Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Road Worriers, Part 4


Click for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

December 30: Boston, MA > Fishkill, NY > Boston, MA

For once, I got an early start to the morning, waking up around 7:30 AM, though I didn't really sleep much during the night. I left Boston around 9:45 AM and arrived in Fishkill, NY around 1:00.

The church was completely packed - it probably seated about 200, but there were probably another 50-100 standing in the back of the church. It was a nice service, with some happy parts (including Ian's troop leading everyone in Grand Old Duke of York) and the sad moments which made a lot of us cry (for me, when Amazing Grace started.) We had a reception downstairs, after which I headed back to Boston.

It was strange, in that I didn't really know a lot of the people there, but I was glad so many were there to pay their respects to a great lady.

Back in Boston, the Atlanta bid team (led by Kim) won the vote to host the next APO Convention in 2010 - which a lot of people throughout the Region here have been working on for the last few years. I made it back to Boston just in time for the lead advisor and one of the main students of the bid team (as in, Kim and Emory's chapter president) go on stage for the handoff from the Boston team to the Atlanta team - so things will be busy for the next couple of years.

The vote had been conducted in the morning and came in around noon. Even though it had been something we'd all worked on for two years, I tried to put it out of my mind until I got back to the closing awards event. There was a time and place for it, and I was still trying to keep things separate so I could think somewhat clearly.

At the end of the banquet, some of the Brothers led a line from the Hynes center back to the hotel, with about 60 of us in tow. After so much work, it was a most enjoyable parade.

After walking around a bit and meeting with a lot of people around the convention (not all of the 1800 in attendance, but a large number) the kids and us said most of our goodbyes as we got ready to leave the following morning.

December 31: Boston, MA > An Undetermined Location in New York

We woke up on New Year's Eve morning to see several inches of snow on the streets and sidewalks outside of the hotel. We were planning on heading to Brewster to spend New Year's with the family after stopping in New York City to do the Toys R Us trip we had promised Alex.

Yes, there is glass there, on the 18th floor.

In order to avoid the snow that was coming down from Canada and off the Great Lakes, we decided to take I-95 along the water instead of driving through the mountains again. Surely, it would be easier driving right?

Hah. No.

It took us about 4-5 hours to get out of Massachusetts, and we had to start deciding what we would do that night. Since it looked like the weather was better downstate and it would still be rough driving with frozen roads if we cut back north, we decided around New Haven, CT that we would stay south and try to find someplace to stay rather than risk driving north through Hartford back to Brewster. Beacon, etc.

We started making some calls around, and didn't have much luck finding rooms. I decided to try Hilton HHonors again and see if perhaps the room I had just cancelled was somehow still available. Amazingly, it was - and it was the only one left in the hotel. We were able to get the room back for the reward stay I had originally booked.

(In case you haven't noticed, we really, REALLY like HHonors now. They came up huge for us twice in this trip.)

So, now the only problem was continuing the trek into NYC. On New Year's Eve.

The drive finally got easier when we reached New Rochelle, and we were able to go slightly faster until we got to the Deegan and crossed over into Manhattan. After missing the turn onto the FDR Drive, we took a shortcut through Harlem (!) and made it back over to the East River. We finally got to the hotel a little bit after 10 PM, in time to check in before New Year's exploded onto everybody.

You know it's a strange drive when the easiest part is driving through Manhattan.

It's funny, in a way. We planned on being in New York, then we didn't, then we did, then we didn't, and now, here we were, in New York, just as we had planned twelve months ago.

We did forget Alex's jacket hood, so he got mine for this picture.

Welcome home. Kinda.

And good riddance to 2008.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Last part to be posted tomorrow.

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