get in line

Love food trucks? We've found a way to track them!

You loved the trucks at last week's Food Truck-A-Palooza at The Waterfront, and you want to know whether any of them are coming your way anytime soon? We've found a way to do exactly that.

MobileNom is a website that tracks — in real time — your favorite food trucks. The site is complete with menus, prices, hours, locations, just about everything!

The opening page allows you to search for a specific type of food in a specific location, check what's around you at the moment and keep up with the latest events:

MobileNom's food truck finder

The search function gives you a listing of the trucks around you (it's mobile friendly) and where/when they will be there. Several Pittsburgh-area food trucks are listed on the site. Unfortunately, when we tested it, the only open one nearby was in Texas. Which isn't nearby. But it did tell us about a whole bunch of them open near Pittsburgh this weekend:

MobileNom's search feature

When you click on a food truck, it brings up the information the owner offered. Included usually are prices, social media and the menu for the truck:

Happy Camper Cakes' food truck listing on MobileNom

It's absolutely free, and a great resource for anyone looking for a specific food truck or events. MobileNom also has an app (linked on its main site) with even more functionality, such as push notifications when the truck(s) are nearby. It's great, it's free, and it's food. Win.

pack your bags

Get out of town! A collection of road trips we'd love to take

When you flipped the calendar to August, you may have thought "Where did the summer go?". In the spirit of summer and the great American road trip, here are some cross-country journeys to squeeze in, in the next six weeks.

The Continental 48

If there is such a thing as an authority on optimal road trip maps, Randal S. Olson is it. Olson created several maps (a few we're going to showcase here) using complex algorithms to make the most of your trip, calculating the shortest distance between all the points. Dubbing it the ultimate road trip to hit all of the lower 48 (via major landmarks), Olson came up with this map:

An interactive version is available on Olson's website.

It doesn't cross through Pittsburgh, but a short drive to Erie or — gasp! — Cleveland gets you on the right route.

National parks map

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of America's national parks, Olson came up with the following optimized map to visit all of them. Only designated national parks (which require an act of Congress to establish) are included in the map, which is estimated by the Washington Post to take about two months to complete. Stops range from the Grand Tetons to the Florida Keys. Again, it doesn't cross through Pittsburgh at all, but a quick jaunt to I-90 will get you on the path.

The full map is available on Olson's website. The listing of locations is available on his blog.

Take me out to all the ball yards

Here's one that you can start in Pittsburgh because of our beloved Pirates: Olson created a map that connects all 30 Major League Baseball parks. While the path isn't circular, if you connect Seattle's Safeco Field and L.A.'s Dodgers Stadium down the Western Seaboard, it's a great round trip passing through a good number of states while doing it.

You know the drill, full map available on Olson's site. (

From coast to coast via rail

Alright, while this technically isn't a "road trip," it still is pretty awesome: going the whole way across the U.S. via train. Derek Low did this a while back on his blog, where he discovered that you can go from New York City to San Francisco for about $213. Low wrote a full on travelogue detailing the way points, but here's the deal: It's two trains you take, the Lakeshore Limited from NYC to Chicago and the California Zephr from Chicago to Emeryville, Calif., outside San Francisco.

There's no interactive on this one, but Amtrak's website can be pretty helpful (

Here's how you can do it from Pittsburgh with some added rail travel: Use Pittsburgh's Amtrak station to take the 42 Pennsylvanian from Pittsburgh to NYC (daily, leaves around 6 a.m.), take the above trip, take the Zephr back to Chicago, and instead of going clear back to NYC, take the Capitol Limited from Chicago back to Pittsburgh. Yeah, it's an added two legs, but it sounds awesome.

The mother road: Get your kicks (on Route 66)

In American folklore, few roads have the allure or legend as Route 66 does stretching out west from Chicago to Los Angeles. No listing of great American road trips would be complete without it. It's surprisingly hard to find a coherent guide not broken up by state on Route 66, but saves the day with this interactive map plotting and highlighting major attractions along the roadway. Start in Chicago and head out west, or start in L.A. and head east.

Traveling through nine states, estimates that this road trip would take roughly 55 hours to complete. The interactive map is on its website.

Standing in the hall of fame

An upgruv staffer suggested a road trip to all of the major professional sports halls of fames: pro football, hockey, baseball and basketball. There isn't currently one that we're aware of, so here is the world premiere of the hall of fame road trip map:

The full interactive is available if you would like to take the trip. (Alexander Popichak / upgruv)

they're awfully fond of you

That time the Chicago River became a bathtub

It's the annual tradition you never knew you needed.

Every year, Special Olympics Illinois hosts the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby as a fundraiser. It's a race that begins with more than 50,000 rubber ducks that are dumped into the Chicago River. Each duck has been adopted by participants in the hopes that it'll be the first to make it across the finish line. It's truly a sight to behold:

The pool of yellow floats its way down the river, and eventually someone is declared the winning adopter.

This person got to pick the winning duck! No word if she was the winning adopter on Thursday, but it is the winning duck:

Yeah, it's not exactly the Giant Rubber Duck, but it was still incredibly impressive and whimsical. It's for a great cause, and how can you not smile at this:

Heads and tails above the rest

'Kitten' Games to coincide with Rio Olympics' opening

Well, it was just a matter of time, of course.

As the opening ceremony in Rio nears, about 90 furry paw-thletes over at the Hallmark Channel are ready for some action of their own in the first Kitten Summer Games, to coincide with the start of the real Olympics on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

Hallmark decided to hold its own "Olympics" on the haunches of its popular Kitten Bowls, staged each year at Super Bowl time.

