FAIRFAX, Va. — Determined to make it to her mother’s house in Richmond by Christmas morning, Lydia Manderson and her family are leaving their Fairfax County home right now, sources confirmed Monday.
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Manderson, 42, of West McLean, insisted her husband Steve and two children depart immediately or run the risk of getting stuck in Northern Virginia’s infamous 20-mile long traffic snarls for at least a week.
“I’m hell-bent on not repeating last year,” Manderson said. “It was a complete nightmare, the Woodbridge P. F. Chang’s is no place to spend the holidays.”
In addition to luggage, gifts, and her famed black-eyed pea hash, Manderson reportedly filled her Honda Pilot with pillows, blankets, and enough food to survive the 110-mile journey to Richmond. Sources close to the family also confirmed that Steve Manderson was bringing a portable hotspot so he can work from the car in case the trip stretches beyond his pre-approved vacation time. They also packed an iPad pre-loaded with Peppa Pig episodes for their kids, as well as several empty milk jugs in case someone has to use the bathroom.
“We cannot afford to make any stops,” Manderson stressed. “Even if it’s the highway rest stop in Fredericksburg, you run a huge risk. If we lose our place it could add days to our arrival time.”
While the Manderson family is determined and has planned far in advance, there is one thing that is working against them: the lack of an E-ZPass.
“Steve refuses to get an E-ZPass because he doesn’t want the government tracking him,” Manderson said. “So we are basically relegated to sitting in regular lanes on 95 like a bunch of savages.”
At press time, Manderson and her husband were stuck on I-95 and reportedly debating whether or not it would be faster to get on Route 1 at Occoquan to try and continue their journey south. “We did all the right things,” Manderson sobbed as their vehicle inched forward. “Steve left early and we even took back roads to avoid 495. Now we’re about to call our family in Richmond to tell them we may be later than expected.”
“There’s just no telling what kind of hell awaits you on this highway,” she added.