October 21, 2006

Your Erie Pa. Dining Guide.

Please note that I am writing this little blog entry after three “tall” Michelob Ultra draft beers. The room isn’t spinning, but it’s not the most stable of environments either.

I don’t know how many people in the world vacation in the hotspot that calls itself Erie, Pa. You have to pronounce it “Erie P-A” because that’s the way it’s pronounced. I don’t know why it’s that way, but that’s the way it is so just do it.

Anyways, if you’re vacationing in this little city along Lake Erie, you should take a moment to enjoy a dinner at Joe Roots Grill. The whole thing about who the hell Joe Root is is explained on the website, so just click it so I don’t have to type too much.

Now I know that the weary traveler staying just off the freeway is going to be tempted to go to one of the chain restaurants on Peach Street near Interstate 90. First of all, traffic is horrendous with a capital H and secondly, Earl and my beloved “Red River Roadhouse” at Millcreek Mall is all boarded up, so I just say skip the whole Peach Street retail hell strip, go west on I-90 one exit and take I-79 north until there’s no more freeway. From there take PA 5 WEST towards Cleveland to the entrance of Presque Isle and right there will be Joe Roots Grill. It’s locally owned, the bartenders speak with that delicious Erie Pa. accent that can’t be replicated in a blog and the prime rib is out of this world. Who the hell had the idea that I should become a vegetarian? It was a stupid idea and I’m glad I didn’t listen. You’ll be glad too with a side of horseradish as a garnish and an impromptu serving of 1000 Islands salad dressing, because they don’t really offer that and the bartender does the best she can do to make the customer happy,

I think I’m rambling.

If Earl were here right now, he’d tell you that I was passed out asleep, but since he’s not here, I’m not asleep, I’m writing in my blog instead.

Anyways, if you’re in Erie, Pa. (don’t forget the P-A) for the night, be sure to stop at Joe Roots Grill for dinner. Skip the Peach Street retail hell. It’s not worth it.

Thank you and good night. Be sure to tip your waitress. Then set her back upright when you’re done.

Erie, Pa.

Erie, Pa. Sunset.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

I have decided to stop for the night in Erie, Pennsylvania. I’ve checked in with Earl, who’s in Tampa for the Eagles game. He’s been drinking with his brother, I can just tell. He told me to go out and enjoy the nightlife tonight. I think he forgets that I used to live not too far from here and I’m quite familiar with the nightlife of Erie, Pa.

Maybe there’s a good movie on somewhere.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am a big road geek. I’ve always been fascinated by maps and roads, especially the interstate system. I’ve recently started studying to become a real traffic engineer, making my life long interest into my “final” career.

When I started out on my long trip yesterday, I had intended to drive down into Virginia and spend some time in *Pulaski, Va., since I had grown up near *Pulaski, N.Y. and I had always been curious as to what Pulaski, Va. was like. Due to traffic conditions and whatnot, I wouldn’t really have made it down there in time to do anything but drive through, wave a bit and then head back home along Interstate 81, with my expected arrival to be Sunday night around 8 p.m.

I must be getting old.

So when I got up this morning, I decided that I would take a different route and drive the entire length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Earl and I have traveled on various portions of the “Nation’s First Superhighway”, especially the eastern end since his family lives just off the last exit of the turnpike, but I had never driven all the way to the western end where it crosses into Ohio and becomes the Ohio Turnpike. As a road geek and aspiring traffic engineer, I’ve always been quite fascinated by this road because a good share of it’s original design from the late 1930s is still in place and in use today.

So I drove from Carlisle, Pa. to the Ohio line (and beyond) along the Pennsylvania Turnpike today. And while it’s “just a road” to most, it’s a creation of civil engineering beauty to me. It’s very fun to drive in that there’s a lot of scenery, especially this time of year with the autumn colors painting the mountains, plus there’s curves and hills and straightaways and everything that makes driving the RSX on this roadway fun. Plus it has tunnels!

One of the things I especially like about the Turnpike is that it was built, for the most part, along an old railroad bed. So unlike it’s northern counterpart, the New York State Thruway, it passes close to civilization rather that far away from it. There’s things to see along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

I was in road geek heaven today. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is officially my “favorite road”.

Here’s a very detailed history of the roadway, courtesy of fellow road geek Jeff Kitsko.

Here’s my blog entry from last year (complete with photos), from when I visited an abandoned portion of the original Turnpike (including an abandoned tunnel) near Breezewood, Pa.

And here’s the official site of The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

* The “ski” in Pulaski, Va. is like pronounced like a ski slope, and the “ski” in Pulaski, N.Y. is pronounced like the clear blue sky. Pulaski, N.Y. is the only one that does the odd pronounciation.

The Voices.

I was sound asleep and I was hearing voices. Loud voices. Voices loud enough to wake me out of my peaceful slumber. So I got up and padded around the hotel room. As I got out of bed, the voices stopped. I figured they were part of some quickly fading dream that I didn’t remember and quickly dismissed the insignificant experience.

As I started readying myself for the day, I started hearing these voices again. I peeked out the peep hole in the hotel room door, no one was out there. I cracked open the door, taking great pains to not expose my current state of undress and took a cautious glance up and down the hotel corridor. No one in sight in either direction.

And then the voices started getting louder. And angrier. Somewhere in my head, two people were arguing. Oddly enough, the voices were female. I confirmed that the television was off. I put my ear up to the common walls with the other rooms, no sounds from there.

But the voices persisted. Loud, angry, non-English voices. Accusatory tone. Somewhat shrill. “Is this how one goes mad in a hotel room in Maryland?”, I pondered. Do I have some Exorcist thing going on?

And then it dawned on me, the voices were coming out of the vent in the bathroom. Apparently somewhere in the hotel, some surly guests or the housekeeping staff were having some hellacious cat fight. They were still yammering and almost hissing at each other.

And they were broadcasting it over the “bathroom p.a. system.”