Yes, we really did drive the 9 hours from Maryland to Columbus just to see a concert! (It was totally worth it.)
The whole trip lasted from June 21st until June 25th and it was amazing. I miss it so, so much.
The tickets for this tour had come out while we were on a retreat with our church, and my dad took time out of his busy day to try and snag some amazing seats. It was April 1st (April Fool's Day) so when he emailed me that he had gotten them, I didn't believe him!
Pittsburgh was our destination for the first Wednesday night. We left home around 3:45pm and our first stop was at South Mountain rest area, located somewhere in Maryland. We went on to the Park n' Dine and Hilltop Fruit Market after that. We arrived at our hotel in Monroeville, PA, around 10:45pm and crashed for the night.
The next morning we ate breakfast and went to look at a piece of property (property, not house) that my dad had seen. It was in really bad shape and would've needed a lot of work. We then went to the Strip District for about an hour. After that, our destination was Cleveland, OH. We stopped at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame for a few hours and then got lost trying to find the house from A Christmas Story. It was closed, though. Oh well. After that we left downtown Cleveland and gave up trying to find a Target. We went to a Red Robin instead. Our stop for the night was in Huron, OH.
The next day did not go as we had originally planned it. We were going to go to Cedar Point for the day and then stay another night in the same hotel, in Huron, but the weather had other plans. We woke up to a lot of rain. We had not factored bad weather into our plan so we were at a crossroads. We could go and brave the weather at Cedar Point, or we could try and cancel our hotel reservation for the night and head straight for Columbus. After much debating and extra planning, we decided on the latter. We were able to cancel our reservation and we switched gears to head for Columbus.
The trip to Columbus was very rainy. Our GPS took us on a lot of back roads. We even had to stop for a very, very long train! After making it through traffic, we arrived just outside of Columbus and stopped at Polaris Mall to see if we could find a Hot Topic store that had twenty one pilots shirts. We entered through a Barnes and Noble and went up the stairs to the Hot Topic. Sadly, they were out of the shirt that I was hoping to find, but there was a bubble tea shop right across from the Hot Topic, which was definitely a plus.
When we were leaving, it was pouring down rain, so we ran to our car and found a Texas Roadhouse to eat at. I chatted with the waiter over twenty one pilots and about the shows. He was very nice.
After Texas Roadhouse, I made my dad drive past all of the venues that 21p was playing at - The Basement, Express Live, Newport Music Hall, The Schottenstien Center, and Nationwide Arena. Almost all of them had some sort of acknowledgement towards Tour de Columbus, which was really cool. It was still raining as we made our way to our hotel for the night, a Holiday Inn, which turned out to be a very nice hotel. A car with "Tour de Columbus" written on its back window was spotted in the parking lot.
We decided to go and see the newly released Cars 3, having passed a movie theater on our way into the city. The band members, Tyler and Josh, had suggested in an interview two pizza places to stop at while in Columbus - Donato's and Hounddog's. After some research, we figured out that Donato's was actually a chain restaurant and set sail for Hounddog's. Once there, we spent a fair few minutes trying to find parking. They had a car out back with a hound dog strapped to the top! The inside was very interesting; it must've been a college/high school hangout. They had pictures all over the walls and our table had names carved into the wood. Their pizza was absolutely amazing! Faithful Pup Scout approved.
After dinner we went across the street to a CVS, as I had neglected to pack extra deodorant and had run out that morning. It was expensive, and for the rest of the trip it was infamously known as the $7 Columbus deodorant.
Our movie was at 7, so we walked back to the car at Hounddog's and made our way to the theater. The shopping center had another Barnes and Noble! We didn't go - we were already late enough. The theater was nice, as was the movie! If you haven't seen it yet, it's very good. When the movie was over, it was dark. We had an adventure trying to find Nationwide Arena, and we got lost, so we set our trusty GPS and went back to the hotel for the night.
And then it was Saturday, the big day. We woke up and walked to a restaurant called SuperChef's (where my dad accidentally canceled our reservation and messed up the online wait list). I got 8 small heart-shaped red velvet pancakes, and my dad can't remember what he got ("It was like a salad egg thing"). The food was amazing. Then we walked back to the hotel and checked out.
