Road Trip!

NFL Draft

When I heard that Steve got approved for media credentials for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and that he was planning on driving down there in order to keep costs down, I saw a great opportunity for a “bucket list” type of fan experience for me.  Since I’m retired and had the time, I offered to drive down with him and be his personal assistant.  He took me up on the offer and on Saturday the 21st, we set off.

Because of a prior commitment that I had, we couldn’t leave Northern Virginia until around 5:oo P.M.  Steve needed to be in Mobile by around 3:00 P.M. on the 22nd to be there for the start of the week’s activities.   Given that the driving time, not counting stops, is over 15 hours, the logistics of making that happen were somewhat mind boggling.  As an aside, the problem for Steve travelling with the old man was that the old man has to make more stops! You know what I mean!

Anyway, we left cold and icy Northern Virginia and headed for Mobile.  We made it to just south of Greenville, South Carolina around 1:30 A.M. when we had to grab a room and got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep.  Back on the road by 8:00 A.M. on the 22nd, we knew we would have to push it to make our deadline.  But in spite of a torrential downpour that slowed us down near Montgomery, Alabama, we made it to balmy Mobile with a half-an-hour to spare.

I dropped off Steve at the Renaissance Riverview Hotel in downtown Mobile, the Senior Bowl Headquarters, so he could pick up his media credentials, attend an introductory press conference and attend a reception hosted by the NFL.  I took off to drive around and kind of get my bearings.  We’re going to be down here for a week and running around to a few activities, so I wanted to quickly familiarize  myself with the area.

Steve is going to be blogging all week about the nuts and bolts of Senior Bowl Week and the game.  He is the expert on the topic – as I said earlier, I’m just along for the ride!  But I did think it might be fun if I kept a journal of our trip and comment on some of my observations or just anything I thought might be interesting, if only to me.  Here are some tidbits from the trip so far:

  • It is one looooong drive from Northern Virginia to Mobile!!
  • Passed at least 3 huge automobile manufacturing plants right along the interstates on the way down.  Those things appear to go on for miles – for sure the BMW plant in South Carolina did.  And I guess because they seem to be built in more isolated areas, the corporation has to improve or build the road infrastructure to serve the plant.  And apparently, for making that investment, the manufacturer gets to name the roads.  Why else would the road leading from an interstate exit ramp be named Kia Blvd??
  • In Georgia and Alabama, not only do they post the speed limit, but they also post a minimum speed limit.  But what happens if you can’t maintain the minimum speed for whatever reason.  I suppose you would get a ticket – but could it truly be called a “speeding” ticket?
  • Shortly after you cross into Alabama, you change time zones.  So we fell back an hour.  What really impressed me was that I immediately checked my cell phone and the time had adjusted to the new time.  However, it took me the next 10 miles to figure out how to change the time on my car’s clock.  I hate that!
  • Steve will be attending a Media Night event on Monday which will be held at the Pavilion at the site of the USS Alabama Memorial where the ship is docked and serves as a tourist attraction .  I went over there today to check it out.   That is one big ship!  But wasn’t it the Alabama that Quint (sp) from the movie Jaws said he was aboard when it was sunk late in WW II?  What’s it doing in Mobile Bay?  Maybe my recollection is failing me – please feel free to correct me.
Until next time!



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