Sunday, May 10, 2009

tales from the road...NY-DC

greetings from Titusville, Florida!!
we've been on the road for 5 days now, and things are rolling right along.

our first day we left oakville just before 3pm and headed south and crossed the border in niagara falls with no major (or minor) problems. instead of taking the interstate into rochester, we took one of the smaller, state routes which took us through wine country. it was beautiful and farmy, even if it was overcast. we drove south from rochester and ended up in corning, new york under rainy skies. we grabbed some pizza for dinner and tried to track down a place to stay, and ended up at a days in on the riverside. pretty basic, but thats really all we needed.

day two saw us leaving corning, heading south into pennsylvania. we drove pretty much all morning until we reached gettysburg around lunch time. highlight of the drive: passing an amish horse and buggy on the highway. we did have to stop and ask for directions in the state capitol, harrisburg. i got out of the car at the gas station, map in hand and the old man standing out front says "where ya trynna go?". he got us to gettysburg, no problem. gettysburg itself is beautiful! its got just under 7500 people (thank you wikipedia) and the parts that we saw (the college and downtown) are old, brick buildings, most of which are heritage buildings from the late 1800s.

one of our goals this trip was to minimize the number of meals we eat at chain restaurants, and try to eat at local joints. in corning, it was a pizzeria, and in gettysburg we dined on sandwiches at the blue parrot. both were delicious.

on our way out of town, i made braden stop at the national military park. we took a stroll through the cemetery and stood on the spot where lincoln delivered his famous gettysburg address. it's only may, and it was in the high twenties/ low thirties with the humidity, i can't imagine what it would have been like in early july in wool military uniforms in 1863.

from gettysburg we pushed south-east towards washington, dc. we hit rushhour traffic on the beltway surrounding washington, but eventually made it to our hotel in camp springs, maryland around dinner time. taking the girl at the front desk's advice, we drove 5 minutes down the road, left lola and jon (the car and our polar bear mascot) and hopped on the metro for a 25minute ride into central dc (parking is a bit of a nightmare in dc so we opted not to deal with that). by the time we got there it was definitely dinner time, and we spent half an hour wandering around trying to find a place that was relatively cheap/ open to those under 21/ open at all. eventually we ended up at a food court. lame, i know.

BUT THEN.. while we were looking for dinner, we noticed one of the streets was closed off and there were police EVERYWHERE in front of one of the hotels. i had seen on the news that the presidents of pakistan and afghanistan were meeting with obama, so we figured thats what it must be, they must be staying at the hotel on the street. we didn't think too much of it, until we got two blocks away and a couple police motorcycles started stopping traffic in both directions from the hotel. then more motorcycles went speeding by, followed by police cars with flashers on and people on the sidewalks were starting to stop and get excited and take out cameras. following the police cars were black sedans and two or three black suvs with intimidating men at every window with powerful-looking weapons. the people around us were shouting and waving and "THERE HE IS"ing. yep, obama drove right in front of us.

once we got over that cool moment in hanna history, we thought we'd walk the 2 1/2 blocks to the white house. but we couldn't get to it. the sidewalk was closed off by a helpful man:
"how long until you think the sidewalk will reopen?"
- well, i really can't say... it could be 5 minutes, it could be 5 hours...
so we took that as further confirmation that it was in fact obama we saw drive by and that he was on his way home, and decided to head towards the washington monument/ reflecting pool/ lincoln memorial. the monument and the memorial are both pretty cool, especially after dark when they're all lit up. very impressive. the reflecting pool was ..nice.. it looked like a pond. only it is long and rectangular.. its just filled with algae and ducks. i didn't do any serious reflecting, obviously.

we jumped back on the metro, went home and went to bed.

the morning of day three we were up, ate breakfast and were on our way back into dc (again, on the metro) by 930am. this time we were headed for the smithsonian. which is actually made up of 19 different museums, all free. since i knew the second night at the museum movie is coming out soon, and is set in the museum of natural history, that's where we went. it was pretty cool. they've got all kinds of stuffed animals, doing all kinds of fun things, like there's a leopard lounging in a tree above your head with an antelope that he's presumably caught, hanging off the end. there are also dinosaurs and fossils AND diamonds. very sparkly. tres pretty.

we grabbed a quick and delicious lunch downtown and ventured back to lola and jon and headed back out on the open road...

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