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tomayz vs the world!

Tuesday September 21st, 2010 21:28 Washington D.C.

Awoken by a few of the guys fumbling around the kitchen, I wandered in looking for a cup of coffee to find Eli and Andrew making a giant breakfast for the crew. We all ate and eventually got ready to head into DC for the day.

We parked by the Kings Street station and headed up to The Motley Fool (Anne and Eli’s employer) to check out their offices. The Motley Fool is one of those companies you hate to not work for. From the stories told by Anne and from the look of their TEMPORARY facilities you can tell that it was a well managed company with very very happy employees. On a side note, they actually have an IT budget and the proper tools in place to manage their resources. From my cowboy/wild-west experiences this is an incredibly sexy employer.

In the recent months, I’ve ridden on the TTC, CTA, MTA and SEPTA. To my experience, they’ve all had a flat rate, swipe-in/pay once and exit freely. The D.C. Metro wants you to swipe on your way out and for some reasons annoys the hell out of me. I’ll have to see what the other mass transit systems have in store for me later.

The group walked to the National Museum of the American Indian, not learn about the culture that the formation of my country obliterated, but to eat at their cafe, the Mitsitam Cafe. I wanted Ben’s Chili Bowl, but I ended up with Buffalo Chili and fry bread instead. It was still pretty damn good! After lunch, the group split into two: one group went off the Museum of Natural History and the other to the Air and Space Museum. With the notion of how awesome jet packs and space lasers are/will be, I joined the later group.

I’m not sure how to elegantly diss a national museum, but the Air and Space Museum sucked. I snapped a few neat shots but I really expected more out of the whole experience.

After our respective museum tours, the groups reunited. After a train ride back to Alexandria, we grabbed our luggage, some Chipotle burritos, some goods from a neighborhood liquor store and headed to Anne’s parent’s house in Deale, Maryland.

As the drinking and miscellaneous shenanigans began, a handful of us decided to sit down and play a little poker for a small buy-in. There is no better feeling than taking out two people first hand by completing a flush on the river. However, what goes around comes around and I successfully donked out when I tried my luck on another straight flush. If only my friend Chad was there to tell me to “fold my way into the money.” I made my way to the living room where there was a little bit of “real talk” going on. A lot of us shared our awkward/wonderful stories from adolescence. Somehow, I managed to pass out on the couch in a room with 10 people. That didn’t last too long, so I found a bed and called it a night.

It was no shock to find myself the first one awake. I started a pot of coffee and made myself a bagel with cream cheese as the rest of the crew eventually awoke. Today was a big day, we were off to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. My first experience with a renaissance festival was a few years ago in Michigan. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, it was totally foreign and overstimulating. Since then I’ve made my way to a handful of renfests and have come to the following conclusion; in good weather, the renaissance festival is hands-down one of the best eating and day-drinking experiences you can have.

The group gathered round to start off renfest “Baynes Style” which is with a round a shrimp shooters; a single peeled shrimp in spicy cocktail sauce with a shot of beer to chase it down. The group eventually split up and I was on my way to find some of my favorite treats, mainly a scotch egg. After I got my fill of delicious foodstuffs, I made my way to the jousting match and did some window-shopping with the gang.

Post-festival, the gang headed to Old Stein Inn. Anne really wanted us to sit outside in the bier garden area, however we ended up inside a somewhat private room. I was in the mood for the closest thing I could get to a home-cooked meal, so I ordered the Potato Pancakes and Wurst Platter. The food was great but I’m always judgmental when it comes to potato pancakes. They weren’t as good as Mom’s. Nevertheless, I had my fill of Slavic-style meat and potatoes. The restaurant was supposed to have a live band but tonight had just an accordion player. She really fit the bill for what you’d expect an older female German accordionist to be. Wearing traditional German clothing and with a thick accent, she waltzed into our room and played us and Oktoberfest sing-a-long song. Later as she was passing by, we decided to yell “Happy Birthday” at Andrew in order to coax another song out of her. Overhearing this, she halted and said “Vat? ve has a burrrthday?” , then we proceeded to serenade Andrew with her accordion’s song.

