17 days and 3748.1 miles later

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Over the last two and a half weeks,

we packed five people and too much stuff into a minivan,
drove it 3,748.1 miles through 11 states and the District of Columbia,
reconnected with dear aunts, uncles, and friends,
met a longtime e-mail and blog pal in person,
bumped into a former co-worker of my wife's,
introduced our kids to the kids of a college friend and watched them hit it off,
enjoyed unseasonably cool weather,
visited Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home and the building where he first served in public office,
ate dinner in Santa Claus (Indiana),
went kayaking in Little Assawoman Bay,
rode a narrow-gauge steam train in the mountains of Pennsylvania,
visited a railroad museum and its elaborate model layouts,
spent the day at an old-fashioned, family-owned amusement park,
went swimming and picnicking at a lake in a Pennsylvania state park,
taught a Maltese dog some new tricks,
sat on a porch and watched the rain come down,
picked zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and broccoli from the garden,
ate fresh sweet corn and tomatoes from a produce stand named Sipes (of all things),
ate zeppolis at an Italian festival in West Virginia,
used the free wifi in a tiny branch library in a tiny Pennsylvania town,
played music at the open stage night at the town's volunteer fire station,
tried exotic ice cream flavors -- chocolate marshmallow, peanut butter, bittersweet, and teaberry (which tastes just like Pepto-Bismol),
tried Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer (liked it) and Ale-8-1 (not so much),
took a guided shorebird tour,
visited an old U. S. Life Saving Station,
swam in the Atlantic Ocean,
watched dolphins at sunrise just offshore,
ate fresh crabs,
ate Herr's Old Bay flavored potato chips,
ate pastrami in a kosher restaurant in Washington,
ate salt water taffy,
managed to offset most of the eating with a lot of walking,
rode the Metro and walked between the hotel and the station,
stayed the night in a two-day-old hotel,
went tax-free shopping at an outlet mall in Delaware,
put up with abysmal internet access and cell phone reception,
looked out over one of the deepest river gorges in America,
visited the Museum of Frontier Cultures,
visited the National Air and Space Museum,
visited the National Museum of Natural History,
rode to the top of the Gateway Arch,
walked around my wife's childhood church,
saw a sand sculpture contest,
stayed in two different houses and five different hotels,
ate some truly loathsome "hot breakfasts" at said hotels,
ate the best breakfast at the tattiest and cheapest hotel on the trip,
managed not to leave behind any beloved blankets or stuffed animals,
managed to suffer only a few minor injuries (an elbow scrape, a couple of head colds, and one wrenching of the knee -- mine) and only one minor ding in the rear fender,
managed to avoid any disasters at home (except for someone not shutting the freezer door all the way),
and generally had a wonderful time,
except that now I need a vacation.

More specifics and pictures in the days to come.

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David Van Author Profile Page said:

We took a very simular trip in '97.
I was preasantly surprised by how well the D.C. Metro Trains were run.
Rural Pennsylvania is easy to feel comfortable in.
My heart always yearns to return to Virginia Beach.

You'll be reminiscing about this trip for years to come.
I'm so happy for you and your whole family.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 9, 2009 11:41 PM.

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