Monday, March 22, 2010

State College Road Trip #18: Recap

We're back from our weekend trip to State College (via Brookville), and we had a great time. Let's discuss!

First off...the reason we went to Brookville was to see my cousin Molly and her four-month old baby girl Nora: (Yes, we saw husband Jarrett too, but he works weekends and we didn't see much of him.)

(Yes, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably already seen these pictures. But not everybody who reads this blog follows those sites, and I totally understand that, so I'm going to be posting most of those pictures here as well.)

When Molly (and her sister Emily) gave birth to newborns late last year, it got me thinking: what is the relationship called between you and your cousins' children? It's not "second cousin" - my second cousins would be on the same level of the family tree as me. I didn't think it was some kind of "great-uncle" or "great-aunt" sort of deal, either. So, I did what anyone else would do these days and consulted Wikipedia: my first cousins' children are my "first cousins, once removed". Additionally, I am also the "first cousin, once removed" to the newborns. Apparently.

We stayed overnight in Brookville both Friday and Saturday night. We didn't see a whole lot of Brookville, but there isn't a whole lot to it. When we arrived at around 10:20 PM Friday night, the down was dead. No life whatsoever. And there's nothing wrong with that, of course. I think I would like the peace and quiet.

It's a 90 minute drive from Brookville to State College, and we actually made that drive three times (twice Saturday and once Sunday). Along the way, we did what I said I would do and completed my only "missing segment" of I-99, making I-99 the 6th interstate I have completed from end to end. Yay? ... Yeah, I know you don't care, so I'm going to go back to the pictures.

Mo the Cow Puppet is back! The "lion shrine", pictured here, is probably the most recognizeable and/or iconic thing on the Penn State campus, so we brought Mo with us to get the obligatory picture. There were plenty of other people waiting to get their desired picture with the lion as well. Would you believe there was actually a line?

Wedding time! The wedding was on the Penn State campus at Eisenhower Chapel. We thought about starting a "WE ARE" chant with the people on the other side of the aisle, but did not. I'm kidding, of course, but I bet it wouldn't have been the first "WE ARE ... PENN STATE" chant to break out here, even if it is a church.

Also...I like how on the groom's side of the altar, as you move left to right starting with the groom, the groomsmen get progressively taller. Was that planned? (Full disclosure: not pictured is an additional groomsman farther to the right who broke the pattern.)

Here's a closeup of the bride and groom, Lindsay and Victor Yannuzzi, at the reception...with the cow puppet, of course. Are we taking this cow puppet thing too far? Does bringing a cow puppet to a wedding reception make me come across as a "special needs" kind of person?

There were probably between 15 and 20 Penn State meteorology grads at the wedding, plus four faculty members, so this was a reunion of sorts. It was great to see everybody. Any other PSU meteo grads getting married soon? Actually...yes, in six weeks! I think the May 1st wedding will be a little more low key, however. I do not expect as many meteorology grads at the next wedding. That begs the question, will we ever see all these people in one place ever again? Probably not. Oh least we have Facebook. (Actually, if you can believe it, there are still quite a few single men among the Penn State meteorology alumni. So, we might do it all it again in another two or three years.)

Speaking of the upcoming May 1st wedding (Kerrie and non-meteo Dan), I'm going to restart the "what time of day should a wedding start?" debate. Saturday's wedding began at 4:30 PM, and I think that's probably the standard these days. As a guest, that's fine, but as the groom, I think that would have been way too late. For one thing, what do you do all day leading up to the wedding? And when do you finally get to bed afterwards - 2 or 3 AM? Amber and I went straight to bed after we got back to Brookville following the wedding, but I have a feeling Vic and Lindsay did not go straight to bed afterwards. (They were opening everyone's presents, of course!) This is why I talked Amber into having a 2:00 PM wedding. The May 1st wedding, on the other hand, is at 10:30 AM. I didn't know they still had morning weddings! We're actually considering going all the way back home that same day. (We have to be back in town by 4:00 PM Sunday for curling, so it's either that, or leave State College very early in the morning and curl tired.)

The original plan on Sunday was to head back around 10 or so, but...hey, given how often we're here (and how often other folks are here), why not get a quick game of disc golf in before we go? What are we going to do when we get home, anyway? So, we actually didn't leave town until around 12:30 PM.

(Road geek warning!) From the time when Amber lived in State College and I lived in Raleigh (Cary), I have a lot of experience driving from one to the other, and eventually came up with a fun and fast route. We went back to our "roots" and took the scenic route through Pennsylvania on our way back on Sunday. (Pictured above is PA-26 between Pine Grove Mills and Huntingdon.)

But in the three years since Amber joined me in NC, I-99 was completed all the way to State College. So, the "fun" route is no longer the fastest route. But that's fine, because while there are quite a few fun spots the drive through rural south central Pennsylvania, there was also quite a but of slow traffic. Our State College to Hagerstown, MD segment time was one of the slowest ever. I think we'll go back to I-99 next time. I-99 is scenic, too. As I've said before, I definitely took the scenery for granted when I lived there. I miss it. We should go to the mountains more often. Roanoke is only 2½ hours away!

So, that's that. Our next four multi-day road trips are:
- State College in six weeks (May 1st weekend)
- Toledo in ten weeks (Memorial Day weekend)
- Alaska in 14 weeks (June 24th through July 11th)
- Jacksonville in late July or early August? We have time to figure out when, exactly.

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