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Old 05-01-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
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The Spring Break We Get Sick Trip to Washington DC Report - COMPLETE!! 5/22

Hi there

I figured if I don't start this now, I'll never start it, so here goes. This trip will be more picture than detail oriented, as of course I didn't have a PP to write all my notes in, and we were staying with family (DSisIL) so it was both vacation and family time.

The dates were Saturday, April 12th to Sunday, April 20th. We were staying with DSisIL who bought a McMansion outside Dulles Airport in Northern VA last fall (they had lived in a townhouse in the same area since 1997 I think). The major push for the trip were mainly my Dniece's First Communion, which thankfully coincided with my kids spring break (although not my niece and nephew's)

This was also the week that the Pope was scheduled to be in Washington DC, so poor planning, but what can you do (and it didn't really affect our trip - I was more concerned about crowds than anything else). We just wouldn't go into the city that day We had some sights we wanted to see in Washington DC (American Indian Museum) and some outside DC (Luray Caverns in Luray, VA).

A couple of weeks before we left, we started having car troubles. Well, my car (1999 Odyssey) had been having the engine light come on for the last year, but DH kept saying everything was fine (he has one of those computer thingys to check the codes) and he replaced the EGR valve (emissions) before we left, as that was the code it was giving. Of course, after he replaced it, the engine light came back on with another code (which one I'm not sure).

So stay tuned.......do we make it to Virginia?? How many of us get sick? And what we ended up doing since most plans went out the window
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Hopefully no one got too sick.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Oh, my! Sounds like this is going to be one interesting trip report. Looking forward to reading all about it, car troubles, illnesses, blown plans and all!
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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Day 1 - Saturday April 12th!

Day 1 - Saturday, April 12th

A few days prior to the trip, I had started painting the downstairs bedroom (my Disney room) a bright green color (not that the color mattered, I guess). Anyhoo, I had to prime all the walls, and then paint, as we've been in this house almost 11 years and have nothing but primer on the downstairs walls (the upstairs has all been painted). I finally got sick of looking at white, so tried to get as much done as I could before we left. I didn't make it though. I have one and a half walls to go, but in the process, I think I exhausted myself

So needless to say, packing did not get done on time. I did manage to get out and get all my errands done, and DD had a birthday party the night before we left as well. Of course, DH had to work late since he was leaving for a week, and didn't get home until after 8 PM.

Saturday rolled around and I was still doing laundry. We finally hit the road (after stopping at Dunkin' Donuts) about 10:15, quite a bit later than I was hoping for. Earlier forecasts had called for pouring rain the entire day up and down the eastern seaboard (oh joy!!) but thankfully the sun was already out here and we had smooth sailing ahead! Well, mostly clear skies anyway. We decided to try a new route this trip......normally we take the Merritt Parkway to 287 to the Tappanzee Bridge to Garden State Parkway (and so on, and so on, and so on). This time we decided to take 84 to 684 to 287 to the Tappanzee. Well, I'm sure you can tell where this is going.....DH was driving and I was looking at the map (or rather, looking at other things on the map than what I should have been looking at) We missed the turnoff for 684 OK, my fault. I'll own up to it Thankfully, the next exit wasn't too far off and we we turned around and finally got onto 684 and then 287. Then I gave DH EXPLICIT instructions (as he would keep asking me what the next road was) and I said Garden State Pkwy!! Of course, I was reading my map again and had my head down, and waved goodbye to the GS Pkwy exit as we passed it three lanes over from where we were supposed to be As I look back at it now, it's quite commical and I'm getting a good chuckle out of it, but DH not so much And it didn't help that DS had to use the restroom so our inability to exit correctly was increasing the time that he had to hold it

Thankfully onto the GS Pkwy, we exit at the first rest area which is just 5 minutes later, and have some lunch. Some very expensive lunch I was smart enough not to get anything, as I knew DS would never eat the entire piece of pizza, and I was right Back on the road (DH was still driving), there were no more exit incidents!! We encounted some traffic down around exit 7, I think. Now it was DH's time for the rest area. UGH. These boys have bladders the sizes of peas! I moved into the driver's seat, and not more than 2 minutes after I take over, the engine light comes on again! UGH.

