Smithsonian’s American History Museum

I don’t know who is in charge of estimating the amount of time needed to visit different sights in the Frommers guides to cities but whoever it is must also be a speed-reader and speed-walker. While we were riding the train into Washington D.C. I was reading the Frommers guide. It says it will take approximately an hour to do a tour of the National Museum of American History (part of the Smithsonian). I knew better from past experiences with these types of guides. I was feeling poorly this morning and so we waited until I was feeling better to head in. We were on the train by 1:00 pm and made it into the city by 1:30. We stood in line outside the museum waiting to go through bag check. We got into the museum shortly before 2 pm and started out. This is the museum that houses all types of things from American History. Not just things most people consider history (war artifacts and president’s under ware) it also houses things from what most people consider Pop Culture.

We started out walking through by seeing THE Stars and Stripes. This is the flag that was actually flying over Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 that inspired Frances Scott Key to write the National Anthem. It is falling apart but then again I would be too if I was 300+ years old. It was neat to see the flag. Next we headed toward the document room and on the way passed the Lunch Counter from Greensboro, North Carolina from the F.W. Woolworth where the African American teenagers held their sit-in to fight for their Civil Rights. Talk about taking a moment to reflect. We have spent the last few months learning all about the Civil War and knowing it still took another 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation for blacks and whites to be able to sit and have lunch together is often a staggering thing for me.

We spent time wandering the different halls. They have everything from the original Kermit the Frog to a collection of Edison’s light bulbs. They have Julia Child’s kitchen where I again needed to stop and reflect on how Food Television has changed my life and taught me to cook in ways nothing else could. Bill was particularly taken by some of the original computers.

I have taken on a quest to learn more about the past U.S. Presidents. It is something that was not truly covered when I was in High School or Middle School or well any school. We have been reading about different presidents and learning about them through the National Parks. I have discovered I have a few that have begun to really stand out in my mind. Lincoln is so far up on my list that none other can even begin to compare. Talk about a man with principals. Someone told me once that the presidents that die in office are only famous because of their deaths. In the case of Lincoln I have to call foul on that statement. Here we have a man that was voted into office without a single Electoral vote from the “South”. The only president to have an assassination attempt on his life before he could be inaugurated.  A man that was thrown head first into a war for the freedom of slaves. He was so noble. In a time where slavery was accepted he didn’t accept it for he believed no man should own another. This was not a common belief in his time. Okay this is not a post about Lincoln I need to move on. Anyway one of my favorite items we saw today was Lincoln’s hat. Very cool.

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is closing in on my top 5 favorites. He was a Rough Rider and fought to make sure that the West stayed Wild. He was a conservationist even if for odd reasons. He is the reason we have “Teddy” bears. I was also tickled to see his riding chaps on display.

There is nearly half a floor devoted to what they call, “Freedom isn’t Free” which covers all of the American Wars. It is sad and patriotic at the same time. It does rile up the pacifist in me. I come from a family of soldiers but at my core I wish the fighting could stop. I don’t agree with war but I do understand that at times it is necessary. If someone tries to kill me or mine I will defend them I just wish the bullies that instigated would disappear so we could all live in my peaceful harmonious world where cats and dogs love each other. So after visiting the “war” room I had to skip over and spend a little time in reflection of Julie Child’s kitchen. Ahh lots of butter and salt and tasty things. Too bad the cafeteria isn’t located next door so you could get some smells to go with the kitchen. Grin.

Over FIVE HOURS later we were finally content that we had completed our visit to the museum… Frommers I think you need to do some re-calculations you are a LITTLE off. LMAO

In the beginning…

This is how it all began, finally … (sorry I am a few months late with this LOL)

We flew out of Seattle (location of our Stuff no longer home) August 28th, 2010 and into South Dakota to sign up for residency, and then out to Colorado to pick up our new home. I have read about dozens of people starting out and how much “fun” it can be.

We arrived at the BOAT company that had taken our new home in on a trade for a boat. This is the first RV they have ever had and knew little about anything, luckily Bill and I attended Life on Wheels a few years back and came prepared (or what we THOUGHT was prepared). We tried calling all the local RV places to find someone to inspect the coach for us and got nothing. We had a few offers for help from others, which was wonderful, but the people would not be available until October and we are on a time crunch to get it back to Seattle and loaded before snow starts to fall. So we pulled out all of our paperwork from our classes and went over what we could.

