Our first day in Sarasota, we rested pretty much all day. We were so tired. We saw little salamanders around outside.
That morning Jackie's mom made us breakfast and gave us ice for the cooler :) Ants had made a home in the doors of the car and her parents helped us spray it out. It ended up being fine, a couple of times I discovered an ant and threw it out the window. It was so great seeing the Benoits, I used to basically live at their house growing up and I've really missed them since they moved away. Jackie is one of my best friends and it was great hanging out with her again after so long. I don't know, I am really grateful for all they did for us. It was sad to leave for the road.
Posted by Amy at 3:31 PM
That night they made one of my old Jackie's house favorites: nachos! Their nachos are amazing. You don't understand. It is like velvetta cheese and taco beef and I don't know. They grilled some hotdogs and hamburgers too. So good.
Posted by Amy at 2:26 PM
That morning, Sue Ann was preparing the house for an open house that afternoon. Her and her husband were frantically cleaning and we helped a little. We packed and headed off to Walmart.
Posted by Amy at 1:25 PM
My car needed an oil change in 200 miles so we just took it into Jiffy Lube. I had never been there before.. they inspected my car and offered me all these services. I was a sucker and got a bunch. They weren't expensive though. My car battery was all gross with battery acid so I let them clean it for $6, for example. They physically showed me my air filter and it looked like it came with the car 10 years ago, so I let them replace that too. My coolant was low and we are driving to Florida and then all the way west.. so that got filled up. Then they did random services I didn't ask for. They vacuumed the drivers side, evened out the tire pressure, etc. And all of this took 15 minutes.
After running errands we talked to Josh's aunt Sue Ann for a while. She's selling her house and moving to Tennessee. The house is gorgeous. There are several places to hang out on their downstairs deck, upstairs deck, and in the house. It's very throughly decorated with a beach theme.
When we got back, we cleaned the car and did laundry. A couple of Josh's cousins had come down to see him. There was Amy and her two year old son Bryce, David and his wife and baby and friend. Everyone but Amy and Bryce left and the rest of us had dinner. Then we all watched Knowing, which was a really weird movie, and went to sleep.
Posted by Amy at 9:34 AM
Our first stop was the White House. I thought it was really small but then realized there were more wings and such and it isn't just that main building you see in pictures.
From the White House, Josh's geocaching took us to a path with a kind of hidden memorial for the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I thought that was kind of cool, since I am William Ellery's great great great etc. granddaughter.
Further down we stopped and got snacks at this stand and sat and ate. These ducklings hung around close to us most of the time. A sign said something along the lines of, "Please do not feed the wildlife. Artificial food webs are destructive to the environment." But someone was clearly feeding them since they were so people-friendly.
The Vietnam Memorial was nearby. I saw someone siting up on someone else's shoulders to shade the name on a piece of paper. From there we walked to the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War ll Memorial, and the Washington Monument. It was exhausting and a huge walk. My shoes were a little small on me and my feet had gone numb and I was limping. Definitely worth it, but so tiring. Josh was taking pictures constantly.
We ate at the Holocaust Museum and went to a couple of exhibits there. We saw one that was targeted at children. It was about a Jewish boy who had his rights gradually taken away, until he was moved to a ghetto and then a concentration camp. You go room to room reenacting his life and he has diary pages with short blurbs of what is going on. There were videos too. It was depressing.
Downstairs was an exhibit on propaganda that was cool. It showed tactics Hitler used to gain power. And then while he was in power, there were all these anti-semitic products on the shelves. There was a children's board game where the object is to "drive the Jew out of the country". It was sick.
Our plan had included taking the metro across the area to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, but we were so tired from hours of walking like that. It really was a massive area that we covered. Plus it was about 2 pm and it takes about an hour and a half to take the metro and bus back to where we were staying, and a 4 hour drive to Virginia Beach.
We hit D.C. rush hour. By word of mouth and reading a lot, I knew it was bad. I had no idea how bad. We were on I-95 for 2 hours and went 24 miles. We got off the highway to get gas and couldn't get back on! I felt like Pizza Hut and we gps'ed the nearest one. We were stuck in long traffic lights for a long time and finally arrived.... we couldn't find it and then Josh noticed "Mattress Hut". It was clearly an old Pizza Hut building.
So we went to Chilis nearby instead. When we got back on the highway, it was still a nightmare. After it finally cleared, there was a car accident. Then after that, there was road work. We left for Virginia Beach at 3:30, we got there at 11. Josh's aunt Sue Ann was really welcoming. She showed us around her big, cool, beach house and we fell asleep pretty quickly.
We woke up at 4 am this morning for this trip. The drive wasn't bad at all, a little over 4 hours. It took a while to find the ferry in New Jersey that would take us to New York City. When we got there we just followed the Empire State Building.
This bird was perched up on the 86th floor with us! He seemed very people friendly and we figured out why when we saw some tourists feeding bread to other birds up there.