We got up early today to launder linen and towels and clean the lake townhome we rented. Then we headed up I-95. We ate kebabs at a place called Burgers and Kebabs near Fredericksburg. Then we found ourselves stuck on I-95 as it turned into a parking lot. The reason? On-looker slow-down for an accident on the OTHER side of the road. People fascinate me.
We turned off onto a side road, where we wound around old towns and gorgeous trees. Sadly, we saw a bear cub lying, no longer alive, along one road. We made it to northern Virginia in short order.
Our friends' two golden retrievers met us at the door. They are fabulous goldens. We went with one friend and two goldens to a regional park called something like Algonkyian, where we hiked by the Potomac amid woodland and deer.
We then adjourned for an early dinner at the same restaurant we visited one week ago. Our friends are so cool. They both went to college in Claremont, CA with my wife. They and my wife use all kinds of "remember xyz doughnut shop off Foothill" references alien to me, but we all have enough common history that I can keep up. I love that this trip we did a lot of socializing, although, as ever, I do not consider this type of socializing a strength of mine. I tend to have an obliviousness which surprises me. Fortunately, these friends tonight are used to my flaws in this regard. It was great to see them. It's great to be settled in at their home for the evening.
Golden retrievers are easy to socialize with in almost every way. They voice their feelings, even if sometimes their feelings are "deer! deer!".
If you don't pay enough attention, they help you know to do so with a firm paw on the forearm. They love to hear you talk, provided that you lace your conversation with praise and attention. I am good with dogs, much better than with people. I suspect most people are that way. At the same time, I'm glad that we did so much socializing with people. I wish we could have seen one of my wife's relatives on this trip, but it did not come together. I was looking forward to the train rides involved. I love mass transit.
I'm reading a book about Thomas Jefferson's theology. It's a good read. I'm ready to be back in Texas. I love vacation. I love for vacation to end.
We fly home early tomorrow. This was a great vacation. We strayed less far from the little town in which we stayed than I had imagined we would. We did less hiking than I imagined we would. I had more work to deal with than I thought I would. This is the first time since 1994, and the second time in a 20 year career, in which I have taken a second week off in one year. We got to see a lot of friends, but I can think of other friends and one of my wife's relatives we did not see. This trip taught me some important things, such as it's time to replace that Windows 95 operating system laptop I've struggled by on for years.