A Travellerspoint blog

A Monumental Experience

Washington DC and end of trip

Monday we visited the Spy Museum and then had lunch at the Union Station food court. After lunch it was off to the Zoo. This was a very hot day, even the animals stayed inside and out of sight. We did get to see them feed an octopus.

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With all of the walking and the heat we were bushed at days’ end.

Tuesday Lee was finally done with her conference and we decided to make it a monumental experience. So we all boarded a trolley for a whirlwind sightseeing tour of DC. It turned out to be a good choice because today it was about 92 in the shade!

Made it to all the normal places.

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The best was probably the little known FDR memorial. It is located between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial along the Tidal Basin. It is four distinct areas, each depicting each of his 4-year terms. He is and will be the only President to serve 4 terms, through the depression and the WWII. This is a must see if visiting Washington.

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We did a drive by of the White House, National Cathedral, and down embassy row and through Georgetown.

Again, today the heat just sapped the life out of you, but Shelby took it all in stride.

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Wednesday everyone came out to the RV Park and we played in the pool. It was a good thing because today it was 95 in the shade.

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All in all this has been a very rewarding seven weeks on the road. Tomorrow morning we head home, with a stop in Savannah to visit with Bill Z and his wife Yvonne.

This is the last report for our Spring 2007 trip. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!! :) :)

Posted by popding 19:22 Comments (1)

Washington, DC Saturday June 23, and Sunday June 24, 2007

Saturday we caught up with Tim, Kory and Shelby during the day while Lee attended her conference. Ventured out to the Mall. First stop was the Air and Space museum. Of course Tim and Kory loved it.

Next stop was the National Gallery of Art. Believe it or not everybody loved it. I could spend a couple of days in this building alone. The sculptures and paintings are life like and the colors in the old paintings are vivid. It is quite a collection of art. Many objects of art dating to the 1400’s and 1500’s.

We rested for a while in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden around the fountain. In the winter this fountain becomes a skating rink.

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Decided to call it a day since we have several more days to see the various sights. Went back to Lee and Tim’s hotel and met up with Lee. I think Granny was the most excited today getting to see Kory and Shelby. I almost had her talked into staying on the road for another month, but there is one more in Gainesville that she needs to see, Jennie. So I guess we will stick to the original plan.

For dinner we joined my two nieces and my two great nieces for dinner. It is so nice and priceless meeting up with family that you don’t get to visit with very often. My great nieces sure are turning into young adults.

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Granny couldn’t resist, we took Shelby back to stay with us at the RV for the night.

Of course the only way to get around is the Metro. It takes about 60 minutes to ride from one end to the other and it just so happens that Lee and Tim are on the south end and Kathy and I are on the north end. Got back to the RV about 10:30.

Tomorrow we will hit the Mall again bright and early.

Sunday we left around 8 and met Tim and Kory at their hotel. We then ventured out as promised. First stop today was the National Archives. Visited the Navy Memorial on the way. Once at the Archives we waited in line to see original manuscripts Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. Last week Kathy and I visited Philadelphia and Independence Hall, where the Declaration and the Constitution were written and signed. My knowledge is almost “smarter than a fifth grader” on questions about the American Revolution and the creation of these documents.

These documents are displayed in the rotunda of the National Archives building, which to say the least is a large area. Above the Declaration of Independence is a mural by Barry Faulkner depicting Thomas Jefferson presenting a draft of the Declaration to John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress.

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On the opposite wall above the Bill of Rights and the Amendments to the Constitution is another equally large mural by Barry Faulkner depicting James Madison offering the final draft of the Constitution to George Washington, President of the Constitutional Convention.

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Next we spent a couple of hours in the Museum of Natural History. The kids loved all of the exhibits. This was one of their favorites and they got to meet one of their oldest relatives!

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From here we went to the Old Post Office and had lunch in the food court. At least some of us had lunch.

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Then we took the elevator up the clock tower of the Old Post office and arrived on the 12th floor to a magnificent 360-degree view of Washington. And the best part is all of these things are free of charge.

After all of this walking we were tired and our feet were hurting. We went back to the hotel and rested by a nearby fountain in Crystal City.

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Later, Kathy and I loaded up both Kory and Shelby and brought them back to the RV to spend the night. In the morning we will meet up with Tim and go to the Spy Museum, this one has an admission fee but we are told it is warrants a visit.

Posted by popding 04:17 Comments (2)

Washington DC Arrival

Not much to say today, it was a travel day from Quakertown to North DC. Interstate most of the way, tolls to pay on the interstate in PA. Very uneventful trip. Traffic was not bad at all. It was much better than I expected. Clear skies also helped.

Coming through Baltimore we could not take the I-95 tunnel due to the amount of propane that we carry in the RV. We knew about this ahead of time and took the Francis Scott Key bridge, interstate 695 then back to 95.

Tomorrow we will meet Lee and Tim and plan our adventures. They flew in today and are staying in Crystal City which is close to the Ronald Reagan National airport. So we will get on the metro here at the north end and get off at the south end and spend the day relaxing around their pool.

Then tomorrow afternoon we will meet up with my nieces and nephew who live close to DC and unfortunately for them, work in DC and fight this traffic every day. I will not complain about traffic in Gainesville ever again, even football game traffic!

