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Thursday, July 24 2014 00:14

The Great American Road Trip: 1,900 Miles, Six Days, Three Hotels, and Infinite Adventure...

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Around 30 years ago, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to Washington, D.C. Along the way, we stopped at several locations in Pennsylvania, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. With our girls hitting two and five this year, my wife and I decided it was time for our first family vacation - and as such, it was to be a road trip. We plotted several potential courses, with the Philadelphia area set to be the focal point and ultimate destination for a couple of reasons. First off, we were going to finally take Sprout up on a long-standing offer to stop by the Comcast Center and see Chica at the Sunshine Barn during a visit to the set of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Second, we wanted to head for Langhorne to visit SESAME PLACE. During our planning, we attempted to pack in as much as possible, with potential stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, West Virginia and Cincinnati on the chart. Instead, we strategically plotted our trip to be centralized in PA - visiting some iconic locations in Philly (but scrapping the Sprout visit), our big trip to SESAME PLACE, a visit to THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE in Easton, HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Hershey, and a swing back through Ohio to visit my friends at SMUCKER'S on our way back to Northern Illinois.

rio addieIn keeping with our Road Trip theme, the crew over at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment hooked us up with some RIO 2 Road Trip packs for the car, along with a DigitalHD copy of RIO 2 for the road. If you haven't seen the movie yet, in it, the family of blue mackaws take a trip of their own, the parents taking the kids out to see the world - a cinematic parallel to our journey, if you will.

Movie aside, the activities and essentials (RIO 2 coloring sheets, Crayola colored pencils, window clings, kleenex - and even the bags they all came in) were fun and appreciated to keep the girls occupied for a little bit over the course of the first leg of our journey, which seemed exceptionally long, but I Instagrammed from every stop - of which there were many. We'd revisit RIO 2 on the laptop later, but the road was long and winding...

Phototastic-2014-07-24-00-01-29

We set out from the Northern Suburbs of Chicago around 2pm on a Saturday, and rolled into Philadelphia around breakfast time. Too early for our hotel to be ready, my wife and I were functioning on very little sleep, but the real adventure was about to begin, and our girls were ready to take Philly by storm...

The morning we arrived in Philadelphia...

To Be Continued...
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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