Now before you get your panties in a bunch, this was definitely not on the same scale as the famous GTAF European Meets. Itís not as practical in North America, considering driving from one end of the United Kingdom to the other is like driving across a couple of states/provinces in the United States/Canada. So yeah, distance is a major factor for us and hence, we cannot have the same numbers. I think it's impressive that I managed to get there, since I was by far the furthest away (and in another country). Either way, though, it was still pretty goddamn awesome.
Last year, I was always telling Kevin that one day, I wouldnít mind chilling with him, because talking with him on XBL and such, he seemed like a stand up, solid person. Anyways, in January, I decided to book a flight to my hometown back in Atlantic Canada since I hadnít been there in 2.5 years and wanted to see everyone I grew up with (plus my grandfather turned 70, I wanted to be there for that). Now I was flying from Western to Eastern Canada and Pittsburgh was en route and I planted the idea in Kevinís head that since Iím already flying east, perhaps I could make a small detour to Pittsburgh and meet up.
He was all for that idea.
A few months ago, Lurch brainstormed. He figured that since he was only a little over 500 miles away, he could drive up (he ended up taking a Greyhound, the poor manís transportation), so it became a possible meet-up between myself, Kevin, and Lurch.
More brainstorming occurred.
Philadelphia was only about 350 miles away from Kevin and we knew that trip and *MURDOC* both lived there. Why not try and get them in on the fun?
It was planned out mostly at the last minute.
A few days before the trip, the facts were in place: Lurch would take the Greyhound up to Pittsburgh and arrive July 3 at 0830 while I would land at 1021 at the airport. On July 5, we would head down to Philadelphia and meet up with trip and *MURDOC*.
On July 3, 2012, I flew out of Edmonton International Airport at 0015 (UTC-07) en route to Toronto-Pearson International Airport. Shortly after 0630, I proceeded to the United States Border Inspection Office at Toronto-Pearson in order to clear immigration and to be properly admitted into the United States of America. I had worried about this part, because I figured telling a CBP officer I was going to meet up with an Internet friend would sound really strange. Oddly enough, I just said I was going to visit a friend and nothing else came up about it Ė he (the officer) was more fixated on my address in Canada. I got my stamp to enter legally (as you can see here)
I sat in the American departures lounge waiting for my flight to depart for Pittsburgh, which was about 2.5 hours. I was very disappointed there was not a Tim Hortons in the area, because I really needed my coffee.
Just before my flight left Toronto-Pearson International Airport, I texted Kevin letting him know I would be arriving in Pittsburgh at 1021 (UTC-05) and that we would be getting breakfast when I arrived, because I was very hungry. He affirmed.
At 0900 (UTC-05), I departed Toronto en route to Pittsburgh and landed around the scheduled time. I texted Kevin to let him know the plane had landed, but he said he and Lurch were already at an IHOP down the road from the airport. I said I was mad and that I would have paid for breakfast. They immediately dashed IHOP (they hadnít actually eaten yet, but placed an order) and came to the airport. By the time I got off my flight and collected my bag, they were waiting outside. We shook hands and exchanged minor pleasantries and went on our way to get some breakfast.
On the drive to the place where we ate breakfast, Kevin cocked his firearm (which scared the hell out of me) and then ejected the magazine and handed the firearm and magazine to me, sort of a ďWelcome to AmericaĒ gesture.
The first day of the trip was pretty relaxed. After eating breakfast, we went back to Kevinís and just chilled for the day, which consisted of eating and drinking plenty of Yuengling. I was pretty exhausted because I had taken a red-eye and failed to sleep on the plane because of a very whiny kid sitting next to me across the aisle, so I took a nap at one point.
The next day, July 4, was a day of celebrationÖ yíknow, Independence Day and all that. I figured Iíd join in on the celebrations since I was there. We loaded up on booze (three cases for under $80 to me was considered a steal of deal) and went to Kevinís in-laws for a party, which consisted of good food, drinking, and my favourite part of the trip: guns. We didnít get to shoot for too long, though, as one of the horses on the property broke through the electric fence and Kevinís wifeís grandparents had to go and collect it. After that, we went back to Kevinís and had a feed of Burger King, where Lurch discovered his love for the bacon sundae.
The next day, July 5, was started early as we had a road trip to make across the state to Philadelphia. We got to the hotel just outside of Philly at around 1500 and we gave *MURDOC* as well as trip a call. We finally ventured into the city and it took some time to find tripís place, but we made it there in one piece.
We started drinking tripís beer and Lurch took Kevinís car to go get *MURDOC* and we all ended up tripís place drinking and having a little smoke session afterwards. Of course, after a little bit of pot, we were pretty hungry, and trip knew where to take us. We ventured on the tram to downtown Philadelphia and ended up at an Irish place and had a great Philly cheese steak Ė it was so good. Trip, being the gentlemen he is, paid for the whole thing.
After that, we just walked around downtown Philadelphia and being a guy who loves history, I wanted to see the Liberty Bell, so trip took us there. When we got there, a girl who was probably about 20 was getting her picture taken. Lurch, without missing a beat, yells out, ďDo a provocative poseĒ to the girl. The rest of us walk away in embarrassment, but it was quite funny.
