Thursday, August 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!!!

In 2011, for Chris' birthday, we did a nice little two-day motorcycle ride since his birthday fell on a Saturday. This year, it was my turn for my birthday on Sunday, July 29th. Originally, Chris was supposed to teach a Basic Rider Course on Saturday, so we made plans to go away Sunday to Monday instead. Even with Chris giving up his course to another coach who needed the hours to remain "legit," we kept to our Sunday/Monday travel plans and headed to Erie, PA for the night. Our overnight accommodations were courtesy of a friend who works at the Sheraton Bayfront, which was a lovely gesture!

We left Sunday morning around 11 AM with a rough idea of our route to Erie. In June, I met our friend Matt for lunch and mentioned this upcoming trip. Matt suggested we follow PA 36 as much as possible - that it was a much better option than US 422 and definitely better than the interstates! The best part of this plan was heading south on PA 550 so I could finally...FINALLY...snag a decent picture of the gorgeous barn with the Red Man painting!

Thumbs up for a birthday getaway!!!

It's about time I got a good picture of this barn!

And here's a close-up!
On our way to Erie, we passed through Prince Galitzin State Park. We may have passed through here once or twice before, but we've never stopped to actually visit and/or partake of the recreational opportunities here. I'd like to remedy that. PGSP seems like it has it all! Camping, a beach, boating, hiking, horseback riding!

We did stop at an overlook while riding through the park.

Believe it or not, there's a boat out there!

And with 10X zoom, here it is!
Running on empty (no breakfast), we decided to stop in Punxsutawney for lunch. We found a Wendy's just off of PA 36. It was packed inside - the after church crowd, I suppose. We had a quick lunch at Wendy's before pointing the bike in the direction of Pennsylvania's tidal waters. Riding through Punxsy, I managed to snag pictures of a few more of the Phil statues in/around town.

We took a detour off of PA 36 when we got to Cook Forest State Park. Instead of remaining on 36, Chris took a side road that followed the river. He said he didn't think I'd mind the detour because of the scenery. He was right.

What I wasn't able to capture in the photographs were the TONS of people out in the river in kayaks, canoes, and inner tubes. Whenever there was a break in the trees along the road where I could snag a decent picture of the river...well, there simply were no tubers/kayakers/canoers to be seen! But there were plenty of them, trust me. If I hadn't already been having so much fun on the motorcycle, I have to say that lazily floating down the Clarion River in an inner tube seemed like a pretty cool way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

We joined back up with PA 36 and continued northwest, passing the restaurant where we'd stopped for lunch in April 2011 during our day ride for the 2011 Burger Run with Jerry, Leisa, David, Jeremy, and a few others.

Stop at Knotty Pines for delicious subs!

National Polish Alliance in Titusville, PA

Lots and lots of cruisers in and around Titusville on Sunday!

The paint job on this barn may have faded a little...

Titusville, PA on a gorgeous July day.

Before too long, we were rolling into Erie. The first exciting sign I saw was this one:

I know where we'll be having breakfast on Monday morning!!!
We arrived at the Sheraton at 5 PM and immediately got cleaned up to head outside to walk around, take in the sights, and find a spot for dinner.

The view of the convention center and the lake from our 7th floor room.

Muskoka Moose made the trek to Erie with us!

The Victorian Princess

The marina in front of the hotel.

A helicopter landed at the nearby hospital.

And took off again shortly thereafter.

We opted for the nearby Smugglers Wharf for dinner.

My Caribbean salad and my birthday pina colada!

My coconut shrimp.

Chris' chicken fetuccni Alfredo.
Following dinner, we walked back to the hotel. On our way back, we came across an old Suzuki Katana, a tow boat, and a car from Maine with two GORGEOUS wooden kayaks atop!

Back in our room, we watched the Olympics and Chris gave me my birthday present.

Spying on a sailboat from our room.

Muskoka Moose held my present.

Ooooo, a tiny little box...what could it be?!?

Yes, yes, yes!!! A Pittsburgh Penguins pendant!!!
When we noticed it was almost time for the sun to set, we ventured back outside to take some pictures and then go in search of dessert. I think the sunset pictures speak for themselves!

Back inside the hotel, in the lounge, for birthday dessert.

Watching the Olympics while we waited for our desserts.

Chris' cheesecake on the left; my key lime pie on the right.
Key lime pie as birthday cake? WIN!!!
We stayed in the lounge for about an hour watching the Olympics in the comfy chairs before retiring to our room for the night. It was the women's gymnastics qualifying night and we both decided that McKayla Maroney is a) awesome and b) most likely an elf. LOL! She's adorable and kudos to her for rockin' the vault the way she did!!!

With another birthday "in the books," Monday would mean a return trip home...but not before we encountered some wild animals...stay tuned!!!

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