Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Time Away

As most know, Craig and I took a mini vacation down to NY City for a few days with Craig’s motorcycle club. I wanted to write about it and post some pictures but I’ve just been playing catch up and when I have had time I have just wanted to relax.

September 9, 2010

When we woke the day we were leaving, I hadn’t packed yet which isn’t like me and considering I had been on vacation for 3 days you would think that I would have found the time but no. I had decided that I would just pack the morning of….big mistake! I was running around trying to make sure nothing was forgotten which meant something would be but I couldn’t pin point it and figured I would just buy whatever it was so we left on time to make it to the meeting place.

Everyone showed up and we were on our way. I followed 4 bikes down which at first I thought was neat because they were quite a bit ahead of me until we got into traffic when I didn’t know where we were going so I had to get really close to them….how awful would it be if I ran over my husband and his friends by accident. That kept flashing through my mind the closer we got to the city where people drive like they are the only ones on the road.

About half way to the city I realized that I left without my backrest for the bike….that would be the big mistake.

Once we got near out destination all of us had flash backs to National Lampoons Vacation in London when they are stuck on the roundabout because our navigator was trying to read signs and drive his bike and we had to keep getting off and on ramps to make sure we were going in the correct directions…to his defense he got us all the way there by reading maps the night before and my GPS froze in the exact same location.

We got to the hotel and checked in and were told where the meeting room was so we knew were to go once we were unpacked and changed. I showered…I didn’t do anything other than drive but I just felt gross. I do it every time I travel anywhere. Even when I’m a passenger in the car or even when I fly, something just makes me feel like it’s been a long day…lol

We went downstairs and I didn’t know what to expect because I have never been to such a thing and hello….they are a bike club. We could hear people in the room once we were in the hallway although the room was at the opposite end of where we started. Once down there we realized there weren’t too many people there which I was fine with…much easier to mingle with a few people than be overwhelmed by 70 people at once. So Craig started chatting with people and I made myself comfy on a chair and women came over and started sitting and chatting with me. And it was then that I realized that this was probably going to be a really fun weekend.

Another point I want to make is that traveling with 4 guys is much different than my normal routine. I got Dunkin Donuts when I left (10am) and lucky I had snacks in the car for Gillian because they didn’t feed me again until 7pm that night when pizza finally arrived. Should I ever travel with just boys again….I know to pack meals with snacks….

So once fed the drinks started flowing which makes me more talkative so we sat by fire pits and hung out with everyone which after a long day was nice. I eventually had enough to drink and showed myself to my room….

The next morning I felt rough and was informed that I looked rough….and by this time I had been up for 4 hours…lol We went to a diner for breakfast and we were suppose to head back to the hotel after since I was on the back of a bike with NO back rest. But everyone was going to a Harley shop in New Rochelle and we were told it wasn’t too far (famous words) so we went….boys are so vague. It felt like we were never getting there. The roads were terrible and I tried to focus on the scenery rather than the fact that I could fall off the back or crack one of Craig’s ribs from hanging on so tight. I was so excited to see the Harley sign that I almost jumped off the back to run over and hug it!

On the way back from the Harley shop we took highways so that we would get there quickly….15 minutes I was told it would be. Driving on the highways in my car was a nightmare so on the back of the bike with NO back rest I was not looking forward to it. It was the longest 15 minutes. I promised that if I survived I would not ride without a back rest again.
Needless to say I survived but it was truly uncomfortable. I see people riding all the time without backrests and I don’t know how they do it.

Once back to the hotel we got ready to head into the city to go to a taping of Jimmy Fallon. I was really looking forward to this and one of the guys from the NY city part of the motorcycle club had given us pointers on what to do. We planned to take the train into the city and either take a cab over to NBC studios or walk. Go to the show then head back so we could make it to a scheduled dinner with the motorcycle club.

The train ride was nice…it was down time for the 3 of us. We got to Grand Central Station which was absolutely beautiful. I’m glad it was suggested that we take the train just so I could see it. I wish I would have stopped for pictures but I figured I would get some on the way back (had I realized that we had plenty of time at that time I would have taken the pictures). Then we found a map and headed out to walk to the studio.

I apparently have high expectations. The sidewalks were crowded, people are rude and it’s so loud! I was not impressed. I actually found it to be quite a letdown. I don’t know what I had expected (after watching many years of Sex in the City, I know my ideas are a fairy tale) but it was nothing like I had imagined.

