72 Hours: Washington, D.C.

I’m Alive is a series about traveling to 14 cities to film a two-and-a-half minute YouTube video. We spent 72 hours in each city. Washington, D.C. was our seventh city, and Nic crashed going full speed on a Segway tour.

Before embarking on our D.C. adventure, we took a couple of well deserved off-days in New York. Here, we caught up with friends, hit golfballs at Chelsea Piers, and ended up in weird massage situations. (Pro tip: get a tune up from a proper massage therapist as opposed to a random deal in midtown… that we took.) Having a strange man insist you remove all your garments and lay flat on an uncomfortable table isn’t exactly relaxing.

With that behind us, we boarded a flight to D.C. to continue the journey. This was city seven. We had been traveling for about 24 days, packed nonstop with adventure after adventure. It’s difficult to even write about all the in-between that occurred from the highlights written about in this series. We probably took over a hundred U-turns, called and/or visited 75+ businesses to capture footage, drove 25+ different Car2Gos, had technical problems, got approached by flocks of strangers asking what and why we were filming, Google-mapped 300+ locations, talked to locals about their cities, tried to keep a log of all the things we were doing, ran our “normal” businesses from the road, and sat in awe of some of the most beautiful sights we’d ever seen.

To document the thousands of micro-moments that made up this experience would be the work of a novel. It’s just something that can’t be captured here.

We were fortunate enough to stay with my cousin who lives and practices law in D.C. Per usual, we showed up with our gear, setup camp, and prepared for what we might do in this great city. Fortunately, Tom’s Chinese Laundry was right down the street because we hadn’t had much of an opportunity to take care of that…

For $12, this place took my entire carry-on full of laundry, washed it, dried it, folded it, and nicely placed it into a carry-out bag. Seriously, it could have been the highlight of the entire trip had we not gone skydiving in San Diego.

Our hit-list was quite typical: the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and Segway Tour. I’m not entirely sure we thought out of the box on this one. Car2Go was everywhere, however, and we did manage to produce one adventure worth telling: The Segway Tour.

We reached out to the wonderful people at Capital Segway Tours, who were more than happy to accommodate our film-Segway-excursion. I couldn’t be more grateful for the nice folks who geared us newbies up for some electronic propulsion discovery of our country’s governing campus. They suited us up with helmets to give us some style points, protective pouches on the front of the vehicles to protect valuables in crashes (which was successful in saving our most prized travel camera during a crash), and a quick safety lesson on how not to crash your Segway. We tried to listen, but since it was a private tour, things were going to be taken to the highest possible extreme.

What started out as a normal tour of capitol here, monument there turned dark quickly. It was all fun and games, as we had been buzzing around, doing 360s, and just generally being the assholes you see on Segways… until the clouds started rolling in (see monument photo). A massive thunderstorm was underway, and we weren’t really used to seeing that. We continued on with our grass-burning tour and even captured a flash-mob dance scene with a bunch of random teens (as part of the dance section that made the final cut) — Nic and I high-fived going full speed on the Segways in opposite directions in front of these dancing teens like some Odd Future internet meme. The girls even told us that we were the lucky ones for having their support. Little did they know, we already knew that. Thanks, girls.

With the thunder rolling and rumbling in, I told Nic and our guide that we should probably start heading back. Either not caring or not listening, Nic disagreed and said we had plenty of time. He said that just as a massive rain wall was approaching about six blocks away — it began pouring within seconds. The next fifteen minutes were spent frantically speeding down the sidewalks following our guide back to the rental shop. Along the way, we were splashing water and yelling at people to get out of our speed-crazed Segway sprints, and then Nic somehow managed to do the impossible. He crashed the Segway at full speed, plunging into the pavement. Frantically, the machine started bashing itself on the ground, eventually deciding to seek refuge across the street. Because our tour guide was a genius and professional Segway-ist, he instantly parked his and rescued Nic’s.

No damage to Nic or the machine! We rolled into the rental shop, fully drenched and dripping with fresh D.C. storm water, to a room full of tourists waiting to leave on their dry tour. They all laughed. It was especially funny because we had to begin an appointment-scheduled tour of the U.S. Capitol with a House of Representatives employee in just five minutes. Needless to say, we were late, soaked, smelled like wet dogs, and were completely unprepared for it.

The rest of D.C. went pretty much the same way, but we got some good stuff. In retrospect, we should have planned more. Planning is the key takeaway here, folks.

Our next stop was Miami, where we racked up over $500 in Car2Go charges driving to the Florida Keys. We even got a call wondering why we’d taken the car out of GPS range for “an extended period of time”…