Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Jersey road trip

CONGRATULATIONS Jo Anne and Genson!!!!

Jo Anne is Mike's cousin and her wedding to Genson is the reason the Solon Massive went to Somerset, NJ this past weekend.  Mike's parents, his younger sister and her family flew down Thursday and the rest of the family (me, Mike, Mike's older sister and her husband, and Mike's younger brother and his girlfriend) drove.

Our adventure started at 12:30 am on Saturday. We drove all night so that we could get to Woodbury outlets when it opened.  We made it but only after driving through some scary, vampire-looking towns to avoid paying any tolls.  Mike drove the leg of the drive where we were in the middle of nowhere. I am telling you it was straight out of Mystic Falls from The Vampire Diaries, even Mike said so. We were all up the whole two hours because we had to be on deer watch (Jon was too scared to sleep, I think).  We passed road signs that told us to beware of tractors, deer and snowmobiles.  I have to say that I am so oblivious to my surroundings. I didn't see the deers until someone else pointed them out and I was in the passenger seat!!!  The first deer we saw was massive. A huge truck passed us and sped away. He was driving so fast that he probably didn't see the ginormous deer crossing the road.  We drove past a another deer just chilling on the side of the road, staring us down. In less than a minute later, a deer shot out of the side of the road and made a mad dash.  I don't think I have ever been so terrified - not only because of the deer but because I felt like a vampire was going to come flying out of the woods and eat us.  Too much True Blood, Twilight and Vampire Diaries made our minds wonder.  We were so thankful when we got back on a main highway.

9:30 am Saturday morning and we are finally at Woodbury. We gave ourselves until 1:30 pm to shop. We raided the Cole Haan store with Mike's discount and also Converse.  We didn't get to fully check out all the stores because we still were an hour away from the hotel and Mike's dad kept on calling us. We finally arrived to the hotel. I was exhausted. I barely slept the whole drive. I got carsick at some point and threw up.  I tried to sleep but every time I closed my eyes, I got dizzy.  When we got our room, I crashed.  I missed the family gathering that everyone went to but I am kinda glad because I got to spend some time with Jo Anne and Genson, who I met for the first time. They are awesome.  Actually, Jinggoy's (Mike's dad) entire family is super nice. For the rest of the night, we just hopped from room to room, visiting family.  I think the whole Solon family occupied the 4th floor.

8:00 am Sunday, we hear this little knock on the door and were woken up by these little visitors...

Our niece and nephew came by our room to play and also to wake us up for MORE shopping. As much as Mike and I wanted to just sleep in, we went.  I can't believe that I am saying this, but I am officially SHOPPED OUT!!!  My next post will be photos of what I bought.  So the Solon family went to the Flemington outlets and returned to the hotel with only an hour to get ready for the wedding.

The ceremony started at 4:15 pm and cocktails at The Palace began at 7:00 pm. We left the hotel way after 7 pm but if we had known what we was in store for us, I am pretty sure, we would have been there right on time. This place is magnificent, extravagant, royal, all things a palace can be described as. The cocktail reception wasn't just passed out hors d'oeuvres, there were food stations everywhere. Let me name them off for you - cheese and antipasti station, roast beef station, roast pig station, seafood station, pasta station, chicken and veal station and who knows what else because we didn't even look around. Dinner started late but after all that eating during cocktails, we thought that dinner would be very small.  Boy were we wrong...first course - half lobster with some kind of sauce, second course - salad with tomato and endive, three course - choice of pan-seared halibut or grilled new york sirloin and lastly dessert was wedding cake and a dessert buffet. I am telling you, this wedding was out of this world.  To top it off, only two speeches, dancing in between courses and the kicker...wait for it...cake cutting outside on the terrace and wait for it some more...FIREWORKS!!!!!

I kid you not.  Fireworks.  I was in awe!!!  The funny thing is the night before when we were hanging out Jo Anne and Genson, we saw the firworks going off (The Palace was nearby to the hotel) and Jo Anne was telling us that they didn't get it because it's a ridiculous amount to pay for them.  Little did we all know that Genson got them as a surprise for Jo Anne. What a sweet guy!  The evening ended at midnight.  No drinking for me because I was worried about hangover hell for a eight hour ride back home.

We left on Monday at 11 am and was home by 7 pm. No grilling questions at the border. No carsickness for me. Just a wild crazy singing session of Don't Stop Believin'.  This was an interesting weekend trip. It was a bit overwhelming meeting the whole Solon clan but by the end of the trip, I was able to put together the puzzle of how everyone is related. I got to learn a bit more about my brother-in-law Jay (he is always there for Steph's family - he is going to make an awesome dad one day) and I think that my other brother-in-law, Jon is warming up to me a tiny bit. It's great to see such a big family get along so well (except it gets a little scary when they are hungry or tired because they all start yelling at each other, and that's when I just stay off in the sidelines). It must have been a very nice reunion to have the whole clan get together.

Some things I learned from the trip:
  • Don't try and avoid tolls. I would rather spend $20 on tolls than drive through vampire towns.
  • Mike is awesome driving with a GPS, he is not so paranoid about where to go. I was proud of him.
  • Take gravol to avoid motion sickness.
  • Bring nice pajamas so you don't end up looking like a little boy when meeting the family.
  • Pack lots of snacks.
  • Don't pack so much in your luggage so you can bring more back.
  • Have a pit stop every two hours (even if it's just to go to the washroom).
  • Maybe I am just not cut out for road trips.  Flying is much better.

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