Two Weeks Down, Eight To Go
Here is a similar post to the one I posted in our tour blog with a little personal adventures added in the mix. -Enjoy!
The past two weeks have been jam-packed with events, traveling, tourism and lots and lots of food. I’m going to try to wrack my brain and remember all the important and interesting things we have done, but I’m not making any promises.
Thursday, September 27
Our day of departure was Thursday, September 27. Adam, Lauren and I slept in a little bit longer than usual so we were well rested for our first day on the road. We stopped by the office to get some last minute supplies, grabbed lunch at the mall, and then hit the road around 1:00 p.m. We made it about an hour before we all decided to stop for Starbucks. (I strongly suggest the Pumpkin Spice Latte for those who haven’t had it.) After re-energizing we finished the remainder of our drive and checked into our first of many hotels on the road. We ended up staying in Westville, New Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia, extremely convenient for our drive to the Phillies vs. Nationals game that night. For those of you who read my previous blog post, I wrote about how I was extremely excited to have my first Philly Cheesesteak from Tony Luke’s at the Phillies game. The line to order from Tony Luke’s was longer than the line to get in the ballpark, but well worth it. I was skeptical at first after hearing they use cheese wiz on the cheesesteaks, but the cashier assured me that the local way to order was the best, cheese wiz and onions. I am happy to say that it was the best cheesesteak I have ever had, ok, and the only cheesesteak I’ve ever had, but I’m sure if I had one before, this would beat it. As for the game, it was amazing. The stadium was gorgeous, fans were incredible and we all had such an amazing time. It was a great ending for the first day on the road.
Friday, September 28
Friday morning we awoke excited and full of energy for our first event. After fueling up with breakfast from our hotel, we headed to WestDeptfordHigh School to honor our very first U.S. Army All-American, color guard member Caitlin Fenning. Caitlin was extremely excited to be chosen to perform in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl halftime show on January 5, 2013. During the presentation, Caitlin shed a few tears while giving her speech, and surprise, surprise, so did I. It is an amazing honor, and we are all very happy for her. All in all, I would consider this event a major success. We now had a greater understanding on what are roles would be like for the next three months.
Friday (Post-Event), Saturday, Sunday
We spent the next few days doing a little bit of sightseeing, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, typical tourist stops. I also had the pleasure of accompanying Lauren on her first bull ride, pre and post photos below. All in all, it was a great relaxing weekend, aside from trying to figure out the best way to park an oversize tour van in the middle of a busy city and driving to our new tour stop. Northeast traffic is the worst, especially in rainy weather, which there seems to be a lot of.
Monday, October 1
On Monday morning we made our way to Timber Creek Regional High School to honor U.S. Army All-American football player and University of North Carolina commit, Greg Webb. Our event was a press conference held in the school library, and we had an extra hand from All American Games on deck, Joe Greenaway. Joe is the newest member to the Northeast tour team. Adam has accepted a position with our partner, Rivals and will be leaving our team on October 12. We are sad to see him go, but excited that Joe now gets to experience life on the road. Everything went smoothly for our event and we had a great turnout with the press. After the event we obtained some footage of Greg doing some lifting in the weight room and some drills on the football field. We pass these videos along to our other partner, Football University (FBU). For those of you interested on what FBU is, you can visit the website at footballuniversity.org.
Check out http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/player-Greg-Webb-125644 for more information on U.S. Army All-American Greg Webb.
Tuesday, October 2
On Tuesday we headed to WinslowTownshipHigh School to honor U.S. Army All-American Marching Band Member Maritza Bullock. We were treated to an amazing performance by the Winslow Township Marching Band, with Maritza right in dead center performing her color guard routine. She did an amazing job which proved to us even more why she deserves to be a U.S. Army All-American. Before we left the school, Maritza and her fellow color guard members showed us their ritual chant, full of energy and laughter, leaving us in positive spirits as we hit the road to our next destination.
Wednesday, October 3
Wednesday was our day off, so we took full advantage and found possibly the best restaurant in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Isaac Newtons, one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time. I chose the Veggi Chili and Greens Salad with Toasted Mustard Cider Dressing, and I am glad I did. It was delicious and full of unique flavor that I haven’t tasted anywhere else. The dessert was amazing too! (You don’t think I would leave without ordering dessert now, do you?) I opted for the brownie sundae, another amazing choice. If I’m ever back in Newtown, I definitely know where I will be stopping for lunch, I know the other tour mates will definitely agree with me.
