An accidental NFL encounter

Road Trip 2010: Driving east on U.S. Route 30, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman unexpectedly discovers Day 2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers' training camp.

Pittsburgh Steelers helmets sit on the practice field at the team's training camp. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

LATROBE, Pa.--When you're driving randomly across Pennsylvania and fate hands you a chance to visit the training camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you don't stop to consider whether you've got the time.

That was my conclusion Sunday as I was driving east on U.S. Route 30 on an all-day trek toward Gettysburg. These are the last days of my six-week Road Trip 2010 project, and I'm making my way back to Washington, D.C., to fly home.

In my book, the last few days of driving had better have the least amount of time on interstate highways of any stint during the 5,000-mile plus journey.

That means smaller roads. So heading east on 30, I didn't have any thoughts about what I might discover as I drove through Latrobe. To be perfectly honest, I hadn't even noticed the town on the map. And if I had, I would have thought about the brewery that makes Rolling Rock.

Click here for a full photo gallery on the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp .

Yet, as I entered town, there it was: an electronic sign advising me (and others, of course) that turning left would lead to "Steelers Camp." I thought: could it be? I turned left.

And, yes, it was...Day 2 of the Steelers' training camp--open to the public. Free parking. And with a telephoto lens, easy photographs of the entire team, including All-Star and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Of course, anyone who follows football knows that in March, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault in Georgia, and that more recently, prosecutors there decided not to pursue charges. But the NFL, concluding that the quarterback was guilty of misconduct, suspended him for the first six games of this season. He can practice, though. And so he was.

There's not much else to say. I spent about an hour at Chuck Noll Field at St. Vincent College--named for the legendary former Steelers coach--and watched the team work out. There were tons of fans, many who seemed very enthusiastic to see the embattled quarterback show off his stuff. One little kid near me screamed "Where's Ben?" more times than I can count as he and hundreds of fans waited excitedly for the team to emerge from a nearby building.

I love that it's possible to stumble onto things like this. On Road Trip 2010, facing intense reporting, driving, and writing schedules, I often haven't had the time to stop for random discoveries. But on this day, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

For the next week, Geek Gestalt will be on Road Trip 2010. After driving more than 18,000 miles in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last four years, I'll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more throughout the American northeast. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. In the meantime, you can follow my progress on Twitter @GreeterDan and @RoadTrip and find the project on Facebook. And you can also test your knowledge of the U.S. and try to win a prize in the Road Trip Picture of the Day challenge.

 

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