John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

June 11

Brenda arose Monday morning and got all prepped for her workout, only to find the equipment and the room broken and dirty. Needless to say, she was mad, not just disappointed. We packed our gear and drove onto I-81 north, heading for the suburbs of Washington, DC. It was our plan to spend 3 nights in the area prior to heading on to New York. My preliminary on-line search of hotels was fruitless, as we could not get 3 consecutive nights at a reasonable price anywhere...not an auspicious omen.

I-81 took us through the rolling treed farmland of the Shenandoah Valley, a significant Civil War historical region of many strategic battles. This was probably the prettiest interstate we've been on to date and the area warrants further exploration of the many state and national historical sites that we hadn't, unfortunately, allowed for on this trip. As we swung onto Highway 66 for the last 90 km into the Washington area, Big Blue's scheduled service indicator came on; one more challenge to be overcome.

We entered the suburbs of Washington in Virginia and began a search for accommodation in an area we thought would be convenient for access into the capital. We had arrived at this point around 3:00 pm and by 5:00 we had tried 5 different and widely scattered locations and, at best, could book one night anywhere. Finding no room at the inn, we made a desperate stop at an Econo Lodge in Fairfax, which had 3 nights at a reasonable price for the region. It had none of the amenities we wanted (fitness centre, fridge, microwave, iron, ironing board) but it was available, a key attribute by now.

We had a decent meal at a nearby Outback Steakhouse and settled on the idea we would have to have dinners out for a few nights. When we returned to our motel, the parking lot had a full-blown tailgate party of out-of-town construction workers going on next door; shades of the Stagecoach Inn in Carlsbad, New Mexico. They were friendly and relatively quiet and so, after a laughing conversation with them, we retired to a quiet night...that is, until they fired up their pickups the next morning at 5:30 am!

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