With her two children, dogs, fiancé and bags stuffed in the car, Andrea Sperbeck was ready to get back on the road.
Snow hit her face as she ran from inside the Petro Stopping Center in Dupont to the warmth of her car and company of family as they made their way to New York to see loved ones.
Sperbeck, of Lynchburg, Va., isn't alone. AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that almost 100,000 travelers from Luzerne and Columbia counties will travel by bus, train, plane or car between Saturday and New Year's Eve. Despite windy, snowy weather and 100-plus mile drives, people are traveling during the holiday season for one primary reason – to be with family.
Traveling to see family teaches children tradition and family values and shows them a festive environment, said Elisa Griffin, of Toronto, who stopped at the Pilot Travel Center on Route 315 in Pittston Township after more than seven hours. Road trips make families come together.
Most families traveling are on the road for hours at a time and rely on multi-purpose rest stops like Petro and Pilot to provide them with gas, food and a place to stretch their legs.
We can stop for food, the bathroom and when we go we don't have to stop more than once, said Sperbeck of Petro's travel store, restaurant, convenience store, arcade and gas station.
Additionally, Matt Stulgis has been an employee at the Iron Skillet, a restaurant inside of Petro, for seven years.
He said the restaurant is busy during the holiday season, but he isn't surprised by the turnout.
When it snows, travelers need shelter too, said Stulgis, now the general manager.
This shopping center offers everything. You can go to the travel store at the last minute and get a present if you have to.
He said the 24-hour restaurant will be busy starting today because most travelers will take off time from work on Christmas Eve.
Although almost all 45 employees will have to work at some point during the holiday, he said it's worth seeing the joy they bring customers.
My favorite part is seeing everyone happy and we are putting out a product that everyone enjoys.
Preston Huntley, a truck driver from Lewiston, Maine, frequents the Iron Skillet for a bite to eat.
It feels like home, not for the typical traveler but for someone who lives on the road, said Huntley.
Meagan Crossett, a traveler from Bloomsburg who stopped at the Pilot, had driven from Boston to New York to pick up her niece.
Regardless of the gas and time spent on the road, she said family was more important than anything.
It wouldn't be a holiday if family wasn't around, said Crossett, 25.
It doesn't matter how far it is or what the weather is like, for family I will always make it home.