So, having some sick time at work and being able to creatively use it during slow times, I decided to have a small road trip from Tuesday to Thursday. A week ahead of time apparently was not enough planning, especially close to the holidays.. but things worked out sufficiently on improv.
Tuesday was a 9:20 departure, and hasty errands: Clyde's Cider mill for last-minute gifts, post office to mail different gifts, Wal-Mart for road supplies and one gift. True road motion began at 10:08, and carried on until 5:20, when I pulled into Frederick, Maryland. The usual stops for a hard-haul-south trip were made (I-95 exit 40 for Wendy's, Molly Pitcher rest station on the Turnpike, one other Turnpike stop as refills on the lunch soda passed through.) Car trips do pass faster now that I have a cell phone, and can spend time talking, or sending text messages verrrrrry slowly. I average about 3 wpm while driving and no-look typing, and am fairly accurate if lax about capitalization and punctuation.
I picked up Slickpuppy there, and hauled him to Bethesda to the Dave and Buster's, where we rendevoused with murakozi, Valent. An excellent dinner was had by all, as well as some good races at Derby Owner's Club. Added a fourth horse to my stash.. Valent added something like his 34th and 35th.. Slick got his first. Discussion on movies seemed to be the predominant theme of the night. I dropped Slick back off in Bethesda, giving him his presents of a gallon of cider and an answering machine, then headed down to Valent's place and crashed for the night.
Wednesday morning Valent headed into work briefly, and let me play some WoW on his machine while he did so. I got Brazos, a Tauren Shaman, up to level 4.. I'd be buying that game, if I weren't already into City of Heroes, and not wanting to spend money on both.. After that, we headed for some lunch at a Mongolian Barbecue place.. and after the firetrucks from that plaza left, had a good lunch indeed. (Trouble with a Quizno's and the roof units going to flame. Mmm mmm Toasty.) Some shopping after that, then back to Val's apartment to watch Brother Bear. And the deleted scenes. And the Rutt and Tuke commentary as well..
Wednesday evening rolled up back to Frederick to hang out with Slick for the night, and watched the first two episodes of Lost on ABC, then Big Trouble In Little China while chatting with Slick and munching pizza. Papa John's didn't include the little garlic dippy sauce. Humph.
Slept well, though with an early wakeup, and headed Phillywards, plinging text messages most of the way to warphammer. Stopped at the Philly Zoo, partially because it's the the default furry activity in a strange city, and partially because I could find it on a map. (Next time there will be more mapquesting, and the definite incorporation of chariclo's suggestions. The zoo was enjoyable- mongoose found, but only one Dwarf mongoose.. a who spent the whole time curled up. The Bald Eagles were pretty, as was an Amur Leopard; Coati were a bit shy but did scurry about a bit, and the Otters were excellent. One lady by the underwater wall was dragging a glove back and forth, and getting an otter to follow it along, cresting and diving and squealing if it didn't keep moving. I eventually too over using my zoo map, just as effectively, and had fun with that a while.
Thursday was also the day of dining at corporate chains: Burger King for breakfast, Sbarro's at a rest stop, Checkers just before the zoo, and Starbucks after the zoo in the King of Prussia mall, where I rendezvoused with bigtig, "susandeer, and khromat. (That's Bennie, Sue, and Lisa.) The Starbucks being the meeting point, but the Apple Store at that mall being two doors down, had me doing a lot of wandering back and forth between the two. With a window on the new-new-iMac I was using carefully set to www.furfolk.com to keep me identifiable.
After all and sundry gathered, and spent some time drooling in the applestore, we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and much conversation. Lisa and I chefgeeked plentifully, I heard Triggur's Percolator Story for the second time on the trip, among other chatter. We also hit the Organized Living store, Lisa and I with much Clean-Sweep-fan giddiness. Photoboxes!
After that, back on the road.. managed to get out of the mall at 10:15, after a re-gift ended up in Sue's hands (Work's present this year, which was a CD walkman. Already have one.) Started on the road, an easy enough drive but a long one.. back home just at 3:30 with minimal stops.
Fun trip. All excellent people, whom I wish lived much, much closer. Next time, more planning must be done.. but for fairly impromptu and last-minute travel, it was most nice.