Truckster vacations in Cape Cod

Today was my first full day in Cape Cod–ever! What a place! There’s so much variety of things to do that we couldn’t decide which was best. Should we take a local’s advice and go to Main Street Hyannis, go to the ports or take a factory tour of Cape Cod Chips? I can understand why HomeAway has over 4,000 vacation rentals here, it’s beautiful and full of activity.

Steph amazed at the Common Ground homemade selection

Steph amazed at the Common Ground homemade selection

After weighing our options, we decided to start our adventure by hitting Main Street for some lunch. We were recommended by a local to go to a place called Common Ground. On the outside, this looks like a normal building, but on the inside it’s a squirrel’s eye view of inside a tree! Seriously, there are branches everywhere and all the chairs and tables are made of wood. The food is all homemade, including fruit smoothies, which are made entirely of fruit (no additives). I had the Baked Haddock sandwich on a freshly made and steamed roll. No haddock will ever top it.

Inside Common Ground

Inside Common Ground

After Main Street, we were so overwhelmed by where to go next, we decided to drive until we could drive no

Must remain alert on the streets of Provincetown!

Must remain alert on the streets of Provincetown!

more. Our “drive of destiny” took us all the way to the tip of the peninsula to a city called Provincetown, better known as “P-town” by locals and now, ourselves. This place has the look of a small fishing town but the energy of a Mexican street market alive with activity.  You can imagine how much we stood out while driving through town.

It was in P-town that I ate my first lobster roll, which holds as much cultural importance in the northeast as a cheesesteak does in Philly.

Philly Cheesesteak, whoops, I mean lobster roll!

Philly Cheesesteak, whoops, I mean lobster roll!

My palm begged me to be read

My palm begged me to be read

Since we had no more land to drive but still couldn’t decide where to go next, I decided to perform a self-palm reading (I read my own palm, no need for the help of a professional) and my palm was telling me to go see Toy Story 3 from inside the Truckster…

Edna had the best seat in the house at the Wellfleet Drive-In

Edna had the best seat in the house at the Wellfleet Drive-In

Without hesitation, we went to the Wellfleet Cinema, Cape Cod’s ONLY drive in theater! We arrived, dying for my palm reading to come true and guess what was playing tonight…Toy Story 3!! (don’t worry, no spoilers!). The Truckster was a hit here because clearly people who go to drive-ins like both cars and movies—we became instant celebrities.

Tomorrow we’ll hang around in Hyannis while the Truckster gets a manicure from the garage.

Finally, I can’t resist showing you what I turned and looked at right before backing out of our space…

This dog, Marley, came out of nowhere on me...seriously!

This dog, Marley, came out of nowhere on me...seriously!

-John

Rules of the Road from the Road 101

Here we are a good 4+ weeks into this road trip. I almost can’t believe it, but then I start thinking about all the ups and downs and lefts and rights that we’ve managed to cruise through relatively smoothly. Now I wouldn’t exactly call myself an ‘expert’ quite yet, but I have learned a thing or two. So I thought I’d take this rather uneventful driving day (though we passed through some pretty highway scenery,) as a blog opportunity to share the must-haves on our road trip:

BRING: A Tide to-go stick – love this thing. Don’t leave home without it because the moment you do, BAM coffee stains galore.

BRING: A Map – not really for practical reasons because I’ve never claimed to actually be able to navigate with one…but simply because tracing out the route is A) truly impressive when I realize how much ground we’ve covered and B) fun to remember/preserve for that time 10 years from now when I’m reminiscing about that one summer when I did an all-American 360 in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster – once again, it’s impressive, right?

BRING: A travel buddy – I don’t know if John or I have mentioned this yet, but our lovely stereo system has contracted the tranquil habit of only playing a song or two (at best) before SCREECHING at us with static. Needless to say, I’d be a lost puppy on America’s highways if I didn’t at least have someone to converse with, share stories and laugh at the absurdities we encounter. Plus, John does a good job of helping me find my way (I wasn’t kidding about my map skills – or lack thereof.)

BRING: A journal/computer/tablet of sheet rock and a chisel pen – whatever your preferred method of documentation might be, bring it. Plain and simple. You’ll want to remember the little things – so keep record of them. Plus, an amazing teacher once told me that your writing will never be as good and true as it is when you’re writing in the moment.  I’ve been convinced ever since.

BRING: A book of stamps – every one loves a quick “hello” from the road, and it’s incredibly easy to snag a postcard at whatever tourist hot-spot you might pass-by.  I’ve found that having stamps at an arms reach is a good idea for anyone who’s day doesn’t typically consist of snail mail, especially if you’re like me – someone who often forgets. The stamps in my wallet serve to remind and motivate me! (If you’re waiting on a post card from me right now, please don’t call me a hypocrite. Just make sure I have your address and I promise I’ll live-up to my own road rules. After all, its in print… you can hold me to it.)

