Friday, August 17, 2007

Road Trip 2007: The Final Frontier

Or, you know, the final part. But I like "frontier" better. Anyhoo...

After leaving Grand Rapids (now two weeks ago, oh how behind I get!), I set off to visit SarahCool in Cincinnati. That's spelled with two N's, dont'cha know. ;-)

But. BUT! En route, I planned on making a few different stops. I had heard Ann Arbor was a pretty little town, so I wanted to go through there. But should I go east and south or south and east through Michigan? Well, a quick gander at google maps and I had my answer.

KALAMAZOO?!?!?! Really? There's actually a real live Kalamazoo? Dude, I wanna go THERE!!!!! I was rather excited by this fact. It's a neat little town, too. I dropped by a little festival, grabbed lunch and wandered around a bit. And got lost. In Kalamazoo. Now there's a headline I wouldn't have minded: "Lone tourist plucked from the streets of Kalamazo, cold, dehydrated, but with giant grin on face. Can't seem to stop saying 'KALAMAZOO!!!' "

I decided to had to have a souvenir, so what better to pick up than a KAZOO from KALAMAZOO? Good thing I did, too. It provided absolute minutes of entertainment in the car on my driving days. Apparently it also turned me into a pirate.

After Kalamazoo - KALAMAZOO! Go on, say it, it's fun! - I stopped in Ann Arbor and wandered around downtown for a bit. It's a very cute little town. I took some pictures, wandered the campus of Michigan State, and caved to the sweet pull of the Ben and Jerry's shop. Oh sweet Banana Split ice cream, where have you been all my life? Sheeshers, it's sure a good thing I did boot camp last month. Cause road trip = sit on your touckas and eat junk. Mmmm, banana spilt ice creamy goodness type junk.

I knew I wasn't gonna hit Cincinnati on Thursday, so I drove till I got tired and crashed in a roadside motel - notice I didn't say crashed INTO - then drove the final hour to Cinci the next day.

I had a few hours before I met up with Sarah, so I wandered around downtown a bit and took in the sights. I apparently took in some famous Cicnicnnati chili, too, without knowing it was famous. Mmmm, cheese coney. (I'm sorry, arteries!) I met Sarah at her work, recognizing the building from her blog posts. Now if THAT don't make a gal feel like a stalker....

The weekend was totally full but also really relaxing. I met a bunch of her girlfriends on Friday night, then on Saturday, Sarah took on the role of tour guide and showed me all over the city. She told all kinds of stories about the various places she's lived and worked, and I learned all kinds of neat-o information about the city. Like, for example, it used to be called Porkopolis. hehehe! And once I got the story of Skyline Chili, we went there and had a 4-way - spaghetti topped with chili, red beans, and habanero cheese, served with a side of oyster crackers. Yum! From downtown to Eden Park to Findlay Market to the mushroom house to ... many other places (Sarah, help me out with neighbourhood names!), it was a great tour! Sunday we took in the National Underground Railroad Museum, which was really interesting. As the Ohio river is bsically the border between the North and the South, that whole region played a really important role in the escape of slave from the South on their way to Canada. See? Ya come here and ya just might learn something! :-)

PorkopolisA 4-Way at Skyline ChiliDowntown SkylineCarew Tower Art Deco LobbyEden Park - I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. Demille
Eden Park FountainFinday MarketThe Mushroom HouseCincinnatiSarah and Hillary
Roll your mouse over the pictures for a caption, or click for a larger view.

Saturday night we headed over to Sarah's aunt and uncle's place for a BBQ, which was SO MUCH FUN! They were funny and hospitable and sweet and welcomed me in right away. Yay!

Highlights would have to include Sarah's haircut:

Sarah: My bangs are crooked! SAM! You should cut them!
Sam (Sarah's 16 year old cousin): I dunno...
Sarah: Yeah! Totally! You just cut your dad's hair! Do it! Do it! Do it!
Sam: ... Ok...
{gets scissors, heads outside}
Sarah: SAM! Be careful!
Sam (who is masterfully pulling out Sarah's bangs and cutting just tiny bits off, doing quite a good job, and had just given his dad a very good haircut 45 mis before): [snip snip]
Sarah: AAAHH!!
Sam: [snip]
Sarah: Oooooooh!
Sam: Well YOU asked me to!...
Sarah: Eeeeeek!
Sam: [snip]
Sarah (fanning her face): OK, I'm hot. Stop! I wanna go inside!
Sam: [snip] There! I'm done.
Sarah: PHEW!

Also, pretty much Sarah's whole family hates her cat, Flora. I was caught in the middle of a Flora fight...

Sarah: Oh Flora! She's so sweeeet!
Sarah's family, eyes glinting, hoping to pull me over to the dark side: So! Do you hate Flora, too?
Hillary: uhhhmm....

Who WOULDN'T love a sweet creature like this?

What you DON'T see in the picture are the lasor beams of hate coming from her eyes. I was clearly in HER territory, and she was mad. BUT, Sarah.... She loves YOU, and that's what's important. And she had kinda sorta almost warmed up to me by the time I left. For example, she let me get close enough to pet her abuot 7 times. Some of those times she even knew it was me.

For the record. I LIKE Flora. She's got definite spunk and she makes her mommy happy. I just won't get too close to her. ;)

So. Cincinnati is cool, and chillin' with Sarah was a blast! It was fun to see a little slice of her world! I really am so grateful for my blog girls: Anne and Jean and Sarah!

Now it's just a matter of plotting to get them HERE for a visit! Muah hah hahaaa!!!!

Monday morning bright and early (5:50am, to be precise!) I started off for Toronto. Nine hours later (!!!) I arrived, took in some of the zoo - lions and tigers and bears, oh my! - and chilled with my friend Ann for the evening before catching an early flight back home.

Windsor, Toronto, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Cincinnati. Nearly 3000km. Lots of pictures. Good times with friends all along the way...

Makes for a very happy Hillary!


RosieBoo said...

What an awesome road trip! Thanks for sharing the fun...and your love of KALAMAZOO!

nachtwache said...

I think "spunk" is an understatement for that cat, I hope you didn't have to sleep in the same room, that might have been dangerous.
I hope you'll get to keep your assigned class!

Jean said...

It was so much fun to see you too!!
OH and there is actually a song titled, "I got a gal in Kalamazoo". I used to sing it all the time as I used to live in Kalamazoo! :)

OH.....and Michigan is in Ann Arbor..not Michigan State. Being married to a man that bleeds green, I needed to state this fact.

Anne said...

So glad you could make our humble country part of your RT07!! :) It was so fabulous having you!!

And of course, you can secretly tell me that you liked Cammie best, right? Right!? Though Flora counts as a serious tiger kitty and she is darn cute!!

Queen Bee said...

Flora scared me just from the pics. Glad Sarah loves her though, kitties make the best buddies.

Btw, Cincinnati has three Ns *snort*

When are you travelling down to see me?

sarah cool said...

And YES, my whole family DOES hate my cat!!!!

sarah cool said...

HEY! I posted another comment and it isn't here!! All about the neighborhoods we visited!!