The night ended with our return to Anne’s parent’s house where almost everyone passed out within an hour or so of arriving.

I spent the next morning in the sun-room, awaiting the others to awake as I sipped on coffee, updated my blog and fumbled around with my fantasy football team. Moving into the kitchen, I began to assist in making breakfast for the group. I knew I had to do what I do best and thats making bacon in the oven.

There were two specific things I wanted to do in D.C. and I hadn’t done either so I recruited Jackie and Sarah to come with me and we were on our way back to our nation’s capital. The first stop on was to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The first exhibit we went through was the children’s exhibit but it was more of a story and less fact-filled. The second exhibit we saw was a special exhibit on propaganda which was really amazing. Eventually we got lost and upon trying to find the main exhibit, ended up at the end of it. So we started walking backwards through the exhibit until we found our way to the beginning, where we were told the museum was closing and that we had only 30 minutes to make our way through. Sadly, we only got about two-thirds of the way through before the museum closed and we were herded onto the street. Maybe next time I’ll do it right.

The whole Kwame Kilpatrick ordeal is pretty ridiculous. However, if there is one thing that dude knows how to do, its what to eat. So when I spied “WE ARE AT BEN’S CHILI BOWL. HIT ME WHEN YOU GUYS ARE LEAVING” while reading over the text message scandal. I knew I had to dine there. I ordered a Chili Dog, Chili Cheese Fries and a Vanilla Shake. The chili dog and shake were tasty but the chili cheese fries was the highlight of the meal. I couldn’t even finish them since they were so absurdly portioned.

After a little ride on the Metro, the three of us rejoined the group for a fairly low-key night of pizza, board games and movies. I was sure to repack my bag first thing so I didn’t have to worry about it the next morning. I did have the pleasure to see Bio-Dome for the first time and it really makes you wonder how Stephen Baldwin went from The Usual Suspects to this. Sooner or later, I passed out on the couch.

In order to make it to my flight in time, I had to get up around 7:30ish. Anne and I were the only ones up so early and drove over to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee before the hour long ride over to Dulles Airport. Outside the terminal, Anne and I said our goodbyes and once again I was in the air.

My flight once again was awesome and in almost no time I was in Boston for a short layover. I sat at Johnny Rocket’s where I ate a sub-par $10 hamburger and listened to a couple airport employees talk in a real Boston accent. This made me look forward to my adventures in Boston in the coming weeks.

When I boarded my flight to Chicago, I realized that I was flying on a smaller plane and with a smaller plane comes a smaller overhead compartment. After a few attempts at cramming my bag up there, I walked in defeat to the front of the plane and checked my bag with one of the attendants. It was a perfectly clear day and it was awesome to gaze out of my window to see the Toronto skyline. Soon after, we were flying over Michigan, which was the closest to home I’ve been to home so far.

The plane landed at O’Hare and I quickly ran down to the baggage claim to grab my bag off the luggage carousel and head down to the CTA stop. The Blue Line train I was on ran into a mechanical issue and halted in the middle of the tracks. The passengers all sat there prisoner until the train started moving again. Hopping off at the Western stop, I jumped on the eastbound Armitage bus as “Civil Twilight” by the Weakerthans came on my iPod. I rode the rest of the way to my brother’s house with a smile on face for finally, I were to relax and take a break from all this travel.

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Sunday September 19th, 2010 08:25 Baltimore

The Chinatown bus stop in Philly was exactly what I thought it would be, a god damn dump. I arrived about 20 minutes early and within a few minutes bus after bus started to appear. The masses began to migrate to the unmarked buses and after some mass confusion and broken english, I made my way to the back of the bus and sat down next to my new friend.

I met Nanna in line at the bus stop. We were both trying to find our (DC/Baltimore) bus and happened to start chatting. Nanna had this really great accent, it was a mix of british and american english. I had assumed she was a kiwi, but I was very wrong. Nanna was from Iceland but is currently living in London. We talked a lot on the bus ride about almost everything; life, school, work, family and future travel plans. Nanna has been many, many more places than I and recently had been in Montreal which made me very jealous. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with her when I am in London next year.