We made it without incident over the Delaware Bridge, and thru most of upstate Maryland. Before Baltimore, DS has to use the rest room again. Now here's the problem I have with the signs in Maryland (sorry to all our Maryland folk in advance )! Every exit (at least above and below Baltimore) had food/gas signs, yet you got off the exit, and had to drive what seemed like 5 miles to get to any of it!! Apparently there must be some rule that there can't be any food/gas right near the exit, because there were none. I'm just sayin'. I'm lucky I didn't get lost and found my way back to the I-95!

Ok, Colin relieved, we're back on the highway. Make it thru the tunnel fine, then start hitting some traffic after Baltimore. Now it was time for gas (which in retrospect, I guess we should have gotten when DS had to go 30 minutes ago, but oh well). So again, we pull off and have to drive to Timbuktu (I'm not kidding) to the gas station. Filler up (at I think $3.50/gallon which was actually high - the Jersey turnpike was only $3.07 at that point). Try to make my way back to I-95, and I step on the gas, the RPMS increase, but we ain't moving forward folks Took my foot off the gas, and tried again, and this time it went, but it's obviously having problems changing gears. Thankfully we're less than an hour from our destination and after sitting in some traffic outside Washington DC (it was the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival and about 80 degrees out - so everyone was now going home), we made it to DSisIL's house! THANK GOD!! Cause guess what? I don't want to drive that car anymore

We had a nice tour of their new house (well, it's 10 years old but you know what I meant) and then had some dinner. And some wine. And more wine Chardonnay is always the death of me The kids had fun playing with their cousins, and soon it was time for bed.

Up Next........Hangover city, Standing Room only, and Who turned off the Heat??
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:19 PM   #5
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What a drive! Glad you made it safely and had a pleasant evening.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:25 PM   #6
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What a rocky start! Glad you made it safe and sound. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Glad to hear you made it alright.

Can't wait for more!
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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Glad you made it there safely, despite the interchange connection problems and the car trouble.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:51 PM   #9
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Great start Marnie - although scary about the car and the engine light!!!
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:32 PM   #10
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The car troubles sound scary. I'm glad you arrived safely. Hope that's the end of the problem.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:07 AM   #11
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Great start Marnie. Thank goodness you guys made it there safe and sound.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:44 AM   #12
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No offense taken at poor signage for the gas/food/stuff at the exits in Maryland. We've lived here our whole lives and grumble everytime we are in parts unknown and drive FOR MILES looking for a gas station.

But wait, weren't you at the Delaware/MD I-95 rest stop, home of about the only Roy Rogers fast food in this area???? And you didn't even get the HOLSTER of fries???????? The Double R Bar Burger???? The Real Roast Beef with artificial cheese spread?????

I got DH Pat one of those computer thingys to check the car too.

I have a lot of friends who live in those McMansions. Alas, ours is not one of them. It's a .5 McMansion, circa 1979.
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Old 05-02-2008, 07:24 AM   #13
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But wait, weren't you at the Delaware/MD I-95 rest stop, home of about the only Roy Rogers fast food in this area???? And you didn't even get the HOLSTER of fries???????? The Double R Bar Burger???? The Real Roast Beef with artificial cheese spread?????
Darn it......I knew I should have talked to you before we left to find out where to stop I love Roy Rogers
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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We made it without incident over the Delaware Bridge, and thru most of upstate Maryland. Before Baltimore, DS has to use the rest room again. Now here's the problem I have with the signs in Maryland (sorry to all our Maryland folk in advance )! Every exit (at least above and below Baltimore) had food/gas signs, yet you got off the exit, and had to drive what seemed like 5 miles to get to any of it!! Apparently there must be some rule that there can't be any food/gas right near the exit, because there were none. I'm just sayin'. I'm lucky I didn't get lost and found my way back to the I-95!

Thankfully we're less than an hour from our destination and after sitting in some traffic outside Washington DC (it was the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival and about 80 degrees out - so everyone was now going home), we made it to DSisIL's house! THANK GOD!!
The 'off the beaten path' thing is annoying -- chalk it up to politics.

The traffic thing is a daily occurence -- rush hour -- around here it can get pretty bad...
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:45 AM   #15
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The whole gas station/restaurant stops in Maryland are annoying. But I do find it better than stopping at the over crowded rest stops on the highway for DS begs to play video games. The first time I ever got off the highway at an exit that said gas I thought I had gotten lost.
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