As inscribed in a wall of the Supreme Court (basement)Log of our first trip of 2003  

Washington, D.C.

Cherry Hill Campground

 

Where law ends tyranny begins.  Fenced, closed, Dept of Justice BuildingMarch 8 to 15, 2003
Mileage Start 25,500
Arrive 26,000
Home 26,513
Attended:  Dad, Mom, Matthew, Lauren,
Gracie Allen, 5¢fritz, and Fezziwig
 

Click any of the images for a higher resolution picture (about 1 meg each).  This is the last trip with the low-res camera.

 


 

The Park

Click for a larger image.Click for a larger image.I enjoyed the park.  The people running it were pleasant.  Paved roads lead to graveled sites.  There is an ample water pressure and electrical capacity.  They have a great store.  The perimeter road measures about 1.2 miles so walking the dog isn’t a problem.  We visit D.C. well off-season.  November and March trips lead to FAR less crowds.  We drove into D.C. on a prior visit and drove on our initial day.  The rest of the time we took the bus from the bus stop inside the park to the Metro rail line.  The cost was less than paying for parking.  It ran $5.00 for an all day rail pass (so you can move between areas) and $1.35 for two bus trips.  The office has excellent information on how to get to and from downtown.  Note that we were here off-season.  I bet the story is different when the park is at capacity.

802.11b Wireless Internet Access

Click for a larger image.At Washington D.C.’s Cherry Hill campground, there is 802.11b wireless Internet access available at your site.  A bit costly (at about $6.00 a day) the thing really works.  You can borrow an 802.11b card from the office or bring your own.  I brought my own card and it worked great.  Once your equipment is associated with their network, you head for their website and pay for the service.  Only then can you get out onto the Internet.  You can’t steal their service.  Considering the overall homeland security paranoia, you best not try.  Police officers armed with automatic weapons might come find you.  One interesting thing was that access is associated with the card address.  We are a notebook-based family.  I could pass the card around between notebook and whomever’s mail needed to be checked could do so with a minimum of fuss.  The park directions are based on using the Linksys 802.11b cards.

Directions If You Bring Your Own Cisco Card

Click for a larger image.If you use Cisco wireless cards, create a new profile. Call it “Linkspot”.  Click on the checkbox that “Include Profile in Auto Profile Selection”.  Click on the box that says “Use Auto Profile Selection”.  Edit the profile and set SSID1 to “Linkspot”.  You may have to unplug the card and then plug it back in.  It should list as being associated to the park.  Open a browser and look for www.cherryhill.com.  You’ll get a Linkspot registration page.  Once registered you can do anything you do with a DSL or ISDN connection. Click for a larger image.

Kids and D.C.

My kids indicate they would have cared less about D.C. while in high school.  Both took a high school trip and thought it a waste of time.  The City’s pallor is a big turn-off.  My son was 19 and, as a college freshman, enjoyed piecing together his prior schoolwork, current political science, and our past historical ventures.  I’m quite pleased we waited until he was older.  Perhaps we’ll wait a good time into my daughter’s law school curriculum and then make another visit with her.

 

Washington, D.C. – The Home of the Paranoid, Home for the Homeless

Click for a larger image.Click for a larger image.The City itself is quite different than it was a few years ago.  One fault of public administration is that it grows.  If given an inch, it will take a mile.  This particular administration is trying to persuade the world that a preemptive strike against the country of Iraq will keep the world safe, provide more oil, and lessen our own unemployment by killing off a bunch of our own troops.  This course and the 9-11 disaster have resulted in paranoia unmatched in recent times.  That paranoia has led to an expansion of internal security that would amaze Johnson and leave Roosevelt standing in awe.  If temporary gates aren’t encasing a building, chain link and barbed wire does the job.  Searches go from the trivial bag check to bizarre bomb sniffing machines.  The Capital won’t let you bring in bottled water.  Click for a larger image.Click for a larger image.You must remove your coats, hats, and bags.  Heaven help you if you have a medium-sized belt buckle.  Given the nuts the city attracts, the hundreds of homeless wandering around begging, the paranoia, and the impossible job of protecting everyone from every evil, it appears the city is operating efficiently as possible.  On our first day in the City, 800 additional police were brought in for a planned demonstration that attracted 100 participants.  On returning to our car we found it a stone’s throw inside a blocked off street.  There was an emergency.  Click for a larger image.We could not get to our car.  On Sunday, the city is pretty well shut down.  At about six, with the sun setting, we were getting quite cold.  We wandered around their incident area and as close to our car as we could.  We sat ourselves on the curb.  The D.C. police suggested going somewhere else but couldn’t provide suggestions.  A Lt. Herold came by and rescued our car from the clutches of the emergency and we were able to leave.  Thank you Lt. Herold.  On another day a 3:30 p.m. tour of the Capital Building resulted in a 40-minute security check of the participants.  The tour was about one-third of the way done when the police closed the building at the appointed 4:30 p.m. closing time.  The Lincoln Memorial was gated off, you could only get to the statue of Lincoln.  We were able to see the White House from the gate a half a mile or so away.

If you are looking for the home of the brave, Washington, D.C. isn’t it.  The biggest threat to the land of the free seem to be embodied in the fatigue adorned police officers who carry automatic weapons.  I liked Washington better when we weren’t planning invasions.

Click for a larger image.A Good Place to Walk Your Dog

Just down the street from the RV parks (at about N39° 0.970' W76° 55.766') there is a small community park with a paved parking lot with a trail.  The paved trail is about four miles long.  The first part follows the path of a devastating tornado that on September 24, 2001 leveled a forest.  From there you go to a (typical) D.C. walk through a corridor of two ten-foot fences.  On one side is a golf course.  Important people must golf there.  On the other side some sort of U.S. facility important enough to protect with Click for a larger image. another ten-foot fence.  They were growing corn.  Perhaps it is important corn.  I felt as if I was back downtown.  Eventually it again opens up into a more park-like atmosphere.  The locals don’t care to chat or even make eye contact.  Paranoia has dealt a blow to the suburbs as well.

 

 

Click for a larger image.What We Saw

  • The Lincoln Memorial -- At least the front of it (the rest is gated)
  • The Vietnam Memorial
  • The Korean Memorial
  • The National Air and Space Museum
  • The National Gallery of Art
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Capital (sort of, see the text)
  • The National Law Enforcement Memorial
  • The White House (sort of, see the text)
  • Lafayette Park
  • Dupont Circle
  • McPherson Square
  • Arlington National Cemetery

 

Click for a larger image.

Click for a larger image.What was closed

  • Ford’s Theater -- Their web site sucks, don’t believe their tour schedule.  BOO!  HISS!
  • National Archives -- Again, their site SUCKS.  BOO!  HISS!  If you search around you can find they will be closed for two years.  Good luck finding it.

Overall Impressions and a Suggestion

Numerous buildings that once let you examine what the agencies did and how they did it are closed to the public.  You might consider awaiting a new President who will bring the hope of a new optimism.  Some areas are closed due to paranoia, some taking advantage of the drop in visitation to remodel.  This means that the public is compressed into the monuments, Arlington, Smithsonian, and what pitiful few buildings remain open.  Let’s all hope for better.

For up-to-date park maps and information, check the Cherry Hill website.