The competitors were all shelter kittens, provided by North Shore Animal League America, before the event helped find them human families of their own. The Hallmark special will air at 8 p.m. Friday (EDT); it was shot in April.

There's a "plaza," a highly scratchable gymnastics stadium and a track-and-field venue outfitted with enough feathers and toys on sticks to keep the action moving.

Olympics fixture Mary Carillo lent a hand as co-host, despite a cat allergy, along with a pet crossover, David Frei, the longtime voice of the Westminster dog show who retired after this year's telecast.

The fairy godmother on the sidelines is Beth Stern, crazy cat lady extraordinaire and North Shore Animal League America goodwill ambassador. Stern, the wife of shock jock Howard Stern, fills her Instagram account with the couple's many foster kittens and special needs rescues, along with their six permanent cats.

"Those are the underdogs," Stern said of homeless animals with issues. "Those are the ones that sadly wind up in shelters for way too long."

Rio is Carillo's 13th straight turn as an Olympics reporter, analyst and commentator. But on this day, it was all about the cats.

Did she spot any evidence of purrrrr-formance enhancing substances?

"I tell you what, they're not afraid to dip into the catnip? I've noticed that myself," Carillo joked. "You've gotta keep an eye on them. They're animals, and they're bloodthirsty competitors."

We need a moment

Hold up! Kim Kardashian's Blackberry Bold died

Kim Kardashian is quite emotional over the death of her BlackBerry.

The reality star tweeted Wednesday that her classic BlackBerry Bold finally died and she can't find a replacement on eBay.

Oh, she "knew this day would come," but is "getting sad" as reality sets in. She says she's considering whether to get a different kind of BlackBerry or a different brand. She needs two phones on different services, she says, to ensure that one is always working.

What does she mean by "prepared"? The Guardian reported back in 2014 that Kim has a stockpile of Blackberry phones in the event that any one of them dies. That said, she is still considering all options.

Remember when BlackBerry phones dominated the market? (Yeah, we think we read about it somewhere.)

Tech news site CNET wrote an open letter to her, "Dear Kim, here are the best phones to replace your Blackberry," to assist her in her time of need. No word yet as to what happened, considering these were the two most recent tweets related to the matter:

We feel you. Maybe Yeezy can talk to Blackberry about designing one like he tried to work with Ikea.

But he got great mileage

Border Patrol busts stowaway in pickup's gas tank

Oh, the creative ways to smuggle something (or someone) over the border.

This latest one caught our eye: a Mexican man was trying to smuggle a Chinese man into California in the modified gas tank of a Ford F-150.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the hiding man at the Calexico East port of entry.

The Border Protection office reports that shortly after 7 a.m. Monday, a 41-year-old male Mexican citizen entered the East port driving a 1998 Ford F-150. During his inspection, a CBP officer noticed the driver appeared nervous and referred him aside for a more intensive inspection.

While inspecting the pickup, officers utilized the port's scanning system and found something was up with the vehicle's gas tank. The officers continued searching the gas tank and discovered a man concealed inside a hidden compartment.

The office offered this image (and yes, we know it's tiny — it's the best we could find)

The hidden compartment was built into the top half of the gas tank. The bottom half of the tank contained enough gas for the pickup to run.

Officers extracted a 31-year-old Chinese citizen from the compartment through an access panel in the bed of the pickup and escorted him to a secure location for further processing.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali will face federal charges related to the incident. He was later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

Put on some pants

If you work from home, Franktuary has good news for you

Franktuary in Lawrenceville is starting what it's calling "Freelance Fridays" for telecommuters. The hot dog shop's Lawrenceville location will open early every Friday for co-working sessions.

Starting at 9 a.m. every Friday, freelancers and other work-from-homers are invited to spread out, plug in and get some work done. Franktuary is teaming up with nearby Espresso a Mano to provide more 'elbow room' for freelancers working in the small neighborhood coffee shop.

Pittsburgh Nitro cold brew on tap and other beverages will be available starting at 9, and the full menu will start at 11:30 a.m. Freelancers who stay for lunch will get 15 percent off their bill.

Freelance Fridays joins the rotation of weekly events at Franktuary, including Bingo on Thursdays and Tuesday trivia nights.

Franktuary is located at 3810 Butler St., and Espresso a Mano is at 3623 Butler St.

Raise your glass

Duh! Pittsburgh named best city for beer lovers

If there's one thing we're good at, it's making national ranking lists.

If there's another thing we're good at, it's drinkin' beer!

So, it's no surprise to us that Redfin named Pittsburgh the best city in America for beer lovers.

The real-estate brokerage site teamed with the Beer Institute to rate cities based on criteria like the ratio of breweries to adults of drinking age, how low the state beer taxes are and the city's "walk" score — a metric that measures how walkable a city is because when drink you can't drive. South Side represent!

Redfin real estate agent Keith Jimenez said of us, "Pittsburgh has always been what I'd call 'a beer and a shot town,' with our blue-collar roots. Back in the day, all the steelworkers would meet at the bar for an Iron City beer and a shot of whiskey. Today, those roots are alive and well. You'll still find Iron City in most bars, but we're also seeing a boom in craft brewing. There are lots of microbreweries, particularly in the South Side."

As for those "other" cities: Buffalo took the No. 2 spot, while Cleveland ranked No. 9.


The complete list and methodology is on the Redfin website. Redfin crowned the ’Burgh champion back in June but we're just hearing about it now, and that alone is worth raising a glass.

Just for shits and giggles, check our list of ’Burgh happy hours.