Journal Entry # 20 - Road Entry#10 (Tyler's Apartment - 4:58pm - New Haven, CT - July 12, 2010)

Time Between Dreams and My Pen.

Wow, it is now Monday, July 12th and I am still writing about the Fourth of July Weekend. Lot's of information to share and detail...

Let's dive in...

To continue where I left off at the Fourth of July Party! With so many activities and so many people, I could not go wrong. We ate, played, talked, swam, and celebrated another great birthday for America. The group of young adults continued to drink into the night as the parents slowly faded out of our peripheral and into the black night. A couple of parents that were staying at the house continued to celebrate with the youthful group until midnight, like a couple of rogue fireworks. It actually reminded me of a graduation weekend or football tailgate in Eugene, Oregon - parents living vicariously through the alcohol, energy, kids, and party. The 4th officially ended around 3am on the fifth, the house as quiet as the harbor that surrounded it.

Recovery. The fifth was a morning for stories and hydration. I was, to my surprise, fresh and energetic. I helped Katherine, her mom, Marshall, and some others clean the house in the morning. I expressed my appreciation for a great holiday and then rode back with Jenna and Marshall to Marion. Once we got back to Marion, we got some lunched packed to get on the boat again. This time we just had a relaxing swim in the harbor, catching some rays, eating lunch, and internally reflecting on the experience we all had. I also got some reading in as I sat on the bow, getting a chapter of my book paged away.

The relaxation continued as we got back to Jenna's house in order to get ready to drive back to Boston. Jenna had to get all of her stuff together and "life" organized in order to start working and living in Boston on Tuesday, July 6th. On the other end of the spectrum, it took me very little time to get my stuff together as I am bound by my freedom, interests, and journey.

Throughout the 3 weeks, I have noticed that I am very open and accept just about anything that is thrown my way. Adventures, food options, travel arrangements, and accommodations are all extremely appreciated because I have no expectation to what I will be offered. I just believe that there will be this beautiful generosity of all the people I meet and stay with. In return, I am prepared to offer my cooking services, cleaning services, organizing services, and will-power to contribute to a lovely relationship.

The friendship between Jenna, Marshall, and I was and is amazing. Marshall and I relaxed, talked, and waited for Jenna to get completely ready to hit the road back to Boston. I am glad I got to meet him, and glad that they date one another. We got back to Boston Monday evening, right before the sunset. Once back in Boston, I don't think I've ever hit a shower, couch, and TV with so much enthusiasm. I eventually got on the computer as well, and talked with Lauren about her Fourth of July weekend. The conversation eventually turned to the weather and the doom that we were about to face on Tuesday.

Here are some remarks from Tuesday...
1. Tears of perspiration
2. Air Conditioner Love Making
3. Fire-Head-Shoulder-Knees-&-Toes

It was brutal. The wake up Tuesday morning was from pure dehydration, not an alarm. It was 8:30am. I decided that I needed to get my run in immediately before mother nature decided to change the microwave setting from defrost to high. I only ran 4 miles before almost drowning in my own sweat. Once I got back from running, I took a cold shower and turned the computer and TV on simultaneously. Alex woke up and we all hung out in the living room. Three family members just chatting and escaping the brutal force of mother nature, Alex, me, and the AC unit.

When Alex went to work around 4pm, I decided to go to the beach. It was so hot that the beach was even deserted. I could only stay out in the water. I tried to lay down and read my book - big mistake. I refreshed myself one last time before heading back to the house. I didn't really move the rest of the day. Just sitting there in AC heaven was good enough. I decided Wednesday would be a better day to get some Boston exploration in.

I slept in once again, big mistake. I have been letting lots of morning hours escape me so far. I decided that I needed to maximize my time in the city Wednesday. I left the house at 1pm and didn't get back until 2am.

I am happy with what I did Wednesday in Boston. I first rode the bus to Copley square. From there I walked around Boylston St. and Newberry St. looking for a place to get some lunch and watch the Germany-Spain futbol match. I ended up picking Charley's Irish Restaurant and Pub on Newberry. But the lunch got even more interesting as I walked up to the hostess along side two beautiful women. Before they could ask for a table for two, I asked if they were airing the game on the TV's inside, hoping that these ladies were interested in some World Cup action. The hostess said they were showing the game and I was right about these two ladies. They expressed excitement once I mentioned the WC game, and almost ran inside to the bar. Once inside, I asked them if they wanted to sit together because I was watching by myself.

