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Author Topic: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)  (Read 12108 times)

Zeffy

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Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« on: July 07, 2015, 11:24:41 AM »

For the first time in like 10 years, I get to go somewhere out of this state that's not a school fieldtrip. The location is a weekend in Washington, DC, to explore the Holocaust Museum as well as the Air and Space Museum. It's also a diversion from some drama that has unfolded in my house the last couple of days. And yes, this is real this time, unlike the last time when parental issues basically canned that idea.

We are currently planning to stay either in Silver Spring, Maryland or possibly even Baltimore, Maryland. Being that I'm not driving, I'm not sure if my sister is comfortable driving through DC, so we may opt to take the Metro line in Silver Spring into DC proper. That being said, I'm not a huge public transit fan, so I'd rather just drive into the city itself. But that will have to be decided as the weekend comes.

I suggested staying in Arlington, Virginia, but I'm not sure if driving that side of the Capital Beltway is well, worth the frustration, as I know 495 in that area is absolute hell for the most part.

The current plan is to take I-295 all the way down into Delaware, and hopping on I-95 all the way into Baltimore. From there, depending on where we are staying, I'm thinking US 29 into Silver Spring if we are staying there, and if we end up driving into DC (which I honestly hope we do), taking that into the city. Obviously some of the locals here can recommend alternate routes to avoid the traffic, since the last time I was in DC was in 2012 with my school class.

The current landmarks to visit are:
  • U.S. Holocaust Museum
  • U.S. Air and Space Museum
  • Washington Monument
  • Pool of Reflection
  • Area around the White House
  • Area around Capitol Hill
  • Smithsonian Museum if time permits

We will be leaving on Friday - what time, I'm not exactly sure, probably at night, so traffic I would expect to be light then. The trip back will be on Sunday, probably mid-day, so hopefully traffic isn't bad considering it's Sunday. Any suggestions on routes, notices about construction, things to do/see, are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 11:42:20 AM »

How are you with bicycling?  It's really the easiest way to get around the DC core, and much cheaper/less hassle than parking.

Given your anticipated timeframe of driving, the Beltway shouldn't be too bad, even the northwest corner that you're calling an "absolute hell".

If you'd prefer to drive into the core and not take Metro (which, given that they're shutting down the Red Line between Farragut North and NoMa this weekend for trackwork, isn't a bad idea), I'd suggest leaving VERY early and parking near the 14th St Bridge.  The parking lots here don't have time restrictions...most other NPS parking has a 3 hour limit.  But these lots will fill up quickly on a weekend.  They're a bit away from a lot of the things you want to see, but there's a Capital Bikeshare dock next to the Jefferson Memorial.  When I'd take trips back to DC, I'd usually park there and unload my own bike.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 11:48:06 AM by froggie »
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Zeffy

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 02:50:54 PM »

Well I haven't biked in a long while... and I've barely biked in an urban environment where there's lots of people. I just noticed that the red line is going to be shut for trackwork after 3 PM on Saturday, which conflicts with us getting back to our hotel. I'd MUCH RATHER NOT take a bus. I have an aversion for public transit, being that I like to not be around large groups of people if I don't have to within a confined space.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 03:02:31 PM »

Quote
Well I haven't biked in a long while... and I've barely biked in an urban environment where there's lots of people.

With what you're trying to do, you basically have 4 choices.  And this is just around DC, to say nothing of going to/from your hotel:

1)  Walk.  A lot.  Lots of miles.
2)  Bike.
3)  Take the local bus circulator along the National Mall.
4)  Drive and attempt to find parking in relative vicinity to your destinations.  This will be very difficult/time consuming in some spots, expensive in others, and impossible in some cases.

Quote
I just noticed that the red line is going to be shut for trackwork after 3 PM on Saturday, which conflicts with us getting back to our hotel.

Per WMATA, the Red Line shutdown is actually all day Saturday between the Farragut North and NoMa stations.  If you stay in Arlington, though, the Orange and Silver Lines will have regular service.

