Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Goats and Doughnuts and Such

After leaving Ohio in our rear view mirror, we drove to Pittsburgh for a planned detour. Neither of us had ever been to Pittsburgh. So, we added an extra day to our vacation in order to check it out. The main reason for the excursion was that my other half had been dying to visit a place called Eide's Entertainment. Eide's features several floors of comics, toys, and other geeky stuff. We had decided that I would drop him off and then find other stuff to do on my own. The GPS guided me to my husband's mecca and I dropped him off so that he could go and be with his people. My guy does not get outwardly excited about things. However, he was about as excited as I've ever seen him. He keeps a hard copy inventory of all of his comics, and he had that tucked under his arm as he hopped out of the car. If we had more room in the car, I know he would have brought along an empty comic box to fill, too.

Took a photo for my mom.
She was a big fan of Divine.
I drove to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which is in the same building as the Carnegie Museum of Art. There is one entry fee for both. I started in the natural history museum and then floated over to the artsy side of the building. I ended up spending most of my afternoon there. You know what's funny? I had no interest in modern art when I was younger, but it speaks to me so much more now. I'm not sure why. I had a great time just wandering around the building, feeling like I had nowhere I had to be and nothing I had to do. Ahhhh, vacation.

After a few hours, I picked up my geek. All of the roads near the comic book shop were one-way going the opposite direction that I needed to go, so it took a while for me to navigate. I went 'round and 'round, never getting any closer. Look, kids! Big Ben! Parliament!

I finally found him and we then headed for a very touristy activity that I had planned: the Duquesne Incline. Yes, even the liberal use of Comic Sans on their website could not keep me away! We waited in line for quite a while and then traveled up the mountain in the tram thingy. I wished the kid was with us - she would have enjoyed it. When we got to the top, we weren't sure what to do at that point. A lot of people simply got right back in line to wait for the ride back down the mountain. It was hot and we didn't feel like standing in line. So, we found a bar nearby. We sat in air conditioned comfort and enjoyed an amazing view of Pittsburgh. When we went back to the station, the line was a lot shorter (see what alcohol will do for you????) so we rode back down. My husband, who is not much of a drinker, had consumed a bourbon (or was it brandy?)-infused beer and was slightly tipsy. He stepped on the back of my flip-flops about 800 times between the station and our car. 

View from the top of the incline.
At that point, it was time to leave Pittsburgh. My niece was visiting her dad nearby, so we needed to pick her up and take her south with us. We picked her up in Somerset and then looked for a spot to eat dinner. We weren't finding a lot of good options along the Pennsylvania turnpike. We ended up stopping at a place called the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford. It turned out to be a pretty good meal. Most importantly, they had a goat outside. I spent a few minutes scratching her neck while my husband and niece had dessert. When my niece came out, she tried to take a selfie with the goat, but the goat wasn't having it.

After dinner, we drove to Frederick, Maryland. We were only about an hour from my sister's house at that point, but Frederick was another planned detour. I had two goals while in Frederick: 1. Attend the UU church there to see how another congregation conducts services and such (I'm on a committee at my church, so I thought it would be helpful to see how things are done at another, much larger, church) and 2. Eat vegan doughnuts.  We were all pretty tired by the time we got to our hotel room on Saturday evening. Blondie (my niece) was asleep almost immediately.

I had done some digging about vegan dining options ahead of time. I was excited to check out Glory Doughnuts on Sunday morning.  Everything they serve is plant-based.  According to the online reviews, the doughnuts often sell out quickly. The shop opened at 9 on Sunday so we made sure we were there by 9:30. As we waited in line outside the tiny restaurant, I grew increasingly anxious as I saw people coming out with one or two dozen doughnuts at a pop. When we finally got to the front of the line, we were relieved to see they were not sold out (they sold out just minutes later, though). I chose a decadent french toast doughnut, P got a coconut one, and our niece selected a vanilla one with sprinkles. We also ordered "regular" breakfast food. I had a tofu scramble sandwich that was deeeeelicious. As for the doughnuts? Life-changing. So, so good. If you're ever in Frederick, you have to check them out.

After breakfast, my niece and I headed to church while the mister perused another comic book store. He doesn't ask for much so if he wants to stand around and fondle comic books from time to time, that's fine with me. That's why I was on board with the Pittsburgh trip - I drag the guy across the country to visit my family every summer, and he just comes along for the ride without complaining. Well, he kvetches in his usual glass-is-half-empty way, but he is generally a good sport.

The Frederick UU is much larger than the fellowship I attend. It was a great service and even included one of my all-time favorite hymns, "Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire." After the service, I chatted with a few of the members about the service, asking how long they save the recordings of the service and all that jazz. It was a really nice group of people.

Finally, at long last, we drove to my sister's house in Virginia. I traded my sister her kid for mine. My daughter actually cried a little bit when I got out of the car and hugged her. I'll try to remember that next time she stomps off to her room and slams the door.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet, as I recall.  We had to get groceries and all that jazz. Fret not: I have a couple more trip-related blog entries coming.

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