On the Road to DC

With much of Cape Cod still undiscovered, and many miles to cover before colder weather set in, it was time to move on. People frequently ask me how I plan my route. It’s often friends or family members who draw me to a certain place. Sometimes it’s a project, and in some cases I’m simply drawn to a place I’ve always wanted to see.

Sometimes though, there are many miles between one inspired stop and the next. I would love to be able to say that those miles are completely spontaneous, but I can’t. Being spontaneous on my journey is great when it works out that way, but it’s not that easy. As carefree as I would like to be I have to be aware of my limitations as well.

My biggest limitation this time of year in the northeast is that most of the campgrounds are closed for the season. “Boondocking” (parked with no plug-ins) works now and then, but doing so has to feel safe and comfortable to me, and as the weather gets colder (and wetter) and the days get shorter this option doesn’t always work. The cold is secondary to feeling safe. This time of year the dark of night lasts much longer, and it feels that all of humanity is hidden indoors. That leaves me feeling more alone and vulnerable when I’m not parked near other travelers like myself. So… I often spend countless hours online researching the path ahead of me… in search of places I’d like to see as well as open campgrounds along the way.

My next planned stop was at the home of my very good friends, Bonnie and Scott in Waterford, Virginia, but several states lie in between. While online I read about Gillette Castle which sits high on a ridge above the Connecticut River. The drive from Cape Cod to the campground I found near there might have taken only 3-4 hours, but it’s not my nature to always take the easy route. Instead of taking the interstate I plotted my course through Newport and Jamestown Rhode Island. This is not a route I would recommend for a large motorhome. The narrow streets aren’t exactly designed with big rigs in mind, nor could I find a place to park and unhook my tow car. It was a pretty drive though and took me over three large bridges.

Newport Bridge from Jamestown

Swans a swimming near Stonington CT

Staying off the interstate and taking the road less traveled made for a long day of driving and I arrived at my campground much later than expected. My compliments to the staff at Wolf’s Den in East Haddam for the friendly and speedy check-in so I could get to Gillette Castle before closing. As it turned out getting there before 5 brought needless stress into my day. The interior was closed and I was horribly disappointed to find the exterior covered in scaffolding. The shot below was my best attempt at hiding it. The saving grace was the view of the river and three friendly couples I met that evening.

Gillette Castle under renovations

Ferry crossing the Connecticut River

The following day I set out in the pouring rain to meet an old high school friend, Tom Huffman, for lunch and then followed another meandering backroad journey to the northwest corner of Connecticut where I was told I might still find some color.

Kent Falls

Covered Bridge in Kent Falls State Park

Macedonia Brook State Park

The remainder of my drive to Waterford was in a complete downpour. I traveled down very challenging backroads of Pennsylvania… windy, narrow, and hilly with overhanging trees that had me taking my half of the road out of the middle every chance I had. And I camped in a completely deserted campground. It was the last day of the season, and once I was checked in the OWNERS even deserted the place! I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the smiling faces of my friends Bonnie and Scott when we arrived in Virginia.

View from Bonnie and Scott’s in Waterford

Two relaxed days later I left Jazzy and Sadie in the care of Bonnie and Scott and hopped on the metro into Washington DC. While there I got some time with another great friend, Glen, who was in town on business and my former sister-in-law, Kristi, who lives nearby in Virginia. I’ve been to DC twice before but it’s one of those places where you could spend months and never see it all. I got out for a little walkabout on Capital Hill before Kristi picked me up and played tour guide on our way to lunch in Georgetown.  Unfortunately the clouds rolled back in by mid day and stayed.

US Capital Building

General Grant Statue and Capital Building

Civil War Memorial and Capital Building

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

The following morning I wanted to see a few more of the monuments before hopping back on the metro, but didn’t really have time to do it on foot. As luck would have it I discovered my hotel had bikes available to check out. With camera in hand (literally in-hand) I spent a couple hours cruising and shooting. Still cloudy (which equates to bad lighting for a photographer), but great fun!!! I especially enjoyed the Korean War Memorial (almost an eerie presence there) and the FDR Memorial. I was amazed to find myself alone while there and loved the tranquility of the place.

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Detail of Korean War Memorial

FDR Memorial

A small part of the FDR Memorial

Eleanor Roosevelt

Jefferson Memorial

I’m still running a few weeks behind on my blogging, but hope the holiday down time will get me caught up. I have to admit that as frustrated as I’ve been with the weather and lack of color this autumn, I am WAY less behind than if I’d been out shooting every day!!  Next up… more of Virginia and my refuge from Hurricane Sandy.


Reminder that during the month of November part of the proceeds from my new 2013 Calendars as well as my books will go to American Red Cross to help those effected by Hurricane Sandy. For information see Red Cross Fundraiser and to order go to Art, Books and More.

For the benefit of those considering a purchase I would love to hear thoughts on the calendar and books from readers who have already purchased them. Share a review in the “comments” section below.

Wishing you all a joyous Thanksgiving!!!!!

0 thoughts on “On the Road to DC

  1. Happy Thanksgiving. Glad you didn’t get stuck in the worst of the storm.
    You know how to find and bring out the best in places. I can feel that fall overcast in those images. Enjoyed the monuments, many of which I never visited while in DC.

    • Thanks John! DC is a pretty amazing place. I had not seen some of these monuments myself.

      Happy Thanksgiving! If you see the Kelly clan please give each and every one of them a hug for me. 🙂

  2. I will see the Kelly clan and pass on your well wishes.
    Wanted to quickly review your calendar!! Like you, it is beautiful, and peacefully positive and upbeat. Just perfect. Magnificent images. It is one of those things that just feels good and comfortable. My first glimpse found me saying, “wow, this is great”, out loud.
    It definitely reflects your personality, and that is a good thing.

    • That has to be one of the most beautiful reviews I’ve ever received John. Thank you. I’m glad you like it, and hope it “wows” you with each new month. 🙂

  3. We saw your rig driving through Fayetteville, GA, today. The kids and me immediately went to your website to check out your story. Loved it!! Your photos are awesome. We wish you safe travels. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • That’s special to know Bethanne. Thank you so much for your message. I’ll be enjoying my Thanksgiving with friends right here in Fayetteville! Wishing your and your family a joyous day as well!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving lovely lady!! These pictures are amazing!!! I can’t wait to join you on the road somewhere after the first of the year. Crossing my fingers we can make it happen!! Love ya and can’t wait to see ya!!!

  5. I have explored your blog many times, admiring your photos and reading your reviews of areas for our own trip research – but I had missed looking at your DC pics. I love the way you showed these monuments. Thanks for linking this to your FB. We are traveling and FB is easy to scroll through on our phones to see what you are up to:) Loving your California pics – we are in FL this winter.

    • Thanks for the note Angie. It was nice to spend a few days in DC, the best of it on the seat of a bike in the early morning while few were out.
      And thanks for letting me know that the post of Facebook sent you there. I’m working VERY hard on trying to get in sinc with the whole “social media” thing and use make good use of it. As always, I appreciate your comment!

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