Sun 6/4/2006

Fort Abraham Lincoln

Little Big Horn

Pirate's Cove, Brainerd

Duluth snow marker

Mackinac Island trash collection

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Sr Pato and Friends at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Falling Water Living room

Falling Water

We left Anacortes May 18th thinking we had plenty of time to see the country before arriving at our scheduled RV site on June 1st.   No way, but we squeezed the most out of each day.  We had little time or internet access so we weren’t able to get our e-travelogue started until now.  Our new little trailer is so much more comfortable than the small pop up Chalet we took to Mexico last year.  However, our truck really doesn’t have enough power to pull it up hills while running the air conditioning.  It was a very HOT trip.  Dan’s been wanting a new diesel truck and this will be a great excuse for him to get one.  It’s great having a self contained trailer.  We boon docked most of the way.  Spent more $$ on coffee than we spent on camping.  Good thing since we spent a fortune on gas.

Some highlights of our trip so far are Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, 36 fabulous holes of miniature golf in Brainerd,  Mackinac Island in Michigan, Niagara Falls, Erie Canal and a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Little Bighorn no longer focuses on “the massacre” but presents the struggles of both sides.  Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is a nice break in the boredom of crossing North Dakota.  It’s where Custer and the Calvary started towards Little Bighorn.  The most interesting piece of information we learned was that the Calvary camped a few miles away from the fort for two weeks before heading out on the campaign. If anything was forgotten they could go back to the fort and pick it up.  Good thinking! 

We spent Friday of Memorial weekend bicycling and walking Mackinac Island, Michigan.  It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day.  No autos allowed on the island.  Horses and bicycles are the two basic modes of transportation.  Even garbage collection is done with horse and wagon.  At the peak of the season there are 400 draft horses servicing the island.  The Grand Hotel has the longest porch in the world.

Memorial Day at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side was another gorgeous, sunny day.  Took a tour in the tunnels behind the falls in the am.   Spent the afternoon enjoying the falls, watching people and shooting photos.   Thousands of people were there from around the world.  The falls are spectacular!  We went to the Niagara Falls IMAX which is the second most watched IMAX film.  It definitely wasn’t as good as the most watched, the Grand Canyon. That evening the falls were illuminated and fireworks were set off over the water.  The next morning we went over to the US side to see the falls and were extremely disappointed.   The streets were dirty and the facilities were not nearly what they were on the Canadian side. 

In Lockport, New York, we spent a VERY hot afternoon learning about the building of the canal and experienced going through the locks on a boat tour.  Then it was on to Pennsylvania where we toured Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater seven miles apart, homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  We’ve wanted to visit the site ever since seeing a program about it on the Discovery channel.  We were fortunate to have an engineer as our tour guide.  She and her architect sister had visited Fallingwater numerous times since it had been opened to the public.  She did a wonderful job of pointing out both the pros and the cons of the design.  It was as exciting as we anticipated it would be.

We found North Dakota the most BORING state to cross, but found the BEST hamburger in Fargo at Burger Time.  Michigan had the worst roads.  We ate our WORST meal in Lockport, New York, but there was plenty of it.  Yikes!  Wisconsin has the most unhealthy cottage cheese with 6% milk fat.  Yikes, yikes, yikes!  The BEST miniature golf is in Brainerd, Minnesota.  NOT nearly enough Starbucks in Montana and North Dakota.  HOT crossing Washington state to COLD in Duluth.  Back to hot and then HUMID the rest of the way.  We looked forward to the thunder and lightening storms for some relief.  Still do.  Hot and MUGGY here, but much, much better than yard work at home!

We arrived Thursday night in the middle of a thunderstorm with pounding rain and lightening.  Welcome to Washington DC!   We located the RV Park in College Park without trouble.  Spent Thursday night and Friday getting organized, oriented to the surrounding area and stocking up on groceries.  All the necessities and more are close.

Yesterday we successfully used the metro bus and rail system to go into DC………….without ripping each others face off.  We’re off to a good start!  It’s another adventure and we’re having a blast.


