When people such as me, wander away from the homefront, we can expect some setbacks or problems of some sort but for me things are always extreme...I mean the mountaintop high or the valley depths. They are never just OK. There rarely is boredom in my life...It has been that way for years and years and years.
In my opinion any one of the things that happened to us could have ruined the trip but we are troopers. I think the beginning of obstacles started in North Carolina when we were running behind schedule on meeting up with Fergie Jr. The ride was wonderful but Vet was beginning to hurt a lot as he is scheduled to have surgery soon as soon as he gets off a wait list. He was in a great deal of pain but trying not to complain. We had to stop more than normal due to this disability and pain.
I called Fergie at 6PM at Rocky Mount exit and told him we were running behind but if traffic kept being great we would possibly get into Richmond by 10 or so. As we traveled north the rain clouds gathered and traffic picked up. It was a Friday night, so that was not unusual until we headed right into Richmond.
The rain was pouring, the windshield wipers were at fast pace and it was dark on the interstate except for the millions of taillights glaring into my eyes. I had called Fergie again to get a meetup point but it had turned crazy. There was more traffic than I had seen in Downtown Atlanta. What the heck was happening? I saw many many cones and detours along with flashing lights everywhere and people traveling out of Petersberg , Va. bumper to bumper at approximately 70 MPH, almost like they were rushing around an obstacle course. My nerves were a bit frayed and Jack's were not in the best of shape. Sierra was very quite but she was probably a little un nerved as well.
I kept looking for the exit and called Fergie again and this time I was upset saying, " What is going on here". I mean there is all kinds of construction and traffic and I cannot find where you are." He said, " It normally only takes 5 minutes to get through Richmond at most anytime, I don't know. We will meet up tomorrow". Ok there was some pressure off but I still had to find this area he was speaking of. Finally....the exit !!! Well as I make it off the exit of 95, there was so much construction I was not even sure I was on an exit ramp. Detours.....cones...rain and lots of torn up ramp and police cars everywhere with lights flashing. As I came to the first motel I saw....I was told.. NO VACANCY. Nasscar was in town and there were no rooms at the inn... ANYWHERE ......
Well this wasn't good. We were bone tired. I had to tell the travelers we were stuck in a strange city , with no vacacines due to Nasscar. We kept looking. There were several motels in this area. I found a pretty fair looking motel FROM THE LOBBY, which turned out to be the Cockroach heaven of all motels in the area. Everyone else must have known it and there was only one room left. It was three times the price it should have been. I was worn completely out and if this was the last hope for shelter, we had to take it. Sierra was walking around inside taking pictures of the cracked sink, the mold and no TV. The place smelled of smoke and the couple fighting next door were very loud. I did not want to stay but I was so very tired. We had no wifi..We had no cell service and the phone from the room didn't work. The phone did not work for outgoing calls. I oo to the lobby that is all sparkling and clean and smelling of lemons and make a phone call to tell Fergie the vehicle has stopped and we were out of the traffic and rain. We agree to meet the next morning. I was so tired I even ignored the couple in the next room but Sierra had taken pics of cracked sinks and dusty vents. I had to spray the beds and inspect the sheets which seemed clean but I carry Lysol anyway. I fall out until the phone call from Fergie wakes me up at 9AM. People all over are packing up and leaving...as Nasscar has been rained out. Oh well the rest of the day would make up for shattered nerves.
We pull into DC and for a Saturday, the traffic was still heavy but at least the rain had stopped. We start looking for a Hotel and I was somewhat familiar with the area we stayed in as it is only two miles from downtown DC on New York Avenue but not the very best part of the city. It is on the metro line and pretty easy to navigate from place to place and was a good consideration. A Clarion was across the street from where we stayed but all in all I was happy with the little Budget Motel that was reasonably priced. It was clean. It was internet friendly and a few steps from the Metro transist. The room was spacious and quite. After the last motel it was the Ritz in my opinion.
We get a handicapped accesible room that is on the 1st floor instead of the second. My husband is really in pain and has to lie down and try to get comfortable, He is surely going to be down for awhile but we knew before the trip that he would endure discomfort. i felt really bad for him. We had some water we placed in the cooler in this motel as it did not come equipped with fridge or microwave but we did have the cooler.
I turned the TV on and saw Baltimore was on fire. Wow....we were only twenty miles from Baltimore and as I change the channel I see we are also in the middle of DC's second only to the inaguration, busiest time of the city, The Correspondents dinner.. Well, we could expect traffic.. That was a given. I ordered pizza as I really want to just relax and take a bath and watch that Correspondence Dinner on the tube. I would venture out the next day.
I am not going to mix in the good stuff that was posted in the other diary as it would take away the un nerving stuff of this one. The next morning after grabbing some pastries and milk and coffee from the station right next door, Sierra and I head out to the Metro and decide to go to the Smisthsonian. This is where I nearly had a breakdwown.
Maybe people in large cities are used to what happened to us but trust me I went bonkers over the Metro transit system's subway. OMG......It all was going well as we headed from the bus transist to get our smart passes and board the subway when the unthinkable happened. I had Sierra by the hand and as I stepped into the train, the door gave one chime and doors slammed. She was on the outside and I was on the inside...Terrified and hurt as my arm was caught in the door, she was screaming for me as I yelled to her.. I also yelled at the conductor to open the damn doors. Doors did not budge as I squeezed one leg into the small space...I knew from riding Marta in Atlanta or hoped this was the case as long as the door was somewhat open the train would not move. How long could I hold on to her? How long was this crushing going to be on my right side? Why wouldn't he open the doors? She was hysterical but I could not see her.. It was blackened on my side and she could see me on her side.
