Browsing "Virginia"
May 11, 2012 -

A Day in Richmond, VA, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (and Amuse Restaurant)

Ooh, it’s been a long day and it’s not over yet. I’m at a Starbucks somewhere in Virginia, maybe Hopewell. I’ve got some pictures at the bottom of this post.

A nasty couple of leg cramps during the night meant that my early start today was on about an hour of sleep. Gah. I headed north out of Petersburg, stopped for breakfast, and then pointed the car towards Richmond for my appointment.

Minutes after leaving the Starbucks where I posted this morning, the phone rang. I was shocked that it was my adjuster at Aviva; it was 7:30 in Vancouver! She confirmed that they will be filing a claim with the moron’s insurance company to cover the repairs, my deductible, and the tow bill. The repairs are coming in at $5,600… HOLY MOLY.

She, of course, couldn’t resist chastising me again for continuing without having a thorough inspection made of the rig. I maintain that discovering the damage during an inspection is a big what if. One of the guys at the salvage yard in West Virginia actually got under the rig with me and said that there was no visible damage. Who’s to say that an inspector would have even thought to look for a weak axle? I maintain that the moron’s insurance company got off lucky because I would have put them on the hook for kennel fees, a rental car, a hotel, and three square meals a day, minimum, to salvage my vacation had I been stuck in West Virginia.

I asked her how long I can have a hotel room (thinking that I might need it again Monday) and she said that as long as I’m within the prescribed limits, it can be until Miranda is road ready. She was concerned that I’m staying at home this weekend, saying that if I cause extra damage to the axle by living in the rig, the extra repairs won’t be covered. *shakes head and reminds herself that not everyone RVs*

Anyway, she gets points for calling me early! 😀

By the time I hung up with her, it was about 10:50. I couldn’t believe I was now concerned about being late for my appointment! I knew I had plenty of time to get to the address, but was worried about parking. The options got more dismal the closer I got to Capitol Mac, so I was relieved to find a spot right across from the store. I popped in, handed over my computer, and was out of there in less than 10 minutes. I guessed, correctly, that I’d need to charge the new battery, which justifies ending the day at another Starbucks.

From Capitol Mac, it was just a couple of blocks to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia’s answer to New York’s Met. Now, nothing compares to the Met, but this was a fine museum and the perfect place to kill several hours. Best of all, it’s free! I had fun leisurely roaming through the exhibits, which cover the span of human history. I did pretty much skip over the modern stuff, however.

Many of the reviews I read said that lunch at the Amuse restaurant on the top level is a must. I was leery about eating at a museum, figuring the prices would be astronomical, but a couple of reviews claimed the prices were reasonable. I decided to give it a shot. I got a nice table on the balcony and glanced through the menu, relieved to find that just about everything was $15 or less. The offerings are very fancy/gourmet.

The first thing that caught my eye was a tuna tartar, but I already had raw tuna this week, so I kept looking. Ooh, crab cakes with a horse radish sauce and fingerling potatoes! And then I came to seafood chorizo. Hmm. Now, that sounded different. I decided to try it out. While I waited for my food, I was brought a hunk of delicious herb bread.

A picture of my lunch is below. As I said to the server, “There are no words to convey how delicious this is.” The seafood chorizo was, of course, a sausage, thickly sliced and deliciously caramelized. It smelled strongly of the sea, but the taste was much more mild and quite sweet. The sausage was served with cubed and herbed Yukon Gold potatoes. Finally, there was a slaw made of julienned apples, red onion, radish, and fennel, topped with Parmesan shavings. I’ve always avoided fennel since I don’t like licorice, but it turns out that the plant is completely inoffensive, offering a bit of bite with a lot of crunch and not that much licorice flavour. All for $14.

I’d had my fill of the VMOFA by about 2:30. I decided to find a mall since I needed an outfit to wear to the party next Saturday. I picked the first one my GPS listed, drove all the way there, and discovered it had been razed. This is when I remembered that my phone has internet so I Googled ‘Richmond Mall’ and got a hit for the Regency. My GPS got me there without incident.

In Canada, I would have headed for a Reitmans, but I didn’t know what stores in the US would have clothes in my price range. So I was happy to see a JC Penney at the mall; it was the perfect place to start looking. I wound up finding a ton of things I liked, so there was no need to go anywhere else. I spent about an hour putting together an outfit then headed to the Payless next door for some dressy sandals. I wandered through the mall for a bit, but was quickly reaching burnout so I returned to the car.

I asked the GPS to take me to the nearest movie theatre, but when I arrived at the location, there was no cinema. I’d just about had enough, so I decided to drive by home and see if Miranda was level. It was only 5:00, so I was actually a little relieved to see that she was still tilted. This gave me the impression that perhaps work wasn’t done for the day. I decided to try the movie theatre idea again. The GPS took me here, where the cinema has been shut down for some time. *sighs* At least, there was a Starbucks right there.

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May 10, 2012 -

The Benns Church Econolodge in Carrollton, VA

The Econolodge in Carrollton, VA, is super convenient to my friend’s house. I stayed there back in ’08 and remembered that I’d had a good night so with their rates being as inexpensive as they are ($52 during the week), I was glad that they had vacancies this week.

Located just minutes from Smithfield and being close to Newport News, Hampton, and Suffolk, this hotel’s location can’t be beat. The rooms are clean and the staff is just awesome. Everyone is so friendly and helpful.

The hotel serves up a light continental breakfast of bagels, pastries, OJ, and truly vile coffee. That coffee is my only complaint about this otherwise superb budget accommodation. Thankfully, there’s a Starbucks a couple of minutes away in Smithfield. 🙂

I’ve had six good nights there in the last week and hope that I won’t have to return next week. But if I do, it’ll be like going to a home away from home.

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May 9, 2012 -

A Trifecta of Oceanic Proportions

Now that my RV has brought me back to the wild and grey Atlantic that I love so much, I feel that I have truly come full circle.

I haven’t been able to go anywhere this week, glued as I am to my phone and a couple of projects, so I was starting to fear that I wouldn’t get to the Atlantic on this trip. I pulled up Google maps, ran a few calculations, and decided that Lighthouse Drive in Hampton was pretty much on the ocean. It’s probably still technically on Chesapeake Bay, but, really, where does an ocean start and end?

For nostalgia’s sake, here I am in the Pacific Ocean during this great big adventure of mine:

And here I am again, frolicking in the Arctic Ocean:

Now, I just need to get to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico!

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