Tue 6/13/2006

 Hirshhorn Museum

Union Station Taxi line

Sr Pato ,,,,,impressed

RFK Grave

Renwick Gallery

Navy Memorial

Post Office Rail Car

Balto Harbor

WWII Memorial

We can’t believe we’ve been in D.C. for almost half a month already.  We’ve been going like crazy and still have a long “To Do” list.  Many friends & family gave us suggestions of places to see and things to do on the way to, and while in D.C.  This has been very helpful as we have visited many of those places, with more left on our list.  We envisioned this as a relaxing month but once we arrived we found we want to see EVERYTHING.  That, coupled with mass transit schedules, has made for long days even when we start out early and plan to be back in the trailer by dinner time.

The metro bus and rail system is an outstanding way to get around D.C. and the surrounding area.  Only took a day or two to figure it out.  Our problem is coordinating the bus and rail schedules so we don’t end up missing our bus and having to wait an hour for the next one!  We’ve worked out getting there.  It’s the coming home part we’re still working on.  This past Saturday we took our bicycles on the metro for the first time, heading to Mount Vernon.  What an adventure.  We intended to use the metro to get us there then ride home.  Ran into a snag on the last leg of the metro trip (no bicycle racks on the bus to Mount Vernon) so it was on to Plan B.  We enjoyed a 22 mile bicycle ride from Old Town Alexandria with a stop at Arlington National Cemetery to see Kennedy’s grave and the Tomb of the Unknowns.  The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns is impressive.  Did you know that for the past 45 years less than 400 specially selected members of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry have been honored with guarding the tomb 24 hours per day?

We’ve visited a number of interesting and informative sites.  Ford’s Theatre and the house where Lincoln died across the street, both are now sandwiched between two modern buildings.  We found it interesting that two people turned down President Lincoln’s invitation to go to the theatre that night.  Just say no?!  The boarding house was forever affected by the event.  It was sold twice, because so many people stopped by wanting to see where Lincoln died, before it was purchased by the U.S. Park Service.

Decatur House is located near the White House.   Construction was completed shortly after the White House.  After Decatur was killed in a dual in 1820, the house served as the unofficial residence for a string of American and foreign dignitaries while simultaneously being occupied by slaves.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum is more than a person can absorb in one visit.  We will return another day to finish.  The exhibits are extensive and informative.  So much we did not realize.  The exhibit of hundreds of shoes and the umbrellas taken from those killed in the death camps was emotional.  Just looking at all the different shoes made me wonder about the people who wore them.  I had no idea the U.S. government took a “hands off” position, doing nothing to help.  Immigration quotas were not increased.  In the 30’s before the war, Britain recommended countries increase their immigration quotas yet Britain did not.  Australia said they didn’t have a race problem and they didn’t need to import one.  So many countries looked the other way. 

Union Station is a restored 1907 train station once on the list to be demolished.  It is now Amtrak headquarters, a working train station, and houses 130 shops and restaurants and a multiscreen movie theater.  The building is gorgeous and well worth a visit.

The Postal Museum is more interesting than we had imagined.  It’s amazing how we take daily mail delivery to our home for granted.  I didn’t realize the Pony Express only lasted a couple of years and employed so few riders.  The history of developing and maintaining a fleet of vehicles that could keep up with the increasing amount of mail is interesting. 

If you ever visit Baltimore be sure to “Ride the Ducks”.  It’s a fun introduction to the city and the inner harbor on a vehicle that travels on land and water.  The “Ducks” are amphibious vehicles that were used to bring men and supplies to shore during World War II.  Walk the 228-step, well worn, spiral stairway to the top of Washington Monument for a fantastic view of the city.   Tour the inner harbor and eat the best Indian food you have ever eaten at Fells Point.  We still have lots more to experience in Baltimore so we’ll return another weekend.

Other sites we’ve visited have been OK.  We thought the Explorers Hall, National Geographic Society would be outstanding.  The exhibits on display were not as interesting as we had hoped, but there’s a new one opening later this month so we’ll check it out.  The Renwick Gallery did not have as many exhibits of fine craft as I had hoped.  Actually, the gift store had more appealing fine craft items.  The building is old, grand and interesting though.  The Hirshhorn Museum building is modern and unusual, but we found it hard to envision a canvas painted entirely black as art.  There were a few fun pieces of bright floor art.  The Cocoran Gallery of Art is a beautiful old building.  We found the art boring and the staff very stuffy, but Dan found a few good photo ops.

The Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are in an area that is not very well maintained.  The grass is dry, walkways not maintained and trash strewn about.  It is sad, a disgrace, and seems disrespectful.  

Seems like there’s always some who ha going on in D.C.  While having lunch on a bench outside the Renwick gallery we watched D.C. police take down a man with a pack across the street.  Numerous police cars arrived on the scene. The man was put face down on the ground and his pack taken away.  He was handcuffed and removed in a matter of minutes.  Interesting lunch entertainment.  While we were touring the monuments, we heard sirens followed by several White House police cars and a limo or two.  It was quite a motorcade.  Someone or something BIG was going on, but I guess that’s standard procedure for D.C.

The weather has been bearable so far.  It’s been hot and muggy some days.  Cooler and rainy other days, but the rain usually doesn’t last long.  It’s pretty much afternoon thunder storms with rain and lightening.  The day we spent in Baltimore it was sunny and warm most of the day.  As we were boarding the “Duck” it started to rain and dumped for approximately 20 minutes.  Then it was over and back to nice weather. 

Despite using the metro system we’ve been doing plenty of walking most days.  We’ve also enjoyed long bike rides.  There are many bike trails around College Park.  We’re enjoying the wooded areas, squirrels, rabbits, bunnies, brilliant red Cardinals, and almost ran into a deer on the bike trail the other day.  We’ve been packing our lunch most days and eating in the trailer, but there is lots of good ethnic food available and we’ve been taking advantage of it!


Sat 7/1/2006

Setting a sculpture at National museum of American Art

The Sculpture set

FDR Memorial

Sr Pato at the White House Mafia

Jefferson Grave

Monticello Air tunnel

National Aquarium, Balto

Navy Memorial

Annapolis

One of the highlights of our trip was a personal tour of the U. S. Navel Academy at Annapolis.  We spent most of a day touring with our neighbor’s son, a psychology professor at the academy.   The atmosphere of the campus demands respect and the traditions inspire pride.  The largest dorm in the world not only houses, but feeds 5000 cadets in one sitting, three meals per day.  The logistics of that must be daunting.  We were amazed at the museum’s large collection of ship models made of table scrap bone by prisoners of war aboard enemy vessels in the late 1700s.  After touring the campus we walked the old, historical part of Annapolis near the academy enjoying the Georgian-style architecture and the waterfront.  

We decided to visit Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park after hearing how much Gretchen enjoyed a recent visit there.  Ranger Nancy took us on an interesting, to the point of EXCITING, tour of the area and it’s history. We spent the day touring more then two dozen restored 19th- century buildings discovering the historical events that shaped the region.  Some of those events being the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery and the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War.

We gave the Mount Vernon area another try using the Metro and our bicycles to get there.  We bicycled from Alexandria past Mount Vernon to Woodlawn Plantation.  The land, originally part of Mount Vernon, was a gift from George Washington to his nephew.  The 1805 mansion was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the first architect of the Capitol.  Again we lucked out by getting a fun tour guide who shared stories of the mansion being haunted.  We also toured the Pope-Leighey House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It had been relocated to the plantation grounds in an effort to save it from demolition for highway construction.  It was designed in the Usonian style, meant to be affordable for the common man.  We ended up biking 38 miles that day along beautifully wooded bicycle trails. 

We had to be up at 4:45 a.m. to get downtown and in line for tickets to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving tour.  They sell a limited number of tickets daily, beginning at 8 a.m.  The line starts to form at 6:30.  The tour was interesting, although neither of us is sure it was worth getting up that early for. With the demand high and security as tight as it is these days, tours are more restricted and not much time is spent answering questions.  Do you know what a star series bill is?  It’s the bill that replaces a bill that does not meet the printing standards.  So if you find a bill that hasn’t been circulated with a red star at the end of the serial number it is worth about 10 times the original amount. Not the best tour we’ve been on, not the worst either, but definitely the EARLIEST we’ve had to be in line for! 

