If you read any of our posts about San Diego, Napa Valley, or Portland and Seattle, it was probably pretty obvious that we were having a splendid time exploring the West Coast. But there is one thing all those great places lack, and that’s family :-) Our last few stops of the road trip were spent visiting all our relatives dotting the East Coast before finally touching down in the Peak of Good Living, otherwise known as Apex, North Carolina. The first of these family-stops was Pittsburgh, which will always hold a special place in my heart.
When I was in seventh grade my Aunt and Uncle, Dan and Patsy, flew me up to their home and took great care of me for a week. It was my first time on a plane, and I’m pretty sure that it sparked some of the travel bug I’m so infected with now. For years I was telling people that Pittsburgh was my favorite city in the whole world. Of course, this was before I had really been to any great cities anywhere in the world, but that was completely irrelevant at the time. Luckily, this visit to Pittsburgh did not disappoint, due largely in part to the great hospitality Dan and Patsy showed us.
Our first stop in Pittsburgh was the classic Duquesne Incline. Voted by USA Today as one of the top ten sites in the world for viewing a cityscape, the incline offers a magnificent birds-eye view of Downtown and The Point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge to form the Ohio River. With such an astonishing view comes an astonishing amount of people, so soak it up quick or you’ll form an anxious queue of tourists waiting for their chance to capture the iconic view.
On Saturdays, a great way to spend the day is in Pittsburgh’s historic warehouse district at The Strip. This is where merchants come to sell you just about anything you could want, especially if it’s related to the Steelers, Pirates or Penguins, the city’s local sports teams. It’s also the perfect place to swerve in and out of the locals while grabbing a fish sandwich or picking out some fresh flowers. My sweet tooth opted for a pound of fudge.
We actually did quite a bit of eating in Pittsburgh, all of which was absolutely delicious. Of course, since we’re not counting calories anyway, a trip to Primanti Bros. Restaurant had to happen. Originally built to feed truckers on the move in the 1930’s, Primanti’s has managed to make your meal as dense as possible by throwing your fries right onto the sandwich. It’s pretty tasty, granted you can find a way to fit it into your mouth!
After a fabulous stopover in Pittsburgh enjoying good food, great family and a few intense games of Upwords, it was time to make our final stop in Newport News, Virginia. Here we visited with Dan’s grandparents while also making a quick trip into Richmond to say one final goodbye to our good friends Kati and Stephen. In between family meals and absurd amounts of laundry, we said all our final goodbyes before heading home, officially putting our road trip to an end.
So that brings us to North Carolina where it barely feels like we just spent seven weeks driving cross-country. But that’s probably because we were only here for a few frantic days. In fact, this post is scheduled to come out at the same time we will be boarding our plane from JFK to Tokyo! We arrive in Taiwan at 9:30 (Taiwanese time…so subtract 13 hours for EST) on the 21st, where we will be living and teaching English for an indefinite amount of time. We must admit it’s pretty liberating to have one-way tickets to the other side of the world with no idea what we’ll do after our one-year teaching contract is up.
We’re going to keep our blog going so we can continue to share all our wonderful experiences abroad. We have been amazed at the number of views our blog has received, and we are truly grateful to have so many people who care about our travels! We’ll also be coming back to our road trip, because once we get the time we want to reflect and sum up the trip. We want to make sure everyone knows our overall impression, the best and worst moments, what we would change, and all that other jazz people keep asking us about! But for now, that will have to wait until we are settled into our new Taiwanese home!