John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

May 2010 Journal

Today we got up had our coffee on the patio and then did some laundry, gas up Red and did picked up some groceries.  After we did a little pre-departure stuff, we headed to the pool to soak up some rays and do some reading. 

30   Beautiful day.  We headed over to the clubhouse for a Memorial Weekend Cookout.  We visited with some of the people we met last night.  One lady, Kathleen, it turns out was at Lazy Lakes for a few days.  It was after we left, but still, small world.

Another rainy morning.  John is cleaning up the outside of the cow and red, and I am working on our journal and photos.  We hung around the cow and did some reading.  After an early dinner we headed to the clubhouse for a Texas Holdem tournament.  We didn’t finish in the money, but we met some nice people and had a good time.

This morning John is making a batch of his salsa and I did some TCI stuff.  We headed back over to the Edwin Forsythe Natl. Wildlife Refuge for some hiking.  We did the songbird trail together and then John went on and did a little more.  I ended up with about 4 miles and John did about 8 miles.  We came back, had a nice dinner and hung around the cow.

27   Today we headed out early into Philadelphia for the day.  We started at the visitor’s center and there we got free tickets to the Independence Hall Tour.  We watched a short movie about our nation’s independence.  We took a walk to Washington Square and visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution.  Now it’s time for our Independence Hall Tour.  This is where the 1st congress declared independence and where the Declaration of Independence was signed.  After our tour we were going to go see the Liberty Bell, but the line was huge, so we got to see it from the outside viewing area.  We walked to Penn’s Landing which is along the waterfront.  It’s still early in the season so not much is going on there.  We were ready for lunch so we walked on back and headed to Chinatown.  We had a nice lunch in Chinatown and then headed back to our truck.    

I had a little too much fun yesterday and needed to just hang around the cow, relax and do some reading.

Today we headed to Ocean City to check out the boardwalk and the beach.  We walked the boardwalk and then along the beach.  It was a sunny and comfortable day.  Since it’s still before Memorial Day, not much was going on and some of the shops weren’t open yet.  We decided to head back and stop in Atlantic City for a while.  We stopped at the Hilton, then walked along the boardwalk down to the Tropicana.  I lost a little and John came out a little ahead.

22 – 24 
These days were cool, damp and rainy.  So we hung around the cow, did domestic stuff, and lots of reading.

21   We headed up to Batsto today.  Even though it’s on a map, it’s not in the GPS.  It was an Iron Village years ago when Joseph Wharton built it up.  Now it’s a Nat’l Historic Village.  First we went to the visitor’s center and walked through it to learn about the village.  We signed up the mansion tour.  After doing the mansion tour and walking around the grounds, we were off on the hiking trails.
The plan was to hike the 2 mile Toms River path, and then John would continue on the Mullica River Trail.  Well the Toms River path was flooded and I wasn’t going to forge on through.  So John did and continued on the Mullica River Trail.  I walked around the grounds at Batsto and checked out the old general store, stables and other buildings.  Then I headed up to Atsion.  This is about a 15 mile drive from Batsto.  There is a lake, beach, camping area and park headquarters there.  This is also where John will end up on his 10 mile hike on the Mullica River Trail.  I had to go 15 miles due to the roads.  I got up to Atsion and went and hung out at the beach and walked one of the short nature trails up there.  It took John 4 hours for the 10 miles.  He had a good hike.
We decided we were going to stop for dinner and cocktails, so off we went.  We stopped in Smithville to check out a tavern our tour guide in Batsto recommended.  It was a little too touristy for us, so we moved on.  We were tired and hungry.  We stopped at La Hacienda for dinner.  We had a couple drinks, a nice dinner and listened to the band.  It was kind of weird.  We’re at a Mexican restaurant and the band is playing 80’s tunes??  We still enjoyed it.  Now were done. 

Last night while watching the news, the sports came on.  They were going to talk about the Philadelphia Phillies game.  So I went on the internet to see if they were playing today and who.  GREAT!!  Chicago Cubs vs Philadelphia Phillies at 1pm.  Tickets were sold out, but they sell 900 standing room only tickets at each game.  We left around 930am for the 60 mile trip.  Got there early and parking was no problem.
We got our tickets and got in the park.  We took a walk through the park and checked it out.  We found a couple seats up in the bleachers.  We knew if someone with tickets came we would have to move, but that’s fine.  It worked out great.  The park was packed!  Our section was packed!  Except for our seats.  So we were able to stay there the whole game.  Our Cubbies lost but it was a good game.  Phillies 5, Cubs 4. 

