Saturday, July 29, 2006

Redwoods

Our three-day tree-fest continued today as we toured Redwoods National and State Parks. This park was quite different from any other national park we've visited in that (1) it's jointly managed with four state parks, (2) we didn't see a park ranger the entire time and (3) we never did find a visitor center. Even so, it was a great park, and close enough to home that we're already talking about going back.

The park is mostly laid out along U.S. 101, which is one of our favorite roads to begin with. In addition, there are a number of scenic drives and hiking trails scattered around the area.



We started out with the Newton B. Drury scenic byway, which was my favorite part of the park (not pictured above), and stopped off for a short hike down an interpretive trail. Then we hit the Coastal Drive (pictured below), which includes a stop at a fake farmhouse that was built to disguise a radar station during World War II.



This park was one of the two things Kyra specifically asked to do on this trip, and the specific thing she wanted to do was drive through a tree. Asking around beforehand, we thought that you couldn't do that anymore, but after the Coastal Drive, we stumbled across the tree.

We pulled off 101 to get gas, but it turned out the gas station was out of business. While sitting in front of the dry pumps we saw a couple of emus, and went over to get a closer look. Finally, while Zoe, Kyra and I were watching the emus, Gina saw a sign for a "tour thru tree". It was like we were being led. Sheer providence.



After lunch, we made our way along the beautiful Howland Hills Road in Jedediah Smith State Park (first picture above), which let us out very near U.S. 199, another scenic drive to I-5. Having seen all that we wanted to see in the Redwoods, we made our way to I-5 and reached home by 9 o'clock.

Yes, home! For the first time since June 21, we'll be sleeping in our own beds!

Friday, July 28, 2006

California 36

Today was supposed to be just a travel day. Our only scheduled stop was the Olive Pit in Corning, where Gina bought a boxful of various kinds of olives from among the bewildering varieties offered. And, of course, we got a magnet.



From there it was onward to Highway 101. I had originally put it McKinleyville as our stopping point for the evening, and the computer sent us along California route 299. Gina looked at that for a while and decided it was "too squirelly" (we're still a little gunshy from our experience on Utah's forest roads). So we changed the stopping point to be Eureka (further down the coast) and came across California route 36. This was a very great blessing to me personally, and we all enjoyed the ride.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and as we turned onto 36 at Red Bluff we were greeted by the following sign.



I almost drove off the road laughing. We just had to go back and take a picture. And the road absolutely lived up to this billing. Yet it was very well paved the entire way. It lost the center line for a while and could have used more guard rails through the mountain passes, but otherwise this is a truly amazing road. It begs to be enjoyed and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Zoe nicknamed it "roller coaster road" because in addition to the many, many curves, it also has a lot of dips. And then, just when you think it can't get any better, it goes into Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which is absolutely beautiful. This unplanned drive has been one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.



As we were passing through these incredible views, I was thinking that Redwood National Park tommorow is really going to have to be amazing to even compare to this. Then, before we came out onto 101, our road went through just a bit of old growth redwood forest, giving me a foretaste of the feast to come. Wow. I can't wait.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sequoias

After four days exploring the national parks of Utah, nothing short of a rock putting on a top hat and singing "Puttin' on the Ritz" was going to impress us. So today we turned to the trees as we visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

As with all national parks, the drive in was spectacular, but being from Oregon we have a strange immunity to being impressed with mere pine trees and that was the main fare for much of the park. Eventually we got far enough in to find the Giant Sequoias.

After lunch we made the half mile hike down the mountain to see the General Sherman Tree, touted as the largest living thing on earth. Like Mount Rushmore, it didn't seem as big in person as I expected, but now looking at the pictures, I see this is a really, really big tree.



Toward evening, we visited the General Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, which is a bit more user friendly than Sequoia with a better concentration of the giants.

Too tired to write more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Going to California

Today was just a driving day, but it still had its peaks and valleys. If you've tried to follow along with "the plan" you'll notice that we've revised it a bit. We stayed in St. George last night and today crossed the Mojave Desert to reach Tulare (just past Bakersfield).

We used the morning to get the van washed and do some laundry, so we didn't get out of St. George until around 1 P.M. Our route crossed Las Vegas at about 2:30, so we cruised down the Strip, which was a lot of fun.



