Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tunnels and RV’s

We learned they don’t go together as we drove down I-95 on our way to Washington DC through Baltimore. The GPS while identifying “toll roads” does not advise about tunnels (we have a Tom Tom, we wonder if any of the other GPS providers check and advise for tunnels). We had not realized that I-95 has a tunnel in Baltimore, very near the tunnel we see a sign that lets us know there is a tunnel and “No Hazardous Materials” with an outline of a propane tank, allowed. We take the next exit, see a sign for a truck stop so head towards it, just as we approach the gate we see a sign – no RVs! Oh ****! We are now 30 feet from the gate, can’t reverse and there’s no room to turn. Adele goes up to the window tells the lady we are lost, can’t turn and would she allow us enter, turn and come straight out again. Of course, no problem and she also gave us directions on how to go around Baltimore which involved going back north on I- 95 to 695 a ring road and pick up I- 95 again south of the city. Maps will now be studied for tunnels. 

Although old Newcomer friends, Pam and Charlie Hoffman who live outside DC had invited us to park RamblingRover on their driveway we had booked into an RV Park for the first night – we need to make sure that we can fit on private driveways.  After hooking up in “Cherry Hill” we headed over to Pam & Charlie’s for dinner and to check out their driveway. Tom & Charlie surveyed the driveway area after which Charlie chopped off a branch so that we could drive in easily. The following day we moved the RV over and Charlie drove us to the “Kiss & Ride” entrance for Metro which we took to The National Mall. We exited at the Smithsonian into a bright, cold, sunny day and walked along the Mall to see the war memorials. They are so different - the WW2 Memorial being the best - it honors the 400,000 who died and the 16 million who fought and the millions more, including Rosie the Riveter who worked in the war effort.  We also saw the Korean Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Woman’s Memorial. From there we went to the Lincoln Memorial where a school band from Taft CA was playing on the steps front, we sat across the road and had a hot cup of coffee and listened to the band. Next we visited the newly opened Martin Luther King memorial which is spectacular. Being short on time (closing hour is 5 pm) we took a quick visit to the Museum of Natural History and saw the Hope Diamond and other precious gems in the company of many teenage girls who were admiring the gems and dreaming (as the young should) that they will have one when they grow up and are Princesses.

The next day turned out to be a wet day but it never bothered us as we spent the day indoors visiting the Capitol Building. After taking an official guided tour of the building and hearing about its history and the workings of the government we headed over to South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson’s office and got tickets to enter the Senate and the House Representatives. Before going to either house we had lunch in the restaurant in the basement. We then went to the Senate where a Senator was finishing his speech (to an almost empty chamber) after which a vote needed to be taken. This was fascinating as all the Senators streamed in, cast their vote, chatted with each other or just voted and walked back out again; we saw many we recognized.  We then went over to the other wing to the House of Representatives in time to hear its adjournment for the weekend, so…we sat and admired the well-proportioned room.

Thankfully as there’s a tunnel from Congress to the Library of Congress we did not have to go out into the weather and with our usual luck we were in time for the last tour of the day.  This is a beautiful, ornate building where we had an excellent docent who pointed out all of its beautiful features, the decorations on the stairs, the walls, the ceilings as well as a potted history of the library. As Tom had been very active in the Irish Network we had an invitation to the Irish Embassy for coffee on the following morning. The Embassy, on Embassy Row, is located on Sheridan Circle in a beautiful building. After our visit and coffee we walked around the area and admired and marveled at the ornateness of some of the embassies. We then walked further afield to DuPont Circle and on to the neighborhoods around there. After lunch in Starbucks where we used their Wi-Fi we headed back to the Smithsonian Museums. First we went to the Natural Museum to see a 3D movie about Tornadoes’ Alley - hope we never are caught in one. Then on to the sculpture garden where we walked past a sculpture of a house six times - it turned inside out as one passed. Then we went into the Art Gallery where we tagged along on a tour that had already started and learned how to look at a painting. Once again we are the last group to leave the Museum. 

Charlie and Pam invited us to their Lake House in Virginia for a long weekend, so that’s where we’re headed next.

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