Normally you are used to me blogging about my training updates, or races. However, this blog will be all about our driving trip/ vacation out East. It was a trip that we didn’t do any races, if you can believe that. This trip has been in the works for months. Earlier in the year we found out one of my wife’s cousins were going to get married June 11th. My father-in-law thought it would be nice for all of us to try to go to Pennsylvania for it. When I first got word of the plan I instantly thought, it would be nice to explore Washington DC, and I wonder if my cousin Jeffrey and his wife can allow us to stay at their place in Maryland for two nights and the kids wanted to stay with Aunt Carol in PA for the times we needed to be in PA. However, for a while we hit a roadblock.
My wife was suppose to work Saturday June 10, and Sunday June 11. When a nurse has to work the weekend it is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, all pieces have to align right for it to work. She isn’t allowed to take vacation days on weekends she works. Two options she has is trying to trade weekends, or give the weekend away to someone and not get paid for the hours missed. After trying for weeks, she eventually just gave the weekend away (she was able to use PTO hours though, since she had so much stored up). After she got confirmation I started working on the details for DC. For any major building tour in DC you have to go through your local representative. We wanted a White House, and US Capitol tour . After a few days I heard back that the US Capitol Tour was good to go on Thursday, but White House tour was unavailable. My cousin Jeffrey was able to work his magic and got us a White House tour scheduled for Friday at 10 am, more on that later. So everything was lined up nicely and we were on our way Wednesday night to my cousin and his wife house. The rest of the blog will be broken down by each day and what we did.
For most of the day we drove to Maryland. Had very good traffic really. We wanted to go out to eat at GrandE Buffet & Grill in Laurel, MD. It is a Chinese Buffet that my Uncle took us to last March when we did B and A trail marathon in Maryland. The restaurant was very good. Has Baltimore crab, clams, and other items that you would expect at Chinese buffet. After eating we went to Jeffrey and Melissa’s house. Kids played with the cats for a while, and we talked some. Then went to bed.
We had our US Capitol tour at 10 am, so we needed to leave early in the morning. Jeffrey only lives about 50 miles from DC, but it could take about 2 hours if traffic is bad. Traffic was pretty bad lots of schools were doing field trips, I already had a parking garage lined up, and parked there without a problem. However, it was 9:45 am and we had about 1 mile to US capitol visitor center. I called to let my tour guide know we would be there around 10:30 am. They said no problem and after finding the Visitor Center (its underground under the capitol) we had to go thru security and we were in around 10:30 am. The US capitol was very neat and I loved the Rotunda area, and the Crypt. We also went into the House Chamber, which was really neat. After the US capitol tour we ate lunch and then started walking to other things in DC. We saw the Washington monument, WW2 memorial, the reflecting pool (which seemed rather green from algae), Lincoln memorial,
from distance could see the Thomas Jefferson memorial, and then we wrapped things up at Smithsonian National Museum of American History. We enjoyed seeing everything we saw that day. Things in DC are more spread out then you think in total we probably walked about 8 miles on Thursday according to my wife’s fitbit. Good thing about DC is most of tours, and museums are free. We wanted to leave DC around 4:30 pm since my cousin Jeffrey was going to cook us a meal. The meal was excellent, and lo and behold he surprised me with an ice cream cake, since my birthday is June 11. Jeffrey and Melissa spoiled me for sure.
We went back to Washington DC Friday morning. We had our White House tour at 10 am. We left in plenty of time, and Jeffrey, Melissa, Laura, me, and kids all were able to fit in our SUV so we only had to take one vehicle to DC. We got excellent parking in a garage close to the white house and got in line at visitor center check point. Then we ran into a snag. Our names weren’t on the list. We all found that unusually since we had the confirmation letter. We knew something was up when other people’s names weren’t on the list either. We were waiting in line on sidewalk for about 90 minutes or so. The 11 am and 11:30 am people were going in, we knew things were off. Well apparently the department lost about 200 names on the 10 am list. Luckily, my cousin knew someone who worked in White House and we were able to get in through a separate entrance. Once we got in it was already 12:30 pm. Brayden was getting a little hungry, but once we got to see the different rooms he was excited. White house tour is self-guided so you can go at your own pace too. After the tour we ate at Potbelly’s then went back to Jeff and Melissa’s house to get our stuff and head to PA for supper with my wife’s friend. We stayed with my wife’s Aunt and Uncle house Fri, Sat, and Sun night.
We had several things planned for family stuff on Saturday in PA. After breakfast we meet Uncle John at his tractor shop/store. There he gave all the kids tractor rides which they really loved. After that we had a lunch meal at a church celebrating Grandma Herr’s birthday. It was nice to see all of the Herr family. In between that and supper we drove to Outlet mall and went into Nike (got the kids a shirt that was on sale), and we went into other stores. For supper we went to Grandma Brubaker house for pizza and hanging out.
We went to church then we went out to eat at a local diner. It was good food, but service was a little slow. At the meal Laura’s dad must of told them it was my birthday, at the end of the meal the waitress brought out a cheesecake. We wrapped up lunch then we visited some with Grandma Herr at her house, and got ready for wedding. Wedding was nicely done. The reception had great food, and even an ice cream truck. Awesome!
We wrapped our last day away with a few tours Herr’s Chips tour, and Hershey Chocolate tour. The Herr’s chip factory is about 20 miles southeast of where Laura aunt and uncle lives, so it wasn’t in the direction of heading home, but it was very fun tour. It started with a 10 minute video in the theater about the history of Herr chips. After that you go to different areas of the plant to see how they make pretzels, and chips. At one point a worker went and got all of us on the tour chips that were freshly made. The tour was neat and at the end they give you two bags of chips. We drove about an hour until we got to Hershey, PA home of Hershey chocolates. A few years ago we did the free tour, and the kids wanted to do it again. They did change the tour up compared to a few years ago. Of course at the end you get a little chocolate bar. We were then ready to head out and head home. It was a fun weekend away and we appreciate being able to stay at family’s houses. We never had to get a hotel which was nice.