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Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Because just about all we did here was go in the spa. First of all, it just poured down rain, cold rain, about the entire time we were here. Second, the government was on its stupid, famous shutdown, and all we could see of the National Sites were from the public roads that run through, which can’t be closed. We recognized the sites of Little Round Top and Pickett’s Charge from having seen them on TV. And we could see lots of artillery and lots of graves. You can’t hide stuff that big. The only other thing was could get into was a private museum, and it had a crappy gift shop attached, where we got a magnet. That’s all we have to show for those three days, except we drove into a private cemetery by accident and there we saw our first real fall foliage.

The first night there we found a great Greek restaurant and ate leftover baklava for three days. The second day was the one we were able to drive around a little. The third we spent alternately getting drenched and drying out as we had to take the dogs out every few hours. We used the spa both days we were there, and luckily only encountered a VERY child-burdened family on our way out as they were coming in. That was one of the best things about this trip: few, if any, children anywhere. They’re in school, or at least supposed to be. We are seriously considering confining all road trips to the fall as a result. The trip as a whole was far less stressful because we were able to almost entirely avoid children. And we drove across the parking lot to TGIF, the closest thing to us, and I was totally soaked by the time I got in, since I nicely dropped Joyce off at the door. The butch always does that, as I explained to the maitre’d.

So since nothing else happened, it’s time to talk about the Garmin. For Christmas, Joyce got me a new road atlas because the old one we used in 2009 had basically fallen apart. Florida and South Dakota, especially, were a problem because we lost them. Now I love atlases and maps, and I have excellent map-reading skills (thanks to my mother, who couldn’t read a map, couldn’t follow directions, and always got us or herself lost) but as the time for this trip approached and we were trying to come up with ways to make traveling by car even possible for Joyce, who has multiple hang-ups about driving, I realized this new map was basically useless because it cut every state into several pieces with no overlap from one page to the next. So I began to campaign for a GPS and because it would spare her any map-reading and sign-finding, Joyce caved and we got it a month early and tried it out. So although I still checked the route against the Interstate page in the atlas, we relied on Sam heavily. That’s as in Samantha, the name of the robotic voice we chose to guide us. We soon learned to ignore her, argue with her and shut her in the glove compartment, but on the whole she did a good job, as later blogs will reveal. But for now, did you know that Gettysburg is way out in the middle of nowhere, as in like 30 miles from any interstate? Well, we didn’t know it, but Sam did, and she got us there without a hitch.

Note: this is the last of my pre-written blogs that I did on the road. Now it's off to the notebook to reconstruct the rest of the trip, so they will take a bit longer to do. Bear with me. I am already writing the next one.

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