6-21-18 A day in the life of…
… a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation… continued
As you know, we made it to the Pohick Bay Regional Campground. I want to take just a few minutes to talk about campgrounds, setting up and etiquette. When an RV pulls into a campground, we always hope for the most level site we can get. Most of the time some leveling still needs to be done. We were happy with the site we got, it was one of the more level ones we have seen. I’m going to talk about a motorhome this time. We’ve had a pop-up camper and a travel trailer before and it’s a little different getting them set up. With this motorhome, once we get it backed in and know we are close enough to the water, sewer, and electric, we look to see where the levelers will come down and put either 2×6 boards or these square plastic lego looking things under where they will go down or we use both. This helps with the leveling as well as not sinking into mud or gravel.
Then we hold still and while the motor is still running, push the button and the levelers come down and level the motorhome automatically. Next, Dave usually, well I think I mean always, opens the compartment where the water sewer and electric hoses are and connects them. We keep disposable gloves in those compartments for this purpose. Our motorhome operates best on 50 amp but can use 30 if necessary. We need to be sure to ask what’s available when we reserve our site. Some places don’t have 50. The electric posts usually have both so we choose the 50 amp. Sometimes the box isn’t turned on so you have to flip the switch. Then the garden hose, we bring, gets hooked up to the water spigot and the sewer hose gets pulled out. We have supports for that hose, so it gets spread out and the hose placed on it. There are connectors that need to be screwed on each end. One connects to the R V and one connects to the sewer outside.
There are videos and blogs with details on exactly how to do this. Once I learn more about doing it, I’ll share links to some of these blogs or websites. Once this is all done and the electric is connected we push the buttons to put the living room slide out and the bedroom slide out. This gives us quite a bit more room inside. There are RVs out there that have multiple slide outs, but we just have two. Then we put the chemical down the toilet and down the sink. This helps for dissolving matter and keeping the odors down in the black and gray tanks. Black is for the toilet. Gray is the sinks.
Most everyone at campgrounds have chairs and coolers and toys and rugs and whatever else they set outside their campers. As long as we’ve been camping we’ve never had anyone bother them. But you never know for sure so it’s not a bad idea to bring in or lock up anything you really don’t want to lose. We almost always keep the compartments and the RV door when we leave for the day.
Also, it’s important to be considerate of others. There’s a time to quiet down at night. At this last place, the neighbors across the street were partying loudly until 1-2 AM the first night and got shut down by the ranger around midnight the second night. No one wants to listen to your loud music, laughter or shouting at that time in the morning.
If you make a mess, or the trash you left out the night before gets visited by critters during the night, pull out your disposable gloves and clean it up. It smells and looks bad.
And, be safe. Teach kids not to play around the fire ring. Don’t use your 3-gallon gas can to start your campfire.
That all said we started the next day touring D C. Our kids were able to go in the day before we got there, so they were already more familiar with getting to the Metro station and buying the passes. We didn’t pull our van with us this time so we needed a ride to the Metro the first day. We rented a car from then on. When you get to the Metro station, there are vending machines where you buy your pass. The pass costs $2. Every rider has to have a pass, except if they’re under age 5, I think it is. Then you add money to your card. We started with $10 on each card. This was enough to get us downtown and back and to get out of the parking garage we had to add about $5 more to one of the cards. You cannot use money from one card and finish it with the balance on another card. So if you get good at this, you can figure out how much it will take you to get where you want to go and back and out of the garage and not have a balance left. We weren’t that good. We ended up the last day with $3 on one card and $2.95 on another. We gave it to the Enterprise driver that took us back to the campground after we dropped off our rental car. There are maps everywhere to help you get where you want to go.
First, you have to determine where you are, then choose what you want to see first. You’ll be able to tell from the map what color metro line will be best to get you there and you’ll know where you want to switch lines. Pay attention to the stop you want as well as the name of the stop at the end of that line. When the train comes in it shows the train color and the name of the end of the line stop. That helps you pick the right train going in the right direction. Once you get on the train, then you listen and watch the board for your stop coming up and get off there. You have to tap your card on the gate when you enter for your train and again when you get off. This determines how much money comes off your card. If you don’t have enough left on your card, there are places to add more money. When you exit the Metro parking garage, make sure you have at least $5 on your card, because depending on the time of day, it can cost up to $5 to get out. You tap your card on the sensor there too.
Before we left for DC, my sister had made us all family T-shirts. They turned out so nice. Here’s a picture of the back side of them.
She put all our names on the front. I’ll check with her and if she wants her info posted, if so, I’ll do that and you can see if she can make you some too.
One of the first places, I wanted to go was to Arlington National Cemetery. The Metro does go to Arlington National Cemetery, but we chose to drive. Family members can get a pass so they can drive directly to the grave site. If you don’t have a pass you have to walk. But, after you leave the grave site, you have to go to the parking lot and walk to wherever else you want to go. There is no parking elsewhere. Getting out of the parking lot is a little different because you have to pay in the visitor center, they do something with your ticket and you have 20 minutes to get back to your car and leave the lot.
Dad was buried there 2 years ago in September and we hadn’t seen the gravestone yet. While we were there we also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Here are some pictures of Arlington.
Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Another one at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We saw this while we were in the cemetery.
Dad was in the Air Force. The spires in the background are part of the Air Force Memorial. That can be seen from Dad’s grave.
The next post, I’ll put pictures from the sites in the city and from our campground.