Quote
being that I like to not be around large groups of people if I don't have to within a confined space

If this is the case, then perhaps you shouldn't visit DC, because you will definitely run into this at the museums.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 03:08:15 PM »

My personal preference is to find a hotel near one of the Metro rail stations, and take the Metro in (taking into account what Froggie said).  You can do this in either Maryland or Virginia.  Yeah, it's not going to be the best of situations if you don't like being around large groups of people in a confined space, but then again, that's probably what you're going to run into throughout the weekend in DC.  Overall, hotel rates will be cheaper outside the city, but it all depends on your lodging preferences.

Staying in Baltimore is a bit of a hike to get to DC.  And if she's not comfortable driving into DC, then Baltimore isn't going to be much of a treat either.  As long as you approach Baltimore and/or DC after rush hour on Friday, you'll be fine.  If you had to stay within a city, I'd just choose DC as once you get to the hotel, you don't have to move the car again until Sunday.

Sunday will be another story.  95 will be filled with vacationers and other people that have no clue where they're going.  It will be crowded.  As you approach the toll plazas, don't be surprised to encounter congestion - especially the $8 toll in Maryland.  You'll probably spend a considerable amount of time in Delaware approaching DE 1 to the 95/295 split as well.
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Zeffy

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 03:13:05 PM »

If this is the case, then perhaps you shouldn't visit DC, because you will definitely run into this at the museums.

Buildings I can deal with. It's trains and buses that I just despise.

Per WMATA, the Red Line shutdown is actually all day Saturday between the Farragut North and NoMa stations.  If you stay in Arlington, though, the Orange and Silver Lines will have regular service.

We already booked a hotel in Maryland, before I found out about the Red Line closure. The one in Arlington was CHEAPER with higher ratings. No one listens to me, though, so that's the price we pay, I guess.

Sunday will be another story.  95 will be filled with vacationers and other people that have no clue where they're going.  It will be crowded.  As you approach the toll plazas, don't be surprised to encounter congestion - especially the $8 toll in Maryland.  You'll probably spend a considerable amount of time in Delaware approaching DE 1 to the 95/295 split as well.

Maybe it'll be more prudent to take an alternative route then coming back. Any good alternatives to 95/295 to get back into New Jersey?
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 03:21:06 PM »

Per WMATA, the Red Line shutdown is actually all day Saturday between the Farragut North and NoMa stations.  If you stay in Arlington, though, the Orange and Silver Lines will have regular service.

We already booked a hotel in Maryland, before I found out about the Red Line closure. The one in Arlington was CHEAPER with higher ratings. No one listens to me, though, so that's the price we pay, I guess.

What's the cancellation policy?  If it's 72 hours, you have up until this evening to cancel.  (I'm constantly switching hotels, so I never book a non-cancellable rate)

Sunday will be another story.  95 will be filled with vacationers and other people that have no clue where they're going.  It will be crowded.  As you approach the toll plazas, don't be surprised to encounter congestion - especially the $8 toll in Maryland.  You'll probably spend a considerable amount of time in Delaware approaching DE 1 to the 95/295 split as well.

Maybe it'll be more prudent to take an alternative route then coming back. Any good alternatives to 95/295 to get back into New Jersey?
[/quote]

The trouble with Sundays in the summer is that they are big travel days, so you'll probably find heavy traffic no matter where you go.  Any alternative route will take you a bit out of the way.  You could take 40 or 1 but have to deal with the traffic lights.  95 is bearable; just be prepared for some congestion here and there.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 03:24:16 PM »

Quote
Buildings I can deal with. It's trains and buses that I just despise.

If that is your preference.  Just keep in mind that trains and bicycling are the easiest ways to get in and out of the DC core, with walking and bicycling the easiest within the core.  Driving to everything is simply out of the question for reasons previously cited.

Quote
We already booked a hotel in Maryland, before I found out about the Red Line closure. The one in Arlington was CHEAPER with higher ratings. No one listens to me, though, so that's the price we pay, I guess.

Parking at Metro park-and-rides is free on the weekends, so one alternative would be to drive around to one of the Orange Line stations with a P&R (namely Vienna or East Falls Church), and take the Orange Line in.

Quote
Maybe it'll be more prudent to take an alternative route then coming back. Any good alternatives to 95/295 to get back into New Jersey?

