Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Journey is Best Measured In Family and Friends

On Labor Day weekend, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge to the lower peninsula of Michigan. We only had to pay the "troll" $14 to get permission for the Wildebeest to cross. Thus began a two week journey that included family, friends, history, and a wedding. This quality time reinforced to us that ...

Our journey is best measured in family and friends!

Our initial stop was the home of Doug's brother and sister-in-law in Flint, Michigan. Our first "driveway camping" experience included 50 amp power, water hook-up, hot tub and a delicious bacon and eggs breakfast ... we were spoiled! We then traveled a few miles down to road to spend a relaxing Labor Day weekend with the rest of Doug's family at Leisure Lake.

Our biggest draw ... the beautiful smile and delightful personality of our grand-niece, Noelle.

Of course, the precious smile of our 97 years young friend, Odile, comes in a close second!

Our journey with family is best measured in all the giggles that fill our days!

After the holiday weekend, we left our beloved Wildebeest in the care of Doug's family and took a "Honda CRVenture" to Virginia. We definitely are not used to driving in a car for 10+ hours or passing through five states in one day, so we were happy to finally arrive that evening at the northern Virginia home of good friends, Jill, Dick and Jenna.

How wonderful to reconnect with dear friends and be spoiled by a "huge" guest suite, delicious meals, and elegant surroundings ... including the artwork of Jenna. Jill assured me that they have enough room to park the Wildebeest when a future trek brings us back to the east coast. Putting that on the RVentures bucket list!

One of Jenna's magnificent creations

Our journey with friends is best measured in all the "comforts of home" kindness that surrounds us!

We were able to easily launch our Washington, DC explorations from their home. It was about a forty minute (in good traffic conditions) drive to the Vienna, Virginia metro station that transported us right into the heart of the Washington DC tourist district.

The rain that fell on the our first day in DC proved to be just a minor annoyance,

... as there were no crowds as we walked along the National Mall and through the Smithsonian museums.

Look at that!
A crock pot and cookbook just like my mom
bought in the 1970's is on display at the
American History Museum!
And is that her Corningware casserole also??!!

No one was around to "photo bomb" our selfies,

... and Abe didn't seem to mind Doug sneaking a kiss in front of him!

The sun shone bright the next day as we explored Smithsonian's newest museum ... the Museum of African American History and Culture. We did not realize that you need to secure the free tickets on-line ahead of time, so we almost didn't get in. But because we arrived before the afternoon crowds, the lady at the entrance graciously allowed us in. From displays depicting the beginning with the slave trade to the accomplishments of African Americans today, this newest museum is definitely a must-see!

Afterwards, we enjoyed looking at the historic architecture of all the buildings that surrounded us as we walked through the DC downtown area on our way to lunch at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant

Oh, happy day! Doug snagged a Washington DC beer coaster as we refueled with tacos and beer.

Around the block was Ford's Theater which we explored after lunch. The theater is still in use, and they recently remodeled the museum. Doug, who normally doesn't get really excited about history museums, had to admit that Ford's Theater definitely held his interest. I never tire from the feeling that I experience when I have the privilege of visiting a place as special as this.

Back on the National Mall, I added to my "capitols" pictures with the Mother of all Capitol buildings! We also walked through the National Archives and the National Gallery.

By this time, Doug needed a "time out" to rest up
as I absorbed all the magnificent US history reflected
in the paintings and sculptures at the National Gallery.

Our journey through history is best measured in the amazing sites that surround us!

The next day we continued our journey to Richmond, Virginia where we gathered with family to celebrate the wedding of my niece Alyssa and Logan.

We celebrated new beginnings ...

time with our sons ...

an opportunity to reunite with siblings ...

and the joys of seeing nieces and nephews grow into amazing young adults!

Our journey with family is best measured in the smiles and hugs that surround us!

Two more state capitol buildings ...

Richmond, Virginia

and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

... were on our trek back to Michigan, as well as the sacred battlefield of Gettysburg.

Our three hour tour was just enough to get a "first taste" and realize that we (meaning Chris, the history geek) need to add this to our future RVentures route. At the visitor's center, we viewed the film "A New Birth of Freedom", admired the Gettysburg Cyclorama (a 377 ft circular painting of the battle) and walked through the museum.

After a delicious lunch and IPA at Appalachian Brewing Company (yes, Doug, there are sometimes "treasures" hidden among the historical sites), we walked around the Soldier's National Cemetery, site of Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.

Our journey through trials and triumphs is best measured in the hope for peace that our country continues to work for.

We made it safely back to Michigan, and joined Doug's parents for a few days at Leisure Lake, the RV park where they spend their summers.

I enjoyed taking over their kitchen and creating a scrumptious dessert with their overly abundant supply of fresh raspberries. It was so good, that I have to share it on my RV Recipes page.

"Bella" tries to convince Doug to share
some of the good food!

Doug had a few RV repairs on his docket which included the successful repair of our main furnace. Unfortunately, during this process, he took off his wedding ring and somehow misplaced it (which is why you see the metal detector leaning against the pole in the foreground). 

Unfortunately, it has not shown up yet, but we both continue to realize that ...

Our journey is best measured in the golden treasure of time spent with our family and friends!

Including all those awkward and fun family photos!

Until next time ... treasure your journeys with family and friends ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!

My sister and brother-in-law enjoying the view of the
James River during one early morning walk in Virginia.

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