The Decade In Travel

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are continuing with travel, specifically the 53 out of state trips that I took between 2010 and 2019.  The first trip of the decade came in September of 2010, as I traveled north to Detroit and Windsor, staying in Canada when I wasn’t watching the White Sox battle the Tigers.  The final trip of the decade, and a fitting bookend to the decade, came in December, when the family traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see Angelina skate in a competition.  2018 was my best year, with 13 different trips/destinations, while 2012 was my worst year, with only a single trip.

My most popular place to travel was, unsurprisingly, West Lafayette, with 7 different trips.  Next came a 3-way tie, with Milwaukee, Boston, and Los Angeles each finding themselves under my feet 4 times.  The only other place I went to more than twice was Disney World, with 3 trips.

If we break down those 53 trips, we get the following:

  • 32 locations
  • 6 countries
    • United States
    • Canada
    • Italy
    • Ireland
    • Scotland
    • Northern Ireland
  • 19 states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Michigan
    • Wisconsin
    • Minnesota
    • Iowa
    • Massachusetts
    • New York
    • California
    • Nevada
    • Arizona
    • Mississippi
    • Tennessee
    • Arkansas
    • Ohio
    • Maryland
    • Virginia
    • South Carolina
    • Hawaii




2019: The Year In Travel

Once again, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took this year.  As you may recall from last year‘s wrap-up, the year began in California.

New Year’s Day was spent in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, where Danny and the Lincoln-Way Marching Band were performing.  Lucky for them, they were slotted right after the float that caught on fire and eventually mucked up the entire end of the parade.  However, they were able to march around the disabled float and keep things moving for the time being.  The next day we went to the California ScienCenter, where we were able to see artifacts from King Tut’s tomb and the space shuttle Endeavor, and the beach before heading home.

And home is where I stayed for a whole month before heading out to Hawaii in February.  I arrived that first Saturday in February, checking out my surroundings around the resort and down Waikiki Beach after the long flight.  Monday, I took a tour of the island of Oahu, with stops at Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali lookout, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and the Dole Plantation.  Tuesday, I took in a whale watching cruise, where we were able to see multiple whales surfacing during the excursion.  Thursday, I traveled over to Pearl Harbor and all of the associated attractions and museums.  Come the following Saturday, it was time to head home on an overnight flight that got me in town very early Sunday morning.

Come June, the whole family headed east to celebrate Michael’s graduation.  We flew into Baltimore, where Dennis, the boys, and I went to breakfast before heading to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Giants.  On the way to the stadium, we stopped at the grave site of Edgar Allen Poe and the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.  After the game, we walked to the local bus depot, where we caught a bus to Washington DC for the remainder of the trip.

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2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

In The Land Of Cotton

This past weekend, I got on a very small plane, along with Val, and headed down to the beautiful metropolis of Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  Our trip started Thursday night after work, where we arrived and got some quality time with a young puppy named Simba.  Friday, the three of us worked remotely before heading out for dinner and to see the sights of Roanoke, which basically was The Roanoke Star and a grocery store.

Saturday, we headed out early to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  With an elevation of 3,197 feet and a trail distance of approximately 4.4 miles, McAfee Knob is one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.  It took quite an effort on my part, and probably more time than we were planning, but the views from the top, not to mention the satisfaction of one of my traveling companions, were worth it.  The trip back down was a bit easier, thanks to a fire road, but a small stumble certainly made it interesting.

Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering from the strain of the previous day, until it was time to head back to the airport and fly home.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

This past weekend, I finally got to use my birthday gift from last year, a trip to Boston to see the White Sox take on the Red Sox with Danny and Michael.  The trip started early Saturday morning, with a trip to O’Hare to catch a 6 AM flight.  After arriving in Boston, we took a bus and a train to get to the Museum of Science, where we spent most of the morning.

With food on our mind, we wandered back over towards where we got off the train and found ourselves in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, where we ended up at The Paramount, rated as one of the 10 best breakfast spots in Boston.  A long wait through the oddly run restaurant, where you order and get your food prior to being seated, ended up in a decent meal.

After eating, we headed to our hotel, which was located in the medical district.  We checked in and relaxed for a bit, before deciding on going for ice cream prior to heading to Fenway Park.  Like nearly everywhere else we went, the ice cream shop was a little hole in the wall, but it certainly served its purpose.  From there, it was short walk up Brookline to the ballpark, which was… a little underwhelming.  From the outside, you could barely tell that it was a stadium.  Michael even asked where it was as we were standing outside it.

The game went about as you would expect.  With James Shields on the mound, the White Sox did not put up much of a fight.  We were sitting down the left field line, with a good view of the Green Monster.  The seats, which may or may not date back to the stadium’s opening in 1912, were not really designed for people well over 6 feet tall, so there was a lot of uncomfortable shifting as our knees were smooshed in to the seats in front of us.

After the game, we went back to the hotel and called it a night.   Continue reading →