Washington DC 2022

We return back to the Washington DC area so that we can see friends and continue to connect with our church family. We visited one of our favorite DC museums, checked out a new National Park Service gem, checked off an amazing restaurant recommendation from our map, explored overlanding options for the Jeep, avoided the rains of hurricane Ian, and caught a show of one of our favorite vocal groups.

It is absolutely insane that we have been on the road full-time for 5 years now! In 2017 we sold the house, moved into the 5th wheel, and went out on this adventure. While we were in the DC area we had bible study at church with our church family and headed out to check out a new national park!

5 years ago on September 28, 2017, we became houseless, selling the house and solidifying our RV digital nomadic lifestyle. The pandemic did slow us down a bit, but we still have made it to 31 states in those 5 years! Looking back neither of us has any regrets and there is no end in the foreseeable future!

Overland Expo

We have been considering some modifications to the Jeep to support our time out on the trail more. Whether that might be adding a kitchen setup or even a tent, there are many ideas to consider. Jason and one of our friends made the two-hour trip down to the Overland Expo East in southwest Virginia.

Jason came back with more ideas and spent a little money on some folding deployable treads (Go Treads) we had been considering. They claim we can even use them to level our motorhome! (However, we have not yet verified that claim.)

This big rig was a flashy exception at the Overland East Expo. The Western Ranger truck is equipped to go anywhere you can actually fit it, with Starlink and a second deck for easy grilling.
This was a more common rig at the Overland East Expo where vendors were showing off their gear and how you could use it. The vendor area had a wide variety of products on display, not all of them actually in production yet. Some of the vendors were there to test interest in their products and some were there to sell.

Attractions

Union Station

Parking in downtown DC is actually pretty easy if you park at Union Station’s parking garage. The cost was decent and it was easy in and easy out of the garage. It is a maze walking from the garage to the depot due to some construction, but it seemed pretty safe and secure. We did check out the shops in the depot, but clearly, they are not bouncing back from CoVID very fast as most of the shops are empty.

National Postal Museum

Across the street to the west of the Union Station, and only a few steps from the capitol mall is the National Postal Museum. We love this Smithsonian museum, it was one of our favorite memories of our 2005 visit. Set in the old central DC post office you can explore the various halls focused on processes and technology associated with mail delivery.  There are a surprisingly large number of facts about delivering the mail! Of course, there is a working post office here, and we stocked up on our stamps for upcoming projects!

The National Postal Museum has collected numerous ways in which the mail has been delivered over the centuries.
Most of the US Postal Museum’s focus is on the United States system, but there are also some exhibits related to international mail delivery. This is only a portion of an exhibit of postal collection boxes from around the world and through the decades.

 

US Capitol

After eating on Pennsylvania Avenue at Farmers & Distillers, we took a moment to walk up to the capitol grounds before returning to Union Station where the Jeep was parked for the afternoon.  Last year we only saw the iconic capitol building from a distance, this was the first time since the January 6 insurrection that we had been up close to it.

While the specific day we were there was very peaceful, it was hard to forget the memories of watching what occurred on that day without it bringing up emotions.

From the Union Depot Station side of the capitol on the North side, from the Upper Senate Park looking South at the Capitol.

Harpers Ferry National Park

Located in West Virginia

The area is so beautiful it almost looks like a green screen behind us! The Appalachian Trail & C&O Canal Towpath connect alongside the rail bridge, from downtown you can cross over and connect up with the trail.

On our 5-year full-timing anniversary we decided to check out Harpers Ferry National Historic Park in West Virginia. It was about an hour’s drive from our campground through the foothills of the blue ridge mountain line. We had a great day out here! The historic town is packed with both revolutionary and civil war era history. The weather was absolutely beautiful on our day there, you would not want to visit this on a rainy day.

 

From above at the historic church, you get a great look over the river valley, including the historic Harpers Ferry’s Shenandoah riverfront district. Each of the buildings contains different historical recreations, and also the National Park store is in the booksellers.

