DC drive-by tour aka google maps are lame lame lame

After we said goodbye to my aunt, we had about an hour to drive into downtown DC and see some sights. I know I know, some of you are wondering why we ONLY had an hour for such things--the fact is, although the trip started in DC for us, it was not really the point. Brandon's folks and sister had already been in the area for 5 days, and had toured toured toured. Saturday's agenda had us driving across Virginia for a beautiful Sunday adventure (which I'll share tomorrow). We knew we would want to come back to DC when our little ones could enjoy it a little more anyway.

That said, I really wanted to see the White House. So I did what any reasonable child of my generation would do: I did a google map "trip" that started at my aunt's house, and ended at "the White House." seems reasonable enough, right? well, it was until we got downtown, and the roads on the directions never showed their face in real life. Instead, we found ourselves driving in a circle of sorts (mainly because the one-way roads wouldn't allow us any other way), looking for that dang WHITE HOUSE. As you can see, we passed a number of other sites:

If I were Ann Marie or Lindsey, I could tell you the names of each of these--Washington Monument. Lincoln memorial (I think). with the WWII memorial in front. Jefferson memorial over Brandon's left shoulder.

Yeah yeah yeah, these are all fine and good but what about THE WHITE HOUSE?! Well, we got to the end of the road we were on, and were stuck. Brandon started muttering things about "real maps" and "should have looked it up myself" (all which were true...), we flipped a u-y of sorts, saw Watergate, I pulled out the atlas (imagine it!) (which by the way had a pop-out of downtown that didn't include any of the street names from google maps...grrr..) and we tried to wind our way back to that blasted WHITE HOUSE. Our time was winding down, our trip mates were almost in need of us being at the airport (where they had dropped off their other rental car), and I looked and realized (or maybe Brandon looked and realized, let's be honest here) that the "road" in front of the White House that I'd been trying to get us to seemed to be a "walking only," no cars allowed road. double drats.

So we went around the back of it instead. We stopped at the light, (THERE IT IS!!), I pulled out the camera, took three quick shots, the light turned green, and we were off. (PHEW! GOT IT!) I looked down at my camera to review the evidence and saw this:

Believe it. Missed the boat. (or, I suppose, missed the WHITE HOUSE in this case). At least I got the little flag that sits on top in the last shot, so you know I'm not completely lying.

Still, we'd had it. Brandon kindly asked that I look at the MAP and try and get us out of downtown (I almost said "but I google map-tripped it--can't I just use that?" but I decided against it).

I took two more pictures, one right to the treasury:

(when Dale saw this picture he said, "Oh you WERE right there! The white house is right beside the treasury!)

And one left to the Capitol:

Oh and one more of the peanut gallery--it looks like Zane was laughing at me a bit here, no?

Then I dejectedly put down my camera, and became a good enough navigator to get us out of there, but then lead us to southern Virginia instead of a little hop over to the National airport.

Turns out I'm not that great at maps either.

BUT! We made it to the airport, and Brandon's family had supposed only been waiting for 3 minutes or so. And I rightfully took my place in the back corner of the van, where I stayed safely tucked away from the navigator's seat for the rest of the trip.

White house, shmite house.


alliehoopes said…
best vacation report ever. i've myself argued that my google maps was correct even though a real person could look out of the real car window at the real streets and see that it was not (or perhaps they just weren't following it accurately enough is what i tell myself). i still use them. you'd think mr. google maps was my boyfriend or something.
Crystal said…
I was saying the same thing Dale was saying with each of the pictures. It was like I wanted to pick up your car and put it down on the right street :)
Tina said…
I laughed the hardest I have ever laughed while reading this post. You are seriously an amazing comedic writer. You should work for Jon Stewart or something. Chalk it up as something else you are really good at: music, sewing, being nice to me, being skinny. You're the bomb.
Heather Bigley said…
that picture of the capitol building was taken at the corner of the awesome hotel i stayed at this christmas. and you WERE RIGHT THERE. you just had to get out of the car and walk 1/2 a block to the white house.
Oh dear! I love your description of this whole trip, it was like I was right there in your van! Frustrated as all get-out with you guys. Sorry it turned out that way. DC sure is a pretty place., though. I hope to go there sometime.
Robert said…
Information age?
No sextants or compasses,
but even more lost.