Dinner Any Time


FTC Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Pittsburgh, PA

Before leaving Gettysburg, I thought I should give my aunt in Pittsburgh a call as a courtesy. The last time I was at her house was 30 years ago and the phone number I had was probably equally old but what the heck. The number rang which was a good sign. The next instant a familiar voice answered. Wow! I nearly fainted. As soon as she heard I was traveling through the state, she invited or rather insisted I visit her. I have other aunts but she has always been the family favorite, probably because she is so much like our parents were, full of life and fun. I also discovered one of her daughters still lives nearby so there was no way I was going to pass on an opportunity to see both my aunt and cousin.

The drive to Pittsburgh was not uneventful. The highway goes through several tunnels which I always enjoy. At one tunnel, there was a huge sign that went on and on in print too small to read at 55 miles an hour about what is not allowed to go through. I wasn’t sure if my propane tanks on the trailer were allowed (they were apparently). There was also a long line developing to go through. I am not real good at waiting in stop and stop traffic especially with 7200 pounds behind me pushing me. I decided to opt for the over mountain route instead. Just my luck, I got stuck behind some idiot trucker who seems to believe he owns all the roads. He took the entire mountain at 20 miles an hour despite a huge line of cars behind him and numerous opportunities to turnout to let us pass which he is legally required to do, assuming of course that he is not actually God or the true owner of all roads in America. Everyone was angry as hell that night I am sure. <chanting chanting cooling down> On the plus side, the route I took passed right by the spot where flight 93 crashed on 9/11 so I got something out of that route. When they said it crashed in a field I immediately thought open flat land but it is certainly not. It is a very hilly and beautiful area.

I suppose I should hide the fact that despite my appearance with all this traveling alone, I can be a bit of a fraidy cat at times. My aunt told me she thought my trailer would fit in her driveway but the driveway I remembered had a steep incline down into the garage as many Pittsburgh area houses do. I chose to play it safe and drop off my trailer at a campground in storage 20 miles away. There are no campgrounds particularly close to the Pittsburgh area or the suburb Bethel Park where my aunt lives. If nothing else, it would be a good test of how long the trailer batteries would hold out while in storage and helping to run my refrigerator on propane. Since I do plan on taking a cruise for a week or two at some time, this would be something that would be good to know considering I live full-time in my trailer. They lasted a little over 2 weeks by the way. 🙂

I arrived at my aunt Marge’s house while she was gone but she left the door open for me. While I was moving in LOL , a very familiar face showed up at the door. At first I thought it was my aunt because it looked so much like a young Marge to me. After a minute I realized it was my cousin Vicki. It is hard seeing someone after 30 years because I will always remember has as a young girl. She does look great though and it was easy getting back into family chitter chatter. She took me out to a nearby TGI Fridays for dinner which would be only one of many fabulous dining experiences while there.

Aunt Marge, while older, is still the wonderful aunt I remembered. I asked her to show me a little of Pittsburgh since I had never really seen it and boy did she! We hung out at Station Square, we rode the funicular up the incline, we rode the trolley (my first trolley ride) into town for an evening of sightseeing, we rode the duck (combination Army truck/boat) tour around Pittsburgh and right into the river, she took me to see my first symphony with the Pittsburgh Symphony playing the POPS with a Viva Las Vegas theme, we dined in very expensive restaurants on steak, shrimp, halibut in orange sauce, and yellow fin tuna. We strolled through the Grand Concourse which is the old, very stylish train station she used to ride into as a young girl now converted to a very fancy restaurant. She also took me to a BBQ with her AUP singles group which was a lot of fun with some very nice people and to one of those free financial seminars since it turns out she is quite knowledgeable about investing.

I in turn fixed a big issue with my aunt’s laptop, helped my cousin buy some electronic items she needed but was not sure about (love spending other people’s money), and I took both of them out geocaching in South Park and on Montour Trail one Saturday. They were excited as I let them hold my GPS to get a feel for it and let them trade for items in the 3 caches we found as well as sign the logs. They found the first 2 themselves. The 3rd was harder since it was deep in a wooded area and it had started raining on us. I had to take over and find that one, my favorite ammo can style. Considering they are 74 and 51 with no GPS experience, the aunt and cousin did extremely well and they certainly got the full geocaching experience.

My one week visit turned into 3 weeks. I picked up my trailer after the first week and did park it in her driveway after seeing her driveway was in fact flat, wide, and long, perfect for my trailer. My cat enjoyed being out of the trailer for 3 weeks though she still was not allowed outside.

My aunt’s cat is quite a mouser or should I say squirreler. With lots of rabbits and squirrels running around, she has plenty of prey. My aunt keeps finding dead half-eaten squirrels in her bedroom and on the roof outside. One day as a I went to use the guest bathroom, a squirrel popped up and scared the heck out of me. I closed the bathroom door quickly and ran for my aunt. Ever prepared, she had a boxy cage trap handy and set it up in there. It took a whole day, till he finally got hungry enough to fall for it. Aunt Marge immediately drove him over to the park and released him. I hear that she caught another one hiding under her couch after I left. Sheesh! Dang cat!

I must say that Pittsburgh is a truly wonderful city and I could easily live there if I didn’t mind winter snow so much. With buses, trains, funiculars, and trolleys the transportation is excellent. It has plenty of culture and recreation with it’s own world-class symphony, PNC ballpark, Heinz Steelers stadium, theaters, immense South Park, 3 rivers, etc. The dining is fabulous. The population there tends to be more senior as people come there and never leave.

While there, we also went sightseeing farther away. I let my aunt drive with my GPS which she is now hooked on. We went to Fort Necessity, the only place where George Washington (then a young english lieutenant) ever surrendered. There was an attack on the French there which both sides dispute as to who started it but Washington surrendered by signing a rain spattered document in french that had not been properly translated and included an admission of responsibilty for it and a promise by the english to stay out of the Ohio area for 3 years (which of course was broken later). Washington and his men were freed to leave.

After the fort, we drove to Falling Waters which is a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright for a wealthy department store family who no longer live there. The son donated it for tours. I love architecture and this house is like nothing you have ever seen before. It is deep in the woods and built over a stream with the local rocks incorporated into the structure rather than being moved. It does not use the usual supports but instead is held up with cantilevers, weight distribution. The steps in the living room which go down to the stream for fishing or dangling your feet in the cool water on a hot day are my favorite. It has many terraces which constantly nag you to come outside and enjoy this secluded green world. The living room is gigantic with a huge fireplace that allows the rock outside to come into the room as part of the floor extending from it. There is a very large swinging hangar and pot next to the fireplace to provide hot refreshment for guests. Windows of a unique design are everywhere. Above the house connected by covered stairs is a guest house with another spacious living room of its own and wide built-in couches that can serve as additional beds. Just outside it is the small cold water swimming pool the former mistress of the house used to enjoy. A large garage is on the other side. This is definitely a must see in the Pittsburgh area. It is only 1-2 hours away and well worth the drive. It can be a walk to the house from the ticket center but they will provide transportation for those who need it if you ask.

For more pics click here.

Comments are closed.