Monday, July 5, 2010

The Day of the Birth (of the Country) Revisited

Me, standing on an overlook after we'd gone up the incline. Heinz Field is in the background to the left.

So, happy Fourth of July everyone! I still don't have my own computer, but I'm at the Virginian Suites in Arlington, VA, and they have a computer for their guests!! Whoohoo! Unfortunately, this means I cannot upload (or download or whatever load it is) any pictures. And boy, do I have pictures!!

I passed a milestone yesterday -- several miles, and one milestone. I walked over two bridges!! With traffic on them. Really.

Okay, long story -- short version -- when I was a kid I skipped school one day to make out with a boy, had to walk over a bridge. It was a train bridge. The train came. We had to jump. Ever since then I get almost sick every time I go over a bridge. But I did it!! Rachel took a picture, so I have proof.

We did so much yesterday, it's gonna take me a minute to write it all, and I only have 15 here on this computer. I really wish I could get the pictures on here. Have to do it later. Keep checking back.

We went up one incline and then down the other. If you don't know what an incline is, I'll try to explain. Pittsburgh is a very hilly city (kind of like San Francisco, as I mentioned earlier -- Pittsburgh reminds me a lot of San Francisco); so, there are things called "inclines" that are kind of like a ski lift to the top of a viewpoint to overlook the city. We walked around at the top, then went to the next incline (which was higher, meaning we had to strain ourselves walking uphill -- ugh!) and then down. Then basically we had no other way to get to Heinz Field (to see the fireworks) then to walk. So, we walked over the bridge (Mons River), then over the Allegheny River bridge. The last bridge took us basically to Heinz Field.

We were going to get something to eat, and we did get something to eat... eventually. There were so many people around the area. Only three places to eat: Jerome Bettis 36 club, and two other places. We tried Bettis 36 first; line down the block! Went to the Mexican place -- 40 minute wait! Rivertowne North Shore said 30 minutes, so we chose there. She asked for a phone number (wow! the age of technology! no more hand-held vibrators!), and then it ended up not even being 20 minutes. The food was really good, and they had an excellent refreshing drink.

From there we walked through the parking lot -- full of people having tailgate parties -- over to Heinz Field. There were activities for the kids, booths to buy food, AND they had The Great Hall open. The Great Hall is in the stadium where you can walk and learn the history of the Steelers. They have the SIX (yes, Cowboys fans, 9ers fans, Redskins fans, SIX) superbowl trophies each in a separate column on display, a timeline that goes across the length of the Great Hall, starting in 1933 when the Steelers began, but not as the Steelers. They began as the Pittsburgh Pirates (now the name of the baseball team). Anyway, it was fun acting as a tour guide for Rachel.

But wait... what do I hear in the background??? Country music, you say? Yes, it's the Stickers!! (Yea, I'd never heard of them either.) They were not too bad, and I'm not a country fan. Following the Stickers was Phil Vasser -- whom I'd never heard of either, but Rachel had. They played until 9:15ish. I think a DJ took over at that point because ...

FIREWORKS!!! Music played to the fireworks, just like back home. Only this was NOT back home. This was a fireworks display at the point of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA! It was much more spectacular than Cal Expo, but maybe because we were right under them! It was loud and exciting, beautiful and stunning. Thrilling. Awesome.

The best of my life.

Then we had to walk (some more), but by this time, mama was feelin good. It was really hot, and so I decided to get a little water from a little water fall. I didn't know there was a puddle. I swear! My shoes got soaked. But I was cool!

The rest of the night was really not exciting -- caught the shuttle back to the hotel, got two hours sleep, got up in time to go to Amtrak to continue the adventure.

Coming soon: The Day of the First Train...

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