It seems I have kept putting off writing this post. Why? I am not sure but I think it was because of the emotions of 9-11. I just wasn't ready to revisit it.
Back in 2010, after John and I had been to the Alabama-Penn State game, Brady made the statement that he would like to go to the Alabama-Penn State game in Happy Valley in 2011. Well, that was all I needed to hear. I love to go to away games and going with Brady and Kim would make it even more special and fun. We started talking about it seriously after Christmas and it became a reality when, in March, we found a great price on a flight. Of course, there has to be some cliches.....which was that John's, long planned, hunting trip would end the day before the game and he would be in Colorado. Well, we worked that out. The next thing that just seemed to fall into place was finding the last two (non smoking) rooms available at the same hotel that the Alabama alumni would be staying at. Tickets were found pretty easily and Brady rented a car and we were set.
John left on his hunting trip (I have already put up a post with his hunting trip pics) Friday, September 2nd. Thursday September 8th, I left out from Berry and headed to spend the night with David and Linda Lawson (John's younger brother). David and Linda live in Priceville ( you might remember my post about celebrating the Lawson Christmas at their house) and the great prices we got for a direct flight to Baltimore was flying out of Huntsville (very close to Priceville). Since our flight was taking off so early I decided to spend the night before and I am so glad I did. We had the best afternoon and night. We talked and talked and Linda had a wonderful supper ready for us and I got to love on Maclain, Reid and Mollie ( my great nephews and niece). David was going to wake me up Friday morning because we were leaving early but in typical Lawson fashion we were both up before the alarm went off. Thank you, Linda and David, for such a great night! I left Linda and David's thinking I was totally prepared. I had my GPS and Mapquest instructions to the airport but in my typical blonde fashion........I took 3 wrong turns in the subdivision!!!!! When I finally made it out to the interstate I did get a little panicky because I was afraid I was going to be late. Being late is not fun at an airport but being late when you have never been to this airport and you are alone is really not fun! But, I gave my sweet brother in law a call and he got me calmed down and reassured me that I was on the right track. I got to the airport, parked, did not look at where I was parked, got in the airport, got through security and was actually not the last person on the plane. Brady and Kim were already on (they spent the night at a hotel next to the airport). The airline was playing the Alabama Fight Song as I boarded and the plane was 90% people going to the game. Guess we weren't the only ones who found that great deal!
We landed, got our luggage and caught a bus to the rental car area. We got in our car, put the Alabama flags on the windows and headed out.......we did not know until the we got the GPS on our phones working that we were going in the wrong direction. We went right and we should have gone left. The problem was......finding a place we could turn around. Finally, Brady just said he was getting off at the next exit. We did and started trying to figure out how to get back on the interstate going the right direction. Sometimes that is not easy to do. This proved to be the situation we were in. So.....I am in the back seat looking at the map, of the area we were in, and started giving Brady directions to get back to the interstate to an exit that was going the direction we needed to go. We got there but we needed to be in the opposite lane and there was not a crossover so we kept going straight until.......we realized we were headed straight into a line of stopped cars. Why.....you ask.....well it was an Army base. We were in the line to enter Fort Meade. Now......years ago I had gone to Gulf Shores with a friend, it was night, and we missed our turn and ended up in Pensacola. We knew how to get to Gulf Shores from there but we also missed that turn....I know...I own the fact that I get lost everywhere I go! Anyway, we ended up at the naval base entrance....we drove up, told the guard that we missed our turn and were heading to Gulf Shores and he just told us to u-turn in front of the guard shack and head back out....easy enough, but that was before 9-11. So, I leaned up and told Brady to just tell the guard that we needed in the other lane heading out and he would just let us u-turn. Have you figured out that didn't happen. We slowly head toward the guard shack with our Alabama flags flying high. Brady rolls down the window, tells the guard that we were just trying to get going in the right direction to get to Harrisburg, Pa. The very nice guard said " sure I can help you" as I envisioned us just doing that u-turn and leaving. But here is what really happened.......he stopped traffic, walked out in front of us, motioned us to a small drive through parking area. We assumed we were just driving through the parking area and heading out....which we started to do when we realized that we were being flagged down, told to pull over and stop by all the, very serious looking, men in all black combat uniforms. Very quickly, we realized that we might be there a while. Leave it to me....be prepared if you go with Joy Lawson...something will happen that we will talk about for a while. Anyway......they approached the car, told us to stay in the car, asked for Brady's license, asked if it was our car, looked at the rental papers, looked under the car and finally all smiled and said we could go! WHEW.....but then....They came back and asked if we had made any pictures....WE said NO....and I promise you that you will never see a picture of what happened!!!!
So, finally we are on the way to Harrisburg. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state....even when you are just seeing it from the interstate. We knew that there had been a lot of rain in PA. that week but we were not prepared for what we saw when we got to Harrisburg. Our exit to the hotel was blocked...flooded...so was the next exit....we finally got off on the third exit into downtown. Luckily our hotel was not flooded but the streets surrounding it were flooded and blocked off. We had to go around the city and back to get to our hotel but we made it! WHEW!
I have divided up our Penn State trip into several posts so keep reading and sorry for all the pictures but I have always told my life in pictures!