Hello!  Jolie here!  I must apologize for not posting on here lately.  Real life and exploration have been fighting a nasty battle and real life has been winning!  😦  We are now back to our regularly scheduled fun times, though!  Whew!

Well, as Tom has mentioned, we had an amazing time on our road trip.  To be back in Wisconsin was a very exciting and emotional time for Tom.  We’re definitely going to return sooner than later!  I loved everything about Madison, the quality of life, the “niceness” of the residents, I myself felt a deep connection with it all.  Tom was very excited and caught up with the fact that Madison was the destination.  I was more caught up in making the drive to Madison be as fun as possible.  It was a lot of driving, so I wanted to make sure we saw as many one-of-a-kind roadside stops and ate in as many unique roadfood restaurants as possible.  I, being the librarian that I am, made meticulous notes as to where each monument and/or restaurant was.  Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I must say, those notes were very handy for our trip.  Having taken more than a few road trips, I realize that sometimes all is not as it is supposed to be, but for the most part, we weren’t disappointed in the least.  If anything, this road trip left us wanting much, much more!!!  🙂

My first mistake with planning this trip was the foolish assumption I made that we’d get each day off to an early start!  Ha!  Now I’m not as bad as my parents used to be (we’d often start our day at 11 am, but no earlier), but somehow in the back of my head, I thought that Tom and I would be all ready to roll at 8 am each morning.  Dream on, Jolie!  🙂  We had to alter some of our plans to accommodate the fact that we wanted to sleep in!  Oh well, on a vacation, the chance to sleep in is such a treat that it is worth every single change of plan as far as I’m concerned.  A vacation should be fun and unstructured!

The first two days of the road trip, I must admit were mostly spent driving.  I was starting to worry that I had lost my kitschy touch.  We had left New York at about 8 pm. on a Thursday night (I even worked that day!) and stayed the night in the Scranton, Pennsylvania area.  Knowing that we just wanted to get to Scranton quickly, I only planned one stop.  To see a tri-state monument in Port Jervis, NY.  The directions I found had us driving through graveyards and to rivers in order to reach this marker.  This monument apparently marks the meeting point of those three states.  This is what it’s supposed to look like (this is not my picture):








But………it was too dark by the time we hit Port Jervis.  Sigh.  We’ll have to catch this one another time.  Sadly, on this leg of the drive, the most novel thing we saw was at a rest stop where they had a  vending machine that drops a cup down and then drops miscellaneous liquids (usually coffee, hot chocolate or urine coloured “chicken soup”).  I was fascinated by these when I was a kid and I hadn’t seen one in over 20 years. Shortly afterwards, we made our stop for the night in the Scranton area.  It was too dark and rainy and we were too tired to do any explorations.  😦  Have I lost my kitschy touch?

The next day, our destination was Pittsburgh.  This drive was going to take at least five hours and there wasn’t a lot of kitschy things that we would see along the way.  Tom and I had wanted to go to Ricketts Glen State Park along the way.  We were under the impression that the waterfalls there were out of this world.  I was very excited to make this pitstop and Tom was very much looking forward to taking his usual million pictures.


Check out these waterfalls!!! (again, not my picture!!!  lol)








Unfortunately, when we got to the state park we learned that to access any falls, you would need to hike.  And I mean “hike hike.”  The type of hiking that requires hiking boots.  Now I must say, I did not completely do my homework on this stop.  I usually go into these things completely prepared and armed with too much information, but I made some incorrect assumptions about Ricketts Glen.  I thought that we could make a short (possibly hour-long) stop there, quickly walk around the falls and that Tom could get his much-desired pictures.  Any falls that I have ever visited have been very easily accessible, to the point that they are usually wheelchair accessible.  Not these ones!  Upon further reading, I see that this hike isn’t necessarily difficult, but it should indeed be treated as a proper hike, seeing as the trails can be slippery.  All accounts state that a person should wear proper footwear, not flip flops, etc.  And we were wearing?  Flip flops.  Sigh.


But wait!  There were other trails!  We wanted to do one that would be very quick, seeing as this was supposed to be a quick pitstop.  There was one on the map that looked like a nice quick walk and it was on the beach, that might be cool, eh?

(insert the sound of the Price is Right “losing horn”)

Errr, not really.








Unless watching families picnicking and swimming is your “thing.”  While we were very happy that the families were enjoying themselves, this wasn’t really our “thing.”  Hehe.  Actually this reminded me of a lot of places that my family visited and camped when I was a child.  I was getting a slight sense of deja vu and thought of my own happy memories while visiting this location.  We quickly walked along this trail, took a few cool shots and left.  So we were quite disappointed that we weren’t able to see the falls, but were reminded about how important it is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK before visiting places!  We are definitely going to come back to Ricketts Glen, but when we do, we’ll give ourselves the entire day to hike there AND we’ll bring our hiking boots!  🙂








When we left the park, it was starting to rain, we were hungry, caffeine-deprived and there was a slight unspoken “Jolie sucks!” vibe in our car.   Well, I am joking, but we were both feeling slightly disappointed by how the events were unfolding so far.  I was really hoping that the other scheduled stops wouldn’t be disappointing.  We stopped for lunch at a cute pub in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and made our way to Pittsburgh.

When we woke up the next day, our destination was Cleveland, Ohio.  Would our roadside stops disappoint?

Oh hell no!!!!








What you see here is a monument that commemorates Neil Armstrong’s first flight.  In an airplane.  Of course!  You didn’t think that I was talking about his space flight, did you?  Silly!  🙂  This monument was in Warren, Ohio and was apparently a former airstrip.  Warren looked like a place that had seen better days.   The roads were so rough, I joked that they wanted us to know what the moon’s craters felt like.  Check this out!  This is a *main road*!!!  I kid you not!









Below are a few pictures of this crazy monument:






























And last but not least:








Eeeek!  So after this, we set off for Cleveland with a detour in Barberton for lunch (I’ll be blogging about the food later!).  Seeing as this is one of Tom’s first proper road trips, something clicked after seeing this Neil Armstrong monument.  After this, he was on constant lookout for more kitsch.  Shortly after we were back on the road, Tom discovered this gem and asked me to pull over to let him get a photograph:

Go Tom!








After we arrived in Cleveland, we really wanted to focus the majority of our time on visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum.  While, I don’t always agree with the Hall of Fame’s choices, I enjoyed this visit  solely for all of the amazing artifacts.  But, unable to get kitsch off the mind, I couldn’t resist but to pose with one more novel monument that day:









The world’s largest rubber stamp!  And I coordinated my outfit to go with it!  🙂

So, the next day we would be driving to Madison and the schedule would be chock-full of roadside kitsch.  Would it disappoint?  Would it be worthwhile?  Stay tuned to find out!  (cackles)