The bus pulled into a rest stop somewhere halfway between Philly and DC. The driver turned off the bus, stood up and yelled “breaka! ten meenut!” There was a faint pounding noise but nobody thought anything of it. As some of the passengers exited the bus, one kid about 12 or 13 started walking towards the back and opened the bathroom door. Inside was a passenger, repeatedly hitting the bathroom wall with his head. The poor dude was having a seizure. There was that moment where everyone yelled “Is anyone here a doctor?” then expected someone ELSE to run and get help. Ahh, the social dynamics of panic. Regardless the police and an ambulance arrived quickly and we were on our way soon after that.

We arrived in Baltimore and by arrived in, I mean that I was dropped off at a Travel America rest stop 2 miles from the harbor. I flagged down a cabbie and made my way to Fell’s Point.

I grabbed a snowball and took a walk around Fell’s Point for a bit until making my way over to Max’s Taphouse for lunch and an excuse to day-drink. The beer selection at Max’s is unreal! So much good stuff, so little time and money! I ordered a Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale and a Crab Pretzel before going to work on getting my NYC blog post online. What was a gorgeous day turned grey fast as a storm rolled in, cancelling my plans to swing by the Natty Boh Gear Store and post office. I did what any other red-blooded America would do, I turned to the bartender and ordered another drink.

At quarter to six in the evening, I grabbed my umbrella and headed towards the inner harbor to the Panera on the corner of Pratt and Market to meet up with Jessica. It was nice to catch up with her. We chatted for an hour and a half until Anne, my beautiful chauffeur showed up to whisk me away to Hampden.

We headed to Holy Frijoles, which had this feeling that reminded me of a tex-mex version of the WAB at home. The food was nothing to get excited over but they had cheap beer specials. Anne and I proceeded to split a pitcher of Dos Equis try to eat their Nachos Grande which was so gigantic that we barely put a dent into it.

We finished our meal and ran to the liquor store to buy some Natty Boh just in time for it to close in front of us. FAIL! Oh well, theres always Yuengling! Onwards to BWI to pick up Ryan. After the usual airport traffic clusterfuck we nabbed up Ryan and headed to Alexandria.

Meeting up with Eli and Matt at Anne and Eli’s apartment, we dropped off our lugged and headed over to the Light Horse in downtown Alexandria to play some shuffleboard. $6.50 pints of Bell’s Two Hearted and the place was crawling with douchebags, definitely not my scene. Plus, my lack of sleep from the previous night was catching up with me making me even less of a happy camper. We eventually made it back to the apartment and I finally got to sleep… sweet, sweet sleep.

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Friday September 17th, 2010 08:04 Philadelphia

One thing I’ve realized is that I’m really getting comfortable with public transit. Planes, buses, trains, etc… However, there are always those few wrenches in the gears here or there. On the bus ride to Philly, this really, really annoying woman sat across from me (4 seats around a table) and she wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

Sitting kitty-corner to me was a girl my age and since she was some kind of brown, this woman sat down and tried talking to her about Native American stuff. Turned out this girl is a totally mutt and identified as Creole. That didn’t stop this woman from her non-stop verbal shitstorm about Native American museums. Two hours of misery later, we arrive in Philadelphia. There are two bus stops, 6th/Market and 30th street station. I chose 30th street as my destination since it was closer to Adam’s house and the Mutter Museum. After Ms. Creole left at 6th street, I had to endure twenty minutes of “Look at this!” and “Look at that!” from my most hated passenger as I am wishing for the traffic to clear so I can just get the hell off that bus.

Within a few minutes Adam was there to pick me up, hold onto my luggage for me and drop me off at the Mutter Museum.  The Mutter Museum is one of those “you have to see it to believe it” kind of places.  It was one hundred perfect amusing, a little disgusting and a tad frightening. Upon entering the museum I was greeted by a display case wall full of skulls, ancient speculums, and books bound in human leather. My favorite item which is sick in twisted in its own way is the skeleton of Mary Ashberry, a dwarf prostitute. There is more to the story, but I’ll let you do the research.

