Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Road Trip to Virginia

When we travel, it takes us considerably longer to reach our destination than our GPS lady, Samantha, predicts.

I venture to guess, it takes us considerably longer than most humans making the same journey.

And it's for several different reasons.

One reason is because Harley will tell us every so often that he needs to stretch those little legs of his.

Another reason is - taking pictures

We always seem to spot interesting things we can't pass by without taking a few pics.

(We happened across this abandoned coffee pot building off the expressway on the way into Lexington, VA)

And -

We also have a hard time passing up interesting places to eat

(We did eat here and the BBQ was WONDERFUL!)

(We did not eat here, but we might have if we hadn't spotted what was next door - - - )

We cannot pass up donuts 

And we, for sure, cannot pass up ice cream.

The Ice Cream Flavor of the Day at Baskin-Robbins was Crème Brûlée. Deeeeeelish!

But it's okay that our trips seem so long.  It's a chance to talk, and we laugh a lot.

For instance -

We had done a good bit of driving when it became quite clear that it was good that I had ordered new glasses before we left town, but too bad they had not come in before we left.

We went by a water tower we had not seen before and it was painted in pretty bright colors.

It took me a while to figure out what the colors represented.

Then I said to Donald. "That's pretty. But jellybeans? I don't get it."

And Donald said. "Apples."


Here's hoping my new glasses arrive soon.

We were pleased to get to our hotel and see it's attached to this wonderful old manor house (which is not open to the public, sadly).

Its name is Carradoc Hall, originally known as Oak Grove.

Also pleased to see how green and lush things are here - especially the cherry trees.

We're not that far from DC, and it looks as though the surrounding area is every bit as proud to display their blossoms as Washington is.

Harley claimed his spot as soon as we got to our room

and quickly settled in to take a nap

And we claimed our place at the hotel restaurant, Silk, Indian Cuisine, 


I didn't see Donald during the day, as he was taking classes here, 

so I did a little exploring, a little writing, a lot of reading and even got in some treadmill and stationery bike time.

I seemed to be the only person using this room - and that was okay by me.

All in all, it was a very nice trip.

Except . . .

I had a couple of off days.

I loved the idea of being able to take a hotel shuttle to a little shopping village that sounded right up my alley while Donald was off doing business stuff.  

And so, I did.

But not without problems.

First problem - the driver was new and seemed to think I really wanted to go to WalMart. 


I had a hard time convincing him WalMart was not where I wanted to go, then I had to give him directions (in a town I'd never been to).

Then when we got there, I had a hard time convincing him that yes, this is where I want to be - - - oh, wait - - we passed it. 

Yes, here. 

Here is fine. 

Oh well, passed it too.


Yo.  Stop.  Right.  Here.


Thank you.

Yes, I will call when I ready to come back - Thank you.

A couple hours later, I called.

No answer at the hotel.


Lots of tries later . . .

still no answer.

Is my cell phone not working 'cause it knows I hate it?

The lady at the Ulta Make-Up Store said she would try.

Hmmmm - no answer.


Across the street to get a much needed cup of coffee

Still no answer.

So. I ask the restaurant hostess if I can look at phone book to make sure I have the right number.

She gets curious, calls information, number is correct.

She starts calling the hotel with no better luck than I had.
"Wonder if it's burned down?" she says with humor.



I mention our dog is there, and I hope it has not burned down.

She calls me a cab, which I pay for - so much for the free shuttle.


When I walk into the hotel (not happy) and explain to the desk clerk why I'm in a cab, he, um, "doubts" my word.

Moving from not happy to the next level of not happy, I toss him the cab receipt and tell him what he owes me and return to my room.

Find out later that yes, there was a trunk line out of order, so the hotel had not received any calls for several hours and just failed to notice.

Will I ever use a free hotel shuttle again? 

well, now, there's a question I'll have to ponder.

One of the first things a person is supposed to remember about traveling is to treat everything like an adventure, roll with the punches, expect surprises.

I wish I had remembered all those things instead of worrying that the hotel might have burned down, and picturing Harley with angel wings floating off to heaven.

But all's well that ends well, right?

And the desk clerk reimbursed me for the cab fare - quite graciously.

There was, however, another day that had a few ups and downs.

I took Donald to the conference center one morning, so I could use the car to drive into one of the little historical towns not far from the hotel.  I had done a little on-line research for places close by - a lot of interesting history.  I picked out one which looked to be cute, historical and appeared to have some shops I might really enjoy. As it turned out, I only went into a few and decided the little town and I were just not meant to be.

Main Street, like a lot of small town main streets, had parking meters and I had some change, but not much.  

So I walked around for a little while looking specifically for a little place that might not mind giving me some change.  Found one, I thought, took an 8 oz. $2.85 bottle of water out of the cooler and asked the gentleman behind the counter if he would mind giving me change for a dollar.  When he asked me if I thought he looked like a bank, I returned the bottle of water to the cooler and left.

After wandering into a couple of shops where the people working there acted as though I was a bother, and one restaurant where the silverware was dirty, I got in my car and left the cute little town and do not ever intend to return.


Next stop was the outlet mall.

A very nice outlet mall.

(Nope - didn't buy anything here)

(Didn't buy anything here either, but I did check to see if my pal Earl Staggs was the person driving that school bus)

The cherry trees were in full bloom and gorgeous.

The shops were nice.

The sales associates were all, every single one, delightful.

The food court was clean and pleasant.

And I bought an adorable bag at Kate Spade.  I love Kate Spade's  fun sense of color, but couldn't afford one of her bags any place other than at an outlet.  This one was on the clearance table, and the cute sales associate made sure I had a 25% off coupon.

And that night we had dinner at Dunkin' Donuts.  

It's dinner out at places like this that reminds me why it's fun being a grown-up.

The ride back to Boone was fun - we stopped often enough to get some good pictures and enjoy how green everything is finally getting after a long, rough winter.

We stopped for gas a couple hours from home and spotted a very old, very beautiful, peaceful cemetery.

When we finally did get home it was nice to see that things were beginning to bloom here too.  The hostas are especially happy to see spring is finally arriving in these mountains.


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