Saturday, September 30, 2006

Logbook: Atlanta

Atlanta1I honestly don’t know where the week has gone. It seems like only yesterday that I was writing to say I would be all caught up by now. I do know what I have been doing, of course... Much of the week has been happily occupied with visiting old friends here in Atlanta, hanging out with my friend Ken and a great deal of “socializing.” Ken is an active member of the Atlanta social scene and has very graciously included me in everything: parties, gallery openings, dinners and other spontaneous social combustions. I have to admit that it’s quite a bit more than I’m used to and I’ve had to start pacing myself!

Atlanta2I have also had a lot of fun spending time alone with Ken’s sons, Max and Jake. They are very enjoyable to be with and are quite entertaining. Between asking a million questions a minute and switching gears every few seconds, they make sure there is never a dull moment. There are a few pictures of them on the Photos page. We spent most of today together while Ken attended a business meeting. A highlight of our day was a trip to The Varsity -- an Atlanta landmark -- which I was pleased to see still serves the singularly most disgusting yet irresistible food on the planet. It hasn’t changed a bit since I started eating there 30 years ago! Although I expect to be in Atlanta for at least another week before heading south toward Costa Rica, I have begun to strategize my route and means. Stand by for details -- and more postings from Atlanta -- as The Voyage of Macgellan continues...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Logbook: Gone Racing

Goneracing2No sooner did I get to Atlanta and settle down to do some very overdue iLife than Kenny said, “Pack your gear, we’re going racing!” So off we went to Savannah -- to the Roebling Road race track -- for a weekend of SCCA racing. What an experience! Kenny’s car is a race built ’88 Camaro and he is second in the point standings for the year (Behind a guy whose car -- Kenny is quick to point out -- is at least 300 pounds lighter and substantially more powerful.) Friday was a test day and Kenny got lots of “seat time” in four sessions during which he and his crew -- especially crew chief George -- made many adjustments to prepare the car for racing. Saturday was qualifying and the race was yesterday. Kenny was delighted to finish in second place and win a medal for the season. I shot a ton of photos and have put just a few of them in the Photos page. We got back to Atlanta late last night and I have spent the day in iLife (as you can tell by the new Reports that are finally available). As soon as I get caught up on a few more postings I will put together a full racing Report -- including some outstanding in-car video that I was able to get thanks to George who let me attach a camera mount in “his” car. My trusty -- and now fully shock-tested -- Canon S2IS camera performed great and you will feel like you are in the car when you see the video! Look forward to some of the best stuff yet from Atlanta as The Voyage of Macgellan continues...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Report: Race Day

My friend Ken is an avid amateur auto racer, and by all accounts a good one. During my visit, we went to Reobling Road Raceway near Savannah, GA for a 3 day weekend of SCCA racing. My job as an official member of the race crew was to capture AV media and produce videos. I mounted my camera in Ken’s 88 Camaro A-Sedan race car for on-board video and tapped into the race radio to record live audio. Although this Macgellan Report is only a short, heavily edited version of the final race video, I think it will give you a pretty good sense of Race Day at Roebling Road. Strap in and hang on for a great ride!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Haircut Chronicle: #1 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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#1 - September 20, 2006 -- Atlanta, GA -- One look at Kenny’s (always) perfect hair and I knew I needed a haircut! The lovely and talented Nichole... er... Nicholas prepares to embark on my first haircut of The Voyage. A good first cut! (It looks better in person than in this picture.) The Haircut Chronicles have begun! Cost: 20 Dollars ($20)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Logbook: Out Of The iVoid

OutoftheivoidI’m not going to dwell on the “lack of internet” (aka iVoid) problem, except to say that I’ve learned something about being on The Voyage: Sometimes there will be problems with connections and we all -- especially me -- will just have to be patient. With that said, here’s the recap of last week: On Wednesday and Thursday I took the chance to have lunch and visit with some old friends and clients in the Dillsburg area. I happily spent Friday and Saturday volunteering at the annual event of an organization with which my mom has been involved for years, Knitter’s Day Out. This year, over 300 women (and three men) convened for what must be one of the most extraordinary “craft-fests” in the world. I took pictures -- a few of which are in the Photos album -- and performed a variety of other functions such as raking in money at the door, selling merchandise, providing directions for lost participants and doing my best to flirt and otherwise entertain.

Sunday I drove down to Baltimore for the day and had a fabulous visit with Lorena. We toured the Walter’s Art Museum, had lunch at the Inner Harbor, went for ice cream and, of course, did just a little bit of shopping. Lorena is a lovely young lady who is a pleasure to be with, and I was treated to a rare and precious experience of her infectious laugh and robust wit... Thanks, Lorena! Yesterday was my last day on the farm and I helped my dad with a few chores then capped off the day by bagging one last evil woodchuck for old time sake -- One shot, one kill.

This morning I packed up my gear and we drove to Hunt Vally, MD where I had a nice lunch with my folks before they dropped me off at the light rail station -- see photo above -- for my connection to Amtrak in Baltimore. At present I am in a familiar little “roomette” on The Crescent, now ready to call it a night and look forward to waking up in Atlanta where my friend Ken will meet me at the station. He promises to have “wi-fi for days” so I really, really am determined to finish up at least four Reports in the immediate future... Provided, of course, that our usual “Who were those guys?” antics don’t interfere! Stay tuned! The Voyage of Macgellan continues...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Logbook: New York

Newyork1To title this logbook entry “New York” is a little bit misleading. I was only in the city long enough to change trains last Friday and again this afternoon. I spent the time in between back in my old home town of Port Washington with my dear old “aunt” Evie. One highlight of this visit was the annual “Country Fair” which was held by the historical society to which she belongs. I have vivid memories of the Fair from when I was a kid and it is pretty much what it always was -- A time for local folks to have fun in the context of the history of the area which dates back to the 1600’s. I happily took a bunch of photos which I hope will be the content for an Report.