The show was really good but I would never recommend anyone going to see an NBC taping unless you have about 6 hours to spend on that sole purpose. The taping was suppose to be done at 6…it got done at 6:36PM and we still had to get back to the train station get back to the hotel so we could get over to the dinner that started at 7pm. It was not looking good so we basically walked as fast as humanly possible back to the train station…just missed the 7:04Pm train so we had 2o minutes to figure out where our train was and get on it. You would think this is when I would have taken some pictures but no…still no pictures of such a beautiful building.

We got on our train and headed back…this is where I was reaching the end of my rope with what felt like the longest day ever. When it was our stop we got off the train….this is where I totally screwed up…lol We had to go North and when we stepped off the train there was a sign that read south… so I thought we got off at the wrong stop and I stepped back on the train and my husband stepped on with me and the doors closed and we were headed even more North….Oops! And without Bob! After discussion with a passenger we realized that we had been in fact at the correct stop so we had to get back there. A nice person offered us information at the next stop to get us back on the right track and we ended up on the wrong side of the tracks and running around trying to get to the right side of the tracks with the train coming down the tracks. Needless to say the person with back pain running down stairs was getting yelled at by her loving husband because she was not moving fast enough….lol

We eventually made it to the dinner right before the food was picked up so we did manage to get to eat. Then after we went back to the hotel and headed back down to the fire pits to hand out. We ended up staying up until 5:40am because at about 4:30am we finally decided to head to the diner that we had talked about going to since about midnight. It made me feel like I was so much younger…I honestly didn’t think I had it in me anymore.

Four short hours later I was awake and playing around on the computer trying to not disturb Craig too much. I did feel the need to take his picture since he had told everyone what a bed hog I was because he was snuggled right next to the side of the bed although we had this king size bed and I was nowhere near hogging it. I think he likes to sleep there and just blames me…lol
When Craig was up he went to find out what everyone was doing so I turned on the TV and started watching a 9/11 memorial. I don’t know why I was so naïve but I had never connected that some families lost more than one person that day. Watching I kept noticing repeat names and the speakers were either family of a victim or a member of the company that is building the memorial. It was so awful imagining what those people had been through. Craig and I had talked about where we were when we heard the news that very day and couldn’t believe that it had been 9 years.

Once we located people, we headed out on a trip to the mall to look around and try to find something for Gillian. The mall was enormous and the stores in the mall were way out of price range but I did manage to find a Zhu Zhu pet named Jilly just for my Gilly. And a few items to put away for Christmas.

After our shopping trip we lounged around the fire pit waiting for 6pm line up time to head into the city on the bikes. I had been looking forward to this since I had heard about the ride on Thursday night. There were 3 police officers escorting 60 bikes to stop traffic so the group didn’t get separated. It was truly amazing. I tried to take pictures along the way but I was just so taken back by seeing everything that I didn’t get many pictures but other people took them so I wasn’t worried. The first stop was at Time Square. Going into Time Square I was amazed by all the people that were taking our pictures. We were causing a scene. Once we were parked people came and took pictures of all the bikes…it was amazing. There is a lot squished into Time Square…people and stores and restaurants and because it was 9/11 there were activities going on everywhere. We had 45 minutes to wander around before we had to be back on the bikes to head down to Ground Zero.

When we started towards Ground Zero we eventually could see we were headed towards the 2 beams of light. It was still an indescribable feeling headed through the city surrounded by the roar of the bikes. I just took everything in as much as I could. Looking at all the buildings and the two beams of light took up all my time on the back of the bike. The closer we got to the beams of light; it was like they sparkled which gave me chills. It looked like spirits swirling in the light. Again, all I could think about is all the families that were affected by that terrible day. I felt somewhat selfish enjoying the cool air, checking out sites and being able to share it with Craig while there were families out there with such big holes in their hearts.

Arriving at Ground Zero was truly amazing. There were sites to see but really we didn’t go far. Yes, we should have taken it all in but it was such an experience that just standing chatting with friends was enough. We did go to the NYPD’s Memorial site that had a wall with officers that had past not only in 9/11 but going back into the 1800s. That is where Craig, Kristina, Sue and I spent the most time. We talked about what we thought it was like that awful day. It was peaceful and not the type of conversation that would have happened the same anywhere else. It was truly truly a phenomenal experience that I have never had and can’t imagine having again.

I was exhausted from the last couple days and emotionally exhausted from the day so I knew once back to the hotel I would not be able to stay up late. We went to bed the earliest that night as we were all wiped out and had the long trip home the next day. I was excited to get back to Gillian but sad to leave such a fun group of people. I had gone into the weekend not knowing what to expect and without high hopes but I left with so much. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

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