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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

I know this is a question that has been burning deep within us all. Why did the dinosaurs leave Europe? As you all know, over 200 million years ago some of the dinosaurs packed up and migrated from Europe. A few points of interest here. 1. They moved after Pangaea (The earths super continent) broke apart . 2 Immigration laws were just as lax then as they are now. 3. Scientists know they migrated because of Facebook. No my wonderful but silly followers the dinosaurs did not document every single aspect of their lives by posting on Facebook, their fingers were far too clumsy to type. Instead scientists used Network theory, the same process used to track and study internet data like how we connect and move through Facebook. Because I value the readers of this blog I went to all the trouble to look up network theory so I could explain it to you. Unfortunately it requires a lot of words and graphs and all sorts of stuff.  I got rather sleepy after the first few words. So if you really want to know about network theory I suggest google, and please feel free to post your findings in the comment section below.

You may be wondering why I’m discussing this? You are not alone as I often wonder why I talk about certain things. Actually what caught my attention was the more specific question of, How did they cross the great waters? After all the super continent had broken up and I doubt T-Rex would have taken a boat even with an all you can eat buffet, I just don’t see it.  And air travel is out, their carry on would never fit in that little compartment above the seat.  If you have not traveled by air as of late, let me tell you the airlines have become very picky about that sort of thing.

The answers are two fold. 1. Land bridges of course. The second was more interesting. One scientist decided that they swam across the great waters. And how did he come up with this scientific theory? Through great research? No? Through fossil evidence? No, he surmised that elephants can swim, therefore dinosaurs should have been able to swim. Makes perfect scientific sense to me.

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Vacation

Sequoia the Beautiful

Sequoia at Christmas

My friend Brahm will tell you that he has the best dog.  I’d agree with him, but then we would both be wrong.

The truth of the matter is my wife and I have the best and most beautiful dog in the world we know this because A) Sequoia lives with us, so we know. B) People are always stopping us and telling us how beautiful she is. C) At the Grand Canyon she was a bigger draw then the canyon itself.

I don’t have a fear of heights, I can climb a ladder, I climb several every day at work, but I’m not fond of heights there is something especially nerve-wracking about standing on the edge of a cliff.  I knew I suffered from vertigo but I didn’t realize how badly until we stopped at the Grand Canyon.   I asked my wife to hold Sequoia while I went to take the perfect picture.  Once at the ledge I knew I wasn’t getting a picture, it is really hard to hold the camera when you have a white knuckle grip on the safety railing.  My saving grace was the really big guy beside me that was having the same issue.  Together we were able to nudge people out of the way as we moved slowly along the rail until we were safely off the overhang. 

It was the Grand Canyon and vertigo be damned I was getting my picture. My new plan of attack was to let my wife stand on the overhang with Sequoia and I would take a picture of them with the canyon in the background. When I finally located my wife I realized I just wasn’t going to get a picture.  There was my wife (who is claustrophobic and does not like crowds) standing at the edge of the world-famous Grand Canyon, the throng of people around her was not looking at the Canyon, they were all looking at Sequoia.  My poor wife couldn’t even enjoy the view due to all the people who wanted to ask about Sequoia, pet Sequoia and take pictures of Sequoia.  Even the park ranger who was trying to move people off the edge due to the approaching storm stopped to admire Sequoia.

The Grand Canyon, as I’m sure you know happens to be a large tourist gathering place where lots of different languages are spoken.  However, there is the international language of sign.  For example did you know that if somebody comes up to you and bends slightly at the knees, leans forward, hunches over while stretching out their hands and wiggling their fingers towards the floor means, “May I please pet your dog?”  Also when they bring their hand up to their face and bend their index finger at the knuckle several times while pointing at your dog  with the other hand means, “May I take a picture of your dog please?”  additionally, if when doing this they thrust their child at the dog it means, “May I take a picture of your dog with my child please?” What kills me is that I know these people are then going back to whatever country they came from and showing their friends the picture they took of their kid with Maya the dog from Eight Below.  And no, I have never seen the movie.

In short, because of the impending storm, claustrophobia, vertigo and throngs of people more interested in Sequoia then the canyon my wife and I will have to plan another trip to the Canyon so we can actually take in the views.

I’ve never met Alfred, (Brahm’s dog) but I’m betting he also is one heck of a dog!

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