Epic Poem - June/July 2011

On Jun 28 We awoke at 8am
Thinking of the trip that was about to begin
Maybe now we should start to pack?
At least most of our stuff was already in a stack!
At 10:20am, car time that is
We drove out of our driveway, starting our vacation biz.
The weather was perfect, the driving was clear
About an hour of driving and we heard from the rear,
"We're getting hungry, how about feeding us kids?"
At the Monroe stores exit that is just what we did
Then stopped at the outlet to see what was there
Just a bunch of fireworks stores, a few stores but most were bare.
Not much was open so back to the car,
Looking forward to Pittsburgh friends, today's drive wasn't far.
We beat them to their house and got greeted by Stella
A huge St. Bernard and sweet I gotta tell ya.
We hung out with Eric and Abby and Ben
Missy was in Chi-town, another conference, yet again.
Then we went to dinner, LaCapella, yummy italian food
and then Rita's for ices, mmmm, mmm, mmm, good.
Back to their home, did I mention it was lovely,
To spend the night, we settled down and got comfy.

Morning came soon, as it so often seems to do
Ben and Abby had camp, so all was early, boo hoo
We played a little with Stella, because she would have no other way
And the kids did a little Wii, I think Evan and Riley would still stay
But the road was calling and so was Ben and Abby's bus
So we all said our goodbyes and our van was loaded by us
Driving through Pennsylvania, or other mountainous states
You get to go through tunnels that seem longer than fate
Reminded us of Monty Python's "Holy Grail" battle scene shots
Where the army kept on coming, yet never got closer to the spot
The drive was uneventful, 3 + hours of driving 'til our scheduled tourist stop
When we are driving through the country we get to see things that make our eyes pop
It was June 30 as we drove to Gettysburg to see
We didn't know all the history and our timing was just lucky.
148 years ago today, by their own luck or just chance
The two separate armies met there for their war's big dance
The main battle opened up on the very next day
But we were there on the actual anniversary of the meet that began the fray
We saw McPherson's Barn and listened with the tour group
Evan and Riley sitting on the ground had their very own news scoop
With a slight rustle sound and a flash of color quick
A snake slithered where they sat, boy they got lickety split!
As we drove through the tour we saw memorials to troops and states
I wonder if they understood how much good their sacrifice could create?
Gettysburg was a turning point for the civil War it's true
But until we actually went there, the magnitude we never knew
On paper or in pictures, it's hard to really comprehend
How big and yet small was the place that our unity and union would depend
At Soldier's National Monument where Lincoln gave his famous speech
We took a quiet moment to consider its far reach
In two minutes he gave a speech that was defining and so pure
That he said all that needed saying, so he didn't need to say anything more.
We had finished our tour of Gettsyburg and needed to get back to our driving trip
But first we needed something that would be cold and good to sip
When we spent the summer in Evanston, three years ago
We got the reusable cups from 7-eleven for being on-the-go.
I can't begin to think about how many states they've been in
But I feel good about the waste we've not created because they get refilled in.
Now a relatively short drive to Maryland, in Bethesda
To check into our hotel and have a little rest-a
We stroll down the street, looking for a dinner place
And end up grabbing sandwichs at a local Subway
The boys go for a quick swim while Mar updates the poem
Enjoying the beginning of our trip, so far from home.