This morning is cool and damp.  It did clear up in the afternoon.  So this morning I did a little TCI stuff and John did some reading.  We headed back over to the Edwin Forsythe NWR for a hike.  We did the songbird trail.  It’s about 4 miles round trip.  We saw a new bird, the Scarlet Tangier

It’s really raining and cool, only around 50 this morning.  It’s supposed to be a rain out all day.  We hung around the cow.

Today we decided to head back into Atlantic City.  We went to the Showboat Casino had some cocktails, played some nickel video poker and penny slots.  We didn’t win, but we didn’t lose much and had a great time. 

Bright and sunny day about 72 degrees.  We headed over to the Edwin Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.  It’s really close to our campground.  We did a few short hikes together for about 1.5 miles.  We saw some golden warblers, glossy Ibis, purple martins and black skimmers.  There is an 8 mile drive through the marshlands.  John walked it and I drove it and stopped at the various observation decks and pull offs along the way.
One bird we saw was the “Atlantic Brant”, it’s actually in the geese family.  We were very lucky to see them.  They winter only down in this area and then soon will head north up way past the arctic circle for the summer.  During the drive there were a few other hiking trails so we did them together.  All in all, I ended up with about 3 miles and John had about 11 miles.  We still have a few trails to do, so we will come back here another day.

Today is a warm and sunny day.  We are staying around the cow, doing some research, reading and relaxing.

Today is our Atlantic City day.  We found an open air parking lot for red at Showboat Casino.  We started our gambling day here.  After a while we moseyed on down the boardwalk.  It’s a bright sunny and mild day around 71 degrees.  Most of the vendors were open, but it wasn’t too crowded.  We walked on down to Trump Taj Mahal and then on to Resorts.  We did a little gambling on the video poker and slots at each place.  We didn’t play any table games.  There minimum bet was 15.00 per hand.  Too much for us.
On our way back at Trump Plaza, we were playing video poker and these 2 ladies were sitting next to me.  All of a sudden some guy dropped 4 -100.00 bills in front of each of them and kept going.  I thought it was one of their relatives.  I said, nice friend to drop off money.  They said, they had no idea who that person was or why they would do that.  That made their day.  We continued on and back to Showboat.  We had a nice day in AC and the boardwalk.  We didn’t win, but we didn’t lose that much either.

Today is warmer and bright and sunny.  We headed over to Bass River State Forest for some hiking.  John and I did a 3 mile hike and John still needed more.  So I relaxed and did some reading and John went off and did another 3-4 mile hike.  We saw some birds but it’s spring time here and lots of flowering plants. 

Today is still rainy and cool.  John did some reading and I worked on some TCI stuff.

This morning is cool.  We replaced the antenna head with a new upgraded one.  It helps some in this area.  Then we headed over to check out the Edward Forsyth Wildlife Refuge down the road.  We talked to a ranger and got some info.  We are not hiking today.  It’s cool with rain coming in.  We stopped for some groceries and then researched the area.

Today was an easy day.  We did work with the antenna for a while because we only get 2 antenna stations here.  We had a nice dinner and just relaxed.

Got up early on the road.  We weren’t sure if we were heading out or not.  The winds have been very bad.  This morning there were light and I checked our destination and they were ok there as well.  Today we are traveling from Washington DC (College Park) to Atlantic City (Galloway).  We know there will be tolls, but didn’t count on 53.00 in tolls.  I guess when you’re in populated areas and want to take the good roads it costs $$$.  Anyway, we got to Shady Pines Campground just outside of Atlantic City.  This campground seems to be mostly seasonal with quite a few park models.  After getting all set up, we decided to check out the casinos.  AC is about 10 miles away.  We went to Claridge, Bally’s and Wild West.  After walking around and checking them out, we went back to Bally’s to play some slots.  The table games are too expensive for us.  Most are starting at 25.00 with a few at 15.00.  We had a good time, contributed some money and headed back to the cow.  We are starting to head north too fast.  Tonight is going down to 40 degrees.  So we put our sweats on and turned on the furnace. 

   8   This morning we are getting projects done for our departure tomorrow.  Later in the afternoon we met Candy and Traci at Olive Garden for dinner.  We had to say our “see you later’s” to them.

We left this morning on the 830 am bus.  We want to go up in the Washington Monument (WM), but you can only get same day tickets at people start getting in line at 6am, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.  We took the bus to the metro train and did a transfer to exit at Smithsonian Station.  We walked to the Lodge Kiosk on 15th Street to check on tickets.
They had a couple left if we went on the 10am tour right away.  GREAT!!  You used to be able to walk up the stairs to the top, but in 1976 that stopped and now you have to take an elevator.  Good for me!  When the Washington Monument was built it was the tallest building in the world.  Its 555 feet tall.  The tour takes you all the way to the 500 foot level.  Above you is 55 feet to the point.  There are 4 directions.  East – US Capital and National Mall, South – Jefferson Memorial, West – WWll Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial and North – The White House.
After the tour, we walked to the World War ll Memorial and the reflecting pool overlooking the Lincoln Memorial.  We went to the Korean War Memorial and then to visit Lincolns Memorial.  We joined the tour.
We continued on to the Vietnam War Memorial.  My Cousin CPL Claude D. Protz was killed on May 9th, 1968 in Vietnam.  We found his name on the wall.
We walked on to the White House.  In order to tour the White House you must apply with your congressmen at least 3 months in advance and get a background check.  We went to the visitors center and joined a tour.  This is our last day visiting downtown Washington DC.  We did a lot, but there is still so much we missed.

