Travel... aka ROAD TRIP!

I need to check my schedule for the weekend, but it looks ugly. I know we’re already double booked for Saturday afternoon.

Keep in mind that you’re covering a pretty big area with traffic and such. My rule of thumb is you can do one museum of the Smithsonian in about half a day. Less if it’s really a close topic, like if you’re an airplane nut and get caught up in the A&S. (Don’t forget the A&S has a Dulles annex which is very impressive, but despite what you may have learned from Transformers movies, is not minutes from Washington DC.)

I usually offer Air & Space, American History, and Natural History as my tops unless someone has a specific interest. The American Indian museum also had a good restaurant, which is hard to find. (A&S tends to be historically terrible to eat at.)

It snows more often than once every 15 years and you get >2 freezes a year, so it’s absolutely cold compared to Houston (where the last two snowfalls w/any accumulation occurred in 2004 and 19-goddamn-89).

The last time we had the temperature dip into the mid-20s, it was basically THE APOCALYPSE:

Anything below 30F is “A HARD FREEZE” and the local news stations all bring out their END OF ALL THINGS graphics showing buildings collapsing and glaciers eating the city. A small patch of ice on a single bridge leads to people demanding the National Guard be mobilized to help with disaster recovery efforts.

Houston people do not do cold.

(For all you northerners giggling, just know that the giggling is just as loud down here when you have a “heat wave” during your “summers.” 95F is not the end of the world—it’s every day ending in ‘Y’ down here from June through October.)


Truth! May was mild this year; seemed like we had very few days over 90F.

And then in the Midwest we get all of it. Not as bad at the extremes, we only get around 15 days in the 90’s, but the humidity and dew point are bad, and we go under freezing for weeks at a time, but don’t get 5 feet of snow.

I was here for the record -22, and the record 104. I didn’t like either. Though I’ve been in a cool 107 in Arizona, and a warm 10 degrees in Michigan.

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I’m with ya. I was born up there, so I’m familiar. Air & Space has always been one of my favorites, but I’m planning to give the wife the opportunity to choose what to see, and hoping she doesn’t get overwhelmed by the options. The Smithsonian has added at least 2 museums since the last time I was there. I do recall the food selection being less than stellar at A&S. (ba dum, tsss) There are still a lot of options outside the Smithsonian, too - Annapolis, Baltimore’s inner harbor, Fort McHenry, and as I recall, Monticello and Mount Vernon aren’t too far away*.

*Just looked it up - Mt. Vernon is right there, Monticello is a ways farther, but could easily visit on the first leg of the return trip.

I went to the air and space museum but there was nothing there. /rimshot

Unfortunately, Gratch and I are swamped with prior commitments which sucks because both of us could use a good adventure.

I may be going to Gatlinburg at the end of September and wondered if anyone has any cool places to see or eat or stay. It’s just me as it’s for a work conference but I have no problem doing things alone. :grin:

I’ve felt -26 and +108 in East-central Wisconsin. I’ve got you beat by 4 degrees on both ends. :slight_smile:

I think the hottest I’ve actually been out in is like 112? Maybe, it was a long time ago in New Mexico near White Sands. It wasn’t really bad, nice breeze, low humidity, and I had plenty of water.

Back on topic, the museum at Dulles is pretty darn cool. The A&S museum shows it’s age in a lot of places. If you can take the time to do it right the Holocaust Museum is something else. There is nothing wrong with spending a whole day, or more, just hitting the big monuments along the mall. The FDR one is nice, the MLK one is sterile if you ask me. And if you can go see the wall at night or dusk, as well as the Korean monument. And the WWII one is nice, but it doesn’t really seem to fit. I think I’d like it more if it was somewhere else.

Dulles lets you experience the size of a lot of the exhibits… Both standing under a space shuttle and seeing how fragile and tiny some of the early stunt planes were. It’s basically planes in a hanger, but artfully so. However, a big bonus is there’s a viewing area to the restoration rooms, where you can see whatever projects they’re working on being taken apart and reassembled.