It was about this time when I started getting a bombardment of texts, IMs and emails about my suitcase packing video going viral. I started to ponder what I should do with my 15 minutes of internet fame but quickly came to no conclusion. If only I had sang in that video, then I could have been auto-tuned by the Gregory Brothers.

Once I finished up with the museum, I knew what I had to do, I had to conquer a Philly Cheesesteak! But not just any cheesesteak, one from Pat’s King of Steaks. Getting to Pat’s required navigating Philly’s “subway” system. Looking up the directions on my phone sent me to the nearest staircase underground. I excitingly ran down to find the stop, but something was wr0ng. The stop was way to small and there was no turn-style. All of a sudden a little trolley appears. In total confusion, I just stared at it as it came and went. After staring at the SEPTA route map for a minute I figured it out and hopped on. I eventually transfered to a ‘real’ subway and made my way to south Philly. As I walked down the street staring at rowhouses after rowhouses, I had finally gotten to my destination.

All the stories you hear and TV shows telling you that you must order correctly, doesn’t mean shit on a Wednesday evening. Within a minute, I had a delicious cheesesteak with cheez whiz and onions in front of me. Within another minute it was gone. It was so damn good, I’ve driven all around the metro Detroit to find the best cheesesteak in the area and the closest I’ve come in a place called Big Mouth’s in the hood. Needless to say, this blew Big Mouth’s fare away.

I had an hour or so to kill before I joined Adam and Kari for dinner so I wandered the streets of Philly looking for a bar. Using Google Maps on my phone, searched around the area I was in for a bar and I found “The Bike Stop”. Upon clicking on the name of the bar to get the address, Google was so kind to give me a review of the bar: ”Four floors of increasing decadence make The Bike Stop a gay bar for every “” Oh, that’s not my scene, time to keep moving.

Passing Irish pubs and sports bars, I finally stumbled upon a place that seemed worth of my business, the establishment was appropriately called “BAR”.

I had to start off with a Yuengling, but as soon I finished that I turned to Justin (the bartender) for a local craft brew recommendation. He poured me a pint of PBC Kenzinger and we chatted about beer, Chicago and derby girls.

A little while later, I was on my way to meet up with Adam (who is the best person I’ve met on my trip according to himself) and Kari at Aki Sushi. We dined with a handful of their friends who’s names I can not remember. One however was pseudo e-starstruck when he found out that I was “packing video guy” and immediately snapped a photo of me on his iPhone.

We finished dinner and I got a ride to my hostel from Adam and Kari. I quickly checked in and headed to South street. My first stop was Atomic City Comics. You know a comic book, table/card game or video game store is legit when you walk in to see a bunch of dudes circled around a Sega Dreamcast playing Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike. The classics never go out of style. Regardless, the store was pretty awesome, if i had any room in my bag I would have picked up some trade paperbacks. The only bummer of the store was realized most of their awesome arcade cabinet selection was turned off. Apparently there is some nonsense law that doesn’t allow for them to have more than 3 arcade machines on in their store without a special license.

My friends Anne and Noah both insisted I check out a place called “Tattooed Mom”. I walked into what was almost a full bar when I noticed Bob the bartender clear a space for me and wave for me to come sit down. After a few $2 draft specials, I was chatting with some of the natives. One guy by the name of Chris was super nice. We chatted about my trip, things I should do out west and football. To show his condolences for Matthew Stafford’s injury, Chris bought me a shot. A little while later I was talking to Alice. Alice and I discussed our musical guilty pleasures. Hopefully none of her friends read this blog so they wont know about her love for My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Saves the Day.

I walked by zipperhead before snagging a giant slice of pizza from Lorenzo’s and headed back to the hostel for what has been the worst night of sleep of the trip so far. I maybe managed to get 2 or 3 hours in before giving up, taking a shower and heading to the greasy spoon down the block for breakfast.

