Jim Shorkey Sales Associate Is Raising Money to Support Cancer Research

“My world exists where most people aren’t.”

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Sixteen years ago, Craig Stephan set out on the open road with nothing between him and the asphalt but his Harley. Craig would eventually end up at the Grand Canyon. And while this may sound like the trip of a lifetime, for him it was a way to cope with the loss of a person that supported, inspired, and most of all believed in him—his mother.

Upon return, Craig’s mission was clear: Help others cope with the loss of a loved one. Craig accomplished this by writing a book, Riding on Empty, a dream his mother had hoped for herself.

Craig’s trips across the country continued with a different route each time. Since his initial road trip, Craig has visited each state, with the exception of Hawaii, many times over. And while he travels through major cities, it’s the smaller towns in which he particularly enjoys.

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“Think about the farmer. He’s out there at 9:30 at night, working hard to provide food so that we can have easy access to it and can buy it for very little.”

Touched by the compassion of others, five years ago, Craig started a Bike-a-Thon to raise money for cancer research in his mother’s honor. This year, Craig will be riding his Harley from Pittsburgh to Colorado, beginning August 14. All proceeds raised will go to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

And while the destinations change from one year to the next, Craig continues to find the beauty in each trip.

“When you’re riding a bike, it’s so gorgeous, so relaxing. That’s all you want to do—keep riding.”

To purchase Riding on Empty or to donate to Craig’s Bike-a-Thon, please visit his website: ridingonempty.com.

The Best Travel Destinations in December

There’s no place like home for the holidays, but the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Kia Optima Hybrid get up to 44-40 MPG highway, so why not take a little road trip this holiday season. That’s why we’re bringing you the top 10 destinations to travel to this December (and maybe a few you cannot take a road trip to visit).

  1. Washington DC

December travel destinations

December is said to be one of the most cheerful times in Washington D.C. The city is buzzing with the holiday atmosphere embedded in garlands, lights, sparkles, and bows. Travelers can enjoy Christmas walking tours, Christmas carols, and visit the national Christmas tree.

  1. Chicago

Visitors from all over the world visit the Windy City during this time of year. They dine at the base of the great tree, walk through and view the animated Macy’s window display, take pictures at the decorated trees, and enjoy the city in its full glory. To make the most out of your Chicago trip, go to the northerly islands and see the featured ice sculptures!

  1. Boston

Boston is a snowy city in December, which is why most people enjoy indoor activities like visiting museums, dining, food festivals, and holiday celebrations. Enjoy a game of hockey, explore the history and cultural heritage, enjoy the night theater, watch the performing art at the ballet or opera house, and catch the various events occurring during the month of December…after you warm up with a bowl of clam chowder, that is.

  1. Buffalo

Buffalo is the second largest metropolis in New York and receives nearly four major snowstorms a year! The city is bustling with art and culture and many history buffs love to visit the city and admire its beauty. Buffalo hosts the downtown Buffalo Christmas tree lighting, which is the official opening for ice skating, and after the tree is lit, visitors can enjoy balloon art, free ice-skating, and horse and wagon rides.

  1. Stamford

Stamford, in New England, is one of the finest places to visit in the winter. This is a great family stop since there are tons of family attractions that can be visited, including fun events and holiday lights. The Latham Park Christmas tree lighting and Santa repelling down many floors of the Landmark Building are worth admiring.

  1. Manchester

Manchester is a winter wonderland in the month of December. Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum and the SSE Science Museum are the top attractions to visit. Also on the list of attractions are ice skating, attending a hockey game at the Verizon Wireless Arena, and visiting a symphony concert.

  1. Alaska

If you plan a trip to Alaska this December, be sure to bring heavy winter clothes! Winter is the best time in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

  1. Florida

If you’re not into the cold state of Alaska, try taking a trip to the Sunshine State! Florida has mild temperatures in the winter, and visitors don’t have to wear a jacket 24/7. Since Florida is a beach state, many beach lovers tend to flock to this state. If you go to Florida for the holidays, Disney World is a must! It is lighted and gorgeously decorated. Throughout the state, you can see the twinkling lights and boat parades; the city is in a festive mood with decorations galore.

  1. Colorado

If you plan a trip to Colorado for the holiday season, you will be graced with the snowy slopes and cozy weather of the city. If skiing is your favorite past time, then Colorado is the perfect place for you. Colorado is home to the resort towns of Aspen and Vale, the best skiing centers. It is also home to NORAD, a government agency that tracks Santa on Christmas Eve.