-We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening getting paperwork done and watching the coverage of the Presidential Debate.
Thursday, October 4
Our Council Rock High School stop on Thursday was slightly different than other events we have had so far. There were actually two U.S. Army All-American Marching Band members that were to be honored, Daniel Gift and Ryan Elder. The event was held in the auditorium for the school marching band members, friends and family. Media turnout was great and both All-Americans were extremely appreciative. We were thrilled to have them perform a piece from their upcoming show on their clarinet and trumpet. They are amazing at what they do and we are proud to have them perform at halftime during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Friday, October 5 – Monday, October 8
We awoke Friday with a lot of energy and excitement. We were thrilled to be meeting PennState commit Garrett Sickels and announcing his selection to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Our event was a great success, lots of media, a full auditorium of friends and family, tears shed during speeches, a very emotional day. Not only did the event go well, we also got some great footage of Garrett performing drills on the practice field, excellent proof of why he is a part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl East Team. Check out http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/player-Garrett-Sickels-128956 for more information on U.S. Army All-American Garrett Sickels.
After the event was over, we packed up the van and headed to our weekend destination of New York City! We made a quick pit stop in Joe’s hometown for a delicious meal at Mojave Grill. Mama Greenaway joined us and gave us some excellent advice on restaurants in NYC. After our tummies were fully satisfied, we hit the road, again for a slow roll to our hotels. Rush hour traffic in NYC is insane, and the holiday weekend ahead didn’t help much. After driving about two hours to go 30 miles, we finally made it to the hotel that I was staying at. The other tour members dropped me off and ventured in their own directions for the weekend as well. About an hour later, Petey arrived. I was thrilled to have a visitor and someone to explore the city with.
Petey (Adam) and I had an amazing weekend despite the cold front that came through and the rainy weather. We treated our taste buds to several amazing restaurants, including dishes such as BBQ Buffalo Meatloaf, New York Style Pizza, Calamari, Shrimp Kabobs, Burgers, pub finger food, and our absolute favorite, ICE CREAM!
In between all of the eating, we did manage some sightseeing. We toured NBC Studios on Saturday and got to watch part of the rehearsals for Saturday Night Live. There we saw Daniel Craig, (aka James Bond) and Kenan from Kenan and Kel. We also made a stop at the World Trade Center Memorial and tried to catch a ferry after to the Statue of Liberty but we were too late. Sunday was rainy and cold so we ended up catching the Colts game at a pub for lunch and the Broncos game at Dave & Busters for dinner (where I dominated Petey in ALL games). In between the two football games, we saw the movie End of Watch. It was an amazing movie and I definitely recommend seeing it if you haven’t yet. Here is the trailer link for those who haven’t heard about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_XBtLo5WhQ
On Monday morning at 4:00 a.m., Petey had to head to the airport to go back to Oklahoma. I hated to see him go but was happy he made the trip out to visit. Luckily, I had MNF Jets vs. Texans tickets with the rest of my tour mates to make me feel a little bit better. It was my very first time at MetLife Stadium and the experience was incredible. I feel so lucky to be able to have these opportunities to see so many sports teams and stadiums.
Tuesday, October 9
It was back to the grind on Tuesday morning. We had an amazing three-day weekend and were all ready to get back on the road announcing the 2013 Class of U.S. Army All-Americans. Our Tuesday stop was for marching band members Melisa Brown and Christian Crawford. It was another successful event for the books and we are all very proud of them. Before we left, Melisa and Christian performed some tunes for us. It is amazing how talented these students are. We can’t wait to see them perform at the bowl come January.
Wednesday, October 10
Wednesday was a day of productivity. We caught up on our paperwork, organized all of our papers and relaxed at the hotel. I even had time to get in a 6 mile run, which is hard to do with this hectic schedule. All-in-all, it was a great day, nothing eventful, but just what I needed.
Thursday, October 11
Today we headed to Everett High School to announce U.S. Army All-American John Montelus. Our event was held outside on the football field, which was amazing because it was a sunny and slightly warm day. While setting up the event, we realized the wind was insane and a huge issue. All of our signs kept blowing over so we had to recruit seven football players to stand behind them during the presentation. The event ended up turning out extremely well and we were really appreciative of those who helped us out with the crazy weather.
Check out http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-John-Montelus-132698 for more information on U.S. Army All-American, John Montelus!
Tomorrow we have one last event before we spend the weekend exploring Boston. Be sure to keep checking back to see all of my stories from life on the road. I promise I won’t take so long to post next time.