Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Road Trip 2012

Puck and I took our first multi-state trip together this past weekend, driving from New York to Hershey, PA, to Springfield and Cincinnati, OH, to Indianapolis, IN, back to Columbus, OH and home. Puck created the #roadtrip hashtag, so I’m interspersing their tweets in my narrative.

Adventure weekend is officially begun! #roadtrip


Listening through @PhilippaJane's Chasing the Bard on our trip west! #roadtrip #podcasts

Our first stop in Hershey, PA was to visit my dear friend Alex (formerly known in this blog as Sean and Chris). He met up with us at our hotel and it was such a joy to see what a fine person he has turned out to be. I met him online when he was only 15 and we went through some difficult times together when I was transitioning back in 2005. Now 23, finishing up school and with a new job, he seems like he’s really gotten his life on a good track.

Yay for making new friends! #roadtrip

Alex and Puck hit it off famously right away, bonding over their mutual fandom of the BBC series, Sherlock. We went to an Indian restaurant for dinner, followed by a trip to Midtown Scholar, a wonderful bookstore in Harrisburg.


And this is why I'm not allowed in bookstores. *weeps* #roadtrip
Medieval scholars are hilarious. #roadtrip

We came back to the hotel and Puck read aloud their Tolkien short story they picked up. I bought a book on Stanley Kubrick to prepare for my next film series with Piper. We also watched the first episode of Doctor Who since Alex hasn’t started on that one yet, and then it was time to say goodbye. But we are planning to meet up again in May for the Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, NJ.


Chapter 9 of @PhilippaJane's Chasing the Bard! #roadtrip
#roadtrip music is Ego Likeness.

The next day we drove from Hershey to Springfield, OH, just west of Columbus, to meet my friend Joanna. I met Jo back in 2006 and we’ve kept tabs on each other since then, but she’s been busy raising two kids and I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing. She’s going through a rough time with a divorce, but still took time out to take us to the nearby Cracker Barrel.


My music education continues. Listening to The Cure #roadtrip
#roadtrip music now is This Way To The Egress (aka creepyfantastic macabre carnival)
Just passed a Schoedinger + Norris hearse. So that's what cat people do after their runs in fiction... #roadtrip

After dinner we went to the Ninja Headquarters store in the local mall, where I bought a German-made, ceramic folding knife and Puck picked up some book recommendations. Apparently, there’s a lot of ninjas in Springfield.

Springfield, OH has been charming. Love making new friends. #roadtrip
Got book suggestions and weaponry at the Ninja Headquarters (no I'm not joking) #roadtrip


We dropped Jo off and proceeded to Cincinnati, home of Puck’s friend Kat. She and her mom had just sold their house and were getting ready to move, so we are the last friends to visit her there. She’s moving to Indianapolis to live with friends and pursue a career in theater. She’s also starting a custom steampunk tailoring business and showed us her sketchbook. She may be short in stature, but Kat is a dynamo of energy and good vibes, and I was very pleased to meet her.

Visiting old friends = best thing ever. #roadtrip #cincinatti
Chatting with @xkaptain in her home. <3 #roadtrip #oldfriends


The next morning we drove to Indianapolis, spotting a few interesting sights along the way. There was a barbecue place in the shape of a mechanic’s garage, with the words “meat” and “lube” side-by-side, hence the tweet:

"That's what we need: steak-flavoured lube." -@Waterlily888 #roadtrip
Dog in a pick-up on the I-74. #roadtrip


Metamora next right... Town of metamors? xD #roadtrip

Next up was meeting Dez and Seifer and their little girl Amara, whom we took out to the Steak ‘N’ Shake. Neither Puck nor I had met them before – they are friends with Puck on a Skypechat group, so it was just a convenient coincidence that they live near Puck’s first girlfriend, Billie. We hung out with the family afterwards at their house and I played balloon volleyball with Amara – she’s such a precocious and polite little girl. I give Dez and Seifer major props for not only raising a future geek, but a well-mannered one at that.


Just met up with Dez and Seifer! #roadtrip #skypechat


We drove a short distance to meet Billie at the apartment she shares with her boyfriend Nate and two other roommates. She took us to see the sights in downtown Indianapolis and we lusted over teapots at the Teavana store.


We walked around the plaza for a bit, then we met up with everyone at a sushi restaurant called Ichiban for dinner.


Having sushi at Ichiban with @iridomaniac and Co. #roadtrip

After sushi, everyone went home to smoke some hookah and play games for a short time before we had to leave. We decided instead of staying overnight in Indy, we had to start back in order to make it back in time for the 5th Anniversary Poly Cocktails party on Monday night.

Hookah and Pokemon at House @iridomaniac before starting to head back east. #roadtrip
Farewell to Indiana and @iridomaniac! This #roadtrip is coming to an end.

We drove a few hours before stopping at a hotel east of Columbus for the night. In the morning, I found a delightful automatic pancake machine, the first I’ve ever seen, in the breakfast area. I get excited about the silliest things!


‎"They come in 24-packs? I'm getting one!" "You've had a whole 12-pack already!" -@waterlily888 and I about diet Mountain Dew #LotR

On the road again. The plan is to alternate napping and working all the way back to NYC. #roadtrip

To sum up, it was a wonderful trip. Yoshi logged miles like a champ, and everything worked out according to our hastily conceived plans. It was fantastic meeting all these cool people, and of course, the highlight for me was meeting Alex for the first time.

But the common theme I took away was that everyone we met is going, or has gone through some very tough times in life, at least as tough as my travails. Despite all this, I was struck by how positive all our friends are, how hopeful they are for their futures, and the futures of their children. It inspired me to see that, and made me grateful that we have friends with that quality of positivity and resilience. Hopefully we’ve also made some lasting connections that will lead to longer meetings in the future.

Passing through NJ on the way home. #roadtrip