My Penn State Road Trip

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I made the relatively short trek from Philly to State College this weekend to take in the Notre Dame-Penn State game and figured I’d post a recap of my little trip.

7:15 AM – Alarm goes off the first time. Snooze.

7:30 AM – Alarm goes off again. Snooze.

8:00 AM – Alarm goes off again. Snooze.

8:10 AM – Finally decide I should roll out of bed and start getting ready.

8:45 AM – After putting on my new green #7 jersey and throwing a couple cases of Yuengling in my trunk along with a cooler, I was ready to head out. I hopped in the car and sent the following text message to Mac as I pulled away.

“Just left Philly and ready to see Clausen toss about four TDs” Who knew that would be about 4 too short?

I also sent the following message to Jimmy from Domewire.com, who hooked me up with a ticket for the game, “Hey Jimmy what do you say? The Irish are going two win today!” Looks like I was 0-2 in my predictions.

9:20 AM – Received text message from Mac saying that he wasn’t going to be getting to State College till much later than originally planned so I start thinking of ways to kill some time. Since I figured sitting around the parking lots outside Beaver Stadium might not be the best idea.

9:45 AM – Stop off at a rest stop on the PA Turnpike and get some breakfast, picked up a newspaper and killed about 45 minutes to an hour.

11:30 AM – I get the bright idea to look for a Target or Best Buy to buy a cheap digital camera since my only one is an SLR which I didn’t want to risk taking into the stadium. So, I take a random exit thinking I’ll find something. Bad idea. I ended up driving around Harrisburg (I think) for a while and all I accomplished was getting lost and getting back on route 322 in the wrong direction.

12:15 PM – Got off at another random exit off of 322 to pick up some ice and filled up the cooler with the ice and the Yuengling.

1:10 PM – 15 miles from Beaver Stadium now and hit traffic. Lots of cars none of which seem to contain Notre Dame fans.

psublog-05.jpg1:45 PM – I called a friend familiar with State College and got directions to a Walmart where I purchased the finest $130 digital camera they had in stock. Turns out the camera isn’t too bad and its small enough to not be annoying to carry. The lady working at the Walmart was very friendly and wished me good luck in the game. Not the reaction I was expecting, but turns out this was par for the course for the trip.

2:30 PM – Finally got parked and am in the lot. Mac is still a bit away so I crack open a beer and take in the tailgating situation. Within a couple minutes the people behind me came up and introduced themselves and talked to me for about 10 minutes. Then the people next to me started talking to me for a little. Again, not the reception I thought I’d get, but was pleasantly surprised.

3:30 PM – Met up with Mac after about a 1/2 hour of trying to figure out where each other was. Turns out we parked about as far away from each other as possible. In retrospect, it would have probably been a good idea to meet up someplace outside the stadium and then park in the same lot. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. Side note – feel free to give Mac some grief on the board for wearing a blue and white Notre Dame shirt which looked like a PSU shirt at first glance. I guess it wasn’t too bad considering he was sitting right in the midst of the white out while I was in the ND section. It could have been worse, he could have worn a white ND shirt.

5:00 PM – After kicking back a few Yeugnlings and talking with our tailgating neighbors quite a bit, we left the lot and walked towards the Stadium.

5:30 PM – Took a picture next to the JoePa statute to which we got booed by all of the surrounding Penn State fans and briefly talked to someone who played on the ’77 championship team. Didn’t catch his name, but the man was a giant standing next to me.

5:35 PM – Met up with Jimmy outside the visitors will call window and we headed off to the Notre Dame section.

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6:05 PM – Game kicks off. Beaver Stadium was crazy loud and I must admit it was cool seeing the “White House” compared to going to a Notre Dame game and seeing people where white, gray, gold, green, and blue.

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6:20 PM – Darrin Walls intercepts Morelli and takes it the distance. ND section goes nuts and the rest of the 110,000+ gets pretty quiet. Unfortunately that was the quietest the stadium would be the rest of the night.psublog-03.jpg7:35 PM – Halftime and we are still very much in the game down only 14-7. ND played great defense in the first half and Morelli’s bone head play has kept this game within striking distance when it very well could have gotten out of hand considering we gained just one first down after the first drive (and that came on the last play of the half). Penn State fans were a bit uneasy since most thought they would just roll over us and not really have to do much.

9:30 PM – Game ends. ND gets beat up pretty good and I begin the trek back to my car.

9:45 PM – Walking back to my car I hear a Penn State fan talking on his phone saying, “This has to be the first time ever that Notre Dame and Michigan are both 0-2.” So I jumped in and said well at least one of us has to win next week. He told me, “You’re right buddy, good luck next week, I hate Michigan more.” He then proceeded to tell his friend how terrible Morelli is – that was one smart Penn State fan. As a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan I expected some harassment on the walk out since that would be the norm for opposing fans in Philly, but no one said anything and everyone was pretty respectful. All told, I was extremely impressed with the Penn State fans this weekend. I didn’t get much smack talk thrown my way before, during, or after the game.

10:30 PM – After sitting in the lot for a while I hit route 322 and was sailing. I thought the ride home would be pretty easy at this point. Boy was I wrong. About 2 minutes later I get to the point where 322 merges from two lanes to one and for the next 15 miles I averaged about 10 mph.

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11:00 PM – Get a text message from my CEO at work telling me to “Make sure I pick out a nice PSU shirt” since the two of us had a bet on the game where the loser had to wear a shirt from the others team.

11:45 PM – Finally, two lanes again! At this point I realized I hadn’t really eaten since my stop for breakfast and decide to stop once I hit the PA Turnpike.

1:15 AM – 2 slices of pizza and a coke all for the low, low price of $9.51 at a rest stop just outside Harrisburg. While I was filling up my soda, another Notre Dame fan spilled out a coffee and said “this coffee sucks,” to which I asked, “what sucks more, that coffee? or the Notre Dam offensive line.” He promptly told me that there was no question it was the ND offensive line.

2:51 AM – I finally arrive home, park my car, and step inside to see a bunch of people whinning about how bad we are on the football board : )

This little recap doesn’t compare to what I plan on posting for my road trip in October when I’ll go going to the UCLA game out in LA and then the Boston College game the following Saturday with stops in Vegas, San Diego, and Chicago in between. I didn’t really think ahead much about this as I only found out Wednesday I was going and didn’t buy the camera till I arrived in State College.

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