With plenty of time to kill in the morning, I went for a scenic walk through the old city are and snapped a few photos:

I was running short on time so I headed back to the hostel to check out. The girl working the counter was extremely cute and I told her about my trip and newfound internet fame. She was not amused. I told her I was heading to Baltimore next and it turned out that she was originally from Baltimore. She told me “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Baltimore.” I whistled for a cab and when it came near The license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought, “Nah, forget it. Yo, holmes to Baltimore!” I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8 and I yelled to the cabbie, “Yo holmes smell ya later!” Looked at my kingdom I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Baltimore.

But really, I made my way to the Chinatown bus stop for what would be my most interesting ride of the trip so far.

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Thursday September 16th, 2010 13:12 New York City

As I begrudgingly dragged my suitcase down the stairs, I wondered who in their right mind would live so far away from New York City and make that hour plus commute everyday just to get to the office by 9am. I strolled into a local coffee shop right by the train station where I was told the coffee was free, care of a local restaurant. Fifteen dollars, some loud jerk-off on his phone and an hour later, I pulled into Grand Central Terminal.

This time marked my 4th visit to NYC in the last five years. I made my way out of the train station, onto the street and for the first time, I didn’t have that feeling of wonder when I saw the zoo that is Manhattan.  I guess people everywhere is now “that old familiar feeling.”

I had a cup of coffee in Bryant Park then met Brooke to pick up a key to her apartment and was off. Brooke’s apartment is pretty amazing. She lives in a building called The Brooklyner which is located in Downtown Brooklyn and after a short nap I went up to the rooftop deck to see this:

It was time to eat and I was on a mission, get to Katz’s and get a pastrami with mustard.  Hopping onto the subway I realized how amazingly close everything was to Brooke’s apartment.  In the past, the places I had stayed were always at least 45 minutes to an hour to get to Manhattan or wherever I wanted to go.  It barely took me 20 minutes to get inside and devour a delicious $20 sandwich/can of Dr. Brown’s combo.

After eating, I popped into Uniqlo in Soho but then realized that my suitcase was already ready to explode and buying anything is a bad idea, so I headed back up by Grand Central to meet Bryn for a cup of coffee and a mini-tour of her office in the Metlife building.  Bryn’s office was on some ear-popping (40+) floor and the window in her office faced the Empire State Building. Sadly, the price of having such a nice office is having to work like crazy, so I left Bryn to finish her 15 hour work day and headed across the street to meet Brooke and her friends.

We ended up at a 9/11 tribute bar called The Bravest.  There was this sweet irony of a bunch me drinking with a bunch of Yuppies at what clearly was a blue-collar kind of place, but $2 pint in Manhattan! Who can beat that? We made our way to another bar for a drink and were off in hunt for Ray’s Pizza but settled for cheap pizza instead. A couple of slices and a cab ride later, I was in bed watching Monday night football.

The next morning I had originally planned on going to The Cloisters, but Brooke’s road bike was staring me in the face and I decided to do something non-touristy for a change.  I rode to Prospect Park and then Coney Island. The weather was perfect and the sites were great.  The ride was about 20 miles total and I took a few nice pictures.

After a shower, I was starving so I headed to Madison Square Park to see what this Shake Shack business was all about.  The wait in line was 20 minutes alone but it was well worth it. After I polished off a Double Shack Burger, Fries and Strawberry milkshake all the obscenely domesticated birds were just flying around me everywhere like I was in Mary Poppins. Sitting there with a full stomach in that perfect weather I realized at that moment that my life is awesome and this trip has just started.

Swinging by my old company’s (Vectorform) New York office is always a treat.  They had just moved into some new office space so I decided to check it out and say hi to my friends and old coworkers. A few of them were out on a business trip but I got to catch up with Alex and then completely disregard all his ridiculous “where to go” suggestions.

My friend Seth had just purchased a new home and wanted me to come check it out.  Its on Broad Channel so it was a hike to get out there. On the train, I had a lovely conversation with a “real new yorker” about my trip, unemployment and Wyoming. Apparently, Wyoming is “god’s country” and I should derail all my plans to go there. Maybe next time bub!

