Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Road Trip, The Finale

So our road trip to Indiana, PA and Pittsburgh, PA went fairly smooth. Of course, we started off much later than anticipated. Dani had play practice for the Murder Mystery they do every year at her school. Then she still had to pack! That actually didn't take too long. It's now 5:30, I was hoping to leave 3:30-ish. But before we could really get on the road, we had to drive 20 miles to a dance apparel shop because she never got the leotard, etc. that she needed for her auditions! Fifty Dollars later, we're finally on the road. Luckily the shop wasn't too far from the PA turnpike. So off we go, to Altoona, PA,where the closet Marriott is to Indiana University of PA is located, approximately an hour from the school. (but hey! the room was free, so no complaints here!) A quick stop for a sandwich enroute and we finally get to the hotel at 10:30 pm (it was supposed to be a 3 hour drive.... how it became a 5 hour drive, I'll never know) We check in, grab a few snacks and drinks and settle in for the night.

Up bright and early on Thursday to check out and drive to the college. And it's raining... and cold and just icky outside. We get to the college and I really like it! Dani checks in. They have her listed as a theater major, not a musical theater major. So they fix that. All the Arts prospective students are there... music majors, voice, art, theater and musical theater. When it's all said and done, there are 4 theater/musical theater kids left. Her audition is set for after lunch (sure am glad we got there at 8:45 am!) Dani thinks she did well on her audition.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

So it's back in the car at 2:30 for the drive to Pittsburgh. That drive is 2 hours. Dani's GPS is awesome! We get to the hotel, with hardly any problems, a few wrong turns but not a big deal. We settle in to our room and we don't need to be at Point Park University until Saturday morning at 9 am. At this hotel, we need to pay for parking (what a rip-off!) I wasn't budgeted for parking! So I need to keep $33 to store my car for 2 days. Wander around the neighborhood and find a little Chinese place and have dinner. There's no extra money for nice restaurants, cabs, shopping, etc. But that's ok. It's too damned cold to be wandering around Pittsburgh in the dark anyway! So we go back to the room and watch a few movies. Dani absolutely crashed by 8 pm and slept until she woke in the morning!

Point Park University Campus

Friday afternoon, we get the car, drive to the college and discover, it's only about 1/2 mile from the hotel! We also did a little driving around to see the Duquesne Incline, a trolley car of sorts that takes you up the mountain. We decide to do that, but the GPS took us to the TOP of the mountain and it seemed pointless to take the trolley down then back up when we can see the sights from up there for free, so that's what we do (Dani's idea, not mine). I'm sure the view in the summer is terrific!

The Duquesne Inclines

The concierge at the hotel gave us a cool place for pizza that delivers, so that's just what we did. Hawaiian pizza (yummy!) and buffalo fries (so-so) for dinner in our room.

Saturday morning, we're up bright and early, get ready and decide we should walk to the college and leave the car in the garage until afterwards. Now, I am a middle-aged, over-weight, out-of-shape mom and Dani is a skinny, long-legged teenager. That kid left me in the dust!! We get to the school, I try not to have a heart attack and she gets registered. Then we wait. There's a tour of the school.. well, the building we were in. This college is right in the heart of the city. I didn't like it and I found out later, neither did her dad when he brought her there for visitation last summer. It just didn't feel like a college at all. I found the students there to be snooty and many of the prospective students to be snooty as well. The kids all do their auditions and we have lunch and wait for the callback list to go up. While we're waiting, I look out the window and it's snowing! Now I love snow when I'm home and it's warm inside and I don't have to drive anywhere. I don't like snow when I'm 300+ miles from home and I have to drive through it to get home! Over mountains!!! So, finally the list goes up and Dani finds out she's not on the list. We get our stuff together and start walking back to the hotel to get our car. I see that Dani is crying. Not the loud tantrum crying I'm expecting but quiet tears. She says, "That's it. I'm out of it." I'm secretly relieved because the school is $35,000+ a year, and IUP is $13,000+ a year. She'll also get a bachelor or arts degree from IUP and she'd have gotten a fine arts degrees at PPU, meaning she would have graduated knowing how to sing, act and dance and nothing else.

So, now we wait to hear from IUP to see if she was accepted into their theatre program. The good news is she's already been accepted academically and she wants to double major in Theatre and Education with a concentration in Literature. So if she doesn't get into the theatre program she can still go as an English major and audition for the shows anyway.

Ok, back in the car, we start for home. Dani turns on the GPS and because the buildings are so high, it can't find us at first. I'm driving aimlessly around Pittsburgh trying to get a signal. We finally get one but it's being retarded and telling us to turn on streets that aren't there. The snow is coming down and it's so cold (25 degrees), it's freezing on the roadways and driving is becoming treacherous. That damned GPS had us driving up these little steep one way streets going from one end of town to the other. FINALLY, it finds I-376 and traffic is bumper to bumper and we're crawling. But that was good because I did the sliding thing when we were in town and it scared the crap out of me! Traffic opens up when we pass an accident on the other side of the highway! That crawling was all gaper delay!

Eventually we get back on the turnpike, heading east. Speed limit is 65 MPH but I don't think I drove any faster than 55 or maybe 60. It seems like the Allegheny Mountains take up half of Pennsylvania! I drove not more than 40 MPH for most of the way home. It took 7 hours when it should have taken 5 or 5.5 hours. We left Pittsburgh around 2 pm and arrived in Pottstown at approximately 9 pm. And when I got to town, I did the sliding thing again! Sometimes those wet roads aren't just wet, they're frozen! Thankfully, I didn't hit anything (except a curb in Pittsburgh).

So that was my big adventure this past weekend in western Pennsylvania! Hope I didn't bore anyone too much!


Jim and Garret said...

It sounds like a nice trip. The time you spent with your daughter is great.


RecoveringActor said...

...I am all too familiar with the hills in Pittsburgh!! When I had CFLs in Pittsburgh senior year, I had to RUN up those giant hills.. in a miniskirt and heels! Not fun. I wish we had a trolley to take us up those hills.