They were selling Tour de Columbus merchandise outside of Nationwide Arena, so that's where we went. After a lot of searching, we got parked and went to get in line. It was long, but it went fast. Some other people came out of a nearby Starbucks and were letting others in line sign a flag that they had brought, saying their name, where they're from, and their top two favorite 21p songs. The guy who brought the flag told us that he was going to be in the pit (general admission - standing room) and he was going to try and get the flag to Tyler during one of their songs (he didn't get it, but we did see him trying on the big screen). Finally, we got up to the front of the line and picked out two tour shirts and a sweatshirt, which are both very comfy (although, as I'm typing this, the tour shirt no longer fits.)
My dad had read about a German Village just outside of the city, so that was our next destination. It was a very cute little town with very limited parking - we had to do two loops around town before finding a place to park. We found a Golden Hobby shop, which is filled with things made by retirees, ranging from jewelry to puzzles. It was a very nice little shop. We went to put our stuff in the car and spotted a bookstore across the street, so of course we went in. It had so many little areas and it was spread out so much that I got lost and had to call my dad to come and find me! Afterward, we went to Max and Erma's for lunch.
Finally it was time to check into our hotel. It was a huge tower within walking distance from Nationwide. The name was something French - Hotel LeVogue or something like that, I don't know. They had valet parking, so I knew it must be a nice hotel. We walked in and immediately a bell boy came and took our bags. We checked in and the bellboy took us up to our room, all the while struggling to carry my dad's bags. He walked in and gave us a tour of our room before leaving. The room was very very nice. The TV even said "Hello, Mr. Eric." It was wild!
Soon, it was time to go to the concert. We were walking, so we had to leave around 5. There were a LOT of people walking down both sides of the street, so we tagged along near the end. Once we got there, we had about 5 minutes until the doors opened, so we got in line to wait. The arena put up a Tour de Columbus flag on their flagpole, which was cool.
Inside, it was a madhouse, per usual. They did not allow flashlights, and my portable charger looked like a flashlight, so, when we went through security, the lady questioned what it was ("Is that a flashlight?" "Oh, no, it's a portable charger." "Hmm. I've never seen one like that before."). We didn't stop to get merch, seeing a we had already gotten it earlier, and we went to get snacks and see our seats. They were AWESOME seats! We had a very close side-view of the stage.
Soon it was time for the show. A band called Public opened; we had never heard of them before, but they were good. Next was Judah & the Lion (again!). They were wonderful as always.
Then was the Bathroom Incident. Prepare yourselves, it's kind of long.
Right after Judah and the Lion, the curtain for 21p went up. Not knowing how much time I had, I decided to rush to the bathroom. There was one close to our section, but, as I got there, they CLOSED IT. So I started following a bunch of girls literally halfway around the arena to the other bathroom, which ended up having line out the door. Giving up, I turned around, deciding that, yeah, I could last three hours without a bathroom. So I went back to our section. But it wasn't our section. I had walked down the wrong one! In my defense, it was quite dark. Navigating the maze that is Nationwide Arena, I finally found the right section and walked down to tell my dad what had happened. "Well, you have to go!" he told me, and I heaved a sigh before going back out to brave the line. Except there was no line. They had opened the other bathroom. I went and came back out, laughing at myself the whole time, and I walked back to our section. But it wasn't our section. I had gone down the wrong one AGAIN. Oh well.
I made it back to my seat and the curtain dropped a few moments later. It was magical. The atmosphere was amazing and I honestly feel like I enjoyed it a lot more than the Charlottesville concert (which was still very good). There is nothing quite like a twenty one pilots hometown show.
Sooner than I would've liked, it was over. Confetti floated around us, and I was so, so happy.
We got back to our hotel around 11:30pm and crashed. We had to leave bright and early the next day for our 9 hour drive back to Maryland (which would've been 6 without traffic). I will never forget this trip. We got home around 7pm, and that's where it ends :)
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