  1. Puerto Rico

If you plan a trip to Puerto Rico this holiday season, leave the jacket behind! Visitors can get a break from the cold in Puerto Rico. From surfing waves to sunbathing on the beach, Puerto Rico is the perfect place for the holidays. The entire city is lit up with holiday decorations, and the best part is Christmas begins early and lasts longer in Puerto Rico.

So there you have it, the best places to visit this holiday season! Now, hit the road in your sleigh and have a happy holiday!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year in Pittsburgh!

With the holiday season approaching, we’re already buzzing with excitement. We made our list and checked it twice of holiday happenings around the ‘Burgh!

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The Sunken Garden at Phipps Conservatory, December 2013

Phipps Conservatory

Every holiday season, Phipps Conservatory has a wonderful Winder Light Garden that uses flowers and evergreens to bring in the holiday spirit. The theme this year is “Winter Wonderland,” based off the famous song written by our own Pennsylvania-native Dick Smith. The garden translates his lyrics into visuals using lights, decorations, and seasonal plants. The Winter Wonderland will be running every evening 5-11pm from November 28th through January 11th.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art has a holiday tradition of displaying decorative Christmas trees in the Hall of Architecture. From handcrafted ornaments to incredible collections, the Carnegie Museum of Arts is a must!

Skating at the PPG Plaza

Located in the heart of Downtown, the PPG Plaza is a winter staple. The rink is lightened by a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the PPG Plaza. So grab a pal, lace up, and take a few laps around the ice.

The Nutcracker

There’s nothing that gets you in the holiday spirit quite like the classic ballet, The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition that combines the magic of Christmas and the art of ballet. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater performs this magical story, while bringing a Pittsburgh element into the world of The Nutcracker. The performance will be at the Benedum Center throughout December.

Fifth Avenue Place

Throughout the holiday season, Fifth Avenue is one of Pittsburgh’s most festive destinations. They host various events and actives for the whole family. Activities range from craft shows, to musical performances, and even a chance to hop on the Holly Trolley on the weekends!

Spirits of Giving From Around the World

See the holidays come alive during PPG Place’s “Spirits of Giving From Around the World” exhibit. This holiday display of life-size Santas and original paintings captures a whole world of Christmas traditions. The exhibit comes alive with a collection of original paintings, each depicting holiday celebrations around the world.

Miniature Railroad & Village

The Miniature Railroad & Village features hundreds of wonderfully realistic animated scenes that illustrate how people lived, worked, and played in our region during an era spanning the 1880s to the late 1930s.

Highmark First Night

To ring in the New Year, stop by Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. First Night is a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. It is an arts-focused, family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. It’s the largest single-day celebration in the region, offering 150 events at nearly 50 indoor and outdoor locations within the 14-block Cultural District, attracting nearly 50,000 visitors each year.

What’s your favorite Pittsburgh holiday tradition?

Toys for Tots Is Back!

While you’re busy planning a Thanksgiving meal, making a holiday gift list, and planning get-togethers with family and loved ones, please set some time aside to drop off a new, unwrapped toy or two for children ages 0-12 at any Jim Shorkey location in North Huntingdon or Uniontown as part of the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. We are accepting donations until December 15. We are hoping to make this year’s haul even more successful than last year’s! Thanks so much for your generosity this season, and we look forward to making a child’s Christmas a little brighter this year!

For more information on the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, check out their website here.

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Fall Festivities and Activities in the Pittsburgh Area

Fall is right around the corner in Western Pennsylvania, which means its time to pick the perfect pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze, and enjoy hayrides with friends and family. Pittsburgh holds many events in the fall season, from festivals to dog parades, and so much more! There’s never a dull moment, so here’s a list of some of the happenings around the ‘Burgh.

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Penn’s Colony Festival & Folk Art Marketplace: September 20-21 & September 27-28

Penn’s Colony Festival features artists and musical entertainment reminiscent of the historic time period of the French and Indian War. Held in Saxonburg, Butler County, celebrating its 29th year and set on 12 easy-walking, tree-shaded acres, Penn’s Colony brings history to life. Through arts and crafts, entertainment, and family activities such as games and pony rides and more, Penn’s Colony has something for everyone. The marketplace features 150 exhibits from juried artisans offering quality, handmade in America crafts and jewelry to food, furniture, and functional items from their shops nestled along the village streets.

