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.
Somehow, despite my exhaustion, I made it St. Louis. Getting back the extra hour helped. It was mostly in part to some Starbuck Espresso Double Shots. Still, seeing the arch for the first time got me excited to make it the city.
Something about seeing a city skyline for the first time always amps me up. You can see it in pictures a million times, but something about seeing it in person feels very different. I’ve seen so many pictures of the arch, and while yes, it is just an arch, it is something unique. Something not every city has, which makes seeing it the first time pretty damn cool.
That said, after a quick sight of The Gateway Arch at night was enough for my tired self, and I opted to crash at the hotel. I would have loved to check in, get my tickets at the desk, and go right to bed. Life is usually not that simple though. I am going on a little tangent in the next two paragraphs about the problems with the NHL outdoor games ticket strategy. If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, skip down to two paragraphs.
If you didn’t know, the tickets for the NHL outdoor games are special and only done on paper (read: somehow in 2016, while every league is pushing electronic tickets, they don’t offer an electronic version). And, even worse, if you buy them on StubHub, earlier than 2 days before the game, the only option is to have them shipped to you.
Which makes no sense given that if you buy them 2 days or less before the game, you have to pick them up at what they call “Last Minute Services,” which is usually inside of a hotel near the arena. Why they don’t have that option in general is beyond me. To add insult to injury, they give a vague delivery date. Something like “tickets guaranteed by December 29th.” They can be delivered 3 weeks before that date, but they will show up to you by that time! So, what are you supposed to do if you are traveling to the game from out of town. Your best option is to get them delivered to your home address and hope they show up before you leave.
When you travel as much as I do, “home address,” is a little tough to determine. Espeically around the holidays. Which is why it blows my mind that they don’t offer a same day pickup option for these tickets. After one set was stolen from my front steps, my second set was delivered to a family member address and they were going to overnight them to my hotel. Sounds like a great plan, right? Right?! Wrong. The worst case outcome happened. Stubhub delivered them in time, and then the postal service lost them. Stubhub hands are clean, and there is literally no way for me to get into the game.
Great. I am in St. Louis less than an hour and I am now ticketless for the NHL Alumni Game and Winter Classic. Ticket prices are a litlte more expensive, and I have already forked over a pretty penny for this event. After some thought (read: three drinks) I bought new tickets. You only live once, right?! I didn’t come this freaking far to not see this game. I could help but think that “these games better be pretty freaking special.”
Boy, they did not disappoint.