April 29: Pennsylvaniadventures

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on April 29, 2005]
Hi, folks! I'm back in Philadelphia, staying at my nephew's grandparents' (Jay and Elsa's) house. I hope to get back in shape (and see some sights around Philly) before I venture into the Garden State!

You already know most of what I was up to in Pittsburgh from the photos I posted [CMU Spring Carnival, nephew Nicholas's Christening, dedication of the Squirrel Hill Library], but here are a few other reflections...

The idyllic weather continued all last week, in spite of ominous forecasts to the contrary. But over the weekend we got some actual snow... none of it stuck where we were, but Elsa said when she drove through the mountains she saw cars with nearly an inch of accumulation.

Daniel was away on a business trip for several days, so I helped out around the house in his absence. I enjoyed having the run of the kitchen and watching the baby while 'Becca was occupied.

While 'Becca and Daniel were at work, I used their computer to get the last of my database-driven Web sites back up and running; it had been out of commission for over a year. It used to be called PersonalTimeline.Net, but now you'll find it at My.WorksCited.Net [2015 update: not anymore!] I'd appreciate any feedback on how to make it more useful and usable.

Last Friday, Elsa drove (in the aforementioned snow) from Philadelphia past Pittsburgh, through the very northernmost tip of West Virginia, to her hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio. On Saturday 'Becca, Daniel, Nicholas, and I met her there for a Passover seder at her father's house -- so there were four generations present. It was the first time I'd attended a seder with Jews rather than Unitarians!

On Wednesday (yesterday), Elsa picked me up on her way back through Pittsburgh, and we took a scenic route -- even more scenic than the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is saying something -- through the mountains back to Philly. We stopped in Jonestown and went to the Flood Museum. Andrew Carnegie and his rich buddies were never held responsible for the mismanagement of the dam that caused the flood, but Carnegie did help rebuild the library: it was the third library (of hundreds) to be named after him. Today the museum -- which places the blame squarely on the owners of the dam -- is located in his library!

Today was forecast to be the only sunny day all week, so I hopped on my bike and rode downtown to see some sights. I was able to follow off-road bike paths most of the way into town, so it was a very pleasant ride, and most of Philly turns out to be pretty flat ... I must have hit all the hills on my way into town! My stories about what I saw today can wait until the photos are developed, but my general impression is that Philadelphia is like a cross between DC and Minneapolis... which is to say, I like it!

So that's what's new here... I leave for New Jersey on Saturday and will arrive in New York City toward the end of next week... whether I bike in or take the train will depend on what I learn about biking conditions. --Ben