Newyork2The other highlight was taking a nice drive into Westchester County to visit the grave of Ayn Rand who is a hero of mine and to whom I have long wanted to pay my respects. Besides that, Evie and I had a grand time -- as always! -- doing little chores around her house, taking drives, watching her soap opera, eating huge meals and laughing at each other’s stories. Aside from her somewhat limited mobility, you’d never know that Evie just celebrated her 90th birthday. She is sharp as a tack and has a lively sense of humor! At present I am on Amtrak, headed back for a few more days on the farm with the folks before heading south. I have had a terrible time finding good, stable internet connections so I am determined to park myself back in the Xpresso Cafe in Dillsburg and finally do the “catching up” I have hoped to do for a couple of weeks!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Logbook: Dillsburg

Dillsburg1My decision to bolt from Bedford, PA last Saturday turned out to be inspired. One look at the weather report on Friday night made it clear that the hurricane (I don’t recall it’s name) was bringing a ton of rain my way and would make sightseeing impossible anyway. So, after a quick review of my car rental contract -- which showed that if I returned the car before 8:30 am I could save myself an entire day’s rental charge -- I got up and out about 5:30 am on Saturday and drove through terrible rain. It was no real problem, though, and I made the trip in fine form. My folks picked me up at the car return and we headed back to the farm. The rest of Saturday and Sunday were pretty low key except, of course, for the many fun and rewarding interludes playing with my mom’s new dog Sasha -- a fabulous, bright and energetic little girl! Monday’s highlight was a ride in Marty’s (a close friend of the family) new Mustang Cobra followed by dinner at the local VFW. Tuesday and yesterday just evaporated as days on the farm tend to do, but today I rode with Marty as he made a circuit through Amish country for his job with the state game commission.

Although I have made a few previous trips to the “tourist” areas, I have never gone so “deep” into the area or the Amish culture. I confess a certain admiration for their dedication to simplicity and heritage, but I also must confess a high degree of confusion about exactly what the “rules” of the culture are. For example, I saw many Amish farmers using horse drawn wagons in the corn fields, then using tractor power to put the corn into their silos. I learned that they do not use electricity, but they use diesel generators to charge the batteries that power their electric fences. I also noticed that they do not have phones in their homes, but often have a “phone booth” outside in the yard. As you might imagine, I spent much of the day trying to figure it all out... to no avail. I suspect the culture is struggling to balance sticking to the “old ways” with adopting “new ways” that make modern life possible. In the morning, I am heading to New York to visit with my dear old “aunt” Evie for a few days. Always fun!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Logbook: US30 Lincoln Highway

Us30lincolnhwy2The day before yesterday, I left St. Louis and drove east on I-70 then north on I-69 to Ft. Wayne Indiana where I stopped for the night in anticipation of heading east again on the famous US 30 - The Lincoln Highway. My thinking was that driving the “byway” would offer a view of America that one doesn’t get to see from the Interstate. I was so right! Here’s a brief recap: Yesterday, heading east from Ft. Wayne, US30 is mostly a divided highway with two lanes in each direction. Miles and miles of just about what you’d expect... corn fields! After a pleasant few hours of driving -- catching up on podcasts on my beloved iPod Nano -- I arrived in Mansfield, OH. My good friend Mark is from that little city that time has forgotten and he gave me a heads up on some interesting things to check out. I took a 2 hour tour of the Ohio State Reformatory which was the site used for filming “The Shawshank Redemption.” It is pretty run down now but is in the process of “redemption” by an enthusiastic group of volunteers. There are a few Photos and I may have enough media to file a Report when I get a chance to catch up with myself. For now, suffice it to say that you really didn’t want to get sent to reform school. I had a little “Tell Macgellan What To Do” assignment from Mark and by the time I finished it I was ready to check into a local motel and crash.

This morning I headed east again on US30 which continued to be a nice highway. Just short of Canton, the nice road ended and the “byway” became a fairly troublesome route. A two lane road through many, many small towns, the route is surprisingly easy to lose. Blink once and you’ve missed the single sign with an arrow pointing in an unexpected direction. I will confess to having to make three small backtracks along the way. This tricky little road continues for just a few miles through the very northern tip of West Virginia and enters Pennsylvania just west of Pittsburgh where it became, frankly, downright ugly. I don’t know what kind of hours the folks in Pittsburgh work, but I was in what had to be rush hour at 2pm and didn’t clear the city until well after 4pm. Then, even worse, US30 continues for many miles as that road that every city has -- the one that has nothing but car dealerships, fast food restaurants, shopping malls and whatnot with traffic lights at least every quarter mile.

It wasn’t until Greensburg that the road became interesting again, making some nice dashes through quaint little towns and over terrain that is surprisingly mountainous. Along the way I made a brief stops at the “Flight 93 Memorial” (See Photos) and a few other points of interest before arriving here in Bedford, PA. After almost 500 miles on the historic US30, I have to admit that I’ve had my fill of Americana. In the morning I am going to jump on the PA Turnpike and zoom to Dillsburg, PA where I’m looking forward to a little “down time” with my folks. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been on The Voyage for a shade over three weeks. Then again, I’ve gone so far so fast that I’m actually a little tired. So, I expect to take a few days to catch up with my media, put together some overdue Musings and Reports, do my laundry and hang out for a little while. Fear not, however, for things will pick up again soon on The Voyage of Macgellan!