Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Washington DC - Part 1

One of the benefits of being retired is that its easy to take a spur of the moment trip.  I'm the type of guy who could pack for a lunar expedition in less than 30 minutes.  Having an RV makes it even easier.  Such was the case for my recent trip to Washington DC in mid November.  With about a days notice and a check-in with my wife (she had to work), I packed up and headed south to visit the Capital.

The inspiration for this trip came after reading a travel blog about a trip to Washington.  I've driven by and around Washington countless times and have always wanted to stop for a visit.  But after reading  Kimbopolo's Blog about her recent trip, I decided to fire up the Roadtrek.  Washington is only about 400 miles and a full day of driving from my home.

The Roadrek had already been winterized but its a simple process to partially de-winterize just enough to flush the toilet. In New England, mid November is pretty late for a camping trip, but the weather in Washington was going to be mild for a few days over the Veterans Day weekend.  With the furnace in the Roadtrek, cool nights would be no problem.

Cherry Hill Park was my base for this trip.  This full service RV park is open all year round and is located in Maryland at the northern junction of I-95 and the I-495 Beltway around Washington.
It caters to travelers visiting the Washington area. It has full hook-ups (water, elec, sewer), cable TV, and wi-fi and the facilities are spotless.  It's a little pricey at $55.80 per night, but its a lot cheaper than a Washington hotel room.  Kimbopolo wrote a nice review of the park, which you can read at this link Cherry Hill Park Review.

There's a Metrobus stop right in the park that will take you to the nearby Metro subway station.  From the subway, you can get to anywhere in Washington.  They sell the metro Smartrip cards at the RV park.  It will cost from $8 to $11 for round trip fare into Washington on the Metro (bus and rail combined).  The fares are distance and time sensitive.

I got a lot of ideas from Kimbopolo on what to see.  First, most of what you can see in Washington is free.  All the Smithsonian Museums are free, the US Capital tour is free, and all the monuments are free.  For my 4 day trip, all I spent money on was gas, camping fees, Metro fares, and food. 

National Postal Museum
My first stop was the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.  This is located in the old Washington Post Office building near Union Station.  Its quite a structure.  The Museum has historical displays about the postal service.  Its off the beaten path but worth the visit.

From, the Postal Museum, its about a 20 minute walk to the US Capital.  I had booked a tour on-line and was anxious to see the Capital and the new Capital Visitors Center.

The Capital Visitor Center is located underground.  You gain entrance from the east side of the Capital.  It gets a lot of visitors and you have to go through airport type security to gain entrance.  They tell you plan about a 20-30 min wait to gain entrance, which about what it took me to get in.


The Visitor Center is very nice.  It has an Exhibition Hall with history about the Capitol.
There's a cafeteria, two large theaters, and a large hall for ticket holders to sign up and wait for tours.

The tour is very worthwhile.  You get to see the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and the Crypt.  Tours are also given of the chamber visitor galleries when Congress is in session.  The tour guides do a fine job in explaining the history, construction, and interesting facts.

Its very moving to see all the history and famous artwork.  There's lots of statues in the Capital. Each state gets to have two statues located inside.   Here's few pictures from inside.  You can click on each to get a larger image.

Woman's Suffrage Statue

Rotunda Ceiling

Frieze of American History

Capital Visitor Center Statues
Speaker of the House Office Entrance

Washington is a walking city.  Be prepared to be on your feet a lot for tours and just to get to places.

More of my visit will be in Part 2


  1. Dear Mr. Dawg - I am glad you got to see Washington DC again. It is a great place to visit. When my wife and I eloped in Pennsylvania in 1971 - we spent some time there. Now my 35 year old son and his wife live and work in downtown DC. Every time we visit them - my wife and I re-live our honeymoon - not a bad thing :-) In 1978 we had a Scamp trailer. We stayed at the Cherry Hill Camp Ground even back then. It was only like $15 a night then. Not much there but convenience. The new Air Museum out by the Dulles Airport is fantastic. The last time we visited the Spy Museum. My son loves living in Dc where he and his wife walk to work. He also went to Georgetown University there - a pretty place. Hotels are steep but you can find weekend deals on the net. thanks for your review. Harry@Everhart.com

    1. Thanks for the feedback. So much to see and do in Washington. Planning a return trip for next year.