Monday, June 26, 2023

Vacation part 2

 We got to DC on a Wednesday night I believe, and the next day we went to tour the White House. I thought it was going to be a nice tour where you get some time to look at everything and see some stuff up close, but it seemed like they just wanted to get people in and get them out. Secret service was everywhere, which I figured would be the case. Karen said the tours before 9-11 and the 2021 riots were a lot more friendly, so I can understand why it was like it was. We got to the White House visitor center first and the info person there told us where to go for the tour.  While there, I found a place that had stamps you could stamp paper with that had different White House things and the date. As many of you know, any time I go to a historical place or a baseball stadium, if I have a card of the place, I write the date that I visited the place on it, and note who I was with. I have an Allen & Ginter mini insert of the White House which I took with me on the trip, and I figured why not stamp it on the back, as well as mark it with the date and Karen & Kylers names on the front. I haven’t got around to marking the front, but here’s how it looks now. 

The stamp didn’t come out as clear as I had hoped, but if you squint, you can see the date and White House info on it. I also found a cool card relating to my trip to the Pirates game from the big junk wax lot that John for Johnny’s Trading Spot so graciously let me have. You will have to wait for that as I am doing that bunch of cards in at least its own post, maybe 2-3. 

Before the tour, we waited in line to go through security, and we saw the Presidents Motorcade leave the White House. That was kind of cool. While close to the security area, Karen mentioned that the building next to the White House was the Treasury building or something. She lived in DC for a few years in high school. Later, during the tour, there was a picture of a president on a wall, and Kyler had been fascinated with presidents for a while and has a placemat with all of them on it. Kyler said he thought the painting was on McKinley, and the secret service agent in the room said he was correct. Kind of cool to have secret service tell my wife and son that they were right. I hang out with cool company. 

At the first part of the tour, we saw a garden through a window. There was a guy in a suit talking on the phone, and he had a leash and was kind of watching the dog (who was off the leash).  We think it might have been the presidents dog, but still aren’t sure. 

We got a picture near the exit before leaving. 
Before we went back to the hotel, we stopped by Karens old church and toured the building. 
The next day, we were just tired, and stayed in the room most of the day and hung out. 

Saturday we went to the National Zoo. It was pretty hot, and we got off to a late start, so we only spent a few hours there. 
Sunday was Fathers Day, and we took the Metro to the Nats-Marlins game. Riding the Metro, we ran into some bums, tourists, and just your normal subway riders. 
I think he was looking for some Jedi, but fortunately for us, we didn’t see any there. 

We got to the game as the doors opened, and I was impressed with the stadium. A block or 2 away from the park, it was just like a block party. Streets were blocked off, people were selling snacks and Nats stuff from tables on the steeet, and Nats gear was everywhere. Why can’t the Rays do this in St. Pete? Inside the park, it almost looked like some outside features were on the inside. Ticket sales had a few windows and looked like something you could see outside a ballpark. 
We rushed to our seat area and I got down to business, which was to try to meet DeLand native and Marlins catcher Nick Fortes. We made a sign that said we drove from DeLand to see him play, and luckily for us, he was the first person out of the dugout. He saw our sign and came over. I mentioned I live in DeLand and he asked what we were doing in DC. I told him we were on vacation and he signed a card for us. 

He was a really nice guy, and I think he would’ve signed without us having the sign, as he stopped for a few other fans. Needless to say, I am collecting him and hope he gets in some 2023 sets. I got a few pictures of him warning up and playing. He went 2-4 with 2 hits, an RBI, and a run. 

We left the game in the 4th or so. It was just so freaking hot in our section. I got a shot of the field on the way out. 
After the game, we were tired, but decided to see the Lincoln Memorial since we were in DC for just the rest of Sunday and were leaving Monday. 

We ended up parking closer to the Washington Monument, so went over to it first. Karen had seen all of the touristy things multiple times, so she took pictures of me and Kyler and stayed back for some of the places. Here is me and Ky at the Washington Monument. 

After that, we walked the length of the reflecting pool and went to the Lincoln Memorial. We probably walked 3 miles that day between the historic sites and the ballgame, but it was worth it. 

That wraps up our vacation. We drove home Monday and I spent Tuesday unpacking and mowing our front yard as it was so long it was starting to attract cows. Wednesday I was off, and that gave me the chance to head over to Ocala and pick up that huge lot of junk wax cards from John. Words cannot express how lucky and grateful I am that John not only got the cards for me, but also let me rummage through his trade box for some Rays cards. That will be the subject of the next post or three. It’s a ton of cards, but I just want to do it justice. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

Vacation Part 1

 I have been back from vacation for a few days, and we did a lot, but had a great time. There were a number of baseball things during the trip, and of course, baseball cards. 