Friday July 1, we woke up fairly slow
No rush to get moving, to Washington DC we would go
We found our subway at the Bethesda Metro station
And figured out which way to go toward the capital of the nation
We got there and started what would be a decent walking bit
There are monuments everywhere, and some were even gifts!
We spent some time walking the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Each side starts low but the middle gets very tall
Listing names of those who gave their lives in a far away land
Hoping to make the world better for all of man
Then we went to the Lincoln Memorial and climbed the massive steps
Even so Lincoln was bigger, as awe inspiring as any man I've met
From there we planned to go to the reflecting pool
It is currently being redone, so it was a bit of dirt and way uncool.
The Washington Monument is huge, no doubt of it
But the resemblance to the President is totally nonexistant.
For the Freedom Fest this weekend they were already getting set
With makeshift water fountains spread all over the lawn for guests
Time to hit some of the Smithsonians and enjoy what the museums offer
But first it's hot so we had to drink a couple of bottles of water.
American History, Natural History, and Air and Space were fun
It was good to see the exhibits and even better to be out of the sun.
At Natural Science, when we were looking at the fossils display
They had a windowed area where it seemed the scientists worked and stayed
we looked in the window and Mar said quite loud enough
"Do you feel like the exhibits at the zoo? Is working here tough?"
Then she came out and talked to us with a small box of tiny teeth fossils
And we found out they were volunteers in that area, doing it for the thrill.
She said many were retired science teachers, who enjoyed working in their field
She was a retired attorney, science was a passion and the appealled.
At Air and Space a red shirted 'explainer', yes, that's really what they're named
Taught us all about flight and flying. But we were getting kind of tired, such a shame.
Walking back to the metro station we figured we'd grab dinner.
Headed up 7th to Chinatown, hoping it would be a winner.
Before we got too far, the signs we saw were in English and Chinese
But the restaurant were not what we'd be hoping they might be.
First we saw a Mexican restaurant, then Dunkin' Donuts, and McDonalds too
Ended up in Fuddruckers, 'cause our feet were hurting in our shoes.
Evan and Riley made a friend there, a grown man with a Nintendo bag and games
They talked of stuff and enjoyed each other and then all our burgers came.
Finally caught the Metro back to our hotel for the evening.
The guys went off to swim and I'm typing like a fiend.

Dressed in our adventure shorts, armed up from front to rear
We humored the hotel staff as they watched us in our vacay gear
Like an urban assault we strode out, with camera bags and all
Wearing my smiley do-rag, I knew I couldn't get lost in the Mall
We are finally starting to understand the subways, and get where we want to go
All we had to do was ask for help and the natives were happy to show
The guy on the train was smiling when he said there is a reason they're so polite
They want to make sure we get on with our going, and don't keep the foot traffic tight.
July 2nd's another scorcher, boy it seems really hot out here
But we headed to the National Zoo because the guys made that choice clear
Fortunately near the entrance, a vendor sold bottles of water that were ice
Made it much better to carry because they stayed colder and that was nice.
We walked through the zoo for a while, got to see a variety of animal
Then we went back to the Mall, to see The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival
We walked around and saw the Peace Corps, Columbia, and heard Soul Music
and headed back to the subway, to end the DC leg of our visit.
Audrey, Phil, and Isaiah came by the hotel for dinner and a swim
The boys hung out at the pool for a while and then we had to decide where for din
To the Tastee Diner right down the street
We hauled out the map and walked there to eat
The food was good, as the best diner food should be
And we all ate to our fill and left there happily
Then we said our goodnights, them to their car us to our room
And we watched a little tv and contemplated a morning too soon

