Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer


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Fresh Air Friday – Manhattan

Last week my baby bro turned 21 and I thought an epic birthday gift would be spending the afternoon in Manhattan. Since I don’t have a/c in my car, I bought bus tickets. I once drove seven hours straight, so how bad could two five and a half hour bus rides in one day be?

Answer: VERY BAD

Also, when you plan an awesome adventure, first make sure it’s not going to be 95 degrees outside. I naively assumed  I understood heat/humidity, coming from Virginia. But then I experienced Penn Station. You know that searing blast of heat when you open the door to a hot oven? It’s like that, only non-stop.

So the bus ride was uncomfortable and the heat unbearable at times, but we did manage to wander around Battery Park for awhile and it was beautiful. My Statue of Liberty photos didn’t really turn out, but I have this pic of a pigeon!

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Note: I once explored Philadelphia in a day and took pics of pigeons there, too. And I probably have some from DC. This is kinda weird.

It was a bizarre, surreal day that didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but at least it was an adventure, which was what I was going for.

A final thought: One of my favorite movies as a kid was THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN. Perhaps it gave me unrealistic expectations because there was nary a roller skate in sight, much to my disappointment. 

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RTW – Road Trip!

This week’s topic is: In celebration of the release of Kristin Halbrook’s NOBODY BUT US (hooray!!) we’re asking: Zoe and Will set off on the road to seek a better life and encounter loads of drama on the way. What’s the most dramatic road trip you’ve ever been on?

It’s no secret that I’m decidedly non-adventurous. On family vacations, I was the motion-sick kid in the backseat moaning, “Pull over, I don’t feel good!” and then barfing all over myself the second my dad pulled into the Burger King parking lot. True story.

Anyway, all my road trips weren’t as gross as that one and while I don’t have a particularly dramatic story to share, I thought I’d compile a few of my favorite memories:

Trip to Pittsburgh:

My boyfriend (now husband) and I drove/rode with my mom and little brother to my aunt’s house. We got there, bf and I visited a bit, then took off for our own adventure. No clue where we went, it’s been so long that I don’t remember. But afterward, we decided to stay in a fancy hotel that night, just because neither one of us had ever been to one. We ordered room service (again, a first) and ate hot wings while watching the NBA playoffs. It sounds dull, but we couldn’t have been more than 19 or 20, and were wildly in love, so it wasn’t in the least bit.

Trip to NJ:

My friend and I were driving our other friend, a bass player, to a show his band was playing. We also had part of the drum kit crammed into the backseat because the drummer had forgotten things, frantically called us while en route to the show, and we’d had to break into the guitarist’s trailer to retrieve them.

It was a really warm April night, we were on 495, and my friend had to slam on her brakes when traffic came to an abrupt standstill. There was something funky about the wiring in her old car and the jolt knocked loose the connection to the turn signals. Since pulling over on 495 is not a good idea, we were trying to get to the nearest exit. Luckily, traffic was still crawling and I was able to lean out the window and wave at other drivers and yell, “Can we get over?”

When we got to NJ and made the dozen u-turns to get to our hotel, we got a bunch of vending machine snacks and watched bad TV. Or, they did. I am basically a crotchety old man in tiny girl clothing, so I crawled into bed and went to sleep.

Trip to Cleveland:

The then-bf/now-hubs and I decided to go see Niagara Falls. I looked up things on the way and saw we could visit Cleveland. I also noted that there was a WWE event going on in the city and booked tickets because it seemed like a random/amusing way to spend an evening. And it was, especially since I was sitting next to a man who wholeheartedly believed the action was real. He was SO passionate, yelling insults toward the ring and getting overly worked up when the heels appeared. My husband “helped” by starting chants, mostly based on these funny little snarky comments the kid behind us kept muttering.

One final note – road trips are never complete without a mix tape/CD. Here’s a song NJ-driver friend always had playing when we hit the road: