About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

The Mark Twain House and Kevin in Connecticut

Friday, August 20, 2010
Political thriller writer David Baldacci answered the question "How would you describe Mark Twain's legacy?" with these thoughtful words: "Never before or since has a writer so completely owned and shared through his writings the soul of a nation that had yet to find itself."

Mark Twain House
Kevin at Gillette Castle
Today I drove up to Hartford, Connecticut to visit the Mark Twain House & Museum.  The sixth of seven children, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) was born on November 30‚ 1835 in the small rural town of Florida‚ Missouri.  "During his lifetime‚ Sam Clemens watched a young United States evolve from a nation torn apart by internal conflicts to one of international power. He experienced America’s vast growth and change – from westward expansion to industrialization‚ the end of slavery‚ advancements in technology‚ big government and foreign wars. And along the way‚ he often had something to say about the changes happening in his country.  As Twain’s books provide insight into the past‚ the events of his personal life further demonstrate his role as an eyewitness to history."

Sam Clemens found the details of building and decorating a house frustrating. He complained of being “bullyragged” by plumbers and carpenters. His wife‚ Livy‚ however‚ enjoyed the challenges of domestic life and much of the house reflects her tastes and sensibilities.

Their home measures 11‚500 square feet‚ and has 25 rooms distributed through three floors. It displayed the latest in modern innovations when it was built in 1874. It was lit by gaslight; it had seven bathrooms with hot and cold running water and flush toilets – and at least one bathroom had a shower. Rudimentary ductwork carried warm air from the furnaces in the basement‚ and in 1878 Clemens had an early model of the telephone installed in the kitchen. There were also two features that ran on batteries: a burglar alarm system and an "enunciator" bell for calling the servants.

The couple spent $40‚000 to $45‚000 building their new home‚ so once they moved in they kept the interior simple. Over the next few years Olivia sought advice on what to do with the interior‚ made plans and shopped for the new home. 


Mark Twain and his family enjoyed what the author would later call the happiest and most productive years of his life in their Hartford home.  It was in this home that Twain wrote his most famous books, such as "Tom Sawyer," and the ever controversial "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which I learned in the museum is still to this day being banned and challenged all over the world to this day.

After the museum I enthusiastically drove to Shelton to visit Kevin, a good friend of mine I met when we were both living in Los Angeles years back.  We've kept in touch through the years, and visiting him would be a highlight of my trip.  

After a big hug from Kevin's he introduced me to his awesome roommates, Chris and Marissa, and he showed me around.  After only room number 1 I wanted to take pictures!  Chris has a movie collection that could stock a small video store!!!  

After the tour we headed right out and to catch the new Piranha movie in 3D where more of their friends joined us.  It was AWESOME, and the most magical movie moment ever occurred, after the most ridiculous (and probably planned) movie line "That's the longest one I've ever seen," we all with perfect rhythm and timing churned out "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!"  Ahhh, as Meryl Streep said in Death Becomes Her, "these are moments that make life worth living."  When we were done wheezing from laughter and able to catch our breath, and got every penny worth from the rest of the movie, we headed over to Longhorn Steakhouse, where I got more acquainted with everyone and shared some more laughs over my huge dessert platter I ordered, lol.

When we got back to Kevin's, Chris asked me if he could get me anything to drink.  I replied, "I'd like a margarita."  He was thinking a glass of water, lol, but sure enough he powered up his awesome Margaritaville professional-grade blender, and in moments he whipped up my delicious drink and we all kicked back and watched Chris' #1 favorite movie of all time, "Airplane."  When the movie was over and we couldn't laugh anymore we went to bed. 

What an amazing night!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2o1o
After some yummy pancakes Kevin cooked up we went to Gillette Castle State Park, where after a fun little ferry ride over the Connecticut River, we snapped some photos of the exterior, and when it was time to go inside, we approached the entrance to the castle, and were stopped by a very serious female ranger who directed us to the Visitor Center to purchase tickets.  Several closed-doors and keep out signs later, we found the entrance to the Visitor Center, lol.  I asked the clerk behind the ticket counter if they gave any discounts.  The replied "No, but it's worth it."  Kevin got quite a kick out of my reply, "We'll see."  LOL.

