7/5 Washington, DC 2713 Miles

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a seemingly innocuous system of transport, an innocent way to funnel people across the Chesapeake Bay. Or a way to cause pain and fear and terror. Things began to look up when we found ourselves lost in Norfolk, but Jen’s intrepid navigation skills sent us in the right direction. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel is a 3078 mile expanse of precariously built bridges and obviously suspect tunnels. To add insult to terrifying injury, they charge you $10 to enter this dimension of confusion. It took us about 57 hours to cross this thing and when we exited, I discovered I had chewed the lining off the doors in the car. Sorry, Jen.
More time spent in Virginia, buying ham and bacon and boiled peanuts and having a terrible time finding lunch. We searched forever and just could not find anything for lunch that seemed both tasty and unique. Eventually, I turned the wrong way down a one way street, drove over a curb and found myself sobbing and swearing in a KFC parking lot. Jen took over driving again and picked up some chicken for lunch. It wasn’t good, but at 2 in the afternoon after eating nothing all day, second-rate fast food chicken tasted like…well, second rate chicken, but it kept me from eating my own foot.
The chicken in my stomach calmed my nerves so that I was set for the next surprise of the day: yet another trip over the Chesapeake Bay. What few people know about me is that I have a fear of heights and I have a fear of open water, so high bridges over water can reduce me to a shivering mass. I knew there would be some bridges on my trip, but I certainly did not realize to what extent the citizens of the east coast would decide to enbridge the area. And what I don’t understand is why they choose the widest point to build the bridges over and after that build the bridges so high that the car hovers in the mesosphere causing a marked lack of oxygen and eventual motor control loss. Now I was faced with another bridge over more water, and now it was rush hour and the bridge was crowded and the traffic crawled. I think it will take weeks for my ass to unclench. On the other side of the bridge lay Annapolis and the US Naval Academy.
Annapolis was pretty and crowded and like everything else, was oozing with history and sushi restaurants. I got out the map and located the general vicinity of our hotel in DC and tried to find the quickest route there. What I learned was that while the city streets are laid out and easy to drive, the freeways of DC are a confusing mass. There was no way to get from 295 to 395 without pulling my navel inside out. After a few colorful expressions and a couple of u-turns, we found ourselves at the hotel.
Our room was on the 10th floor and as we opened the curtains we were greeted with a fabulous view of the city. Across the freeway was the Pentagon, and, from left to right, the Lincoln Memorial, The White House, The Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. We marveled for about 7 minutes and then got down to the business of showers and laundry and unpacking. Refreshed and relaxed, we headed out to meet my pleasant and witty friend for dinner. Yes, this friend is truly a fine specimen of friendliness even if he does try to convince me that he is an asshole.
The meal was at Papa Razzi’s in Georgetown. The food was tasty, but the service lacked a certain skill in math. I was offered one beer at the beginning of the evening. We sat there for 5 hours that night and talked and laughed and had a good time. He never came back to offer me another beer. In 5 hours I can consume about 5 beers and that comes to about $25 on the bill and at 20% that would get you another $5 on the tip. But what can I say? He saved me from a beer bloat and I saved him from unneccesary tax headaches later this year.