The Star Date 3/14/2016
We got to our Washington, D.C. hotel just blocks from the White House minutes before Ron’s 2:00 audit committee meeting started. He handed the valet the keys, went to his meeting, and left me to check in. No big deal, right?
One problem: Hotels around here take security very seriously. And my name is NOT on the reservation.
Oh! And I handed them my Texas License to Carry [a hand gun] instead my drivers license.
“We can’t let you check into your husband’s room without his approval, ma’am. Can you wait until he gets out of his meeting?” they asked politely.
Of course they won’t let me in my husband’s room without his ok. Silly me!
“He won’t be done until 9:00! So I wait seven hours?” I responded.
They decided they would call the person with the AHRI organization who made the reservation to verify that I should be allowed in the hotel. Except she’s in the meetings, too.
Plus, I needed to use the little girls’ room. This is an historic, luxury hotel. They don’t let just anyone use their facilities. After much additional discussion, they decide they would let me use the first floor restroom even if I didn’t check in.
I go to the restroom only to find a woman having a seizure! Right in the middle of the ladies room!
So I run, yes RUN, down a long hallway and back through this very fancy, very huge, historic hotel lobby to get security and help for the lady in the bathroom!
I still need to use the bathroom and would like to get into my room!
After all the excitement, they found someone with the AHRI organization who would vouch for me, and they let me check in.
I got settled in the room, made a few phone calls, and decided my head was feeling well enough to explore the beautiful hotel and work on my photography assignment. Here are a few pictures I took while exploring.
Going back to my room, I wanted to climb up the stairs, but in these pre-Civil War Era hotels the stairwells are often hidden. The bellman looked at me in an odd way when I asked where they were and told him I would like to take the stairs up to the ninth floor, please. Security had to lead me through a labyrinth to the stairs. My second encounter with hotel security.
A bit later the weather cleared, so I went for a two mile walk around the hotel area, past the White House and near the Washington Monument.
I had to use the elevator upon my return because I couldn’t find the stairs and was too embarrassed to ask for security a third time!
My sweet friend Linda met me dinner since Ron had dinner meetings.
What a day!
Star Date 3/15/2016
Weather in the capital city was drizzly and dreary this morning. That did not stop me from me from taking a three and a half mile prayer walk before we hit the road. I walked from the hotel along the mall to Capital and back. I took a few photos on my walk.
I didn’t really have time to go into any museums; I had to be packed and ready to leave at 10:30 in case Ron’s meetings ended early.
This afternoon our route took us within ten miles of school where there’s a big job coming up. Bids were turned in recently and we hope we get the order! We took time to walk around the school and pray for favor with those deciding on the bid. We also prayed for the families whose children attend the school as well as for the community at large.
We took time to walk on the beach for a very few minutes before heading to Pennsylvania.
Side note: Yesterday and today we drove through Delaware. I’ve now visited forty-six states in two years. When I asked Ron last night if we could swing through Rhode Island and Maine on this trip to make it an even forty-eight, his answer was, “I don’t need the car until 10:30 tomorrow morning. If you can be back by then, go for it!” He thinks he is so funny.
Perhaps now would be a good time to tell you our crazy schedule for the week.
Monday morning Ron unloaded the equipment at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. There was School Facilities trade show Monday and Tuesday. A couple of folks from marketing flew in to work the booth for the show.
About 10:00 a.m. Ron picked me up and we left the trailer at the hotel in Egg Harbor and drove about four hours to Washington. Traffic and pulling the trailer can increase travel times.
This morning Ron had meetings in Washington. He wasn’t sure when he would be finished so wanted me ready early. His meeting went late, so we left at noon and drove four hours back to Egg Harbor, picked up the trailer, went to Atlantic City, loaded the equipment, and drove four hours to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Wednesday we have appointments in Harrisburg and few other cities. Then we will drive two hours to Columbia, MD, to be close to our first morning appointment Thursday.
Thursday we have customer appointments in towns all over and around Maryland. We will stay in Gaithersburg after having dinner with friends that night.
Friday morning Ron has a two hour meeting with a large school system in the Baltimore area. He hopes to be back at the hotel to pick me up by ten so that we can hit the road. We are driving to Chattanooga (ten hours) for the weekend to spend time with our oldest daughter and her husband, our youngest daughter, and our grandchildren. We will attend church on Lookout Mountain with them Sunday then head southwest.
We plan to stop to have dinner Sunday evening with friends in Alabama before continuing towards home. We will stop for the night somewhere along the way. We need to be back in Texas Monday night.
If all goes as planned, we will have been gone 18 nights and stayed in 12 different hotels in seven states plus the District of Columbia.
Of course, things rarely go exactly as planned!
Star Date 3/16/16
For this week, today was unusual: Ron had one meeting with a rep firm that lasted all morning. It was just minutes from our hotel, and I got to spend the morning in my room.
Some days Ron’s appointments are not located conveniently for him to come back and get me, so I have leave with him bright and early. Today his schedule made it easy for him to pick me up just after noon. I spent the morning working on my Precept Joshua study, writing postcards to my kids and grandkids, checking social media, and making phone calls.
We traveled a couple of hours to the next appointment. I helped set up then took a walk during his presentation to work on my photography assignment and get some exercise before we loaded up.