It was the earliest morning, about three or so
That the sky opened up so the thunder and lightining could have a go
It stopped before sunrise the day was bright sun was shining
We rose gently and slowly to pack our bags and start going.
The TV was on as we were getting things together
When on came a "Pure Michigan" ad, right after the weather
It was a really cool thing to see our state advertisement out there
It's great to see other states but we know our Michigan is most fair.
Mark grabbed the car as Mar & boys went to 7-eleven
Slushies on the road help make the driving like heaven.
We settled into the road and before we knew it
We were at the Delaware sign, we posed for our pic
Delaware went quickly and what's this, Pennsylvania. Oh well.
Let's make a quick detour, July 3, the Liberty Bell!
We passed the New Jersey sign, too far to take a picture.
But we'll be a few days with Carol and Scotty so we'll have other chances for sure.
We're almost to Atlantic City to meet up with those two
Stick our feet in the ocean and admire the colorful view.
Quickly found by Carol and Scotty, we find a spot on the beach
Riley and Evan run to the water to quickly run beyond our reach
Going out further and further, jumping the waves as they go
Some they don't jump as well and get face full of water you know.
Riley gets a little too much, salt water in his face and his mouth
His stomach finds it unsettling and quickly tosses it back out
Carol, Scotty, and Mark go wandering while Mar and the boys hang on the sand
The day is just perfect and everyone has fun, what, you thought our trip would be bland?
Mark and Carol and Scotty went to check out the Bally Casino
Mark played the penny slots there, and ended up 90 cents out of dough
The blob on the beach that Mar noticed, we quickly identified as
A beached jelly fish, it looked slimey, and we looked but we quickly walked past
Then we saw another one, too. Seems a lot of them found their way to the beach
So we made it a point to keep an eye out then we could always stay out of reach.
We meet up again after a while, together we wander the boardwalk
Riley and Evan are hungry, so of food we look and we talk
A pizza and everything place catches our attention
So we order and clean up while we can.
Some people think it's lucky when a bird poops on you from above in the sky
Evan just thinks that it's lucky, that they never hit him in the eye.
The bird gets a good shot, right down his neck from above
Now if you're a regular reader, you might know this has happened before
On our trip to Evanston Evan got hit again, at the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan shore
We clean him back up and get pizza, not fully appreciating the birds love.
Scotty picks up fresh fried oreo cookies, chocolate drizzed and covered in sugar
"Decadent" doesn't even begin to describe them, that's how good they are.
We walked and walked and walked. And people watched and walked some more
We enjoyed the people and sites we saw, walking on the Atlantic City shore.
Eventually it was time to go and we worked our way to the cars
It hadn't seemed we had walked so long but walking back it felt really far.
We loaded up each car and scheduled to meet at the Welcome Center
We got there as the sky started darkening up and the lightening was starting to enter.
Fortunately it stayed behind us, though we went through a small bit of rain
And late we got to their Secaucus home and unloaded our luggage again.

July 4th we woke rather early to catch an early bus and subway
Off to see Ellis Island and that stunning Lady Liberty.
Scotty filled a bag with sandwiches, Carol rode with us to Battery Park
Making sure we wouldn't get lost in the subways as a lark
Since we had already gotten tickets we could shortcut the long line
It made our wait time less which is always good and fine.
Into the tent and through security, Mar and Evan flew
Mark and Riley got stopped for pocket stuff, nothing serious we all knew.
Onto the boat, the top deck, so we could see all there was to see
And the first stop for us, we got out for viewing, was the Statue of Liberty
She's big and green and welcoming, to think the first major sight
For those who came to America as the rescue of their homeland's plight.
We walked around and saw her from all the angles we could find
And read the information placed around her front and behind.
Toward Ellis Island we soon chose to be aboard ship
To the place our ancestors ended their long trip
We went through the museums, covering many of the floors
But we never did join up with an official tour
Very cool to hear and see so many immigrants stories told
To hear how their adventures to the US had unfold.
Back to Battery Park we road one last time on the boat
Since we were already in the downtown we chose to walk about.
We went up the street, toward China Town
It was getting quite hot and it was getting the boys down
We passed an apartment with a sprinkler play area
We ran the boys through it and they started feeling much better.
We got to China Town and the streets were busy
Many people were about and the choices made us dizzy.
There were things that I don't think we see very much
We saw dried squid and dragon fruit and such
We kept walking, we even crossed Delancy
Then we finally got to a CLOSED Economy Candy.
We were a little bummed and stopped at a McDonalds for cold drinks
We found a subway and we descended to the stink
I know there are many benefits to a public transit system
But I don't think I'm the kind that can fully appreciate them
Not when we have to work so hard to find our train
Not when it always seems we're on the wrong platform again.
We found our train and bus and headed back to Carol and Scotty's
It had been a fun day but now we were feeling rather dotty.
We hung out and had a perfect July 4th dinner
Dogs, burgers, chicken and fries was certainly a winner.
It was getting dark out so it was time to find some fireworks to see
Scotty was determined (and a little lucky) and found a view for the NYC
I think in all we probably saw 8 or 10 displays
But it was a long walk back, we had wandered quite a ways.
Tired and happy we made our way to our beds
And that was a full day. It has now all been said.