But the fun in Vegas always comes at a cost and for us the cost was the long, long, long drive across the desert. Temperatures we're well over 100 degrees. We pulled into a rest area outside Barstow and just getting out of the van we nearly melted. Gina noticed a couple of guys sitting and then laying around and went over to offer them something cold to drink. It turns out they work there -- rest stop attendants in the middle of the Mojave Desert! Is there a worse job?

For about 250 miles the drive was seriously lacking in scenery.



Then toward evening we reached the end of the desert and hit the mountains. It was a very nice break. After stopping for gas and dinner in Tehachapi, we were treated to a marvelous sunset as the golden grass of the Sierra Nevadas was bathed in the red evening light.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Capitol Reef, Near Shipwreck

We learned a hard lesson today, one that I should have known already. Computers don't interpret data, they just process it. It's a very important distinction. And possibly the worst feature of computers is their tendency to do exactly what you ask them to without asking questions.

We visited Capitol Reef National Park today. When I added this stop to our route, I asked our GPS program to map a route from there to Cedar City. Now keep in mind Captiol Reef is a very remote place. So the computer examined its database of roads and their speed limits and calculated a route. It avoided a couple of forest fires near the junction of I-70 and I-15, so I was happy to take it. I didn't bother to look at the roads it chose.

So Gina was driving along and I was watching the instructions as they came up. "Turn left in 2.3 miles." And so on. And we followed along with only minor trepidation as these directions led us onto a gravel road. "We're only on this road for a couple of miles," I said.

Before you know it, we were in the middle of a prarie with antelope running along beside us (I kid you not) and no manmade structures of any kind in sight in any direction (unless you count the road). At this point I start looking closely at the map to see how to get out of there and find that we're about twenty miles from any road that even has a name. (I didn't think about the implications of the direction "In 4.3 miles turn onto local road.")

Then it started to rain. Then the road made a hairpin turn and went into a forest. I can't even begin to convey what this was like. I've haven't even seen logging roads this rough. Several times we couldn't avoid hitting softball sized rocks that literally bounced the van. At least four times the road crossed through dry creek beds. (By the grace of God the rain didn't last long.) And for several miles we were on the edge of a sharp drop off down the side of the mountain without so much as a lip on the side of the road. (We hit about 9000 feet elevation before we started descending.)

The road finally came out into the small town of Antimony, Utah where, against all logic and reason, we were greeted by a sign that said "Welcome to Antimony" as if people come this way all the time!

Oh, did I mention that we visited Capitol Reef National Park today?

I think this park suffers a bit from being surrounded by such giants as Bryce Canyon, Zion and Canyonlands. Frommer's guide to national parks describes it as an undiscovered gem or something to that effect. It doesn't draw big crowds. Gina was left luke warm by its lack of spectacularness (we've seen some great sights recently). I really liked it.

The thing that's interesting about this park is it's utter discontinuity. As we drove in on Utah 24, there were a lot of times when there was nothing but semi-desert around the road for as far as you could see -- miles and miles of sandstone in various shapes and colors. But then you get inside this park and it's full of trees and grass and things like that, surrounded by giant sandstone canyon walls.



I especially liked the orchards, originally planted by Mormon pioneers in the late nineteenth century and now maintained by the national parks service. If you come during harvest time, you can pick and eat some fruit. The park also features a couple of cabins, a farm and a schoolhouse from the Mormon settlers.

But the Mormons weren't the first to discover this oasis in the canyonlands. There is also evidence of Native Americans living here about one thousands years ago. The most visible remaining evidence is from these petroglyphs on the canyon walls.



All of this we saw before even reaching the vistor center, which is oddly in the center of the park. We followed it up with a "scenic view" drive about 10 miles into the canyon and away from the fertile lands. This drive provided some nice views, but by this point mere geology isn't knocking our socks off.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Arches and Canyonlands

Today we took the speed tours of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Zoe pointed out that since we woke up in Mesa Verde, we actually visited three national parks today.

Arches and Canyonlands are both just past Moab, where we're spending the night. Although they're only about 40 miles apart, they could hardly be more different.

Arches is a site full of geologic oddities, prominently featuring natural arches. They say there are over 2000 natural arches in the park, but we only saw a dozen or so. In fact, the arches weren't even the feature that made the biggest impression on me. I was more interested in the spires that had rocks seemingly balanced on top of them. My favorite was a group known as the Three Gossips.



