So after careful consideration, painstaking research and planning, many megabytes of data usage, we closed our eyes and stuck a finger in the mapbook, settling on the Washington DC area for our next stop. We found the Greenbelt Park, a National Park run campground, in beautiful downtown Greenbelt, Maryland, just outside of DC. It is a typical old NP campground inside a heavy cover of trees, sites and interior roads not real big-rig friendly and on the whole not even close to being level. The sites are dry-camping only with potable water scattered around the loops. They do have bathrooms fairly convenient in the loops, and in Loop D, recommended for bigger rigs, there is (1) shower stall in (1) of the bathhouses. Our problem here was the thick tree cover, coupled with the several days of rain, trumped our solar power system, so we ended up running our generator a bit each day. But there is always an upside, I needed to give the generator it’s monthly “work out” anyway. The rate here is $20 per night, $10 if you have the NP pass, so that was a big plus. But if you do have a bigger rig, you cannot be shy about brush scratch, the park maintenance folks don’t keep the branches trimmed back very well.
We fought rain most of the 5 days we stayed here in Greenbelt. Our first outing we pretty much got rained on the whole time. We drove into Annapolis and over to Kent Island, mostly off of Hwy. 50. The Bay Bridge was cool, but it did cost us $4 in toll extortion money. In Annapolis we got to see the Maryland State House and the Governor’s house while ducking and dodging raindrops. It is mind numbing seeing all that is history on this side of the continent, dating back into the 1600’s/1700’s/1800’s. Being from the Loony Tunes State of California there is no comparison as to volume of things to see dating back that far.
The rain kept up all night but let up enough the next day to take a bike ride from East Potomac Park, a short run through the Jefferson Memorial area and onto the Mt. Vernon hike/bike Trail. We rode the trail into Alexandria (somewhere around a 9-mile one way trail) and back. Once we returned we pedaled around the Washington Monument area, then returned to base camp. Parking in these high traffic areas is a bit pricy at times and we were happy to find the East Potomac Park with all of its free parking. We noticed on one of our rides as we passed Reagan Int’l Airport they had parking listed as $17 per half hour for the first 2 hours, then more thereafter (I did not pay attention, the $17 per half hour was enough to send me into a tizzy).
We got more break from the rain and took a drive into Baltimore for a day. Jeanne had several sights picked out for visits so visit we did. She discovered the Westminster Church and Burial Ground was the final resting place for Edgar Allen Poe. We stopped in to pay respects and Jeanne’s apprehension level got raised to the top of the creepiness meter over the whole macabre vibe she was receiving.
When in Baltimore… just gotta see Camden Yards, a mainstay in our history involving the boys of summer. Home to the Orioles, the park was vacant now with the home team out of town for the week.
Among some of the historical sights downtown were the original George Washington Monument, the Peabody Conservatory and Library, and numerous places of historical significance which, almost without exception, goes hand-in-hand with an architectural “wow” factor.
Jeanne had also learned that Federal Hill Park affords one an impressive bird’s eye view of the downtown area of Baltimore. It was an OK view of the harbor area, and was a fitting end to our tour of Baltimore.
We lucked out weather-wise and were able to do another bike ride around the capitol mall as well as take the Rock Creek Parkway trail to the Nat’l Zoo. It was nice to be on bikes at the mall area, easy to get around despite all the tourists jamming the area. I was not surprised at the rudeness of the foreign tourists, I watched as a wheelchair-bound person tried to navigate a sidewalk full of non-English speaking folks and they kept crowding and cutting him off. I was ready to wring some necks…
Of course, the weather cleared up on our travel day. We headed out in the direction of the great state of Delaware. I found the Delaware Seashore State Park to be an acceptable temporary home, near Rehoboth Beach. Nice, paved level sites with FHU’s, no tree cover, right on the Indian River Inlet at the bridge of the same name. $40 per night, we were good to go.
Besides some beach walks for Woody, we went to Cape Henlopen State Park and did part of the Dunes Hike there. Despite the name, the trail did not traverse any dunes but meandered through a marsh area instead. Not a real impressive hike. To make up for that, we went into Rehoboth Beach and walked the boardwalk there. It was a small boardwalk, but the weather was nice for a stroll through that typical beach town.
The next day we gave the bikes a workout and rode to Ocean City (Maryland) and back for about 42 miles worth. They had nice bicycle lanes the whole route and I got to see quite a few cool rides cruising south on Hwy. 1. Apparently there are many local businesses in that area who are putting on car shows scattered all over. There were some pretty mean looking muscle cars as well as many classics motoring or being towed that way. I wasn’t fast enough to snap pictures of most of them, but I did get one classic ride on film (OK, digital media, geez!).
On the eve of our travel day, we partially mapped out our destinations as we creep northward. We found it is getting close to requiring reservations at various parks, many being full up or with limited availability. So we found space at several parks for the near future, I’ll expand on those stops and locations in the next post…