None that don't add mileage or traffic signals to your route.  The most feasible, taking 50 east to 301 into Delaware, adds about 20 miles but still involves a toll (at the Bay Bridge) and you'd still be dealing with traffic in Delaware trying to get between 301 and 295.  Alternatively, you could take I-83 north from Baltimore to US 30 to US 222, but that adds almost 50 miles.
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1995hoo

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 09:19:17 PM »

If you're thinking about taking the Metro in from Maryland and you want to go to Air and Space and to the Holocaust Museum, you could try parking at the Greenbelt stop and riding the Green Line. It would avoid the Red Line issue because they do not share track, and the Green Line stops at L'Enfant Plaza, which has an exit a block away from Air and Space, so you wouldn't have to change trains. (Smithsonian is the closest to the Holocaust Museum but is a longer walk from Air and Space. The Holocaust Museum is still an easy enough walk from L'Enfant Plaza, though—you just walk seven blocks down Independence Avenue, cross 14th Street, and go half a block to your left.) Greenbelt has a direct exit from the Beltway IF you're coming from the direction of I-95 and College Park. If you're coming the other way from the BW Parkway, you have to exit and go through a few streets. (Gov. Hogan wants to turn it into a full interchange, but that's some years away.)

The other possibility out of Silver Spring on the Metro is to ride the Red Line to Fort Totten and then change to the Green or Yellow Line downstairs.  This also avoids the Red Line closure. The lower level of Fort Totten is interesting because it's unique in the DC area in that it's the only platform that's both underground and outdoors (it burrows into the side of a hill, but not all of the platform is in that tunnel portion).

In terms of driving, on weekdays the Kennedy Center garage is super-cheap if you're in by 10:00 and out before 7:00—if you meet that schedule, it's only $10 for the day. (My wife works across the street from there and people at her office all park at the Kennedy Center instead of their own building because it's cheaper.) I do not know whether this rate is available on weekends. I kind of suspect it isn't because the idea of having it on weekdays is surely to make money using what would otherwise be an under-utilized space. Since they have matinee performances on weekends, the same rationale doesn't apply. Either way, though, it's easy to get to and from by using either I-66 or the GW Parkway in Virginia. You'd walk four blocks to the nearest Metro stop (Foggy Bottom). There's a good roadgeek opportunity en route—you can get an excellent view of the ancient I-66 sign bridge from Juarez Circle across the street from the Saudi Arabian Embassy.

Another parking location I can recommend is convenient to a lot of decent places to eat—the Techworld garage at 801 I Street NW (sometimes spelled "Eye Street" to make it clear it's the letter "I," not the number "1"). It's under the Renaissance Hotel and you enter from I Street between 8th and 9th. I park there all the time for Capitals games at Verizon Center, which is a three-block walk from there. The Gallery Place Metrorail (Red, Yellow, and Green Lines) is two blocks away and Metro Center (Red, Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines) is about four blocks away. It would probably cost $17 to park there for the day. It's a huge garage and I've never seen it filled up, even during busy times like when the Auto Show is underway at the nearby convention center. There are a load of restaurants nearby because of the sports arena. It's not unreasonable in my mind to walk from that area to Air and Space—it's about the equivalent of 11 blocks. The Holocaust Museum is about 7 blocks further. I don't think 18 blocks is a horrible walk either, although a lot of people around here would surely disagree. I guess I've walked around New York enough that I view walking as part of being in the city.

I could also tell you where there are 12-hour parking meters for 25¢ per half-hour, but I don't recommend tourists park there because you have to walk through a very rough neighborhood to get anywhere. I park there regularly to go to Nationals Park, but I know the area and I know which streets not to consider walking down. Under no circumstances should you consider walking downtown from those meters.

I can offer driving directions to any of these if you want, though I won't be on the forum during the workday tomorrow.

