About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Scranton: The Electric City

As our time in Philly came to an end, we recognized that Scranton was the perfect distance away to park overnight and head home in the morning. Myself (Tyrone), and Jer both being pretty huge fans of The Office, were excited by the novelty of the stop. The plan was to get there in the evening, grab some grub at Poor Richards (a pub frequently mentioned in the show) and head out in the morning. We pictured a quaint little town where Michael Scott roamed free and the smell of freshly printed paper was in the air. This however, was not the case.

After pulling into Scranton off the freeway, it was easy to see that this was not unlike some of the other cities we had visited. What was once a hub of industrial activity was left abandoned and rusted. We arrived at the address of Poor Richards, only we saw a sign for South Side Bowl. Slightly confused we entered and found the pub tucked away in a corner. After taking a seat and being clearly identified as outsiders by looks from those seated around us, we decided to leave feeling discouraged that Scranton might not be all it promised. They used a different set on the show...

Still feeling hungry we headed on over to the local McDonald's where the parking lot looked like a scene out of a Fast and Furious movie. It was littered with souped up cars. Were talking neon underglow, rims, big ol' sub-woofers; you name it, they had it. We were informed that the Scranton Car Club is a pretty big deal and meets there every Friday night. Needless to say, Enns Battery & Tire could make a killing in a place like this. Now here is where our tale takes a turn for the better. In this McD's we happen to pick up that days issue of the Scranton Times and saw a title stating that tomorrow was the much-anticipated Office Wrap Up Party. We read on. In fact, Saturday was a day packed with activities to celebrate the upcoming series finale of the show that helped put Scranton back on the map. Now this was more like it. We researched and found out tickets were sold out, but when has something like that stopped us? We decided we would investigate in the morning and went to bed after a few games of intense euchre.

The beautiful Saturday sun helped us get up and moving to start the day. We knew that the morning activities were taking place at the University of Scranton, so that was our destination. We started exploring the campus and stumbled upon the remnants of the Bloggers Breakfast. An event organizer told us to wait in the back of the line and there might be some tickets left for the next panel event, which was not exactly what we wanted to hear. However, we walked away with some authentic Dunder Mifflin paper supplies and a little voice in our heads telling us we had to get tickets.

We continued to walk around until we found a group of student volunteers, and after telling them our story, they helped round up a few extra volunteer tickets for us. Little did we know we hit the jack pot as these were also VIP tickets. So for the next hour we were all smiles as we listened to the writers and producers of the show talk about their favourite moments over the years. After this was over, we were informed that the cast would shortly parade down main street and that would be our shot to meet them. In between we grabbed some delicious lunch at an Irish Pub to celebrate Tim’s 21st birthday. A couple items on the house for the occasion later, we headed back out to the streets to join the crowds in anticipation.

Now since The Open Road Project began in 2011, there has been a guestbook to help record all of the interesting people we meet along the way. Armed with this is hand, we stood by as the parade started to come our way. First came David Wallace and I was able to go up have him sign our guestbook. From there the floodgates opened. Darryl. Erin. Creed. Meredith. Cast members kept rolling and we kept getting signatures. We were just having a grand ol' time, laughing at our impeccable timing. As some of the more popular characters such as Jim, Pam and Dwight rolled through, the crowds quickly turned to mobs and we took to sitting back and enjoying as wild fans. After the parade was over we hopped back into Lily thinking about how lucky we were to be here in Scranton, PA for this one day, and how the sketchy town that greeted us was in the far back of our minds, now replaced by experiences that seem to only happen on the open road.

We left that afternoon to begin our long haul back home, smiling.

Home is where you park it,
The Boys.

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