This Memorial Day weekend, Sarah and I decided to take a small vacation to Williamsburg, VA. We joined the thousands of drivers on I-95 to reach our destination. I recount the details of our escape to Busch Gardens.
We weren’t sure what we wanted to do this weekend. For the past couple weeks we were determining which local (statewide) attractions would be good to go to. I was mildly interested in Colonial Williamsburg, but I didn’t realize that Busch Gardens was so close. At this time, I finally realized that Sarah successfully sold me on it. I proceeded to look online for hotel prices near the park, and I used my corporate discount on tickets.
Two hundred fourty seven dollars later, we scrambled to prepare a day’s rations and quickly anticipate the next day’s events. Tires at 45 PSI, coolant at the “normal” level, cleaned out the backseat, loaded our cooler and two days-worth of clothes. Since the weather has been considerably more humid, I squirted Fabreez in the back seat to combat the awkward smell emanating from there. Everything was ready.
We used our four hour drive (everyone and their boat was on the ’95) to chat about our professional work lives and whatnot. I found it interesting that her and I have similar work dynamics, and we have a unified goal to helping people. Anyhow, the conversation was helpful at understanding why she’s stressed when she comes home sometimes.
We arrived at our hotel which was rated three stars on Travelocity and five stars from 11 users. So far, it seemed good. I was pleasantly greeted by the woman at the front desk. She confirmed my reservation, coded my mag-stripe room keys. We arrived at our room and attempted to swipe the room key and burst in. To our disappointment, the keys didn’t work. I went to the front desk to ask them about it and even provided them the helpful detail of explaining what I’ve done to reproduce it, and that it blinks a red light once. Five minutes later, we were helped by a friendly maintenance worker who brute-forced his way in the room with his room key programming unit. I was intrigued in it because it was like what you’d find in a movie. It even made beeps for every key code it attempted. After about 15 minutes, he advised us that the door’s lock may not unlock, but verified the other door was usable.
Other than that, I resumed my normal inspection of the room, as if I was going to really worry about it. Overall I was pleased. Figuring the room lock was a minor mechanical issue, I would give the room 3.5 stars. I mean for $147, on a holiday weekend, you can’t ask for much.
We now had some free time so we went to the local shopping outlets, as Sarah loves finding deals but it mainly served as a browsing opportunity. She was interested in some Converse All Star shoes that were brightly orange colored with some other designs on it. They looked cool, but we decided that none of her clothes would go with it. That is, unless she had a state-provided orange jumpsuit that I didn’t know about.
We also found our first mini-golf attraction since Tucson and a Dairy Queen. Conveniently, we got some tasty Blizzards and went to the pirate-themed miniature golf. They had a donation container for the troops and their families, and in a patriotic spirit, I donated to it. (I almost never donate cash in those containers). We played some golf and had a good time. I forfeited on the sixth hole when I ricocheted my ball into the simulated river. It was all good though, Sarah and I had a good time.
We arrived back home and enjoyed ourselves watching extended-basic cable. Having only local channels at home, we were entertained and watched a combination of the Myth Busters and some Court TV. After about 11PM, we got some much needed sleep and decided to set our alarm for the next morning at 7AM.
We had our complimentary breakfast. The cliche of “you get what you pay for,” couldn’t be any more prevalent. So we had some cereal, OJ, and I had some toast. We checked out and loaded up the car in a secure manner anticipating a day of abandonment of the car. We advanced to finding good breakfast food. About a block away, we arrived at IHOP.
If anyone has ever had dinner with me, you know I drink a lot. I usually require more than three glasses of the said beverage. I understand my liquid needs are more than others, but I at least would like servers to refill me once or twice. So, we ordered our breakfast, and that’s it. I didn’t interact with our server for the rest of the morning. Not being sure of restaurant employee dynamics, I asked Sarah if it would be appropriate for me to ask another server for refills, which she said it’s fine but it throws them off their pattern of taking care of their patrons. After I asked for a refill, our server reappeared with refills. After that, her abandonment resumed. We left a below-average tip for below-average service, and finally consulted with the cashier to run a check for our table and left.
Now full, and somewhat thirst-quenched, we drove to Busch Gardens. We came from a bypass road, but we caught glimpse of the highway with a four-lane exit into the toll-booth style parking fee. The highway was a complete parking lot, and everyone was bumper to bumper. Being ‘leet and in the bypass road, we jumped in our spot and entered the Busch Garden’s parking premises. We got a nice parking spot, up in the front right next to the tram that would take you to the main gate. We loaded up on sun screen, and I chugged down a bottle of water from the case of 12. Tickets in hand, and pockets as empty as we can, we hopped on the tram and proceeded in front of everyone purchasing tickets. I love the Intarnetz!
We had a great time in the 4D-theater. Sarah pointed out many similarities between this theme park and Disney Land. We had a fun time on the rides. I need to pace myself when it comes to coasters, so we did the “easy ones” before doing the more thrilling ones. We didn’t do the “Griffon” coaster, because that was just too death-defying for us to try. It stops at a 90 degree angle, and drops you 300 feet. Nah, I’ll pass on that. Feet sore, legs tired, and feeling very fatigued we left around 6:30. This time, I drove back, as Sarah attempted to take a nap.
I was satisfied with 80+ MPH traffic. It seemed as if everyone finally agreed to get home, fast. We all did. It’s interesting the the way people react to a police cruiser in the median, everyone drops about 10MPH instantly, but they regain it a 1/4 mile later. Realistically, one cop can’t ticket 17 drivers. He’s looking for the kid who does 130 in his red Corvette. Regardless, I maintained about 90 MPH the entire way until the 295/395 junction. It was mildly foggy and it was very congested, but it was moving, and I was thankful for that.
We had a blast and it was considerably inexpensive to drive there and stay overnight. This was a much-needed vacation and I’m more pleased knowing that Sarah had enjoyed herself. Although there were a couple snags, I’m used to it, so it was no big deal and we had a fun experience visiting Williamsburg and will be returning in the future to check out the Colonial stuff too.
I support the troops and celebrated our nation’s freedom by liberating ourselves from home. That said, here is a counter in this entry is counting the number of troops who paid the ultimate price in Iraq.