The Ring Goes North

Okay, so in our last episode, I went and got married. Now, the honeymoon!

Yeah yeah, don’t go getting your hopes up, this is gonna be G-rated.

The best thing about being on your honeymoon is that all you have to do is mention you’re on your honeymoon and people give you things. We got our wedding night hotel room upgraded to a suite. We got our rental car upgraded to a better model. If I’d been aware of all the perks, I’d have gotten married a long time ago, and several times since then.

While most of our honeymoon was spent in Williamsburg, VA, a good chunk of it was spent in the unofficial 51st state, Interstateville. Interstateville is a bountiful land where fireworks and cigarettes are plentiful, where pancakes and waffles are the staple diet, and where bridges ice before the road. Everyone’s a resident sooner or later, even if they’re just passing through, and the capital is undoubtedly South of the Border, the garish neon slice of political incorrectness near the North Carolina/South Carolina border. I’m convinced there is no possible way to reach South of the Border from a surface road — even if you work there, you probably have to get on the interstate to reach it. You can’t even walk to it. It’s like some sort of tourist trap version of Brigadoon.

Our journey north was marked by cooling temperatures and Waffle Houses slowly turning into Huddle Houses. It was also marked by our inability to tune into any AM station for longer than 10 minutes, except for some mega-powered religious station in the Carolinas that was often the only station we could pick up on the AM band. Clearly, somebody wanted God to be our co-pilot whether we liked it or not.

Williamsburg was a pretty amazing place. For someone who’s idea of a tourist area consists of t-shirt shops and theme restaurants as far as the eye can see, it was a bit of an eye-opener. There are these green things called trees along the side of the road that apparently change color along with the seasons. Even on the way to a big theme park like Busch Gardens, the urban sprawl you’d see near a Florida park was missing.

What struck me most was standing on the spot in Jamestown where the colonists made their first landing over 400 years ago. To imagine having made the months-long ocean voyage, leaving everything and everyone you knew behind, probably forever, was a little humbling. I wondered what it must have been like to see the shore and realize that you lived there now. Especially when there would have been no fireworks or cigarette stores nearby.

Oh, and I nearly ran over more deer in Virginia than deer I’ve seen in my life up to this point. These guys are obviously not up on their Darwin, or else they’d realize that it’s a bad idea to graze near that permanently frozen black river.

We also did a day trip into Washington DC. Our capital must be responsible for more traffic accidents than any other city in the world. One minute you’re driving down a nondescript piece of interstate, the next HOLY CRAP IT’S THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT! Oh, I’m almost in the next lane, let me OH MY GOD THE CAPITAL BUILDING! And then you’ve driven off the overpass and landed in a fiery OH LOOK THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS!! And of course, all the gawking made us miss our exit, adding a maddening half hour search for some way to get to Union Station to our visit.

DC also marked the first time I’d ever been in a subway. Orlando’s idea of mass transit is the monorail at Disney World, and let’s face it, try to dig a subway in Florida and it’s hello water table. But aside from five separate times when I was fairly certain we were in mortal danger of being robbed and killed, we managed to navigate the Metrorail with no problems, and all in all, it’s a pretty nifty way to get around.

We didn’t have a lot of time in DC, but we did see the National Zoo and some of the Smithsonian. The National Zoo is a wonderful place of discovery, the chief discovery being there are no friggin‘ animals in the place. Maybe we caught it at a bad time of day, but National Display of Empty Animal Exhibits might have been a better name. Throw in a performance of Much Ado About Nothing at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and we had a pretty packed one-day whirl through DC. Almost made getting back to the resort at 2:30AM worth it.

Oh, a word about the resort — amazing. A two-room suite with a full kitchen and a washer and dryer. Everything a bride needs to prepare her for married life. (NOTE: delete that part before posting.)

On the way up, we stopped about halfway to spend the night, but for the trip back, we decided to Mad Max it home in one straight shot. 12 straight hours in Interstateville, with stops at some of the finer rest areas it had to offer, and with no better AM reception than the trip up. I did have fun scouring the dial for whatever station was airing Mike and Mike in the Morning though.

In all seriousness, we had a wonderful time. It was great to go someplace together that neither one of us had been to before, and it was a great start to the rest of our lives.

Even if we never did buy any fireworks or cigarettes.

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