20 Hours in Pittsburgh Through Photos

Road trips with my family have always meant a mix of too much time together and countless fond memories. The past few years, road trips have turned into a time to bond with either my mom and dad in order to get my car to and from Delaware. Slowly I have developed a urning to do the drive by myself, and by some miracle my parents agreed to let me do so.img_8325

I originally divided my solo drive from Delaware to Illinois with a stop in Cleveland to visit my friend Caitlyn. I loved experiencing that city, but I wanted to switch it up on my way back. Pittsburgh, which my family had stopped in to break up our drive before, struck my fancy. It is about 7 hours in to the 12 hour drive, making it the perfect location. I was fortunate to have my parents pay for a hotel for the night, but I took it upon myself to explore a bit while I was there.

Pittsburgh gave me a good vibe as soon as I was within city limits, with the bridges and buildings making the drive to my hotel different from what I had expected. I had never been in an American city with mix of mountains and roads before. Snow started to fall soon before I entered the city, so I was excited to wake up to a heavily dusted version of my hotel view. The next morning I visited a highly recommended coffee shop and took it upon myself to explore the streets as I did. Here’s what I found.

Commonplace Coffee On Buena Vista Street

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In true anxious fashion, I went in and out of this unfamiliar coffee shop quicker than planned. Maybe it was my day-two-of-the-roadtrip-“bum” look, or it was my fear that my car was somehow illegally parked, but I only took a few minutes to take in the interior of the shop. That was still enough time to appreciate some of what it had to offer. My dirty chai was a solid 6/10, and my blueberry muffin a 9/10. If I lived in Pittsburgh, I would definitely spend a lot of time here.

The Rest of the Mexican War Streets

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Up the street from the coffee shop, I found some beautiful buildings. I was stunned by their bright, rich colors. I took the opportunity to whip out my Nikon and take some shots. I explored a few snow-covered streets and did not care whether people questioned why I was photographing their comes. They must know what they have, right?

On The Way Out

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I placed my Nikon on the dashboard of my car and occasionally pressed the shutter button, while keeping my eyes on the road, to see what would happen. As expected, most of them were blurry or boring. I was pleasantly surprised by this shot that captured the snow and the diffused light.

I can’t wait to hit the road again, whether it be alone or with some company. Tackling the road alone created a sense of accomplishment that I had never felt before. Having that feeling again, or experiencing a new route and place with friends, is something to look forward to.

I am forever thankful it was a smooth trip both to and from Delaware.

 

Casey

My Road Trip & Travel Essentials

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I sleep better on planes and in cars than in my own bed.

I believe this stems from the many hours I spent staring out of the window of my family’s red SUV while we drove as many as fifteen hours to Ocean City, New Jersey (From Chicago). It should have only taken twelve hours, but my brothers could never control their bladders or stomachs.  I can still picture the small television we had in back of our car and I can practically feel that back seat car sick feeling I got from watching it. That’s why I always stared out the window. As long as this trips were, I loved them. I miss them and the time I spent with my family.

I find myself going on road trips less and less often, but now I am about to take a road trip that will not be followed by another one just one or two weeks later. My mom and I are leaving at five AM to drive to OC, then we will drive another 1.5 hours to drive me to school a few days later.

I think that after all of these years of road tripping, I have picked up a few tips. I am no expert, but I am gonna share them anyway. Although no parents probably read this, I picked up a few things from my parents to make the ride smoother for the young ones and drivers.

Packing:

  1. NEVER pack stuff on top of the car. I will never forget hearing our roof storage zoom off our car and tumble onto the highway on our way home from Nebraska (another one of my family’s 6 hour+ road trip destinations).
  2. Do not bother with suitcases if you do not have to. Baskets and bags stack better. I may find this helpful only because my trips are usually to family houses where I could unpack and use the baskets for dividing laundry, but if that is also your case than this will really help.
  3. Keep snacks easily assessable. Maybe even leave someone in charge of them. My family’s car had captain seats (with no seat in the middle) so we kept ours between them.
  4. If there is ever a time to overpack, this would be it. You don’t have to worry about luggage weight and you never know when you”ll get stuck in the middle of nowhere. 😝

The Drive

  1. Bring pillows. Or a fluffy blanket. Make it really feel like your just at home.
  2. Entertainment is key. I prefer music over movies, but if technology is not an option then games are always fun while the sun is up. Classics like the license plate and alphabet games are great–the first time. If music is your thing, then make a playlist! Avoid those rainy day tunes and throw in some fun #tbt tunes.
  3. Keep a trash bag. It’ll keep the unpacking easier and it just makes you feel more civilized while you basically live from your car for a day.
  4. Do not discuss anything serious. Awkward moments might become hours if the wrong things is brought up.
  5. Car air freshers are life savers.

Looking back a lot of these things may be common knowledge, but at least its all in one place! Some of these things can be applied to a plane (hence the travel essential part of the title), so I hope everyone can use some of these tips and make the most of their travels.

When I think of having my own family, I imagine going on road trips just like my family did. It’s probably a good thing I do not remember the bad parts, except the time I threw up at a truck stop. I guess I’ll find out then how fool proof my own advice is. Before then I’ll use these tips as I travel the world, which I am probably the most excited about. Road trips on the left side of the road or in the desert. Oh the possibilities.

Please share any other tips and tricks you have!

Casey