Summer Vacation/Adventure

Adrienne and I seem to excel at "Shotgun Vacations".  These are trips where we attempt to visit with as many family members, see as many friends, and go to as many places  as possible while burning the least amount of vacation time.  I'm not really sure why we do this, but I'll leave that discussion for another day.  That being said, let me explain this particular adventure:

We flew one-way to Florida to spend some time with my parents.  We took this opportunity to go to Kennedy Space Center.  Look, a "real" astronaut:


Our other reason for going to Florida was to go to my 10-year high-school reunion which was being held at Filthy McNasty's Pub (that's actually the name, I'm not being facetious).  It was fun seeing some old friends, many of whom I hadn't spoken to in 10 years.  We left while a local ska band, The Sweet Kings, was warming up; I was happy to see that Florida still has a Ska-scene.


Next up, we picked up our rental car and drove to Charlotte, NC to visit with my brother Jason and his wife Lara.  We had a nice, relaxing time exploring Charlotte and hanging out with Jason and Lara.  They took us out to a very fancy dinner downtown:


From Charlotte, we continued our adventure by heading to Washington, DC.  We had dinner with my friend Megan and her husband JD (they were also kind enough to put us up for a night).  The next day, we got up early and stood in line to sit in on the Judge Sotomayer confirmation hearings.  The hearings were open to the public; we stood in a well-organized line outside the capitol building and waited our turn to be let in.  Every 20 minutes, a group of 24 people would be let into the building, through security.  We were briefly told some rules (i.e no talking, etc) and then quietly escorted into the back of the room.   We could watch the hearings for about 20 minutes before we were escorted out and the next group would be brought in.  It was a very interesting experience.  Here's Senator Cornyn (R, Texas)  talking to the press outside the hall:


After leaving DC, we headed to New York to spend some time with Adrienne's brother Zach who lives in Brooklyn.  The last time that Adrienne and I were in New York was a few years ago in April; we were traveling from New Jersey to Connecticut and trying to avoid downtown NYC.  Unfortunately, we missed our turn, wound up going throw the Lincoln tunnel, and  landed in Manhattan just as it started to snow... but that's another story.  On this adventure, we successfully navigated bridges and tunnels; we took the subway and walked around.  We feasted like kings and really enjoyed the pulse of the big city.  Zach was kind enough to provide us with a place to stay.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to spend some time with some of Adrienne's extended family.  Adrienne's uncle, Big Jim, treated us to The Water Club:


Lastly, important lessons learned:
  1. If your rental car company tries telling you that you'll need to pay them $800 to bring their car back to them 1-day early, keep calling back until you find a representative who's willing to be reasonable
  2. Your cabby might spend the entire 45 minutes from Brooklyn to JFK talking about how awesome he is.
  3. Flights out of JFK regularly sit on the taxi-way for hours.  Sometimes they burn enough fuel waiting that they have to refuel before take-off.
See the photo set on Flickr: Summer Vacation 2009

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