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An interesting little trip…

June 29, 2006, 5:37 PM

I took a little trip to the DC area via Richmond and I-95 on Wednesday. Fun trip. I went that longer way instead of my usual I-81 to I-66 route because I wanted to visit Fredericksburg and Potomac Mills.

My visit to Fredericksburg was fairly simple. The question before the house was whether it was worth it to make a trip to Fredericksburg, which is somewhat hard to reach for a day trip, to do a photo set. My determination for Fredericksburg was that while it was indeed charming, and definitely a place to visit when I eventually find a job in the DC area and move up that way, I didn’t see anything on this drive through that I would really want to make a special trip for, and that I couldn’t do using a similar feature in another city that is easier to reach.

However, I did see a sign that was, to say the least, surprising.

Gas allegedly for $1.00 per gallon

This is a completely undoctored photo taken with my cell phone in Fredericksburg while I was driving. That sign really said $1.00 per gallon for gas for both regular and mid-grade, while gas was around $2.75 per gallon elsewhere in Fredericksburg. HOWEVER… the fuel pumps had caution tape around them and it looked like the gas station wasn’t in operation. You can also tell that this wasn’t originally a Liberty station just by the sign. It looks like they just slapped Liberty’s logo over the logo for RaceWay or RaceTrac.

Still, that was certainly something to see.

Otherwise, though, I went to Potomac Mills, where I placed an order for some new pants (two sizes smaller!) and also bought a pair of those rubber shoes that everyone has been wearing lately. True, more women wear them than men, but I’ve seen enough guys wear them that I figure I wouldn’t get any looks if I bought a pair. So I now own a pair of Crocs. I just can’t believe I had to buy the name brand. That really cost me. But you can’t accuse me of not trying. I went all over to get a Brand X version of the shoe in my size. I couldn’t find one. Drat.

After Potomac Mills, I took US 1 up into Fairfax County, and successfully located Huntington station, and parked on the south side of the station. Huntington is really easy to get to, as it turns out, though Vienna is even easier.

Metro was not exactly as fun as usual this time, mainly because I had to do a lot of waiting. The evening rush period had just ended when I got in, and so headways were increasing. Add to that the fact that Metro was still a little screwed up from all the flooding. I was waiting on Breda 4006 at Huntington for a good ten minutes before we finally left, due to single-tracking between Huntington and Braddock Road caused by a malfunctioning interlocking. I presume it was one of the two interlockings that comprises the C&J junction south of King Street station. Then I was waiting for more than ten minutes at Gallery Place-Chinatown, and the platform lights were flashing continuously despite no train on the lower level of Metro Center on the Vienna/Franconia-Springfield side.

Now the adventure began after I got back to Huntington. I got back to Huntington, got in the car, and a Transit Police officer waved me down for a moment: “You haven’t seen any young juveniles around here, have you?” I told him I hadn’t, to which he replied that they’d received a call that some kids were vandalizing cars at Huntington.

Getting back on US 1, I prepared to go “inside the beltway” and back into DC, this time with the Sable instead of a Breda. However, I somehow got channeled onto the Beltway. I quickly, however, found an exit back onto US 1, though southbound. I got turned back around, and tried a different method. I ended up on the Beltway once again. Turns out this was the last exit in Virginia, and so I ended up going over the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Prince George’s County, Maryland. I ended up taking exit 3A and stopped at a hotel for directions. I got directions, and went over the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge back into Virginia, and from there managed to catch the exit for northbound US 1, and so all was well.

Let me tell you something… it’s one thing to be in an unfamiliar area. It’s one thing to have road construction. And it’s one thing to do it all at night. To have it all happen at once is a recipe for a headache. And I got one. However, it was all smiles again once I got back on US 1. I rode through Old Town Alexandria, and took a side trip to drive down King Street. Returning to US 1, I rode through Alexandria, and even passed a shopping center (Target is one of the stores) that I’d seen from the back a zillion times on the Metro. Then I rode through Crystal City, past the Pentagon, and then over the 14th Street Bridge. I followed 14th Street all the way through Thomas Circle, and actually all the way up to Euclid Street NW. There, I turned left on Euclid, drove past Malcolm X Park, and then drove back down on 16th Street NW. I drove through the tunnel at Scott Circle – the same tunnel that I marched through during the counter-inaugural protest.

I ended up going west on K Street to get to I-66 to head home. As I’d finally released Night March that morning, I thought about finding all the hotels we visited, but then my more practical side returned, since it was late at night, I was tired, and I was in downtown Washington DC. So I just took the tunnel under Washington Circle and caught I-66.

It was a long ride home. I had to stop and take a nap at one point. Usually if I have to take a nap, I can make it to Woodstock and then catch a couple of winks in the car in the lot there. This time, I had to take that nap at the rest area on westbound I-66 at around milepost 48. I woke up twice during the nap, and each time, looked up and lamented the fact that I was still in northern Virginia, despite its being so late.

But all in all, it was a fun trip.

Web site: Potomac Mills

Song: The song that plays during the ending credits on Tootsie

Quote: Not a bad trip!