While on the lot we noticed a few minor issues. First off upon entry and starting to look things over I tugged on the shower door not apparently knowing my own strength and the safety glass in the door shattered into a million pieces. Ouch… my arm was not badly injured but now… we don’t have a shower door. The Boat Company owner explained that the handle that was drilled into the safety glass had likely weakened the glass so they had a rush job done to have plexi-glass put in the frame as a make-shift door until we can have it replaced. So we looked over more of the coach and left for the day. Day 2 we go back and over-night someone had tested the awnings and the awning over the front door’s gear busted. So they pulled it down but it would take at least a week to have the part shipped. Okay so we toss the awning in the bay and they said “just bill us once it is fixed”. Great. We decided to test the fridge and freezer. I bought some Otter Pops so if it didn’t work it wouldnt be a mess. After several hours it wasn’t cold…. hmmm. Okay so we left for the day and decided to come back early the next. Day 3, we start up the fridge as soon as we get in. we do a more thorough walk through checking more things out. We spend the entire day waiting for the bank to send us the papers and are becoming a bit perturbed because it is Thursday before Labor day and we have to sign the papers and over night them to the bank or we are stuck in hotels until Tuesday. 3:45 the papers come through we sign them and get everything in order, drop at the Fedex by 5:30. We come back and realize the fridge is still not cold. So we decide to leave it on overnight. Friday morning still nothing, the boat folks (who have been AWESOME through all of this) have their tech look at it and there is nothing he can do. There is power but the compressor is not coming on. Okay so we are planning to stop at the Coach Care facility in Boise or when we get back to Seattle so we will just have it looked at there.

The paperwork comes through and the bank contacts us about 4pm to let us know we are good to go. The Boat folks say we can stay in the lot overnight if we would like since we are nervous about finding a CG on Friday before Labor Day at 4pm. So we move to a back part of the lot out of the way and stay. How wonderful to finally be in our new home.

We wake up on our first official day on the coach and go pick up a cooler and ice for food so we don’t have to eat out again. I can handle the fridge not working, it will be inconvenient but whatever. So we get on the road. We know we are going to have issues finding somewhere to stay because so many people who RV on weekends will be out for Labor Day so after driving 4 hours we find a nice quiet rest area in north Colorado and crash out for the night. We get up early and head into Wyoming. As we are driving Bill is realizing that we are not going to make the 400 miles we had planned because the wind is atrocious and he is getting tired quicker. I look through our EXIT NOW book and find a KOA in Rawlins, WY. Bill calls and we find out they have a spot for us and it’s a pull through (camp spots are often back ins and we were a little worried about backing into our first spot, pull throughs are much easier) WOOHOO! We arrive the camp hosts are AWESOME. They help walk us through getting parked and let us know if we need anything to let them know. We level and put the slides out. Bill hooks us up to our first night or hookups and I hear an odd noise… a spraying noise… coming from under the couch.

After a little investigation and turning the water off we have sprung a leak and not just a leak but a leak in a tight little corner of the slide under the couch. Oy! All the water is now off to the rig. It is Sunday of Labor Day weekend, it is after 4 pm.

At this point I am beginning to lose my mind. I remind myself of all the threads I have read and I knew this could be what happened. The coach had been un-used for quite some time and we knew we would have some trouble.

Bill goes over to the camp hosts to find out if anyone might be able to help, even if its just duct tape. They have a number for a repair guy that works 24/7. What LUCK? We call him and he comes out. The slide rubs along a series of hoses from the bathroom that run over into the kitchen. He runs out to a store that is just about to close and gets a splice. He manages to get down in this tiny little hole and splices the hose.

We realize we should have brought a few more tools than we did but we could only bring what fit in 2 suitcases and weighed under 100 pounds since we flew on an airplane. Each day I made a list of things we were missing so when we got back in Seattle I made sure those items got into the rig.

We have had a wonderful time even with the trials. We stayed at a nice campground in Ogden, Utah the next night and nothing leaked, or exploded.

Since then we still do not have a working fridge. The shower door still needs replacing and the awning is still in the basement. We are going to be heading out of Seattle in a week or so and will stop in Oregon to see what we can do about the fridge and a few minor things. We are planning to drive out to Florida to see my new baby niece (who is due today) and figure we will stop at the manufacturer along the way to have the other items taken care of.