Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback to Sept 11th, 2001

It is Throwback Thursday. AND Sept 11th. Which of course led me to remember where I was when I saw the planes hit the towers. I had just quit radio and was on a promotions tour across the prairie provinces for Mitchell's Gourmet Foods. I happened to be in Winnipeg that day, visiting with my cousin. My Aunt and Uncle weren't home so I was camped out on the sofa bed in the main living room watching CNN that morning. I clicked it on just in time to see the second plane hit. I'm not sure I moved from that spot all day. The previous summer a college friend and I had decided to take a driving trip from Saskatoon, SK to Charlottesville, VA to visit an Aunt of mine. We had it planned for the fall and when I quit at the station, we solidified our commitment to the trip. But after 9/11? Should we still go? Shortly after, New York City launched an advertising campaign "Come spend your money in NYC!" So we did. Not 2 months after, we hopped into the car and blazed a trail. Stopping wherever we wanted along the way. Inspired by my friend Mellissa, I unearthed the cd this morning. I will let the pictures do the talking. Everyone should take a trip like this. It was the very BEST 2 weeks.

We started out on the east side of Saskatoon. In a Toyota Tercel with about a thousand dollars American between us. At the time the exchange rate was .52. Ouch. But we were off!

We stopped wherever we wanted to. We took pictures of silly things. We found out of the way places we would never forget. The StateLine Casino was not one of those unforgettable places...but the sign was cool.
With not a lot of money, we made sandwiches and put them in our trusty Styrofoam cooler.
Vince bought this. No I did NOT eat it. (Gag) Mine included the salad mix ^^^
We also had to get creative for accommodation. 2 weeks, plus everything we wanted to do and see and only a grand in our pockets...equals Hotel Tercel.
I slept in the front passenger seat in a sleeping bag. It wasn't too bad and it was free. I was 24, what can I say? Personal comfort is less important at that age.

 We took pictures of cool houses...and signs...and anything that struck our fancy.
And sometimes we had NO idea where we were.
But that is what rest stops are for!
And this is what rest stop coffee does to a person:


We got to know the folks in Coolsville, Ohio pretty well. And we never would have stopped if Vince hadn't spilled rest stop coffee all over himself!

 We liked this sign because the lady was so surly. LOL ^^^ Y'all come back now!
 I INSISTED on a detour in Iowa. We were less than 20 miles from the Bridges of Madison County! The guy who ran the gift shop was awesome! Edwin? Erwin? It bugs me that I can't remember! The photos from this trip were easy peasy to find...the journal might be more difficult to track down. We still have boxes packed from the move.

 It was getting dark...but I didn't care. I needed a picture!



 We saw neat stuff and stopped wherever we wanted.



 When we got to New York City we paid big bucks ($120 American) to park our car in this lot for 2 days and 2 nights. They base the location of your parking spot on how many days you are leaving it there. So the Tercel ended up on the top, at the back.
 So we used our feet...and the subway to get everywhere.
 This is me...looking at what is left of the World Trade Center.

We stayed in an actual hotel in NYC...our big splurge. And this was our view:

But no matter. We didn't spend any time there anyway. We missed the ferry out to Ellis Island...but still had some good photo ops.

Funny story...did you know you can't sit on the floor by the elevators at the Empire State Building? Well, you can't. I found that out the hard way when security asked me to leave. When I seemed confused (and maybe a bit scared to tell the truth because I didn't want to lose Vince...this was pre-cell phones.) The guy asked me what was up and why wasn't I at the top? I said I was waiting for my friend. Um...ok...but that didn't answer his question. So I politely told him that it costs a lot of money to go up there and that is my food money. It's a cool building, but I just can't spend my food money to go up there. So he says (in his awesome New York accent) "Are you KIDDING ME?! You came all the way from Canada to spend your money here and support us and you can't go to the top of the Empire State Building? Come with me." So he took me by the hand and took me through all the security check points, up some secret back way, to the top and told me to find my friend and take my time. What a fabulous memory. Thank-you.

And we of course had to find some of New York's finest. They thought our accents were cute. I told them the same. 
 There were photo worthy things all over the place. Like these people pushing a vegetarian lifestyle "Give PEAS a chance!"
 And the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! See me there? Down there? Waving underneath the 1400 sign. That's me. After the bagel place screwed up my order. But I didn't care. Raisin bagels with plain cream cheese taste just like cheese onion bagels with garlic cream cheese when you are high on life in New York City.

 It was so funny watching some of the people go by...because they had to keep things looking smooth and amazing for the cameras that were just a couple blocks after sometimes they would go blasting by to keep up with the rest of the parade and we wouldn't even know who or what they were.

And other times they would mill around, waiting their turn right in front of us.

 The Sesame Street float was by far one of my favourites!

 After a fabulous 3 days and 2 nights in the Big Apple, it was on to Washington, DC! We wanted to take a tour of the White House so bad, but everything was sealed up tight. A huge fence surrounded the grounds, covered in black plastic. The only thing we could see was the flag on top. Security was extremely high.

And the tours for the monuments had shut down for the season but we wandered and wandered...and wandered. It was really amazing.

The Holocaust Museum was a highlight for me. It was very haunting. I lit a candle for the Auschwitz victims.
 And some places were not open to the public at all anymore.

 After trekking around DC, we went to some mall somewhere because I needed new shoes in the WORST way. Sully high fived me for my sensible choice. And I left the old ones in the nearest trash bin.
 We finally arrived in Charlottesville, VA where my Aunt was living and teaching Montessori.

I adore her and was so happy to see her. My boys call her "Far away Auntie" or "Auntie who lives at the ocean" She has since moved to the west coast and we visited her there, too.
 She took us to the local University grounds which were beautiful.
 Shopping at the square. I wanted to buy a holly wreath that are made by hand from bushes growing in peoples yards, but customs would have never allowed me to take it across the border.
We also toured Monticello which was the home of Thomas Jefferson. It was breathtaking and there were still blossoms all over the place, even that late in the year.

 And home again! Do the math. We went a LOOOONG way!

This was an absolutely EPIC trip. It is very close to my heart and I will remember it always. This is such a small sampling of our photos. Each spot was unique, from the monuments to the street signs and the people we met. I encourage you to do a road trip like this someday. Take your kids. See North America! Stop at cool spots, eat in neat restaurants! Experience!!!
Even though thoughts of 9/11 will always be tragic and sad, I remember that I spent my money there when they needed it. It wasn't much but I feel like I was part of the love and support.
"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11." --President Barack Obama