We hadn’t planned on going anywhere until I won the lottery.
Last year, my brother had “won” the right to purchase 4 practice-round tickets to the Masters tournament. (Tournament day tickets are harder to obtain than a night in the Cinderella Castle suite.) He and his wife took my parents down and, being a golfer and lifelong sports fan, I decided I wanted to see this place too. So I got my name on the mailing list, applied for tickets, and I got selected on the very first try. Considering it took my brother 4 years, I think he might have been a little annoyed. But he got tickets this year, too, so that probably eased his mind.
So, I had a chance to see Augusta National Golf Club. This is the golfer’s equivalent of seeing a baseball game at Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. When we looked at the calendar, we saw that my kids had Spring Break that same week. Not only that, but my mother would be celebrating her 60th birthday that week. Take all of these facts and throw in our desire to take our children to see the country, a love of travel, a mild dose of insanity, and strategically located extended family, and bang! You have the perfect ingredients for a road trip.
We left our home in Delaware at 7:00 a.m. (Ok, it was more like 7:02. Geez, you’re picky.) The goal was to grab coffee and donuts (this counts as breakfast in our family) and then hit Washington D.C. at about 9:00, hopefully just after the morning rush hour. D.C. traffic can be an absolute nightmare on the Beltway, so this was crucial. The first leg of our trip was a 4-hour drive to the cleverly titled Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia, followed by a trip down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park before finishing at my aunt’s place near Waynesboro, VA.
Thankfully, the plan went without a hitch. We took the southern leg of the Beltway and hit the Potomac River right around 9:00. The view from the bridge is pretty terrific, as you can see all the way back into the city and spot some famous landmarks, like the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, there was a bridge rail in the way of our pictures.
I got a little worried when we hit Virginia. Apparently, the entire Beltway on the Virginia side of D.C. is under construction. Or at least, that’s what it felt like. This proved to be a good time to break out the Magic Quiet Machine, otherwise known as a portable DVD player. Spongebob to the rescue!
Traffic was slow, but kept moving for the most part. The biggest problem came when we found out at the last minute that the exit for I-66 was a left exit, and I was in the right lane. I applied a couple of secret techniques I learned from driving the Jersey Turnpike, and we didn’t miss our exit. It’s a little surreal to be dodging traffic with the Spongebob Squarepants theme song playing in the background. There were no incidents after that, and we arrived at Luray Caverns around 11:30 a.m.
Coming Up Next: we venture beneath the surface of the earth, only to find a pipe organ and fried eggs.