I love a good road trip. There's nothing like rolling the windows down, cranking the music up, and hitting the wide, open road... even if it's just for a three hour trip. This was my family's first real vacation in a few years, after getting our Shih-Tzu a few years earlier and not being sure of how to travel with her. We finally figured that we might as well bring her along, drive to our destination and stay in a pet-friendly hotel. This trip was sort of a trial-run for a bigger trip to Florida we were planning for the next year, so we wanted to go somewhere close and familiar. What better place than Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a gorgeous town we'd already visited countless times and really loved? I couldn't have been more excited!
I hadn't been able to sleep all night the night before. After a six year vacation hiatus we were finally going on vacation in the morning and the excitement was overwhelming! The day before had been a busy day. My cousins Jessica and Samantha had been over and we spent the day hanging out, walking around the neighborhood, and just generally acting crazy and cracking each other up. We had also stayed up all night watching the MTV Video Music Awards and by the time they left it was already after midnight... and I still had to pack! I finished up doing everything I had to do and just laid in bed. I slept for an hour or two at most. When it was finally time to get up I was pretty exhausted, but my adrenaline was pumping so it wasn't too bad.
We had decided that we were going to leave later than we usually do to go on vacation. We normally leave as early as possible but we wanted to leave later in the morning so that we could walk Oreo at a normal time and try to miss the morning rush-hour traffic around Manhattan and Philadelphia. We had to start off the vacation right, though, so we decided to meet my Aunt Stacy, Uncle Alan, and little cousin Alison at our local diner at 8:00. There was no way my brother Mike was getting out of bed any earlier than he had to so we just left him home. He hates the diner anyway.
We met my Aunt Stacy, Alan, and Alison in the parking lot and all went to get a table. The diner was pretty empty so we were seated right away and all ordered our food. I got French Toast which is my absolute favorite! It was so exciting having our first breakfast of trip, even though we were still in Brooklyn. Our food arrived by 8:30 and we passed the time eating and talking about how excited we were. Well, dad, Aunt Stacy, Alan, Alison and I talked about everything we wanted to do and see while my mom worried about how the dog would handle the situation. Mom, relax... we're going on VACATION!
We finished eating and left the diner at 9:00, and I was very surprised when Mike opened the door for us. Not only was he up but he was DRESSED! For a kid who sleeps as late as possible whenever he can, I was definitely surprised. I took it as a sign that he was excited, too. At least a little bit. We all hung out around the house and just relaxed. At 10:00 my mom and dad loaded the rest of our luggage and bags into the car and then walked Oreo while Mike, Aunt Stacy, Alan, Alison and I watched "Starsky and Hutch" on HBO. At 10:30 we were finally ready to go, so we piled into our cars and pulled out of the driveway. It was great knowing that we were headed to one of my favorite places in the world! My Grandma was waiting on her porch (she and my Grandpa live across the street from us), so we waved to her right as we turned the corner and drove off the block. We were finally on our way!
We stopped a few blocks away at a Mobil station that recently opened a new "On the Go" convenience store. My mom, Aunt Stacy, and Alan ran in to get coffee and then we got going. Not to another diner or a convenience store, but finally on our way to Pennsylvania! There was no traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, as usual, and after driving about an hour into Jersey we stopped at one of the rest stops. We took a bathroom break, got some mini cinnamon buns from Cinnabon and looked at the bags, pocketbooks and sunglasses that were being sold outside. They were pretty nice and Aunt Stacy wound up buying a pair of sunglasses.
We continued driving through Jersey until we got to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was starting to rain and I got upset since we had planned on doing a few outdoor things later that day. It was only a light drizzle, though, so it wasn't too bad. About an hour and a half into Pennsylvania we stopped at another rest stop, this time a McDonald's. We all ran in to use the bathroom and get some fries and drinks for lunch. We then continued driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, listening to the radio along the way. Every time a good song came on my mom would call my Aunt Stacy to tell her what station to put on, and then we'd look at their car behind us to see Aunt Stacy dancing in the passenger seat! It was hilarious!
We drove for another two hours before finally arriving in Lancaster at 2:00! But it wasn't exactly smooth sailing... we were looking for Rt. 30 which would turn into Lincoln Highway East, the street that our hotel was on. We took Rt. 30 West, which was the way we were supposed to go as stated on our AAA TripTik, and drove for ten minutes without the road turning into Lincoln Highway East. According to our map it should have happened already, so we went back to where we started and went down Rt. 30 East thinking that this road would lead to Lincoln Highway East. They were both east so it made sense. We drove for fifteen minutes and then saw signs that we were going back up north towards Philadelphia, so we turned back around again and continued driving on Rt.30 West until we finally found Lincoln Highway East. If we had only driven a minute or two farther than we had the first time we would have seen that we were going the right way. We still weren't sure exactly where the hotel was so we stopped at an Arby's on Lincoln Highway East to use the bathroom before we continued driving and found the hotel, the Lincoln Host Resort, no more than a quarter of a mile up the road.