Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LTD Tour: Day 1 - Pgh > Cleveland > State College

Nomadic by Nature
You can tell what kind of chica I am by the way I pack. 15 mins before embarking on OTV LTD (Living the Dream) Tour, I threw a couple pair of jeans/pants and a few sweaters in my trusted little suitcase. No extra shoes, no fancy garments, no extra jackets for multiple occasion/conditions... simply the clothes/coat on my back, the skater shoes on my feet + this little bag in hand. Am I bound for the gypsy life or what?

However, I make up for it in the form of my fave hobbies; the extra weight clearly defines my priorities:
  • laptop bag for continued blogging, design and Fbing throughout this journey, 
  • hand bag full of books (that I know I will never get a chance to read) and 
  • crochet bag (also knowing full well that I probably won't get to work on the mittens, house slippers or hat for Heather during this trip:)
In any regard, I still am able to comfortably lug around all bags to/from car to stop as I couch surf my way across the NE for the next 10 days.

The Long 'Treacherous' Road
Day 1 of this trip became my personal rebellion against ridiculous media hype (particularly of The Weather Channel (TWC), to which my battlecry became, Down with TWC!) which used extreme scare-tactics for a small winter storm that happened to coincide with my travel plans. Ref: Multi-day, Dangerous Destructive Winter Storm article by TWC; complete with fear-inducing language such as,"A multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm will unleash its fury through Wednesday," and equally colorful adjectives + verbs as: Crippling, Paralyzing, Life-Threatening, Subfreezing, Knock-out, Invade, Dangerous, etc.

As a general rule of thumb, I don't respond well to scare-tactics (it usually provokes me to do said 'no-no' out of spite) and I firmly believe in the separation of Church & Weather. End-of-days speak of biblical proportions have no place in my weather forecast; particularly when it is unfounded 99% of the time. What was that old saying about the boy who cried wolf?   

So, despite (or in spite of) pleads from terrified friends + family the day before and morning of my road-trip to stay inside trembling in fetal position and wait out the Armageddon, I bet that it wasn't as bad as TWC's the-terrorists-are-going-to-get-you hype made it out to be. Fortunately, I gambled well.

Meet my trusted LTD Tour companion, Matilda, who is a cute and nimble Bavarian Snow Princess. The only thing that scares us weather-wise is tornadoes -- we find our kinship with the Ice Road Truckers (and enjoyed our run with the big dogs on I-80 last night) rather than those crazy Storm Chasers; they are on a death-from-above kamikaze mission in which we do not aim to partake/participate.

Together -- armed with a new set of wipers; totally worth the 5 min delay to install -- we had a trouble free trek from Pgh to Cleveland in the morning and then to State College before nightfall. While the trees were coated in a beautiful layer of ice making for a Chronicals of Narina-like drive in the AM, the roads were only wet and began to dry the further NW I drove. I only hit a little snow during the last 20 miles of my trek on I-80 in mid-state PA. Even then, it was so minimal that it's almost not worth mentioning.

Tour Stop No 1: Cleveland, Jeff Finley of Go Media + Weapons of Mass Creation
I will go into more detail in a subsequent post via Agents of Change, but it was super cool to finally meet and chat with Jeff in person. We met last year via email after WMC Fest... sadly, I discovered the press on the festival two days after it was held. Since then, we've been Fb buddies and have been trying to collaborate on the first inception of Agents of Change (a speaker-series event) since June.

I'll post the article with interview notes and studio tour details, but in the meantime, you can check out my Day 1 pics on Flickr:

LTD Tour Stop No 2: State College (Lanse, PA), Misty Wilt
If you've been paying attention to my plans, you might be scratching your head as to why/how I ended up in middle PA. Schedule changes from my peeps in Rochester, NY (and some sensibility on my part to not tempt fate by driving through the Lake Erie Snow Hell belt), allowed for me to make an executive decision early yesterday morning to reach out to Misty in State College. Thankfully, it wasn't a problem with such last minute/short notice to visit and crash on her couch (which is quite the luxurious bed) with Cloe as a faithful guard-dog couch companion. Many thanks to Misty Wilt, fellow designer and all around awesome person:)

Day 1: Miscellaneous Thoughts/Revelations
  • As I road-trip and meet amazing people with inspiring stories, I realized yesterday that I am the Guy Fieri (road show host of Triple D -- Diner, Drive-ins + Dives) of changemakers. Agents of Change will now and forever more be aliased as Triple D - Dreamers, Dare-Devils + Doers.
  • The great thing about spending 5 hrs on the road... noodling over three upcoming blog posts + the remaining designs for OTV: You, Me & the Cold War & OTV: Break the Spell. The cold war one is going to be something else... heavy in fave Constructivism. May need a sick illustrator (Amanda Zimmerman, I'm a-looking at you:) to help accomplish the fighting birds graphic.
  • Soundtrack: Pgh > Cleveland = Say Hi. This song in particularly was on repeat for about 15 plays:) This entire album was perfect for the picturesque winter wonderland journey with ice-coated trees:
  • Soundtrack: Cleveland > State College = Gogol Bordello. I can belt this one out pretty decently now, complete with accent. It sounds awesome, well... it does to me alone in the car anyway:). As I became fatigued in the afternoon, this entire album helped to keep me alert + boppin'; those gypsy punks sure know how to part-ay!:
  • Recap: tweets from the trenches with #OTV_LTD. Fave = hitting the road shortly. Hope to run into and over Jim Cantori [TWC] :P
Day 2: Preview
Heading out for NYC to stay with relatives in Upper Manhattan this morning. Hoping that the roads are cleared of the fresh snow by the time I hit them... and that my lil' Matilda can make it out of the sleet covered driveway at Misty's:) I think I may finally need to disengage ESP traction control for this one, drop it into third + ride the clutch while feathering the throttle like a fiend.

Luckily, I am still a country girl at heart:)


  1. Cool Stephanie, it was great to meet you and good luck on your journey!

  2. I'm LTD vicariously through you *hugs* ~Linda Lulu

  3. Thanks, Jeff... I'll be in touch in a few days to follow-up on any interview Qs for the Agents of Change article.

    Linda, many thanks:)