Relaxing in NC and MD

Dave the fireman?On Friday, we woke up at the Bears’ house. We showered and got all our stuff packed up, then went downstairs to play with the boys and have some breakfast. We spent the morning hanging out with Suze and trying to keep a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old entertained – not a small feat! We had a great time playing with the boys. Dave particularly enjoyed Daniel’s fire truck.

Knowing we would hit traffic once we got to DC, we started gearing up to leave around noon. After getting the directions straight, we hit the road. We drove up I-85 for a really long time, through the middle of North Carolina to Virginia. We finally stopped somewhere south of Richmond to grab some lunch at a Hardee’s – our only decent option in about two hours. For quite some time we had been wondering if Hardee’s was anything like Carl’s Jr – after all, they both feature the Happy Star. After this experience, I can assure you that Carl’s Jr is WAY better.

Driving through Richmond was a little bit crazy. It was the first real city driving we’d had to do since leaving DC on Sunday. The highway was several lanes but the lanes were kinda narrow, and people were going all kinds of different speeds, and there were diesels in all the lanes. But we survived, of course.

The trip seemed like it was a little longer than anticipated, even before we got to the DC metro area. We started to realize that we would soon get stuck in traffic, and so we made a quick rest stop at a random gas station. It was a good choice, because not long after that we went through the infamous “Mixing Bowl” in Springfield VA (where several interstates and local highways all converge at one spot). It is still under construction and does not appear to be near completion. But that wasn’t too bad… it was about 15 minutes later that the traffic simply STOPPED. It took us a little over an hour on the Beltway to get from I-66 to Exit 4A off 270. At least we got the full DC driving experience. We kept ourselves entertained by playing “Name That Tune” on the iPod, which was really fun until it started choosing the same songs over and over.

Finally we got to our friend Katy’s house and found that nobody was home. Fortunately Katy arrived about 2 minutes after we did, and then Karin and Jeremy showed up a few minutes later. We had a very laid-back evening, just sitting at Katy’s family’s kitchen table, drinking beers (and in my case, Mike’s Hard Limeade) and chatting about all kinds of random things. Katy’s sister Maura and her mom came home not too long after we got there, and they later went to pick up Katy’s dad. We all had burgers and hot dogs for dinner. That was pretty amusing because Katy’s a vegetarian and really doesn’t grill meat all that often. It turned out to be a good dinner regardless.

After hours of hanging out there in the kitchen, Karin and Jeremy decided it was time to go home, and everyone else drifted off to bed one by one. Katy set us up on the hide-a-bed in the family room, and Dave and I hit the sack.

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