Hiroko and Otousan Come to America!

Part of my Japanese family finally made it to Pennsylvania - Hiroko and her dad, whom I call Otousan.  Hiroko now resides in Toronto so her dad decided to come over for a visit.  As part of his trip they both decided to come down to Pennsylvania for 2 days and 3 nights.  Let me tell you, it went by really fast!  They arrived around 11:30 pm on a Saturday from New York City and took the train back Tuesday morning.  

It was a great chance to see family and to thank them for taking care of me while I was in Japan.  They are fantastic people and I am lucky to be able to call them family!  The first day we kept it local, making our way to downtown Harrisburg for a quick visit and to see the Capitol building, home for lunch, and then off to Hershey for the afternoon before doing dinner with my dad.  Here are a few of the photos from the first day!

(Otousan always said he wanted a Harley and my mom's husband has one)

(So, he took him for a ride)

(We made our way down to the Capitol building)

(A great chance for a few photo ops)

(There was a tour set to start at 11 but we passed on the tour and just viewed the main entrance)

(The dome is particularly famous in terms of Capitol buildings)

(Another great photo op downtown along the Susquehanna River)

(Then it was Hiroko's turn)

(And Rebecca also got a photo, as did I)

(The bridge to City Island.  I think the thing I love about Hiroko's dad is he is always happy!  I like happy people and he is a happy guy!)

(Chocolate World - You can't come to Hershey and not go to Chocolate World)

(1 pound Reese's Peanut Butter Cup)

(World's Largest Hershey's Bar - 5 pounds)

(Hiroko doing a bit of explaining)

(Hershey Cocoa with the stacks in the background - the street lamps are also shaped like kisses)

(Over to my dad's for dinner and Otousan played the guitar a little)

(My dad played the harmonica)

(Still jammin')

(Dad finishing up his corn on the cob)

(My turn to play Yankee Doodle Dandy)

(Not too impressed...)

(Dad played for a little bit)


Road Trip - Calgary, Canada to Hershey, Pennsylvania

A few weeks ago I found myself boarding a plane at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning after booking a ticket the night before.  Sadly, Rebecca's long time pal and friend of 16 years, Basil, her dog, had to be put down.  Basil was supposed to make the trip with Rebecca from Calgary to Hershey but the universe had other plans.  

So, I spent a few days in Calgary and then Rebecca and I drove the 2300 miles from Calgary to Hershey.  The trip took us through Montana and North Dakota, where we stayed with some old friends.  We also passed through Minnesota and  Wisconsin, so of course we had to get some cheese.  It was definitely more of a driving trip as I had to get back for work.  My favorite stop along the way was Vulcan.  There were definitely some sights on the journey and here are a few of the photos!  Enjoy! 

(City of Calgary in the background)

(Car all packed and ready to go)

(Welcome to Vulcan - Live Long and Prosper)

(I got all dressed up in some Star Trek garb)

(Rebecca got her photo taken in a Princess Laila outfit with Star Trek characters - go figure)

(Check out their website - www.townofvulcan.ca)  

(Rebecca was more of a Spock...)

(Smaller version of the USS Enterprise or one of those Star Trek Ships)

(Spock and an Alien in a hot air balloon)

(Rebecca getting beamed up before getting a tattoo)

(Live Long and Prosper by eating ice cream and candies)

(A little wall art)

(One of the street signs)

(The town library...  the whole town gets into it and the Star Trek theme is evident everywhere!)

(Back on the road)

(Havre, Montana - Go Ponies and Welcomes Canadians.  Rebecca must have taken that photo!)

(Wind vane at the court house)

(The first night we tried sleeping in a Wal-Mart Parking lot)

(One of the great things about a Wal-Mart Parking lot is that you can check out all the cool stuff)

(Unfortunately, the sleeping conditions weren't actually conducive to sleeping.  So, that was the last night we slept in a parking lot.)

(A cool rock formation as we were driving along)

(Met up with some friends in North Dakota - Ms. Kliss and Helmsy.  This was a parking job by somebody but I won't say who...)

(Helmsy is all about the love)

(New buddies)

(Helmsy and Ms. Kliss were kind enough to let us spend a night with them!)

(You'll love our LUMPY YELLOW SOUP)

(Welcome to Minnesota)

(Oh yeah!)

(Not as excited)

(Lots of hay and wheat in this part of the country)

(Back in the car for some more driving)

(Wind farm)

(Welcome to Wisconsin)

(The land of large cows)

(And cheese.  We got sucked into one of the road side tourist traps - Ehlenbach's Cheese Chalet)

(And boy did they have lots of cheese)

(And the cheese lover just had to get some Wisconsin cheese!)

(Chicago Stadium)

(Welcome to Indiana)

(Uncle Sam, wouldn't be a road trip without him)

(A burrito as big or perhaps bigger than my head)

(You know you've made it to Hershey when you see the Kiss Mobile)