From DC into North Carolina
We woke up in Alexandria, just outside of DC, on Monday April 30th, checked out and got into the car. We planned to see a bit more of the Washington DC highlights before leaving town, but first we wanted to see if we could make a car swap somewhere in town.
We drove a few miles to a local Hertz dealer, hoping to find a Cadillac with a Kitty inside. No such luck. But it was a tiny Hertz office, so we didn’t really think we would hit jackpot on our first try. The dealer directed us to Dulles Airport, half an hour out of town - and said they’d probably have a bunch of cars out there. He wasn’t able to call them, though, so we just had to drive out there and see for our selves. But as we got there, they had no available cars either. The guy behind the counter said we could try down in Richmond, Virginia. It was (almost) on our route further south, so we decided to give that a shot as well - after we were done exploring the DC area.
Brad at the Arlington National Cemetery
Our first stop was the Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery was established during the American Civil War, and soldiers from all the wars since the American Revolution are buried here, many of them with their wives and kids buried next to them (making a total of over 300 000). The endless rows of white tombstones are both beautiful - and sad.
Endless rows of white tombstones at Arlington
We also walked up to see the grave of John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Robert F. Kennedy. We wanted to see the Tomb of the Unknowns, but it was closed in preparation for a visit from the Japanese minister of defense later the same day. On the way up there, Selma got something in her eye that hurt like hell, and that actually kept bothering her for a few days (but it’s gone now!). It was really, really hot - up to 90F/30+C, and we both suffered from what must have been some sort of allergic reaction to something.
After Arlington, we decided to go back into DC to get a closer look at the White House. Louis managed to find a parking spot really close, so we had a short walk over to the fence in front of the building. We got the mandatory photographs and headed back to the car.
The White House
Then we drove the two hours down to Richmond, found the airport and the Hertz lot. And for the third time this day we were rejected. A grumpy lady told us they only had compact cars with the Neverlost system, and wouldn’t be able to help us.
So we figured we were stuck with the Volvo for a while, and continued further south. As we entered North Carolina, it was getting somewhat late, and the sun was setting - so when we noticed signs advertising rooms for under $30, we figured we might as well go for it.
Driving into North Carolina as the sun sets
We drove off the interstate and entered Gold Rock, a small spot on the map just north of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The room was crappy, the shower was disgusting and the beds were close to those we slept in in Las Vegas. And the so called High-speed internet was nowhere to be found. We asked specifically about the internet as we checked in, after two nights of not getting online we were eager to update our blog, upload some pictures and get back in touch with the rest of the world. We managed to pick up a small signal for a few minutes, then all connection was lost. Bummer.
Then Selma started transferring pictures to her Mac. With almost ten thousand pictures saved to the hard drive, it’s starting to run out of space. And iPhoto has started to choke on some occasions. So she struggled long into the night, trying to double backup onto Louis’ newly acquired external drive, emptying her iPod to transfer some of the photos on to that (which failed, thus making the deletion of all the music a total waste) and a ton of other tricks which more or less failed. By now, Selma’s eye was starting to get really red and painful, which made her a bit nervous and even less satisfied. So to say she was grumpy would not be to exaggerate one bit!
It was a warm summer night, and really hot in the room. On the news they talked about a possible heat record in the area the following days, and we could already feel the impact. We tried cooling down the room with the (crappy) air condition system, but we were both afraid of getting a bad cold. Our throats and noses were already showing signs of typical air condition colds, and we were reluctant to make it worse. So we janked up the cooler just before going to sleep - and then turned it off.
And just as we were going to sleep, Louis noticed a huge, gross stain on the side of Selma’s mattress. it nearly made her spend the night at the bathroom, but that wasn’t really delicate either - so there was nothing to do but to close our eyes and try to sleep.