Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pittsburgh Weekend

After landing at BWI, I rushed as quickly as the airport would allow to baggage claim.  BWI does not do luggage very quickly, so it was almost 30 minutes until my bag arrived.  I said goodbye to my colleague, Greg, and headed to the shuttle to take me to the long term parking lot where my Jeep was waiting for me.  Once there, I headed towards home.  I needed to make a few stops first, however.  One was to get a haircut.  And I think I've found my new place.

It's a non-descript barber shop at the shopping center located on Johns Hopkins Road, just off of 29, across from the Chick-Fil-A.  The lady who runs the place is a very kind woman who does a very nice job cutting hair.  She has a gentle touch, knows her craft, and even shaved my neck with warm shaving cream and a straight edge.  I was pleased.  I then gassed up, picked up some lunch at Chick-Fil-A, stopped by Harris-Teeter for a few snacks, then headed over the Grace Adventures Day Camp to pick up my daughter, Melody.  It was great to see her after a week away!

We headed home and quickly repacked.  Neither of us have slept at home in a week, and we wouldn't be for a few more days.  We loaded up the Jeep and hit the road, heading west.  Traffic wasn't great, but we trudged through Frederick and into Western Maryland.  We decided to stop for dinner at a Bob Evans in La Vale, MD.  I was in the mood for some breakfast, since I missed breakfast in Dallas early that morning, so I got a delicious omelet.  Melody had the grilled chicken, and I complimented her on her healthy choice.

Back on the road, we soon hit US 40, the National Highway, at Keysers Ridge, and we cruised into Uniontown, PA, my father's hometown.  There, we stopped at my Aunt Sandi's place and caught up with my parents.  My cousin, Mindi, Aunt Nancy, and Uncle Jim were there, as well, and it was great to visit with everyone.  Soon, Melody, Mom, and Dad hit the road and we soon arrived in Pittsburgh.  We checked into our hotel and crashed for the night.  I was exhausted.  I had been up for over 18 hours and I was tired.  I sank into my bed and passed out.

We were up at 8, and we had a nice breakfast.  The server at the hotel was a kind older woman who loved to talk, and she was all Pittsburgh.  I love the people of this wonderful city.  They sometimes come across as pushy or aggressive, but they have hearts of gold, and they are passionate about their homes, their families, their food, and their sports teams.

We got dressed, and Dad, Melody, and I decided to do a dry run to the Strip District.  I had never been to this part of Pittsburgh before, but I have always wanted to see it.  However, it was pouring rain and we were bound to get wet.  I found the church where my cousin's wedding would be held later that afternoon, and we found parking nearby.  Then we got our rain gear and began to wander the streets.  We had a blast finding deals on souvenirs and shirts and jackets and anything black and gold.  After a few hours, we grabbed some pizza and headed back to our hotel.

We got ready for the wedding and headed back out.  The rain had diminished somewhat, which was great due to the parking situation near the church.  Gone was much of the parking we had found earlier.  The whole neighborhood was packed with people.  We parked a good half-mile from the church, and we hoofed it over in plenty of time.  We met up with Aunt Sandi, Aunt Nancy, and Uncle Jim, and joined my cousin's family for a wonderful, beautiful wedding.

After the wedding, we sat through a lengthy photo session with the wedding party, then we found a restaurant for a snack to tide us over until the reception.  We walked over to the Heinz History Center for a really great reception, then, in the wee hours, we headed back to our hotel for the night.

Up at 8 again, we slowly got ready, ate breakfast, and packed up.  We said goodbye to Mom & Dad, who were headed out of town towards the mountains.  Melody and I returned to the Strip, but it was more crowded than the day before.  We couldn't find any parking, so we drove over to the University of Pittsburgh, in Oakland.  We then walked over to the Cathedral of Learning, and eerie looking skyscraper housing much of the University's classrooms.  After walking around a bit, we decided to find lunch.  There was a Primanti Bros. right down the street, and so off we went.

Primanti Bros. is an acquired taste.  Their signature sandwiches include fries and coleslaw right on the sandwich.  It's great!  While Melody did not try one of the sandwiches, I did, and it was wonderful.

We headed back to our Jeep just as the skies opened up again.  We headed back east out of town, over to the PA Turnpike.  I jumped off at Somerset, and we headed down US 219 to Grantsville, MD, and the Hilltop Fruit Market, a favorite stop of ours.  We loaded up on snacks and cruised on home, picking up a Ledo's pizza on the way.

It was a great trip, lots of fun, and despite the rain, a wonderful time with family and experiencing new things.  We're so thankful for the Lord's protection on us as we traveled, and we ask His blessings on my cousin, JJ, and his new bride, Amanda.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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