Posted by popding 14:20 Comments (0)

Quakertown, PA last report June 21, 2007

As promised in the last blog we were going to do some local sight seeing, so today we went to a local tile maker's house, Henry Chapman Mercer. His Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, completed in 1912, produced tiles and mosaics for floors, walls and ceilings. Mercer's artistry and abilities produced floor tiles for the rotunda and halls of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, depicting 400 scenes in the Commonwealth's history. His tiles adorn buildings throughout the United States and the world.

However, the most bizarre was the home he built, Fonthill. We toured Fonthill and it is the strangest building I have ever been in. Fonthill, built between 1908 and 1910, is a testament to Henry Mercer's vivid imagination. He designed it, "room by room, from the interior, the exterior not being considered until all the rooms had been imagined and sketched," Mercer wrote. The result was spectacular.

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Built entirely of hand mixed concrete, Fonthill has 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, 32 stairwells and more than 200 windows of varying size and shape. The National Historic Landmark contains more than 900 prints and other objects that Mercer gathered throughout the world, creating an intensely personal statement of his genius. The lavishly embellished interior surfaces show an incredible array of Mercer's original decorative tiles.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the campground we are staying in is right next to a covered bridge with an old grist mill next to it. Here are a couple of photos of the bridge followed by a photo of the mill.

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This bridge was built in 1873 and is 130 feet long.

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Sheard's Mill operated until 1972.

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Well, we said we would take a riding lesson at Merry Lee's and we did. She has been another gracious and helpful host along our summer of 2007 adventure. Thanks, Merry Lee for you advice on places to see and the best way to get there (train rather than car) and sharing your time with us. There is nothing like visiting with old friends.

Kathy took a lesson on Surprise. No surprises!

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So that's it from Quakertown and vicinity. It's on to DC tomorrow.

Happy Trails! The end!!

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Posted by popding 19:34 Comments (0)

Valley Forge and Philly

I have been lax in updating our travels. We have been busy day and night since we arrived in Quakertown, PA. Day time is for doing the American Revolution sights and nights we have been visiting with Merry Lee. You remember her from my previous blog as Kathy's best friend from High School.

Our travels down from Niagara Falls were for the most part uneventful. The roads, whether interstate or secondary roads, are at best adequate, bumpy, under construction, narrow, and some very narrow etc. This becomes a problem when driving a 36 foot RV with car attached and you take up a normal lane. One road was very curvy, hilly and narrow with either shear rock walls or hedges or tree trunks right next to the edge of the road. Oh, did I mention this edge was THE edge, no shoulder what so ever.

Tuesday, June 19, we went to Valley Forge and spent the day. It was about a 45 minute drive from where we are staying. Valley Forge is significant even though no battles were fought here. Many men died here the winter of 1777 / 1778. They didn't die from freezing or lack of food, but mainly from diseases. About 2,200 men died that winter. Valley Forge is significant because this is where the various militias from the now United States became a cohesive, well trained army. It is because of the hardships and vigorous training at Valley Forge that we are a nation today. The Continental Army was now ready to defeat the British to become an independent nation.

Here is a typical log cabin that housed up to 12 soldiers. Each unit built their own cabin and with 12,000 troops, the cabins stretched for over two miles.

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Washington, on the other hand, along with his top officers were housed in local farm houses along with their wives. Here is the house that was Washington's home and headquarters. Quite a contrast!

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Wednesday, we took the train from Doylestown to Philadelphia. It was 1 hour and 15 minutes by rail and well worth it. Traffic in Philly is bad, many one way streets and horns honking all the time, not much brotherly love. Once in Philly we took a trolley tour and we were able to get on and off at any of the 20 stops.

First stop was the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky ran up. Notice the look alike below.

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Now for a real shock, blink your eyes, notice the striking resemblence next to the statue of Rocky.

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Next stop was South Street and Jim's Steak house. They have awesome Philly Cheese Steaks at this place. It is one of Philly's famous places to get a real Philly Cheese steak. I had mine with provalone cheese although a true Philly Cheese is made with CheeseWhiz.

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We have definately been eating well on this trip. I did not realize how well until I saw this photo that Kathy took.

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No trip to Philly is complete without seeing the Liberty Bell.

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Nor is it complete without going to Independence Hall. This area in front of Independence Hall some 231 years ago on July 8, 1776 is where the Declaration of Independence was first read in public.

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Inside the hall is where the work really took place in the Pennsylvania Assembly Room to write and discuss the Declaration of Independence. It is also where in 1787 where the US Constitution was debated, compromised and written. The work of many minds, the US Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

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Remember, in the 1770's Philadelphia was the capital of the new United States. Philadelphia had fallen to the British following the bold signing of the Declaration of Independence. Washington with his newly trained army following the winter at Valley Forge fought to regain Philly and other cities and areas taken by the British. This was accomplished with the help of the French. The deciding battle was at Yorktown in 1781.

Anyway, you get the picture, this place drips with the history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of these United States. It makes one proud to be an American!

Tomorrow it is local sightseeing with Merry Lee and a horseback riding lesson in late afternoon at Merry Lee's

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Posted by popding 17:56 Comments (1)

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