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Archive for July, 2013

Richmond was warm and humid but beautiful and looked multiple times better from the comfort of M’s car. We walked along the canal near the James river and visited the Capitol.

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Our next stop was Washington DC which was a big shift from Virginia. It is grand and glamorous, but in a subdued way. Outside the Union Station, which in itself is beautiful, the rains had decided to stay for the day. Statues outside the supreme court were majestic, the Capitol right across the street.

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The library of congress was our first stop in Washington DC. The building looked stunning from the outside.

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The Library of Congress is more than a hundred years old and is built in the Italian Renaissance style. A guided tour focused on the architecture among other things. This place is a must see when in DC.

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The Smithsonian museums in the Mall are all lovely and we could barely see a few. We were almost half way through our trip and had one more day left in DC. to be continued.

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We started from Urbana on a sultry weekend afternoon. I am unusually excited when I see corn fields. People don’t get it kind of excited. I like the uniformity and the green and light blue go so well together. But its different when you drive through corn fields for five hours straight.

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A stop at Columbus broke the monotony. An unexpected turn of events resulted in sleeping in the car and eating left over pizza for breakfast.

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We finally reached West Virginia next day in the morning. Also known as the ‘mountain state’, it was fun to drive across complete with ups and downs and blind turns. The trees got taller and greener before the Monongahela national forest.

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We stopped at a restaurant with a view of Seneca rocks and also got gas because it was inexpensive like most other things in this state. A detour to see the Spruce Knob area lead us to a small village where its a custom to waive to every passing car. People waved at us from their porches and from the sidewalks.

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West Virginia was raw and close to nature. The people were friendly. We continued on our way to the east and when we finally reached Richmond, Virginia at nightfall, we were thoroughly exhausted. And thirsty.

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The nearby Walmart was the only place open in the suburb where we were staying with the most hospitable hosts I have encountered. We rushed to an attendant in the store, looking for alcohol.

Me: Where can I find some beer?

Attendant: We don’t have any beer.

Me: What? No beer? What do you mean?

Attendant: We don’t sell beer after 12 in the night.

Me: Like in Walmart.. or ..

Attendant: No alcohol is sold in the state of Virginia after 12 in the night.

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He later elaborated on how all stores, gas stations, really everything you can think of, except restaurants which were all closed, wouldn’t have any alcohol at this hour. We later encountered places which sold no alcohol on Sundays, but this was a shock for starters. Its magnified when you are exhausted from driving for 10 hours straight and badly need a drink. But we had a relaxing few days ahead of us. To be continued.

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urbana – dc – urbana

Like I have said before, I am an obsessive planner. But I have never planned for an eight day long trip covering 2000 miles. Unlike R, who finalizes everything before hand, even deciding which parking lots we are going to use, M is rather chilled out. To give you an idea, he is one of those people who decide what they want to eat and then get into the long line at the restaurant. If you don’t get the joke, congratulations you are not obsessive.

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my planning at work

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But the most fun we had on our road trip from Urbana to Washington DC and back last week was on the road and because of lack of planning. Everything panning out according to your plans is hardly fun. Besides, you have the rest of the month for that kind of stuff.

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We went through big cities and small towns. Different accents and time zones. Architecture and road signs. One thing remained the same, the sun was roasting all the seven states and the capital with matching enthusiasm. The good old P supported us all through our journey.

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M at mile 8: Do you want to stop for a coffee soon?

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Our first stop was the forests in West Virginia. But that was after we cruise controlled through long straight patches of freeways in Indiana and Ohio. To be continued.

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