We had planned to drive to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech game, but when I mentioned our plans to Stan, one of the guys I work for, he made arrangements for us to be a part of the travel party and travel with the team to Georgia Tech. Talk about the way to travel - it's like VIP treatment! Stan hooked us up since he knew it would be way more convenient for us than driving, but also as a fun last hoorah before I leave.
Apparently guys are a little less detail oriented than us girls because none of them...not Ryan, not Matt, not TJ...has ever mentioned the treatment they get on away trips before.
It all started before we even departed from the airport. We parked at general aviation, never even stepped foot in a terminal, just went through a single line of security set up specifically for our travel party. Then we walked straight up to the airplane and boarded via the stairs. It reminded me of the President boarding Air Force One...on a smaller, less important scale of course. :) Before boarding the plane, we grabbed a food bag and chose between the sandwich, philly cheese steak and chicken fingers. When I opened my bag of food on the plane, it was never-ending!
Then, when we arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson in ATL, one of the busiest airports in the world, we got off at a separate area - not a gate- where the charter buses had pulled right up next to the plane. We had a police escort to the hotel and this may have been the craziest part of the whole thing. We got on 285 during the middle of 6 lanes of stand-still traffic and the police just stopped the cars in all lanes and we made a beeline for the HOV. Once there, I was like well that was cool, but what now...no one in front of us can go anywhere and it might as well be a parking lot. Cars weren't moving. Well, with that police escort, cars pulled over out of the HOV lane and we went right on ahead. When we reached our exit, the police blocked off the lanes again so all four buses could just dart over to the exit. It was like the parting of the sea lol. The cars in all lanes just stopped on the middle of the highway for us to cross.
When we got to the Westin Peachtree Plaza, we got our room key and to the horror of my elevator phobia, our room was on the 36th floor. Juuust wonderful! Actually, these elevators weren't too bad and the view wasn't at all bad, so it was fun. Seriously though, my second thought after Stan made arrangements for us to travel was "oh crap, the Westin is one TALL building - I sure hope we're not on a high floor". And I was legitimately concerned about it until we got there. Crazy and stupid, I know. :)
|view from our room to the left - downtown Atlanta|
|...and view to the right - my beloved Georgia Dome, where the Falcons play! :) ...and CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, etc.|
|At Ray's in the City with Stan and Ramona|
After a Starbucks breakfast in the hotel, we once again loaded the charter buses and headed to the stadium with our police escort. We hit a couple of tailgates - one with some football alum guys and one with the player's families. Then Ryan and I headed up to the AD's box for the first half of the game, which included...of course...more food! We moved down to the stands for the second half to sit with my parents, Jamie and a couple of her friends.
|Ryan and I in the visiting AD's suite|
|Duke Athletics ladies I'm going to MISS!!! Cindy, Nina, and Ramona! ...and "Bubba King" in Nina's belly! :)|
|Matt and Banks' high five ritual before kickoff|
|and Egboh making a play!|
After visiting with the players after the game, we loaded up and headed back to the airport.
|Mom, Dad, me, Ryan, Matt and Jamie + Summer and Jamie's friends Alysha and Elizabeth|
|Banks and Matt showing off their 'staches for no shave November. Wes really has the best mustache going on, but he was already on the bus.|
|This picture is majorly lacking TJ!!|
It was so fun to experience traveling with the team - to see what it's like from the player's perspective. With Ryan, Matt, and TJ doing this on a regular basis, it's fun to see what game weekends are like to them!