So two weeks later, I’m back to write up the next part of my story. In my defense, our hotel internet was spotty all week because of the storms and then when we moved into our apartment, it took a little over a week to get internet installed here. But let’s see, where was I?
We left Georgia at about 3 in the afternoon to make what should have been an 8 or 9 hour drive. Everything was going smoothly until we approached Richmond – and then it started pouring, thunder, lightning, big gusting winds, and all that. We slowed down to a crawl and traffic backed up due to downed trees and low visibility. I don’t have any of my own pictures, but the Washington Post has a good gallery.
My brother called to check in and mentioned – this is key for later in the story, so remember this! – that he was on my sister’s cell phone because his was dead, but hers was running low too.
We made it past the traffic and got on the 295 and things cleared up a little. Then Chris made a wrong turn (partly my fault, partly his fault, mostly the GPS’ fault) and we ended up driving through the middle of DC, where traffic signals and street lights were out, streets were closed with confusing detours, and cops were all over the place. Somehow, we got back on track and a little before 3 in the morning, we saw our exit.
Sort of. And by sort of, I mean that our exit was the one that had a complete black out. No lights at all, anywhere. We couldn’t see ANYTHING. And lucky us, our hotel was set off from the street, behind an office complex, so we just had to trust that would GPS tell us when to turn and be right. Eventually, we navigated to the front of the hotel and I ran in to check in. They had made the keys for us earlier when we’d called to request a late check in. Luckily we’d called before the power went down because otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to make us keys until the power came back and we’d have had to sleep in the car. She told me how to get around to our room and then offered me a glow stick to navigate because they were out of flashlights. In the meantime, Bones was outside scaring people by moving silently up to them, then putting her nose against them. She made at least 2 different staff members scream… glow sticks don’t provide much light
Anyway. Chris, Bones, Shecky, and I took our one backpack [best tip I can give for a move: put one to two day's worth of clothes and toiletries in a bag you can grab easily, so you don't have to dig for your suitcase and all that in the back of your packed car] and laptops and navigated through the halls to our room, ready to get out of the nasty humidity and hot rain and into some cool A/C.
Except I’m sure you see where this is going right? The power was out, so there was no A/C. It was at least as humid and hot in our room as it was outside – probably in the upper 90s for both temp and humidity. Gross. At that point, I didn’t care. I was just tired and glad to be out of a car, so I flopped down on the bed and pulled out my phone to tell my dad we’d finally arrived safely.Then it occurred to me that my brother and sister had been ahead of us and I hadn’t heard from them in a while. I knew they hadn’t take the wrong turn we did, so where were they? I tried to call them and it went straight to voicemail. Uh oh.
I wasn’t sure what to do, so I fell asleep.
Eventually, my sister called me. What happened to them? She’d been using her phone for GPS, so when it died, she lost that. They’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and in the process of trying to turn themselves around, had looped around the entire Beltway again and ended up back in Virginia. They didn’t have a map or any way to call me until they stopped at a gas station and picked up a car charger for her phone. When I talked to her, she said they finally had directions and were back on track, so I told them to call me when they got there.
She called me at 5:15 AM. We’d left the day before at 3 in the afternoon. Ugh. She was (understandably) unhappy and when she realized there was no A/C in the room, she was even less happy.
Happily, the A/C (and lights) came back on the next morning at about 9 and the room instantly cooled off. We were super lucky though, because I knew people nearby who were without power for almost a week!
If you made it through this, you deserve a prize. And that prize will come very soon in the form of a post about Bawlmer, Philly, and DC that will be mostly pictures