One tip on driving in the District—there are speed cameras. If the cars with local plates abruptly slow, you should too even if you don't see a cop. Maryland also has speed cameras in work zones, but by law they have to give a 12-mph cushion so it's easy to avoid running afoul of them by watching your speed in the work zones.

froggie is absolutely right when he says you cannot plan to drive to all the various locations and expect to park close. Parking is limited and can be pricey, and on-street parking is just too much of a crapshoot and is strictly enforced in terms of time restrictions, meter fees, etc. if you drive to downtown, you're most likely going to have to pay to park in a garage, and then you'll need to do a lot of walking, take the Metro, or pay for taxis.

One thought on the Metrorail: There's a free iPhone app (don't know if it's available for Android) called iTrans DC that will give you all the service alerts. I use it because I can set it for push alerts on my commute. It's saved me a lot of trouble several times when the trains weren't running due to various incidents. Obviously as a tourist you wouldn't boer with the push alerts, but you can still use it to view service advisories.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 06:59:46 AM »

Hoo:  I specifically didn't mention the Green Line (as well as Pentagon City), because the Green, Blue, and Yellow Lines are all at 20 minute headways this weekend due to other trackwork.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 07:20:05 AM »

Hoo:  I specifically didn't mention the Green Line (as well as Pentagon City), because the Green, Blue, and Yellow Lines are all at 20 minute headways this weekend due to other trackwork.


Fair enough, but I figured he at least ought to be aware of the option. If the person doing the driving really doesn't want to drive into the city, trains running 20 minutes apart are better than no trains. (Other than holiday weekends and cherry blossom time, it's hard to think of a weekend when there ISN'T track work.)

Edited to add: The part about his sister being reluctant to drive in the city is also a reason why I mentioned the Kennedy Center, aside from the weekday $10 fee. It's easy to get there from the Roosevelt Bridge and there's a direct ramp back to the bridge when you leave. Weekends aren't subject to the confusing reversible-road system on Rock Creek Parkway.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 07:25:08 AM by 1995hoo »
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 07:51:18 AM »

To take clueless idiots out of the question, you could take US 1 all the way to Baltimore, get on I-695 or MD 295 to MD 100, over to I-97, and take US 50 west into Prince George's County. The real problems here would be downtown Baltimore...

Metro related, you could use a bus from your hotel, transfer if needed, to a stop at Independence Avenue SW and 9th Street SW. Both museums are nearly the same walking distance apart. That stop is on the south end of the National Mall.

If you want to drive in there, from US 50 WB, either take US 50 into the city to US 1, or, you can hook around the Anacostia River. The Anacostia requires taking US 50 WB to DC 295 SB, over the 11th Street Bridge, and you will be at I-395. Take I-395 south towards Exit 1 (US 1), OR, take I-395 south to exit 6 and hook up via C Street SW to 3rd Street SW. 3rd Street heads up the east side of the Mall, but you can take Independence Avenue SW to get to the west side...
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 10:40:57 AM »

Disregard whatever noel said, Zeffy.  He obviously didn't read your stated preferences (avoid buses) or where you're staying (not in PGC), nor does he really know the DC area like Hoo and I do, otherwise he wouldn't make suggestions for movements that in reality lack the ramps to do so (i.e. I-395 South to Exit 1).

Quote from: 1995hoo
Fair enough, but I figured he at least ought to be aware of the option. If the person doing the driving really doesn't want to drive into the city, trains running 20 minutes apart are better than no trains.

I don't disagree, but I'd suggested taking the Beltway around to one of the Orange Line P&R stations specifically because the Orange and Silver Lines don't have trackwork this weekend.  If he's as uncomfortable with taking transit as he mentioned, I'd think shorter headways would be better for the anxiety issue.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2015, 11:31:36 AM »

Well, now he has a good analysis of options and can discuss it with the driver.

Edited to add: I haven't looked up whether there's any work affecting the Silver Line, but it occurs to me that the McLean stop is super-easy to reach from the Beltway and has a big surface parking facility (don't know whether it's free on weekends). Going there avoids I-66 traffic.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 11:58:10 AM by 1995hoo »
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2015, 12:28:57 PM »

Disregard whatever noel said, Zeffy.  He obviously didn't read your stated preferences (avoid buses) or where you're staying (not in PGC), nor does he really know the DC area like Hoo and I do, otherwise he wouldn't make suggestions for movements that in reality lack the ramps to do so (i.e. I-395 South to Exit 1).

