After a brief hiatus from the blogging world and a short but fun trip to DC (I was actually there less than 24 hours), I am back today and ready to tell you all about the weekend of the Star MegaDO 4 Launch Party. Much has already been written about the event, which took place this past Saturday evening, but I decided that I should al least provide an overview of my experience for those who are interested. I won’t be getting in to what details were announced for the actual trip, since you can easily read all of the most up to date details in this thread over on Milepoint. Instead, I will be describing what my personal experience with the event was like, and hopefully helping you to understand why so many people came from so far away to attend.
The official Star MegaDO 4 Launch Party took place from 6:30-8:30 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia, and was very limited in the number of people who could attend. I previously wrote about how I was one of the lucky few who were able to RSVP in time and was cleared to go to the party. Due to people dropping out, by the time the event took place, I had actually made it all the way up to number 1 on the cleared list. I tried to convince the organizers that my number 1 spot should get me some sort of prize (like a free seat on the MegaDO), but they were not very receptive to the idea.
As is usually the case with this group of miles and points fanatics, the scheduled two hours just wasn’t enough time for fun, and events were quickly planned before and after. The pre and post party events were open to everyone, even those who couldn’t manage to get in to the party itself. Mini meet-ups and events got started as people arrived on Friday afternoon and 30 or so people ended up spending a few hours at the Crystal City Sports Pub on Friday Evening. I had originally planned to head down to attend this dinner, but my son wanted to have a last day of school pool party and the timing just wouldn’t work out. Instead, my plan was to head down to the DC area on Saturday morning and meet up with a group for lunch.
Well, as luck would have it, the weather on Friday was pretty miserable and we made the decision around noon to cancel the pool party. Of course, my first thought was “Now I can go to DC.” If I wanted to make it for dinner, I had less than two hours to finish up what I was doing, pack, find someone to watch the kids until my wife got home, and get on the road. In addition, I would have to find a hotel room last minute (probably not too hard) and drive 3+ hours in the rain. After weighing the pros and cons for a little while, I decided that it probably wasn’t worth it to spend a couple hundred extra (dinner, drinks, hotel) to have dinner and drinks with a lot of the same people that I would be seeing the next day. I would be better off staying home for a relaxing night with my family, getting a good night’s rest, and making the drive in the morning. In the end, this turned out to be a great decision because as the night progressed, the weather in the DC area got worse and worse, and it would have made for a pretty miserable drive.
On Saturday morning, I got up early, finished getting ready, packed up the truck, and hit the road. The weather was beautiful for my drive and there wasn’t much traffic until I got to New York Ave in DC. Even that only added about 20 minutes on to my drive, so in the big scheme of things, it wasn’t too bad. It was kind of annoying that the traffic delay came with only 10 minutes left to go in my 3 hour drive, but I still made it to the hotel without too much trouble. In fact, it turned out that I made it to the hotel too early.
I plan to do another post about my stay at the Radisson Hotel Reagan National Airport which will include my adventures in parking, but I will just say now that DC parking garages are not designed for full size pick-ups with caps on the back. In fact, I should probably not limit that to just DC parking garages, but that is where I was trying to park on Saturday when I realized that I should really get a smaller vehicle to use when traveling to big cities. Once I finally checked in to my room (after being told there were no rooms ready, driving around trying to park, coming back to park, and being told a room was now ready), I set out to 23rd street to try to find some other folks from Milepoint.
Meeting at the Sports Pub on 23rd street was the last plan I had read about on Friday night before I went to bed. It turns out that plans had changed, but a combination of my phone app crashing and then Milepoint being down for most of the day made it difficult for me to find that out. I waited around for a little while, but never ended up finding anyone I knew. It helped that the Sports Pub had good beer on tap and the Red Sox game on TV. I thought briefly about just hanging out there for the afternoon, but ended up deciding to walk over to the new location of the Good Stuff Eatery for lunch.
Good Stuff Eatery has some of the best burgers, fries, and shakes that I have ever had and I was excited to eat there again. I have been to the Capitol Hill location a couple of times and was looking forward to trying out their new Crystal City location on this trip. In fact, from looking at the webpage as I am writing up this post, it appears that there is a third location in Georgetown coming soon. Looks like I have another place to try out next time I am in the DC area.
If you have ever been to the Capitol Hill location of Good Stuff Eatery, the first thing that will strike you about the Crystal City location is its size. It seems huge compared to their first restaurant and although it was quite crowded for a late Saturday lunch, it did not feel cramped at all. In fact, there were several open seats the whole time I was there. For this visit, I went with Spike’s Sunnyside Burger which is covered with dairy fresh cheese, applewood bacon, a farm fresh fried egg, and comes on a brioche bun with Good Stuff Sauce. Of course, I had to get an order of fries and a hand spun shake (Black and White) to go with it.
As always, my meal was incredibly delicious and consisted of far more food than I actually needed to eat at one time. I managed to finish everything, sipping the last of the shake on the walk back to my hotel, but it definitely kept me from eating too many of the snacks at the Launch Party later that evening. Once back at the hotel, I relaxed for about an hour and a half before getting ready to walk over to the Hyatt. During this time, I unsuccessfully tried to connect to the wireless internet (more on this in my Radisson post). At around 5 pm, I got dressed, pulled on my cowboy boots (giddy-up), and made the several block walk over to the Hyatt Regency.
My next post will tell you all about the Launch Party itself (including why I was wearing cowboy boots) and the after-party fun. Hopefully I will get to that later tonight, but for now, I am off to try to dodge the raindrops and sneak in a few mile bike ride. After the weekend of eating and drinking, I need to burn off a few calories.