Day 32 – Pennsylvania, via Maryland, to District of Columbia

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Today was probably our last without a hard schedule. Tomorrow and Friday I’ll be attending the National Technology Leadership Summit as Editor of JTATE and on Saturday morning I’ll be at a SITE executive meeting. In light of that, although I woke at 7:00 am I rolled over and did not hurry out. We still managed to shower, have breakfast (juice, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, and coffee) at the motel with a crowd who were probably in the audience for the musical lat night, and be packed and on the road just after 9:00 am.

Majella had found a flyer for a fabric outlet store in the motel office so that was our first target for the morning. I had seen or heard something yesterday about local examples of another of Majella’s passions, covered bridges, so I had done a bit of Google research and had a map with locations for a few that we might be able to visit on our way south. There was light rain about but nothing that we could not cope with.

I put the address for the fabric outlet into the GPS and Majella headed north along the road where we had finished our excursion yesterday afternoon. We soon got beyond the known area and found the fabric outlet on the north east outskirts of Lancaster. It was not yet 9:30 am and the store did not open until 10:00 am. I invoked ‘Plan B’ which was to drive a little further north and check out our first covered bridge. We drove the short distance further along the road that had brought us to that point, took one turn and another and then we were soon at the bridge. It was a single lane bridge across the Conestoga River which was running strongly with the rain from the past 24 hours. We drove through, found a space to turn around, drove back for photos and then went through again and headed back to the fabric outlet which was about to open as we arrived. Majella bought some fabric and we drove on.

We took a zigzag path south and generally west visiting various covered bridges along the way. A short deviation took us through the village of Paradise, a location that we could not resist. Surprisingly there was no sign on either side welcoming visitors to Paradise but one business on the western side advertised itself as ‘Almost Paradise’.

Once we had seen as many covered bridges as I had been able to locate on a map along the general direction of our travel we headed south and west into Maryland. The GPS had been pointed toward our Washington destination when we left the fabric outlet because I was concerned to ensure that we arrived before the evening peak hour. We continued to ignore its attempts to get us back onto the interstate but I watched its ETA.

Sometime after midday we decided it was time to look for lunch. None of the smaller towns looked especially promising but we eventually spotted a large shopping mall at Hunt Valley. We stopped there, thinking to buy some things for lunch but, given the lack of places to stop along the way, decided to eat at Panera Bread. Majella had broccoli and cheese soup and I had Sonoma Chicken Stew. We also bought a loaf of bread that Majella thought would suffice with the food we were carrying for dinner.

From there we let the GPS direct us. We were already close to an entry to I-83 so we were soon on there and heading for Washington. Traffic into the city was relatively light and we made it to our hotel, Donovan House, without difficulty. I had been lucky to make the booking through the group arranging the meetings I am attending at a good price.

Once we had settled in the room we headed out to see some of the local area. We walked east along M Street, down 11th Street past the Hotel Harrington where we stayed in 1998, and back along Pennsylvania Avenue. We stopped for coffee at Starbucks before walking on to look at the White House and then back to our hotel. Majella was feeling in need of a rest by then as she had been driving all day. Some of the folk from the meetings I am attending were on the lobby so we spoke with them briefly before heading upstairs.

I slipped out later and picked up a bottle of red Zinfandel to help with our simple dinner of fresh bread, ham, cheese, and lettuce. With dinner taken care of we relaxed and waited to the broadcast of the first presidential debate.

Distance covered today was tracked as 236 km. The next couple of days will involve less distance and will see us involved in separate activities after weeks of working in tandem.