On the Road Again

My plane landed back in Ohio three days early so I took the extra time to spend with family before we all packed up and headed to Washington, DC for a little family trip built around Brian’s graduation. It was a blitz trip in DC with my entire family before Brian & I packed up one last time and hit the road one final time.
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No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Growing up in a small town has its perks. It also leaves a lot to be desired if you’re born with a strong desire to travel the world.

When my brother and sister started families of their own I knew in my heart that I someday wanted to have the chance to travel and adventure with them each individually. Seeing my oldest niece’s 12th birthday fast approaching I took advantage of my time on the east coast and planned a trip to NYC exclusively for her and I.

We left early one morning for the 6 hour drive from Somerset County, Pennsylvania to NYC. Since we are both the animal lovers of our family our first stop was the Bronx Zoo.
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Afterwards we traveled by car [during rush hour] to our AirBnB in Brooklyn. I only got lost twice before finally making it across the right bridge to get us over the East River. After a quick check-in we were back out the door for Emily’s first culinary adventure of the trip – and one that should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me – sushi!
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We arrived back at our homestead around 8:30 and started readying ourselves for bed, but before we made it there Em informed me that she was plenty awake to take a late night trip to Times Square. After a quick check of the subway map we found ourselves on a train bound for Manhattan.
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It was nearing 2am when our heads hit the pillows and we both dreamed of lights that night. In the morning we found ourselves bound for Battery Park.

We took a boat to the Statue of Liberty.
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Then found my grandmother’s (Em’s great-grandmother’s)name on the Memorial Wall at Ellis Island.
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When we returned to shore Em had her first taste of Starbucks (have I ever mentioned it’s a really, REALLY small town we’re from),
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and faced the raging bull.
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On a previous trip to NYC the 9/11 Memorial was still under construction. Being from Somerset County, Pennsylvania – not far from where Flight 93 found its resting place in a  field – it was important to me that Emily and I visit this place and read the names along the memorial fountain.
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While we were there I watched this man weep over a name and captured this image. I choose to share this picture to remind us all that although it’s been nearly 17 years since these attacks, the horrors of that day and the memories of those lost are still very fresh wounds for some…
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Needing a mental break we walked to our next destination to clear our heads. Doh was a much needed treat to pull us back into a happier place before dinner with my friend Ty.NYC - 45NYC - 46NYC - 48

On Wednesday morning we packed our bags and set our sights back on Pennsylvania. Little did Emily know that her adventure did not end with our return home. While waiting for her family to get back we walked around the land enjoying all the animals, especially the baby ducks that had recently hatched. Em received an early birthday gift she’d been wanting for so long. Enjoy your time with Mo!
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**It should also be noted that while I did take my nephews on a special day trip with just them and myself, they have also requested I take them on ‘an awesome overnight trip like their sister’s trip when they’re old enough.’ Ben would like to drive an RV to Hawaii and Aron has set his sights on Hollywood. I better start saving (and figure out how to drive an RV to Hawaii)!

Gettysburg Gettaway

My momma had some days off she’d been planning to use on another trip that had been cancelled. Since I was available she asked if I would like to take a trip with her instead. Not a fan of long drives, but wanting to visit her cousins, she asked me to escort her a few hours east to some towns near Gettysburg, PA for the long weekend. We both got to spend time hanging out with family on Thursday.

Brian also had the weekend free so on FridayI dropped down to DC and picked him up after work. I had brought Kratos with me for the weekend so that he and Brian could see each other for the first time since he left for school. It was after midnight when we got back to my cousin’s house for the big reunion, so there isn’t a video to share (it’s hard to capture an all black dog after midnight. Especially one who’s practically vibrating from the excitement of seeing his papa)
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Saturday morning, after brunch with my mom at one of my favorite local shops, the three of us headed to Gettysburg for a self guided tour of the battlefield.
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Saturday night Brian & I took off for a little date night @ Hershey Stadium to see Imagine Dragons. It was an epic show. Grace VanderWaal was their opening act too!
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Before mom & I dropped Brian off on Sunday he had a little surprise in store for me too. Looks like it won’t take me [what feels like] 12 years to edit photos anymore!

Bowman the Beautiful

Dogs are to me as horses are to my old roommate Debbie. For as long as I’ve known her I’ve known her love of horses as well as her dream to once again own one someday. Since parting ways & moving to Florida, Debbie has made that dream come true for herself. I had the chance this past week to stop in and meet not only her wonderful fiancé, Phil, but her beautiful horse, Bowman. Cool Tower At DebbiesDebbie McDebberton - 6Debbie McDebberton - 26Debbie McDebberton - 35Debbie McDebberton - 50Debbie McDebberton - 51Debbie McDebberton - 52Debbie McDebberton - 53Debbie McDebberton - 54Debbie McDebberton - 55Debbie McDebberton - 75Debbie McDebberton - 76Debbie McDebberton - 77Debbie McDebberton - 81Debbie McDebberton - 82Debbie McDebberton - 88Debbie McDebberton - 89Debbie McDebberton - 93Debbie McDebberton - 94Debbie McDebberton - 95Debbie McDebberton - 96Debbie McDebberton - 100Debbie McDebberton - 122Debbie McDebberton - 123Debbie McDebberton - 124

Ray in PA

Ray in PA - 3Ray in PA - 7I’ve not even moved to my final destination in the southwest yet & I’ve got friends from Alaska already making a point to visit. Having the full luxury of retirement at his disposal, and needing to spend some time in PA anyways, I convinced Ray to meet me at my parents house in southwestern Pennsylvania.

We immediately hit the road for photo opps at some of my favorite local places.Ray in PA - 9Ray in PA - 8

It also just happened to be Ray’s birthday, so my mom whipped up a birthday cake for the occasion & a special dinner (that may or may not have coincidentally been my favorite meal).
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After dinner, and with daylight quickly fading, we hurriedly picked up my brother and headed off to Mt. Davis – the tallest point in Pennsylvania. We arrived in the parking lot to find a man with the hood of his car popped scratching his head. My brother, knowing a bit about cars himself, stopped to help the guy out while Ray & I wandered off to snag a few quick photos and pick up a couple nearby geocaches. When we returned to the parking lot my brother was loading stuff from the stranded car into his. Turns out, it was going to need a tow back to New Jersey so my brother was kind enough to open his home up to a total stranger and his traveling companion: a full grown mastiff. (We grew up in a very small town in a more remote part of the state – getting a hotel for the guy wasn’t an option and getting him to one would mean driving a few hours round trip for us). This brought back strong memories to a time when I was stranded in the middle of nowhere Canada and a strangers kindness saved me from disaster. Or at least further disaster. So I wanted to take a paragraph and humble brag about my brother & him proving that there are still good people out there in the world. Also, what are the odds that there would be two serial killers in one car?Ray in PA - 14Ray in PA - 15
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Before Ray left on Sunday afternoon we biked a 15+ mile section of the Allegheny Passage in order to eat some ice cream cones and not feel quite as bad about it. Worth it. Thanks for stopping by Raymonzelle!  I look forward to adventuring with you again in the south west!
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Ferncliff Trail

Ferncliff Trail presides in Ohiopyle State Park near where I grew up in southwestern PA. My dad shocked me one morning by letting me in on the secret that he had never hiked the short two-mile loop so we set off for a quick morning hike along it’s dirt path. Kratos and I got to stretch our legs before another long car ride and Dad got to put another check mark on his bucket list.Ferncliff Trail - 11Ferncliff Trail - 10Ferncliff Trail - 9Ferncliff Trail - 5Ferncliff Trail - 7