BRING: Sunglasses!!!!!! Or buy some on the road – I’m a huge fan of sunglass shopping! (See pix below)

DON’T BRING: More than you can carry in one trip from the Truckster to the HomeAway vacation rental – seriously, one small suitcase is more than enough when you’ve got laundry machines. (BTW does anyone else use that term: “laundry machine”? I’ve recently been ‘corrected’ for not saying washer/dryer by a certain PR guru. It might not be AP style but I still don’t think it’s an incorrect term for machines used to do laundry.)

Disclosure: (One of the things we learned at the TBEX convention this past weekend was to always include a disclosure notice if needed.) I was NOT endorsed by Tide, I just love their travel sized stain-remover stick. Also, note that this list is in no way exclusive. There are a number of things that have made our Great American Road Trip successes possible and you’d probably never get through the whole list if I included them all.

Cheers, Steph

Truckster Hits New York for TBEX!

The last two days we have been at TBEX ’10, which is a travel blogger conference.  I never knew there were so many things to learn about blogging!  Everything from podcasting to storyboarding was discussed…and then some.  One of the personal highlights of the conference was a speaker named Robert Reid.  He has a travel blog and also posts a video every Tuesday called the “76-Second Travel Show” (SSSTS).  This man is hilarious and has a really brief, yet creative take on creating travel videos that people want to watch.

Another large part of the conference is the parties each evening.  The first night’s party had different types of drink and appetizers from around the world scattered throughout it.  My favorite one was called the “Singapore Sling” because the title also suggested a crafty way to down it. At the parties, you can also meet a ton of fellow bloggers and travelers. Most of them know of eachother from their own tweets or blogs, but only on the internet so it’s fun to meet face-to-face with your favorite blog authors. It was great to reunite with Mara Gorman again, The Mother of All Trips. We’re told that her son Tommy misses us and wants Steph and me to apartment shop in their area when we’re done driving the Truckster.

On the final day of the conference I was heavily reminded that it was Pride Week in NYC.  I was taking the subway into the city to TBEX and I noticed that there were a lot of people dressed…hmmm, how do I say this…in rainbow underwear?  Does that clearly describe what I’m trying to say?  I had completely forgotten it was Pride Week so I just figured maybe I just wandered onto a train of very outspoken individuals.  I got off the train though and was greeted awesomely by one of the most interesting parades I’d ever seen!  It was the Gay Pride Parade!  What a grand experience—If you watch this video closely, you can see me almost getting smacked in the face with flying ice cream sandwiches while having Daft Punk blast in the background as a mobile soundtrack—I’ll give you a moment to absorb that.  But seriously, I’m really happy I captured this moment on tape.  This was just something I encountered on my trek into the city today, completely unexpected.  New York City-where you’re allowed to be a man, dressed as a woman, sitting on a convertible, parading through the most spectacular city on planet earth, dancing to a song you love, hurling ice-cream into onlookers who are cheering your powerful freedom expression.  What a place.

Tomorrow we’re off to Cape Cod!  Whenever I tell New Yorker’s we’re going to Cape Cod next the classic response is, “Cape Cod, nawt baaad!”  It will be tough to leave our NYC rental though, the house has original art by the owner all over it and definitely captures the feel of the city : (

Side note-I’ve been pulled over twice in NYC in the last 3 days.  Once because Aunt Edna was looking a little too “alive” and the other because you can’t make a right on red in Manhattan. Now you’ve been warned! Don’t carry something resembling a fictional dead Aunt in your backseat and no right turns on red in Manhattan! No tickets though!

-John

Edna’s run-in with the cops and sites from New York City

This blog was meant to encompass a recount of our day of sightseeing with the Truckster in preparation for the next few days we’ll spend at TBEX, the Travel Blogger’s Exchange conference happening this weekend. However, much to our surprise, the following took place while en route to the ‘big apple’:

John: “Wow, this cop is tailing me pretty close. They usually pull you over right after they do that.”

Cop car turns lights on.

“Ugh–” (sad face)

We pulled over, anxious about the exchange that was about to take place (one, undoubtedly, much different from the blogger exchange that we’ve been preparing ourselves for.) The officer walked up to the window and asked for John’s paperwork. He began questioning us, the suspicious twenty-something-year-olds who obviously had stolen some older individual’s retro wagon, threw a blanket over the body as they tossed it in the back seat, and took off with all of his 70’s Samsonites — naturally.

After a little convincing, (yes we had to unwrap Edna to prove that she was actually a mannequin,) our cop friend returned to his vehicle to run some numbers.