DogtoberFEST 2014: October 04-05

DogtoberFEST is an adopt-athon presented by CARMAA (Coalition to Adopt, Rehome and Match Abandoned Animals) on the first Saturday of October, now in its fifth year! Over 20 breed-specific rescues and shelters join DogtoberFEST to showcase their adoptable animals and find their forever homes. Join them at 11 am for the Pooch Pride Costume parade and win prizes for Dog-Owner Lookalike, Most Original and Most Creative costumes. Bring your own dogs, shop, listen to live music, and celebrate adoption.

The Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival: October 4-5

The Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival is a craft show in Western, Pennsylvania that recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary (1982 – 2012). Featuring over 100 arts and crafts vendors and 30 food vendors, you can find handmade items from local crafters, delicious food, hot apple cider, and home-made apple treats.

Oakland Forever: October 10-11

Oakland Forever is a celebration of the people, places and things that make Oakland a fantastic neighborhood. This truly community-driven event is being organized and led by Oakland community organizations, residents, institutions, and businesses. 2014 is a special milestone year, marking the 175th anniversary of when the community was first identified as “Oakland”! Drawing on the profound history of Oakland, the current culture of innovation among institutional partners, and the strong sense of community pride, this weekend will highlight and mark Oakland’s unique and vibrant character. Oakland Forever attendees will enjoy live music and performances, art and photography exhibits, lectures and symposiums, outdoor activities, family fun, an artist and craft market, historical retrospectives, access to Oakland’s world-class cultural amenities, and much more!

Schramm’s Fall Festival: Weekdays and Weekends in October

Starting the last weekend in September and running through the end of October, they fill the fields with a huge selection of pumpkins for your choosing. To add to the autumn atmosphere, they decorate with scarecrows and other festive displays. There is something for the whole family to enjoy. They have play hay, two corn stalk mazes, pony rides, hay rides, a corn box, and much more. There is also a wide selection of refreshments, including fresh cut French Fries made from their own potatoes, apple cider slush, and homemade candy and caramel apples! To assist with your fall decorations, they have cornstalks and straw for sale, as well as gourds and ornamental corn.

Pumpkinpalooza Fall Fest – September 27 – October 26

Activities include- all new Kiddie Village, Corn Slide, Barrel Train Rides, Pumpkin Slingshot, Hay Tunnel, Corn Maze, Bounce House and Slide, Face Painting, Pumpkin Painting, all new Pumpkin Bowling many fun games and much, much more!!

fall pittsburgh, things to do in pittsburgh in the fall, fall activities pittsburgh, pumpkin patches pittsburgh

4th of July Happenings Around the ‘Burgh

How will you be celebrating this 4th of July weekend? Will it be with family and friends at picnics, watching fireworks, or taking advantage of the holiday specials at Jim Shorkey? Maybe its all 3! But if you have no plans, don’t worry, here’s a list of things happening around the Pittsburgh area where you can celebrate America’s birthday!

Big Butler Fair
Big Butler Fairgrounds
1127 New Castle Road

The Big Butler Fair’s most anticipated event is happening at dusk on July 4th, its firework display! The Big Butler Fair is one of the region’s best, and most awaited summer festival, with patriotic activities, family-friendly fun, rides and games, and of course, delicious fair food. This year’s fair is teamed up with the Y108 Freedom Fest and Country Musical Fest, which will take place on July 5th at 6 p.m.

Celebrate America Festival
Kennywood Park
48000 Kennywood Blvd.

Kennywood is throwing America a Birthday bash and you’re invited! Come honor the red, white, and blue this weekend at Kennywood’s Celebrate America Festival. Experience Kennywood in a whole new way with patriotic music, live entertainment, antique cars, and an awesome firework display at the end of the night! Save $10 off gate admission with Giant Eagle special store coupons.

Revolutionary Fort Pitt
Fort Pitt Museum
601 Commonwealth Place

On July 4th there will be a ceremonial flag raising that launches the Revolutionary Fort Pitt 4th of July event at the historic Fort Pitt Museum. The event will not only be educational, but also entertaining! With this weekend long event, you will learn about our country’s past with a reading of the Deceleration of Independence. See what a day in the life of a soldier is like with reenactments featuring musket drills, canon firings, and marching. The celebration ends with a breathtaking firework display from the Point.

