So it's been busy at work a lot lately. It probably doesn't help matters any that I'm out of the office for three days on one research trip next week, and then I turn around and go out of town for a full week the week after that! The first trip takes me back to a town in Washington I've visited before, while the second trip takes me to the D.C. area, which is somewhere I've not been for quite a while.
The first time we went to D.C., it was a family trip, and would have been the summer of 1996. We were actually headed to Virginia Beach, but since we flew into D.C., I wanted to see some stuff there. Of course, this equals whirlwind tour with younger siblings, all of whom are complaining about all of the boring stuff we were looking at. And also, whirlwind tour equals we were only looking at the outside of everything, as we basically ran from the Smithsonian to the Washington Monument. And then we went to Chinatown. Random, yes, but I wanted to go there. I think this whole bit of the trip was really sort of my parents' concession to me, as I was really a bit too old for a family trip, but they wanted to have one last trip as a family.
The second time we went to D.C., in the summer of 1997, it was another whirlwind tour, but it wasn't exactly planned that way. You see, Ian and I were in western Pennsylvania, very near West Virginia, and were headed for Gettysburg. As he hadn't been to Virginia or D.C., we made a last minute plan for a route that we thought would take us around D.C.--basically just skirting the city. Well, this was in the days when laptops and wireless internet at hotels were not standard practice. We had plotted out all of our planned trips with MapQuest, but for this side jaunt, we were relying on my reading of the road atlas in the car. Yeah, maybe that was the first mistake. Instead, we ended up ON Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a "oh, look, the White House. Hey, that's the Washington Monument. WHY IS THIS GUY ON A BIKE TRYING TO HIT MY CAR?!" Suffice it to say, we did not stop, did not pass go, and got the hell out of D.C. as quickly as possible.
Remembering these lovely trips has me a little bit leery about this upcoming D.C. trip. Although I'm going with a couple of co-workers, there are at least three days where I'm doing the driving. I don't much like driving in cities. One of the co-workers who is going along asked me if I've driven much on the East Coast. I related the above story. He suggested that perhaps he should drive as much as possible. :)
I should note, of course, that we won't be in the city itself much. Well, rather, I won't be. I'm hoping to get to see a few things from the air, as we land... :)