Left New York early Wednesday morning, husband recorded his drive out of Manhattan so he would have a visual reminder of how fun it was to navigate those streets in a vehicle. I don’t understand how he can love driving in Manhattan since I find it so stressful but to each their own I guess.
Headed down the NJ turnpike towards Philly and arrived just around 10am. Found E’s place pretty easily but husband wanted to find a hotel to check into first so we left south Philly and headed to Old City to check in and unload the vehicle. Ironically once husband parked the car in the lot we ended up taking a cab right back to E’s neighborhood to get some “authentic” Philly cheese steaks and peruse the Italian market. Neither husband nor brother was impressed with their cheese steaks, claiming the meat was flavorless. I didn’t get one but they certainly didn’t look like they lived up to the hype.
The Italian market was interesting, if I lived in south Philly I know I’d go often. E told me there was a great gluten free bakery, Freedom Bakery, about 15 blocks away so we walked towards it experiencing the sights of Philly as we went. Got all the way there to find out they may be gluten free but every single thing had coconut sugar, flour or milk in it so I left very disappointed that I would not be eating a cinnamon roll that day.
Continued our walk through the downtown area back to Old Town and our hotel where I ditched husband and brother for a bit to go walking with E alone. We wandered towards Washington Square just chit chatting the way two old friends can do even when they live thousands of miles apart. Came back to the hotel for a quick nap before dinner.
Around 6 the boys and I met up with E and her boyfriend, S, at the Khyber Pub. Afterwards we went for ice cream at Franklin’s, it was the first time I’d eaten ice cream in years, it was delicious. Headed back to the hotel to get some sleep so we could get up early and check out some historical Philly sights in the morning.
The next day we got up and headed towards Washington Square to explore. Husband discovered the Carpenter’s Hall and was delighted to find out it was the first organized trade labor hall in the country and where America’s building trades were pioneered. Walked about and ended up taking a tour of the building where the declaration of independence was signed and court was held at the beginning of the American government. We went across the street to see the liberty bell then walked to where Ben Franklin was buried. Eventually we headed back to the hotel to check out and head to Washington D.C..
As soon as we arrived in D.C. we checked into a hotel to drop our stuff off and book it to the Smithsonian Air & Space museum before it closed at 5:30. Got there with an hour to explore inside and it was definitely worth going. We all loved seeing the exhibits and learning about aviation and space flight, I wish we would’ve had time to see some of the other Smithsonian museums. After the museum closed we found a random dive taco place to get some food and took the long route back to the hotel.
Once it got dark out we headed back out to the memorials for night shots. Got all the way to the Lincoln memorial to realize I’d left the connection plate to my tripod back at the hotel so we had to go back and get it. 30 min later we were once again standing before an iconic D.C.landmark, this time it was the Washington Monument. Snapped a couple shots and headed towards the WWII monument over by the reflecting pond. I couldn’t get over how crowded all the monuments were at 11pm on a Thursday night.
Walked the length of the reflecting pond next and when we got to the Lincoln side husband poured us all a glass of wine he’d picked up for me in the financial district (wall street) as an anniversary gift. We toasted to 5 years of marriage a few minutes after midnight as we stared out across the water towards the tall white monument. As I was adjusting my tripod to take some long exposure night shots a city fox suddenly came padding across the concrete between Lincoln memorial and the reflecting pond. He was only about 10 feet away, it was a crazy sight. The fox continued on its way towards the grassy side lawn next to Lincoln and disappeared into the darkness. I decided I’d had enough excitement for one night and packed up my stuff so we could head back to the car.
As we walked towards our vehicle we saw some photography equipment laying by the pathway. Husband and brother picked them up (it was almost 1am and the area was deserted) and husband noticed a name and number on the back. I sent a text to the number on the reflector kit asking if they’d left equipment by the memorial. I got no response so we put the equipment in our car and went back to the hotel to get some sleep. Around 7am I got a text telling me nothing had been left behind, I was half asleep so I just replied ok and went back to sleep. Another text came about 20 min later asking if I’d found anything. I was still groggy and didn’t realize my response implied I’d only seen the equipment not that I had it until after I actually woke up for the day and reviewed my text log. I couldn’t come up with a way to explain I had the equipment without looking like a jerk so I had husband contact the guy telling him he had the equipment. Turned out the guy wasn’t in D.C.anymore but had headed south to VA and would be in the same area of NC the same time we were going to be there. Husband arranged to meet the guy in NC to get him his stuff back and the guy gave husband $20 as a thank you.
Left D.C. a little before noon to head to Raleigh where husband’s friend, R. Ford, was showing in an art gallery exhibit that was opening that night. On our way there we stopped at a civil war memorial battlefield near Richmond to explore and experience some history. I was more excited about finding a tortoise on one of the paths than anything else, but I’m weird like that. Timed our drive perfectly so that we arrived at the art exhibit right as it started.
Chatted a bit with the Ford family and browsed the art at the exhibit then headed towards Durham to meet up with my cousin and his girlfriend. Brother wanted to stop at golden corral so we did. The boys enjoyed their meals but buffets are a waste of money on me since I don’t eat large meals. Got to the A’s place and unloaded the car again. A&A had the guest room all ready for us and I was excited be staying with them for the weekend.
They wanted to take us out so we piled back in the car and found ourselves back in Raleigh where the streets and bars were now crammed full of drunk college aged folk. After trying several different places we decided we were all too old for that scene so we bought some beer at O’Paddy’s and headed back to the apartment in Durham. Tried to stay up and socialize but it was so late we ended up just going to bed.
Woke up the next morning and headed to the Carrboro farmers market looking for the Imagine That gluten free bakery stand. Made the entire loop and couldn’t find them. Asked around and found out they had skipped the market that day. This was my second east coast gluten free bakery fail in a week, I was disappointed. Found a Waffle House that had just opened and ordered breakfast, sadly the new staff hadn’t gotten the hang of things yet and it was the least smooth waffle house experience to date. Once our appetites were satisfied we headed to the Ford’s house to see R’s studio and hang out. They took us for a quick walk to Johnny’s so I could get myself one of Imagine That’s gluten free brownies and it was as delicious as described.
For dinner the Ford’s took us out for authentic NC barbeque and brother declared it the best meal he’d eaten on our trip so far. Afterwards we headed back to cousin’s apartment for a night of beer and card games. Those darn beer a ritas snuck up on me and I’ll admit I woke up Sunday morning with an actual hangover. Oh well, I’m on vacation. Husband cooked us all his famous stuffed omelettes and we departed the Durham area to head south to Hunting Island, SC where we’ll be camping for the next two nights.
This has been quite the road trip so far, I’m excited to see what happens next.