The adventure begins on a sunny Thursday, our intrepid traveler safely ensconced in her Jeep, with quilts and clothes and class supplies. Little did she know what the future held in store....
Off to I-81 South, gas tank full, Pepsi on ice in the cupholder and a book on CD in the player. All was progressing superbly until...EEEK! Just over the Pennsylvania border, a black bear (yes, Liza, I did say BEAR) ran across all four lanes of traffic and right in front of our startled traveler! Brakes were slammed on, bags flew to the floor and our wide-eyed traveler stared in amazement as the bear kept on going, over the edge of the road and down the bank. From 65 to 0 miles per hour in a verrrrrryyyy short time--good brakes, good Jeep!
Shaking her head at the very thought of the bear (and realizing that it would not have made a good hood ornament and would have made a big difference in her arrival in Virginia), our traveler stepped on the gas and continued on her way.
All went smoothly through the rest of Pennsylvania and into Maryland. Suddenly realizing that four lanes of traffic had turned into what seemed like at least 10 to 12, our traveler firmly gripped the wheel and was doing fine until spotting the sign that said "Smithsonian Exit". At this she wondered very loudly, "Where the heck am I????" (You see, dear reader, with a GPS navigator, it is so easy to plug in the address and then just drive where it tells you, never realizing what perils are afoot.) Next what does she spy but a sign that says "Capitol Beltway"! Now she is really alarmed and wonders if she will really make it to Springfield in one piece, much less live to tell the tale at her lecture that evening. (Who would believe a bear AND being lost on the Capitol Beltway?)
Clutching the wheel even more tightly, having shut off the audio CD some time before, our traveler's only companion on this journey was Lee, the Australian man guiding her through GPS technology. There were times when Lee was less that clear and she ended up missing an exit. Luckily Lee just says "Recalculating" and suggests someplace to get back on track. (Supposedly the same voice keeps saying "Recalculating" at the same pitch and pace until you both are synchronized again, but it seems like Lee gets a bit testy after the third or forth "Recalculating". Just sayin'.)
Alas and alack, the white knuckled traveler found the hotel and got checked in with time to shower and change before dinner and the lecture. Shall we say driving is a bit different than what is the usual at home?
Dinner was fabulous, with Carole, Carol, Lisa and Kim making the traveler feel very welcome. From there it was off to the local community college for the lecture. There was much audience participation and good natured ribbing and they laughed at our traveler's angst over the beltway. One of the ladies described the speaker as "a two for one--a quilter who is also a comedienne." (Someone once told me I should take my show on the road--I think I'm already doing that ;-) But, I digress.)
Bags were hauled up to the sixth floor of the hotel, calls home were made and our weary but happy traveler fell into bed with a sigh and no nightmares about the bear or the beltway.
Stay tuned for part 2, complete with pictures! You won't believe what happens next!
Respectfully submitted by your inveterate traveler,