April 28, 2012: We have wine. Our wine. Linda's wine. We have wine. And there're binoculars, wands and soap for bubbles, a dozen beach towels. It's still a week before we leave, but we're starting to stage what has to be put into the Caynenne to transport to the celebration.

May 4, 2012:
Started the day off with a wonderful breakfast at iHop with Anna and family and friend to celebrate her 11th birthday. Lots of presents from The American Girl, naturally, for her gymnastics doll, McKenna.

Around 10:30, as weird black clouds were rolling in, we headed east. Heavy rain pelted us for much of the way downtown, but then let up and we were done with it the rest of the day. Drove about 350 miles to Lexington, KY. Passed through Louisville with all of its bridges across the Ohio. Even though this is Derby weekend, there was relatively no traffic to contend with.

Got to the Hilton Garden Inn near Lexington around 5:30. I used a new app I had called Foodspotting, which really uses diner input rather than a professional rating, per se. We went to Red State BBQ around 7 miles from here. Just a small white building in front of an old-fashioned motel, the kind that’s all in a strip with a door on the parking lot for each room. Very good ribs and brisket. Half-slab was way too much to eat.

May 5, 2012: We left the hotel around 8:30. The theme of the day was rain. Drizzle. Showers. Hard. Deluge. Build an Ark! And the joy of driving through the West Virginia and Virginia mountains in driving rain. Clouds hung down to drape over tree-covered slopes. Everything was like looking through gauze. So, we went 500 miles from Lexington, KY to Mechanicsville, VA (right outside Richmond). Ate dinner at a local Italian restaurant which was filled with those going to their prom as well as a big family celebration. But most of them were done shortly after we arrived and it was really quiet afterward. Staying in a Hampton Inn off of I-295.

May 6, 2012: Got up late. No need to hurry. Only under 200 miles to go today. Cloudy all day until we got to Duck, then it cleared off nicely. Easy drive and took a shortcut to avoid the Norfolk, Hampton Roads area. Picked up our keys at Élan and drove onto the Outer Banks. Ah, so nice to have light traffic! In season, especially on the day that rentals have check out and check in, it’s bumper to bumper up the Duck road. Had a nice lunch at Red Sky Café in Duck, a place where we’ve eaten in the past. Then to Tommy’s (think “Smoke House”) for some milk and, oh, groumet chocolate and strange mustards.

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