I found myself this year needing adventure, needing to put myself in a situation, any situation that would allow my mind to be free. Free of worry, free of headache, free of mundane, and free of my soul that had been so blue for a long time. Granted, I had just had a trip to help me clear my mind, which was amazing and full of adventure BUT I wasn’t done yet.
I always have a craving to travel. I love the way that discovering and being a tourist makes me feel. There are so many things to look at when discovering new places. Structures of walls, how the roads wind with the beautiful landscaping covering the city. Whether it is exotic locations or random cities, I love to discover the wonder of things that are not in my hometown. Mostly, I like to way being in the unknown makes me feel. I like the feeling of my heart being a kid again. Big brown eyes searching for what could be lurking around the next corner. The constant question of “what is that?” or the resounding “THAT’S SO NEAT!” that I exclaim when something catches my eye.
Every year, since Addie and I have gotten closer we have basically taken a road trip. The first year it was to Reading, PA to the Warhouse Gym camp. The second year was to PA also to do a battle frog race and this year we decided we would switch out a race and go to West Virginia to go white water rafting and head over to Washington, D.C. to tourist it up!
Our mission was to leave on Wednesday after we dropped the kids off at their schools and head out, settle in, white water raft on Thursday, and drive to Washington, D.C. to bunk up in an Air BnB and enjoy the city the rest of the weekend. We did just that. I met Addie at a Park and Ride in order not to back track, loaded her things up into the SUV and we were off! Ohio is the worst state to travel through; I am just going to say that right now. The worst. Once we got through Ohio it went pretty smoothly until we approached the mountains and we were almost to our exit and “no service” appeared on our phones. One quick glance at each other, a shoulder shrug and Addie had us back on track. Thank goodness she knows how to navigate…
Arriving at Adventures on the Gorge, we both were amazed at the beauty. Addie was particularly interested in the landscaping and it was truly beautiful. We have a short little drive to the camp site and we popped the tent up, got settled and grabbed some grub. Now, when you order a $10.00 drink somewhere that is alcoholic, expect it to have just that, because it did and Addie was a trooper sticking to her running streak and ran back to our campsite. I can’t say that my sleep was comfortable because I was in a tent and well, hard ground and I are not friends, but I managed. Thursday morning was early gusto for us and we were given breakfast (which was amazing) and coffee. We also realized during breakfast maybe it was a good time to single crochets a clothesline because well, that is how we roll.
Quick change of clothes and we met our crew at 10am to head down to the Gorge. The whole trip down the gorge was a 4 ½ hour trip which included a very tasty riverside lunch, which was very tasty. The first part of the gorge, there was an option to hop out of the raft and swim downstream, so Addie and I did just that….well, Addie did. When I jumped out of the raft, I had gotten a big gust of water down my nose and I couldn’t catch my breathe. I literally thought I could drown (insert dramatic movie music here). I knew that I wasn’t going to, but it felt like it. I was pulled back into the raft and decided for the sake of my truly not wanting to die, I decided to skip the portion of jumping off the very tall rock and attempting again to get back in the boat. Addie could have done it thirty times and she would still be smiling. We both had such an amazing time and it was a wonderful landscape. Such a beautiful section of mountains. Docking back up after our trip, they gave us a crisp adult beverage and fed us dinner. I will say that they by far exceeded any expectations I had of the whole experience. They also helped us sleep like babies, so that was a plus!
Friday morning we loaded up the SUV yet again (in a much less organized fashion) and headed our way to D.C. Now D.C. is only about 5 hours from West Virginia so that was a quick little drive. Once we entered Virginia, we did see a lot of Confederate Flags and Redneck type things (no offense) which were super neat to experience. Addie hooked up this Air BnB and when we pulled in, we knew it would be a good experience because well, they were runners and runners are awesome. They were such good hosts. They had maps and instructions for riding the metro (which, by the way, Addie hated). We basically dumped our bags and head out to get most of the memorials done. Teddy Roosevelt was being saved for Saturday, as he is Addie’s favorite president. Man, was it hot. By hot, we mean HOT. We have never walked so quickly to find bottles of water. I am pretty sure we both were sweating in places we never knew existed.
Saturday consisted of Teddy Roosevelt monument first thing, then the Arlington National Cemetery. I have been to Arlington Twice before and every time, there is something that brings tears to my eyes. Addie and I did not take our cameras in for respect and for the experience of embracing all of its glory. Changing of the guard is a ceremony that should make everyone’s heart beat a little louder and respect grow a little greater. The men that guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and out in the heat, frigid cold for what they love to be called to do, serve. I am so glad I did not take my phone in but I could just soak in all of the experience. Following that we ate breakfast at a cute little diner and decided to ride the metro into town. From there, we went to the National Archive Museum, National Air and Space Museum, The White House, The Capitol, and Addie wanted to get her run in so she ran to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I opted to walk my sore feet to the metro, wait for what seemed like forever and we had perfect timing of the door of the car that I was on stopping right in front of her, and we carried on together to the Air Bnb. Gluten free pizza was a perfect “stay in” dinner option. Another night we slept like babies and Sunday morning we hit the 8 hour drive back to the Park and Ride.
I know for certain that I got cranky because I was hot, my feet hurt and I was hungry BUT this trip was so great. I could little ride in a car with her forever. We always have things to talk about and even just singing in the car, we do it and it feels good!
Thank you Addie for another amazing trip and I can’t wait to do it a trip again next year. Below are some pictures to enjoy.