Father’s Day was the perfect day to spend at the International Spy Museum.  From the outside it looks like a real tourist trap, but we had heard from neighbors in the RV park it was well worth the time and $$.  It was several floors of almost anything and everything spy related, presented in an atmosphere of INTRIGUE.  Great fun and extremely interesting.  Afterwards we walked to the White House so Dan could get some photos of Sr. Pato protesting.  It was 91 degrees and almost unbearable.  We were glad we had spent most of the day in an air conditioned building!

The Sunset Parade is the color ceremony featuring the Marine Silent Drill Team, Color Guard and Drum and Bugle Corps held at the Marine Corps War Memorial.  By the time the ceremony began at 7 p.m. we had found a front row seat in the cool grass.  It is quite a ceremony, inspiring pride in one’s country.  The rifles weigh 10 ½ pounds and they maneuver them like they weigh nothing.  VERY IMPRESSIVE.

Another day spent in Baltimore took us to the National Aquarium.  WOW!  It is one of the nicest aquariums we’ve been to.  It is several floors featuring exhibits from dolphins and sharks to frogs and birds, even a few alligators.  They have the largest exhibit of poison dart frogs in the country.   We especially enjoyed the frog exhibits and the stingrays.  Ended up spending several hours there before Dan headed to the B & O railroad Museum.  Turned out to be a little more than he expected.  Being in Baltimore once more gave us an excuse to have another fantastic Indian meal.

One of the last road trips we took out of D.C. was to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  We took two tours  and again had outstanding tour guides.   Jefferson is kind of interesting.  He was against slavery yet during his life time he owned over 600 slaves.  It’s true he inherited most of them, but he only freed six of them.   We found it interesting that he made copies of all of his correspondence by the use of a polygraph machine.  He either was a meticulous record keeper or he felt his documents would be important someday.   The trust is now cataloging his correspondence from after his retirement from public office.    On any given day there might have been as many as 50 guests stopping by Monticello to visit the past president.  In those days you were expected to feed and house them.  Most of them were strangers.  When Jefferson died he was in major debt with 17 relatives living at the house.   His heirs ended up having to sell Monticello and all the slaves to pay off the debt.

We spent several days in the Smithsonian Museums.  We especially enjoyed the space exhibits at Air & Space and the restoration project of the Star Spangled Banner and the Polio exhibit at the Museum of American History.   Bet you thought Betsy Ross made the Star Spangled Banner flag.  Actually, she didn’t.  Mrs. Pickersgill, one of many flag makers of the time, made that flag.  In a huge preservation project lasting the past five years the flag has been cleaned and stabilized and is waiting to be moved to a special exhibit area designed to preserve it for the future.  Sr. Pato brought to our attention an exhibit that featured a car, a story and photographs of a couple that traveled the 49 states.  In the photos was a travel buddy.  Overall we were a little disappointed in the Smithsonian Museums.  The exhibits are not what they were on our previous visits years ago.  Seems like they have taken the same route as TV news, becoming entertainment and fluff.  We missed the displays packed full of artifacts and objects……….especially the old Woolworth’s lunch counter!   Now it’s interactive displays, large scale sets and fewer objects of interest. 

To avoid choking each other during the trip we took time out from each other a couple of days to “do our own thing”.  While Dan toured the Navy Yard, old Post Office and took photos around town I spent time in old town Alexandria, Georgetown and visited the Textile Museum.  In Alexandria I browsed leisurely through the shops finding wearable art from many artists I am familiar with from our area.   The old torpedo factory, built for the manufacture of torpedo casings for world War I and II, has been a complex of working artist studios for many years.  We visited when we were here years ago.  It was fun to poke around there again because the work is by local artists.  I came away with lots of notes, some good ideas and a few purchases.