Luckily, we managed to drive away with just a warning, but only as another law enforcement vehicle stopped to provide back-up support. A close call? Yes, I’d say so. But hey, everyday’s an adventure when you’re on HomeAway’s Great American Road Trip!

Any close encounters you’d like to share? Steph <3s reading comments, so share away!

And will somebody alert the officials… this family vacation lovin’ TRUCKSTER is in the city, and we come in peace!

TBEXers, The Truckies are so excited to meet and greet all of you tonight at the kick-off reception! We’ll be the ones parked out front with the Truckster, so say hello on your way in and get your picture with none-other than the Wagon Queen herself. =)

PS – I loved and hated every moment of driving through downtown NYC. Cross that one off of my bucket list and enjoy these photos from our day:

Truckster in PA and NJ

Hey everyone! Instead of the usual storytelling, we decided to create a brief documentary of our trip to Philly and Atlantic City. Please check it out! We spent countless hours cutting film, recording music and shooting the footage–we think it might be appearing in a theater near you very shortly (assuming someone from Hollywood picks it up). OK–not all that may be true, but we had an awesome time here and we think you’ll enjoy!

Tomorrow we’re going to NYC for TBEX (Travel Blogger’s Exchange)! Look for updates.

Philadelphia Phillies Game

There’s nothing like a summer night at the ballpark! Today, after a little business in the office – I mean our Atlantic City townhome – John and I drove back to Philadelphia for the Phillies vs. the Clevland Indians baseball game.

It was great. The citizens of Philadelphia truly understand the mystique of the Truckster and there was all kinds of brotherly love in the warm welcome we received by tailgaters at the game. We’re talking dropped jaws, and fist pumps in the air when we rolled up. Families that had gathered around their big red cooler to debate whether it should be called “coke” or “soda” (in their city accents) stopped mid-sentence, shocked at the sight before them. As for me, I felt like a celebrity. What can I say…is there anything more American than baseball and the icon of family vacationing – united in the SAME PARKING LOT?

No, there isn’t.

As the clock ticked down to game time, I had the special privilege of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Gris— I mean John’s parents. They came from Harrisburg, PA (FYI: it’s the state capitol) just to see the metallic pea paint and eight headlights. Seriously, John was just a bonus. =)

We soon joined the 44,836 attendees for the night who had piled into the ballpark. I sat on the edge of my seat all night hoping for a Phillies homerun; all I wanted was to see the giant Liberty Bell (shaped out of lights that stands illuminated over the Citizens Bank Park sign off in the outfield) ring!

I waited.

And the Phillies Phanatic danced.

But the score remained 2:1 Phillies with no “dings” to be heard.

Suddenly, it was just about the middle of the 9th when pitcher Brad “Lights-Out” Lidge heaved the final blow that defeated the Indians, signifying another Phillies victory!

And much to my surprise…

Peace-out (I’m getting REALLY excited for NYC!) Steph

Truckster Enters PA!

Today, we took the Truckster back to the homeland!  Stephanie and I share the bond of both being born in Pennsylvania (The Keystone State) so we were excited to visit the beginning of both our country and our lives.  Stephanie was born in Langhorne and I am from Harrisburg.  For the entire trip thus far, we couldn’t decide where Langhorne was.  Finally, I looked it up on Google Maps and we noticed it was near Philly!  Congrats Stephanie—we found it!

Geno's!

Geno's!

No, Pat's!No, Pat’s!

Once we entered, we decided the first thing we had to do was eat some cheesesteaks!  We decided to eat at both Pat’s and Geno’s in order to make an informed decision on which one was the best.  After some careful review and deep reflection, Steph decided that Pat’s cheesesteaks were better and I thought…..Geno’s!  Who knew that two neighboring establishments both serving bread, steak, onions and cheese could ignite such debate?  Just saying the words “I’ll have one wit, whiz” makes my mouth water now.

After the “Cheesesteak Experience” we did some Philly sightseeing.  This led us to Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I love Philly's art!

I love Philly's art!

We couldn’t stay long though in the City of Brotherly Love because we had to get to our Townhome in Atlantic City!  (I’m excited because it’s on the waterfront and has an awesome rooftop deck)!

On the way there, we had to stop and see Lucy the Elephant in Margate.  Built in 1881, she is the world’s largest elephant.  She also stands 6 stories tall and has been used as a real estate office, tavern, home and landmark.  I have a special place in my heart for Lucy because as a child, I used to run around screaming “Elephant! Elephant! Elephant!” (I remember none of this, but my parents claim it to be true).  As a result, every summer when we visited the Jersey Shore, my parents would take me to Lucy where I could practice my version of free speech.

Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ

Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ

Also, we’re going to a Phillies game tomorrow!  That is…if we haven’t lost all our money in Atlantic City.  I don’t know what Steph has in mind, but I plan on doubling all mine!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.