Thursday, June 20, 2013

D.C. Part Uno

by Shannon

"At Washington, D.C., I got to see the White House. 
And I got to see ... I forget."
~ Cruncher

So, we drove to D.C. last week. As you can see, it was a trip that REALLY made an impression on the young mind we're culturing. I'll post the happenings over a few different posts, since we traveled and toured during six days.

Here's how we decided to vacay in D.C.: After Ryan and I settled on St. Francis of Assisi to be our family's 2013 patron, we talked about taking a Franciscan pilgrimage this year. The only Franciscan monastery is in D.C.. However, being the CFO and vice president of worry in our household, I nixed the trip due to expenses. Fast forward a few months to early May. My boss told me I had to go to D.C. for work. There was a conference coming up, and he had other appointments booked, so I needed to go in his place. "Cool. But I guess you want me to fly, right?" He knows I hate flying. "Well, I would fly if I were you, but you can drive if you want. It'll take all day." Then I got excited. I could bring the whole family, stay a couple days after the conference, get reimbursed for milage, AND the guys would have a couple extra days to explore the city while I was busy with work. Perfecto!

We hadn't been on a family trip in, like ... well, ever. There was that Thanksgiving trip to Pine Mountain. And the time we went to Chicago to visit a friend. And a long weekend in Indy and Brown County, Indiana. But never, like, a REAL family vacation. With a ROAD TRIP. Ryan was pretty psyched.

Pine Mountain Resort, Thanksgiving 2010

The planning began. I decided we would start out at the super-fancy conference hotel (on the company's dollar), which was conveniently located blocks from the National Zoo (free admission and fun for the guys while I attended the conference). After the conference ended Tuesday, we would trek to a second hotel for the rest of our D.C. stay. Something cheap and clean. Then on Thursday night, we would drive even further out of town to a hotel in West Virginia, so our drive home Friday could be segmented and leisurely. I researched and researched and researched, as I do, and found the perfect hotels. Aaaand I got around to booking the second hotel in Rockville, Maryland, but procrastinated on the third hotel. It'll work out in the end. Promise.

We also prepped with grocery shopping shelf-stable items. The hope was we would only eat breakfast and "linner" (a late lunch/early dinner) with snacks sprinkled through the day. The HOPE.

And I bought a few special things for the trip: a travel purse or glorified cross-body wallet, so I wouldn't get pick-pocketed: new tennis shoes for Cruncher so his feet wouldn't hurt (riiight); a few summer outfits for Cruncher; some professional clothes for the conference (our office is veeeeery casual); and I think that's it. There were enough plans to make and supplies to buy that the few weeks leading up to the trip went super-fast.

We went to confession and Mass late Saturday afternoon, packed through the evening, and drove off around 8 a.m. Sunday. We grabbed a hearty breakfast in the Wendy's drive thru, and we were off!

Somewhere in central Kentucky.

The drive was supposed to be nine hours. We only stopped for short breaks and to fill up the tank. You wouldn't believe how amazing Cruncher was.

Cruncher with perpetual sidekick Orland.
He came with that goofy name, as Cabbage Patches do.

No whining. I repeat: No whining. He stayed busy with his books and coloring or just playing with some small toys we toted along. Sometimes, he requested I read from Jim Gaffigan's new book, which we all loved (I read the whole thing aloud between the to and fro).

We arrived at the hotel about 6 p.m. It's a beautiful old building in a fancy residential part of the city. Tidbits: The Beatles reserved an entire floor of the hotel for one night back in the '60s, and this is the hotel where President Clinton played his famous inaugural saxophone solo. It was also the only of the three hotels we slept in that has had reported bedbugs (apparently very professionally handled). That might surprise you after you hear about the rest of our trip. Stay tuned!

We checked in, dropped of our stuff, dropped off the car with valet, and walked across the street for dinner at Open City.

Cruncher ordered something he didn't eat (tummy problems, which I diagnosed as Too Much Gummy Bears and Twizzlers Syndrome). Ryan had some sort of veggie sandwich with chili and a local beer. I ordered from the breakfast menu — bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon and a caper relish with a latté.

Don't let the latté art fool you. It had NOTHING on our favorite coffee shop on the planet, and 2013 Coffee Fest America's Best Espresso Winner Sunergos.

Five more days to blog about ... no promises.


  1. Oh nooooo! Please say you didn't get bedbugs.

    1. Oh, gosh, no! But I see why it might read that way. We deeeeefinitly checked for them every night, though.

    2. Whew. That's a relief.

  2. Glad you had a good trip to DC! I was wondering what happened to you guys. :-)