Isabella, Stephanie, and I all sat down at a bar table and got a TV to ourselves. I couldn't have been in a better place to watch this match! Isabella was Spanish and Steph had Austrian parents. Their excitement for the match was palpable. Isabella was visiting Steph from Madrid Spain and they both spoke fluent Spanish. Their parents have been friends for 20 years and these two have spent many summers together as well. Stephanie is born and raised in Boston, and Isabella was on a 2-week vacation before going back to school in Cambridge, England.

It was thrilling to watch the game with these two. They knew players, they knew strategy, they were futbol enthusiasts like I am a college football enthusiast. The best part was that Spain won the match against Germany on a header from Carles Puyol. Spain was in control for most of the match and their keeper, Iker Casillas was phenomenal. I probably should have capitalized on the opportunity with these lovely ladies, but I didn't ask them for their number or a chance to hang out later. Oh well. I had other things on my mind. Like my Duck Tour throughout Boston.

I walked over from Charley's to the Prudential Center to buy my ticket for the famous Boston Duck Tour. My dad convinced me to take the chance to learn about this historic city on a professional and established tour. The Duck is a World War 2 military vehicle originally called a DUKW. The soldiers just called them Ducks. In the war, they were used to transport weapons, soldiers, and supplies from ships to the land and visa versa. If you lined 3 ducks side-by-side, you could transport a plane on top of the Ducks to the shore. If you grouped 4 ducks together as a rectangle, you could transport a tank on top of these amphibious vehicles. Boston Duck Tours has over 30 Ducks providing tours daily. Wherever you go in historic Boston, you will see a Duck vehicle. There was so much information on this Duck tour that I can only give you what I can recall.

1. Cambridge was originally called "New Town" and Harvard was originally called "New Town College". They named the university after John Harvard when he died and donated his entire estate, fortune, and library to the university. They chose Cambridge as the town's name because of the educational heritage of Cambridge, England.

2. Boston Common was actually land own by some guy named Blackstone. When he moved from Boston, he donated the land to the government so that it could be used as a common grazing and agricultural ground for the people of the city. It has the name because it was used as a common ground for so many years.

3. The red steel bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge is nicknamed the "Salt and Pepper Shaker bridge" because of the two stone towers that stand in the middle of the Charles River.

4. MIT students measured the Harvard bridge using a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity member named Oliver Smoot. So when police get calls about accidents on the Harvard bridge, they ask on what Smoot marker the accident is. MIT students are notorious for their pranks since they are very smart. There even have been battles between Harvard and MIT students for great pranks throughout the years.

5. There is a lot of beautiful architecture throughout Boston. Some of the great landmarks include the original state house, the current Massachusetts state house, new old south church, trinity church, old north church, arlington street church, old west church, quincy market, and the king's chapel. The two memorial structures that stood out during the tour were the Bunker Hill Monument and the Holocaust Memorial.

6. Only 5 people were killed in the Boston Massacre. Propaganda from Paul Revere, John Copley, and others made it seem like many more were killed in order to rally patriots around the idea of seceding from the British rule.

There was so much information, but that is what stood out during the tour. The tour was 2 hours, so I went to see Alex at Atlantic Fish restaurant where she works. I had a drink and then got a phone call from Jenna Scherr Wilson. Jenna is a family friend from hebrew school and is around my brother's age. She has been going to Northeastern University for the last 4 years and is about to finish in 2011. She told me to meet her at this restaurant in Kenmore. I decided to walk down Commonwealth Ave to the restaurant where she was working. Comm. Ave, as it's known, is a large and beautiful residential street in the Back Bay of Boston. A lot of history and wealth is on display on this grand avenue. Commonwealth is the size of an interstate, but is a two-way, two-lane street with a large green walkway running the middle of it. Bikers, runners, dog-walkers, and people make their way up and down this street all the time. I took in the beauty of the street and surroundings as I walked 30 minutes to the restaurant.

Jenna is actually the store manager of Scoozi - a bistro in the Boston University limits. She has been manager for the past couple of months, after working as a waitress in the other Scoozi on Newberry St. I sat and chatted with her for a couple of hours as she barely worked. It was a very slow night at the bistro, considering it was a Wednesday after the Fourth of July with no school in session. She was nice enough to give me some free food and beer - greatly appreciated on my travels - and talked about life. We also called Benjamin together (my brother) to say hello and reiterate what a small world it really is.

I left Jenna and Scoozi around 10pm to get back to meet Alex when she got off work from Atlantic Fish. Bridgett, Alex's roommate, was there to keep me entertained while we waited. Alex joined in around 11pm and we went down to McGreevey's Pub on Bolyston for a drink. The night was winding down and we went to a couple other pubs before taking a taxi together back to their apartment to crash out. I successful Wednesday and fun time in Boston!