The A&S in DC is still a favorite. It has aged a bit, but I love some of the exhibits, albeit cheesy, like the walk-throughs of WWII stuff.

The Postal Museum hosts traveling exhibits, I think. Worth checking to see if anything good is coming through.

We keep saying we should do the Holocaust museum. It’s a just never been enough to get us motivated to travel to DC, especially since my time off’s been precious the last couple years.

If you do, and you aren’t ex military, make sure you get there early and put your name on the list. If you are ex military, you can go on the next “batch” of people. They restrict entrance to basically an elevator full every so often, it’s a huge elevator though, so it’s like 40 people at a time.

Also, in every place in DC, be prepared to restrain yourself from killing some disrespectful bastard. Either a parent allowing a kid to dance on a gravestone at Arlington, which I did say something about, or people wading in the WWII monument, or some teenager being a dick, something will happen that if you let it will ruin your trip.

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I’m a wuss when it comes to cold so my low end is around 20. But I was in Vegas one time when it was 117. Going outside was like walking into a blast furnace.

Like @MSUAlexis: I’m looking for advice is anyone has it for a trip north:

We’re aiming for Glacier National Park, probably routing through Rapid City SD, but looking for “oh, you’ve gotta see…” kind of input or the “nah, don’t bother with” kind, either way.

Anyone been to Banff in Canada?

I have a passport, but unless it’s a must-see, I’d rather avoid the border crossing hassle.

The -26 and +108 are from my hometown. I have felt +116 in Gila Bend, AZ back in the 80s, but it was a dry heat and didn’t feel too bad. The 108 reading back in 1995 also had a dewpoint of 80, which felt far worse with all that humidity. On that same family trip to Arizona decades ago, we were in Vegas when it was +101 at midnight.

I will try not to derail this thread any further, but I can’t make any promises.

Gross. To me that is $Deity’s way of telling me to GTFO,


It’s been a good trip so far! It was pouring when we arrived Friday evening, just in time for rush hour, so that sucked. We completely surprised my aunt, which was great. The truck averaged over 24 mph (according to dash computer) on the way up, which was better than I expected. We ran 80 through most of Virginia (all hills), and spent an hour crawling through DC traffic, so 24 mpg is fantastic. It helped that I got over 27 mpg across the gulf coast - I-10 & I-12 across Texas and Louisiana are pretty flat.
Saturday was beautiful in the morning, but wet and drizzly from lunch on. Did a quick drive through Annapolis before the party.
Spending the day with her niece today (Sunday). Probably hit museums and maybe Mt. Vernon on Mon & Tues.
Debating between visiting Monticello or running part of Blue Ridge Parkway on the way back on Wed. Either will add a chunk of time to our planned drive, because we’re staying in Alabama that night.


The Blue Ridge is worth a detour. Plan a meal along it, plenty of greasy spoons in those small towns.

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So this isn’t quite a road trip, but my husband and I are possibly going to be in San Diego in October. Ideally I’d like to rent a house/condo for the week so we don’t have to eat out for every meal. @Force10, any recommendations on areas to avoid while I am doing my search for lodgings? We are trying to keep this vacation more reasonable cost wise, and I found airfare for super cheap (less than $500 round trip from flyover country at not a major airport), so there is some wiggle room on accommodation pricing. I know next to nothing about the city, so any advice would be appreciated!

You’re better off if you stay north of I-8. There are some good neighborhoods south of there but it’s spotty. Message me if you want more in depth info.

We’re going to New Orleans next month. I think I’m going to break down and install the app for Lyft on my phone just in case we need it. My wife has some ‘concerns’ with Uber (she’s heard some stories about skeevy drivers) but I want a backup in case we’re a couple miles from the hotel and need to hurry, especially if we venture out of the tourist areas.

Anyone got any New Orleans tips? We’re lightweights with drinking, but will probably have a few and try some of the recommended foodstuffs.