July 4th Fireworks Blowout
Carnegie Science Center
1 Allegheny Ave

Every 4th of July there are firework displays galore, but have you ever wondered the science behind them? Well if you have, don’t miss the Carnegie Science Center’s July 4th Fireworks Blowout event where you will learn all about the science behind fireworks and how they work. While you’re there you can also check out the science center’s four floors of exhibits and hands-on activities. Catch a movie in the Omnimax theater and explore the world of sports and the Highmark Sports Works right next door! Lawn seats are priced at $39 per person and include free parking plus pop and popcorn.

Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta
Point State Park

The biggest 4th of July celebration is back with a new attraction! This year’s regatta will hold Pogopalooza, the annual world championship of extreme pogo, featuring high-flying stunts and flips by competitors from the U.S, Canada, South America, and Europe. Other highlights of the Regatta will include the F-2 Powerboat North American Championships, the K9 Crew Frisbee Dog Show, a BMX stunt show, the Anything That Floats competition, and a Zambelli firework show that will light up the city sky over the Golden Triangle.

 

Happening This Weekend: Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival

It’s hard to drive down Route 30 in Irwin and not see a Jim Shorkey Jeep waving to another Jim Shorkey Jeep. Turns out, you Jeep drivers are not alone.

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This weekend, over 1,500 Jeeps from across the country are expected to assemble in Butler, PA for the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival. The festival is a tribute event for the father of all jeeps, the history behind it, the people who created it, and its birthplace, Butler, PA.

The main event is at Coopers Lake Campground while the Jeep Invasion takes place in Downtown Butler. Other festivities and happenings include off-road trails, Jeep Playground, Show ‘n Shine, WWII Encampment, history exhibit, vendors, and more. New for this year is the Bantam Jeep Muddy 5K race.

If Jeeps are your thing, there’s one thing for certain—there will be no shortage of waves in Butler this weekend!

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Contact Information:

Cooper’s Lake Campground

205 Currie Road, Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Toll Free: 724-234-2291

Local: 724-234-2291

http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com/

Father’s Day Places and Events Around Pittsburgh

Father’s Day isn’t just about a Hallmark card and necktie (although a car on the other hand….). It’s about spending time with your father or that special father-like figure in your life, discovering new things and even trying something new. With three generations of Shorkeys in the business, we understand the meaning of family, which is why we created a list of some of our favorite events and places around Pittsburgh to check out this weekend for Father’s Day.

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Pittsburgh Zoo’s Father’s Day Celebration

Lions and tigers and fathers, oh my! Bring your dad to the zoo for a wild Father’s Day. All dads will receive free admission when accompanied by a child, and all visitors can participate in a Grand in Your Hand scavenger hunt. So team up with your dad, and make a day of it—the zoo is open from 9:30 AM to 6 PM.

Just Ducky Tours

If you’re looking for a unique and historic tour, then Just Ducky Tours is right up your alley. Dads will enjoy an historic ride on land and water inside an amphibious, colorful vehicle. The tour includes interesting facts abouts Pittsburgh, and a few quirky jokes that the guides inject along the way. The tour navigates through the streets of Pittsburgh to view the prominent architecture, the magnificent Cultural District, and famous sports venues. Then, the tour splashes into the river for an inspiring view of the Pittsburgh skyline and completes the excursion at Station Square, which is the original starting point. To ensure a special day for dad, it is best to call for a reservation.

Gateway Clipper Fleet

Celebrate dear old dad down by the river on the Gateway Clipper Fleet—just don’t tell him we called him old! Bring your dad out for a great day relaxing in the sun and enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet costs $45 for adults and $20 for children, and offers beef, chicken, vegetarian options, and a chocolatey dessert fit for the special king in your life.

North Park

North Park is part of the Allegheny County Park system and a favorite place to experience the outdoors with dads and families. The park offers activities to entertain everyone, including trails, bike paths, water sports, sports fields, and fishing and recreational activities. The groves make for a great place to have a picnic and the nature center is a nice walk to enjoy wildlife and vegetation. Families may try out the new restaurant at the boathouse after a day on the links, tennis court, or batting cages.

Three Rivers Arts Fest

Bring your pops to the last day of the Three Rivers Arts Fest! The Arts Festival is a free, 10-day long event with the last day landing on Father’s Day. Check out the booths, catch some music, eat some chicken on a stick, and drink some fresh-squeezed lemonade. If that doesn’t sound appealing (for some unbeknownst reason!), then grab a blanket and picnic basket for a picnic at the Point.

