On the day after Christmas we loaded up the car and headed east for a good ole' fashioned family road trip! We (Andy, Steph, along with 2 of our sibs, Joe and Sarah) decided to spend New Year's Eve in what we figured would be the best place to usher in the New Year.... NEW YORK CITY!!!!
We ran into some snowy roads on the way there, which caused up to stop just short of Cleveland on our first day. The next day we got tickets to a Cleveland Browns NFL game. It was not exactly the same excitement as a Packers game, but the action in the stands made it quite interesting. After watching a good first half, some fan to fan brawls and having half our section get ejected for disruptive behavior, we decided to take off! We weren't sure if the Browns fans would think our "Where are the Packers?" sign was that funny....
The next stop on our road trip was Scranton, PA... the mecca of our favorite TV show - The Office! Seeing as how we all are pretty obsessed, it seemed like a logical place to visit. To get us in the Office
mode, we had The Office theme song playing on repeat the entire time we were in Scranton. Joe, our techno-genius, was able to use his gadgets to get us to every major Office reference in Scranton including Steamtown Mall, the 'Welcome to Scranton' sign, Poor Richard's Pub, Alfredo's pizza, etc...
Leaving Scranton we headed to the main event of our trip... New York City! After experiencing some NYC driving we found our hostel and a parking ramp and we were ready to hit the big apple. We spent the afternoon wandering around Central Park and Downtown Manhattan. It was not exactly balmy weather, but we were certainly dressed for the sub-zero wind chill temps. We discovered stores to suit each of our interests... Joe found the Apple store, Steph and Sarah - the M&M store, and Andy - ESPN zone! The next few days were spent exploring NYC and anticipating what New Year's Eve in Times Sqaure would be like. One morning we woke up super early to go to the Today Show where we got to shake Matt Lauer's hand AND appear on TV for exactly 5 seconds. Hey, we'll take it! We also took a fairy out
to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island which was neat especially since we both have relatives who came through there. While in NYC we also enjoyed Chinatown where Andy and Sarah bought a 2 pound bag of fortune cookies, which later was shared with people on the subway. We also found the very first pizzeria in the USA ... Lombardi's and it was a culinary highlight of the trip! Sarah and Steph also got some ice skating in at Rockafeller Center and we were able to witness a proposal on ice while there too!
Our plan for New Year's Eve was to get to Times Square early to ensure a spot. We got there by 6pm, but Times Square had been closed down since noon, so we still managed to get relatively close. We had to go through several security check points and were herded through gates and finally stopped in a sea of people. There we stood for 6 hours ... and it actually went faster that you would think standing around for 6 hours would go. There were a lot of things going on around us and there were some real fun people from Pittsburg that
we met. Plus evey hour we were able to celebrate the New Year arriving in some other part of the world. It was a count down to keep people involved ... like with 5 hours to go we rang in the New Year for the Azore Islands and with 1 hour to go we celebrated the arrival of 2010 in Nova Scocia! The last half hour was crazy and full of anticipation ... people were getting louder and louder and once the count down started we started counting down with it. Seeing the ball drop to light up 2010 sign is something the none of us will ever forget. We stayed in Times Square for a while and took it all in ... an then waited for crowds to simmer down by enjoying a great ... but expensive ($24.00) piece of New York cheese cake from a cafe. After that we made our way back to the hostel and to our surprise the Subway was not very packed for a place that just took on one million extra people!
On New Years day we made the push back ... we made excellent time until we hit Indiana who apparently
does not believe in plowing roads. But even with that 2 hour delay we pushed through and got back in one day @ 3 am. We would have never made it without Joe ... who was like the energizer bunny that started @ about 1 am! Needless to say we slept quite well when we got back. We still have a tough time believing that we started the day in Manhattan and ended it in Onalaska, WI.... what a great trip!
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