Fri. Aug 24, 2012- Pittsburgh, PA:
We were barely an hour in to the drive and already I had quite a few states, including the obscure New Mexico. Eating and not paying attention, being laser-focused on license plates, I ended up eating about three apples. This happened because they were cut up into convenient slices. I only realized how much I had eaten when my stomach started hurting, so I switched to eating gummy bears instead. In the Buffalo harbour there was a tiny little battleship nestled in beside a bigger one; I called it a baby battleship and giggled. There was a billboard for the Hot Dog Hutt N Putt that also informed us that we were “Now entering hot dog country”. There were at least 100 birds trying to fend off a bird of prey and I craned my neck up real high to watch the action, only a van drove by and the guy thought I was trying to look at him and he waved, it was incredibly awkward and I just kept yelling “drive drive drive!!” even worse because they eventually caught up to us. Thankfully we soon left him behind as Pennsylvania welcomed us with a glorious sign.
The license plate count before noon was at 24, no wait 25, got one more in the nick of time, Oklahoma.It being lunch time, we stopped a space-themed Dairy Queen that was recommended on Roadside America, not for the food, but for the Apollo craft outside, adorning the front lawn. I tried the Georgia Mud Pie Blizzard because it was the only one on the menu that I had never seen before. Why was I having ice cream for lunch? Why not, I was on vacation and the idea of eating DQ food grossed me out. Somehow it came to alternating between bites of ice cream and Brent’s fries; it was weirdly good, not out-of-this-world, but interesting. Up next we stopped at a toy store that was shaped like a stealth bomber. When I had read about it online I pictured something along the lines of a zeppelin. I was a tad confused when what I instead saw was a bizarre spaceship-type monstrosity. As per the toy store itself, it was lacking to say the least. No cool games! There was a command centre where you could pretend to fly through space.
There was a billboard for a chocolate covered banana mocha from a gas station and I screamed eeewwwww about it, and to my horror Brent pulled into that station, I screamed mercy! Turns out the tank needed topping up. I thought for sure he was joking around. Inside I found Sierra Mist Strawberry Kiwi but no Mars bars, to eat in Mars, PA of course, our next stop. We were going to the town of Mars to gawk at a spaceship in the town park. It was lacking and unimpressive. We did not even get out of the car, just drove by it.
The valet struck again, I forgot my Sierra Mist in the car! Thankfully at check-in we got warm chocolate chip cookies (albeit now my bar for hotels has been set much higher, I expect cookies everywhere I go now, and if I don’t get one, I crave one, it is bad). Hopped up on sugar, we headed out to explore Pittsburgh. First stop was the eyeball seats. I had used all my willpower to not look up in advance what any of the sites from Roadside America looked like. The eyeball seats were not at all what I had expected, for one, they were not painted like eyeballs, they were made of a dark stone and they were not at first obviously seats. It turned out that Andy Warhol’s Great Dane was inside the Andy Warhol museum. We were told that if we waited 45 minutes, then admission would be half price, so we set out to explore the riverfront, of course looking for the lumpy Mr. Rogers statue. It was everything I had dreamed of, he was so lumpy and for once not small!! Everything is always so small (Liberty Bell, eyeball seats etc..).
The Andy Warhol Museum is easily one of the best museums we have ever been to, it was so much fun!! There was a sculpture of an elephant with funky stick people all over it. And the Great Dane, well it was actually a taxidermied dog. I had imagined a giant stuffed fake dog. The best exhibit however was his balloon room. It was just that, a room full of giant helium balloons all floating about and you could just walk around and hit them, it was great.
We managed to finish the whole museum and we arrived at the baseball game half an hour early, and so we got free Pittsburgh Pirates shirts. We had time to grab sandwiches from Primanti Brothers and sit down and eat them in peace. The sandwich was giant, it was impossible to get everything in one bite, and I was losing French fries and coleslaw from all sides. It was a messy delicious affair. The Pirates mascot was playing giant Frisbee with the people in the crowd, and they were awful, no one managed to return the Frisbee, much to my amusement. Whenever there is a strike-out for the home team, a K appears on a board keeping track. At most games they leave a space after the second K and then go back and fill it in later, not so at this game. During an inning the perogies came out and raced, that’s right, perogie mascots came out and raced around a part of the field.
The walk back to the hotel was very nice, the bridges and the stadium were all lit up and the road was closed off to cars. As we walked back a guy ran up to us and asked us if we knew where the hospital was because there was a lady in labour in a car who needed directions and he was not from Pittsburgh, the same as us, what could we do. The 7-Eleven in our hotel (yes, there was a 7-Eleven in our hotel lobby, seriously, the Double Tree Hilton in Pittsburgh is that awesome) had Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby!! We could finally get our fix after Brent had heard about it on Curb Your Enthusiasm, all these years of searching and finally we found it! And was it worth the search? Yes, it was pretty damn good (not as good as Phish Food), the peanut butter filled pretzels were the best part. What else to do while eating ice cream than to watch the American version of Say Yes To The Dress.