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Monday, August 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Geography By Bruce Willis

I am a self proclaimed excellent navigator. My wife will argue that, yet she’s the one that sent us up and over the mountains of West Virginia on our way to the beach. However, there are times when I will get turned around, believing I am in an area I recognize.

Now, when I was a kid, there was the great rescue mission in Prince Gallitzin. Not really a rescue, more like a search party for one of the kids in our group who had taken a walk and gotten lost in the campground. I took the remaining kids and fanned out into the various loops and managed to find our missing friend. After dark, we found ourselves on the other side of the campground with no sense of direction. Somehow, I managed to lead us to back to our site before anyone noticed we were gone.

However, last week, driving back from work, I realized I would never make it home with the amount of gas I had in the car and the Pirate game just starting. Traffic was pretty screwed up. I knew there was one gas station, just before the tunnels, off of 51 South. From there, I could catch a bridge back over by Duquesne and drop down onto the parkway before the Oakland exit.

I got the gas and managed to screw up and take the Wabash tunnel exit, following a car who seemed to know where I was going. I made a right, then another right, then a climb up a hill and I was lost. I could see the Steel Building and the rest of downtown, but could not figure out how to get down there. So, I just kept driving parallel, believing that I would magically end up on the Parkway East via Striking Distance movie logic. Unfortunately, I didn’t have Bruce Willis in the car with me. I managed to see two places I’d always about but never had been to. I never even knew how to get there; Mount Oliver and Carrick. I did a major detour and managed to come down into the South Side by Primanti Bros. I was home free… or so I thought.

I misread the directions on the bridge signs which said, “Oakland, next left”. I didn’t want to go to Oakland, I wanted back on the Parkway. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t an exit for Oakland but an exit for a road that led to Oakland, namely the Parkway. So, I stayed straight and was forced to turn left because I wasn’t a bus. Now, I was headed back downtown and managed to get turned around and head back the right way. What could have been a 45 minute drive turned into an hour and a half thanks to my sightseeing tour of South Pittsburgh.

Let’s just say, I’m glad I got gas.

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