Moving to NY: Day 6 – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & Pennsylvania

Day 6 started later than we had intended. We had been so tired from the previous hectic day that we slept in later than we had planned. It wouldn’t have been so bad had all we needed to do was pack up, get breakfast, check out and get on the road, but we also had to fit in a trip to Lyon and Healy to drop off my old harp and pick up my new one! I was so excited to get over to Lyon and Healy again (it’s pretty much my favorite store in the whole world) but we knew we needed to get ready to get on the road first, so we got dressed and packed up almost everything (minus the pet stuff – the whole point of checking out after harp swapping was so they could have as much time out of the crate as possible) and went down to breakfast. But not until after Arthas had decided to explore the still-wet shower after Mr. Envoy had gotten out. He was so confused about why the floor was wet! Silly cat lol

“Um, mom? It’s kinda wet in this part of the room… and something is dripping water! What are this?!”

Breakfast at the Hotel Indigo was a nice change for a hotel; instead of having a breakfast buffet we had vouchers for a restaurant on the first floor. We each ordered and I got my usual over easy eggs with sourdough toast and bacon for dipping (I’ve yet to master over easy eggs at home so I always order them when I got out for breakfast :P) while Mr. Envoy went for his usual scrambled eggs. With a long day of driving ahead of us, we needed a solid breakfast to start our day since the rest of what we’d be consuming was going to be fast food crap.

Once we finished breakfast we headed out to the valet to pick up my car and headed off to Lyon and Healy. I’m not a huge fan of driving in big cities, the thought of it makes me super anxious and I start stressing out and wind up with a stomach ache, so Mr. Envoy was tasked with driving to Lyon and Healy while I navigated. I much prefer exploring major cities by foot or public transportation because it’s a lot less stressful for me. Since I was a passenger though I got to enjoy it a bit more than I would have if I was driving, plus I got to snag some pictures while navigating :)

Thankfully Lyon and Healy wasn’t that far from the hotel, only about 10 minutes, but navigating the streets and dealing with delivery trucks parked and taking up driving space which forced people into one lane until you were past the truck was annoying. Once we got there we unloaded Elizabeth and Mr. Envoy hauled her up the stairs and through the front door, which is apparently not where you drop off harps – oops! :P The lady at the front desk let Steve Fritzmann know that I was back and someone met us in the lobby and showed us where to leave Elizabeth.

After she was all dropped off and I had filled out some delivery paperwork we headed up to the showroom where Steve met us. My new harp was back in the Grandjany room waiting for me and she looked just as beautiful as I remembered! Mr. Envoy finally got to meet her in person, and he thought she was absolutely stunning – which she totally is! :D

My second time seeing the showroom at Lyon and Healy in Chicago. I love seeing all those beautiful harps lined up!!

Steve had me sign some paperwork for Elizabeth’s second repair to her soundboard and then we went back downstairs to move my car to the loading area where Steve would meet us with my new harp. It was interesting getting her to fit because of everything we had in the back of my car for the move, but after some rearranging we got it all (concert grand pedal harp, lever harp, stool, music stand, dolly and dust cover) in! Of course now it was a tighter squeeze for Mr. Envoy and I because Elizabeth is a semi-grand harp (which means she’s shorter than a concert grand) and the two front seats of my car didn’t have to be pushed as far forward as they do for a concert grand. Good thing it was a short drive back to the hotel and that he wasn’t driving my car the rest of the trip! Yay for me having short legs I guess haha

By the time we finished harp swapping and were ready to head back to the hotel we were cutting it close to check out time. So we raced back to the hotel as quickly as lunchtime traffic would allow us (which wasn’t fast at all) and after dealing with left turn yields, pedestrians not giving a flying you know what about crossing the street and preventing us from turning because we thought running people over was probably not the best idea, and cars going straight feeling like blocking the intersection even though there was no where for them to go because their light was red and thus also preventing us from turning left, we made it back to the hotel with 15 minutes to spare! So needless to say I was a tad anxious and cranky by the time we finished parking my car in the loading zone (with the hazards on) in front of the hotel and raced back up to our room. We got the cats stuffed in their crate, emptied their food, water and litter box and packed them up, threw all the luggage/pets on the luggage trolley thing and raced back down to the lobby. We ended up being a few minutes past check out time and were certain they were going to charge us for another day, but the gentlemen behind the counter was very nice and checked us out as if it had been 2 minutes earlier.

Phew!

So out we headed to the front of the hotel where my car was with our luggage trolley thing full. I went to start loading my car while Mr. Envoy grabbed his car from the valet parking when I saw it… a piece of paper sticking out from under my windshield wiper.

I had gotten a damn parking ticket.

We spent the first 5 days being SO careful to not speed and wind up with a speeding ticket since we figured we stuck out like sore thumbs with both cars having California plates, and not ONCE did we get a speeding ticket. But oh no, I get a damn parking ticket in Chicago. For not even moving my damn car.

FFS.

