#1, I want to point you over to the ThinkKit blogging project, which is responsible for the prompt to get this post going. Thanks much! Check it out: http://www.thinkkit.org/thinkkit/2015.
Below is my mind’s map of how it relates my home state of Indiana to where I temporarily reside, for my 7th of 9 months, West Virginia. Specifically, I’m in Morgantown, just south of the WVU campus. I’m a graduate assistant with my online integrated marketing communications graduate program. Irony of ironies, I still take classes online (18 graduate-level hours in total from Aug-May) but in order to be a graduate assistant and get the sweet tuition deal, I must be physically present. It’s all good though, as I could never do sponsorship work & networking with local businesses for our annual conference, INTEGRATE, all the way from Indiana. In a relatively short time I’ve met a lot of business owners/managers and learned the lay of the land in ways I never would have expected. By finally taking classes full time, I’m also cutting off about two years from my original graduation trajectory. Now I’ll be all done in May!
I first traveled with the intent to stay an extra day in West Virginia during my first INTEGRATE conference several years ago. I took my bicycle and rode close to 40 miles the day after the conference on the Deckers Creek Trail. Bottom line, I was kinda hooked on the outdoorsy-ness of the environs. In addition to my initial experience, there were several trails within easy commute from Morgantown that put the famous Monon to shame in terms of avoiding vehicular traffic and sheer mountainous beauty. (See map, where the blue dot shows Morgantown right on the edge where it starts getting “super mountainous” in terms of the Appalachian range). This inaugural bike ride was in May, as in most places at this longitude, it’s pretty amazing weather. To be perfectly honest, I don’t recommend Indy or Morgantown during Jan-Feb, at all…head for your nearest fully-heated interior cultural destination…or, Netflix. One nice thing though about being in the mountains, the wind chill seems to be cut to about 1/4 of what it is on the midwestern plains. I didn’t mind that – but in trade – the snow seemed slicker than what I’ve been accustomed to my whole life. Basically a parked car could slide off the road if it wanted to. Also, I ran into scenarios where mud was encapsulated under ice, plus, add a few inches of snow. These special combinations got my car stuck twice. There is something about a concrete jungle of a metropolis that I never thought I’d appreciate – there’s always a parking spot somewhere that doesn’t involve things that sink under the weight of a car! Frankly, those experiences were the strangest aspects of this first ever winter for me outside of Indiana.
But enough about winter! Like any good map I included the location of the Pirates, the Pittsburgh version, located just about an hour north of Morgantown (see map). I’ve never been to see them at home, but maybe I will before I head out. They are a National League Central team, so I’ve been to plenty of games where they have been the visitors (Cubs, Reds, Cards are all a short drive from Indy and my hometown of Evansville). The Pirates also happen to be the parent club of the minor league team in Indianapolis AND Morgantown! The Black Bears play here but not until June, when the WVU baseball team finishes up their season. The view of the stadium is wonderful as it provides an overlook of the main campus across the Monongahela River. I went to a game there this past weekend as the Mountaineers took on the Butler Bulldogs…the DAWGS were slow to start but made it interesting in the last few innings.
So, there you have it! My mapmaking between my home Indiana and my adopted home West Virginia. I’ll see all you Hoosiers in June!