We spent about three hours driving through Arches NP, and again Zoe and Kyra earned Junior Ranger badges. They even picked up some litter. Overall, we thought the park was pretty nice, but it didn't amaze us the way some of the others had. We liked it though.



After Arches, we made the trip just down the road to Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky district. This spot had been on and off of our itinerary a few times. Most recently we added it after finishing up everything we wanted to see at Mesa Verde before the end of the day yesterday, and boy are we glad we did.

Island in the Sky is a plateau that stands at about 6000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by canyons cut by the Green and Colorado Rivers, plummeting to around 2000 feet below the plateau. We made the drive out to the aptly named Grand View Overlook, stopping at every viewpoint along the way for pictures and video.




Unfortunately, the experience is so vast that it doesn't translate well to still images. The picture above was shot across from the vistor center at an overlook that didn't even warrant a name. There were at least three spots significantly more beautiful than this.

Gina says she liked Canyonlands better than Yellowstone, which makes it all the more tragic that we only had a few hours to spend there. If we weren't a month into the trip already we'd probably stay here another day.

(By the way, I back-dated yesterday's entry, so if you haven't seen the post about Mesa Verde keep scrolling down.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mesa Verde

Today's destination was Mesa Verde National Park, home to the cliff dwellings of the Ancestoral Puebloans, better known as the Anasazi.

This is the only national park dedicated to human achievements, but it has no lack of natural beauty as well. The drive up to the cliff dwellings is full of scenic wonder such that you have to stop every now and then to remind yourself that the views aren't the main reason you're here. In fact, I'm still a bit undecided as to whether I liked the nature or the archeology better.



The drive to the top of the mesa is worth the trip even if there were nothing up there, but the cliff dwellings here are quite remarkable. These sites aren't unique -- the road in here is known as the Trail of the Ancients and is littered with Anasazi ruins -- but Mesa Verde has the greatest concentration and some of the best preserved sites.

After stopping at the vistors center for orientation, we made the hike through a small valley to the Spruce Tree House. This is the only location that we actually got to see close up (the other required too much climbing or passing through an 18-inch wide tunnel), but we got a great feel for the settlements here, including learning how to grind cornmeal.



After that, we toured the museum where Zoe and Kyra got the necessary information to earn their Junior Ranger badges. Then we made the one and a half mile Mesa Top Loop drive, stopping every hundred feet or so to take pictures, culminating in a great view of the Cliff Palace.



Tonight, we're staying at Far View Lodge inside the park. So after dinner I went back out for a twilight picture taking expedition that netted a rabbit, three wild horses and a deer. We had a spectacular view from the Lodge, but a promised thunderstorm didn't materialize until early morning.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Monument Valley

Today we sojourned in the Navajo lands. Our first stop was Four Corners. While it is a place of quite arbitrary significance (the point where New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet), it's not nearly as out of the way as, for instance, Cooperstown.



Other than the monument above, there's not a lot to see there. The monument has a small platform to aid in taking pictures like the one above and is otherwise surrounded by booth where the Navajo people sell jewelry, magnets, T-shirts, frybread and so on. Not a bad stop, and it was more or less on the way to our next highlight.

For the first time since Oklahoma, we actually had a purpose today -- something we were going out of our way to see. It was Monument Valley, Utah.

Even if you haven't heard of Monument Valley, you've definitely seen it. It's the place where John Wayne encountered Apaches in Stagecoach, it's where the Griswalds went off-road in Vacation, it's where Marty McFly went back to the old west in Back to the Future III, it's where the giant metal spiders roamed in Wild, Wild West, and it's where Forrest Gump got tired and decided to stop running -- just to name a few.



All of the movie settings are the reason that when you think of the southwest you picture Monument Valley. But the reason we came here is that it is simply beautiful. (It was featured in the photography book Bill and Kirsten gave us, which is how it got added to our itinerary.)



As an added bonus, the town we stayed in tonight, Monticello, was celebrating Pioneer Days and had fireworks, which we could see from our hotel room window.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gallup

Today was the second leg of the march toward Mesa Verde. Getting quickly out of Texas, we hit New Mexico about 9:30 (with a little help from the time zone change). We spent most of the day driving across the state, which turns out to be much more attractive than I expected, though our proof is primarily in the form of video tape. Gina got this picture out the van window.



