grids of corn, twilit escape, i couldnt keep my eyes open long enough to drive across the iowa/illinois border as planned. another nowhere night to a long day of driving the next day and not reaching our prefered destination. we arrived, instead in some border town nightmare of ohio and pennsylvania. continental breakfast (holding it in. hoooolding it in), fallish morning breeze through the open windows of the ryder, western pennsylvania greeted us with its lovely rolling hills and the beginnings of the stunning foliage turned all shades of red and yellow. descending upon pittsburgh with no plan or guidance, we found it charming and beautiful beyond expectation. eventually we found our way to the strip district just in time to catch all the businesses and street vendors as they were closing up shop. i needed pierogi and nobody was willing to sell me any (one such instance, me: "so, do you guys serve peirogis hot, or just frozen and by the dozen?" proprietor of the business: "serve! nono! no serve!") after looking about some more at the various ethnic eating establishments, my appetite for polish treats was not diminished. we came upon a church just getting let out of service, and i noticed a sign about a polish festival of food, right in the courtyard of said church. no entrance fee and pierogis, big ones, for a dollar?! i had six and some stuffed cabbage on the steps of said church, while melissa waited patiently for a culture not so insistent on meat and cheese. which we found and she enjoyed, to bursting just about. after missed friend opportunities in pittsburgh, we just decided to make our way to stroudsburg (where the company we sling posters for is located). arriving at the hotel we started all this at were a few other teams just driving up, looking as, if not more, haggard then we. the next morning we spent checking all our stuff (and truck!*) in and then an offer from friend anthony to drive us to philly (as opposed to riding there in the large bus, filled with said haggards and more) for hang outs and then to the airport, back to california. our plans of philly hanging out were dashed soon when the list of errands increased and our time before flight dwindled. happy, though, to be in the company of just finished poster tourers, we shared in stories and insights before the time became too little to stay in stroudsburg any longer. the drive to philly was uneventful, save for the final hour or so (if youve read melissa's post on facebook, you already know this. skip ahead!)the car got real jerky, the accelerator wouldnt accelerate for periods of time, but our friend tells us that the friend that let him borrow this car informed him of this happening. so, we reach a hill, the other side of which is the airport. we coast to 40 mph, then 30 then 20. finally it wont accelerate any longer. we stopped up traffic on this bridge hill for quite some distance, which gave us a sense of power. various gestures and words from the motorists passing us were quite entertaining, although not useful. finally, a man offered to push us up and over the hill and we accepted his offer. pushing us in a car that has power steering/braking when running (quite the opposite when not) at about seventy through turns and twists was, like our driver anthony said (and melissa on th' book post), quite akin to riding a roller coaster. a roller coaster where the chance of dying is a lot higher. all the while, this man that pushed our car with his car was eating a burger with one hand, steering with the other. incredible. we thought, after reaching our gate with more than enough time, how fortunate we'd been. thought this until we deboarded our plane and had to stay the night in philly. we're both now at our respective homes in california for a week. its quite weird typing about the present. our catching now finished, this (blogging) may prove a bit easier. we have about a week ahead of us until the next leg of the adventure: europe. tickets purchased, luggage and contents thereof scattered about my room, theres a lot to organize and reflect on before taking in all the newness and adventure and learning that awaits us on the other side of the pond.
*Here are a couple photos of said truck, and the bugs that gave their lives so that we might sell sell sell: