You know that moment you realize that everything is going pretty well yet you are not doing what you should be doing? I had it Monday morning and strong. When I woke up EARLY I had that feeling. Loud and clear. And we hightailed it to Cleveland. Well, sort of hightailed it. Turns out I don’t really do anything fast and the time changes have been working against me. I had made plans for us to have dinner with a friend who happened to be in Cleveland for a bit and, although late, dinner we had. He was kind enough to offer us a place to stay that night as the only thing on my mind entering Cleveland was getting to the place with the food, the friend, and the beer. Of course, after driving what seemed like forever this was a godsend and much appreciated. It was a relaxing evening and an inspiring morning. The property we were staying at was beautiful and, upon hearing that we were headed to Pittsburgh, my pal said “Oh, you can go to the Mattress Factory.” You won’t be surprised to know that I said, “What is that? A bar?” After it was explained briefly, it took me under 20 minutes to pack my bags and get in the car.
Pittsburgh. It just sounds gritty doesn’t it? I imagined dirty and boring. I was wrong on both counts. That night (Tuesday) as we got into town, we drove in and I was wondering how, between these two empty hills, there was going to be a Pittsburgh in 2 miles. Desolate -> Tunnel -> City. A really pretty city, visually not unlike Portland. I’ll give you that the Ohio River, majestic as it may be, is no Columbia River. Still, I see the water and the bridges and automatically am alert. We had dinner and came out to a major thunderstorm and called it a night.
Wednesday, we got up early to go to breakfast and get ready for the MF. It was great. So worth the morning and we liked it so much that we explored the city a bit and got, you guessed it, a very late start for DC. En route, the traffic was ridiculous and the road is under construction 75% of the way. One interesting thing that we did see was a car fully engulfed in flames on the other side of the highway. FULLY. One sad thing that happened is that my bicycle killed a bird (OR Brian’s, it could have been his too). We were driving on the highway and the poor thing began to fly up, up, over the windshield, and….feathers in the rearview. This seemed significantly more tragic than the inferno.
(People were pulled over to help and firetrucks were on their way – I saw them. Me + BB* = nowayjose.)
So, we got to D.C. Wednesday evening – just in time to meet our Airbnb hosts (our first time!) and head out to dinner. We made a quick game plan for Thursday and were fast asleep. Today, Thursday, was great! Brian got our bikes in order and we rode to the metro, hopped on a train, and toured DC on our bikes. Amazing. I see what all the excitement is about (bicycling that is). Way better to see things and get around.
Primary stop, Newseum. All Pulitzer Prize winning photos are here. A part of the Berlin Wall is here. So much information about our freedoms – press and speech especially – are here. Aside from the Pulitzer photos, there is a large exhibit about Katrina and another about 9/11. The exhibits consisted primarily of the front pages of newspapers and and news footage. All three were equally moving and emotional. I didn’t fully make it through any of those sections. Maybe it was too much at once. Being such a visual person, the sheer volume is overwhelming and the imagery is too powerful. I left with a heavy heart and a fuzzy brain.
We walked for a bit, got some lemonade and a sandwich and decided to hop on the bikes. If we couldn’t handle another museum, we could at least ride around and see some stuff. So we did. We rode down to the Mall, saw several monuments, and rode around the White House. For some reason, the White House really had a spell on me – I wanted to see it from every angle. So I did. This proved to be fun largely because I was convinced that around every corner would be another beautiful building. Mostly true.
*BB = Burning Bomb