Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Break Vacation Recap, Intro & Day 1

It's Thursday, and we are headed back home from Washington DC after spending spring break vacation there for five days. We are on Interstate 68 in Maryland, which is marked the National Freeway. I figured it couldn't be any worse than our drive out on Interstate 70 which was quite boring So far it is nice, lots of mountains, and the road is good. That still leaves plain, dull Ohio to drive through. So I will begin my recap of the week. I had hoped to post along the way, but we have been busy running around, seeing things, and by the time night rolled around we were exhausted. I feel like I need a vacation from the vacation.

It all started out on Saturday, when we were supposed to leave at 10 to 10:30 pm. Chad was supposed to nap most of the day so he could start out driving. Well a structure fire consumed the entire day, and I don't think we got home until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Chad had no extra sleep and I still hadn't packed anything. The kids were antsy to go, and Chad couldn't sleep so everyone was waiting around for me to pack. Talk about pressure. By the time we were leaving the Madison area after stopping to eat, we were just ahead of time. We stopped at the Illinois line to get an Ipass module for the car, and discovered that setting it up sucked. The phone line was closed and the internet set up made you wait 30 minutes before proceeding to the next steps. Needless to say we went through the manual lanes. Chad had to call the phone line later after it opened and we still couldn't get the thing to work. Might have been positional on the dash, but we'll see if it works on the way home.

We drove through the night, stopping only for gas and breakfast. We came into Pittsburgh just before lunch. I planned a stop at the Oliver Miller Homestead, which was closed for the season but I just wanted some pictures. Doing family genealogy research a few years ago I discovered Chad's family traces back to Oliver Miller, who's family was involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. So we stopped to get pictures of Chad in front of his house. Then on for some more boring road, and a new problem. Exits off the highway do not necessarily have on ramps, and they don't bother to tell you. It became quite frustrating while trying to look for lunch when we wanted something quick and some restaurants were off the highway miles.

We got to DC, with more crazy roads and got our stuff up to the room. It was a very nice room at the Residence Inn in Springfield. There were two separate bedrooms since we wanted space to relax and we were staying for 4 nights.
After experiencing DC it would have been nicer to have been a little closer in to the city. Unfortunately we needed to get to downtown for an evening tour of the monuments. Since I was rushed when we left, I had no time to print instructions on how to get anywhere by driving or train. We headed to the Metro, but had trouble finding the station, then when we got there we had no idea how to use the pass system. With no time before the train we needed left, we headed back to the car. Chad was angry and said he would just drive there, so he stopped and got a map and that's what we did. The traffic was good so we made it down there with plenty of time. Luckily it was Sunday night so there was no workday traffic to contend with and free parking at the meters.

We cruised around at Union Station while we waited for our tour with Tourmobile to begin. It started raining of course after our tour began. We had a great tour guide, Melvin, who was funny and informative. It was dusk when we started and the monuments we toured were best seen at night. The rain kept coming heavier and heavier, but we still had a great time.
The tour lasted about 3 and a half hours, and was well worth it. We were soaked by the time the tour was done, and we quickly made it back to the hotel and got ready for bed. Next post I'll share some pictures of the tour and more of D.C.