We left DeLand on a Friday after I got off work, and stopped somewhere in North Carolina for the night. The next day, we drove to West Virginia and saw 2 of Karens cousins before going in for the night. That Sunday was a Pirates-Mets game at PNC Park. I have so many great things to say about not only PNC Park, but also the city of Pittsburgh. I would almost think about moving there if it weren’t so cold in the winter. A pro-union city, a beautiful park, a beautiful city, rivers, bridges, hills…it just seemed great. Driving into the city, we went through a tunnel that went under a mountain. Coming out of it, you are met with the beautiful city skyline, rivers, a few bridges, the other side of the hill, and it was just spectacular. We got to the park, and it was also spectacular. Every seat was angled to the mound so you had a great view of the game, and seeing the other seats angle from our view in LF was different. 

I wanted to see the Pirate Parrot and try to get Manny Sanguillen’s autograph, so before the game started, I took Kyler to walk around the park. We never did find the Parrot, but found Manny’s BBQ stand after walking around the outfield area. It was a nice area. There were some playground areas and toys for the kids, you could see the Allegheny River from the entire OF area, and there were tables where you could sit and watch the river/game, some food and bar areas, and some statues, just a great way to have a park layed out. 

By the time we found the BBQ stand, I was hungry and the game had started. I got in line and spotted Manny getting out of a walker and going to a table with markers. I got a 15 dollar macaroni and while I was paying, Andrew McCutchen came up. He was somehow still at 1,999 hits. I should’ve looked for a TV or just got out of line and walked the 6 feet past the stand so I could watch his AB, but I didn’t, and of course, he got the hit right then. Karen got some video of him running to 2nd and I believe she got a pic of him before the AB, but I would’ve loved to have seen it. 

After I paid, I noticed a TV at the BBQ stand where I could’ve seen it, and also noticed that Manny was gone. There was a line by his table, so I just decided to wait. He came back after 30 minutes and signed my cards.  
My first Topps sunset card signed since I started collecting them. 

We had some friends, the Dickinson’s, that we have known for a little over 10 years. They went to our church in DeLand, and moved back to Pittsburgh, where they are from, about 6 years ago.  Karen Dickinson played guitar in our band at church, and her husband John is hilariously funny. They have a son Calvin, who just had a baby, and a younger daughter Gracie, who couldn’t make the trip. They met up with us at the game, and took us up to a nice lookout point in the city, and then to a local restaurant. I spent most of the day talking sports with John and Calvin, and also got some nice facts about the city. Karen caught up with Karen (lol), and Kyler entertained the whole crew. 
The crew at PNC Park 
At the lookout point. 

The next day, we drove to Niagara Falls, and had a chill day. We stopped at a Target, and I got a blaster of Heritage. I was a little disappointed with the collation (between 2 blasters and a 10 pack box, I got triples of a few cards, and doubles of 2 inserts), and noticed that SPs were a little tougher to pull and that every 4th or 5th pack didn’t have an insert of any kind. I’ll cut to the chase and post the highlights of the Heritage cards. 

I got 3 of the Blue Sparkle cards, but those are going in trades, so I just shown the 1. I pulled a Brandon Crawford relic, which was kind of meh for me. He was on that overrated Giants team that beat my Tigers in the World Series. There was a guy with a Crawford jersey at the Nats game I went to. I wish I would’ve had it with me, cause I would’ve just given it to the guy. I pulled a few flashback cards, and like 3 of whatever the rookie inserts were called. Those are the SPs, which are probably going to go to Night Owl if he is going for the complete set. 

The Falls were incredible up close. We got soaked while riding the Maid of the Mist. 

After 3 days in Niagara, we drove to Washington DC on the 14th, which also was my 40th birthday. We arrived in DC, and met up with Karens old plaster from Virginia and his wife. They took us out on their boat. They lived in this nice community which featured many empty nesters and had nice little restaurants and shops in it. I would love to move to a place like that later in life. It had everything you needed in the village within walking distance, and was along a beautiful lake. 

There was a little outside stage area and it had a big ‘LOVE’ sign and we got our picture in it. 

The next day, we went to see the White House. I will stop here as it was a long trip and so many things, so I don’t want to drag this on. 

It’s good to be back home and in a routine, even if it does include work. I think all of us are refreshed and with some great memories. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.