Finally, the holiday season arrived. I could get the hell out of the South as I continued to check the weather on my phone. 18 degrees in my hometown of Pittston, PA. My wife rolled her eyes and grumbled. Like most people she isn't a fan of the cold. I don't know if its because I grew up there for 22 years but there's something about snow and mountains that I just can't get enough of. It was a great time to relax and enjoy the typical holiday festivities along with a brief stop to Washington D.C. to cap off the New Year.
Home Sweet Home...
Like clockwork as soon as we got into NEPA the temperature dropped and the snow fell. By the time I rolled into my parents driveway it was around 18 degrees. Exactly what I was looking for.
I must say besides enjoying freezing temperatures, mountains, and spending time with family and friends there isn't much around. I guess the area does have a decent rock/bar scene as it has produced artists such as Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin. For me though, I would say there's no better place to build fires or do some hiking. My brother who was preparing for the Pennsylvania State Police Academy decided to do some outdoor incline training.
I took this as an opportunity to test out some of my equipment. I must do a plug for the Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch. One of the more basic GPS watches, it gives you everything you need and functions superbly in the worst conditions, and I mean the worst. We ran about 1.5 miles with a 45+ degree incline in a snowstorm. Not the brightest idea, but what can I say, brothers will be brothers. It turned out to be a horrible experience for both of us.
The watch acquired satellites in under 60 seconds which I couldn't be more thankful for. Nobody wants to stand in a snowstorm and wait for their watch. Covered in snow and sweat it had zero fogging or signs of inundation. Surprisingly many of the more expensive GPS watches do not have the waterproof capabilities of this one which is completely waterproof to 50 meters and can be used for swim training. Not bad, right.
I also had the chance to visit some old places. I'll must say I really didn't think a town that has gone to hell can go to hell twice. The Banshee was a traditional Irish Pub with owners who actually had bands come over from Ireland to perform on occasion. Of course I wanted to go back and settle into a Guinness. Apparently, the ownership changed. Its gone, along with the center city mall, and everything else in the town.
And D.C. to ring in the new year
Sierra and I have been to D.C. over a dozen times as our friends live there but we usually spend the time visiting instead of sightseeing. Finally we got a chance to stroll around the National Mall, see the Capitol, and visit the National Archives. And yes, it was still cold.
Surprisingly the area wasn't too busy during the New Years time frame. I assume that most people were visiting with family or friends and not concerned with sightseeing. It worked to our advantage. Our friends had to work so we walked around during the day.
The area was a lot of fun to stroll through and had a number of squares and wide sidewalks. The reflective pool at the Capitol was interesting along with a number of national museums and art galleries. We got a chance to go into the National Archives and see some unique pieces like rare footage of presidents and statesman as well as a number of our most famous documents i.e. the Constitution and Bill of Rights. No photography was permitted in there, sorry folks your just gunna have to check out the interior for yourselves.
Most of the tours we saw were Segway Tours, there were Segways everywhere! It was a strange sight to see Segways and regularly footed people alongside of one another. Who knows maybe we'll all be using them one day. Unfortunately, the inventor of the Segway will never get to see this day, RIP Jimi Heselden.
After walking for a couple hours and seeing the Capitol we were back to our friends place to cap off 2013 and bring in the new year. To see all my pictures from D.C. check out my D.C. page under the United States tab (coming soon). I hope yall had a great holiday and as always, great travels!