The last couple of days we were in D.C. it DUMPED rain.  There was flooding, closure of roads and interruption of Metro service.  It didn’t slow us down.  We just put on our rain jackets and went.  With the hot temperatures it was like a sauna when the rain stopped.  Our last day in D.C. we made it back to the National Geographic Museum Explorers Hall to view the photography of internationally known photojournalist, Reza.  From Asia to Africa the photographs witness the torments of war and revolution.  It was an OUTSTANDING display of photography. 

Throughout the visit we realized there is so much more we would like to see, not necessarily in D.C. but in the surrounding areas.  We are already planning another trip back. 


Mon 7/3/2006

Antietum

caption

Caption

We’re on the road again, heading home.  What a fun month we had in the D.C. area!  We managed to see and do almost everything on our list.  We were so busy I didn’t get another e-travelogue written.  Now I’ll try to catch up.

One of the highlights of our trip was a personal tour of the U. S. Navel Academy at Annapolis.  We spent most of a day touring with our neighbor’s son, a psychology professor at the academy.   The atmosphere of the campus demands respect and the traditions inspire pride.  The largest dorm in the world not only houses, but feeds 5000 cadets in one sitting, three meals per day.  The logistics of that must be daunting.  We were amazed at the museum’s large collection of ship models made of table scrap bone by prisoners of war aboard enemy vessels in the late 1700s.  After touring the campus we walked the old, historical part of Annapolis near the academy enjoying the Georgian-style architecture and the waterfront.  

We decided to visit Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park after hearing how much Gretchen enjoyed a recent visit there.  Ranger Nancy took us on an interesting, to the point of EXCITING, tour of the area and it’s history. We spent the day touring more then two dozen restored 19th- century buildings discovering the historical events that shaped the region.  Some of those events being the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery and the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War.

We gave the Mount Vernon area another try using the Metro and our bicycles to get there.  We bicycled from Alexandria past Mount Vernon to Woodlawn Plantation.  The land, originally part of Mount Vernon, was a gift from George Washington to his nephew.  The 1805 mansion was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the first architect of the Capitol.  Again we lucked out by getting a fun tour guide who shared stories of the mansion being haunted.  We also toured the Pope-Leighey House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It had been relocated to the plantation grounds in an effort to save it from demolition for highway construction.  It was designed in the Usonian style, meant to be affordable for the common man.  We ended up biking 38 miles that day along beautifully wooded bicycle trails. 

We had to be up at 4:45 a.m. to get downtown and in line for tickets to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving tour.  They sell a limited number of tickets daily, beginning at 8 a.m.  The line starts to form at 6:30.  The tour was interesting, although neither of us is sure it was worth getting up that early for. With the demand high and security as tight as it is these days, tours are more restricted and not much time is spent answering questions.  Do you know what a star series bill is?  It’s the bill that replaces a bill that does not meet the printing standards.  So if you find a bill that hasn’t been circulated with a red star at the end of the serial number it is worth about 10 times the original amount. Not the best tour we’ve been on, not the worst either, but definitely the EARLIEST we’ve had to be in line for! 

Father’s Day was the perfect day to spend at the International Spy Museum.  From the outside it looks like a real tourist trap, but we had heard from neighbors in the RV park it was well worth the time and $$.  It was several floors of almost anything and everything spy related, presented in an atmosphere of INTRIGUE.  Great fun and extremely interesting.  Afterwards we walked to the White House so Dan could get some photos of Sr. Pato protesting.  It was 91 degrees and almost unbearable.  We were glad we had spent most of the day in an air conditioned building!

The Sunset Parade is the color ceremony featuring the Marine Silent Drill Team, Color Guard and Drum and Bugle Corps held at the Marine Corps War Memorial.  By the time the ceremony began at 7 p.m. we had found a front row seat in the cool grass.  It is quite a ceremony, inspiring pride in one’s country.  The rifles weigh 10 ½ pounds and they maneuver them like they weigh nothing.  VERY IMPRESSIVE.

Another day spent in Baltimore took us to the National Aquarium.  WOW!  It is one of the nicest aquariums we’ve been to.  It is several floors featuring exhibits from dolphins and sharks to frogs and birds, even a few alligators.  They have the largest exhibit of poison dart frogs in the country.   We especially enjoyed the frog exhibits and the stingrays.  Ended up spending several hours there before Dan headed to the B & O railroad Museum.  Turned out to be a little more than he expected.  Being in Baltimore once more gave us an excuse to have another fantastic Indian meal.

