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Richmond, VA
Miles Today: 0
Total Miles: 773.9
Days on the Road: 40

Richmond: Numbers

Population: 197,790
Boys: 92,068
Girls: 105,722
Samoans: 22

What Iron Hath Richmond Wrought
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Sweet Virginia
N 37°37.992 W 77°38.145
Tuesday, March 11, 2003 - Day 40

Nine days, two special freight deliveries and about $3000 dollars later, our engine is still a scattered pile of metal, tin and rust on the garage floor. We are making sideways leaps of progress, however -- our front seats are newly reupholstered with authentic 1980 Vanagon material and part of that scrap heap on the floor has a fresh coat of metallic blue paint on it, ensuring our motor will be the envy of all other aging VWs on the road - they just won't know it since the fancy painted part is hidden in the engine cavity. But we'll know, and doubtless a mechanic or two along the way will give a drawn out, "well, wouldja lookit that" whistle upon uncorking the engine compartment.

But I digress. We digress. We detail the engine casing when we should be reattaching the clutch and we spend the day touring local historic attractions while our engine lies cold and naked on a cement floor. Despite the detours, everything's coming together in true VW style - slowly but reliably.

We are on a road trip, after all, and at least some fraction of our time in a given city should be spent exploring. After dealing with a few car related errands, we followed a tip from the USA Rough Guide and headed to the Strawberry Street Café in the Fan District just west of downtown Richmond. Good food, nice server, lots of overheard high-pitched cackling from middle-aged women dressed in business casual. Drove down Monument Avenue to see the homage to various Civil War heroes (all Confederate of course. Where else, we wondered, can you find a huge monument to someone convicted of treason?), plus the recent and controversial addition of Wimbledon champ Arthur Ashe. Unfortunately we're too early to see the new Lincoln statue being constructed at the Tredegar Iron Works. Talk about controversial, apparently there was quite a storm when it was proposed. There are plenty of people here who still consider The Great Emancipator to be a villainous tyrant and consider it an insult to their, um, honor to have this statue anywhere in the South.

Between Monument Avenue and the short drive to Tredegar Iron Works, Anthony spotted two middle aged men lurking suspiciously on third-floor balconies and remarked, "I see you there." Very odd, these occurances.

Liz fell asleep during the Civil War movie at the Iron Works - so far she's stayed awake for only one of three museum movies - and this was a pretty good one about Richmond's pivotal role during the war and how the Union's war effort focused on capturing the Confederacy's capital.

So, anyone care to wager on how soon we'll be taking our new engine for a test drive? Anthony thinks Friday. Liz is hoping for Thursday. Do I hear Wednesday? Anyone? The real question may be whether or not everything will work when we turn the key. Anyone wanna throw down some money on that one?

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yesterday tomorrow