July 20th, 2004

poon's post sucked me in

so here's my travel map

create your own personalized map of the USA

I almost fixed the Michigan miss on my last trip (to be posted about momentarily). And I keep meaning to go down to Providence and do the bike trip which would get me another anomalous hole. Roland's dad lives in Florida most of the year, and my sister may be moving there in a bit, so hopefully that will get most of the rest.

Alaska is a few years off, however.

Weird looking at a map, scratching my head thinking, have I ever been there? And then about when I'm ready to get the road trip binders out, memories of dive restaurants and hellishly hot interstates, flying along at 100 miles an hour come flooding back. Even weirder realizing just how many places I've gone wine-country-rambling, hiking or cave-touring.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Despite the fact that I probably should have been doing wedding stuff, I went down to Washington, DC to visit my cousin and her son. She was in the capitol for a conference, sent as a delegate of her union. He was along because my cousin her husband/his dad was in Michigan convincing DNR folks and others to buy the fish hatchery stuff that he works on. In theory, I was to drive from Washington to Michigan for the weekend. In the event, he had to work the weekend, and I missed Roland, so I came home instead.

I took jr around the sights on foot, by bicycle. Since I was last there, things have changed: WW2 memorial, FDR memorial (which is truly wonderful, almost as good as Lincoln), the Korean War memorial. The place has gentrified crazily since 1987. One major downside of which is that the main drag in Georgetown is indistinguishable from a suburban open air mall (Patagonia, Pottery Barn and Barnes & Noble all being represented), except that Georgetown has better food and less parking. I did not make it to Adams Morgan, or the Folger :(. A lot of other things have noticeably not changed, and that's a good thing.

On my last visit, I was 18, with a sister 7 years older than me, and a friend. Needless to say, I had a lot more money and a lot more say in how we spent our time. Unfortunately, this time around I also had a cold, and I've burned out on museums in the interim, so where once the National Gallery would have been Utopia, this trip I spent half my time at a table in the Pei designed concourse between the east and west buildings sipping coffee and reading a book.

Jr. was an amazing travel/tourist partner. Unflappable, a good conversationalist, interested in his surroundings, and while unwilling to make requests or express strong opinions, his nonverbals are still largely unmuddied, so it wasn't too hard to keep him happy. We all had a fantastic time.

His mother, somewhat unbelievably, was one of three people at the convention to get to have dinner with the leader of the free world (at least in theory), at that oh-so-famous mansion on the mall. It was in theory, because he took off 15 minutes into the dinner saying he didn't feel well, and leaving a spokescritter to make his apologies. On top of that, apparently he sets a terrible table: tiny piece of meat, small portion of assorted veg, no starch, tea or water to drink, no alcohol, no coffee, no dessert. Dieting and being a recovering alcoholic is one thing, but this seems a bit over the top. Why have all that power and eat like that? It makes less sense than gorging on cheap pizza. I can only imagine what the other three dozen or so guests thought of the proceedings. Can't help his chances come November.

The bell at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza did a fantastically wonderful job of storing and retrieving my bicycle for me. If you want to travel with your bicycle, I imagine other hotels might provide a similar service, and I urge you all to take advantage of it. Much fun.

random short updates

For those keeping track (like, those people who will be spending one or more nights here in the near future), home improvements have happened.

(1) Air conditioning. Once we had two rooms with window AC. Now, we have whole house AC. It was installed Friday while I was gone, and broke down shortly after my return on Saturday. Yes, I realize that I can be bad juju for mechanical stuff, but it wasn't my bad. Installers had wired to ground something that should not have been wired at all, resulting in a smoked transformer on the furnace that Roland found almost immediately. It took a bit longer to find that short. Working now; we'll have the right transformer in a week or so.

(2) Water filter (you may care less about this one). We had rocks coming through from the well, clogging up the washing machine. No more -- whole house filter stops those buggers early on.