Thursday consisted of a 7 mile run and dinner at Atlantic Fish with Lauren, Alex's other roommate, and her two friends - Brooke and Sarad. Sarad is a running coach and helped Lauren train for the Boston Marathon the previous 2 years. Sarad was really cool and great to get to know. He also was nice enough to buy everyone dinner for the night - another generous gesture by a complete stranger. Where and when I don't expect anything from anyone, people like Sarad do things like pay for dinner or go out of their way to help. AMAZING!

Friday consisted of a grocery shopping trip, laundry, a movie, and preparation for Rhode Island. I barely made the 4:35pm commuter rail from South Station to Providence, Rhode Island. I traveled to Rhode Island to visit my friend Sarah MacDonald. Sarah is a former lacrosse player from the University of Oregon. Sarah is a really cool and exciting friend. She is very energetic, athletic, and loyal. Sarah was born and raised in Rhode Island with her mom living in East Providence and her dad living in Barrington, RI. Sarah stays with her mom when she is back from Oregon. Sarah has one more year of education in Oregon but no more years of eligibility. She is working for her mom and holding lacrosse clinics as a coach in Providence this summer. Sarah picked me up from the train station around 5:45pm and gave me the car tour of Providence in under an hour. She showed me some of the downtown area, the boundary of Brown University, the two private high schools she used to compete against, a couple of neighborhoods, and her high school. She asked me if I wanted to work out at her gym and I couldn't have been more thrilled. She is the first person to suggest working out together while traveling, something I hope for while traveling. We got to 'Planet Fitness' around 7pm for a long and arduous workout. It had been 2 weeks since I worked with weights (last time in Omaha's 24-Hour Fitness). I busted my butt to get a physically draining workout in, almost 2 hours. Sarah focused on cardio and stretching while I did a cardio warm-up and a variety of weight-lifting and core work. I checked my weight as well when in the locker room. 212lbs. Seven pounds higher than I wanted to be at this time in 2010. If you don't know, my goal is to weight a healthy and average 195lbs for Sam and Lindsay's wedding in September. So far, I've lost 43 pounds - something I'm proud of - but not quite where I wanted to be on July 9th.

After the workout, we scurried back to her house to shower before going to her friends house for the night. This is where I met Susan MacDonald! Sarah's mom is one most generous and beautiful souls I've met while traveling. I told her that I truly felt like I was at home with my mom while in her presence. Susan stands almost five foot nothing and has the animated personality of Ellen DeGeneres character 'Dory' from "Finding Nemo", but without the dumbfound-ness of 'Dory'. Overall, it couldn't have gone better when meeting Susan for the first time - great first impression!

Sarah said that it would be better to crash at her friend's house because she had central air and air conditioning, unlike Sarah's house. Sarah and her friend Ashley Blais has planned to have a mini-BBQ and beer rounds starting at 9pm. That got pushed back due to our workout, shower, and BBQ shopping session at the Stop & Shop. Actually while at the Stop & Shop around 9:45pm, Ashley called and insisted that we bypass the BBQ and go straight into the night of drinks, conversation, and friends. We followed her directions and hurried over to her parents' beautiful home. Ashley was home for the weekend from Boston, house-sitting and cat-sitting. Ashley lives and works in Boston at a marketing firm.

Once we got to the house, beers were cracked and so were the jokes. We were having such a good time with the 5 people there, that we forgot to eat anything (bad idea). The group decided to move the good times to a couple of downtown pubs. Once we wound up at the last location (FishCo?), I was reverting back to a college state of mind.

I felt it the next morning... Yeah, that's right. I browned out because the last thing I remember was getting ready and into the guest bed at Ashley's house. The ride back, the late-night eggs, the intoxicated conversation was all clipped from my memory. Saturday morning consisted of a long hangover and being locked in Ashley's house. Yeah, that's right...

Ashley left in the morning around 9am to go to a family friend's funeral. What she didn't mean to do was lock the doors and set the alarm. The only way to get out of her house with the alarm set is with a key we didn't have. Therefore Sarah and I sat around and waited until 1pm for Ashley to get back. Somewhat depressing yet entertaining. Sarah and I watched Ninja Warrior on G4 for almost 3 hours.

We didn't want to eat too much in Ashley's house because I convinced Sarah to take me to a great local sandwich shop called Geoff's. We were famished once Ashley got back at 1pm and went straight to get out food.