Quote from: 1995hoo
Fair enough, but I figured he at least ought to be aware of the option. If the person doing the driving really doesn't want to drive into the city, trains running 20 minutes apart are better than no trains.

I don't disagree, but I'd suggested taking the Beltway around to one of the Orange Line P&R stations specifically because the Orange and Silver Lines don't have trackwork this weekend.  If he's as uncomfortable with taking transit as he mentioned, I'd think shorter headways would be better for the anxiety issue.


Of all transit options, buses are literally at the bottom. Trains are much more preferred than buses, so you can see why I don't want to take the red line. The plan was to catch that line since it was near our hotel, but bleh, it looks like we'll have to transfer lines. I'm okay with walking - I need to do it anyway.  :pan:

Quote
I could also tell you where there are 12-hour parking meters for 25¢ per half-hour, but I don't recommend tourists park there because you have to walk through a very rough neighborhood to get anywhere. I park there regularly to go to Nationals Park, but I know the area and I know which streets not to consider walking down. Under no circumstances should you consider walking downtown from those meters.

I know Southeast DC is the worst place in DC, probably as bad as some of the worst areas in Trenton, but which other areas should we avoid? I believe we'd be out before it got dark out, but I'd definitely like to know which areas to avoid if we do stay a bit past dusk.

To take clueless idiots out of the question, you could take US 1 all the way to Baltimore, get on I-695 or MD 295 to MD 100, over to I-97, and take US 50 west into Prince George's County. The real problems here would be downtown Baltimore...

I'd really rather not ride US 1 through Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The only idiots I'll deal with is on the return trip, and even then I'm from New Jersey, where idiots are plentiful, so it probably isn't anything we're already used to.

So with the red line out of commission, is it a better idea to leave early to park somewhere in Virginia, and take the orange or silver line to our destinations? I'm looking at the maps on the WMATA site, and I'll admit, I'm terrible at reading subway maps. Or would it be more prudent to find another stop in Maryland?
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2015, 01:04:30 PM »

I understand you probably don't want to mention the specific hotel, but would you mind mentioning the town you're going to stay in, so us clueless idiots can figure out a better way to get you into the city?
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2015, 01:40:45 PM »

I understand you probably don't want to mention the specific hotel, but would you mind mentioning the town you're going to stay in, so us clueless idiots can figure out a better way to get you into the city?

Silver Spring, Maryland is where our hotel is booked as of now. It might be slightly out of the Silver Spring limits, but the general area is the same.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2015, 02:18:25 PM »

Silver Spring doesn't have limits (it's not an incorporated place), and the mailing addresses using Silver Spring stretch well north of the Beltway.  Can you at least narrow it down to major roads?

As for areas in DC to avoid, given your main itinerary, there aren't really any places that scream bloody murder.  DC's poor reputation is just as much talk as it is reality (and I'll go so far as to say that Hoo is overestimating the problem a little).  You should be able to range anywhere from Nats Park to Georgetown to Adams Morgan to U Street to Capitol Hill to Navy Yard without a problem.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2015, 02:43:23 PM »

The Prince George's Plaza Metro Station looks like it may be relatively close to you.  It's the Green/Yellow lines so they will have the 20 minute headways, but if you're lucky the trains will run about 10 minutes apart, reducing your wait.

Or really, you're probably not all that far away, and can just drive into DC and find a place to park.  Obviously thousands of tourists do it every weekend anyway, so it's not that huge of a deal.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2015, 02:58:01 PM »

I don't believe I overstated anything. I referred to one particular area in which I park regularly that he should avoid because it's a rough neighborhood, but he wouldn't likely go there anyway unless he wanted to use the 12-hour parking meters (if you want to know, it's the area between Buzzard Point and the ballpark—the Syphax Gardens housing project). I didn't say anything at all about any other areas being dangerous. Of course there are some, but tourists would not be likely to enter those areas, so they didn't bear mention. That was one small paragraph of my much larger post.