In the morning Gina had been lamenting the fact that we hadn't really seen any serious thunderstorms yet. In the afternoon, she received satisfaction. As we approached Gallup, we saw rain clouds aplenty on the horizon, particularly directly in front of us. We watched the light show in front of us (and some to the sides) for about forty minutes before we finally caught up. Once we did, one bolt hit close enough nearby that it sounded more like a pop than a crash. It was very exciting.



When we got to Gallup, the storm stayed with us. While Gina shopped in one of the countless Indian craft stores and then bought some pinons (blech!), I tried my hand at taking pictures of lighting. It turns out I'm not very good at it, but I did get this shot.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gone To Texas

Today's task was the first leg of the drive from Broken Arrow to Mesa Verde. Wanting to choose the middle way between leisurely and back-breaking, we were shooting for Amarillo as the waypoint.

While stopped for gas before leaving Broken Arrow, I was attacked by an insect of unusual size (IOUS).



It's hard to judge the size just from this picture. I think it was about an inch and a half long. It flew down from somewhere over my head and hit me in the arm. I reflexively (Gina might say spastically) brushed it away. Then looking around to see where it went I found it on my pants leg. Naturally, this shook me up quite a bit, but we went on with the drive anyway. :-)

We didn't really have anything planned to see along the way. We passed up a couple of Route 66 museums and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, but when I saw a sign for the "biggest cross in the western hemisphere" in Groom, Texas, I had to stop and see it. (It turns out we had actually seen the biggest cross in the western hemisphere [Wikipedia says biggest in the world] a few days earlier in Illinois -- a copy of this one that's eight feet taller -- but the one in Texas is the one to see anyway.) When I saw the sign, I looked and saw the cross and said, "That's not so big." It turned out it was still four miles away.



I was expecting this to be just some kitschy roadside attraction, but it actually turned out to be very moving. Check out my theological blog for a more complete report.

Half an hour later, we hit Amarillo. After a little hotel shuffle and a good Mexican meal, we made the requisite visit to Cadillac Ranch. Nobody told me I was supposed to bring spray paint.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Arch to Oklahoma

Two days ago, we wrapped up our visit to St. Louis by ascending the Gateway Arch. We had gotten tickets to go to the top at 10:40 on the north side tram, but when our time came the north side tram was experiencing technical difficulties. Needing to get on the road to Oklahoma, we pondered what to do and ended up deciding to meander around the museum of westward expansion (under the arch) and hope for the best.

After about an hour, the tram still wasn't running. On a whim we decided to see if they would honor our tickets on the south side. They did without comment. That would have been nice to know sooner!

Anyway, we made our way through the line and finally into the tiny pod that would take us to the summit of the 630-foot arch.



The view from the top, not to mention the experience of having done this, made all the trouble worthwhile (I think).



About 12:30, only slightly behind schedule, we hit the road again for the 300+ mile trip down I-44 to Broken Arrow. We had lunch at Steak 'n Shake and dinner at a cool little Route 66 diner before getting to Aunt Linda's house just after sunset.



Right now we're about halfway through our second intermission. We didn't really need the break at this point, but you find family where they are. We've had a couple of meals with some cousins of whom I have retained only the vaguest ideas of how they're related. Gina probably has a better grasp of the family tree. In any event, it's been good fun.

Carol took the girls and I to the Oklahoma Aquarium yesterday, which was pretty fun. Zoe and Kyra both loved feeding the turtles.

Today, we indulged in a day of rest. Kyra's really getting along well with Linda. Here she is helping in the kitchen.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

St. Louis

We got off to an early start today and had a short drive to St. Louis. It was absolutely astounding how easy it was to get into town and find our hotel (National Lampoon's Vacation not withstanding). And not once but twice we saw traffic at an absolute stand still just past the ramp we took.

While Gina and the girls were checking into the hotel, I strolled a few blocks down the street to the beautiful new Busch Memorial Stadium and grabbed a ticket for afternoon's game. Gina, Zoe and Kyra took a riverboat cruise and had lunch while I was at the game, but since I wasn't there, I have much more to say about the game and the new ballpark.

My first impression was that this place looked a little familiar...you know, like every field built since Camden Yards.



Externally, I think it's probably most similar to the Ballpark in Arlington (though I haven't been there so that's just based on pictures). It has the standard features -- brick facade, open seating, city skyline view. Ironically, this has become the new cookie cutter.

