Monday, February 13, 2012

Utica: By the Numbers

The Monday after a weekend road trip is pretty busy, so I usually don't have time to write up the long-form recap for another day or two. Instead, I often just post dumb statistics from the trip on Monday afternoon. This is no exception. Yay stats!

County visitation: Finding new counties to visit is getting harder and harder, so these days I pretty much have to scratch and claw for every new county. I didn't get any new counties at all on the drive up to, or back from, Utica. Instead, during a lull in the curling action, we made a "quick" (two to three hours?) drive east of Utica to Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Yay!

I have now visited 52 of New York's 62 counties, and 1,405 counties nationwide.

Restaurant serving times: Curling road trips often feature fewer restaurant serving time-eligible meals than other road trips, because most meals are provided by the host club. But we did go to spreadsheet-eligible restaurants twice last week:

Red Robin of Wilkes-Barre, PA: 14 minutes, 1 second. The fastese time of the year so far! (Out of four. It won't hold up.) More notable is that Red Robin is pretty good. This is the first time I had ever been to one.

Friendly's of New Hartford, NY: 16 minutes, 10 seconds. Unlike my trip to Friendly's in December, this was breakfast rather than dinner. Breakfast is usually pretty quick, but I've found that it's only the small-town, non-chain breakfast restaurants that serve breakfast quickly. Go to a chain restaurant for breakfast - Perkins, Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, and so on - and you'll usually be in the 10 to 20 minute range, same as if you went to any of those places for dinner.

Nights by county: Three nights in Oneida County, NY (Utica), and one night in Broome County, NY (Binghamton), on the way up. Will Oneida County finish the year in 4th place, behind Durham, Lucas OH, and Duval FL?

The weather report: This isn't really statistical, but this seems like a good place to talk about the weather. It's been a warm, mostly snowless winter along the east coast of the United States, but we did break that pattern somewhat during the trip. On Wednesday, we drove through light to moderate (mostly light) snow in Maryland and Pennsylvania; then, when we got to New York, the snow was gone! No snow cover in Utica whatsoever. And, the next day, I think the temperature may have hit 40 degrees. Which, in a way, that was really nice, but...if I'm going to be in Upstate New York in February, I kind of want to experience "real winter", you know?

Fortunately, I got my fix before the weekend was out, with single digit temperatures and below zero wind chills the morning we left. And, I saw enough snow to remind me how much of a pain in the butt it is to deal with snow for four months straight (or more!), and why I decided to look for jobs in North Carolina in the first place. Two or three decent snow events per year is enough for me.

Other stats: This trip was an unusual road trip because we didn't take my car, or Amber's car! That means any new interstate mileage I would have picked up along the way doesn't count. And, I have no milestones to add to the car mileage log, either, although I can say that Adam's car passed 175,000 miles on I-85 near McKenney, VA, yesterday. I don't think my car will get that far before we need to trade it in for a bigger one.

I'll talk about the curling stats tomorrow. I didn't get career win #100 up in Utica, but I did get win #99, at least.

Thoughts on Utica itself: Shoot, I don't know. We didn't really do much there, but I will say this. When we stopped at a grocery store in Utica en route to the Adirondacks a few years ago, I was very unimpressed with Utica. It looked dead, old, and depressing. But the western half of the Utica metro, where our hotel and the curling club are located, is actually okay. But I don't think that's technically "Utica". The hotel was in "New Hartford" and the curling club was in "Whitesboro", if I'm not mistaken. Why does Utica need so many suburbs, anyway? It's not that big of a city. Why can't all of it just be Utica?

Well, regardless...I really like driving through rural New York. New England, too. There's just something about it.

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