After a ninety minute drive to our next hotel, Ron worked on follow up emails and calls, we walked across the parking lot to get some pizza for supper, and got to bed before midnight!
Star Date 3/17/16
Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day!
An early morning demonstration, a quick errand or two, then a pleasant sixty mile drive through stop and go traffic brought us to a great meeting with a large school system where there is plenty of opportunity over the next few years. I helped set up the equipment then walked around the school facilities yard shooting pictures before returning to the car to read The Hiding Place. I also worked on a couple of blog articles I may publish next week.
On the way to the second meeting, we passed a huge landfill. Ron asked, “Want me to drop you off? Maybe they will let you drive the really big bulldozers!”
My husband knows me well. I would have loved to have spent a few hours driving one of those giant trucks pushing trash around! Really! I would! Too bad I’m not licensed to operate heavy machinery.
Ron had a lunch meeting with a rep. We went to a restaurant where I could sit at a table across the room and work on my Joshua study. I really need to get it finished so I can start on James! Plus, I didn’t want to listen to more HVAC talk.
One more very long meeting with a rep firm (during which I sat I the parking lot reading) then off to the hotel in time for me to have barely thirty minutes to shower and change for dinner.
Some dear friends Mark & Debbiewho live in the area took us took a nice French restaurant in Gaithersburg for a wonderful evening out. This is one of my favorite perks of traveling with Ron: getting to see people I love all over the country!
Just a note: You might be tired if…when you get on the elevator and realize that neither of you remembers what floor your room is on.
Twelfth. Tonight it was on the twelfth floor. And I did not take the stairs. I did, however, take them down to breakfast the next morning.
Star Date 3/18/2016
Friday – Our last work day of this trip!
I woke up at seven and Ron was packed and gone. Turns out he had been up at 4:30 a.m. to get everything ready for his day.
He had an early meeting with I-don’t-know-or-care-at-this-point school system. He was supposed to be done by 9:30 but called to say things were going very well and he would be at least another hour. They wanted him to unload all the equipment to show them everything… not what was originally planned.
This is great news for the business, but I didn’t care! I just wanted him to hurry up and finish so we could hit the road! My grand babies were waiting about ten hours down the highway! I was ready to leave Maryland! Not that Maryland is a bad place.
And, I must say, while in Maryland, we did have one big success: we got the Maryland You Are Here mug. (I’m putting my Illinois failure behind me since we will have another chance to get that one in April…and May…and August…and October.) We have two new mugs and good odds for getting Alabama on Sunday!
Ron finally finished doing whatever he was doing and picked me up at the hotel about noon so we could get on to the more important part of this whole trip – going to see my new grandbaby.
I won’t bore you with all the details of driving from Gaithersburg, Maryland, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Pull up Google Maps and plug in the locations. Set it to “satellite view”, and you’ll be get a feel for what we saw. Trees. Lots and lots of trees. A few cities. And trucks. Big trucks moving very fast.
We listened to The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, music including classic Keith Green and The Eagles, and some podcasts. I slept; Ron drove. Ron slept; I drove. We ate. We drove. More trees. More trucks. Ron worked on emails and phone calls. I played Trivia Crack and lost. We both checked social media. We talked. And laughed. A lot. We enjoyed each other.
Just outside of Roanoke we had a bit of an adventure: It was bumper to bumper traffic going 60-70 miles per hour. A row of about eight to ten cars in front of me (yes, I was driving) slammed on their brakes! A couple of cars veered onto the shoulder even! Cars going every which way! I was able to stop without hitting anyone, but then … BANG! The medical transport (ambulance) behind us hit the trailer. Hard.
No one in either vehicle was injured. We were all fine and pulled off the highway safely.
No people were hurt, but the trailer is messed up! The door and floor are bent. The frame is damaged. Without repairs there is no easy way to get the equipment out.
I am grateful that:
- No one was hurt. This is the most important thing!
- The driver was kind and did all the right things to take care of everyone and everything
- Another transport was there quickly to take the client to her destination
- It’s a beautiful day and it happened during daylight
- Their insurance will take care of the repairs
- It happened at the end of this trip when we don’t need to get the equipment out of the trailer again until we get back to the factory
Yes, it’s a problem and will be a bunch of work to get fixed, but even with no injuries, the whole thing could have been much worse! If it had happened yesterday, for example, Ron would have missed opportunities to demonstrate the equipment for important customers.
And as I have said before, life is an adventure!
We got to our hotel late. That’s okay. We are safe.
And we are going to see people we love early tomorrow morning. We plan to bike with the little boys. They think it’s cool that Grandmother and Granddad know how to ride bikes!
I’ll get to hug two of my daughters and my favorite son-in-law. My Facebook friends will get tired of all the pictures I’ll post. Too bad for them. My grandchildren are darling!
We are going to dinner with another While We’re Waiting couple Saturday night. We’ve been friends for years, since long before either of us joined the fraternity of grieving parents. They lost their daughter about eight months after The Accident. It will be great to spread time with them.
So, yes, getting hit by an ambulance was an inconvenience, but not a major catastrophe. And I look forward to a wonderful weekend.
I’m publishing this early because it’s already too long. Trip Log 1.4 will have pictures from out weekend and updates of the final leg home.
Enjoy your weekend!