Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Long Round Trip (3/12-20/2016)

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Unfortunately, we had such good visits with convivial conversations that we forgot about taking photos of our hosts and locales during this trip.
Today was an 9-hour drive of 527 miles to visit Kent's mom's cousin (Kent's first cousin once removed?) Mary J in Mount Juliet, TN. We took the scenic route recommended by Mary's son-in-law, Al W. Beautiful countryside, despite the rain and clouds.
Farm on Route 109
Mary lives in a spacious in-law suite connected to the home of her son-in-law.
They were delightful hosts and Al prepared a middle Tennessee version of barbecue for dinner. Start with a bun and add shredded smoked pork, add your choice of sauce (vinegar-based preferred, or spicy red), add a dollop of coleslaw, and top with a slice or a few of hamburger dill pickles. This was served with potato salad.
Middle Tennessee BBQ sandwich
Mary is a deltiologist (collector of postcards) and has old and new postcards from near and very far. She is also the Number One Fan of this blog!
We don't have a recent photo, but this is Mary on the right,
with her cousin, Bob H, and daughter, Maryann T (c. 1955)

Sunday, March 13, 2016
We had gained one hour due to the Central Time Zone, and then lost it to Daylight Saving Time this morning!
After a comfortable night at Mary and Al's B&B, we headed south.
Fog was lifting from Old Hickory Lake.
The camera corrected for some of the fog!
After 7 hours and 458 miles, we arrived at Azalea Trace in Pensacola, FL to visit Kent's parents.
Although not yet peak season, these azaleas were in bloom
As Future Residents of ACTS, we had complimentary meals and use of a guest room!
We were here to take care of some family tasks and projects.
Hammy & Bert (taken by neighbor Carolyn H)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Heading south again, this time an 8-hour drive of 469 miles, to Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Tampa, FL. We lost an hour as we were now back in the Eastern Time Zone.
Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Here we met Kent's brother, Mike, and his wife, Donna, to celebrate nephew Lance's birthday with his wife, Trista, and kids, Jackson and Delaney. Birthday cake and a rich Smores dessert.
Afterwards we continued to Mike and Donna's place for more family projects.

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Off again, this time heading north, but not yet homeward. We traveled 9.5 hours for 610 miles, ending up in a Fairfield Inn in Fayettesville, NC.

Friday, March 18, 2016
Today we only had a 5.5-hour drive for about 340 miles to Gaithersburg, MD. We were able to check in early at TownePlace Suites, and walked to the nearby Dogfish Head Alehouse for a late lunch.
Since Kent wasn't feeling well, I went into Washington, DC by myself to see the cherry blossoms, which I had read would peak on March 18. It was a nice sunny day, and I knew it would rain tomorrow, so I took advantage of today's weather.
I took the DC Metro to the Smithsonian.
The Renwick Gates (c. 1987, adapted from 1849 design
by the Smithsonian Castle architect James Renwick, Jr)
Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle
(1855, by James Renwick, Jr in Norman style)
Magnolia x soulangeana
The magnolia blossoms were already dropping;
note the blue Chionodoxa luciliae/Glory of the Snow
Moorish-inspired wall fountain (2014)
Statue (1978 by Leonard Baskin) of
Spencer Fullerton Baird,
2nd Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Headed towards the Tidal Basin and the cherry trees.
The new National Museum of African American History and Culture
(2015, to open in September 2016)
Washington Monument (1848-1888)
Cherry trees around the Tidal Basin
One cherry blossom
I was misinformed!
Jefferson Memorial (1939-1943,
designed by John Russell Pope)
Had to skedaddle back to Gaithersburg, MD, as we were picking up grandsons, Dylan and Pete, to go out to dinner at Matchbox. Unfortunately son, Erich, had to work this evening.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
As promised, it rained today, with some snow mixed in! Erich came to join us for breakfast, and we took care of more family tasks and projects. After a tasty lunch at Peter Chang's in Rockville, MD, we went to Dylan's birthday party, held at Shadowland (a laser tag arena) in Gaithersburg, MD. It was located only a stone's throw from Erich's new apartment.
Dylan is suited up for laser tag
The birthday cake for the Nerf-themed party
Can you see that the candles have blue or green flames?
The camouflage cupcake tower
Camo cupcake
Someone got an eye with his slice of cake!
Dylan is about to show the card he picked for a magic trick
(and Spencer, the party staff person, never did guess the correct card!)

Sunday, March 20, 2016
On the road again, heading home for 5.25 hours and 337 miles. We were happy to have seen so many family members, and to accomplish a few projects.

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