Some passenger said, " Get her at the next stop". I said and barely remember, " Hell No.. I won't leave her." It was at this point two very large African American males jumped up and it all seemed like a blur and started helping me. God Love them. They were pushing the doors..One on each side were forcing the doors open. I felt the doors suddenly open as we three jerked her inside the subway car. She said I kept thanking them but I was in shock and terrified as we fell forward as the train took off. I do remember their size being large and if I knew who these heros were, I would hug them till they popped.
I stepped off the subway as I made my way upstairs, I wanted to report that conductor but decided to do it formally because complaining to the guy in the booth would do no good and that I will do yet. I found out later talking to people in the city that this happened regularly and a 5 year old child had been separated due to the Metro's lack of common sense within the last week or so. I was also told by two Amtrak workers there were many lawsuits against The Metro. We both regained our senses and went to check out the Science and Space Museum and the Memorials on the mall. I make a quick check to the motel via cell phone and hubby is hurting but telling us to be careful. My whole right shoulder and leg was hurting but I was bound to continue on. We took a cab back. I learned to hail cabs in DC after than incident. I used to hail them in Atlanta but that had been years ago.
My husband takes notes much like Former Senator Graham and I told him that when we met up with him.. In my husband's notes he had mentioned he did not want to tell me about the yellow tape up around the room across the parking lot from us that said, " Police line do not cross". I really did not notice but he had it recorded in his notes to try and be with us more...if possible. The police and ambulance and other emergency vehicles had been at the motel during the second night and obviously there had been a murder, we later found out. The tape was replaced with Big Dumpsters and that I did notice for room cleaning. I never did get the particuliars but it obviously did not affect the folks on our side or the people at the Clarion across the street. It did make us more vigil.
When I took just a few steps outside to the store, my husband got in his wheelchair and watched us and we went and got our supplies. He also insisted we not venture out past dark unless returning from meetings and to be back before dark always if possible. The day he explained some of this to us, is this day he had his cell phone stolen right out from under him at the store in broad daylight..I had gone to the store for a cup of coffee and he followed me to the store.. The kid was locked inside the motel. A guy asked to borrow his cell phone for an emergency call and hubby had his Kindle. He was in the wheelchair at the edge of the motel and edge of the store. The guy puts the phone in his pocket and heads to his car as my husband snapped the tag number with the Kindle.
As I walk out of the store he asks me if I have my cell phone and I said " No". He said, " Call the police, someone with Baltimore tags took my phone". OK... I am not shook as little was shaking me up after the Metro so I walk inside, call 911 and then my provider and shut the phone off and locked down. The police arrive in about ten minutes, make a report and come back to the motel in just a few mintues asking my husband to identify the suspect. They had caught him two miles up the road and surrounded the car. He obviously tossed the phone but did not have time to toss out everything that was in the backseat and they requested a search warrant and cuffed him at the scene and towed the car.
The two police officers who showed up at the motel were professional and pleasant. This was refreshing. There were two Police officers who were helpful and acted professional. Baltimore could take lessons from these police officers.
The guy went to jail. We got a case number but now without hubby's cell phone. This trip was beginning now to add up as we were paying oui of our own pocket to begin with. Between the extra cabs, the first motel trippled priced and now the loss of a phone, yes it is adding up.
The next part of concern came when we were supposed to meet Rep. Nugent to go to the capitol and not only did he make himself scarce but one of his aids tried to send us off on a mile long excursion when we asked for a nearby place to grab lunch while we waited for a joint session of congress ro finish. The capitol tour was postponed for two hours and that was OK.. What was not OK was to tell us to go to Union Station as the closest place to eat when we found out there was a public eatery right there in the Longworth Building, without my husband having to be in pain and be pushed in a wheelchair uphill for some distance... There was an intern working on the Ways and Means committe who shared the news about the Public Cafeteria not more than 100 feet from where we were. That angered me. Nugent was just oh so concerned for veterans and I hope to God he is challenged again because he was in typical teaparty form judging from his avoidance of a meeting he never kept with me.
Now we come to the part of walking through the tunnel and a tea party congressman approaching our daughter. This whole incident was wierd to me. Congressman Mark Meadows from NC singles out our daughter, ignores both her parents, never speaks to them and talks to a 10 year old...Here is the video. It is strange to say the least but to talk to a child and ignore their parents is very very strange... I did a background check on him and he did have three arrests before he became Asheville's rep. I do not know for what. He also approached her again on the outside over an hour later. It was very creepy. To this minute he has yet to answer or speak to her Dad or me even when spoken to by the adults. The video is right here and somewhat concerning. The look of concern shows on my face as I walk back to see what he stopped and said to Sierra. She was talking to her Dad when he approached her. He was telling her to call him. Look him up...etc... Very strange.
The next downer was when we went to the Roosevelt Memorial and my husband's back completely locked up and I had to cut the tour of the Memorial Short when he could no longer stand the pain even in the wheelchair. We were on our way out of DC and back home...a little wiser, a little more broke, and in more pain but definately through the obstacles...achieved. We never meant for the trip to last so long but when one is suffereing, it just seems to take longer as we had to stop quite a bit. I replaced a phone for him which emptied the bank but he has a phone again.
Thanks for listening to the rest of the story. Keep in mind that the pics of the sink and vent were supposed to be a nice motel in Richmond in a good neighborhood. The police and crime scene was a very clean and friendly motel in DC.. Not the same Motel. The top funky pics were made in Richmond at an extremely overpriced Nasscar weekend gauged price... The little motel in DC was fine except for the robbery and murder.
Well, all in all the good definately outweighed the scary stuff and I heard back from the Executive at CSpan today who is looking to have 90 for 90 and Dr. Reid on Washington Journal.