Gettysburg and beyond

We continued on with our American History tour by going to Gettysburg after DC. It wasn’t too far and we were able to get a spot in a Passport America RV park (Artillery Ridge RV Park). It was clear when we got there and were able to drive around the town a bit. We went to the NPS visitor’s center. It was very disappointing.

At the visitor’s center, there is a movie to watch, and a museum to look through. Unfortunately, even though it is technically a National Park a separate entity runs the movie and museum. You have to PAY for these extra items! That really left a bad taste in my mouth. If this is run by the NPS and taxpayers fund the NPS, why do the taxpayers have to pay AGAIN to see our American history? I guess I got spoiled by the DC area and the western US area of parks. In the west, I don’t think this kind of setup would work.

The next day it was raining, pretty heavily at times. One option is to go on the Auto Tour of the entire area. There are over 1300 different memorials scattered throughout Gettysburg. Memorials to states, battalions, brigades, individuals, etc. It is impressive to see. The Auto Tour takes you through many of them and here are some shots:

Gettysburg was also where President Lincoln gave his address. We had to go see that, in the pouring rain:

We only spent one day in Gettysburg as there was a biker rally coming in shortly so it was time to move on. It was raining again in the AM and Roxie tried our her new rain gear from Ikea:

We weren’t quite sure where to go next so we headed West and ended up going through Hagerstown, MD. Roxie has been in the process of renewing her RN license and she needs to get fingerprinted for the state of CA. However, since we are not in CA she cannot use the Livescan electronic machines but has to get her fingerprints physically on a specific form and send them in.

As we were driving into Hagerstown we saw a for the local sheriff’s office. This is a location where fingerprinting happens. Alas, they did not do it there but in further research, there was a gun shop that did fingerprinting on certain Saturdays, which happened to be the next day. So what to do? Stay at Walmart:

The next day we got Roxie’s fingerprints, went by the FedexOffice shop to mail them. Oops. They were being sent to a PO box. FedEx doesn’t do that and the Post Office closes in about 20 minutes and we are about 10 miles away. But we made it. Whew! We got many things done in Hagerstown, we even got one of these:

This thing keeps the ice for a long time, even when we don’t keep it the trailer.

We left Hagerstown with a specific destination in mind but it was a little bit away. We needed to stop somewhere for the night, and why not break the streak, another Walmart! However, on the way to this Walmart, we stopped by the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. Let me talk about the road that I took to get there though.

I am convinced that with Pennsylvania highways, the more digits the road has, the smaller and worse it is. We came in on PA 869. Luckily Roxie slept through the whole thing. At the start of one stretch, there was a sign that stated, “11 miles ahead No vehicles over 108″ in width”. I did some quick calculations, we are 8.5 feet in width, that is 102″, we are good. Of course, I still had some trepidation until I came to the restriction area. It was a bridge they were working on and only had a single lane. That is not too bad, but this one had a left-hand turn immediately after going through the choke point. I went real slow, deliberate and straight and made it through, Roxie snoozing away.

We learned about the Johnstown flood, which my mother says we had a relative that lived through it. Here is a picture from above where the dam used to be:

It appears they did not rebuild it this time, even though they fixed or rebuilt it about 10 times previously!

Off to Walmart for the night:

The next stop we are going to stay at for a week and try to get some rest (right).

DC for the Fourth!

We were able to score a week near Washington DC at Cherry Hill RV Park through the 4th of July! It is the iconic place to be for America during that time. The RV park is by no means cheap but it does provide a very family oriented location. The huge selling point is the ease to get to DC itself. A DCMetro bus actually stops at the entry to the park to take you to the DCMetro rail line. You have to pay for each direction but it is simple to figure out and MUCH better than taking my truck to the city.

We toured the city for 4 of the days we were there. We walked SO much! It was hot and humid to the point of oppressive. There were people everywhere. There were fences for crowd control. The traffic was horrendous. Prices for drinks rivaled amusement parks. In short, we loved it! Come on! This is Washington DC! How could we pass this up?

We saw museums, monuments, memorials, oh my! We did not get to see it all but here are some of what we saw.

Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum, it was closest to the Metro and we figured to hit the museums first. Here is Glamorous Glennis:


Then the next spot that we wanted to see the most was the Lincoln Memorial (looks like no one else was there):

We could see the Washington Memorial and the Capitol from there. Notice the fencing, this was due to the fireworks being staged and then fired from either side of the reflecting pool:


We saw the Jefferson memorial which was pertinent since we were just in his ‘area’ (Williamsburg):


The most surprising memorial was for Martin Luther King Jr. It was amazing. On either side were quotes from him during the years. I have included my favorite.


These were the closest shots we could get to the White House, naturally. The Capitol was being setup for the concert on the 4th so access was restricted:



We went to the Vietnam Memorial, I took a picture of a serviceman that is the brother of a friend of mine. A picture of the actual monument does not convey the emotion of it. I won’t even try. Here are some pictures of the WWII memorial and one of the Washington Memorial. Regarding the picture of all the stars. There are 4048 stars on the memorial and each one represents 100 American military deaths. Wow.


The 4th came and we thought about going down to DC again to watch but ultimately did not. We didn’t want to fight the crowds and it was amazingly hot and humid. We went up on a hill in the RV park and were able to see about 4 displays going on around in different cities. But what did we actually DO on the 4th? We went to the local Ikea, I also did a trailer modification.

We have been noticing a holding tank smell when traveling but not while we are stopped. It is more noticeable in our closet as that is where the vent pipes travel. My thinking was the tank roof vents were not working when towing. It seemed that instead of letting the tanks vent it was actually pushing air down the vent pipe into the tank and out the sink drains. Or at least that is what I told myself. The types of vent tops were like this:

These things have the vent pipe underneath the cap but it is like cupping your hand over it. Very little airflow, probably even less during turbulence around it. When we stopped off at Airstream of Virginia I noticed the new trailers were now coming with this:

The Lippert 360 Vent. I had been looking at these and was going to get them. So I did and had them delivered to the RV park. Now to put them on.

I need a ladder to put them up and I DO carry one with me but it is packed with everything else in the truck. Here are some shots about where the ladder is stored and everything that needed to be removed.

At least we could look in all the bins again!

We had a very enjoyable time in DC, a city unlike any other. We will probably be back sometime in the future but it is time to move on again.