Today I left the lovely burrow of Somerset, driving about 7o miles to the Pittsburgh International Airport to fly to Saint Louis. I started writing up my days at Laurel Highlands at 4pm, and by the time I had done reading, data analysis and updating the blog; it was just after midnight. Tea was skipped tea as the prison food (broccoli soup) was very filling. I had a glass (or two) of Australian Shiraz that was brought as a gift for Betsy at Laurel Highlands (Betsy organised the tour) Alcohol was not allowed to be removed from the car on the prison grounds.
Pittsburgh looked quite nice from the highway as I went past – it appeared about the size of Melbourne as a CBD (maybe a bit smaller). It would have been good to do a quick tour of the city but Corolla drop off is at 1030. As I say fair well to the Corolla she tells me I have travelled 1370 miles since picking her up in New York. I The whole driving thing is now OK. On reflection, the hardest driving was heading out of Washington where Siobhan (GPS) could not differentiate between the tangled highways and crossovers – Street signs actually work! – (Very reminiscent of the Roadrunner and Coyote!). Oh by the way; if you are hiring a car for overseas and you are picking it up in one place and dropping off in another; make sure you check whether your travel agent has included the “drop off charge” – oh yeh, that is another $100.
So it was back to more line dancing at Pittsburgh airport. For a regional airport it is huge. With over 100 gates! My bag is overweight by 7 pounds (that is where my weight went!). So I decant as much as I can into carry on luggage and bring it in – 4lbs under! I could have paid the extra $90 for the extra seven pounds! After you check in, you get to go through the maze of security (coats and shoes off please - unless you are over 77 – Apparently fundamentalist ideals vanish after the age of 76?) The line is about 100 metres long and slow to progress. After seeing the flight 93 memorial yesterday it is easy to accept the line dancing. Once through the screening and after redressing myself and repacking the lap top etc. On walking to teh departure gate you are directed to a train that takes you to your gate. OK?....... The train travels for about 60 seconds underground and you arrive at a complex with Gates A, B, C & D . This complex is a least as big as Tullamarine and I think it is just for domestic flights.
After landing in St Louis, and picking up the next car, a Chevrolet Cruz (yes they are the same as the holden); I made my way strait to Jefferson City the capital of the State Missouri and the county seat of Cole County.. As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,079. Jefferson City was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. The city is dominated by the domed Capitol, rising from a bluff overlooking the Missouri River to the north. – it is very impressive. A tour will have to wait until after my meeting with the prison authorities tomorrow.
On the food front.... Breakfast was an interesting experience: when I first looked at the slow cooker full of “sludge”, I thought it was porridge (oatmeal in USA). It was a very similar colour, but the savoury smell told me, my first impression was “probably” wrong. On closer examination I could see dark small “chunks of something” – the little sign on the side of the pot indicated it was sausage and gravy. “Why not!” – the sausage and gravy mix was had on toast. It was pretty filling – hopefully it would last me for the day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_gravy
The mistake of the day .... buying an iced tea at the airport. It was SICKLY sweet and tasted something like maple syrup. Where can you get a good cup of tea in the USA? (Probably Boston?) You slowly get used to the coffee which is a bit like conference coffee wherever you go – Even a Latte at Starbucks was murdered – the milk was burnt and so disappointing. Then again, Starbucks did a very nice hot chocolate the other day; so maybe the Latte experience was just a bad day thing. Dinner was a plain salad and DC (diet coke)