. It was pretty chilly. Also cause it was chilly there weren't a whole lot of animals outside either. I imagine that the zoo is a lot better in the spring/summer time. I enjoyed it though, I love zoos.

Saturday was a busy day. Andrew and I drove to D.C to meet up with his girlfriend's father. We first saw the pentagon memorial and then ventured to the mall for some lunch. Afterwards we went to the metro station to head to places such as the White House and the National museum of American History. We saw the Washington monument. They have a bunch of trees up for all the states across from the White House which was pretty cool. Saw the White House and had a crappy picture taken outside of the gate. Then Andrew and I ventured to the museum, which was pretty cool.

Later on that night we drove to Gettysburg, PA. We went on a ghost hunt in the Farnsworth House Inn. I thought it was a pretty cool experience. Sadly we didn't get to go out to the battlefield cause it was really chilly out but none the less I liked the experience. I also had a few personal experiences while there. Right when we first got into the cellar I felt something pull and tug my left arm. As we are sitting there learning about some of the history of the place I felt something pull my right pants leg. After awhile we went up into the attic space and while a few people were having their own personal experiences I felt a very cold breeze on the back of my neck. With a digi thermometer I did notice about a 10 degree temperature spike in the corner right behind me. We then went back into the cellar for awhile and while I was down there I kept hearing a tapping noise on the wall. It would come and go. I was trying to think of a logical explanation for the tapping but I really couldn't think of one. I would definitely love to go back out there.

Sunday was an uneventful day. Well we did head back to the D.C area to go to some Christmas party hosted by Andrew's girlfriend's father. It wasn't too bad. Sitting around with a bunch of people that I don't know. At least I had Andrew to talk to! Food was good though!

On Monday, which was the 21st, I headed back to Wisconsin. I was sad. I hadn't seen Andrew in over 7 years and I don't know when I am going to see him again. So I was a bit sad leaving that day. I even got sad leaving all the animals. I grew a little bit attached to the cats and the dog that they have. I get attached easily to animals. I knew it was time to go back home to see my father, my cats, and of course the birds.

I arrived back home mid afternoon on Tuesday. Still shocked that I actually drove cross country by myself. Quite proud of myself. I didn't hit anybody, didn't get into a serious accident, made it through the toll booths, no animals were killed by my car, etc.

I forgot a portion of the story. On the first day I left when I got to the hotel I tried calling my father to let him know that I got to Ohio safely. There was no answer at the house and the answering machine did not pick up. I thought this was weird. Usually after 4 rings the machine kicks in unless someone is on the line. So I tried back a few times and still nothing. One time I did get a busy signal. I texted my sister to get her to try calling the house and she was getting nothing either. I was thinking to myself "just great I leave for a week and on the first night away I can't get a hold of my father". I was stressing out and thinking the worse. Of course though I told myself that for whatever reason the phone line is dead. I knew prior to me leaving that we were having issues with static on the phone. About an hour or so after trying to get a hold of him he calls me using my other sister's cellphone. I was right, the phone line was dead. Nothing like a little bit of stress to start my vacation.

So my cross country adventure was fun. I enjoyed my time out in Maryland. I got to drive cross country and I did it by myself. I got to see a bunch of cool stuff out in Maryland. I also got to see my best friend for the first time in years. Was really nice. I'd like to thank Andrew and Brigid for letting me stay with them in Maryland. I really do appreciate it and I had a good time visiting out there. I'll go back again someday.

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