One of the last road trips we took out of D.C. was to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  We took two tours  and again had outstanding tour guides.   Jefferson is kind of interesting.  He was against slavery yet during his life time he owned over 600 slaves.  It’s true he inherited most of them, but he only freed six of them.   We found it interesting that he made copies of all of his correspondence by the use of a polygraph machine.  He either was a meticulous record keeper or he felt his documents would be important someday.   The trust is now cataloging his correspondence from after his retirement from public office.    On any given day there might have been as many as 50 guests stopping by Monticello to visit the past president.  In those days you were expected to feed and house them.  Most of them were strangers.  When Jefferson died he was in major debt with 17 relatives living at the house.   His heirs ended up having to sell Monticello and all the slaves to pay off the debt.

We spent several days in the Smithsonian Museums.  We especially enjoyed the space exhibits at Air & Space and the restoration project of the Star Spangled Banner and the Polio exhibit at the Museum of American History.   Bet you thought Betsy Ross made the Star Spangled Banner flag.  Actually, she didn’t.  Mrs. Pickersgill, one of many flag makers of the time, made that flag.  In a huge preservation project lasting the past five years the flag has been cleaned and stabilized and is waiting to be moved to a special exhibit area designed to preserve it for the future.  Sr. Pato brought to our attention an exhibit that featured a car, a story and photographs of a couple that traveled the 49 states.  In the photos was a travel buddy.  Overall we were a little disappointed in the Smithsonian Museums.  The exhibits are not what they were on our previous visits years ago.  Seems like they have taken the same route as TV news, becoming entertainment and fluff.  We missed the displays packed full of artifacts and objects……….especially the old Woolworth’s lunch counter!   Now it’s interactive displays, large scale sets and fewer objects of interest. 

To avoid choking each other during the trip we took time out from each other a couple of days to “do our own thing”.  While Dan toured the Navy Yard, old Post Office and took photos around town I spent time in old town Alexandria, Georgetown and visited the Textile Museum.  In Alexandria I browsed leisurely through the shops finding wearable art from many artists I am familiar with from our area.   The old torpedo factory, built for the manufacture of torpedo casings for world War I and II, has been a complex of working artist studios for many years.  We visited when we were here years ago.  It was fun to poke around there again because the work is by local artists.  I came away with lots of notes, some good ideas and a few purchases.

The last couple of days we were in D.C. it DUMPED rain.  There was flooding, closure of roads and interruption of Metro service.  It didn’t slow us down.  We just put on our rain jackets and went.  With the hot temperatures it was like a sauna when the rain stopped.  Our last day in D.C. we made it back to the National Geographic Museum Explorers Hall to view the photography of internationally known photojournalist, Reza.  From Asia to Africa the photographs witness the torments of war and revolution.  It was an OUTSTANDING display of photography. 

Throughout the visit we realized there is so much more we would like to see, not necessarily in D.C. but in the surrounding areas.  We are already planning another trip back.  More on our trip home in the next e-travelogue. 


Wed 7/5/2006 7:31 PM

Our first day on the road home we considered stopping at Gettysburg, but decided on Antietam National Battlefield instead.  We were glad we did.  It is a 3000-acre site where the Battle of Antietam took place Sept. 17, 1862.  I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited about more war history, but was pleasantly surprised.  Another fantastic tour by a knowledgeable and entertaining Park Service ranger put the numerous battles of the day into an understandable sequence of events.  In the one day battle there was a casualty every 2 seconds for 12 hours!  The next day both sides were sharing tobacco and food.  All the commanding officers for both sides were West Point graduates and knew each other.  Dan found it especially interesting the first ever photographs taken of a battlefield full of dead soldiers were taken at this battlefield.

