It’s snowing again.
At the end of February I was finally sent to the West coast on a business trip! I haven’t been to San Francisco in a few years, not since my “All You Can Jet” trip back in 2010. This time around, instead of inconveniencing my friend Iris by staying on her couch. I stayed at a cute Kimpton hotel downtown near Union Square. It offers Public bicycles to borrow (not on these hills!) and way too convenient of a location for shopping.
One my main tasks was to visit a Public Bike shop while I was in town. The only dealer in Chicago shut down last winter so I wanted to finally see one in person. On my last day I made a rookie mistake in an effort to look nice and wore a dress to the location I planned to cartwheel. I did it anyway.
I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few years working in New Jersey, but never in such a cute town as Princeton. Rather than staying out by the highway in a big name hotel chain I was able to stay in a cute old inn right in the center of town.
Everyone I’ve spoken to in Chicago agrees—this has been the worst winter in memory. It’s been bitterly cold and snowy. It’s almost March and I’ve only ridden my bike twice whereas last year I proudly rode all winter. Luckily I have a few business trips on the horizon that will get me away from these depressing temperatures.
In my travel roundup of 2012 I was hoping to travel a bit more internationally this year. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It’s funny too, as I finally broke down and was approved for the Global Entry program. A big bonus of the program is qualifying for the TSA Pre-Check line when flying participating airlines.
I stuck with mainly United again this year—once you get status on an airline business travel becomes so much more enjoyable. Last year I made status based on miles (Australia put me over the edge), but this year I made it on segments (New Jersey and Detroit aren’t far, but each flight counts as a segment). Whereas I had two trips booked last year at this time, it’s looking like a Chicago January for me in 2014.
January: Brooklyn, New Jersey, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York
My first time in Brooklyn, and a view of the unfinished World Trade Center
Another first—Atlanta—where I rode the metro and visited the aquarium
After working in New Jersey I stay in Manhattan for a few days
There’s never much to show when working outside of Detroit so here’s a shot of my winter biking adventures
The short flight to Detroit does provide for great views of Chicago
March: New Jersey, Minnesota
Odd weather left the view of Manhattan fro Jersey City radically different day-to-day
Flying in early allows me to meet up with New York friends and draw at the FIT museum
Minnesota is still awfully cold in March, the bike up to Chicago’s annual Traveler’s Century Club meeting was much more pleasant
An entire month at home!
With May came weather good enough for long bike rides, helping out with the local Kidical Mass ride, and outlandish Mexican wrestling matches
I worked in the hotel inside Pittsburgh’s airport for days, but managed to get out and take a bus to the Warhol Museum before flying home
June: New Jersey, Minnesota
Every once in a while I’m upgraded to First Class
David was in town from Canada, so we managed a Sox game and a concert in Millennium Park
July: New Jersey, New York, New Jersey, Brooklyn
The Turrell exhibit at The Guggenheim was excellent, although incredibly crowded
This trip was a big museum stop for me—both The Guggenheim for Turrell, and The Met for the Punk Fashion exhibit
I saw Belle and Sebastian and Bjork in a rain storm at Pitchfork Music festival but managed to get hit by a car biking home
Working in New Jersey 8 times this year, I finally bought myself a MoMA membership. This visit I stayed a few days at the end to visit with a friend in Brooklyn
A friend and I took our bikes out to the suburbs to bike the beautiful Fox River Trail
Detroit again—this place and I don’t get along
Summertime in Chicago is grand—free concerts, block parties and garage sales
View of the city on a bike ride past the Planetarium
The annual seersucker bike ride to Jackson Park
September: Detroit, Denver
Sooner or later I knew I’d end up in a Detroit ER…
On the bright side, after the ER I headed to visit my sister in Denver for the Tour de Fat
October: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Austin
Chicago’s beautiful lakefront
New Hampshire was another first for me this year
I visited both MoMA and PS1 on this New York visit
My first time in Austin was nice, but wasn’t the amazing place everyone had talked up
The Guy Fawkes tweed ride is the best ride of the year, but the ride home from Bridgeport is brutal
Once in the hotel I didn’t leave, and I managed to kill my computer. Maybe South Beach next time around?
A snowstorm kept me delayed in dreary Detroit an extra day and a half
Today was a beautiful fall day in Chicago. It was cold but not yet so cold that you don’t want to leave the house. Since I’ve been traveling so much I haven’t had a chance to make it up to the forest preserves North of Chicago since the beginning of Spring. I love fall, but just wish it wasn’t followed by winter.
Every time I am sent to Jersey City for work I try to make the most of it, visiting Manhattan, because I never know when I’ll be back. Somehow I’ve been to New Jersey seven times this year so far but I never run out of things to see. I’ve even bought an out-of-state membership to MoMA on my last trip.
My second visit to New York this year (the second in January) took me to Chinatown for dumplings and a comic exhibition at The Museum of Chinese in America. I decided to stay a few extra days and got a hotel room in midtown. I’m not sure what I was thinking “vacationing” in New York alone in January but it was cold and, honestly, a little miserable.
As it turns out, Hotlanta in January is pretty beautiful. My work required me to stay on the edges of the city in a typical business park, but I allowed myself an afternoon in the city before flying home. When I’m visiting a new city in the U.S. I do a little research but everything written about Atlanta focused on corporate-sponsored tourist attractions. Friends recommended a few neighborhoods I might like but they all inevitably were difficult to get to on the metro, especially on a Sunday with reduced service. When I asked to be taken to the nearest metro stop, the hotel concierge warned that I shouldn’t visit the neighborhoods I was interested in, even in daylight, even if I was a “tough city girl from Chicago.”
Being warned tends to have the opposite effect, and did nothing but encourage me to see what I was missing. As much as I wanted to prove him wrong, the transit gods were not in my favor that day so I headed downtown to the central business district. I walked along Peachtree looking at archetecture, recommended by someone on Twitter, and visited the aquarium. Chicago has a pretty cool aquarium so I wasn’t too impressed, especially since it was designed so… childish. Because I spend so much time at art museums I’m often take aback when everything is “family friendly.” After my cartwheel in front of the Coca-Cola museum and Atlanta’s skyline I sat outside and simply enjoyed being outside without a coat.
Growing up near Chicago has trained me for winter and I’m used to much more snow than we’ve been getting in recent years. What is it about this year’s winter that has everyone I know pleading for it to end? Despite the lack of snow it seems we’re well below average temperature for March. I don’t mind the cold, but I miss the sun.