Tuesday I got to meet an old friend from the internet
Many years of friendship but face to face we hadn't been yet
Adela and I went to breakfast while the guys all stayed asleep
She picked me up and we went to Legend Diner and had discussions rather deep.
After a few more coffees she brought me back to a home awaking
Mark and Riley came out to say hi, I think Evan was asleep not faking.
You can't go to the city without sandwiches, per Scott
So we packed up some sandwiches, and that was just that!
Slowly we were all moving and to the city we finally arrived
Of course first we had to run for the bus, taking fast and real big strides.
Carol came with us today, which made the subways a little easier
The air there is still hot and stink, we wouldn't mind if it were breezier.
We went to Central Park this time, to eat a supper picnic
But first we had some stops to make, no trick
We stopped at the Apple store, and this picture is what it should be
It was covered in a tarp, so a white box is what we could see
Then we took the boys to a place they'd never been
To blow their minds, just for some fun, that really isn't a sin
FAO Schwartz have you ever heard of the world's best toy store?
It's hard to imagine a single toy store that could hold even more.
We had a great time wandering around seeing toys we'd never played
No joke it was fun looking around but forever we just could not stay
Before we left we had to buy something, how can you go there and leave empty handed?
So in the candy department we found Mario Mushrooms, Yoshi and Sonic containers with candy.
Now we headed off to see Central Park and we found a big rock to perch
We sat and we munched and enjoyed the park and we watched all the people with a smirk
We saw bicyclists and runners and skateboards and walkers
We saw people exercising in groups and those were just gawkers.
We made our way back to the subway and the bus
Slowly but surely, Carol and us.
As we left the bus we knew victory not defeat
And decided we needed a special ice cream treat
It was now getting later and time to really go back
We hung out for a bit and then hit the sack.

July 6 we woke up and Carol went off to a job in Cincinnati
Scott went to work with a friend and that was just that-y
We got ourselves moving eventually
Took a little time and cleaned all our laundry.
Made our sandwiches too, we did as we'd been taught
Knowing that as we munched we'd be appreciating Scott.
We stopped to ask a tall man for directions
Turned out to be Samuel L. Jackson
He wasn't much help for obvious reasons
But it turns out their wax made a man for all seasons.
We went to Times Square to see the center of it all
But first we went to a Toys R Us that was as big as a mall!
The Hershey's Store with big pictures called us
The M & M World refused to miss the fuss
We wandered to Rockefeller Center for Mar to get her chocolate fix too
There is nothing in the world like Teuscher's Champagne Truffles. OOOH.
While we were walking for Mar we came upon the Nintendo World Store
The boys shouted with glee and we could not ignore
The store was amazing with all things Nintendo
Two stories of games, gear, shirts, and things with logos
The Lego Store was as colorful as could be
The decor inside was made of Lego 3D
Finally to Teuscher's after so much wandering and waiting
With my sweet tooth fix I was happily satiating.
Back to the Port Authority bus station to end our NYC visit
Mark wanted a picture with Ralph and we figured this was it
Would have been easier if the bums didn't all perch there
He took the picture anyway, what's fair is what's fair.
The bus ride back was mostly uneventfully dull
Until I misplaced my phone, buried in a pocket too full
I found it, no problem, and all was well and good
We went back to the condo just as we should.
Decided it was time to go grab a dinner bite
But the best place for pizza was on vacation for a fortnight.
Walking down the street were some young local girls
We guessed they might know where the pizza was worth a whirl.
They did and we went to Plaza Pizza for dinner
They were definitely right, New York style pizza was a winner.
Time to consider packing because tomorrow we hit the road
Carol and Scott were awesome hosts. That's the truth. You've been told!

July 7 arrived as a driving day
We got ourselves moving and didn't stick around to stay.
After all these days with Scott it meant we started with sandwiches
Hey, even we can learn a new trick, and this one is handy-ish.
New Jersey to New York and then on to Connecticut
From there to Rhode Island, the miles go quick
We pass through Massachussetts, though we'll be back to stay
First we hit New Hampshire and then up to Maine
This gives us lobster dinner in Maine as it should
We've heard all about it, and boy was it good.
Then back down to Boston to chill for the night
Check into the hotel and settle down. We're alright!