If you are ever in Providence, RI you have to go to GEOFF's!!! The food was amazing. A side of pickle spears topped of an amazing chicken salad sandwich with bacon, russian dressing, lettuce, onion, and tomato all on a delicious Kaiser Roll.

Lunch turned our grumpy faces upside down. We went back to Sarah's house to get ready to go to Newport, Rhode Island. A quick 45 minute drive to the southern community of Newport was something that Sarah, Jenna, Marshall, and I planned about a week in advance. Marshall was scheduled to race in a regatta out of Newport this day. The plans changed and the race got cancelled due to poor weather, so we met Jenna and Marshall around 6pm for dinner. Jenna and Marshall came down to Newport regardless of the race because Katherine lives in Newport and they were going out on her sailboat on Sunday anyway.

Sarah and I got to Newport 45 minutes before Jenna and Marsh. We walked around and enjoyed the summer sights in beautiful Newport, RI. Newport is a tiny sailing town with a lot of history and sailing tradition. It is home to the famous Newport Jazz Festival and many regatta's throughout the summer. It is a vacation destination for many wealthy families of New England and New York. We spent some time walking around the main street and take some pictures.

We then moved over to the Black Pearl restaurant for an amazing cup of "Chowdah" before dinner. Probably the best cup of New England Clam Chowder thus far. We followed the chowder up with a dinner overlooking the harbor and a beautiful pink sky sunset. During the sunset, Marshall taught me the sailor's saying, "Pink skies at night, sailor's delight - Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning".

Sarah and I left Newport around 9pm to get back to Providence for the night because we were leaving for Connecticut Sunday morning. We stayed at Ashley's again because she is a great friend and welcoming. We went to bed around 4am though - after going to the 'Wild Colonial' pub for a drink (I didn't drink though) and coming back to her house for a traditional "slumber party experience".

ALARM! - 8am - back to Sarah's house.

We had to be on the road by 9am so that we could get to New Haven to pick up Sarah's friend Ruthie. Ruthie and Sarah were going to the Warped Tour concert in Hartford, CT while I was staying in New Haven to meet up with Tyler Hoyt (my cousin on my Mom's side). Back at Sarah's - we were greeted with delicious and fluffy blueberry pancakes - courtesy of Ms. Susan. Like I said, she was remarkable!

Sarah dropped me off at Tyler's apartment in New Haven around 11am Sunday morning. Tyler lives right next to Yale University on the west side of campus. His place is quaint, simple, basic, and full of sawdust. Tyler is an artist and someone who lives resourcefully. Tyler made most of his furniture in his apartment, hence the sawdust. The coffee table, end tables, desk, couch, trash cans, etc... are all fruits of his labor. He has dozens of spare pieces of wood in his apartment, along with saws, sandpaper, extension cords, tools, and hardware. A small kitchen lines the hallway into his single bedroom with closet and bathroom. It is perfect for him. It is the definition of Tyler and his lifestyle. I love that he is happy and lives here. Tyler moved from Orlando to New Haven recently. He got a job a local coffee shop where all the Yale kids hang out. He's been here for a few months, getting to know the land, the people, and the community. All firsts for him and me right now.

Once I got his place, he suggested that we leave for Hartford around 1pm. He was interested in a convention being held there called ConnetiCon. If you've ever heard of ComiCon, you'll know what ConnetiCon is. It's a place for gamers, comic collectors, magic card players, and others that relate to the world of comics, games, and fantasy. I went with him to Hartford to spend quality time with him, but didn't intend to hit the convention up. The World Cup final between Spain and Holland was on at 2pm. Once we got to Hartford, he went to the convention and I went to an Irish pub to watch the game. To my expectations, the pub was full of Holland fans with their bright Orange. The pub was full of hardcore soccer fans and was a great place to watch the final. I couldn't get a seat at the bar or a table, so I kept to myself and watched on my own. I was one of the few rooting for Spain. It was an unbelievable final, with Spain coming out victorious on an Andres Iniesta extra time goal! I was happy for the Spanish and their first World Cup victory. It was thrilling to watch and to know that this World Cup has brought the United States citizens closer to stronger level of soccer fanaticism and pride. I have been telling friends that the MLS will grow in the next 5-7 years into a recognizable and strong sport here in the states. I still stand by my prediction.

The match ended and Tyler got done with the convention about the same time. Tyler drove back to New Haven to this spot and where I am right now.

Right now, 3,880 words later.

The pen got rusty for a bit. I apologize to my readers and myself for waiting to write. It takes time and dedication. Just like my workout plan. I need to make sure I stick to a more consistent schedule for writing.

Nap time.