Shortly before the start of the game, the PA announcer came on and delivered what seems to be a standard line for the park, "Welcome to baseball heaven!" Well, that's setting a pretty high bar, and at that point I wasn't sold, but as the game went on and I got to explore I became a believer. This place is great. I don't want to go on too long about this, but here are my top five reasons that the new Busch is baseball heaven:

5. Kids Starting Lineup

At first I thought this was cheesy. You go to some local grocery store and sign your kid up and nine of them get to run onto the field and have his name announced with a position. But what was really cool is that they stayed out there until the Cardinals took the field and each of them got to talk to the Cardinal who was playing the position they were sent to. Very cool.

4. The St. Louis Fans

This one is probably a bit exaggerated. I hear on TV all the time about the "knowledgable St. Louis fans." But it's definitely based in fact. They cheer vigorously when a player beats the throw to stay out of a double play. And the score board gives official scoring for every play, not just possible errors. Having a memory of a fan at Camden Yards saying, without a hint of irony, "I hear this Ripken guy is pretty good..." I appreciate being at a game where people know what they're watching.

3. Pujols

Albert Pujols is hands down the best player in baseball. He's nicknamed "Nintendo" because he puts up the kind of numbers you usually only see in video games, but there's more to his game than flashy numbers. Today he went four for five and one of his hits was an infield single on a weak grounder to second base that the fielder didn't charge and Albert was hustling. Oh yeah, he also made some fantastic defensive plays.

2. Tradition!

St. Louis is a wonderful baseball city with a rich river of tradition. The daily trivia question was, "Who has the Cardinal record for most consecutive games with a base hit?" Answer: Rogers Hornsby. Nice. For the Orioles it's Eric Davis.

1. Standing Room Only

This just blew me away. The best seats in the house are the "Cardinals Club" seats in the seven or so rows behind home plate, which sell for $230 each (before scalping). But baseball is traditionally a blue collar man's game, so...still at field level, starting behind home plate and fanning out around the infield, at around row 24, there are five platforms for standing room only -- under $10. I left my outfield reserve seating to explore the stadium and discovered this modern day miracle. It's the best thing in baseball.

Now back to the family blog....

I met back up with Gina and the girls at the hotel and once we got settled, Kyra and I went for a walk and took some pictures. Here's my favorite.



By the way, that's the courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first tried.

After dinner, I took Kyra and Zoe to the rooftop pool. It was the most crowded hotel pool we've had yet, but the view was pretty good.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

On the Road Again

We left Cumberland this morning for the westward leg of our journey. Today was all driving. Despite a missed turn that cost us some time in Pennsylvania, we pushed through to Terra Haute, Indiana. Tommorow, we have a short drive to St. Louis.

I didn't take any pictures today, but I'm updating with some of the fruit of our stay in Cumberland. Bill and Kirsten got us a National Geographic book on digital photography, which has me experimenting. I actually took the camera off automatic.











Monday, July 10, 2006

Intermission

We're in the middle of 10 days in Cumberland before we start the westward part of our trek. We have no real plans while we're here. We've been to a Hagerstown Suns baseball game, and today we went swimming in my dad's pool. It's been a great break from travel.



Saturday, July 08, 2006

Fourth of July Debacle

Once again, a break in the action leads to a break in my blogging. We've been in Cumberland for three days now. We're getting intermittent wireless internet access at Grandma's, though we don't know quite where it's coming from.

We woke up in New York City on the fourth of July. It was nice not having a long drive to get to our destination. After enjoying a nice breakfast at the hotel, we walked down to Central Park. We stopped briefly at Columbus Circle and the girls played in the fountain there. It was a bit ironic. There we were just outside one of the greatest city parks in the world, and Zoe and Kyra didn't want to leave the fountain outside the park.

We didn't make it in very far, but it was very nice. There was a playground near the entrance where we went in. The girls liked the castle structure there by the rocks, and soon after they started playing the fountains came on there. It soon became apparent that our efforts to get them to stay relatively dry in Columbus Circle were unnecessary.



This was my third time in New York. The first two times it didn't really knock me out. This time, I was feeling like I got it. The city has this kind of energy about it. It's alive. After 18 hours there, it was making a good impression on us. The city still had 24 hours to show us its dark side, and it would.

