Friday, August 13, 2010

Julie & Hannah vs. the USA - Part II

Welcome to Part II!  Today, we'll cover the third and fourth legs of our trip: Washington, DC and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Originally, we were supposed to head to Charleston, West Virginia and Durham, North Carolina, if you remember.  However, things didn't quite come together for those two stops and we know people in both Washington, DC and Chapel Hill, so it worked out a little better.


We got up at 5:00 and made it to the car by 5:56.  Early start.  Julie elected to drive first, and lucky for me!  She was a trooper and drove through Chicago in the pouring rain (the first rain of the trip) and when it was practically dark.  As we were leaving Illinois, we missed the "WELCOME TO INDIANA" sign because of the rain and because it was above the highway on a bridge.  We drove for a while as it continued to pour, but decided to stop for gas in South Bend, Indiana.  If you're familiar with Indiana, you'll know that's where the University of Notre Dame is.  So we drove through campus, but because of the rain and because it was our long day, we didn't get out to walk around.  Gorgeous campus though.

We got some Starbucks and some gas, then headed back out on the road.  It continued to rain, but lightened up a bit.  Neither of us can remember if we switched driving before the state line with Ohio, but at some point, I took the wheel.  Driving through Ohio sucked.  There were state troopers almost every 20 miles it seemed like.  I think I saw more cops in Ohio than the rest of the trip combined.  Also, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio had way too many tolls for our liking.

We made it to Pennsylvania and that's when things really started to slow down.  There were construction zones for miles and their interstate speed limit is only 65.  It was totally cramping out style, but we got into Maryland without stopping once.  Julie made some sandwiches and we just ate while we drove.  Thanks to our pit stop in South Bend, we missed rush hour in Washington, DC and got to our friend Liz's apartment with basically no problem.  We went out that night in DC--to dinner and her friends house.  It was a lot of fun, but once again we got less than 7 hours of sleep.


Liz, Julie, and I walked around her campus--American University, then drove to the memorials/monuments in Washington, DC and parked near Jefferson.  We walked around for a while and saw most of the memorials and monuments.

My favorite picture of the day--American University campus

Thomas Jefferson 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Korean War

Abraham Lincoln

Our beautiful host, Liz!

Washington Monument

Vietnam War

World War II

The first time Garmin got us lost was trying to find the White House.  We drove around downtown DC for a bit trying to find it.  When we actually did find it, Julie just hopped out and snapped a few photos while Liz and I drove around the block.  Both of us have seen it before.

After that, we went back to get our stuff and it the road, a lot later than we thought.  We had to get out of DC to buy gas because it was a lot closer to $5.00 per gallon than you would hope it would be.  Going into Virginia though, it was a parking lot.  The traffic was so bad and it looked like it was for no apparent reason!  But it was a super short day, relative to the one before.  We got into North Carolina before we knew it.  Julie totally fell in love with the interstate there.  It was near empty, cop free, and gorgeous.  What's not to love?

When we got into Chapel Hill, we followed the Garmin's directions to our host's house.  This time, we were staying with my dad's cousin.  Keep in mind, I've never met her before.  So we turn on her street and drive to the house.  We park near the basketball hoop and go to the door.  The man answers the door and we introduce ourselves and go in.  Not quite sure if he invited us in or if we just went in.  We walked around into the kitchen and apologized for interrupting dinner before realizing that it was the wrong house.  I knew--thanks to Facebook--the woman at the table wasn't the right woman.  Julie finally said, "Oh, are we in the wrong house?"  And we figured out that we were two houses away.  The son pointed us in the right direction and the dad said he just thought we were there to hang out with the son.  WHOOPS!  Good thing we could just laugh about it.

We did finally make it to the right house and it was a blast!  We talked with Missy about our side of the family and just had a great time.  Before we knew it, it was time for bed.


We had this whole day to hang out in the Durham and Chapel Hill area in North Carolina.   Naturally, we started at Duke University, a must-see.  The Chapel was as beautiful as everyone said it was.  It kind of reminded me of the Chapel at Princeton.

We walked around campus a little bit and went over to the athletic area.  Of course I had to get a picture in Krzyzewskiville.

Couldn't live Duke without visiting Cameron Indoor Stadium though.  We found a door that was slightly propped open and started to explore.  First we stumbled upon the visitor locker room, then we went into the area and walked around the main hall to see the pictures, trophies, etc. and then went into the Hall of Fame.

Sadly, we didn't see Coach K, but we did unknowingly ask Ryan Kelly some questions about Duke.  He's #34 on the basketball team.

After Duke, we went back to Chapel Hill to see Franklin Street.  There were a few shops we went into to look around and we had lunch at the Carolina Brewery.  It wasn't that special...we tried three different salad dressings and all were overly tangy.  Instead of continuing to walk, we opted to drive around UNC's campus.  Compared to Duke, it wasn't that great.  The buildings weren't all uniform, and I'm not how I feel about that.  There was certainly some nice architecture and I loved the trees and green, green grass though.

We just went back to the house after that to watch Moulin Rouge! since Julie heard a song from the movie on one of the CDs for the road trip and fell in love.  Since it was Missy's birthday that day, we had some North Carolina barbecue for dinner and a little bit of a celebration.

Thanks again, first cousin once removed!  It was so great to meet you guys!  We had a blast!!!

1 comment:

  1. I am lovin the blog, I miss this trip so much! anyways
    1. so I think my chicago driving experience didn't get the credit it deserved.
    2. Moulin Rouge only has ONE good scene and it is the one with THAT song. :)
    3. You didn't include how I dominated the Time of arrival piece of the trip and you lacked it quite a bit. A.K.A I knocked off so many minutes of our driving time! :) Luckily I drove proably 65% of the time. :)