So, before I begin the tale of our road trip, let me begin by telling you a story about once upon a time when I visited a tarot card reader in Glastonbury. This tarot card reader told me a great many things, some of which strangely have come true and one of those true things was about cars and how they would always be a problem in my life. An odd observation to make, you might think, but one that has been held in my sub-conscious since that reading.
I’ve had cars towed, clamped, broken in to, stolen, reversed into (twice), and they’ve cost me money and time. My current vehicle, Lady Miss Tilly, has already had two outings in this blog.
Last week my husband reversed into my parked car on the drive. This large, and expensive, dent was fixed in time for our road trip (though not so sure his pride was).
And so off we set to Virginia for a bit of civil war history and to see another couple of cities, a bit farther south from our present location.
The conversation between me and my other half went a little like this:
Me: Now, don’t speed, this should be a leisurely road trip.
Him: I’m not speeding. (He is in the outside lane). It’s not like the UK, and I’m only going as fast as the other cars.
Me: (a few minutes later) I think you’re speeding.
Him: It’s fine, I’m not.
Me: There’s a state trooper there….
Him: Oh crap…
Me: (smugly) He’s going to pull you over….
Lights flash….we pull over.
Harry is getting very excited in the back. Is that the police? Yes. Is this exciting to get pulled over by the police? Sort of….
Trooper: Sir, did you know you were doing 80 in a 55?
Him: Um, yes, sorry, I did, I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to etc.
Trooper: Please take your time sir and go more slowly.
Him: Yes, yes, I will.
Window goes up.
Me: Will you speed now?
Him: No. You enjoyed that, didn’t you?
Me: Yes, very much.
So, off we go towards Virginia, at 55 miles per hour
On the highway
The only problem with heading off on the highway is that you don’t really get to see America properly, much like if you were hitting the M5/M4 in the UK. It’s just a road. Next time I want to take the side roads and see a bit more. It may take more time, but hey, at least we’ll be going at a slower speed.
Pulling over to get some gas, I was a little astounded by this place….
BJ Morecocks? That’s the name of realtors? Really? Oh my!
As we pulled off the highway I was also quivering with excitement at seeing men in yellow vests picking up litter. Bad people doing community service! How excellent! That’s one to tick off the list.
The first place we stop off at is www.whiteoakmuseum.com and this place is small, in the sticks, and run by men in dungarees. This makes it very authentic, along with their southern accents and political views.
I look a little uncomfortable here and that is because I am not entirely comfortable with some of the political views that still exist in this area. However, the gentlemen were very accommodating and showed us round the museum. My knowledge of the civil war is now increased sufficiently. I had watched Django the night before, so my mind was full of blood, violence and the abominations of slavery; this museum brought this all a little more to life, as well as showing me some of the hardships of the soldiers. It was not a pleasant war in any way, shape or form, but now up there as my second favourite war (after the Vietman War).
Harry was given an outfit to dress up in. It was a Confederate outfit, and inside I’m crying “He’d be a Union boy!”, but there is a place and time to voice your political views and this was not one of them.
Thankfully, the place was not full-on Deliverance and with no banjos in sight, we made our exit and hit the road to Fredericksburg.
A pretty little place is Fredericksburg, with history seeping out of every block. Ravaged in the time of the civil war, it is now a chilled, happy area with some friendly types and the best ever name for a tattoo parlour.
It was the Sunday morning brunch that made my day. We feasted at Foode, a super trendy eatery with a community table to allow people to talk and mingle. Thus seated at the community table we conversed with a couple of lovely ladies, whose politics and philanthropy proved that times are-a-changing after all. Angela and Teri were the epitome of awesome feminists giving back. They spent their time and money raising funds to help women in the community and one had adopted black child, which, being white, had caused some controversy locally. They were liberal, free thinkers who asked us our view on gun ownership, and concurred that they were currently a real issue for society and Obama. A delightfully refreshing conversation over a three-egg omelette and waffles.
Heading on to Richmond, we did the tourist trail with the Capitol Building and the Downtown area, but let me tell you that the highlight was my other half’s and Harry’s first time ice skating (tres amusante!) and toasting marshmallows with the police. Brillopads!
You can’t beat that for a slice of American pie!
I am trying, very hard, to understand American football. The big team near home is the Baltimore Ravens and the support locally is huge. During our road trip there was a VERY IMPORTANT game played between the Ravens and the New England Patriots that we had to watch (apparently). I am none the wiser on the rules, I get very distracted by the constant commercials (they have to stop the game for the commercials to play, so I am told) and I don’t like it very much, but regardless of this, the Ravens won, so hurrah for them!
Fire hydrant, 15 feet and a fr*gging fine!
This road trip story concludes with another nod to the clever old tarot card reader. As we enjoyed a bit of Southern Charm in Downtown Richmond, mulling over our road trip and the amusing things we had encountered, we were unaware that we had committed a parking offense.
We had smugly parked in a lovely large space right outside our restaurant, but when we exited I saw we had a ticket. Pourquoi? I asked. We ripped it open to find that we had parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, a parking violation that we were totally unaware of.
Where were the signs telling us? Where were the markings? None existed and we were pretty darn annoyed, as you can imagine. But, another lesson learned in America. Sigh.
Finally, Obama’s inauguration. We didn’t go, even though it would haven been a historical milestone to do so. But, on reflection, after watching it, what really struck me was Obama’s rhetoric and how much I liked it.
The Guardian in the UK picked up this too, and sums it up superbly: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/21/barack-obama-speech-greatest-hits-rhetoric
And didn’t Michelle look lovely?!
Over and out, chums.