This post and the several that follow are a retelling of my experience on my first ever road trip. The trip started in Newark, NJ, went through Pittsburgh, stopped in Cleveland, continued on to Indianapolis, landed in Saint Louis, and the final stop was in Nashville. Along the way, I would see 5 games in 5 days with a grand total of 7 games in 8 days and travel about 2,100 miles by car. Yes, it was as crazy as it sounds. But, to me, it was the perfect way to end 2016 and kick off 2017.
I am pretty sure my family is going to disown me for this post.
I am a Philadelphia native, and a lifelong fan of the Philadelphia Flyers. Going to a Pens game to see them play – not to watch the Flyers play in their territory – is pretty much the worst thing I could do to them. And, while I can never be completely unbiased, I wanted to give Pittsburgh a chance. Their fans are well known for their passionate and enthusiastic dedication to their teams. I felt like I would be missing out by not stopping and seeing a game of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
I headed to Pittsburgh the morning following the Devils game. The key to these drives is breaking them up as best as possible. In this case, a stop at Beaver Stadium was a pretty solid stopping point.
Having never visited Penn State, I had no clue what to expect. The town is the college – or the college is the town. Either way you look at it makes sense, but I felt more like the college is the town. As someone who did not go to a big university with a large college athletic program, I am always amazed by the size of the stadiums. Beaver Stadium did not disappoint. Its presence is impressive, and a view of the surrounding mountain range is a perfect backdrop. Honestly, it’s a shame that the NHL couldn’t make the outdoor game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at Beaver Stadium work – it just feels perfectly suitable for such an event.
After a quick stop at Beaver Stadium and a ride on the Lion statue, I continued my journey to Pittsburgh. I had given myself plenty of time to take in a little bit of the city before the game. I wanted to make sure to get down to the riverfront, as I am a sucker for those types of views.
I parked right outside the stadium which is in the Uptown Area of the city, and walked about 25 minutes past downtown and to Point State Park. I didn’t get to see much else of the city, but I have to imagine that this area is the highlight. The views as dusk were stunning. A Christmas tree right behind me, the lights shining off the river, and small chill in the air; it is everything you could want in late December.
With not much time to spare, I walked backed towards the stadium and had about 30 minutes before puck drop to explore the stadium. Obviously, the feel inside the Penguins arena was different than the Devils. It would be weird if it wasn’t – their team is riding the joy of winning the Cup, and it certainly felt that way. The energy was buzzing. You could feel the love for this team.
Before heading to the game, I had a goal of figuring out who the heck the guy is who blows the horn that I always hear on tv. I couldn’t quite spot him, but I was beginning to think it is actually the Penguins mascot as the sound seemed to be coming from different spots in the arena throughout the game.
Ultimately, the Pens took home a victory that night in pretty intense 3rd period. And, while my family may hate me for this, I had a great time visiting the city and at the game. Also, I finally heard someone actually use “yinz” in a sentence, which made me way happier than it should have. Okay, Pittsburgh, you happy. This Philly girl just said she had fun in Pittsburgh. Ughhhh, I am sorry Mom.