On Saturday, June 22nd, Chris had to teach all day at the motorcycle range. While he was working, I packed a bag for our overnight on Monday. All I would need to add to the bag on Monday afternoon would be our toiletries. When I left for work on Monday morning, I left hidden instructions for Chris that would make him aware of my plans later in the day.
At 3:45 PM, I called Chris from my office. When he answered, I played a recording which clued him in to the hidden instructions and all that he needed to do to be prepared to be "taken" that afternoon. (Long story short here, folks...the recording was done by Mike O'Meara, host of The Mike O'Meara Show which is a daily podcast that Chris and I enjoy. Mike does a fantastic Liam Neeson imitation and was gracious enough to call my cell phone and leave a message with the message I'd scripted. In short, it was awesome!)
When I arrived home at 4:15 PM, Chris was waiting in the basement as instructed. This meant I could grab our "bug-out bag," toiletries, and cold drinks for the ride to Pittsburgh, as well as stash Chris' birthday cake in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer. I went down to claim Chris about 10 minutes later, and told him to bid farewell to Oscar...that he'd see him again the following night.
We hit the road at 4:38 PM. We stopped once in Ebensburg, PA, and arrived at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown at 7 PM. The Wyndham is the hotel where ERAPPA 2010 was held. That's how I know Brandon; he's the director of convention services there. We valeted the car and checked in. Brandon hooked us up with a great end-of-the-hall suite on the 21st floor. We dropped our stuff in the room, briefly took in the views, and then headed out to dinner.
|Chris in the living area of the suite.|
This part of the room looked out over Point State Park and the North Shore.
|The bedroom area of our suite.|
This part of the room had a city view.
|Looking at Chris from the bedroom.|
|Riding the elevator down to head out to dinner on Chris' last day in his 30s.|
|In front of the Wyndham.|
|The fountain was on at Point State Park!|
|The top floor is the 24th floor. Count down to 21 and the open windows on the front and back are the windows in our suite.|
|Crossing on the pedestrian section of the Fort Duquesne Bridge.|
|Check out the giant pineapple at the Del Monte Foods Building!|
|Root Sports is also located in the Del Monte Foods Building. Alas, we did not see Dan Potash.|
|Our dinner destination!|
|Waiting for his noms...|
|Feeling pretty confident that this whole birthday surprise thing is going well!|
|HOT boneless buffalo wings.|
|Ready to dig in...or stab in!|
|Chris' 1/2 pound BBQ bacon burger.|
|My shrimp tacos.|
|This guy - and his kilt - were at the table next to us. Chris managed to sneak this pic when he and his party left the restaurant. I guess a kilt is one way to beat the heat!|
|Looking at Point State Park and the fountain from the North Shore.|
|Looking back on what could possibly be my favorite city from the North Shore.|
|Approaching Heinz Field.|
|Hanging out with Art Rooney.|
|Art was the man!|
|Chris checks out Heinz Field.|
|Looking into the stadium. Top right, second to last section, half-way up...|
that's where I sat for the Zac Brown concert in 2011.
|Riverboat in the foreground, Duquesne Incline in the background.|
|Carnegie Science Museum...we'll be back soon!|
|The submarine tour is included in the CSM admission.|
|Time for some hot casino action!|
|Water feature at the entrance to Rivers Casino.|
|Chris plays video poker.|
|Redeeming his winning ticket.|
|Waiting for his pre-birthday payout!|
|Beautiful Pittsburgh at night.|
|The fountain at night.|
|The Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.|
|CSM at night.|
|Quirky light feature at CSM.|
|The Duquesne Incline at night.|
|The view from the Fort Duquesne Bridge looking back on the North Shore.|
|Someone was launching Chinese lanterns from Point State Park while we were walking back.|
|Walking under the Fort Duquesne Bridge toward the hotel.|