A-Advance Washington Nationals
This is my first mug of my recent vacation tales. It’s one of eleven mugs we added to my collection on our June journey. I say added to my collection because David is my enabler now, finding the mugs for me when we travel! There is also one mug that he bought for my collection but it’s to be his mug! I hope he’ll do a guest mug shot and tell you about that one!
I mentioned before that our vacation plans were built around concert tickets David had for his birthday and a trip my brother had planned. We left on Friday night with plans to get a room in Pennsylvania and railfan bright and early in the morning before heading toward Virginia. When we were getting near our destination, David made a suggestion that I guess was a “testing the waters” suggestion. He suggested that since it was going to be 2 am when we got to our destination and we wanted to be up at 6, it might not be worth a hotel and maybe we could just sleep in the car. I’m not sure what he was expecting, but I thought it was a practical idea. I’d showered Friday afternoon knowing we’d have a late night and early rise so I could grab a little extra sleep and just shower at the hotel Saturday night. We stopped at a convenience store to use the facilities and get a drink and a snack; “camping munchies.” We parked where we could see the railroad tracks to catch a little sleep.
I sleep in the car when we travel and honestly I think it was easier on me than David! We ended up switching sidles for sleeping because there was luggage in the way of the driver’s seat reclining. I am more comfortable sitting up and he needed to recline to sleep. I’m a very sound sleeper and a couple of trains that passed in the night didn’t wake me, but in the morning I looked out the window as the gates were coming down and my wake up view was a train! Here’s what surprised David; it was AWESOME! Car-camping was cool, I slept fine and waking up to the sound of the outdoors in the mornings and a freight train is second only to waking up in the outfield when I was baseball camping after an Akron Aeros game. I would totally car-camp in eye-shot of the tracks again.
Amazingly, the source of today’s mug was the UNpleasant experience. David’s concert tickets were to see Marillion, a band he was a big fan of in college, in Washington DC Sunday night. The P-Nats had a day game, so the first baseball game of the trip, Salem Red Sox at Potomac Nationals, was set!
The Nationals are the A-Advanced team for the National League’s Washington Nationals. The minor league team, although affiliated with a newer team, has been in Virginia for 35 years. The Nats franchise is the former Montreal Expos who have been in Washington for the 2005 season. The stadium is an old stadium with wheelchair seats added on after the fact with a metal ramp leading up to the silver metal bleachers. The companion seating was a bench that wasn’t anchored to the stands or sitting on the bottom step of the bleachers behind the wheelchair. David chose the latter since we discovered the companion bench wasn’t anchored when he tried to sit at the end and the whole bench immediately stared to flip!
The high temperature was 91 degrees. Did I mention that the wheelchair seats are on metal bleachers? It’s a metal wheelchair too. Oh, and no cover or shade of any sort in the bleachers.
I am a trooper for baseball games. I mean I’ve sat in the rain, shivered as snow fell on the field and stayed in my seats when there were tales of cleats melting on the field. But that day was a little more than a three-bottle-of-water game. That cleats melting game was on artificial turf, where the field temperature is hotter than the stands, and I was sitting in the upper deck at the old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati where there was an occasional breeze from the river. This was hot, I mean HOT, with the sun reflecting on us off the silver bleachers. Around the bottom of the fifth inning I left to go to the ladies room; not all of the water evaporates through the pores! I didn’t go back to the seating area after that. David and I were both starting to feel the early warning signs of heat stroke!
I found a fairly shaded place in the tunnel area next to the bleachers and David joined me there. We watched from our obstructed view but slightly cooler area had Dippin Dots. Dippin Dots are cold, super-frozen so they keep their little beads of ice cream shape. Before we finished them, they looked like regular ice cream! Another fan who was wilting from the heat was with us. She was still watching the game, but wasn’t going back to the seats either. She said she was just waiting for her husband to melt.
My usual rule for baseball is that I stay until the last out, no matter what the score. Baseball can change on a dime and what seemed an obvious ending can turn out to be a dramatic comeback surprise. I’ve also likened leaving after the seventh inning stretch to leaving church after communion but before the service is done. They both show a lack of dedication. That game we left after communion. In the shadow of the metal bleachers, we were still being influenced by the reflected heat. But, “told me so,” when we left the score was 2-1 in favor of the Nationals. The Red Sox scored twice in the top of the 8th inning and won 3-2.
With a drink and air conditioning in the car, we were both feeling a lot better and we got a few shots of the Amtrak auto train that carries passengers and their cars, before heading into DC for the Marillion concert. The concert was in a club. We were carded and hand-stamped! Hehehe… It’s been a while for that! It was the day before David’s 46th birthday and I’m only 46 days younger. Retrospectively, I should have taken pictures of our hands; that’s a scrapbook page on its own!