Driving Misses Daisy

As you read this post, please use your best Morgan Freeman voice…

Sure enough, this past week was as long as it was hard. Nearly our entire team came to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania to prepare this shop for the new ERP that goes live this coming Monday at 5:00 AM. Each day this week started early and usually went at least 12 hours thanks to an accumulation of one minor incident after another. Thanks to one coworker’s memory of an issue/resolution from previous cut-overs, we were able to get out the door just before 8:00 PM Thursday night. Had it not been for her remembering a quirk with the software’s reconciliation process, we would’ve been in the office yesterday looking through over 100,000 accounting entries to isolate the discrepancies. Instead, we were able to sleep in a little bit and plan a sightseeing trip.

After breakfast, we headed to State College, PA for our first stop, the Penn State campus. It’s been ages since I’ve been on any campus let alone one at a major university. The first surprise was the number of people wandering the grounds. The second surprise was the age variance in the people. There were quite a few more students and faculty than might be expected for early July, but moreso, there seemed to be an even greater number of visitors like us. After a few hours of checking out the architecture and history of the university, it was time to head off to the second stop, a winery.

There was no specific winery in mind when we left Penn State, so we left it up to the Search Engine Gods. The closest winery was Happy Valley Vineyard, but getting there proved more challenging than it should. The first roadblock in our quest came from trusting Siri’s directions which were woefully out of date/inaccurate. How much so? The route that was supposed to lead to the winery dwindled to a private gravel road and the property owners had time to get a professional sign made and erected to alert visitors that there was no winery access from the road. Strike one, Siri. At least the sign gave instructions for how to reach the winery and offered a chance for Siri to redeem her failure. Inputting the directions, we were off again on the new route. As we got closer, however, Siri’s map showed no connecting roads to the winery. Strike two, Siri. After 15 minutes of driving around trying to figure out how to get to our destination, I called and asked for directions. As it turns out, there’s a gravel road off of a cul-de-sac that leads to the winery that we missed because the map showed no road and we turned just before seeing it. There was no signage to let people know that the winery’s entrance was just up the hill out of sight. That one’s on you Happy Valley Vineyard. Once we arrived, the three ladies with me were allowed to select five samples from any of the 20 or so available wines (I volunteered to be the designated driver). The staff was courteous and knowledgeable as they discussed each wine and their possible pairings.

Impressed with the Happy Valley offerings, each lady purchase a pair of their favorite bottles and some additional swag and we headed back to Altoona. With bad storms in the forecast for the night, we planned to simply hang out at the hotel, play cards, and have some drinks. Since the ladies had their wine, it was time to locate a liquor store to find any beer I couldn’t find at home. This led to yet another Siri-induced wild goose chase that took us on a jaunt that criss-crossed the same five square mile area. After 30 minutes of following Siri’s directions, as well as some locals who apparently don’t know the area in which they work, I admitted defeat and opted to join the ladies in their wine selections. We wound up polishing off four of the six bottles during a game of Canasta that lasted until 2:00 AM.

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