The evening of the fourth was, in my mind, supposed to be one of the highlights of the trip. We had tickets for a cruise to see fireworks in the New York harbor. The cruise company (Circle Line) had us showing up at 3:30 to board at 4:30 with the boat leaving at 5:30 to see 9:30 fireworks -- returning sometime around 11:00. So the whole day was taken, but we thought it would be worthwhile.

It started off good once we left dock. We got a bit of a tour as the boat circled Manhattan on its way to the East River. We sailed pretty close to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The trip out to the East River was cool.



But then we had about three and a half hours to kill waiting for the fireworks to start. The tour company's solution to this was drinking and dancing -- neither of which we did. It was an awful lot like being at a wedding, except that I didn't get drunk. You'd be surprised how much of the fun that can take out of a wedding.

So imagine yourself as the designated driver at a wedding where the buffet is hot dogs and day-old sandwiches, and you're only a distant relative so they run out of the hot dogs by the time you get to the front of the food line. You're sitting there watching as people around you have alcohol enhanced fun. At first, it's kind of amusing watching them do the YMCA and the Macarena, and even the Electric Slide has a certain nostalgic appeal, but it goes on for hours longer than you'd have liked and by the end of the evening you're sitting silently in a corner plotting your revenge against the DJ. That was what this cruise was like.



And then, when the fireworks finally start, we discover that the position of the boat relative to the fireworks is such that only about a third of the people on the boat are going to have a clear view, and we're among the last people to catch on to this, so we aren't in that third. The four of us scurried around the boat for about ten minutes trying to catch a glimpse of the show. Eventually, Kyra and Gina gave up on the Macy's fireworks and went to the back of the boat to watch the more distant fireworks in Battery Park. Meanwhile, Zoe and I discovered that if we went to the back of the boat and stood on the folding deck chairs, I could mostly see just over the roof of the boat but she couldn't see at all, and if we went to the front of the boat and I put her on my shoulders she could partly see over the heads of the people in front of us but I couldn't see at all. We went with the latter, though Zoe was a little scared being up on my shoulders.



Anyway, Zoe and Kyra ended up saying they liked it, so I'm not supposed to say anything too negative about it. What you've just read is my positive, upbeat spin on my real impression of the thing. My best view of the fireworks was that of the barge as it passed us.



The next day we left New York. The skyscrapers block the GPS, so we had a little trouble finding our way out of the city. Driving in New York is very much like a video game. You've got to feel the groove and be willing to make hasty, even reckless, lane changes, but it's very exhilirating. I think we made it out without a scratch, leaving by way of the Lincoln Tunnel.

And the good news (for us) was that Cumberland had to postpone their fireworks display because of weather and so we got to see the show here on the sixth. Much better than the Macy's display from my vantage points.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Baseball Hall of Fame

As expected, the first stop today was the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The location of the Hall gives one a definite sense of being on a pilgrimage. This isn't someplace you'd just pass on your normal route. Even driving from Niagra Falls to NYC it's significantly out of the way.

Growing up, I was secure in the knowledge that the Baltimore Orioles were one of the premier organizations in major league baseball, but on touring the Hall I couldn't help but envy the fans of certain other organizations. In addition to the team that shall not be named, fans of teams like the Cardinals, the Red Sox and even the Indians can walk the hall with pride.

There is one nice display case for the Orioles, but isolated as it is, it was kind of like a shrine to the time gone by when the Orioles were great.



Aside from that, the Hall of course hosts a collection of relics that would have made Frederick the Wise jealous. In fact, there is so much there that it's hard for an single thing to really wow you.

I did get to see my second T206 card in three days. This time I got to take a picture. This one is in better shape than the one I saw at the Henry Ford (which is a touring exhibition, by the way).



On the first floor of the Hall was a quite neglected pair of art galleries. At one point, I was the only person in the gallery of art inspired by the negro leagues. This painting of Satchel Paige is about seven feet high.



After a fiasco in which the plan for me to call Gina when I was done was thwarted by lack of cell phone service and some sort of social incompetence on my part, she and I both wandered around town for an hour before bumping into each other.

Back on the road, we made New York City by 7:30 as planned. After dinner at the Olympic Diner (roughly in Hell's Kitchen), we walked to Times Square. Zoe and Kyra loved it.