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Watch as the highway narrows…

August 24, 2008, 10:39 PM

So I made the trip to the beach today, and I am now writing from the Travelodge Suites on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

And the best way to describe the trip down is watching the highway as it gets narrower and narrow. I started in Silver Spring, where I caught the beltway – each side four lanes wide. Then after I cleared the DC area, I-95 dropped a lane and was down to three lanes. This was the configuration all the way to Richmond and onto I-64. Then once I cleared Richmond, I-64 dropped down to two lanes, and stayed this way into Newport News, when it fluctuated between two and three lanes as we went through Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk, and finally three lanes to the oceanfront.

On the way in, I swung by the site of the former Coliseum Mall in Hampton, which I visited back in 2005. Recall that they had Edwards horn/strobes, and that I visited in 2005 to positively identify the mystery mall that I had briefly visited back in 2003. Now, though, Coliseum Mall is very different. The mall was demolished in early 2007, and construction of a new open-air “town center” style shopping center called Peninsula Town Center is well underway. Currently, the only stores open are JCPenney in a new building, and Macy’s in its original building. I never thought I’d see an anchor store with one of those “STILL OPEN” signs on the side in person like I’ve seen in various retail blogs, but there it was. These signs are generally used to indicate that the anchor store is still open despite that the rest of the mall is being torn down. In this case, the regular Macy’s logo is on the side, and a sign saying “IS OPEN” was right beneath it. This was the case on all of the Macy’s building’s logos. The new town center is certainly cute-looking, but the 1970s-era Macy’s building will look really strange next to the rest of the buildings. Of course, they may renovate the exterior of Macy’s and make it match, but we’ll see.

Then after I arrived and unloaded my junk, I went to get supplies. I went to Wal-Mart, mainly because I knew where it was. They were remodeling, and I must say that someone in Bentonville must have been drunk when they selected the color scheme for this store. The original wall colors were white. The new wall colors are gray on the general merchandise side, and this garish yellow on the grocery side. Take a look…

This is the gray color on the general merchandise side. Funny how history repeats itself, as Wal-Mart was painting itself gray on the inside throughout most of the 1990s, and it seemed to have nearly finished ridding itself of that awful color scheme. And now it brings the same color back.
This is the gray color on the general merchandise side. Funny how history repeats itself, as Wal-Mart was painting itself gray on the inside throughout most of the 1990s, and it seemed to have nearly finished ridding itself of that awful color scheme. And now it brings the same color back.

And this is the awful yellow color that they're using on the grocery side. I think I threw up that color once as a child. What an awful choice of colors. Why Wal-Mart is choosing different colors for the different sides of the store is beyond me, since it makes it look like the place has an identity crisis.
And this is the awful yellow color that they’re using on the grocery side. I think I threw up that color once as a child. What an awful choice of colors. Why Wal-Mart is choosing different colors for the different sides of the store is beyond me, since it makes it look like the place has an identity crisis.

And then this photo is just funny:

I find it amusing because this big section of the store is so empty. Don't see that very often...

I find it amusing because this big section of the store is so empty. Don’t see that very often…

Then the hotel is good. The Internet situation is somewhat peculiar, though. Wireless is only available in the lobby, and then you have to have an “Internet box” to get online elsewhere in the hotel. It looks like this:

You plug the power cord into the wall, and plug one end of the network cable into the box, and the other into the computer. It supposedly boosts the signal so you can get online. Seems to work, because here I am.

You plug the power cord into the wall, and plug one end of the network cable into the box, and the other into the computer. It supposedly boosts the signal so you can get online. Seems to work, because here I am.

However, the hotel amused me. The agreement you sign was so fraught with typos that it was comical. Let me share it with you, with all of the original typos intact:

Its the policy of TRAVELODGE SUITES to rent to people who are intrested in a relaxing place t stay. We do not tolerate partying or activities wich distrub other guests. If partying is your intensin, we suggets you to find another place to stay. No visitors allowed   If you have visitors we will not forewarn before eviciton, and you will recive no refund. If there is a underage drinking involved, we will prosecute whoever rented the room. I have read and understand there policy.

One has to wonder how that got past the drawing board. Looks really professional, there. Makes the hotel look like a real five-star operation. I read it to Mom over the phone, and she wondered if it would even be enforceable with all the typos. Who knows. Might be worth looking into.

And then the microwave also amused me. It’s a GE turntable microwave:

Except for the color, it’s just like Lacey, which is Jory Caron’s current microwave on the Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This? Internet show. I immediately started thinking about what I could microwave in there. I was talking to one of my neighbors yesterday, and she confirmed that microwaving a lemon was indeed a good idea, as she described it as the best juicing method that there is for lemons.

So there’s the first day for you. Let’s see what I can get into next!

Web site: Amazing to find out that the Tropicana in Virginia Beach - up the street from where I'm staying - is the dirtiest hotel in the country according to this report.

Song: The theme to The Randi Rhodes Show, as I listened to two shows on the way down.

Quote: Welcome to the beach! Wheeee!