From the Great Smoky Mountains, our first stop was in Williamsburg, VA. My dad's brother and his wife live there and my cousin had come up for the evening from North Carolina to have dinner with us. It was quite nice and relaxing after spending the last few days in theme parks and campgrounds. The next morning we wanted to see historic Williamsburg since Molly had never been there before and so my aunt and uncle offered to take us to breakfast and show us around. It was funny getting their version of the tour versus one provided by the park; it was truthful and honest to say the least. And it was free so that is always a plus :)
We left around noon for Washington DC via Chincoteague Island off the coast of Maryland. I thought I had done my research fairly well but I didn't realize how much of a detour visiting would be and how little there was to do if you weren't going to the beach. We wanted to see the wild ponies as we both had memories of the books about the ponies. But as they are wild it's not guaranteed you'll see them. As we drove towards the visitors center we could see a couple in a distant field. The visitor center had that salty ocean smell to it which definitely reminded us of home.
We wanted to explore more so we opted for a short loop hike that offered a lookout to one of the common pony viewpoints. Bad decision. End of August means humidity and mosquitoes. And these were more the size of gnats so they were super super annoying. The only way to avoid being eaten alive was to run. But neither Molly of I are runners, or even in shape so it was like stop and go running with lots of panting. Wearing flip flops made it no less easier. The viewpoint was nice, but due to the attack of the biting bugs we certainly couldn't enjoy it. I don't think there are words to describe how swarmed we were and how all of them were biting. From the lookout we could see the same 2 ponies from earlier and they were just as far away; small brown and white specks in the distance. Getting a picture was no easy feat as I was forced to bounce from foot to foot to keep moving to avoid getting more bites than I already had. It was kind of like channeling Dory from Finding Nemo, "Just keep moving, just keep moving."
We parted the next morning as Erin had to work and we had a day planned of sightseeing our nation's capital. We drove over to the National Mall and was on the lookout for parking. We pulled into the first garage that said public not realizing it was also a government building, US Agriculture or something. Anyway, the car had to be checked for weapons and/or explosives and the kind security guard discovered our camping hatchet in the trunk. We apologized and asked to be pointed in the direction of a different garage. One was just around the corner luckily. The garage fee here, plus all the tolls we paid the day before driving was the first foray back into the cost of living in the northeast. We'd been so "spoiled" for the last four weeks being in cheaper areas of the US.
As we walked towards the mall we passed by a building that's important but I can't remember the name, the front of the White House, and what I swore was the FBI building because it looked like the one on "Bones."
Late that afternoon we drove up I-95, paid all the ridiculous tolls and arrived at my college roommate's apartment where we had a very nice dinner and caught up on life before heading to bed and dropping her off at work the next morning. We then hit the road for our last driving journey together and arrived back at my house in Cohasset around 2pm. It was nice to be home of course but definitely strange in a way, especially since I in no way wanted to unpack, clean camping stuff and do laundry.