Regarding Prince George's Plaza—the Yellow Line doesn't go there on weekends. Trains turn back at Fort Totten. The Yellow normally only goes out the Greenbelt part of the line during rush hours on weekdays.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2015, 06:04:00 PM »

Just seemed like you were painting a bigger paintbrush than was actually the case.  I've biked through that area a number of times on 4th, P St, and Half St and never had a problem, though to be fair it was daylight hours when I'd pass through.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2015, 06:19:29 PM »

Disregard whatever noel said, Zeffy.  He obviously didn't read your stated preferences (avoid buses) or where you're staying (not in PGC), nor does he really know the DC area like Hoo and I do, otherwise he wouldn't make suggestions for movements that in reality lack the ramps to do so (i.e. I-395 South to Exit 1).
I only know parts of NW Washington, a little bit more near the Capitol, and a slight bit of VA and MD. But I have a curse of short term memory, and it has been about two or three months. We actually tried driving there on I-395 once, but then forgot that exit 1 was not SB. Oops.

And yep, I am -this- lazy at wanting to read stuff.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2015, 05:44:59 PM »

Popping in from Silver Spring. Had quite some fun with the metro system actually, definitely not as bad as I first thought it would be. The red line was pretty vacant from Glenmont (the station we parked at) compared to Fort Totten and L'Enfant Plaza on the yellow and green lines.

It was hot, like really hot so the heat took its toll on both of us throughout the day, plus a lot of the attractions were packed, but we still had a decent time. After tonight we are going into Baltimore to visit the inner harbor before going back into Jersey. I'll update when I get back to my computer and not from my iPhone.
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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2015, 09:20:30 PM »

Hate to say this, but today wasn't really all that hot.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Weekend Washington DC Trip (7/10 - 7/12)
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2015, 06:51:34 PM »

Hate to say this, but today wasn't really all that hot.

To each their own, I guess. Humidity and heat just kills me, as I am naturally much warmer than most around me already.



Well, that was a fun trip, and hopefully since I'm working now I can start making more like this one on my own. I'll go through the trip itinerary:

DAY 1
We departed at 6:00 and went to a local McDonalds in Hillsborough for dinner. After spending about 25 minutes poisoning our stomachs, we proceeded down US 206 onto I-95 South. From there, we crossed into Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, I-95 remained relatively free-flow until we entered Philadelphia. Construction on the highway had caused some congestion which delayed us by about 25 minutes. After that, it was smooth flow once again into Delaware.

Once in Delaware, traffic continued to flow nicely, until the I-295 interchange. I've never seen so many cars who literally are fighting to get over at once. It was kind of harrowing honestly, because we almost got taken out by someone who didn't look trying to get into the lanes for I-495. While I wouldn't have paid the obnoxious toll in Newark, my sister didn't care, and maybe didn't want to drive back roads at night, so we continued south past the toll into Maryland.

Once in Maryland, both of us were thirsty and could use a rest room break, so we stopped at the Chesapeake House rest area. I got to say - Maryland has extremely nice facilities for this purpose. The only thing I disliked was the rather expensive prices ($3 for a soda? Really?), but everything else was fine. There wasn't much to say as we continued south out of the rest area until we entered Baltimore County. As we approached the tunnel, they were doing some construction work, so traffic slowly built up, but not enough to cause any major jams. As we continued through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, there was more road work on the other side of the tunnel, which caused a small 10 minute delay to get through traffic. Ultimately though, the roadwork didn't impact us too hard, and Baltimore is really pretty at night, so I didn't mind staring at it while we waded through traffic. We also got to use the new I-95 Express lanes as we waded through Maryland, another pleasant experience.

Continuing through Howard County, we entered Montgomery County via MD 200 / the Intercounty Connector. It was a pleasant experience to drive the new ICC. It is a rather nice roadway, and the toll prices aren't even that bad. Our exit was US 29 / Columbia Pike, so we didn't have to use the ICC for too long. From there, we zipped around back streets until we got to our hotel. Then we chilled in the hotel room, and went to sleep. Except that soda I drank at 9:00 was too much caffeine and I'm pretty sure I didn't fall asleep until like 4:30, and woke up at like 8. Oh well. I wasn't even too tired when I woke up.