You know those kind of nightmare TV shows where a couple buys a project house, hires a contractor and everything goes south? Welcome to Seth’s house.  It’s a nice little house in need of some work, but when it is all done I’m sure him and his wife will be very pleased with it.  Seth and I walked down the narrow sidewalks of Broad Channel towards Aqua House, the neighborhood sushi and hibachi place.  We had some sushi on the oceanside patio and went for an MTV Cribs style tour of the neighborhood.  Seeing a 2 million dollar home next to a 800 square foot fishing bungalow from the 1930′s is really something else, especially when the owner for the lavish home decides to park his Benz not in but backed up in front of the garage on an angle. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way to await the hour long A train ride back to “real” NYC.

One would think being out in the middle of nowhere like Broad Channel, you wouldn’t find any excitement. But, once in a blue moon you get to experience it and tonight I was that lucky.  I had noticed a squad car outside of the station but thought nothing of it. I was reading a book and waiting for the train to come when the eastbound train appeared on the tracks. Out of nowhere some cops appear and then hide around the corner. The doors to the eastbound train open as the westbound train arrives.  Looking through 4 sets of windows, I see the cops just nab a dude right then and there. New York’s finest at work!

I eventually made it back to Brooke’s place as my phone died. The last text message I sent was to her asking where I could get pizza. By the time  I got inside and my phone plugged in and powered on, Brooke told me she was bringing me Ray’s Pizza. Score!  After annihilating a few slices, I passed out to a happy/exhausted pizza coma.

I woke up the next morning, re-packed by bag and headed to Penn Station just in time to be first in line for my bus to Philadelphia.

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Sunday September 12th, 2010 21:00 Connecticut

I landed at JFK late in the afternoon on Saturday and was almost immediately (aka 30 minutes due to stupid NYC traffic) picked up by Dustin. We were off to swing by his place and then on to Hartford to stay at Whitney’s apartment for the night. I can’t fathom how people who live in and around NYC deal with the traffic here, yet surprisingly the NYC area isn’t in the Road Rage Top 10 (City)!

After some sub-par middle eastern food (that was surprisingly highly rated by Yelpers), we were headed east. I was breaking down the contents of my luggage when Dustin brought up the fact that I had overlooked the fact that with the exception of my shoes, I didn’t quite have the appropriate gear for the hike we had planned to go on the following day.  Nothing a couple hours of wasted time cant fix!  A few hours and stores later, I had picked up a pair of REI’s Adventure Pants on recommendation from Andy Mesa (a fellow AYCJer).

We eventually made it to Whitney’s place and unanimously decided to stay in and have a low-key night because we had to get up early the next morning to drive out to Mt. Riga State Park.  The drive the next morning taught me a few things: The exits on the highway in Connecticut are based in order and have nothing to do with mile distances like they do in Michigan. There is a ton of farmland intermixed with the residential areas of Connecticut. The state is very small and you can make it halfway across it in a matter of hours. Lastly, so many of the roads out here are gorgeous and tree-lined  like this

The highlight of being in Connecticut was hands-down climbing Bear Mountain. The first hour was rough and tiresome, but once we got over our initial exhaustion we made great time. Under 3 and a half hours we did the whole thing which was about 7 miles in total but absolutely nothing can top the feeling of getting to the summit and looking down at this:

Heres a video:

The rest of the day was spent resting and watching football.  Oh and I totally crushed Fabian today in our fantasy league.

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Saturday September 11th, 2010 20:43 Chicago – Part One

Click-click,click-click.  This was the noise Mike’s car was making as it sat in my driveway with the luggage in the trunk, all ready to  go.  After staring under the hood for 10 minutes, I decided to turn to Google which didn’t end up being too useful.  On a whim, my next door neighbor decided to try to jump us and we were back in business!  After a quick stop at Livonia’s finest chinese food restaurant, we were on our way to Chicago.

My plan was simple: get to Chicago, get a bite to eat, a few drinks with friends but most importantly, get to bed early… and of course that didn’t happen.  One awesome night with friends at the Town Hall Pub, a team urination in an alley and a late-night train ride back to my brothers place, I finally laid down to sleep at 3:30am.

