Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Archive for May, 2009

Now then, where was I?

Oh yes, Day 4 – After rising and shining before anything else had risen and shown, we were off to DC.  Despite the rain, it was an enjoyable trip, says the non-driver.  Did you know alien spacecraft will pull you over in Virginia?

It says Speed limit enforced by aircraft

It says "Speed limit enforced by aircraft"

Anyway, we made excellent progress, so much so that we were able to squeeze in a bookstore stop and decided to bump Arlington from Friday to Monday.  And for those of you ever planning on going to Arlington before you cross over to DC, don’t do it without a Garmin (or GPS of your choice, if you must).  I never thought about being that close to the Pentagon, and that many times (in point two miles, then exit left, then exit right, then in point four miles, exit right, then left, then left, then right . . . . . )

Wow.  Words don’t even begin to explain Arlington.  I can tell you that there are 624,000 thousand buried there, with over 290,000 grave markers (spouses and children can be buried there, but stacked in the same gravesite, hence one marker for multiple burials).  But really, you just had to be there.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Iwo Jima Memorial - I had no idea of the magnitude of this, it was immense

Iwo Jima Memorial - I had no idea of the magnitude of this, it was immense

Kudos to Cynical, we made our way to the Inn.  The Intown Uptown Inn, to be exact.  Tired from our travels, dinner that night was Chinese delivered in.

Day 5 – How do I tell you about Day 5?  If it’s in DC, we saw it.  Everything.  We had two day passes for a hop-on, hop-off trolley, and it was worth every penny that day (the next day it would let us down, but that’s another story).

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial

The White House

The White House

I think my favorite thing I saw that day was the FDR Memorial.  Scattered among the stones and fountains are several of his famous quotations, which I found to be uplifting and inspiring.  It made me want to learn more about him.

FDR

FDR

One of the fountains at the FDR Memorial

One of the fountains at the FDR Memorial

FDR quotation

FDR quotation

Another of my favorite things that day was the World War II Memorial.  My grandfather, great uncle, and two great aunts all served during the war, and all came home, whole of body, but not entirely unscathed.  It’s a beautiful, touching memorial.

World War II Memorial with Lincoln Memorial

World War II Memorial with Lincoln Memorial

One half of the World War II Memorial

One half of the World War II Memorial

Day 6 -When a tour of the White House was not to be, my senator’s office offered a tour of the Capitol, and tour it we did.  We even got passes to the Senate Gallery, which was in session, but sadly they did not reconvene while we were there.  We did get to see Evan Bayh “suggest the absence of a quorum” to Kay Hagan (there were zero senators present, we think they were napping after a long lunch), so that at the very least was cool.

The Capitol

The Capitol

We grabbed a quick bite to eat, then took the subterranean tunnel from the Capitol to the Library of Congress.  Oh my.  This was the big surprise of the trip.  We expected somewhat plain and reserved architecture there.  We were mistaken.

Ceiling in the Library of Congress

Ceiling in the Library of Congress

This is the part where the trolley let us down.  All over DC, tons of school and charter buses, picking people up, dropping people off.  And there is only one spot near the Capitol where it is legal for a bus to drop people off.  So, as you can imagine, it was congested.  Apparently, our trolley driver thought it wasn’t worth battling, and we helplessly watched him drive off.  Our choices were to wait for the next one (30 min, after we had just waited 25 min), or hoof it.

Hoof it, we did, right to the National Archives.  There, we got to see the original documents that help create this nation.

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

First page of the Constitution

First page of the Constitution

Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

Day 7 – Was museum day.  We went to the Museum of American History and the Holocaust Museum (no picture there – not allowed inside, and too sad otherwise).

Kermmy!

Kermmy!

We also went to the Old Post Office, and went up in the tower to get an amazing view of the city.

The Old Post Office

The Old Post Office

The Pentagon from the Clock Tower

The Pentagon from the Clock Tower

Day 8 – We knew we would be heading out, but we wanted a bit more time to see Ford’s Theatre and do some last minute souveniring.  A ranger gave a presentation on the events that fateful day that Lincoln was shot.  We also toured the house that they took Lincoln to after being shot, where he would later die.

Though we could have easily spent another month exploring, there is this darned thing called work that we all have to thank our lucky stars we still have, and we were on our way back home.  We stopped just on inside the border of KY, to continue our journey the next day.

Day 9 – Homecoming.  We arrived back at Ragged and Cynical’s, unloaded the trip buggy and loaded our car, gave our dear friends hugs, the kitties scritches, and made our way to our own home and kitties.  All were in the same state as when we left, thanks to the efforts of Rudy and Brando.

That is a way, way shortened account of the trip.  I don’t think the magnitude of what we saw has even sunk in at this point.

But we’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Long overdue post

Yes, we’re back from Asheville/DC.  No, I didn’t have the time/energy to blog it like I thought I would.  I’m not sure I have the energy now, but I can try.

(I realize half my readership was on the vacation with me, but humor me.)

Day 1 – after a night of thunderstorms, we departed KY bright and early.  Or perhaps not so bright thanks to the storms.  Our journey to Asheville included stops at a yarn store (you did know this was going to involve yarn, right?), a huge used book store, and an outlet store complex.  We rolled in to the Inn, freshened up a bit, then rolled out to meet up with Ragged’s brother for a lovely evening meal.

