I have never had a trip with SO much good and SO much
at the same time!
So, we started off sleeping through our alarm, returning to the house for directions on where we were even going, and finally were on our way. That’s when we remembered to have our prayer of safety as we traveled. Paul just had to silently add
“if anything is going to happen to the van, let it happen now”
– ten seconds later the power steering died and our battery light came on. We nursed the car to an auto parts store who, thankfully, knew exactly what the problem was. Thirty or so minutes later, one serpentine belt richer, and our wallets a bit lighter, we FINALLY made it onto the freeway. (and we were VERY grateful it happened while in town)
Thankfully, at that point the drive went nice and smooth. It wasn’t late when we arrived at our campground, but it was quite dark. We managed to scavenge a little firewood and had a small fire before tossing the kids in the tent. It was cold, but not freezing, and the days were very nice.
Friday dawned and we munched on cereal in the car on our way to downtown D.C. Luckily Paul knows the D.C. area (he served his mission there) so he was able to get us to where we wanted to go without getting us hopelessly lost – and we had a GPS 🙂
Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum. We had a blast exploring – everyone loved it – and we met up with Vesna who Paul taught and baptized (along with her daughter) while on his mission.
After we finished exploring the museum we had lunch and headed out onto the National Mall. The kids were ecstatic to see the Capitol building.
We walked down the the Museum of Natural History. The kids of course were delighted with the dinosaurs. While we were there we met up with our good friends, the Johnsons. We would have stayed and seen more, but the kids were anxious to see the monuments and two of boys were taking a snooze.
By the end of the day we had done a TON of walking and
EVERYONE was tired and
our feet Hurt!
We saw the Washington Monument, White House, World War II memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (which was SO awesome!). By then the sun was going and we could barely drag ourselves back to the car.
(We had to have our picture take above the date for D-day because we were married on June 6th)
After we finished staggering to the car we drove to Vesna’s for dinner – which was AMAZING and snuck into our campground very late. The kids were asleep the second they hit their sleeping bags.
Next morning we were up bright and early taking luke-warm showers (brrrrrrr) and getting ready to go to the temple. The kids hung out with a very nice elderly couple while Paul and I went with Vesna and the Johnsons to the temple. Our friends, the Feinauers were there too! It was like a mini Newberg Reunion! It was so neat to be so far from Oregon and yet be surrounded by old friends. I have always wanted to go to that temple and I was so excited for the opportunity.
Afterwards we drove to Arlington National Cemetary and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. I stayed with the girls to watch the guard change (it was a little hard for the boys to be that quiet for that long).
A little ways away was the Iwo Jima statue, so we drove over there – I remember loving that one as a kid.
Then we drove back to the National mall and saw the Jefferson Memorial. By then the sun was setting, so we drove back to the temple so the kids could see it and go to the visitor center.
That night things got a little crazy. James threw up as we ate a late dinner at the picnic table. We figured he just choked on something, but when he threw up a second time in the tent, we knew he had a bug.
Throwing up kids are no fun in tents!
Luckily we had extra blankets. We also slept a little cooler that night, but we made it through (James threw up two more times during the night) and enjoyed sitting in a warm van once morning came. I hung out in the tent with James while Paul took the kids to church at one of the wards he was a missionary. He really enjoyed seeing old friends. When he got back we packed up the car and went on our merry way.
The interstate happens to pass by a very special park, though, and I couldn’t resist a stop. We used to go here all the time when I was a kid and really wanted to take the kids. I couldn’t believe it when we saw the signs to it on the way to D.C. and Paul asked if I wanted to stop on the way home.
Oh, boy did I?!!!
It was awesome. Sometimes you revisit a place and it isn’t all that you remembered, but this was all I remembered and more! The kids and hubby absolutely loved it and we can’t wait to go back and camp there sometime and really explore.
No one even got sick on the way home! So, while we definitely had our challenges, the trip was wonderful. Paul and I had so much fun showing the kids the sites that we remembered from so long ago, and the kids had fun seeing all the places they had heard about in school. I don’t think we could have crammed anything more into that vacation if we had tried! There is still a lot we want to see and do, so….
I can’t wait to go back!