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Tuesday, July 10, 20071184050200

Washington DC, not poor, just cheap

My United flight leaves at 6:00 AM today, so if you read this post in the morning, I'm already on my way.

Thank to everyone who is suggesting great things to do in DC. I can't wait to get there and see for myself!

Now, my conundrum:

My base of operations will likely be Alexandria, Virginia. The conference in Quantico, Virginia, starts at 8:00 AM this Friday. The next day, my plain to the midwest leaves at 8:45 AM. So that gives me a couple of options

  • Thursday night: Alexandria; Friday night: Alexandria

  • Thursday night: Alexandria; Friday night: Quantico

  • Thursday night: Quantico; Friday night: Alexandria

  • Thursday night: Quantico; Friday night: Quantico

Complicating this is that the VRE doesn't do early morning or evening commutes, apparently.

Are taxis an option? Just renting a car and returning it at the airport?

My desire to minimize costs have a lot more to do with my cheapness than any actually dire issues, but still: every dollar saved on miscellaneous expenses can be used for food and drink instead!

Any suggestions?


There must be buses Running to Quantico do to all of the servicemen.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If you need to go back and forth between Alexandria and Quantico, I recommend a cheap rental car. The VRE can be expensive (I’ve heard), and the car will give you a lot more options as far as time is concerned.

To get around in DC, I recommend the Metro. If you’re staying in Alexandria you can park at the Springfield Station (Blue line, near Springfield Mall), or Huntington Station (Yellow Line, near I-495 & Rt. 1). If you go with Springfield Station, you can save $3.75 by parking at the mall and walking 5minutes to the Metro (however, the fare from Springfield to DC is about $1 more than the fare from Huntington to DC).

On things to see in DC, the Air & Space Museum near Dulles is the larger of the two, and also has the Enola Gay, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Entrance is free, but parking is $12.

Posted by: Richardson | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Splurge and rent the smallest car you can or get a ZipCar account and go that route. You want flexibility in that town and counting on the train ain't gonna cut it. Leave as early as you can stand to get to Quantico. For a time you'll be going counter-traffic, but not for long.

Mass transit around DC - like most big cities - blows when you need it most. Metro is an occasional exception; when you're talking about getting around anywhere within a few blocks of a station it can't be beat. Add roughly 30 minutes to your travel time to factor in delays/stops (you will always arrive at the station just as your train is leaving - its the law).

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Alexandria to Virginia is about 30 miles, and I'll be going out in the morning and in in the evening. About how long (45 minutes? 1 hr? 2?) would the commute probably be?

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm hoping there'll be a little bit of 'overflow conversation / networking / hanging-out' Friday night... Don't know what's around there, but it'll be the place to be... If all else fails, I can probably give you a ride to the airport Saturday morning. My flight back isn't until 4 something...

Posted by: Isaac | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Give yourself _at least_ an hour in the morning. You might make a dry run in the early evening the night before if possible to familiarize yourself with the roads and signs. Unlike the land-of-roads-laid-out-in-a-grid, that corner of the country might as well have been laid out by a traffic engineer in the middle of an epilepsy fit. Get off in the wrong place and you'll be in North Carolina before you know it.

Also, rush "hour" starts a lot earlier and runs a lot later than one might think. Near grid-lock from 0600-1000 and 1500-1900 is not unusual, especially if it rains or if there is a fender-bender.

If the thing starts at 0800 I'd be on the road by 0600, but that's just me exposing my phobia for all to see.

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, July 10, 2007

rent a car, train sometimes doesn't work. O
r i can give you a ride - i live in Alexandria

Posted by: john s | Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"If the thing starts at 0800 I'd be on the road by 0600, but that's just me exposing my phobia for all to see."

Sounds like a plan to me. Thanks!

Posted by: zenpundit | Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Don't rent and don't VRE. Find the nearest slug line from Quantico and fill a carpool each morning to get to the Pentagon. :-)

Posted by: shane | Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thansk for all the suggestions!

Mark of ZenPundit gave me a lift, which I appreciate greatly. After getting up at 5 eastern (4 central, to this true midwesterner) and taking a taxi to his undisclosed location, it look us about 40 minutes or so to drive down (traffic was easy). Nearly crashed at 10 in the morning, but the awesomeness of the Boyd Conference overwhelmed me and I had a very enjoyable day & night. Got back at 11:30 after a drive in the dark & confused DC interstate system, though we avoided going through Anacostia.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, July 14, 2007