DAY 2
After we woke up, we ended up driving to the Glenmont Station to catch the Metro into Washington. We also were hungry, because the hotel charged $12 for breakfast, which we thought would be complimentary. I've only ridden a subway once before, and I don't remember it, so it was kind of interesting to ride it. Ultimately the experience was fine, except for almost missing the train entirely and nearly getting squished by the closing doors. Don't ask. Thanks to the work on the Red Line, however, we ended up transferring at Fort Totten to the Yellow Line. We rode the Yellow Line, which was way more crowded to L'Enfant Plaza. I also learned that standing up on a moving subway train - is NOT easy...

The station at L'Enfant Plaza is rather nicely built, and we took to the street at 7th Avenue / Maryland Avenue and began to walk towards the Holocaust Museum. Thanks to the humidity though, I started sweating a bit too fast for my own liking. There was not much shade walking down 8 or so blocks, so it only got better once we got into the Holocaust Museum. There was a wait though, so we went to the Cafe in the Museum (or rather, next to it) to grab a bite to eat. After that (about 2 hours), we proceeded onto the next destination. I decided it wouldn't be a far walk across the Constitution Garden / National Mall, and it wouldn't either, except for the fucking sun and humidity making it uncomfortable as hell. There was plenty of tree cover though in some areas, though by the Washington Monument, there was very little. Ultimately, we spent about an hour and 15 minutes viewing all of the monuments in the Garden. The next destination was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the walking had killed both of us, so we opted to wait half an hour for the Circulator bus to drop us off where we wanted to be.

After spending about an hour and a half at the museum, we debated going anywhere else, but the walking and heat and taken it's toll on both of us, and combined with my lack of sleep and the fact we didn't know how crowded the Metro was going to be, we decided to head back to Silver Spring and find something for dinner. Most of the restaurants in DC were too pricey for our tastes, plus all we wanted to do was relax. The Yellow Line was PACKED, but once we transferred to the Red Line, there was practically no one on the subway. We ended up pulling back into Glenmont at about 6:30, and from there we went to a TGI Fridays close to us and returned back to the hotel. Then, I ended up taking a shower and watching Storage Wars until I fell asleep at around 12:20.

DAY 3
The final day of the trip, we packed our bags and checked out of our hotel room at about 10:00. The plan was to eat breakfast at an IHOP close by, but the wait time was ridiculous - upwards of 45 minutes. No thanks. From there, we got back onto the ICC to take us back onto I-95 north for our last destination - Baltimore. None of us predicted the traffic from an Orioles game, however, so we had to contend with that once we got into Baltimore City limits. From there, we took I-395 to Pratt Street and found a parking garage in the Inner Harbor area. We walked around for a bit and went to the National Aquarium, and got a bite to eat. The Aquarium actually had decent food, much better than I was expecting. After viewing all the exhibits and whatnot, we left the Aquarium, walked around the Inner Harbor some more, and got back into our car and headed back to I-95 for the trip back to New Jersey.

Heading back up, we encountered some congestion that cleared up after 5 minutes. We stopped at the Maryland House rest area to purchase some soda and use the restroom. Not too far from getting back into the car, however, we ran into some stop-and-go traffic that resulted in about a 25 minute delay. After that though, we were cruising along until we hit the I-295 interchange in Delaware, where I suggested we take that back home. Well, it was a good idea in theory, but...


...we ended up adding another 20 minutes to the trip. Once past the bridge though, we took 295 all the way back to I-95 South, and from there, back to US 206. Then we went home. Yay.

Here's a summary of some new clinched and partially clinched routes:
NJ - I-295 (clinched)
PA - I-95 (clinched)
DE - I-295 (clinched) | I-95 (clinched)
MD - I-395 (clinched) | I-95 | US 29 | MD 97 | MD 150 | MD 182 | MD 650

I'm in the process of sorting out the photos from the trip. A lot of them are crap quality, thanks to being taken from my phone. I'll post that whenever I get that finished.
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Life's too short to play it safe.

Exploring roads in my 2018 Honda Civic Type R. Hopefully those roads are free of potholes :D

 


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