Friday, May 27, 2011

Chapter Four - DA to PA via DC

5…4…3…2…1…and then… screaming!
But it was the sound of kids screaming with laughter. Dad had counted down to the end of the world but nothing had happened. Delaware still existed. The Holiday Inn still existed, and the pool and spa still existed. Which was good, because I was enjoying relaxing in the spa, and the guy and his kids were definitely enjoying the pool.
Still on a downer I decided to cheer myself up with beer and baseball, and maybe some good looking waitresses, with a trip to my favourite sports bar chain.
“Why on earth would you come to Delaware?” asks Gordo, who lives in Delaware. (Actually I can’t remember his name, but Gordo springs to mind, and you don’t know any different so let’s stick with that)
“er, well I’m going to every state, and it’s between the Jersey Coast and DC”
“Oh DC’s great, and when you’re looking at the monuments, remember that they have museums underneath. A lot of people don’t realise!”
Gordo doesn’t know that I don’t do museums. I probably should. I could be all cultured and stuff, but I don’t like standing about, and did I mention my short attention span? Anyway, Gordo explains that there really is nothing in Delaware, they don’t even have major league sports teams, so they support Philadelphia. So we cheer on the Phillies, until I get distracted by another TV, showing Rally Cross.
Sunday, and I cross Delaware and Maryland, check out DC and reach Pennsylvania. Craig texts accusing me of going through states quicker than underwear, but in my defence they’re very small (the states that is)
So Washington then. I knew the White House would be small so I wasn’t disappointed. It’s great to be able to walk between such a collection of world famous landmarks. The streets are designed so you can see the Capitol dome from blocks away, you’ve got the Washington Memorial, and then there’s the Franklin Memorial with it’s magnificent reflecting pool…
Except there isn’t.
There’s 400 yards of mud where they’re refurbishing the pool. Oh well, the memorial is good, and it’s nice to see so many people of different nationalities enjoying and respecting it quietly.
And then the rain falls…
One thing I’m finding in the North East states, when it rains it really rains. There’s no light rain or drizzle. However it’s usually a shower, so it’s worth waiting it out. If only there was something else to do at the Lincoln Memorial under shelter… well thank you Gordo!
The museum below is only a few displays, but it passes time until the shower stops. Then a bite to eat and I’ve done DC!
At least I thought I had. My sat nav takes me out through Georgetown campus and I see the other side of Washington. Narrow streets, interesting houses, colourful shops, a real contrast to the huge political buildings.
But I’m heading for the hills, so it’s out of the District of Colombia, or Washington “Doesn’t Count” since I’m still on 36 states. (32 previously, 4 this trip)
Number 37 in your programmes is Pennsylvania. I would have liked to stop in Maryland just to have stayed there, but I was in PA before I knew it, and could see an opportunity for a joke…
Arriving in the hotel in Gettysburg the assistant asked “What’s your address?”
 “Four score and seven years ago…”,
For dinner I went next door to the “Pike Restaurant”. I never did work out if that was a military or fish reference. The young maître d put me at a table then said:
“There’ll be a cute waitress out in a minute to take your order”
Yeah right, I thought.
Kelsey was young, blonde, pretty, and training to be a masseuse so she could work aboard a cruise ship, while learning French and German. I remembered to tip the maître d.
Monday: New car day!
Off to Harrisburg to collect my new wheels. What would it be? The fabled mazda 6 or another sodding Galant?
First problem, I assumed my GPS would know where Hertz was. It didn’t, but it knew where a Hertz used to be, and offered that hopefully. This didn’t help. When I found the place it was a large building renting farm equipment, with a few cars. No sign of any Mazdas, quite a lot of crap cars, but a Toyota Camry with SE stuck on it.
Woo and indeed Hoo!
Comfy electric seats, Lumbar adjustment and a socket to connect my ipod! I drove North into the mountains feeling happier again. This might not be such a daft idea after all!
Speaking of daft ideas, a guy I met on the ship had offered me the chance to stay over with him and his wife. Now this was a guy I’d played at table tennis (Eric, not Klaus for those paying attention) and talked to a couple of times, but hardly enough for him to know I wasn’t a lunatic. Well, not the dangerous sort of lunatic anyway. However I was in the neighbourhood, and he’d responded on Facebook so I figured we could at least have a drink.
Well I piloted my shiny new Camry (actually forget that, it’s quite old and scratched), my comfy old Camry through dense fog in the hills of Pennsylvania and into a small place called Shavertown. Eric answered his phone and agreed to meet at the Really Cooking Supper Club, (which my GPS called the Really Cooking Soccer Club!).
Would he really be a nice guy or was he an axe murderer? You’ll find out in the next blog. (Clue: if there aren’t any more blogs he was probably an axe murderer!)

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