Monday, August 20, 2018

Consolation Pie

Sometimes, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs.
Today wasn't a letdown per se, but it was slower than normal. We began with some tolerable doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts in Eugene. Apparently this regional chain is semi-legendary; I suspect people who think Captain Crunch actually belongs on doughnuts will like it better than I did. Rob's apple fritter did look nice, though.

We spent some time with Rob's father and stepmother, lunching at a Hungarian restaurant and then riding a carousel—something I think I may have last done... uh, sometime in my life. It was kind of fun.

So far, so good, but after that it was a string of failures and semi-failures. Note to Roadside America: Tim Tharp's Yard Art is (a) not really that visible from the highway; and (b) not at all accessible, what with the cattle guard blocking the road. We drove a few dozen miles out of our way to see not much of anything, so thanks for that. Then, in downtown Salem, we had but a few minutes to seek out the Eco Earth Globe, but due to unusual crowds—possibly for a country-music concert?—we never even got out of the car. And then we made to the Enchanted Forest—and we do love an Enchanted Forest, though preferably when it's at least half defunct—in time to realize that we didn't have enough time to justify the entrance charge. You lose some, you lose some, sometimes.

One of the few pitches that was not hit out onto I-5.
We did, however, get to see a slugfest at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes game against the Hillsboro Hops: eight home runs in all. The stadium is bare bones; the tickets were grossly overpriced (hey, MILB teams, if you're going to charge prices like that, the least you can do is pay the players minimum wage); and the kielbasa was ill-advised. It made me not at all sorry, which I already wasn't, that we opted to skip last year's Eclipse Game. And anyway, we'll have another chance in 2169.

Turn around, bright eyes.
We wrapped up the night with some tolerable beer and pretty good late-night pie at Bannings Pie House. Was the pie a consolation? Only if you think that pie isn't a joy unto itself. In which case, what is wrong with you?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cabinet of Curiosities

I would never endorse casino gambling. But the back of my ticket was all I had for Emma Charlesworth-Seiler to autograph. Apart from, you know, a body part or something. But that would have been weird.
Another op'nin', another show! Not Philly, Boston, or Baltimo'! A chance for Byways to say hello! Another op'nin' of another show!

Wot larks! Rob and I each landed this ayem at PDX, the airport that no longer has iconic carpeting, and before the day was through we'd seen a so-called vertical street, taxidermied buffalo, and one of only two lady umpires in all of affiliated baseball. A little of this, a little of that, some baseball, some buildings, some beer. It was an archetypal day on this blog.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Byways and No Baseball at All

Four years ago, I wrote Byways, but Little Baseball about an extremely enjoyable trip to North Adams that included a meager three innings of baseball. I recently reprised the itinerary and although I was traveling this time with someone who was enthusiastic about watching a collegiate summer league game, there was none to be had.

That's the thing about weather, it just keeps continuing.
Poor Westerners, round-trip on the bus from Danbury for nothing.

What follows is little more than a set list.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Empire's End

I ain't never seen a (cloud) mass like that.
Time was, we couldn't believe our good fortune in never being rained out. Those days are long gone. Our visit to Auburn was not, in fact, a rainout—though the game was cut short by some memorable weather. Rain threatened throughout the game, and the colorful blobs on the little map pictures on our phones were bobbing and weaving all night. And yet, inning after inning, no rain. "I think we're going to avoid it," I said, like an idiot.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

It Takes Two... or Maybe Even Three

Left to right, top to bottom, a flat circle (a.k.a. "time"); loose representations of our itineraries from 2012 and 2013; a Carls Jr. logo, a caduceus, some soft-serve ice cream, a small tornado, a deformed stone fruit, an atomic tooth, the samba, an IUD, some double dutch moves, a beehive, Saul Steinberg's portrait of Peter Lorre, and some kind of knot
It's not that we have never backtracked or repeated ourselves—e.g., our two trips to northeastern Oklahoma or our unending fascination with toxic sites—but the next stretch of our Greater Empire State tour looped around itself more than usual. West to Niagara Falls, south to Buffalo, west to Erie (as described); then back to Buffalo, back to Niagara Falls, and on to Toronto; then back once more through Niagara Falls and Buffalo. From a satellite view, this resembles a very badly constructed knot. But this stretch was filled with doublings and repetitions. To wit: 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Man, a Plan, a Canal... Buffalo?

How many times have I taken cousins of this picture? Welcome to Love Canal.
Today's theme is holes in the ground—ditches, primarily: Erie, Love, and one you can't quite see that is crucial to the continuing functioning of America as a First World country. New York and backhoes: puhhhhhfect together.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Forget All Your Troubles, Forget All Your Cares

Nor is it a pipe. It's from a site advocating that Parcel 5 in Rochester be used for more than an unneeded theater for touring Broadway shows.

'Scuse me, at this point I have to interrupt. Rob's coverage of Rochester's Midtown Plaza was good, but before our documentation heads west from Batavia, I think we need to talk just a bit more about Victor Gruen.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Day 4, Parcel 5, "Let's Play Two"

the Clock of Nations by Geri Kavanaugh, the centerpiece of the now demolished Midtown Plaza, Rochester

Until we arrived in Rochester, the fourth day of our trip consisted of 3.5 hours on the New York State Thruway. Oh, and breakfast at the Latham '76 Diner, where the waitstaff argued over who would get to serve us.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I'm Beginning to See the Light

Four days in, and already we've fallen behind.
We begin again. After a night with the weevils, the mice, and the recently paroled in a Westminster roadside establishment, we enjoyed the hospitality, delicious stuffed French toast, and nice fresh hash at Gabby's Place. Less than two hours later we were standing in front of the mesmerizing light-based work of James Turrell at MassMOCA. You want pictures? Go to the man's website. We're not here to infringe on anyone over anything. Better yet, get thee to North Adams. Suffice to say that Turrell's work is better experienced—particularly within the all-encompassing environments installed at MassMOCA—than described.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Data Drop (Program Fill Error)

We are doing nothing BUT incrementing, I''ll have you know.
Today was in many ways an archetypal Byways day. We:

Sometimes this doesn't feel like a good way to vacation—there's a lot of driving, and we can wind up more tired at the end than at the beginning—but sometimes I can't think of anything better. Maybe that's a failure of my imagination, but I doubt it.