We arrived mid afternoon to Ross and Jen’s new house in Connellsville on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. We were greeted straight away by John, another mutual friend of Lee and Ross, and our amazon packages. We had been gradually ordering everything we had forgotten online and getting it sent in advance for us to collect. John hadn’t escaped either and had to bring us our beam pattern stickers for our English headlights as we couldn’t very easily get them in the US.
Soon enough we met Jen for the first time, and also their two dogs, Leo and Jake (who is being held by Ross in the photo below) and their cat, Aurora.
Shortly after rearranging the van around the back of the house, Ross was back from work and before long we were all enjoying several beers and waiting for our other friends Rob and Chloe to arrive from their drive down from Canada where they had been staying the last week.
We were already several beers down before it turned out the Ross had given Rob their old address, so it was pretty dark and getting cold before they managed to find us. I think it was fair to say the lads enjoyed the first evening all together for a long time.
With Lee feeling a little worse for wear the following morning we went for a day of sightseeing. Our first stop was to visit the flight 93 memorial, the entrance to the site has the Tower of Voices memorial which is still under construction.
There will be one wind chime to represent each passenger aboard the flight, when its finished.
Carrying down we went to the visitor centre, and it was pretty sad to be reminded of what happened on 9/11. I can still remember seeing the news on TV as a child and rewatching the same footage again nearly 20 years later was quite an odd experience. The museum has lots of information on the passengers, the timeline of events and you can even listen to the last phone calls made by some of the passengers minutes before the plane crashed. Most of us, including me, didn’t quite manage to listen to them as it was already quite an emotional experience.
Driving on from the museum we went down to the actual crash site where a boulder righ at the back of the photo represents the final resting place of the plane.
Needless to say after a bit of a heavy (if interesting) morning we were ready for something a little more light hearted. Although we did see this beauty in the car park.
Ross and Jen took us up to Mount Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania.
We also managed to fly Steve from the top of the observation tower.
We tried to take a selfie with our terrible selfie stick – sorry half of Johns face…
Having definitely missed lunch by this point, we went to a cafe/shop nearby to try and get some food. Unfortunately they had stopped serving, so we made do with some enthusiastic cheese tasting (I’ve never had coffee cheese before…) in the shop before heading for a more reliable Maccies.
On the way back to the house we stopped Nemacolin Resort and got to see a black bear finally, even if it was in captivity.
There was a barbecue planned for tonight so we stopped off again for some supplies on the way as we seemed to have drunk most of the beer…
We met a load of Ross and Jens friends and played probably the largest game of Cards Against Humanity I have even been involved in. The American version of which, is not the same as the English one and left a few of us a bit confused as to whether we were being funny or not. After another late night and an very big bin bag full of empty cans, we headed to bed.
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Saturday was the day of the gig, and after two late nights drinking we had a bit more of a lazy day. Rob and Chloe went into Pittsburgh early as Rob couldn’t resist the temptation of the bicycle museum, and we stayed around the house and chilled out for most of the day.
I had a go at fixing some of Ruby’s niggles including the unrelenting coolant leak and fixing the roof rack on properly. I also discovered that half the front beam wasn’t bolted on tightly which is the reason we have been getting a horrible clunking noise over bumps on the right hand side… The bolts were rusted solid though so I was going to have to buy a breaker bar to sort that.
Towards the end of the afternoon we headed into the city as we wanted to go and see Mount Washington before the gig. This gives a great view over the whole city, and was definitely worth the faff over parking.
We went to Primanti Brothers for some serious sandwiches and very cheap beer to see us through the gig.
It felt like a pretty stormy evening by the time met up with Rob and Chloe in the rain outside the venue. We headed in for the typical music venue priced beer. Having just had a pint and a half for $3.25, I was a bit upset but unsurprised to be charged $5 for a can.
Considering I didn’t know any of the bands songs until Lee played me some of them a few weeks ago, I enjoyed watching Streetlight Manifesto. They were full of energy, all seven of them on stage, and put on a great show.
It was around an hours drive back to the house, and we had initially planned to go to Risers when we got back. By the time we got back however, I was pretty tired and Rob and Chloe were heading to bed as they had to be up early to drive to the airport in the morning. So we ended up staying and having a few more drinks at the house, before calling it a night.