Next we headed to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where we definitely got our money’s worth!  Six floors packed with memorabilia kept us busy until closing time.  I found it interesting the Beatles stood up President and Imelda Marcos and almost caused an international incident.  Did you know Rick Nelson is considered the first teenage idol?  The TV show Ozzie and Harriet legitimized rock and roll.  The viewing public felt if it was acceptable to Ozzie and Harriet it must be OK.  We also found it amazing that many famous musicians came from Cleveland, of all places.   If you’re ever in Cleveland, it’s worth a stop, but plan on spending most of the day.

After a LONG, HOT drive at 0 to 30 miles per hour through Chicago on the interstate our next stop was the Wisconsin Dells, playground for Chicago.  We arrived there on the 4th of July weekend.  It was sunny, hot and full of tourists.  We cooled down by taking a boat tour of the dells.   We were the only two on the top deck of the boat.  The rest were seeking shade down below.  The very same old, green sandstone rock formations are found in only three places in the world, Wisconsin, upper New York state and Ireland.  We were surprised to see a Pirate’s Cove miniature golf course there.  In fact there were 5 courses of 36 holes.  It was tempting, but we decided to save the golf for another day to break up the trip.  We went a bit out of our way to play 36 holes again in Brainerd the next day.  Dan made 3 holes in one and beat me both rounds.  You should see how BIG his head is now.

We stayed in Bozeman, Montana last night.  Now that we’re on the last leg of our trip we are anxious to get home.  The past couple of days have been long and boring through North Dakota and eastern Montana.  We stopped at the interesting places on the way, plus we’re trying to make time on the way home so the long, boring, hot days in the truck are getting old.

We drove the most miles we’ve driven in one day to get to Bozeman for the 4th  of July.  We figured since it’s a college town there might be more going on.  The fair grounds where the fireworks display was scheduled to be set off is right across the street from Wal-Mart.  By the time it was dark, there must have been 30 + rigs parked in the lot plus lots of other vehicles belonging to people gathering for the fireworks.  We took our fold up chairs over to the grass on the side of the building and got in on quite a show.  Lots of people setting off fireworks in the road, across the field and around the parking lot.  We waited until after 11 pm and still no fireworks display from the fair grounds.  We thought maybe they had cancelled due to the wind.  We were really beat so we headed for the trailer.  As soon as we were half way across the parking lot they started…..wouldn’t ya know!  Lots of people spent the night in the parking lot, including 3 guys on motorcycles who slept on the sidewalk.  It was interesting.

Since leaving D.C. we have boon docked every night at Wal-Mart except for one.  Can’t say that Wal-Mart is a favorite of ours but it sure comes in handy when you want to save some $$ and still have a convenient, safe place to park for the night.  In some of this country there aren’t a whole lot of options, but in Fargo ND we stayed at a very nice city park by the river.  It was evening and cooler when we arrived so we took a long bike ride along the river trail.  Back to the trailer at 11 p.m.  Felt great to get out of the truck, get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air.

Well, we’re just about at the end of our D.C. adventure so we’ll leave you with a few general observations from our trip.

  • We have been a WARing nation since the revolution.
  • Either we were lucky or the National Park Service has developed a bunch of knowledgeable and interesting tour guides.
  • Security has changed the look and feel of our capitol.  Barricades and fences are an eye sore on many streets.  The grand entrance of most buildings is barricaded and no longer used.  You now have to enter through a basement or side entrance.  Most buildings have security checks which are a JOKE.  Guards have you open a couple pockets in your backpack or purse and make a show of poking around with a little dowel.  You could probably make it through security with anything less than a 20 pound package of explosives.  There are 10,000 security people employed in D.C. and only 1000 of them are properly trained.
  • In Ohio the corn is planted up to within ten feet of strip malls and farm buildings.
  • The medians in Maryland are full of COLORFUL poppies which is a nice change from most states.
  • There are lots of CHEESE signs along the highway in Wisconsin.
  • Many brands of RVs and golf carts are made in Indiana within a few miles of each other.
  • 70 miles of the interstate in Chicago is a MESS!  Don’t go there!
  • North Dakota and Montana are BIG states.
  • It IS possible to travel over 7000 miles without stopping at a quilt shop or fabric store.  However, this is not necessarily true of bead shops.
  • Adventures are grand, but it’s always nice to get HOME!