The Inn at Cumberland Falls

The Inn at Cumberland Falls

Day 2 – After a yummy breakfast, we explored downtown Asheville.  We visited Earth Guild and Purl’s Yarn Emporium, and ate lunch at the Early Girl Eatery, a wonderful restaurant that features locally grown and produced ingredients.  Clouds started to form, and this was troublesome, because our next destination was the Lake Eden Arts Festival.  Fortunately, we were not long delayed in the car, and the rain slacked off.

Lake Eden Arts Festival

Lake Eden Arts Festival

The festival was amazing.  So many creative artisans displaying and selling their wares.  Everywhere you looked there were performances, either in the venues or on the grounds (look out for the kids with the diablos – they will knock you out!  And Brando, you owe me big time for not buying either of your children one.)  I do have to say, it was a bit squishy, which would lead to Ragged and I doing some restoration work later on our new sneaks.

LEAF vendor

LEAF vendor

And lest you think they had the usual fair food – I had a crepe for supper.  Ragged and I ordered two different ones, halved them and swapped, so we could try them both.  We also sampled The Ultimate Ice Cream.  When they tell you so, it better be good, and this was.

The evening ended with us catching a few more performances, namely contra dancing and poetry slam.  Contra dancing grows on you, and you’ll find yourself being drawn in.

Contra dancing at LEAF

Contra dancing at LEAF

After a soak in the jacuzzi tub, it was off to dreamland.

Day 3 – We were able to be a bit  more leisurely, breakfasting in the sun room, enjoying sweet and spicy bacon (Yum!) and other stuff I can’t remember now.  The bacon was distracting, because I had read about it before we went, and hoped we would get the opportunity to try it.

Ragged and I launched our knit-a-long project for the trip (that was when we started it, right?), and then left to meet up with Ragged’s brother again for a Mothers’ Day brunch at a nearby Inn.  The Inn had beautiful grounds to explore, and the wildlife included an albino peacock, some goats, chickens, and a turkey with territorial issues.

After visiting a couple of antique/furniture/eclectic stores, we stopped off at one of Asheville’s fabulous grocery stores.  Yes, when you’re from the sticks, a grocery store can be fabulous.  Ragged and Cynical were meeting up with Ragged’s youngest brother and his family, so Ramblin and I opted give the family some togetherness without outsiders, and assembled the freshest salads from the salad bar.

Day 4 – Another early morning departure, sent on our way with pears and muffins from our hosts.

To be continued . . . .

Two days

We depart for our traveling companions’ abode Thursday.  Two more days of work.  Two more evenings, hopefully during which we’ll find some time to pack.

Long-time fans of the blog will remember the day-by-day account of our trip last year (Chris, remember the cookies?).  Not to worry, when I pulled the plug on the old blog, I have all the stuff saved, so it may appear again one day.  But for the new kids, each of us blogged as the trip unfolded.  I hope to do that again this year.  But here’s a preview of some of the things we’ll be doing:

Asheville:

  • meeting Ragged’s family
  • staying at a luxurious B&B
  • dining at a Mediterranean restaurant
  • attending LEAF (so very cool)
  • going to a fantastic brunch

Washington DC:

  • Staying at a luxurious B&B
  • using a trolley tour to see the major sites of DC, that will also allow us to explore at our own pace
  • still hoping for a White House tour

And, at some point in the trip, I’m pretty sure a viewing of Star Trek will be in order.

There’s so much stuff to pack in, I don’t know if a week will hold it all.

Stay tuned for bloggy updates.

T-minus six days and counting

And believe me, we’re counting every one of them.  Every slow, agonizing one of them.

Thursday evening, Ramblin and I will head out of town to Ragged and Cynical’s, where we will not sleep a wink from the excitement, then head out early Friday morning for Asheville, NC.  We have so much wonderful stuff planned, I don’t know how it’s all going to fit in.  But everything about the trip has just fallen into place so neatly, I have all the faith in the world that it will just be fantastic.  Even if we hit snags, I know our group can handle it with grace and we’ll laugh about it later.  We’re resilient that way.

Ragged and I have been plotting a knit-a-long (We plot a lot, don’t we?  Look for us to take over the world soon.) for the trip, and I believe we may have settled on our project of choice, the Hemlock Ring Blanket.  That’s not to say each of us won’t be toting at least a sock project, and possibly something else.  It’s important to be prepared.

In the meantime, tomorrow I will be celebrating my mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day, since we’ll be gone for Mom’s Day.  Her birthday is later this week, so it just makes sense to roll it all together.  We also need to grab some last minute stuff, and maybe a few new duds.

Btw, I hate clothes shopping.  Earlier this week, I attempted to find capris.  Now, here’s the trick – apparently this season, ‘fits below the waist’ is all the rage in capris.  I’m tall.  What ‘fits below the waist’ on the average woman is nearly indecent on me.  It was bad.  And if I tried a pair that were big enough to reach higher, they were too big all over and would have been in danger of falling down.  And they don’t make capris in tall sizes.  I found one style on the JCP website, and it was only in red, green, white, and black.   Sigh.  So, I ended up at Wal-Mart, buying the el cheapo but serviceable generic pull-on capris.  At least I won’t be getting arrested for indecent exposure on the trip.  That’s a sure way to ruin a vacation.

But we would have laughed about it later.