student to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) which is located in
Indiana, PA - which also happens to be the county seat of Indiana County! Orientation for transfer students took place a few days ago and during a lull in my job hunting, I offered to give my sister and niece a ride.
I like to plan for road trips - even short ones - so when I picked up the girls, I was prepared with a cooler with snacks (some healthy, some not - this is a road trip after all) and drinks. the car was also gassed up and ready to hit the road and I had picked up a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee for my sister (she and my dad LOVE Dunkin Donuts coffee - I like it but I had WaWa coffee). We headed out around 11am and with the blessings of EZ Pass, good directions and not much traffic, made great time.
Pennsylvania is really a lovely state and even though I have been lucky enough to have driven through a lot of it, I can still be impressed with the scenery. I was also very impressed with my Focus's gas mileage! We have been suffering greatly from the heat these last few weeks and while I don't usually drive with the air conditioner running, it got quite a workout on this trip! Average MPG going out - 36.4!
We stayed at a lovely Holiday Inn just outside of town and after we unpacked, we drove through the campus and past the apartment where my niece will be living and then went here for dinner:
After we went back to the hotel and thought of taking a swim, but the pool was a bit full for our tastes, so we caught up on some cable TV while my sister worked on her laptop in the lobby on WiFi.
It was early wake up call for the three of us - Sam & Mary had to be at their respective orientations by 8:00am. I headed back to the hotel to suck up more cable TV (I don't have any tv service at home, cable or otherwise) and then get cleaned up, pack up our stuff and check out. I indulged in hotel breakfast (boy was that a bad idea) and thought about a swim but there just wasn't time. Then I had a full day of exploration ahead of me. I visited Sheetz and got ice for our cooler; uncovered the location of all 3 grocery stores and drove around the mall. I also visited IUP's book store and bought myself a hoodie - a bit of a challenge because IUP has about a 100 different kinds of hoodies but only about 3 of them zip all the way up the front and that's the kind I prefer - and there's the whole plus size thing (I like my hoodies big and comfy). BUT - I did score a hoodie and I'm looking forward to chilly weather so I can proudly display my IUP love!
It was about that time that I was ready for lunch, so I found a fast food joint and parked with my burger and watched it rain and rain and rain.... did you know that Indiana, PA gets more rain every year then Seattle, WA? Sad but true - I say sad because my niece is such a sunshine/warm weather girl (I didn't mention snow....).
Then it was off to Wal*Mart for a wee bit of shopping (I have a hard time resisting the lure of fresh school supplies...crayons, virgin note books...the smell of fresh ink...<3) but I also gassed up the car and headed back to campus. The girls were finished earlier then expected and we headed for home.
It was an uneventful trip home despite the dangerous downpours that left me with about zero visibility to the point where I was navigating by the reflectors embedded into the paint on the highway. I mentioned to my Dad later that I had the wheel gripped so hard my fingers hurt after and I think he thought it was because I was afraid - I explained it wasn't that I was afraid since I've driven in blizzards & hurricanes before - but I had my sister and niece in my car and was responsible for their safety which made me hyperaware of the situation. Have to protect my girls, you know?
We stopped in Carlisle, PA at the Route 11 Diner where we consumed some excellent cream of broccoli soup, omelets and a hot turkey sandwich with gravy fries. There was a whole (funny) incident with my niece losing her footing off a 6 inch curb much to her friend's amusement (thanks to text and twitter) but we made it back safely and in good time (though not as good gas mileage). Many thanks to the ladies for letting me come along on their adventure and drive (which is one of my favorite things) and explore! Much love!
I am sure there will be more road trips to Indiana, PA to visit Sam - I personally am looking forward to one with lots of SNOW!!