Before entering the castle, the same serious ranger very explicitly warned us, "You cannot backtrack to lower floors.  When you are ready to go up a floor, you go back down, so take your time, and when you're ready to go up a floor, keep in mind that you cannot go back down.  Again, you cannot go back down to lower floors once you arrive at a new one."  Okay, we get it already, LOL!  We entered the low-lit castle and read a sign "Use railing when ascending the staircase."  My, my, they sure have a lot of rules here, lol.  We explored the low-lit castle, and found all sorts of interesting secret doors and levers, and my curiosity got me into trouble with the staff once or twice.  Hey, with as many Keep Out and Do Not Touch signs they have displayed, I figured I should take advantage when I could.  It kept Kevin entertained anyway.

We took a scenic route on the way back and tried the notorious Frank Pepe's in New Haven.  Finally a place that's worthy of it's stellar reputation and long lines!  It was arguably the best pizza I've ever had.  The sauce was awesome and plentiful, the cheese was greasy and gooey, and the wood-fire prepared crust didn't have any burnt taste.  After that, we walked down the street and attempted to try it's rival pizzeria, Sally's.  With a THREE hour wait just for take-out, and already satisfied bellies, we decided to move on.  Chris and Kevin and I went to a huge Bingo event, hosted by Joan Crawford (drag queen, lol), all proceeds going to the Gay Men's Choir.  Between Joan's hilarious jokes, endless free pizza from our table neighbors, and oh yeah, 20 games of bingo, we had an awesome time.  We went back home and watched an episode of Dexter (they have great taste!) and turned in for the night.

Sunday, August 22, 2010 
Today was one of those terrific rainy days to stay inside and relax, so Kevin and I just hung out did our own thing.  In the evening, Kevin and Chris and I went to Kevin's mom's house nearby for a dinner party, celebrating the return of Kevin's younger brother from working at a summer camp.  She prepared a full spread of salmon and swordfish, salad, rolls, asparagus, backed potatoes, cookies and more.  It was fun meeting some of Kevin's family, and seeing his childhood home, and after stuffing ourselves silly, we went back to his place and watched Death Becomes Her, my all time favorite movie, and a favorite of Chris' too.  After laughing our guts out and quoting nearly every line, it was time for bed.

Monday, August 23, 2010
Today I did my own thing around the house, and when everyone was home from work we went out for a good time at Chili's Happy Hour.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
After everyone was back from work we went to Two Boots in Bridgeport, an old-school diner with a funky Italian twist, and creative pop-culture named pizzas.  Marissa and sampled the Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese appetizer, then I was presented with my half Larry Tate, half Tony Clifton pizza.  We had great food, great conversation, snapped some photos and I had a sensational time with old and new friends alike.  Back at Kevin's I was introduced to a whole new world when watching the cult-classic "Showgirls" movie, an over-the-top, so-bad-it's-good type of movie, that, when with the right people and in the right mood (such as we were), kicks some serious movie butt.  Its crazy characters, bad writing, and unforgettable musical numbers makes for quite an unforgettable experience, lol.  It's one of those movies you just have to watch if you're an adventurous movie buff.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I was planning on leaving today, but alas, I'm having way too much fun here and it feels like I would be leaving a day early.  After Kevin was back from work we got some Chinese food and then later all of us went to Rich's Farm in Oxford, a 300 acre farm serving over 30 flavors of ice cream made fresh daily.  My "kids" serving of Black Cherry Vanilla had at least two big scoops overflowing the regular-sized waffle cone!  What would I have been served had I asked for an adult size?!  After finishing every last glorious bite, we went back to Kevin's and enjoyed the hilarious film, "Overboard," which would end this amazing stay with Kevin and Co.  I had such an awesome time with Kevin and his awesome roommies I didn't want to leave, and I can't wait til' we get to see each other again someday. 

2 comments:

  1. Joan Crawford, not Joan Rivers!! Although they're equally ridiculous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. oops, lol, thanks Chris - correction made! =)

    ReplyDelete

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