Travel Blog: Week 2

USA

Week 2: 19.11.2012 – 25.11.2012

Monday:-

A day home alone. Tammy got home early to take her car in for repairs. It had started to make a weird knocking sound on the way back from the hike on Saturday. To took a few hours before the garage decided to take the car in for further investigation – we were giving a courtesy car. We stopped by Tammy’s gym on the way home. A mahusive place – I used one of the many treadmills then had a swim. A narrow but long pool which was all but empty. Perfect!

Tuesday:-

A new experience for me today – I joined the World of slugging. A phenomenon known only to DC as far as I’m aware. They have the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane here. There must be a minimum of 3 passengers in the car. So, daily commuters either wait in line at the pick up area or drive to the pick up area to ensure their car has the correct number in it. It’s a win, win. If you are driving into DC you get to use the much quicker HOV or if you’re on foot you get a free ride. Anyway I joined the standing line and was soon getting into a car with another fellow queuer. I followed the slugging rules – no food, drink, loud music, and no talking unless spoken to. Both women in the car were quite chatty and we were soon in full conversation about my plans. Every now and again they would point out areas of interest. The Pentagon, including the new brickwork following 9-11, the memorial, and Arlington. How cheery!

The driver dropped me at the Mall. After finding somewhere for a bit of brekkie I toured the streets of DC. I went to the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial (free commentary from Matt the Park Guide), walked along the Reflection Pool, WWII Memorial and Washington Monument.

 

  

By now I fancied a rest so bought a ticket for the red and blue city hop on hop off bus tour. I braved the open top deck and saw the full scope of DC. I was surprised how much of the city I knew. I did the blue route first, had a break for a lunch stop, then back on the red route. Before I knew it, it was time to head to Clarendon on the metro to meet Tammy. I topped up my Metro card (organised by Tammy) and jumped on the train. I had a wander around the area then met Tammy and we were home bound.

Wednesday:-

Tammy was working in Shepherdstown today so I tagged along for the ride. I would get to be in 3 states during the journey. Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland – cool! Tammy dropped me off at Chesapeake and Ohio canal path for an early morning walk. It was COLD and very misty. Perfect for some atmospheric photos. Lovely area with loads of birds – got a good view of a Woodpecker and Cardinal.

 

 I made my way into the town, via the university campus, and headed for the coffee shop for a warming tea and cheeky cookie. I met up with Tammy and we strolled through the pretty character filled streets. We stopped at O’Hurleys general store for a browse at all the nik naks and then the local Chinese for lunch.

    

Then we set off for Harpers Ferry. This is a place not a form of transport. The mist had lifted and we had great views of the area. More walking. This time around the uninhabited historic town – laid out in the original format and the site of the armoury stormed by John Brown. We also walked up the hill to the site of the famous stone on which Thomas Jefferson stood (apparently the view was worth the trip across the Atlantic).

    

Back in the car and home. Another great day courtesy of Tammy by US tour guide)

Thursday:-

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Apart from a run around the local area we had a day of movies and Thanksgiving dinner. We did the full kahuna – honey brined turkey, roasty spuds, veggies, bread sauce (I made that because I love it at Christmas), gravy and cranberry sauce. And home made pumpkin pie. Bloody delicious. Having eaten way too much we went to Occoquan for a twilight walk with the deer. We stopped at the only pub for a beer – probably the one and only time we’ll do that. It was like the scene at the slaughtered lamb in American werewolf in London. There were some weird people in there!

Friday:-

Drove to blue ridge mountains. Amazing scenery on the way to the Rip Rap hike. This was a 9 miler which we did in just over 4 hours which is not too shabby for a non hiker. The book had advised 5 and a half hours and the park sign 8! We made it to chimney rock and had lunch by the river.

 

Off to Microtel to change and get ready for an evening of music at the Mockingbird. We browsed around the town of Staunton before taking our seats at the table right in front of the stage. Dinner was served and once the plates had been cleared the music started. Great blue grass music – we even met the electric guitar player at the interval.

Saturday:-

Microtel breakfast!! Off to walk the Creek falls 2.8 each way cold and icy. It was cold but we were not alone. Today must be the day for locals to get out and about. We stopped at the traditional Mrs Rowes for lunch before heading back. The highlight of the journey was when a huge Eagle (?) flew from the hedge row right in front of the windscreen before flying off. The wingspan must have been the width of the car.

  

   

Sunday:-

Chill day. Lazy except for a walk through Mason Neck State Park – cold, cold, cold!

   

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