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Hershey PA: the road to chocolate by Ann Treacy
March 5, 2012, 3:45 am
Filed under: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia

We woke up in Pittsburgh. Kate realized that Dance Moms was filmed in Pittsburgh – so we took a detour, an unexpectedly long detour to the Abby Lee Dance Studio. Luckily for some of us it was closed – but it didn’t stop us from getting pictures. And I suspect it may be a trip highlight for some travelers. It was kind of interesting to drive through suburban Pittsburgh. There were lots of windy roads, pretty narrow roads and some nice houses and some not so nice houses. But it definitely didn’t feel like driving through Mac Groveland!

Then from Pittsburgh to Hershey PA. The World of Chocolate was fun. We started by making our personalized candy bars. We got to choose our flavors and design our labels. I realize that I was in the minority in choosing white chocolate (turns our white chocolate really isn’t chocolate – but it’s still my fave). It was fun to get an idea of the process of making a candy bar.

We took the free tour of the history of chocolate, which was cheesy but fun – and a perfect filler while we waited for our next activity – a chocolate tasting class. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to learn as much. We learned that it takes about 10 days to make a regular Hershey bar – from field to wrapper. The darker chocolate and higher quality bars take longer. The Bliss chocolate takes 30 days to make. I was surprised how much I liked the darker chocolate when I took the time to taste it. Although really – white chocolate is still much better – to me.

From the Chocolate World we headed to Richmond. We drove near DC – but it was dark so we basked in the glory of being near DC and enjoyed dinner in a nearby suburb – then on to Richmond where we stayed in a super ritzy resort and conference center. (Thank you Priceline!)

One of the fun parts of the trips has been to see the different terrain as we drive. I took a few good pictures and have included them. And I learned that I shouldn’t live in the mountains – my ears were popping the whole time. I guess that’s the Great Plans upbringing.

State visited today: PA, MD, VA



Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Ann Treacy
March 4, 2012, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania

The day started about a week ago. We started in Chicago. Drove through Indiana, stopped in Cleveland Ohio for lunch and a tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and now we’re sleepy in Pittsburgh. That’s three new states that the girls and I have never visited. (Grandpa has – in fact he mention that the last time he drove this path was September 12, 2001; he was stuck in DC for 9/11 and decided to just start driving West to get home.)

We had lunch at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. It came recommended and was good – although a little loud. Then we headed to the Rock & Roll Museum.I suspect that Grandpa and I may have enjoyed the Museum more than the girls – at least one was a little crushed not to find Justin Bieber anywhere. Sadly you can’t take pictures through most of the museum – but here are some of out highlights (in no particular order):

  • Boy Scout uniform from Jim Morrison
  • Pictures from T Edwards radio program. (Including a picture of Dion; someone remembered when Dion played in Winona.)
  • Album covers from the Midwest including the following: Babes in Toyland, Prince, Husker Du, Jayhawks, Replacements, including a flyer from a show at 7th Street (Lily thought it was sad that I had been there in the last month) and that’s all I can remember.
  • ZZ Top drum set – I told Aine that they decorated the drums with their beards; that’s what it looked like anyways.
  • An undipped acid blotter sheet featuring a picture of Janis Joplin.
  • Boots (and guitar) from Johnny Cash.
  • Dress worn by Katy Perry
  • Michael Jackson’s glove & the Thriller mask
  • The giant hotdog that Phish used to land into one of their shows
  • Janis Joplin’s psychedelic car
  • Figures from The Wall (or as Aine says monster/teacher/Dr Einstein moving doll person) So wish I could have gotten a picture of that!

I’ll let you guess who loved each item. Our only sadness was that we didn’t have more time.

States visited: IL, IN, OH, PA



Road Trip Day One: Road 2, Ann 0 by Ann Treacy
March 3, 2012, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin

So who thought it would be a good idea to drive to Florida? What a dummy!

We started on the trip yesterday. We got on the road about noon, as scheduled. So that was good. We got a free upgrade to a minivan, which was probably good. (Not my dream vehicle – but loads of room for the girls.) Then the luck sort of ebbed.

I got a speeding ticket as soon as we crossed over the Wisconsin. I totally deserved it. I may have been able to talk my way out of it – being less than an hour in a rented car and just getting used to it – if I hadn’t been on the phone. I will give the cop credit for not asking if I knew how fast I was going. (I didn’t but I had some idea.)

Next it started snowing in Tomah. The blizzard started about 40 miles later. They closed schools in Madison about 2 hours before we got there. We were averaging about 40 miles an hour on the highway. I couldn’t read the signs. (Should have used that excuse with the ticket!)

Nearly 8 hours to get to Chicago – that’s an all-time worst record.

But once we got there bbq ribs were waiting and a cake to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. And it was fun to see the cousins. And now it’s 8:00 and we’re already in a new state. I’m not driving. SO that’s good. Mifi is working. So that’s good. And we have plenty of gas. So that’s good because I think you can enjoy Gary Indiana just as much from the car. It seems pretty industrial – and not in a glamorous oils refinery/Emerald City way. Just trains and power lines.

State Count: MN, WI, IL, IN

 




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