I got it in the loading zone for the hotel, so obviously I could park there to load as long as my hazards were on (which they were), but because Murphy’s Law is my BFF for ever and ever I naturally ended up parking there when they could give me a damn ticket, which was a very small window of time, once a week. They had teeny tiny signs posted stating that on Tuesdays from 10am-1pm you can’t park there because of street cleaning. But oh no, better not make those damn signs bigger, or else how would they get a stupid out-of-towner like me to park there because I haven’t made it part of my parking ritual to search for those teeny tiny stupid little signs?

*insert rage here*

So I stuff the stupid ticket in my car to deal with at a later date. We had 60 days to pay for it, so I decided we’d take care of it once we got to NY… no point in letting it stress me out even further when I still have the stresses of navigating out of Chicago, getting back to the I-80 East, losing another hour when we hit east coast time somewhere in Indiana, and getting to our hotel in Pennsylvania before midnight!

Once both cars were loaded and our GPS’s were set for Clarion, PA we said good riddance to Chicago and got back on the road. Navigating our way out of Chicago was tricky because the Mr. Envoy’s GPS kept losing signal around all the tall buildings, which made it even more important that we stayed together/in range of our walkie-talkies so we didn’t get lost. Eventually we made it onto the I-90 (which would later turn into the I-80) and made our way into Indiana; but not before paying 2 tolls and then being forced to merge into one lane because of a car accident. Oh well, at least we got to enjoy seeing Wolf Lake as we drove through it, right? lol

Indiana was pretty from what I could see of it from the interstate; quite a few green trees and scattered small lakes everywhere. The most water I’m used to seeing is in the ocean (or that nasty salt-filled thing of water known as the Salton Sea that reeks of dead, rotting fish), so it was a really nice change to start seeing random lakes and rivers pop up.

Eventually we made it to Ohio, which was more of the same. I found myself thinking a lot about how hard it was for me to imagine these places covered in snow. Hell, I still have that problem/those same thoughts on Long Island. My brain just has a really difficult time processing how all this green will eventually be covered in snow and ice. I guess that’s what happens when you take a California girl and move her to pretty much anywhere that’s not California/somewhere that gets snow? lol

As we neared Pennsylvania Mr. Envoy told me about the times he had been there and just how gorgeous it is. He said the trees are different than anything he had seen before, and that they go for miles. Anywhere you look is rolling hills, or sudden drop offs, all covered with these trees that you don’t find anywhere else but the east coast. And he was right, when we finally made it out of Ohio (and away from the toll roads that had plagued us ever since we reached Illinois) and into beautiful Pennsylvania you just knew. The whole scenery had changed and it was an entirely different shade of green than we had seen before.

We also saw the first sign telling us how far away New York City was when we got into Pennsylvania. I know we had already been on the road for 6 days, but with that sign it finally started to feel real!

Our hotel wasn’t too far into Pennsylvania, about 90 miles or so. As we made our way there we took in what scenery we could before the sun fully set and we ended up driving in darkness. Once it was dark we spotted one of my new favorite things I had discovered on this trip (but forgot to mention in my post about Nebraska) – GLOWY BUTTS!

Okay, so that’s not their real name but I quite like the name I gave to Fireflies :)

I’m not a bug person, but glowy butts seem to be the exception. So long as they remain glowy of course! I saw them when they aren’t glowy and they look like a giant fly thing, which is icky. But as long as their little butts glow I’m okay with them!

The glowy butts we found in Pennsylvania were in the grass of the interstate median, and since we couldn’t look at much else it was nice to at least see them on the last part of our trek for the day.

YAY FOR GLOWY BUTTS!

Sorry, I get excited about them. I guess that’s probably another thing that happens when you take a California girl and put her somewhere new, she discovers things she’s never seen before and gets far too excited about them – such as glowy butts!

After a long day we finally made it to the Holiday Inn Express in Clarion, PA sometime after 10pm. When we pulled up in front of the hotel and got out to check in we were hit with a wall of yucky mugginess, which meant there was no way I was leaving my harps in the car overnight.

When Mr. Envoy and I walked inside and were checking in I noticed that this hotel was far more dated than any of the other Holiday Inns we had stayed at. So when the lady at the front desk told us to pull around to a specific side of the building and go up the stairs to get to our room I had to stop her and ask… “Where are the elevators?” I figured almost all hotels had elevators, so which floor our room was on was never a big deal, and I was right – almost all hotels had elevators. Just not this one. Go figure. And it was really muggy out, so as I said I wasn’t going to leave the harps in the car overnight, and I also wasn’t going to make poor Mr. Envoy lug a concert grand harp up a flight of stairs after driving 470 miles!

So we ended up having to swap from our room with a king size bed on the second floor to a handicapped room with a queen sized bed on the first floor because that’s all they had left. The bed swap wasn’t a big deal, but the bathroom was really odd because it was designed for handicap access. But hey, I could get the harps out of the terribly muggy weather (I seriously hate humidity!) and into our air-conditioned room for the night so I couldn’t really complain.

Day 6 was finally finished so while Mr. Envoy got a game of Heroes of the Storm in, the animals and I passed immediately. I had plans to get out of Pennsylvania ASAP in the morning because I did not want to drive through NYC during rush hour, even if that meant we didn’t get much sleep.

But there was only 1 more day left… Just 1 more day and we would be on the island we will call home for the next 3 years…

<3 and harp strings,
Kate

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