Today we our grounding ourselves and hanging around the campground.  My legs need a rest and I need to catch up on my journal and photos.

Once again we took the metra down to the archives station.  We walked to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  We found a tour just getting started so we joined in.  We learned so much about the space program.  There is an IMAX theater there so we went to see the Hubble 3D IMAX movie.  Excellent!!  It’s all about the history of space travel and the Hubble Telescope.  It goes into the far reaches of space.  It shows how stars are born and how they turn into solar systems and galaxies.  It shows how planets are formed and black holes.  What is so cool, is it’s 3D and it’s like a star trek movie, but this is real life.  After seeing this, there has got to be other life forms out there somewhere.
We were hungry and stopped for some lunch.  Now we headed to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  On the way we stopped at the Smithsonian Freer Art Gallery.  John walked around and I took a break.  When we got to the America History Museum it was already getting later in the afternoon and we missed the last tour, so we did a self guided one.  It’s time to head home.  We caught the metra back from the Smithsonian Station.  We had to do a transfer, but public transportation here is great and so easy.
It’s Cinco de Mayo and we didn’t want to cook when we got home so we headed to Gringada Mexican Restaurant for dinner.  A couple of cocktails, some dinner and now were done!  

Today is Candy’s Birthday.  John and I hung around the cow in the morning and Candy and Traci came over early afternoon.  It’s a warm sunny day.  We headed to the pool to soak up some rays.  After ice cream, we got a cocktail and took the 1 mile nature trail around our campground.  We needed some munchies, so we got out some appetizers and enjoyed. 

We are able to catch the metra bus right at our campground.  It takes us to the College Park metra Rail Station.  From our campground to downtown Washington is about a 45 minute trip. It costs about 8.00 per person.  No question the only way to go.
We took this to the Archives, Navy Memorial Station in downtown Washington DC.  We decided to break up our visit to Washington DC into 3 days.  One day on, then one day off.  We also broke down the National Mall in 3 sections.  The U.S. Capitol, The Smithsonian’s, and the memorials.  The US Navy Memorial is right where you exit the station.  We crossed the street and the National Archives Museum was right there, so we decided to check it out.  We’re glad we did.  We found out this is where The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights are located.  This is really a great museum we were in there for about 1 ½ hours.
When we finished we headed down Pennsylvania Ave towards the U.S. Capitol Building.  After just taking in the monstrous buildings and the enormous view looking from the Capitol across the National Mall, down to the Washington Monument and on to the Lincoln Memorial, we continued up Capitol Hill and to the entrance of the Capitol.  We got right in on the 1pm tour which lasted about an hour.  First we had a short movie on the history and then had a guided tour of the Capitol Building.  Our tour guide told us not to miss the tour of the Library of Congress just through the tunnel.
This is another tour we were not going to do and decided to check it out.  Once again, were glad we did.  The Library of Congress is beautiful.  We had a short movie on the history and then another guided tour.  We love the guided tours; you really learn a lot and appreciate the building and history so much more.  This is another must see in Washington.  We’re only on our 3rd building today and they are all must see’s.  We’re done for the day.  We didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to, but we had a GREAT day.
We hopped the metra home and then headed to our friends, Candy and Traci’s house.  They live about 20 miles from our campground towards Baltimore.  We had some cocktails and then they cooked a great Salmon dinner for us.  We relaxed and enjoyed the evening then headed back to the cow.

This morning we were again up and out early.  We had a shorter drive today about 225 miles to Cherry Hill Campground in College Park Maryland just outside of Washington DC.  The sites here are small, but all you need.  So many people told us this is the ONLY park to stay in when visiting the DC area and we agree.  There are so many amenities right at the park, plus they have a daily sightseeing orientation.  They review all your options on getting to and touring Washington DC.  The metro bus comes right to the campground and takes you to the metra rail station that takes you right to the Washington Mall.  We got all set up, went to orientation and then had a couple cocktails and relaxed.

Today we were up and out early.  We drove about 325 miles to Roanoke Rapids North Carolina.  We stayed at RV Resort at Carolina Crossings.  It’s right off I95 and inexpensive with passport America rate.