Penn Township family lives out adventure on Travel Channel's 'Trip Flip'
Friends and relatives know the Gross family as always being up for something new and exciting.
“We love adventure!” says mom Corri Gross of Penn Township, Westmoreland County.
But none of their many adventures, as fun and exciting as they were, comes close to their experience as the first family to be selected for an episode of the Travel Channel's “Trip Flip,” she says.
The 30-minute episode of the series, in its third season, in which they star will air at 9 p.m. June 11. In the episode, Corri and her husband of 15 years, Tim Gross, are joined by their three children, AJ, 11, Phoebe, 8, and Lyla, 6.
The show's concept when it debuted had the host, comedian-author Bert Kreischer, billed as a “professional fun-seeker,” randomly finding two people on vacation and persuading them to flip/change their trip to a new and different one.
These days, Kreischer seeks out potential travelers in public places in cities across America and invites them to go on an adventure with him. The Gross family was at the Carnegie Science Center in March.
After discovering their likes, dislikes, dreams and desires, Kreischer puts together an action-packed, customized itinerary for them. The Grosses were given a few weeks to prepare and were told they would be going to Florida in April with Kreischer, but were given no details about what they would be doing or where.
“It's dangerous telling a serial overpacker to overpack,” says Corri Gross, laughing.
“We've been to Florida several times, but we've never gotten to experience it like ‘Trip Flip! It was amazing,” she says.
First, the Grosses hit the high seas aboard a pirate ship off the Tampa Bay coast. On board, they discovered a treasure map, including intriguing clues, which detailed their route across the state on a tricked-out RV with Kreischer and crew.
Next, they found themselves in unexpected locations, snorkeling in search of manatees, discovering a dream beach, sampling alligator meat over a campfire, spending a giddy night in a Stingray tree tent and uncovering a mysterious skeleton key that opens the front gates to Universal's Islands of Adventure. At Universal, the Grosses were told the family had the park to themselves for the morning.
“I am not the type of person who would jump at the chance to be on TV,” says Tim Gross, who negotiates corporate contracts for a large manufacturing company in Pittsburgh. “That being said, I am so glad we did get picked. It was one of the best weeks of my life. We got to do so many awesome things, ... and made memories to last five lifetimes. How many families get to experience Universal Studios all to themselves?”
Kreischer, quickly dubbed “Uncle Bert” by the children, “made everything 10 times more fun,” Tim Gross says. The experience far exceeded what their expectations had been, Corri Gross says.
“It was a million times better, truly the adventure of a lifetime, the perfect trip for us,” she says. “Just being able to watch our kids experience this adventure and the joy on their faces was the highlight for us. Now, we feel like we are part of the ‘Trip Flip' family, and our kiddos were the first.”
AJ, Phoebe and Lyla give the experience rave reviews.
“It was the most amazing week of my life, I can't pick out one specific thing, because everything was awesome,” AJ says. “Universal was probably my favorite. I don't think my friends really believe that I did all that and that I will be on TV.”
The “funnest” part, says Lyla, was the obstacle course and “hamster balls” on the beach. “I've always wanted to go inside one of those, and it was awesome.”
“When we signed up for the show, I just knew they were going to pick us,” Phoebe says. “I really like that we got to wear wet suits. Uncle Bert was my buddy and let me ride on his back. He was so funny.”
Each day brought new and unexpected opportunities, Corri Gross says. “We kept thinking, ‘How could they possibly top today?' Then, they would!”
She was able to face one of her greatest fears by swimming through an underground cave. “I'm a tad claustrophobic, and I don't like caves above ground. But I have a competitive side, and I just felt like I should take advantage of this adventure of a lifetime. I'm so glad I did,” she says.
She hopes that the producers will continue to want to use young families on the show, “I think kids bring an added dimension of real to any experience,” she says. “We felt 100 percent comfortable to be ourselves. They said we set the bar high.”
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Woodland Hills product Miles undergoes emergency surgery
- Some in Western Pa. affected by Staples data breach
- FBI’s 2001 anthrax attack investigation questioned
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude on interrogation tactics
- Pittsburgh adjusting to new bicycle lane, ‘stop boxes’
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Man involved with crash with officer dies in Pittsburgh hospital
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate