Saturday night, we returned from a whirlwind trip to Virginia. Num’s friend Barb and her husband John welcomed their first child Jack earlier this year. Months later, time for a baptism. On account that we haven’t visited them in a while, plus with family in the area, time for a Virginia trip!
The plan was to take off Friday, drive down in the morning, and we would stay at a relative’s house Friday night. The baptism was early Saturday morning, and we would drive back home Saturday afternoon. We would have liked to stay the entire weekend, but my wife was scheduled to work all day Sunday. Rats. At least we would see a few relatives, and maybe some sightseeing if we were lucky.
Yeah, not exactly according to plan. Small scheduling snafu, and we found out early in the week that our relatives would not be available. Instead, we stayed Friday night at the swanky Hotel Palomar in Arlington, Virginia. We packed up the car (we packed light, which I found refreshing), and were on the road by 12:30pm. I have found that driving to the Maryland/Virginia area sorta sucks, on account of all the traffic. Somehow, the trip to Maryland was smooth sailing, and we did it in 3 hours. Josh chilled in the back, and Lily slept most of the way.
We made it to New York Ave around 4pm, and the children were restless, as was my stomach. We decided to postpone lunch and take advantage of the docile children by driving fast and hard. We had lunch @ 4pm at a Wendy’s in DC, and gave the kids a break for an hour. Interestingly, it took us another two hours to make it out of DC and get to the hotel, because of all the traffic! Unbelievable.
Part of the delay resulted from our lack of quality GPS. Sadly, we couldn’t find the DC charger, so we used my Blackberry Google Maps app, which I found out isn’t for heavy use. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we had 30 mins before we had to be back on the road to get to a relative’s house (Rami & Muni) for dinner. Again, traffic.
On the way home from Fri night dinner, we got lost driving around Arlington looking for the hotel, on account of Google Maps getting quirky. All of a sudden, it told us to make a right turn, and I ended up the wrong way on a one way street. Even worse? A police car was sitting right there maybe 50 feet ahead (what luck), and stopped right in front of me to block me. That’s when I realized that we were on a one way street.
Could it get worse? Yes. I found out that my registration expired back in Feb 2009. Boy, I was surprised. I later found out that Toyota transferred my new plates to the old existing registration. By the law, the police officer said he was supposed to tow our car, but since the kids were sleeping, and we were lost looking for our hotel, he cut us a break, and….. gave us a warning. Can you believe that? Expired registration, going the wrong way on a one way street in Virginia, and we got a warning. Either he felt really bad for us, or that was divine intervention!
I wish we could have stayed longer in the hotel. It was really nice, but we still checked out in the morning before the baptism. Well, I liked everything, except for the fact that there were no vending machines in the entire hotel. We were thirsty late Friday night, but if we wanted some water, our only choice was to buy heavily-marked-up bottled water in the minibar. I even went down to the front desk to ask where the vending machines were. Minibar? No thanks. Strange, right?
The baptism was short and sweet. I was a little surprised that it was a service with multiple baptisms. Thankfully, the Catholic priest kept the service short and sweet. The lunch was nearby at The Liberty Tavern. Unfortunately, even here, we got lost and late to the lunch, because of Google Maps. Argh!
After lunch, we went over to Barb & John’s home to change to our casual travelling clothes. Again, we got severely lost trying to find the house, and we lost the GPS signal. Many times in that 30 mins, my phone told me we were driving in the middle of the Iwo Jima memoral. I was pretty sure we weren’t. I never missed my GPS device as I did then. Tech writers opine about the coming demise of standalone GPS units, but I doubt it. Phone GPS is not there yet.
We didn’t have much time at Barb & John’s house, as we were to meet another relative, Craig, at the Tyson’s Corner mall (in Tysons Corner) before heading home. Traffic again reared its ugly head. My wife and I were never so disgusted as we were after sitting in traffic and at traffic lights in Virginia this weekend. It was so frustrating. We eventually reached the mall, but I couldn’t find parking. I dropped my family off, and I drove around for 45 mins looking for parking. We chatted with Craig while walking around the mall, and even though we were pressed for time, we made the effort to chat with him, and let the kids play in the mall’s play area, and even take a ride on a mini train.
We eventually got on the road around 5pm, had a late dinner at a Waffle House in Rising Sun, Maryland, and got home around 9:50pm. I gotta tell you, I’m glad we could be there for them on this momentous occasion, but I was exhausted by the time we got home. It was certainly a whirlwind trip. I don’t know how the Virginians manage with all the traffic. We spent so much of our time sitting on the Beltway, or sitting at long traffic lights.