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Last Overland to DC

After Sunday's shows, Jameson and I drove to a hotel as usual.

The next day we crossed PA to reach my parents' house. The drive was long and boring; nothing but farmland for five hours :p My parents gave us a nice warm welcome :) After meeting Jameson, they took us to dinner at Rose Marie's, a nice Italian restaurant in downtown Bloomsburg.

We also drove around a bit, showing Jameson some of the more "interesting" sights to be found in our little town such as the Civil War memorial, Bloomsburg University, and the Fairgrounds. It was too dark to see much of the Fairgrounds unfortunately, but we described to him how the Bloomsburg Fair has been operating for over 150 years, with the only exception being 2011 when a terrible flood prevented this annual event from happening.

How the fairgrounds normally looks:

After the 2011 flood:

Bloomsburg is at the bottom of a series of floodgates, and also positioned between Fishing Creek and the Susquehanna River. Flooding occurs about every five years, but lately the water level has been higher and higher, and has become a serious problem.

Anyway, we had a nice visit. Originally I had wanted to stay all day Tuesday, but a buyout show was scheduled for Wednesday evening so we had to hit the road first thing Tuesday morning. Well, almost first thing :) We visited my sister's house for breakfast. She made an awesome breakfast casserole! My siblings Raven and Jonah were also home from spring break, and I was really happy to see them and introduce them to Jameson. Although it was a brief visit home, it was wonderful to see everyone :)

Saying goodbye to my car was a little rough :P I wish I could bring it with me always, but it's expensive to have to get hotels every week, and extra hotels when the train is late, plus gas, tolls, parking, etc...at some point it's just no longer worth it. But it was convenient and fun to be able to get groceries whenever I wanted, offer rides to people, and visit friends in other cities. I'll probably do it again next year.

On the way to Jameson's parents' house we stopped in Centralia, PA to have a look at the cemetery and what remains of the abandoned coal town.
If you're a gamer, you might recognize this town as the setting for Silent Hill.

As a local, I'd driven through Centralia many times but had never bothered to stop. We visited the cemetery first. There were many interesting graves.
A LOT of people died before the age of 50 here, and most were Irish immigrants.


We also took a look at the closed portion of Route 61, where burning coal seams have torn the road apart, releasing toxic fumes and making the road impassable. Pedestrians can access the area, but at their own risk.
Here you can see that many college students have defaced the condemned area.


The road is cracking from the heat of the fire underground. Sometimes steam and toxic fumes rise from the cracks. And sometimes it's hot enough that you can stick a piece of wood in there and it'll burn.

Jameson checking out the cracked road.

There was no fire or steam while we were there, but the ground was certainly warmer to the touch than it should have been on a 30 degree partially cloudy day.

After that adventure, we continued on the Jameson's parents' house!
Mrs. Boyce treated us to homemade spaghetti and a few recorded episodes of Chopped.
And I got to see the puppy again <3


The next day it was time to get to the arena for the buyout show. M&T Bank bought it out for their employees. The crowd was enthusiastic, so it was a nice show with good energy.
On Thursday, although the weather was nice, I opted to get caught up on chores. The train is parked in Anacostia; I remembered the yard immediately (the train also parks here while we're in Fairfax, which was my first city). It's full of active tracks and is also in a pretty violent neighborhood, so the circus hires extra security and cautions us not to go out at night. Since two years ago a few things have changed...the organic grocery down the street has changed ownership, and there is now a pedestrian walkway over the tracks so we don't have to bolt over 6 active lines to get to civilization. Nice!

On Friday after the first show there was a little "ladies lunch": Gemma the human cannon, my high school friend Nasheed, and her friend who happens to be a lobbyist for Ringling all went to Graffiato across the street from the arena. It's a restaurant owned and run by Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella. It's a lovely little building decorated with veggie bandits!

The food was excellent. We shared a "tapas"-style meal: White House pizza (mozzarella, taleggio, ricotta, prosciutto, black pepper honey), roasted brussel sprouts, cheesy cauliflower, and flatbread with pepperoni dipping sauce. I also had the house-made Five Spice Ginger Beer. It was hot, but delicious!
(both photos courtesy Gemma)

After that Nasheed and her friend had to get back to work, so Gemma and I headed over to the National Museum of American History. There were three floors of displays to explore. We checked out the history of American food, where I learned that iceberg lettuce became popular in the US mainly because it keeps well unrefrigerated. We saw some presidential items including Bill Clinton's saxophone and Teddy Roosevelt's son's paint set. But I think the highlight for both of us was the First Lady dress display. Those were some gorgeous classy outfits :)

It was a wonderful afternoon out exploring DC :)
Then we hit the weekend, and our last six pack for a while thankfully. On Sunday the arena gradually felt colder and colder, because after we leave the Caps will be playing hockey in there again and they probably turned the ice on while we were still there. But the audience reactions all week were warm and enthusiastic. Thank you DC!

Now we have two weeks in Baltimore to look forward to!