We stopped by another little bar for some more booze, then ended up back at tripís for last call before we ended up going back to the hotel to sleep.
The next day, July 6, was a bit hectic. Lurch was leaving from downtown that day to head back home, but first, breakfast was in order, so we ended up at IHOP. It was quite interesting because Kevin, Lurch, and I were the only white people in there.
Trying to get Lurch to the Greyhound proved to be quite tricky. The station is right in the heart of downtown and that afternoon, there was a fire in the downtown core, so many of the streets were closed. Eventually, when we figured out we werenít getting anywhere, Lurch and I bailed from the car to get to the Greyhound. When we finally got there, it was packed with people. Now we probably had about an hour to get Lurchís ticket before his bus left and it seemed like none of us knew what to do since everything was done by automatic ticketing booths (i.e. computers) and no one knew how to use them. Eventually, I decided to be a good friend and cut in line and get to a machine (and ignoring the worker who told me I wasnít standing in an actual line) so that Lurch would be able to get out of the city with no problems.
After we sent him on his way, Kevin and I took the scenic route back to Pittsburgh by stopping in a few places, like Intercourse and Pottsville (where the Yuengling brewery isÖ we also got a flat tire there). Kevin and I, both liking politics, started having deep conversations about the politics of our countries and it turns out we see eye-to-eye on most issues, which is quite amazing, considering Iíd say Iím left of center and Kevin being more right of center.
When we got back to his place, we just sat around and chatted a bit more, I had a couple more beer and then slept for two hours, since I was departing at 0700.
Kevinís wife had to work that morning, so she came to the airport with us; Kevin told her the night before that she could sleep in the back seat and he would drive, but at the last minute, he got her to drive since he didnít put his contacts in (pretty sneaky), so she was in a foul mood, but got me to the airport at 0600.
The line-up for security was HUGE and my belt also broke (it was in pretty ratty shape), so when I got into the waiting area, I bought a new belt with my remaining American money and waited for my flight to take me back to Canada.
All in all, it was an excellent trip and Iíd do it over again.
Now for some photos from the trip. Iím sure Kevin or Lurch will post some others, but Iíll post more later than just these 10 (since thatís the limit).
Myself, Lurch, and Kevin. Yes, I know, Iím really short. Itís not fair when the people youíre standing next to are 6í5Ē and 6í2Ē and youíre only 5í8Ē.
Lurch being responsible by pulling around Kevinís infant son in wagon.
A boxing match. Notice the earplugs weíre both wearing. Itís actually live ammunition. Weíre a smart bunch.
It wouldnít be July 4 without shooting a handgun.
The crew: trip, myself, Lurch, Kevin, *MURDOC* - a very sexy bunch.
It wouldnít be a proper trip without booze.
ďWut are yew lookiní at?Ē
Outside the place we got the Philly cheese steak.
Kevin and Lurch in downtown Philly.
Lurch waiting to go home.
As I said, thereís more photos, but Iíll put them up later. Kevin and Lurch, feel free to add some.
As an added treat, hereís a video of me shooting a handgun down in Ďmurica (thatís Kevinís voice). Yes, I realize my left arm is stiff as can be (probably still a bit nervous), but note the American flag sticking out of my pocket. TEAM AMERICA!
So yeah, Pennsylvania Meetup 2012 was a great success.
Also, this is my 11,000 post milestone, so enjoy that too, bitches.
First off, nice job on intertwining the trip and your milestone in one neat package. Congrats, man.
Secondly, I'm somewhat envious of this trip (and Murdoc's beard). It sounds like it was one hell of a good time. Craig mentioned something a while back about arranging a UK trip. He's away for a while now but he should be pestered into doing it when he returns.
Your post has inspired me to travel soon. I actually got a $400 flight voucher so I'm thinking of meeting up with an old (real life) friend in Ottawa. Problem is, he suddenly went offline for good.
How isolated was it from where you guys were shooting? I shot a double barrel shotgun at my uncles outside of Montreal and cops were around like 10 minutes later (Hes crazy but nice for a guy who speaks broken English)
Nice baby wagon
This post has been edited by Mr.Mister on Monday, Jul 30 2012, 00:11
Still say your a pussy for using earplugs when firing that gun... and no, don't you be telling me it's a cap, if it is, you got big ears, people be all like "Here comes Icky the guy with 9mm ear holes... ewww"... least you would be able to make good candles with all that wax though
Anywaywho, congrats on the 11k, see you at 12... or maybe half one, I've got a meeting with a client that I can't cancel.
PS Anyone notice Lurch's legs look skinny compared to the rest of him like his feet and body, looks shopped... sexy pins mind
Why was this not made public beforehand? I was like 15 miles from you assholes
I thought I made mention of this to you. Honest. Then again I am a flake. Also sorry about dropping out today - Let me know what weekday evening works.
Congratulations on the milestone, Icarus.
I had a good time with you freaks in the city. Not too many people get to casually sit in the back yard of where the Constitution was signed while trying to figure out where to drink next. Actually we may have reenacted a scene from right after the constitution was signed. I bet ya back in 1776 they all sat back there trying to figure out where to drink next.
The only thing that would have made the walk in town better is if Lurch actually kicked the rat.