My Washington, DC vacation started out a bit shaky but quickly got much better. Since my tax refund -- around which I budgeted my trip -- won't arrive until next month, I applied for a $1,500 loan through the Lending Tree website in the week before the trip. A local branch of One Main Financial completed the loan and said the money would be in my account on Thursday, the day I flew out to Washington. My mood was dampened a little Thursday morning when I got an e-mail from Lending Tree saying the loan wasn't approved. I greatly reduced my spending that day, then got an e-mail that night from One Main saying the loan actually was approved and the money was in my account!
My first flight from Colorado Springs to Chicago was very peaceful because no kids were on it. I had a cup of orange juice and a stroopwafel on the flight, then got a tomato and mozzarella sandwich and a bottle of water during the layover in Chicago. There was a kid on the flight from Chicago to DC, but it didn't make a lot of noise.
The singles group went to Whitlow's restaurant in Arlington for dinner Thursday night. I had a barbecue bacon cheeseburger, chocolate cake for dessert and a rum-and-coke. Instead of separate checks for each person, the restaurant gave checks to each table of 5-6 people. I didn't have any cash on me at that point. The bill for the table was $120; the others at the table offered to reimburse me if I paid for the table with my credit card. I figured this would still leave me with enough money left on the card for the hotel and one or two nights of dining, along with cash in my wallet (This was a few hours before I learned my loan was approved.)
Taking the subway back to the hotel, I thought the train's announcer was beatboxing and calling himself "Willie Rest-In-Peace." Looking at the signs, I realized he was saying the train was headed toward the "Wiehle-Reston East" station and the "beatboxing" was just the announcer clumsily putting the microphone in its holder.
The day started with a group tour of the Capitol building. There was nothing really going on since Congress wasn't meeting at the time. The group had lunch in one of the Dirksen Senate Building's cafes (I had chicken and fries.) A member of our group took us on a tour of the Senate's TV and radio studios.
The group went to Chadwick's bar before the dinner cruise. The cruise went up and down the Potomac river. I had the parmesan chicken for dinner. After the cruise, the group took an Uber ride to the Crystal City Sports Pub near the hotel. The pub was too crowded, so the group went down the street to Bar Louie instead. I had a couple of s'mores martinis.
I wasn't able to sign up in time for the White House tour (The deadline had passed before I committed to go on this vacation.) I was told the group would meet at Arlington Cemetery for a bus tour at 1 PM. I took the subway and got there by about 12:50. I waited inside the visitors center and asked the group on Facebook when/where the group was supposed to meet. When I didn't get a response by 2:00, I headed back to the hotel.
That night, the group had a few drinks in the hotel bar, then headed down the street to Ted's Montana Grill for dinner. I had a "Red Rock" bison burger and some "Mountain Breeze" martinis (no relation to the Mountain Dew knockoff from Safeway.)
I got back to the hotel around 10 PM, then played some of the games on Steelwoulfe's Jackbox stream for a couple of hours.
The group had a brunch buffet at the Crystal City Sports Pub. I got some andouille sausage with peppers and onions, some biscuits with chipped beef, and a mimosa. My ankles had blisters from all of the walking I'd done so far. I decided to just have two of the instant pasta cups I packed for lunch, then had dinner later in the hotel's restaurant. I couldn't stay up to listen to all of Doggy Radio because I needed to get some sleep before my flights.
United Airlines had given me two one-time passes to their "United Club" lounges for this trip. I had a two-hour wait at both DC and Chicago's airports, so I visited the lounges at both locations. I had a light snack at each location, along with coffee in Chicago. My flight from Chicago to Colorado Springs left about 40 minutes late. There was a loud kid a couple rows in front of me on this flight. I had eaten an edible before the flight, so I was thankfully relaxed and unaffected by the kid. The flight wasn't too far behind schedule, arriving 10-15 minutes late.
I thought I had lost weight during the vacation due to all the walking I did because the planes' seat belts fit comfortably on all of the flights. When I got home, I saw I had gained 11 pounds. I don't know if I have less body fat than before or United recently installed longer seat belts. I've had to request seat belt extensions on many of my past United flights, but none this time.
Another cruise reunion is scheduled for July in Denver. That will be much easier and cheaper for me.