Vacation Episode Two: The Last Three Days
Yes I know entries of this magnitude are annoying to read mostly because they are long and drawn out, and not due to their content. Either way here I go trudging on through the recollection of the second part of our trip to the South. I believe if you look below I left off late at night in a Holiday off of Route 29 in Charlottesville, VA.
Wednesday (April 20th)
We woke up this morning and decided it was time to make a change in our daily breakfast routine. The past three morning we stopped in at a local coffee shop, proudly not once was it a Starbucks, this was a vacation void of any of our typical chain eating establishments. Jennifer was also having withdrawals from her high fiber cereals, so we went to the supermarket and found the cereal aisle. I wondered around looking for something to fill me up in the store, but was unable to find anything. At that point I decided to go back to my roots and eat a healthy Burger King breakfast. We checked out at the supermarket where Jennifer was berated by the clerk for not knowing how to use her credit card in the Kroger debit card system. Once in the car we drove over to Burger King where I order a couple Crossanwiches and we jumped on I64 West towards Sky Line Drive and the Shenandoah National Park. For the second day in a row we hopped right back on the road where we had left off the day before. Sky Line was very similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, if it wasn’t for the National Park toll and the signs saying it was a different road I wouldn’t have known the difference. It was still the two lane road we had come to enjoy so much with scenic overlooks, campgrounds and picnic areas every five miles or so. We even passed the same stone mile markers which came to be an important navigational aid. On this day we had planned at least one major stop with hiking and had plenty of time to make periodic rest stops for picture taking, snacking or napping. At mile 54 we pulled into the parking area of the Bear Face trail. It was described in the guide as a moderate hike with a scramble up some rocks for a panoramic 360 degree view of the mountains. Jennifer thought it was right up my alley. After twenty minutes of easy hiking we were at the top and enjoying an amazing view of the Shenandoah National Park. A man at the top introduced himself as a geologist and began to explain the history of the rock we were standing on. It was amazing to hear how old the mountains were and to learn that the little bubble like formations on the rock were from gases bubbling up through the volcanic rock. He left us alone on top of the mountain and we sat up there enjoying the view and thinking how perfect our vacation was going. Once our moment of reflection was over we climbed back down to the car and continued the trek northward. We made an occasional stop to see the sights and nibble on some food and before long came to the end of the Sky Line Drive. We stopped at the Shenandoah sign and chatted it up with an older Canadian couple. We took turns taking pictures in front of the giant sign before saying adieu and dropping back into the hustle and bustle of modern society. Once back on the intersate we were quickly on our way towards Washington DC before turning northward towards Aberdeen. The drive to Aberdeen should have taken a couple hours but due to traffic took over three hours. We found our Red Roof Inn and then went out for a true american dinner at Outback Steakhouse. I hadn’t been there in years and afterwards wasn’t too glad to be back. I don’t think the food there could be worse for you.
Thursday (April 21st)
After getting a slow start for a change we drove up to Philadelphia. Since it was so late there wasn’t much traffic and we easily found our way to TJ’s house for parking. It was then time to go to the art museum to pick up the tickets for the Dali exhibit. Since the tickets came with museum passes we walked around the different galleries. For lunch we decided to walk into town and get a bite to eat. We really had no idea where we were going and just kept walking until we found a great little pizza place. Afterwards we continued to wander the streets of Philadelphia. Just as it was about time to turn back Jennifer spied a market out of the corner of her eye. So we checked it out and found a huge indoor farmer’s market. It was like Quincy Market, but about six times the size. Unfortunately we had already eaten, but did grab a couple cookies before walking back to the museum. The Dali exhibit was fantastic. There were over 18 rooms of paintings and it was well worth the price of the tickets. Once we got through the exhibit I could barely stand up due to sore legs and complete exhaustion, so we sat along the water and waited for TJ’s call. After he called we walked back to his place and he made us a delicious dinner. It was so nice to spending an evening in a home and just chat with somebody I actually know.
Friday (April 22nd)
In the morning we all had breakfast together before Jennifer and I went to IKEA. I had never been there before, but I have to say IKEA is overwhelming. We walked around aimlessly for a good half an hour before understanding the lay out of the store. We bought all sorts of things for the house from rugs to lamps to a chalkboard for the front hallway. We loaded up the car and continued the trip northward to Connecticut. Of course the horrible state of New Jersey stood in our way. I think overall we spent more time in NJ then any other pass through state, they need to limit the number of cars there or something. Eventually we made it to Jennifer’s parents house in Connecticut. We had another dinner at home which once again was fantastic.
Saturday (April 23rd)
I didn’t sleep very well again and was up and about by 7 in the morning. We had a relaxing morning with the family. Late in the morning I went to the store with Jennifer’s dad to pick up a kayak. In the afternoon we went out for lunch and searched for a couple odds and ends for the apartment. Around four o’clock we got into the car for the final leg of our trip. I was quite exhausted at this time, but we made it home safely. It was so good to be home and back in our apartment.
It was such an amazing week. We saw so many beautiful sights and had so much fun together. Only three months until my next vacation. I hope I can make it that long.