Man Up for Prostate Cancer 5/10k Walk/Run

Spend the day walking (or running) with your dad to raise money for Prostate Cancer research. The Obediah Cole Foundation is hosting its 11th annual 5/10k Walk/Run this Father’s Day. Races start at 8 AM at Riverfront Park and the course follows the North Shore for a great view of the city and the rivers. Spend the morning getting fit with your dad, and raising money for a good cause!

Top Memorial Day Weekend Road Trips for Pittsburghers

After a snowy winter and a rainy spring, Pittsburghers deserve a weekend getaway. What better time to pack the suitcase and gas up the car then Memorial Day weekend? (Of course, we suggest driving the Kia Optima/Kia Optima Hybrid or the Mitsubishi Mirage.) No need to stress if your checkbook cannot handle the getaway of a lifetime. There are plenty of entertaining, affordable, and accessible destinations scattered within 2 hours of Pittsburgh that provide that elusive escape you deserve. Whether you’re looking for adventure, romance, or family-friendly attractions, we recommend these retreats to rejuvenate yourself before summer.

Disclaimer: If your Memorial Day weekend plans will keep you in/around the Pittsburgh area, then you should definitely check out our 13th annual chain-wide Dogs N’ Deals sales event Thursday–Saturday at any Jim Shorkey location!

Fallingwater. Mill Run, PA. About an hour and 20 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh is one of the county’s most stunning homes: architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Situated in the beauty of the Allegheny Mountain’s Laurel Highlands, this award-winning home features unique modern designs built into the surrounding natural beauty of waterfalls and lush forestry. Also in close proximity are the Laurel Caverns, Ohiopyle State Park, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, or even Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. McHenry, MD. Take a quick two-hour drive to Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake for picturesque nature views while combining the pleasure of outdoor activities with tranquil seclusion. You can bike the wooded trails, spend the afternoon boating on peaceful waters, and stroll hand-in-hand with your sweetheart around the lake.

Splash Lagoon. Erie, PA. Unfortunately, Mother Nature may not allow western Pennsylvanians to swim on Memorial Day weekend. Enter Splash Lagoon. This sprawling indoor waterpark kicks off the summer with a fireworks display, waterslides, a gigantic wave pool, and even an indoor ropes course. Children can go wild in the laser tag area, Adventure Bay swimming space, and Treasure Island Arcade, whereas parents can appreciate the park’s lazy river, soothing lava pool, and adults-only Paradise Cove.

The Wilds. Cumberland, OH. You won’t believe you’re just two hours west of Pittsburgh when you hop aboard a safari vehicle at The Wilds. Get up close and personal with beautiful birds, unusual amphibians, creepy crawlers, and a diverse collection of African animals, including deer, giraffes, cheetahs and even rhinos, on your personal safari tour. Check out the Wild Zipline Safari or the Fishing Safari when you’re there.

Laurel Caverns. Farmington, PA. You only need to drive 50 miles south of Pittsburgh to find the state’s largest cave, Laurel Caverns. This mysterious and majestic underground passage is composed of a three-mile maze that offers caving/spelunking, cave rappelling, a cavern-themed mini golf course, fossil/gemstone panning and much more. At Laurel Caverns, you’ll be led deep into 46 stories of mountainous interior that features soaring rock formations and the famed optical illusion, Gravity Hill.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Most drivers understand the dangers associated with texting and driving, and yet a large number of those drivers ignore these perils or otherwise believe they belong to a nonexistent elite cavalry that can text, drive, and still pay attention to the road.

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the US Department of Transportation has launched a “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign that runs until April 15 to combat distracted driving. This 30-second video, which has seen immersion in both television and online outlets, shows a woman looking down at her phone and driving through a stop sign before she is hit from the side by a tractor trailer.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2012.

THE LAW IN PENNSYLVANIA

In the Keystone State, using your cell phone while driving to send or receive texts, emails, or messages of any kind is illegal. If you are caught using a mobile device for any of the above purposes, the PA Department of Transportation will issue you a $50 fine. It is not illegal to make phone calls while driving.

However, if you must make or receive a call while driving, you should:

  • Pull off the road whenever possible.
  • Use a hands-free device.
  • Never participate in emotionally heated conversations.

We would like to ask our readers: