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8.10-16.2010- To Pittsburgh

August 25th, 2010 1 comment

Gracie and I took Scooter to Pittsburgh to visit her family. We stayed in the back yard of her step-son and family- Billie, Jeannie and Maggie – and their two dogs- Chrissie and Princess. The accommodations were perfect… water and electric on site. We had plenty of onboard storage for our waste water. We were in the town of South Park, not too far from downtown Pittsburgh. (Billie is a respiratory therapist at Mercy Hospital and Jeannie is a home-care nurse.) Baked chicken with gravy, whipped potatoes, corn, fruit salad made a great dinner our first night.

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We also had dinner with Gracie’s step-daughter Denise and her husband, Mike, and two daughters, Megan (a very talented artist) and Rachel (whose tennis talents will make her the next Chrissie Evert.) Had a great chicken with salad dinner, ice cream and peach cobbler for dessert.

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We took two trips to downtown Pittsburgh. The first was to what they call the “Strip District.” No, it has nothing to do with strippers… Gracie thinks the name comes from it’s location near a “strip” of railroad that comes through the area. Many interesting stores and restaurants although it seems that a lot of the shops had closed in recent times. We had lunch at Primante Brothers, a mainstay in the area. They advertise a Philly cheese steak… while delicious, it no way came close to duplicating the original. It was chunks of beef covered with cole slaw and french fries- very good but definitely not the same… not even close!

One interesting thing that became very apparent… the stores that sell sports merchandise have a wide variety of stuff promoting the Steelers and the Penguins but almost nothing for the Pirates. The team just does not seem to have the fan base of the other two. Gracie suggested that it may be because the Pirates ownership does not do much in the way of giving back to the city… no charitable or other civic-minded events.

Our second trip downtown was to take a ride on the Good Ship Lollypop, a boat that cruises the three-rivers area. Gracie and I, along with Billie, Jeannie and Maggie, were surprised to find that Susan’s daughter Lisa was bringing her nephew Damien on the same cruise. Darn near the whole family was there!

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On the sports note, I was razzed unmercifully for being an Eagles fan. It got so bad that Gracie had to get me a balloon hat in black and gold, the Steelers’ colors.

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Some shots of the city from the water…

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The point where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to become the Ohio River.

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The Steelers’ Heinz Field                                            The Pirate’s PNC Park

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After the boat ride, we decided to go up the “Incline,” a lift that goes up the side of Mount Washington, on the south side of the city.

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Needless to say, the view is spectacular.

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Our final day in Pittsburgh was on Sunday, the 15th, and Gracie and I went to church! Gracie’s family has been a member of Little Hill United Methodist Church and Gracie had donated money to help replace the front doors. We went for the dedication service and it was wonderful. The church is in the country and has a very small membership… there were only about twenty, mostly older people there for the service (thirteen the previous week) and the minister actually handles the services at two churches.

We returned to South Park and got explicit directions from Billie on how go get Scooter back to the PA Turnpike. Of course, we listened to the GPS and got into trouble… went through one bridge and had to get too far to the right- a barricade managed to leave some damage on the right side of the bus. Then, believe it or not, we went down a country road and, being 12’8” tall, could not make it under a 11’4” bridge. Had to unhitch the car, back up about 200 yards, turn around, reattach the car, get directions from a local and head on our way. The moral of the story… always listen to your step-son when leaving town.

We had a great week in Pittsburgh, even with the constant ribbing about the Steelers having six Super Bowl rings. I think I finally figured how to understand “Pittsburgese",” a very unusual local accent (you “warsh” your laundry, for example). I can’t thank Billie and Jeannie enough for their hospitality in letting us keep Scooter on their property. Much appreciated!

A final picture, in thanks.

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