A late morning moving then off to catch the first subway
We were on the outskirts of Boston, by UMass and the library of JFK
We rode out to Harvard to check out the sites
No matter where we looked there was no ivy in sight
They were in session and we weren't allowed in any building at all
So I couldn't even check out my library, made me bawl.
Eventually we found some, though just on a gate
While there was a lot of shopping there, it was not our fate.
Then off to MIT where we had way more fun
No matter where we looked, our seeing was not done.
The buildings were awesome, you just have to see 'em
The DNA-trium was like a science museum!
The Stata Center was like something from a comic book
Perfect to think of hacks come up with while strolling by that nook
We caught a boat to the USS Constitution
Went through a security check just to use the bathroom
Had Lemon icees while we took a break, just to rest our feet
Then caught a bunch of subways, 4 we rode just one stop each!
The Boston Tea Party Museum was on our map but not yet open
So we walked to No Name for some dinner with no reservations
Back to the hotel, resting for our last exploring day
Can't wait to see what we will find in Boston on Saturday.

July 9 we awoke to a bright and sunny day
It's our last day of vacationing so we are totally ready to play.
We catch the subway to the city to see what we can see
We walked and checked the map to figure where we wanted to be
We first saw Paul Revere's Monument as went to see Old North Church
It's an important landmark and a place the birds sure love to perch.
At Paul Revere's House we got to walk through and read about it
And in the house's courtyard we got to see a silversmith working
We wandered the streets for a while then found Cafe Pompei for lunch
We enjoyed the city streets walking, as we followed a map and a hunch.
The boys cooled off in a public fountain, where people come to cool off and relax
They could not have gotten any wetter, no matter how politely you asked.
We went through a farmers market and bought some fruit for tomorrow's trip
And kept walking with our maps knowing something interesting was within our grip
Six towers of glass caught our attention as we wandered the freedom trail
We had come up upon in our walking the New England Holocaust Memorial
When we were done we heard some noise coming from not to far away
We got to watch the Breeze Team doing break-dancing in a crazy awesome way.
Finally made our way to Boston Common and to the Granary Burial Ground
Walked and saw old gravestones, of people who helped this country be found.
Viewing history this way we knew we'd never be quite the same
So we figured we'd better head to the place where everyone knew our name
Cheers was very busy, but they let people in to look around
Way smaller than the bar on TV. No table available made us frown.
The we went to Ben & Jerry's so we could ease the heat with ice cream
A little cold and sweetness and everything was just like a dream.
Heading back to the hotel, we snack and dinner and start to contemplate packing
Our trip is almost over, so soon to home we will be going back-ing.

On Sunday Morning July 10 we started to make our way home
We had one more state to stop for visit before our mission was done
The Chelsea Royal Diner in Vermont for real Maple Syrup for breakfast
The food was good, we really must say, we just wish the service had been fast
Then on to the road, there would be a rest stop tonight so that we could make it home tomorrow
To visit Gael and Maizee, and rest for the night, never causes us any sorrow.
We made it for dinner, spaghetti was Riley's request and Gael made too many sweets
We're used to that, she wants us all fat, and visiting is a guilty treat.
Monday morning came, Riley came upstairs and he and Maizee gave each other a surprise
She scurried away, he jumped back and said "hey", Gael and Mar had much laughter in their eyes.
Planning the route home we needed a 7-Eleven stop to fill our slushy cups
You'd think there would be more 7-Elevens on the route. There's not. C'mon, wazzup?!
Tonight we'll sleep in our own beds after unpacking at least part of the van
Mark will be working, Mar will be laundering, and the boys will chill out while they can.
Thank you for reading our travel epic poem we hope that you enjoyed it
Next trip we will write again but first we're staying home for a bit.

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"All poetry on these pages Copyright 2004-2011 by Marci Grossman"