New York Trip, June 20-25, 2004
Account written by Matthew S. Huber, Director, Brazil Concert Band and Jackson Township Band
Photos by Melanie Huber and Shelley Criss

   Members of the Brazil Concert Band, family,and friends traveled to New York City for the 2004 band trip June 20th through the 25th. Eighty-six in all made the journey with most going by Bales Unlimited touring buses of Shumway, Illinois and six by air and one brave couple, Bob and Jan Pell, by station wagon.

   Those who rode the two buses left Sunday at 10:20 p.m. after the band concert. As always, the trip coordinator Melanie Huber, arranged for the buses and accommodations which were first class. We reached Buckeye Lake, Ohio around 4 a.m. to get our relief drivers. The Bales brothers, themselves, were involved with Bill Bales taking over for his brother Dave at the Ohio exchange. Bill was quite the comedian and kept Melanie and I amused in our front seat "command center" for the remainder of the journey. Bill liked to joke with the toll booth operators by informing them he had good news and that he just got 20% off on his auto insurance. Before we entered the Lincoln Tunnel, which connects New Jersey with Manhattan, Bill told the operator to address the second bus driver as "Pumpkin", which brought a sharp response from second driver John. We had a good time with Bill, an expert at his craft, who knew all the streets and avenues of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. Bill's advice to us on arrivals and departures kept us safe and on schedule.

   We arrived at our hotel, the Howard Johnson's Central Plaza, exactly at 3 p.m., as Bill had promised. We chose this HJ, located at 8th Avenue and 51st Street, at the suggestion of Marci Rush. Marci and the ladies at our Riddell National Bank trek to NYC every other year for shows and shopping.  Marci, who flew instead of riding on the bus, steered us right as we had excellent accommodations with most of us on the seventh floor. It took thirty-two rooms to house our ensemble. The location was prime with an easy walk to the spectacular Times Square.

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