We parked at the upper visitor center and took their bus down to the historic downtown. The buses are ADA equipped with wheelchair lifts, so we were able to get Barb’s scooter on with little fuss. Once down in the historic district, you are free to roam around and check out the various buildings. Some are set up as historical depictions to tell the story and some are leased out to businesses. You can find numerous restaurants and gift shops throughout the town. We spent about three hours walking along the riverfront, crossing the bridge over the river and up to the church on the numerous steep roads.

You can drive directly down to the historic district and park at the train depot. Either way, there is an entrance (parking) fee at the top or the bottom.  The NPS Access Pass did get us in free.

Looking up High St. you can drive down here, or you can take the bus from the visitor center up on the top. You can park near the depot at the Amtrak station but you must pay for parking there. There is no parking in the historic downtown other than for the National Park Service. The downtown is situated alongside the bluff so you will be climbing up and down the streets. There are numerous small merchants and restaurants along this street.

Capital One Hall

There are numerous Capital One-sponsored entertainment complexes around the big Capital One building in Tysons, Virginia. Located about 20-30 minutes West of the downtown DC area.

The Capital One Hall was where Home Free was performing. There is parking directly attached to the hall, you do not have to park in the remote lot. That was not clearly spelled out. There is also VIP parking where you pay to avoid going outside and back in again. Security was a sham, they were pretending to inspect bags and had metal detectors you walked through but when they alert they were not doing secondary checks.

To celebrate Barb’s birthday we had dinner and a concert seeing Minnesota-based Home Free at the Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia, on the skirts of DC. Barb has seen this band almost two dozen times! We are blessed to be able to follow this group around the country to have opportunities to experience new venues and to have that small tie back to the midwest.

Restaurants

Blue Ridge Seafood

Once again we return to one of our favorite seafood locations. This time it was a little disappointing, but all of the times previously it was amazing. We will for sure go back next time to give them another chance!

We made another visit to one of our favorites, Blue Ridge Seafood Restaurant. We get different combination platters so we can share.

Founding Farmers

We checked out the “Founding Farmers” due to a recommendation Jason received from co-workers that said we had to check it out. We had it on the map and it just happened to be in the right place for us when we were visiting the Postal Museum. They have a couple of concepts, we checked out the “Farmers & Distillers” which was about a 15-minute walk from the Postal Museum to the restaurant. Everything we had was great and the service was also great. We will for sure make it a point to return to this specific restaurant in the future!

We had amazing food at Founding Farmers on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, green beans, scratch-made sauces and to top it all off with a Jefferson Donut!

The Founding Farmers have scratch-made seltzers (left) and sodas (right) with freshly made ingredients.

Said to have been Thomas Jefferson’s favorite donuts, these Founding Farmers donuts are stuffed with ooey gooey amazing ingredients. On the left strawberries and cream and on the right bananas foster that was beyond words to explain how good it was.

We also tried the Founding Farmers at Tysons, Virginia, but the atmosphere there seemed just less on point than the first restaurant. Plus that restaurant completely screwed up on Jason’s order, they brought him a trout instead of a pot roast! We did get some free donuts to take home out of that mistake though!

Campground

We stayed 22 nights at the Greenville Family Campground in Haymarket, Virginia, which is to the West of Manassas, Virginia. There are very limited options for camping in a big rig on this side of Washington DC.  There is also Bull Run Regional Park’s campground, but you are limited to 14 days over a 30-day period there. Both cost about the same, over $62 per night with taxes included.

In: September 22, 2022
Out: October 14, 2022
Nights: 22
Discounts: Good Sam
Site: #18
Cost: $62.70/nt w/tax
Post-hurricane Ian sunset over Virginia! In the Manassas/Hay Market area, we had a lot of rain over the course of a week.
Big rigs are parked in the Greenville Family Campground in the upper south section of the campground. There is a sweet spot in each of these sites that is decently level and blocks are not required. You can see the terrace effect from rig to rig, that same slope continues from front to back of each site too. continue down that road and you will be in the woods where the sites are tight and more difficult to access.

 

Next, we headed Southwest into North Carolina for a week with other full-time RVers at Camp Carpedium!

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