7/7 Washington, DC 3348 Miles

I am a big fan of Dean and Deluca. They do many things right: chocolate-covered ginger, cheese, novelty marshmallows. On the other hand, the things they do wrong they do appallingly wrong, namely their coffee. The iced lattes are bitter, covered in sweet, and insipid without any body. This is how I started my morning.
It had been decided that we would cancel the New York City portion of the trip and stay in DC for the week. We had a number of reasons for this change and a lot of it had to do with the fact that I just loved DC so very much. To make up for the canceling of 3 days in NYC, we decided to spend a day there.
There are many things between our great nation’s capitol and New York City, the slenderest of which is Delaware. The 12 miles of Delaware also cost about $14, 567 to traverse. They justify this highway ass-rape by touting their lack of sales tax. So, essentially, I paid the sales tax for 63 people to shop in Delaware for 9 months. I did not actually shop in Delaware, as I only spent 12 miles in the state. I expect gifts from each of the 63 people whose lives I have made happier. I did purchase a “hamburger” from the Roy Rogers, located in a specially-ordained tollway rest area. This vile “meat” concoction threatened sudden liver failure and terminal blindness if I finished it. I took its threats as a challenge and now I write these updates with the assistance of my specially-trained helper hippo.
On the other hand, the New Jersey Turnpike was quick and easy and the ticket told me exactly how much I would be paying at the end of my trip. No surprises here. There were signs telling me that when the lights were flashing there would be an important announcement on the turnpike radio station. The lights flashed and I tuned in only to hear announcements about transmission locations and gratitude for using the New Jersey Turnpike. For this I turned off my music. Many threats were made regarding my fist and the New Jersey Turnpike Informational Radio Station, but no one who heard me cared.
I zipped us happily and painlessly across Staten Island and into Brooklyn, where I handed the keys to Jen so I could take over photography duty. On the other side of the Battery Tunnel, we found ourselves in the middle of WTC land. It was certainly unexpected and very eerie. Where once there were giant buildings there is now a hole. One great big hole. Surrounding this hole are the attempts of people to memorialize not just the event but the individuals they lost there. We did not stop, but I did look at the faces of people there. There was never an expression of wonderment or awe, but always one of respect mixed with grief, fear and confusion.
After this, we inspected the various neighborhoods, taking pictures of everything that looked even mildly interesting. We also played another round of “What is that smell?” This time it was the special “Bodily Fluids and Secretions Edition” (as opposed to the “What Did You Leave In The Humidity Edition”). Even with our Minnesota plates (or perhaps because of them), we only got honked at twice. And really, I am surprised. I watched how you New Yorkers drive and I have two bits of advice that you should follow before you decide to honk at me again:
* Learn to use your turn signals! It’s that lever on the left side of the steering wheel, it sends a signal to the other motorists indicating the direction you wish to maneuver your car.
* Even if you don’t like the way the traffic is flowing, you still have no excuse for making a u-turn in the middle of a block into oncoming traffic, ESPECIALLY if your automobile is so unwieldy that you can not gracefully make the turn in one movement, but must stop and reverse and straighten out your car. I would not mention this if I had only seen it once, as there is always one bad asshole in every barrel, but I saw this 4 times. 3 of which were with minivans.
We had to turn around a lot and backtrack a few times, but all in all we had a good map and we saw everything we came to see without getting out of the car once.
Back on the turnpike and this time the radio station redeemed itself by telling me that there was an enormous backup at the Delaware border and I would benefit from taking an alternate route. The kindly man even went on to detail my route options. I imagine the backup was caused by motorists, irate at having to give Delaware so much for so little, rioting and looting in that obnoxious punk state. Good for them.
Too tired for any other option, we ordered room service and and rented a movie and retired for the evening.