Taking That Solo Adventure
There are times when you just have to do something that will make your heart and soul light up. Recently, I did just that when I bought tickets and a flight to Pittsburgh, PA to see my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes at home. I have always been a hockey fan but got much more into it when my hometown built the arena for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, or "Baby Pens" to us locals. Yet, as much as I loved the Pittsburgh Penguins I had yet to see them play in person. I had promised myself that my first time would be on their home ice. I decided once I received my promotion this year that my early birthday present/celebratory gift to myself would be a trip to Pittsburgh to meet that goal.
Ironically, the day I was to fly out it snowed both in GA and in PA. There was a major hassle getting to the airport as my original plan to use MARTA failed due to a delay in the schedule which forced me to drive to the airport, arriving at the gate just 10 minutes before boarding. I also lost my debit card and had to cancel that on the spot and luckily I noticed before anything nefarious happened.
Once in Pittsburgh, I took an Uber to the hotel, the Downtown Pittsburgh DoubleTree and checked in. It was the same hotel that I stayed in for the marathon in 2018. Though the room was fine, I remember the rooms being in much better shape the last time I had stayed there. It was still clean and comfortable and was just a short walk to the arena. And yes, I still got that warm cookie at arrival which helped make up for a crazy morning of traveling.
It was a cold and blustery day in Pittsburgh (a mere 20 degrees) but I was determined to get my Jake's Shake from The Milkshake Factory. Let me tell you, as cold as I was by the time I got there that milkshake was worth the trek. The website describes it as follows: "A CHOCOLATE HAT TRICK:
chocolate shake with hot fudge, crushed cookies & cream, and brownies, topped with whipped cream and chocolate #59".
They were not wrong. A CHOCOLATE HAT TRICK Indeed. It was truly delightful and worth every penny. You can tell them I said so if you visit!
I had dinner back at my hotel because you know it was cold and after that milkshake, I didn't want anything heavy. Plus, I figured I was going to be spending a bit more at the game and, to be honest, that was where my headspace was at. I had some Guinness since it was parade day that morning (I missed that part) and some appetizers. After that, I was tired from the long day of traveling and the anticipation of the game the next day had me ready to just lounge around and watch TV.
I woke up, EARLY. Not intentionally but because my brain was firing on all cylinders, proclaiming" TODAY IS THE DAY!"
I am not going to get into a play-by-play here but I will say that if you go to a Pens game and can sit in section 101 - DO IT! One, it had a great view of the entire arena. Two, it was directly behind the players' bench. Three, it was a club section so you had to show your ticket to get into that area which had its own beer, beverages, and food stands. I had no idea about any of that when I bought my ticket. I just happened to find the seat on Seat Geek. So I was pleasantly surprised on game day when I saw what that seat was like in real life. Holy cow. It was epic.
Plus, since it was their St. Patrick's Day game they warmed up in the COOLEST jerseys which were later auctioned off to support their chosen charities.
I didn't get my picture with Iceburgh though, sadly. However, I got really close. I guess I will just have to travel back to the "Burgh" and try again.
I will always love this city, because of the Penguins and because I ran my first (and so far best) marathon there.
Here are a few more pictures from the game: