The long road’s end

March 27: Dunellen, NJ

We decided to take a minor road trip down south to visit Eight on the Break, which is definitely one of the coolest arcades I've been to.

All the driving games I like? Got it. All the music-based games for Glenn? Got it. And plenty of fighting games, which Chris definitely enjoyed. It's also the host for the New Jersey Pinball League, lol.

We try to make it down to The Break every time we're in Jersey, of course for the games, but also for the cheap lunch -- $4 buys you a cheese steak sandwich with fries and a drink.

Good times.

March 27: New Brunswick, NJ

We stopped by Dave and Erin's again, without calling ahead. Wasted a few hours, got another fat sandwich dinner at the grease trucks... We figured it was the best way to spend the last day of the trip.

March 28: Back on the road

We woke up early and got breakfast with Chris at the Original Pancake House on Route 10 near Livingston. I drove all the way to Indianapolis by 9pm... Hell, I probably could've made it all the way to St. Louis if we didn't have to stop over...

Met Marcie and my dad in Indy for the Indiana State Yoyo Contest and we stayed overnight in a hotel.

March 29: Indianapolis, IN

Took photos of that Indiana Yoyo Contest. A lot of photos, for free, because there was a ton of interest last time I took photos of an event like this.

2008 Indiana State Yoyo Contest 2008 Indiana State Yoyo Contest

Spent the afternoon driving the last four hours back to St. Louis... And with that, the trip basically ended. (There's still the last leg to Columbia, but that's a no-brainer at this point.) My odometer reads 2340 miles since I've left Columbia over a week ago. I can't believe I did it and I drove it all.

It's been fun, but on the flip side I realized I've got a ton of work to get done over the next couple weeks. Eh, I shouldn't fare too poorly.

I have a lot of photos from the New Jersey/New York trip, but I think I left the negatives in Jersey. The scanner over there also wasn't that great, so I decided to wait to print before scanning/uploading. Eh, I'll keep you posted; it'll be done whenever I get around to it.

Manhattan, New York, NY

Found our way over to the city today.

I got a chance to meet with Brian Hamman, of the New York Times. Got a tour of the newsroom and office (quite an awesome building) and got some lunch with him.

Visited our good ol' friend, Pat -- the guy behind YoYo Nation. We know Pat through Glenn's yoyoing -- he's ordered from that site plenty and Pat actually came down to St. Louis for one of the competitions a year or two ago. (Hell, he had dinner at our house when he was in town.)

Stopped by the B&H Photo super store, too. The place is huge. And from what I looked at, it's got everything the online store has -- it's sheer ridiculous. Got the supplies to develop my many rolls of film (yum, Xtol), which I did the moment we got back to Livingston.

And of course, no trip to New York would be complete without a bite to eat at Tasty Dumpling. Seriously. You can feed a large family for $8 at that place and the stuff actually tastes good. Honest, pick some up and sit down in Columbus Park to eat. It's a good meal.

I've found that navigating New York has become somewhat second nature to me, too. Might have been that summer exchange trip to Germany years ago, but transit maps over here make so much sense to me. Might also be the infographic guy in me, too. Or it could be that I've been to the city at least once a year for the past five years now. Either way. Got in via train, took the subway a few places, took the bus back to Livingston... Got lost once, and that's only because I remembered the wrong street number -- oops.

If I bother to borrow the scanner here, you might get some photos soon. I haven't used my "good" (meaning "digital SLR") camera all vacation, but instead have abused the hell out of my Yashica film camera lately. I dunno, I think I'm falling in love with film again.

Side trip: Parsippany, NJ

My luck is a funny thing.

Back on Saturday night, right after getting into town, I had a tire blow out en route to Chris' cousin's for a family party of sorts. You know, mere hours after finishing a 1100 mile drive. We got the spare on and went on our way. It got to New Brunswick and back fine, too.

To tell you the truth, my tires should've been replaced way back in November -- I've been having trouble keeping one of my tires inflated (a tiny leak practically at the sidewall, hard to completely repair). That was not the tire that blew out.

With help from Chris' dad, we found our way to a couple of shops only to find that they didn't have a full set in my size. We finally ended up in Parsippany, half an hour away, and got it fixed by an understaffed shop that had way too much to do today.

Oh, life. 1100 miles and then a blown tire after getting here? Someone's smiling down on me.

Tomorrow: New York City.

New Brunswick, NJ

Spent the night at Erin and Dave's place at Rutgers. Had quite a blast even though it was just us five there (me, Glenn, Chris, Erin, and Dave). Had a couple trips to some local eats, including Stuff Yer Face and Grease Trucks (which is basically 500 feet from the house).

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Protip: If you're ever near Rutgers, you must get yourself a fat sandwich at some point.

What's a fat sandwich? Think of all the greatest quick food (cheese steak, fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, etc...), put it in a sub bun, throw some sauce on it (marinara, mayo, or ketchup), and suddenly you've got yourself one of the most ridiculous and amazing foods on the planet. Even better are the eccentric names by which the sandwiches are referred to: ranging from the classics (Fat Knight, Fat Sam, Fat Cat, etc...) to the strange (Fat Beach) to the controversial (Fat Dyke, Fat Phillipino, and Fat Bitch). They taste better than they sound, I promise.

Something about the names of things and places, and something about the very food itself screams creativity to me. Screams college town. It's sure got soul.

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Quotable: Chris described SoCo & Lime shots by saying, "Imagine the smallest feather, tickling your ballsack." (Everybody else agreed that they aren't quite that good.)

Livingston, NJ

After nearly 1100 miles, the worst is over. Quick rundown in numbers: 27 hours total, with 20+ hours driving. 1100+ miles. 6 total stops between Columbia and Livingston. Damn, that was smooth.

Okay, so gas the entire rest of the way was cheaper than what it was in Illinois. In fact, one gas station here in Livingston had gas at $2.97/gal... which is cheaper than what it was in even St. Louis.

Never came across any snow, either, even though the forecast for my entire route looked poor. But Bailey was five hours behind me, back in Ohio (en route to D.C.), and told me that it had started snowing there a bit. I guess I outran it or something.

I want to say that I'll be updating with photos throughout the week, but I'm leaning closer and closer to just using film for the week, heh. We'll see.