Tuesday, July 29th:
Taking baby steps now as we near home, we left our friend Lisa
Darrow’s house in Richmond, Virginia and headed for Fredericksburg,
Virginia where my brother Mike lives. Jason, my 17 year old nephew, is there when we arrive and
greets us with a big bear hug. Four
years is a long time in the growth period of a teenager.
Jason, a star varsity football player, is now much bigger and
bulkier than I remember. He
is quite the gentleman as well. Make’s
me proud to be his aunt.
Spending the next several days in town
here we enjoyed seeing family, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Marian, cousin
Suzanne and her new husband Virgil and family, and seeing my old friend
Barbara with her fiancée Fred. In
between all that socializing we found time to work on Chris’ bike at
Morton’s BMW in nearby Spotsylvania.
The guys at the shop bent over backwards to provide workspace for
us and lent us crucial tools to break open Chris motor.
The same old breather valve that gave my bike trouble twice is
now in need of replacement in his bike.
A local BMW rider Jerry Skene, semi-retired and a good mechanic
himself, offered to ride down to Spotsylvania two days in a row from his
home about an hour and a half away to help Chris with the work.
While we were at Morton’s the local newspaper, the Freelance
Star, interviewed us and took photos in front of the dealership.
In this way we could hopefully give back a little bit (by getting
some free publicity) to the shop.
See the article
After almost a week in
Fredericksburg it was time to inch further north.
On Sunday, August 3rd we set off about 50 miles north
for Washington, DC to do the last site seeing on the trip.
The weather wasn’t cooperating so in between finding cover from
the heavy downpours we rushed to see the Capital building, the
Washington Monument, and the White House to snap off some photos.
We ended the day a few miles out of town at the lovely home of
our friends Ann and Jonathan, and their two little angels, Nancy and
Betsy. Again, these are
friends we hadn’t seen since well before we left and it was wonderful
to catch up with them and get to know their two girls.
Monday, Ann took us into town so
that we could see the sites we missed the day before.
After making a quick stop at the huge and beautiful National
Catholic Basilica we were off to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum
of Air & Space (a personal favorite from childhood), and the Museum
of American History where the flag that inspired the Star Spangled
Banner is currently being restored in a glassed-in laboratory.
In addition to the flag, one can see the gowns of the First
Ladies, an exhibit on the life of the settlers, and Abraham Lincoln’s
trademark hat to name just a few. The
Air & Space Museum is chock-a-block with everything from lunar
capsules and astronaut gear, to the Spirit of St. Louis, to the hot-air
balloon cabin that circled the globe.
A thrilling IMAX show capped off the day and we were museum-ed
Tuesday, August 5th: Our
last official day on the road. Ann
and the girls gave us a hearty send-off breakfast and we are on our way
home. The weather was still
gray and clouds loomed above us. We
made a quick stop to see the famous Bob’s BMW shop and meet some of
the staff that have been helpful to us during the trip.
Soon after we departed Bob’s the skies opened up on us like a
giant faucet and we were drenched to the bone with the heaviest rain
we’ve experienced on the whole trip!
Since it was lunchtime we pulled off at the next exit and found a
Wendy’s restaurant. We entered the restaurant looking like creatures that have
just crawled in from the black lagoon.
All eyes were on us as we dripped our way to the nearest table
and dropped our drenched gear on the floor.
Sympathetic nods and smiles abounded from the other patrons.
The short stop did not help to
stave off the bad weather. When
we got back on the highway we rode right back into the northbound storm
that made us stop in the first place.
There was just no way around it.
For more than 5 hours we rode in the pouring rain.
We couldn’t have been more wet if we had jumped into a pool. By the time we reached New Jersey traffic was crawling along
and we tried to stay out of the spray of the big trucks and buses.
We got to within a few miles of New York but could barely see
that big wonderful skyline because the clouds were so low that it was
like a blanket covering Manhattan.
We found an economical (the term
cheap is no longer in our vocabulary) hotel near the Lincoln Tunnel
where we would cross into New York City the next morning.
We shed the layers of sopping wet clothing, stuffed newspapers in
our boots, took a nice long hot shower to get rid of the chill, and
called for Chinese food to be delivered.