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03/12/2007 Entry: "The Weekend Wrap-Up, AKA The Virginia Trip"

Our church has been without a pastor for a little over two years. There's one gentleman that has expressed a serious interest, and it seems like he'd be a good fit. So this weekend, things worked that we (church Trustee and my brother-in-law Dwane) would go to Virginia. At first, we thought we'd drive. Then, on Thursday, Dwane was able to find some round trip tickets that fit the budget. So, it was decided we'd fly.

I left the house at 9:30am on Saturday morning. (Had we been driving, we were going to leave at 4am.) I picked Dwane up at his house, and we started to Boston. Dwane brought his Dad's GPS unit. Dwane didn't have breakfast, so we stopped in McDonalds in Damariscotta. I think from that point on, it was non-stop to Mass. At one point, I needed gas. Dwane plugged "gas stations" into the GPS, and it gave us directions. The first selection, a Cumberland Farms, didn't, in fact, sell gas. So, navigating to the second gas station, we found it had gone out of business. Third time is charm!

Back on the highway, we got to Logan without much difficulty. I still think driving in Boston is a two person activity. One person needs to watch the traffic, and the other needs to navigate. Having the GPS certainly helped, but it's not perfect.

Flying out of Logan was uneventful. WIFI is not free. I opted against the $8.95 or whatever just so I could post something. We had a "connection" in La Guardia. It actually ended up being the same plane. Still, we had to get off the plane and re-board.

We flew into Regan, and all went fine there too. Dwane had secured us a rental car, a full size sedan: Ford Taurus or like. They offered us three different models, and Dwane chose a Hundai. Car secured, and GPS firmly stuck in window, we proceeded to hotel without incident, though there was still plenty of DC traffic, even late on a Saturday evening. We got to the hotel around 8pm, I guess. We called Pastor Dave, and told him we were in town. We decided we'd meet at Chilis, which was right across the way. They already had had supper, but Dwane and I were pretty hungry, having not had lunch. After we got done with about two hours of chatting, we went back to the hotel, and set the clocks ahead. It was then midnight. We went to bed.


I woke up at 7:15, which is late for me. We showered, and ate breakfast at the hotel. We printed our boarding passes at the hotel business traveler's center, and checked out.

Church started at 9:15, and the sermon was on "Jonah's Justice." After church, we had a few hours to kill before we could meet with Pastor Dave again. Dwane decided to look for a mall in the GPS, and found one about 20 minutes away. So we drove to the mall, and got there about 11am. It was actually just before 11, as the stores inside the mall didn't open until 11. Everything was pretty much gated closed. We wandered for a few minutes until 11, and then did a little shopping. Dwane bought a movie, and we also stopped into some NASCAR memorabilia store. I also popped into some girly accessory store, looking for a pin for Julia. No luck. They also had a Guitar Center in the mall, so we spent a bunch of time in the music shop.

We went back to meet with Pastor Dave at 1pm at Popeyes. He was a little late getting there, as he had something more important to attend to. It seems one of the little girls who was in the church service got saved! So of course, we didn't mind waiting for that. She expressed an interest in being baptized, and the church already had someone else scheduled to be baptized, so she's going to be baptized on Palm Sunday. Popeyes was good, and I really liked the red beans and rice. Pastor Dave had a 3pm meeting, so we left about 2:30, and headed back to Reagan.

Again, the GPS served us well, and we had no problem getting back to the airport. Dwane was a little surprised that our $35 rental car cost $75 upon check-in. In why, it was determined there was and extra $30 or so in fuel surcharges. I told Dwane he needed to top off, but he just figured he'd have the rental place do it. Well, they're happy to do it--at over $6/gallon! Yup. Dwane didn't read the fine print in the contract, and they charge that much for gas. Yikes!

Our original flight was supposed to leave at 9:30pm, but Dwane thought perhaps we could get out "stand by" on an earlier flight. Well apparently, something happened earlier in the day with US Airways, and the terminal was packed. One plane bound for Pittsburg, I think, broke down, and they had to cancel the flight. So all of those people were in the Special Services line, trying to get rebooked. Dwane, being the "cute dweeble-goose" he is, spoke to someone at our gate directly, and was able to get us seats on a 5:15 flight. Of course, with all the other stuff going on, the flight left about 6pm, I think. The lady at the gate was like a drill sergeant; she took no guff from anyone. "Get out of the way of the door so passengers can get off the plane! You won't be getting on the plane until the other passengers are off, so let them through! Once they're off, I'm going to put a new flight crew on board, and we're going to clean the plane so you can have a nice flight. I'm going to make sure you're all on it, so just give me a few minutes!" she barked into the microphone. When she announced we'd be boarding, even people over at the next gate clapped. As we went through the line, I told her I appreciated her efficiency. Other passenger quipped "If they had you running this entire airline, we wouldn't have had all the problems we had today!"

We didn't have to stop in New York this time--just straight in to Boston. Not much do report on this flight either, except the young in-love couple in the row in front of me wanted to make out the whole flight, much to the chagrin of the passenger sitting next to them. You could just tell he wanted to yell at them "Get a room!"

The drive home from Boston was also uneventful. Again, the GPS worked well, although it did advise me at one point to make a "left turn," when what it really wanted was a U-turn. Dwane, who could watch the screen (it was Boston, I was busy watching the road!), let me know what the GPS really wanted me to do. And then we were on 95 north, and all was cool. It's been a while since I was in that part of Boston, and I hadn't driven the whole Big Dig area. (On the way in, we came on Rt. 1.) It was basically an entire freeway in a tunnel complex.

We stopped at the rest area around Kennebunk in order to hit Popeyes again. Alas, they close at 8pm. So supper was Burger King. And from there, of course, it was all smooth sailing.

I was home, and in bed, at midnight.

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