Washington DC 2011
Roger's photography shoot at Washington DC July, 2011



07/4/11 day 15 I was so groggy this morning and slept until 8:30 am. Had coffee and multi grain toast for breakfast. Replaced another florescent thin-lite fixture in the living room. I need to buy one more for the bedroom as the trailer is beginning to show its age. I also must fix hinges on the bedroom door today as they are ready to fall off. The rode vibration and bumps loosen everything up and one must be very vigilant to keep things tight and attached. The shower must also be caulked as cracks are now open. Need to buy some clear caulk at Camping World. I drove about 70 miles to Charlotville the home of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I had lunch first at the famous tavern at the bottom of the hill. Then I did the general 1.5 hour tour through the house and the grounds. It cost $22. The house is almost in original condition and it was great to see and photograph it. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside as there are several original art pieces in the house. Got back to the trailer around 5:30 pm. I will sure be glad to be in D.C. tomorrow where I will be able to stay for 10 days without driving. My butt is getting incredibly sore and stiff from sitting 6-8 hours per day.

 

07/5/11 day 16 Got on the road around 10:00 am drove 130 miles to College Park, Maryland a suburb of Washington DC. The traffic was bad the last 25 miles. I checked into the Cherry Hill RV park where I will stay for 11 days. The park is really nice considering that it is in a big city. It has a pool with life guards, Jacuzzis hot tubs, sauna rooms, and a cafe restaurant with reasonably decent food. The city bus comes in and 4 Gray line tours provide transportation from here. They have tour and city Metro orientation meetings to help out new arrivals every day. The sites are level asphalt with grass, trees, and full hook ups. It is extremely humid here and air conditioning in the trailer is required 66% of the time.

 

07/6/11 day 17 I spent the day doing laundry and cleaning up my trailer. I even vacuumed the floors and washed the toilet and sink. The took until noon at witch time I went the Verizon store and bought the MiFi 4510L 4G LTE Mobil Hotspot for internet. It is screaming fast 6-12 megabit speed when 4g tower signal is available. No more struggling with the RV Park overloaded wifi systems. 5 wifi devices can be on it at once. I discussed at length with Tom Pautler who highly advised that I get it. He has the same thing on a Droid cell phone. Because Verizon does not work at home I elected to not get a Droid cell phone. The bad is that the device cost $269 plus a one time $35 activation fee. The monthly charge is $50/month but it can be cancelled and restarted without activation fees at anytime. It works mostly all over the US on 3G network and many places on 4G super high speed network with areas coming on line all the time. I spent 4 or 5 hours using Skype and playing on the BBO today all on the 4G network. What an awesome upgrade to my on the road networking.

 

07/7/11 day 18 I did a Gray Line tour called DC in a day the bus leaving at 7:00 am from the RV Park. The bus took about an hour to get to Union Station where we switched buses. First stop was the Capitol building where we took a tour. The building and the artwork in the building was awesome. Drove by the White House and then stopped at WW II war memorial. Then headed to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I got dropped off at the main US Post Office food court for lunch. The food here was excellent and inexpensive. I then walked in the 90 F and 90% humidity about 1.5 blocks to the Smithsonian touring it for about 1.5 hours. I was dead tired now from walking and the heat. I waited for the bus at one of the entrances but apparently the wrong one as it never showed up. I talked another Gray Line tour bus into taking me back to Union Station where I was able to get back on the correct bust to take me home. I missed about 2 hours of the tour but the cool Union Station along with Star Bucks coffee Frappuccino made everything seem OK again.

 

07/8/11 day 19 Stayed home all day recovering from yesterday's grueling heat and humidity. Returned an unnecessary cable to Verizon and tried to get my internet account established so I can track my data usage on the MiFi device. Verizon would not give me the password I needed and insisted I needed to wait for it to be delivered via snail mail. I will probably not use it in Canada as data roaming charges are exorbitant in Canada. My Photo meet up safari at night with professional was cancelled because of thunder storms, which was very disappointing.

 

07/9/11 day 20 I spent most of the day in the trailer practicing bidding on the BBO with my new Toronto Nationals partner Ben Yang from Jersey. I also played two fast pair games with Marvin French on the BBO. Used my cell phone a lot talking to Ben, my sisters, and other friends.

 

07/10/11 day 21 I jumped onto the Gray Line Mt. Vernon/Arlington Cemetery Tour at 7:00 am leaving from the Cherry Hill RV Park. Had a great time as I met 5 friendly people and stayed with them the majority of the tour. All the Gray line tours originate at Union Station in down town DC. The first stop was Old Town Alexandria the location of Christ Church which George Washington and Robert E. Lee attended. The southern style homes were very charming and beautiful. The south wanted this location to be the capital but DC was finally selected as it was dead center between north and south at this time in history. Next we continued on to Mt. Vernon the home or plantation of George Washington. This place was really classy with beautiful buildings, artwork, country side wooded surrounding right on the Potamac River, way more classy than Monticello. George was not poor but he married the richest widow in the area which helped him improve is mansion and support is political career. I really enjoyed touring his mansion which included some farm animals including; some beautiful well groomed Shire horses and a handsome really large mule named Mollie. His mansion saved by a women's group many years ago is in my opinion the most worth while thing to see in the Washington DC area.

Next we visited the Arlington Memorial Cemetery and watched the impressive change of the guard for the unknown soldier. I photographed it from every angle. What an impressive ceremony in continuous use since the memorial was built. I did not know that this property used to be owned by the Robert E. Lee family. It was made a cemetery near the end of the civil war, party because they needed land for it and partly to punish Lee for fighting the south rather than the north.

