I can't believe I forgot to mention a low-light of our DC trip. Andy lent us his car to get to the Metro station on the days he was at work. When we tried to leave the parking lot at the Shady Grove Station on Thursday, we soon found out that you needed a Metro Card to exit - no cash or credit cards accepted. Jim had to go back into the station and purchase a Metro Card, which required a minimum amount of $10 to be loaded onto it. Interesting, since parking for the day is $4.25. The card worked fine upon leaving the lot that evening.
On Monday Katie, Maggie and I went back to DC on the Metro, parking again at the Shady Grove lot. When we arrived back at the station that night, I pulled up to the automated gate to use the balance on the Metro Card. At this point I had one car in line behind me. Holding the card to the magnetic reader, I got nothing but beeping noises. I pressed the card this way and that way to no avail. I'm starting to sweat (okay, I was already sweating from a day of tromping around in 90 degree heat) and I look in the rear view mirror to see about 30 cars behind me. By now the horns are starting to honk. There are no attendants in either of the two booths at this exit to help me out. There is no way for me to back up. It is starting to get ugly. "Get the fuck out of the way!", I hear yelled at me. Well, since you asked so nicely, let me just move out of the way - not! The man behind me was waving to the people behind him in an attempt to get them to back up. More horns begin honking, because that always helps. Additional slurs are shouted at me.
Finally, the man behind me manages to maneuver his car off to the side enough so that I can back up. I sheepishly crept over towards the other exit line, which does accept credit cards, oddly enough. The line at that exit was also backed up 20 cars or so. Do you think any of them would take pity on me and let me into the line? I guess that is what happens when you have a car with Maryland plates; everyone thought I should know better.
We finally escaped and headed back to Andy and Megan's house. My son then informs me that there is a $5 service fee to get one of those Metro Cards (because you can keep adding money to them), so that is why there was nothing left on the one Jim had bought. Oh, and by the way, you can check the balance on the card inside the station. Thanks for telling me now, son. Doh!