B&P Vacation

I had a quiet, efficient, and comfortable early production lot 2016 Pilot, with one touch second row seating and a nine inch Blu-ray DVD player, reserved for a long weekend, so I took a few days off work and we had a small road trip. Jodi and the kids headed out a few days earlier to spend time with her folks, and early on Thursday morning I headed out to meet them. I parked the new Pilot next to our old one at her dad's place:

Yes, the new one is better in every way, please see your friendly local Honda dealer. From this base in New Philadelphia, we improvised a vacation that had a lot of playgrounds, and a lot of bikes.



Our first stop was the Warther museum in nearby Dover, Ohio. Mooney Warther was a wood carver turned knife maker, which sounds kind of dull at first, but the museum really showed off his amazing creations:

This walking stick has a ball, carved within a ball, carved within a cage. The inside ball has never been touched by human hands:

This train was something he did later, carved from ebony and elephant tusk. Note the lettering: that's ivory, carved into the letters and words, the placed in a matching carved shape in the base to be flush:

Even the rope was carved, this little detail amazed me as much as anything:

Everything is hand fit together, no glue. Look at those individually carved rivets!

We also saw their knife factory, where Henry learned about proper knife safety:

After lunch, we headed to the old school New Philadelphia town park. They had a playground with a railroad theme:

Slides made up of rollers:

And amusement rides for just $0.50 a ride:



Jodi was the only person Kate could talk into going on this ride with her, and Jodi only did it once:

Back at Grandpa's place, Henry showed off his driving skills with the Mule:

He actually took driving it seriously and did a very good job.

The next day, we loaded up our (predicted) Top Safety Pick+ 2016 Pilot and headed to an exotic animal rescue farm in NE Ohio. Goats aren't exotic, but you can hand feed them:

This is as close as the boys would come to hand feeding anything:

And this is as close as I came to getting a good picture of any exotic animal, a rather vicious dog/coyote hybrid:

We had a picnic lunch at the state park next door, which meant another playground:

After that, we left Ohio and enjoyed the privilege of paying to use our taxpayer funded interstates as we made our way to Pittsburgh. Our first stop was Bicycle Heaven:

This was a place I'd found by some random googling, and didn't know much about. I thought it was more of a bike store with a few token bikes hanging up as a museum, but I had that equation pretty much backwards:

If old Schwinns are your thing, this really would be heaven. Lots of bikes and lots of parts everywhere:

Need an 81mm reach Weinmann centerpull? Fifth bucket from the left:

I'd never heard of this "Butt Poward" bike:

Two bikes wrapped up in an Ohio tree:

The kids' favorite room was this blacklight disco room:

Even the bathroom was bikes:

There were a few mountain bikes:

How many inaccuracies can you count in this description, though:

I count three in the first paragraph. Likewise, this early Mongoose ATB:


Who knew we all had rapid fire shifters and V brakes in 1986?

Still, it was an enjoyable trip, and well worth a stop if you're in Pittsburgh and have a patient family.

To reward the kids for sticking it out in a bike museum, we headed to a nearby playground:

and spray park:

I'll mention here that Pittsburgh has the absolute worst traffic of any city I've ever driven in. LA, Seattle, Atlanta... all cakewalks by comparison. We ended up in a hotel south of town, so we had to cross the tunnels, bridges, and interstate detours several times to get anywhere. Luckily, our 2016 Pilot had very comfortable seats... and that rear DVD system:

The kids could zone out while Jodi and I inched along through miles of detours.

Day two in Pittsburgh started off with a visit to Frick Park, famous for its blue slides:

Actually, it's a blue slide, not plural, but the kids still loved it. Grab a piece of carboard and start sliding:

I can't count how many times they went down it, but we spent at least an hour there. We also hiked around Frick park, some of us staring enviously at the mountain bikers crisscrossing the trails, then walked around the neighborhood after lunch. After that, time for another playground:


With another splash park:

The only typically touristy thing we did in town was to ride the Duquesne Incline up the hill:


Pittsburgh has some great views, you can even see the traffic standing still on the bridges:

On Sunday, we headed back to New Philly to drop Jodi off to pick up her car. Of course, the kids wanted to stay with me, either due to paternal affection, or possibly the DVD player. We stopped in Newark for a Chipotle lunch, then headed next door for one last stop, the Newark Earthworks:


A quick cruise, and we were home.

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