Next we visited following memorials; Iwo Jima, Lincoln, Vietnam, and the Korean war memorials. Managed to find the bus after each stop and got back to Cherry Hill RV Park at 6:30 pm.

 

07/11/11 day 22 Did another Gray Line tour to the Gettysburg Battle field today. Bus was late at Cherry Park because of equipment switching. Arrived at Union Station in time to buy ticket and get on the bus, even finding time to get coffee and bagel from Starbucks. It was a pleasant drive out of DC toward Pennsylvania as the weather was cool and no traffic because it was Sunday. We had a small group on bus perhaps 18. Our first stop in Gettysburg was the Diorama an impressive miniature replication of the battlefield including soldiers artillery etc. We were given a narrated history of the battle with nice lighting highlighting the location of each battle. We then went to the battlefield in the bus stopping at various vantage points. An excellent guide joined us giving us in depth descriptions of the battle and the strategy employed by the two leading generals Lee and Meade. The semi wooded rolling hills area was very pretty but one would not expect that an epic battle had taken place here with all the monuments that were installed by the various brigades after the war. Some of the monuments were very impressive as were the many original canons lining the ridge lines of the battle. After listening to the details of the battle I do not understand what General Lee was thinking when he ordered Pickett's charge !!! As our guide said Napoleon had Waterloo and Lee had Gettysburg. This really was the defining battle of the war determining the outcome. Had the South secured the two round top hills before the North (only a matter of minutes) the history of the world would have changed big time. I really enjoyed seeing and hearing about this hallowed ground and battle.

Next we visited the home of George Washington Shriver. A middle class family lived here and we saw how they lived then and what impact this battle had on them.

The ride home to DC was gruesome because the AC on the big Prevost bus went out and it was 100+ degrees out side. I was really wiped out by the time we got back to Union Station in DC at 6:30 am. I had some great mussels and a glass of Chardonnay wine in the cool heavenly air conditioned space of Union Station's best restaurant.

I was finally forced to take the Metro subway system home as the Gray Line bus did not offer transportation back to Cherry Hill RV resort. It turned out to be a pleasant ride with little difficulty. I can now see that using DC public transportation is not a bad way to go. I believe I will survive this trip without driving my truck down town.

 

07/12/11 day 23 Recouping from the heat on the tour yesterday holing up most of the day in my working air conditioned 5th wheel trailer. Left at 5:40 pm to take night Gray Line tour of the sites in DC. Took my tripod along for timed exposures. Tour started out good with the best guide so far, named Big Ale a real comedian. This is a very popular tour which filled two Prevost busses on this night. Unfortunately in the middle of the tour Big Ale could not restart the bus and we had to wait an hour to get a replacement. Finally we got installed on another bus and all went well the rest of the night. Finally got home at 11:30 pm 1.5 hours off of schedule.

 

07/13/11 day 24 Got on the Metro at 8:00 am to meet my Photo Safari professional at the Renwick Gallery in DC. I had to use the Metro system to get down town. Got on the Metro bus to the Metro subway station OK. I had purchased an all day pass for the Metro the day before from Cherry Hill RV Park, but to my dismay I found out that the pass is only good on the day sold contrary to what the retail salesman said. Some nice people from Orange County California showed me how to purchase a Metro pass using the automated machines and paying by credit card. I do not know if I could have figured it out without this women's help, what cluster when using the first time. Once you use it, it does become intuitive, but that first time!!! Wow! The first time I used the Metro I was not aware that you had to use the pass to exit also. I had trouble walked sideways right through the turn stile and was immediately accosted by a black metro women official who lectured me for 5 minutes stating that I could be arrested for this action! If you loose your pass your have to pay again to get out of the Metro System and if you have no money you may be stuck in there for life!!! At any rate, on this day I made it town town OK changing trains once and getting there 40 minutes early.

I relaxed and had some great coffee and pastries at a local coffee house 1/2 block from Renwick Gallery. David Luria the owner of Photo Safari was a very engaging and knowledgeable photographer. I enjoyed his lectures and his excellent knowledge of the history of the city. It was fun being with other photographers. Only 4 of us stayed for the full day tour. Two of them were professional photographers at the Treasury Department. The other one was an amateur like me from Colorado, a mother, voice teacher, singer, dancer, and actress a quite engaging person who kept us all entertained. I enjoyed the tour a lot and was happy I booked it. The Metro trip home was uneventful but somewhat scary during rush hour because of all the people and sometimes not seats.

 

07/14/11 day 25 Doing some laundry and preparation for travel today. Seeing Washington DC has been and interesting experience well worth the time it took. I will endeavor to visit it again someday hopefully with Linda. I had dinner tonight at a fun restaurant called the "Hard Time Cafe" They specialized in 4 kinds of chili and various grilled meat and fish. I sat at the bar conversing with local worker bees. I had slider hamburgers with Santa Fe chili on them which was super good and that spicy chili was to die for with some local stout draft beer. The best meal I had in the DC area.

 

07/15/11 day 26 I got up early and tried to set up "My Verizon" account on the web for my new MiFi 4g device but even after calling them, could not get the account set up because my password send to home would not work. Verizon is just a screwed up as AT&T when it comes to costumer service. I did talk to rep who convinced me not to use data on my phone or the MiFi as it could potention cost me $2000 if I used 2GB of data!! This convinced me to disable all data on my phone & MiFi. I should be able to find some free local wifi to use in Toronto.

Finally got on the road north to Meadville, PN at 8:30 am. The drive trough Maryland was beautiful. What a pretty state. I would like to spend more time here visiting more battle fields and Baltimore. Stayed at an KOA campground which was very picturesque, wooded, having some small lakes. I was however very tired from the 330 mile drive and retired early.

Last updated on September 12, 2011