Saturday, June 20, 2009

Washington DC and the Threat of Severe Weather

19 June 2009 Clarksburg MD – to Shady Grove Metro Station – Clarksburg MD
Miles: 26

Pictures L to R: Our good friends, Mike, Laura, and Sophie; The Capitol; WWII Memorial; Washington Monument taken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

We got up early, drove to the Shady Grove Metro Station and were soon headed south into DC. Our plan was to meet Mike and Co. at the Metro Center Station. What a great day! Not only did we get to spend some time with good friends, but the weather cooperated as well. The day had scattered clouds above, which kept the temps a little cooler and not as humid, and in the afternoon a breeze kicked in.

Once we got into DC, we made our way to view the Capitol, then began the long trek down the mall. We were walking the whole way…Dave suggested taking one of the tours because Laura had never been to DC and hadn't seen any of the monuments and there is just so much to see, but he was outvoted…so off we went. We headed down toward the Smithsonian, Air and Space, because we knew there was a food court there, and everyone was hungry. After eating, and walking around the museum a bit (a very little bit!), we headed back out to the mall and walked the length of it to see the Washington Monument, then detoured to go to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving—no more tickets available, but we went to the visitors center and looked around. Back to the mall, and down along the path to the WWII Memorial, along the pond to the Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, then over to the White House before heading back to the metro station. These memorials are so incredibly moving...even when you've seen them before. Thank you to all of you who have served in the Armed Forces! It was a day of reflection for all of us. Needless to say, we were beat by the time we got on the metro to head out of DC.

We said goodbye to the Wieters family and headed back to our campground. When we hit Germantown, we decided to stop and eat. Tucked away in a small strip mall along Highway 355 with a few other restaurants and a grocery store, we made an incredible discovery—India Palace. Dave and I are both fond of Indian food, and were very pleased with both the food and the service. This is a true gem of a restaurant—a must if you are ever in Germantown, MD!

We called it an early night—as we were exhausted after all the walking we did down in DC today!

20 June 2009 Clarksburg, MD to Chambersburg, PA Miles 80.5

Pictures L to R: Early morning rain--it was either drive or sit in a very small tent; Mason-Dixon Line Post Marker on the Maryland/Pennsylvania border; Site of the start of the battle at Gettysburg at the RR Cut.

It rained in the night…not a lot, but enough to cool things down. We woke up early—just before 6—and by the time we got back from the bath house, thunder was rumbling to the north/east. Dave had gotten one sleeping bag rolled, and our duffle bags stowed away just as the first drops started falling. Closing the car doors and windows, we crawled back into the tent to wait out the storm. While waiting, we debated on whether we should stay put, or go for it...After about ten minutes, the rain let up-- slightly--so we took a chance and quickly dismantled the tent and loaded the car. We’ll get breakfast on the road…or so we thought.
Less than five miles from the campground, the rain began coming down in earnest. The small towns we were passing through didn’t have much—or anything that we could see—in the line of diners. It wasn’t until we hit Gettysburg, PA that we found any kind of restaurant, so we sat out what remained of the storm there.

We’ve been to Gettysburg multiple times, so we decided to forgo the battlefield tour in the rain. If it wasn’t raining…and supposed to rain for the next few days…we would have stayed there until Monday or so, but hotel prices are so high in this area. We did wander through the center of downtown Gettysburg for most of the morning, and then hopped back into the car and headed west along Highway 30, The Lincoln Highway. By the time we hit Chambersburg, severe thunderstorms were heading our way—supposedly with winds to 40 mph, and heavy rain around 4:00 PM. We’ve opted for a hotel tonight, as the rain is supposed to continue to fall.

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