What a whirlwind Odyssey this one has been! Thanks again for playing along and looking at my pretty pictures and silly stories. Coming to you today from the Hyundai Elantra — the first place in a couple of days where there’s been a half decent connection.
We started out from DC on Saturday and drove 45 minutes to George Washington’s historic paradise, Mount Vernon. They wouldn’t allow photography in the house itself, but encouraged it when we went out the back door onto the long veranda, where Washington entertained his guests by serving tea and exchanging stories while watching boats come and go down the Potomac.
The reason this view is pristine is because of a ladies’ group in the 1950s, who started buying up all the Maryland property facing Mt. Vernon. They wanted to preserve the land so that future generations could visit the mansion, look across the Potomac, and see *exactly* what George Washington saw when he sat on his veranda. How cool is that?
As was the case with our entire time in DC, the heat was oppressive. I was dreading the tour inside the mansion, but either I’d forgotten the place was air conditioned since I was there 30 years ago, or they had installed air conditioning in the house since I was there last. Anyway, cool, literally!
After the tour, we headed off to Shenandoah National Park, and checked into the Big Meadows Lodge. Of course, the natural beauty of the place was breathtaking. We pulled over to many of the dozens of “overlooks” the National Park Service carved out in order for people to pull off to the side of the road and take photos.
We went on the Limberlost Trail hike (not a difficult trail at all, but the 1.5 miles felt a bit longer for some reason). We enjoyed the quiet, the restaurant, the walks, the history and the animals.
Over the last seven years, we’ve visited over a dozen national parks, monuments and battlefields, countless preserves and state parks, and a hundred different unplanned side-trips to see cool things in nature, and never before have we seen so much wildlife up-close as we saw this trip. We even saw our first bear! Days upon days at Glacier, Grand Teton, Mt. St. Helens, Yellowstone and Sequoia, and we never glimpsed a single one.
We decided that as much as we admire and love looking at the gorgeous natural spaces and unspoiled wilderness, we are not rustic travelers. Rather, we will in the future admire it from the roadside, a small stroll, or from a train or car. The lodge/camping experience (at least when we’re paying outrageous prices — if we’re going to do that, Mama wants room service and stunning cityscapes and fantastic food), isn’t really for us, so we’ll do something different in the future.
What’s that, you ask? Well, Odyssey 2017 is this.
Fink and the Thriller, just crossing the Pennsylvania line