Thursday, January 26, 2012
College road trip
Andy and I explored new territory last week.
We traveled 1,595.5 miles round trip in the Explorer Sport Trac. We covered parts of five states – Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
Our 17-year-old (like his dad) has always been a collector of athletic shirts and caps – no matter the team. A couple of years ago, he discovered a church-affiliated school near Detroit called Rochester College. That Christmas one of his gifts was a Rochester Warriors T-shirt.
In the past few months, he has gotten more serious about picking a college he wants to attend. Some nearby ones are on the list of possibilities and one very far away.
He decided to apply to Rochester, a small college not far from Canada with a student population of near 1,000, and see what happened.
He received an acceptance letter and then phone calls from Brian Bowers, an admissions recruiter at Rochester and a super nice guy.
Andy was notified of some scholarship money he could receive based on his ACT score and grades. Then he got another call asking him to come up and interview for an even bigger scholarship – leadership based.
I told him if he really wanted to make the trip, I would take off work a few days and we would make the 12- to 13-hour drive together.
We worked it around high school classes and basketball games the best we could. It’s the first time I’ve missed both a Monday and Tuesday (newspaper production days) at The South Reporter since I moved here 10 and a half years ago.
With our route mapped out on the iPad, we left Holly Springs about 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, with hopes of getting about six hours up the interstate, and at least on the other side of Nashville.
Traffic, on a Sunday night, was no problem.
We spent the first night a few miles north of Louisville.
Monday morning, Jan. 16, we were back on the road, going toward Cincinnati. One of the most memorable and breath-taking parts of the trip was topping the hill and seeing the skyline of downtown Cincinnati. It was awesome.
We had kept an eye on the weather from day one of planning the trip. About 80 miles from Toledo, we starting seeing snow on the ground.
We passed some signs for colleges we’d never heard of – the Northern Iowa Polar Bears and the Bluffton Beavers.
On the outskirts of Toledo, we enjoyed great pizza at Ralphie’s Sports Pub and also watched part of the Memphis Grizzlies versus New York Knicks game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
We arrived at our destination, Rochester College, about 4 p.m. (eastern time). There were sighs of relief.
The temperature, for Detroit, was summer-like – in the low 40s. We drove around campus, and then waited a bit on our host, Brian.
That evening he and his wife took us out to eat at a sandwich shop in beautiful downtown Rochester with Cole, a junior at the college who Andy was going to be staying with overnight in one of the dormitories.
I had a dorm room, too – all to myself in a different location on campus. It was hot, very hot, and I could not control the thermostat.
Our tour of Rochester College and Andy’s scholarship interview were set for Tuesday, Jan. 17 (to be continued next week).
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