Monday, September 9, 2013

The 2013 Autumn Driveabout Recap

There was less than a month between the 2013 Summer Driveabout and the 2013 Autumn Driveabout, but it was definitely feeling autumnal as we drove through college-rich New England. Towns of any size were teeming with new-minted freshmen, many of them resignedly trailing their hearty overinvolved parental hangers-on as is the custom of our time.  At one point, we sat at a "Friendly's" ice cream franchise and listed to a large table of young people from a nearby elite university initiate their adult social lives, using the only material they had at hand: comparing notes on how this Friendly's differed from the Friendly's back in New York, or in New Jersey, or wherever.  It was adorable.

You may have seen an earlier version of the official Autumn Driveabout Narrative Maptm last week.  Here's the final version, with a little interpretation.

So, the airplane represents Logan Airport, our "insertion point," where the nice people from JetBlue dropped us off after a cross-continental red-eye and the fine folks from Dollar let us borrow one of their cars.  We headed west on the Massachusetts Turnpike and then south into Connecticut ("Still Revolutionary!") before making the first stop at a "Dunkin Donuts," a fried-breads restaurant found in lovably comic abundance in the New England states.

Our initial destination was New Haven, Connecticut, which is the home of Yale University and its two major art galleries: The Yale University Art Gallery and the Center for British Art.  "University Art Gallery" didn't sound all that exciting when Mrs.5000 was pitching this aspect of the trip, but it turns out to be a more-than-robust museum of the kind we provincial types can only see after lengthy travel.  It was superb.  And free.  The British Art was also very nice.

Alert map readers will have noticed the bride-and-groom icon, which goes a long way towards explaining what we were doing in New Haven during a vacation we had planned as a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia.  Well!  Long-time readers will perhaps recall "G," or "Grey," a longtime member of this online community and winner of the first-ever Dorkfest, way back in aught-eight.  She surprised Mrs. and myself with a wedding invitation a few months back, and since we already had the vacation time boxed out, we were all like "OMG!  SURE!" and this is how we found ourselves in Connecticut trying to come up with compact answers to the question "how do you know the bride?"  It was an awesome wedding involving a vintage carousel and lots of Australians, and Mr. G. is a brainy prince of a fellow with movie-star good looks.  I hope they will produce a bevy of dorky children.
I've never particularly been a Bruce Springsteen fan, but
this record really jumped out during the Montpelier vinyl-fest.

Speaking of producing dorky children, the next step on our adventure was to head north to the cutest town in the United States, Vermont's capital Montepelier, to inspect the new offspring of regular IAT voters Nichim and lamanyana.  He passed with flying colors, and we spent a mellow evening listening to old vinyl LPs from Nichim's father's record collection.

After this, our plan was to continue on to Montreal, but it turns out my passport expired in July.  Mrs.5000 was very understanding about this little oversight, and so we gamely altered our so that it involved only UnitedStatsian activities and destinations.

What About the COUNTIES!??

You might be surprised that I have chattered on at this length without any mention of counties or geohashing.  Well, there were counties, and there was geohashing.

Here are the counties, one new one in Vermont and eleven in Maine:

Yes, I COMPLETED TWO STATES!!  Very exciting.  For Mrs.5000, the take was two Vermont counties, one New Hampshire, and three Maine; she completed Maine as well.

The geohashing expeditions were our first east of Colorado.  We went 2 of 4.  They are #139 - #142, indexed here.

Speaking of Maine: the Colby College Museum of Art has a startlingly strong collection of American painting.  It was pretty wow.

I spent a good long time hanging out with this painting
at the Boston MFA.  It's pretty OK.
Returning to Boston, we made some social calls -- one to a family with three charming daughters, as shown on the map, and another to occasional blog reader Dug.  Dug doesn't get an icon because the map was getting kind of cluttered; he is a cartographer and will understand.  (There was a final Dunkin' Donuts trip that didn't get represented, too.)

Lastly, we spent an afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  It is amazing and overwhelming, a real world-class show.  Three hours and change didn't begin to do it justice, but it was a better viewing experience then the first time I was there, in the late nineties, when I paid the admission just in time to hear an announcement that the museum would be closing in a half hour.

  • States Visited: 5. 
  • Excellent Social Calls: 4.
  • Art Museums: 4.
  • New Counties: 12 [6].
  • States Completed: 2 [1].
  • Geohashing Expeditions: 4 (2 Complete)
  • New States run in: 1 (Connecticut).
  • New State running distance records: 2 (Connecticut, Massachusetts).
  • New States admired art in: 2 (Connecticut, Maine).
  • New States slept overnight in: 1 (Connecticut).
Now, THAT's a vacation!


Dug said...

Guess our dog wasn't charming enough to merit an icon like the three daughters. S'ok I don't think he's too upset about it.

Nice picks (and pics) of the highly under-appreciated Bruce album and the well appreciated Sargent.

The New England tourism industry appreciates your business and hopes you return soon - we have so many nice cashiers.

Michael5000 said...

I will publicly acknowledge that your dog is a Good Dog.

Three daughters story: I showed one of them the icon I had borrowed/altered/made for them, and she casually pointed at the one representing her age rank and noted "I'm the prettiest."

That makes her sound kind of fluffy, though, so I also want to say that she is one of the few people I've explained geohashing to that understood it on the first go. "A lot of adults," I told her, "ask what you find when you get to the hashpoint." "But..." she said, thinking, "you don't find anything, because it's just a random place." High five.

The cashiers were great. Special props to the good-humored old guy at that crazy-busy Gulf station where you top off your rental car at Logan.

margaret said...

Wow, welcome back! Also, thanks for explaining how the Canada trip turned into an East Coast trip; I can stop scratching my head now. Love the spontaneity, the county conquering, the reports on all the IAT diaspora progeny and unions.

gl. said...

i'm surprised you doubted mrs.5000's gallery choice: has she ever steered you wrong?

Michael5000 said...

Thanks Mags! It was grahnd!

gl.: Mrs. 5000 has steered me wrong about art galleries, most recently in Boston, where she had a very strong memory of the MFA being in a neighborhood in which it isn't. Fortunately, our calm and mature approach to problem solving never breaks down, no matter what kind of pressure we're under.