To The Moon and Back

While I was alive at the time, I proved too young to have any real memories of the first moon landing in July, 1969, when Neil Armstrong first planted his foot on Earth's nearest celestial neighbor on NASA's famed Apollo 11 mission. My first space-oriented memories are shunted a little later down the road, with the last moon landings in 1972, follwed by the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz Joint Projects. The former created quite a hubbub when it crashed to earth near the end of the decade, while the latter proved to be an example of détente practiced between this country and its former Cold War adversary the former Soviet Union.

These Marx Toy Company astronaut figurines I found on recently were
exactly like those my parents bought me during NASA's moon mission heyday
I also remember fondly the four astronaut figurines my parents acquired for me and my then three siblings during a long length-of-Florida family trip which included Cape Kennedy, Marineland, and the newly opened Disneyworld, among other destinations. As Marx Toy Company creations, they'd be somewhat valuable nowadays in mint condition, but we treated them as kids would treat them, making pretend moon landings and then, later, into the toy bin blender with teddy bears, Fisher-Price Little People sets, Tonka Trucks, and Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, among other things.

Taking it To The Street (Taco)

Maybe it’s just me, but my experiences with the old school, traditional Mexican Taco Truck can be summed up thus:
  1. I’ve never had a bad meal with a long-established traditional taco truck
  2. Even an average meal at a taco truck rates as a satisfying meal
As time has marched forward since my move to Ohio, I've collected a lot of photos and notes on a fair number of the area's taco trucks. This is by no means definitive or even close to a sampling of every truck that's out there, but I figured it was time to wipe the plate clean, so to speak, and knock out a blog post on what I've found.

A flight of beer from Mare Island Brewing, which pays homage to the blue-collar
workers and servicemen who worked at Vallejo's former Naval Shipyard
My first foodie-style venture I actually wrote about was indeed a taco truck crawl, roughly a dozen or so years ago. Traveling through Vallejo, a traditionally blue-collar town centered around its Naval submarine shipyard, taco trucks are a perfect fit for the area. Based on my samplings, the trucks here averaged higher than those you might find in other more well known cities in the Bay Area (more on that below.) In fact, continual good experiences with taco trucks throughout the area influenced one of my food choices on my first visit into Columbus in 2007.

A Skillet and a Paper, No More

The final print edition of Columbus Alive, which recently announced its online-only
status like an increasing number of publications around the country
The July 3rd edition of Columbus Alive marked a significant and increasingly unsurprising development in the publication's history. The newsprint version of this weekly, which has history dating at least to the 1990s and most likely into the 1980s (see below), will go the way of the dodo bird, with the publication going to a strictly online presence from here on out.

Normally, this mere transition would've been an "Oh, okay" moment for me, a mere blip that wouldn't have merited more than a brief mental acknowledgement.  However, a chance find at an estate sale a few weeks prior provided a golden opportunity for a blog post that I couldn't turn down.

I Got Six: Pennsylvania Travels Wrap-Up

Our travels through Pennsylvania were covered extensively through the last three posts, but I've always ended our series with some places that didn't conveniently fit the flow of my write ups, but are definitely worth a mention in some manner.

Because of the flow of those posts, I wanted to include more detailed contact information for the places we've visited during our travels, like I have traditionally done for all destinations covered in this blog, as well as links to the previous blog posts.

Known to the locals as "Dippy", this Diplodocus sculpture has stood guard in front
of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History since 1999
As we discovered, staying close to the center of Pittsburgh can be a spendy proposition. The Renaissance Hotel in the downtown area was a nice splurge that was conveniently located to our Eddie Izzard show at the Byham Theater that night.  For the rest of our stay, we targeted the Greentree area and the Comfort Inn on Banksville proved to be located close enough to everything and much more friendly to the pocketbook.  I-376 and the Fort Pitt Bridge generally is a sludgy crawl at most times of the day, but thanks to the number of bridges and tunnels in the area, you can easily bypass this route from this hotel to get into all areas of the city.