Five sweet hours of sleep passed, but after a little Chicago Bagel Authority and a cup of coffee, I was ready to roll. Mike dropped me off at the blue line, we said our goodbyes and I was on the way to O’Hare for the first time in my life.

I had this assumption that there was a stigma about flying on September 11th and kind of expected the airport to be slower than usual.  That was definitely not the case, but I eventually made by way through TSA and into the concourse.

I had heard a lot of good thing about JetBlue, but it was a really pleasant to actually experience it.  The plane was nice and new(er), every seat had screen with DirectTV and XM Radio.  I didn’t feel uncomfortable or cramped in coach. You had your choice of one of six snacks and mock me for this all you want but you do not have to ask for a whole can of pop, they just give it to you.

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Tuesday September 7th, 2010 05:47 The Stats…

27 Days

1 Car Ride

9 Flights

2 Trains

5 Buses

8,637 miles by Plane

1041.9 miles by Car/Bus

216.5 miles by Train

Random Fact: The distance between Detroit and Tokyo is 6418 miles

The Map:

Note: Chicago is 2, 8 and 16. Seattle is 12 and 14

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Monday September 6th, 2010 08:39 The Gear…

Here is a breakdown of the bags I’m carrying and their contents:

High Sierra Scout 2L Hydration Pack

12 Pairs of Socks
12 Pair of Underwear
1 Extra Pair of Shoes
9 T-Shirts
2 Polo Shirts
1 Pair of Swim Trunks
1 Pair of Gym Shorts
1 Pair of Shorts
2 Pair of Jeans
1 Track Jacket
1 Hooded Sweatshirt
1 Towel
1 Pair of Flip Flops
1 Umbrella
Miscellaneous Toiletries

This is how I fit all that good stuff into my bag:

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Sunday September 5th, 2010 13:52 The Idea…

So there I was a few weeks into sweet, sweet unemployment; I was somewhere the middle of an Avatar: The Last Airbender marathon when I decided to take a break and get brunch with my friend Brent.  I’ve been friends with Brent for years and he is really a great guy, but he essentially lives in another time zone.  I like to call this time zone Brent Standard Time.  Brent Standard Time (a.k.a. the “Tron Effect” or the “Bridget Time Vamp Theory”) is a pretty basic concept, The person living in BST really lives and makes plans in Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5:00) however, they are prepared to follow through with said plans anytime between 30 minutes to 2 hours after the appointed start date.  Here is a hand-drawn graph visually depicting this concept:

Brent Standard Time

While sometimes tiresome to deal with, BST does have the occasional perk. On that fine Sunday afternoon, while waiting for Brent to get ready to leave, I had a chance to sit down and have a nice long chat with Brent’s mom.  Brent’s mom has always been like a second mother to me and I’ve always valued her opinion. We spent most of the time discussing my recent layoff and what my plans for the future were.  I told her I was almost certain that my next career path would be in another city, preferably Chicago but I wouldn’t rule out Washington D.C or Seattle. The only problem was, I hadn’t really been to that many places in the grand ol’ US of A.  Thats when she suggested that I had a car and plenty of time on my hands.

I went home later that night and put together a rough draft of my road trip itinerary and tweeted it.  Quite a few friends sent me messages telling me I was welcome to crash on their couches which made the trip actually become affordable.  With the exception of the $1000 in fuel/oil change cost and some of the longer drives in the middle of nowhere, the trip was looking pretty promising.  Two days later, I wake up and hop on reddit to find out that JetBlue Airlines was offering an All You Can Jet pass for the month of September.   Two different types of passes were offered, a 7-day a week pass for $700 and a 5-day (no Friday or Sunday flights) a week pass for $500.  I immediately experienced this “the universe is trying to tell me I have to do this” feeling.  For the following two days I tried my best to recruit a few friends to go with me.  Neither of them were interested and I was unsure if I was ready to take on a trip like this alone.  I checked the JetBlue website later that day, the 7-day passes were sold out and only a few 5-day passes remain.  I ran for my wallet, filled out a few forms and was greeted with an e-mail stating “Congratulations for purchasing an All-You-Can-Jet Pass!”

Twenty minutes later, they were all sold out.

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