Spring Has Sprung at U of Penn

On Thursday, three friends/co-workers and I traveled to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a conference. The conference itself was all day Friday, and it was a great experience. The keynote speakers were excellent and all of the other sessions were quite good. And I say that proudly, as two of my friends were on the program, and they did a fabulous job, despite some initial technology issues.

Here's a piece of advice: if you're presenting using technology of any kind, make sure you have an activity ready for the 5 to 15 minutes you may spend waiting for the technology to work. That was the case on this day, and then things went swimmingly.

The weather was warm and partly sunny, and I bopped outside and around to snag a few more pictures before our very short visit to Philadelphia would end. Spring has sprung in Pennsylvania (much more so in the southeastern parts of the state than in the central part, where I live), and all of the trees there were in bloom. Remember that building you saw yesterday with Ben Franklin in front of it? This is a shot of that same building, providing a closer look at some of the pink flowering trees around it.

I stopped to take the above picture, and suddenly felt the presence of someone near me. I turned around to find TWO additional people with cameras, one standing on each side of me (and one with a VERY long lens) taking the same exact picture.

I also marched right back over to the Fisher Fine Arts Library for some more photos. It is an excellent building, and according to all sources, one of the most important library buidings in the whole world. I'd show you a picture of the library itself, but the guard wouldn't let me in, not even to step inside for JUST ONE SHOT.

But the building does have beautiful windows and stairwells and things like that. And so you may see a picture of one of the glorious windows in the extras. The quote says (and I love this!): "It is an heretic that makes the fire, not she which burns in it."

Just as our conference concluded, the rain began. First just a little drizzle, and by the time we walked back to our hotel to get the van, a soaking rain. We were glad to climb into our vehicle and get started on our drive back home. Unfortunately, there were accidents on several of the main roads out of Philly, and so the GPS took us on a bunch of winding side roads (with names like Old Gulph Road) that even required that we cross a stream!

We finally stopped at the Red Rabbit, a drive-in restaurant in Duncannon, for four quick "Bunny Burgers" (just regular burgers, no actually bunny meat was used) and shakes, which were delicious. It was raining cats and dogs by then, and the waitresses who come out to the car to take our orders (they bring the food back on an old-fashioned car tray, which you can attach to your window, except that it was raining and so we didn't) were all SOAKED. In all my years of driving past this place, I'd never stopped, and so that was a treat.

There was another bad accident on route 322 between Duncannon and Mifflintown that slowed us down quite a bit. Lots of emergency vehicles, flashing lights, and bad traffic in the rain. Not ideal travel conditions, by anyone's measure. But my one friend who was driving did a great job in getting us safely home.

We left Philly shortly after 4:00, and with just one gas stop and the one stop for food, we made it back to Penn State around 9:30. I loaded my stuff in the car and was home by around 10 pm. We were all exhausted, but it was a good trip, and so we were pretty happy about the whole thing. What an adventure!

The song for this trip has to be a travel tune. So here are the Grateful Dead, with Truckin'.

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