Springfield & Checking On Our Boy

October 15-28, 2017

This is our second time around in Springfield and it’s a town we really like.  Not too big, not too small and a good campground for visiting with Pat’s sister Dee, brother-in-law Kurt and their dog pack.  We’re looking forward to it more than ever since the temps are falling and winter is chasing us in earnest.

Peculiar

Our original plan was to leave the historic bridges behind and make our way to a nice RV resort in Peculiar, Missouri.  I just liked the name of the town and the distance was about right.  We arrived only to find the place completely full!  We’ve only had that happen one other time in our non-reservation travels.  Fortunately they recommended a place just 10 miles down the road.  The Woods at Plaza Drive turned out to be a weird campground with no office at all in an industrial area.  Looks like we got some “peculiar” after all.  The whole check-in and payment took place over the phone and we never saw a soul in charge.  Just for the night, so we went with it.

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Hooking up Bitsy to leave our “peculiar” spot.  Bizarre is perhaps a better term.

Springfield KOA Take Two

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Back at the Springfield/Route 66 KOA.  All settled in at site 10 and we are very comfy.  We get caught up on laundry and take a walk on familiar trails near the Rutledge-Wilson Farm.

They are all decked out for Halloween and the haunted hay rides.

I’m able to visit with my high school/college buddy Catherine again at dinner.  Our little mini 35th HS reunion since we both missed that in DeLand this year.  We also give Catherine and hubby Randy the grand Lucy tour while we’re in town before a dinner outing.  And we are such fools and all forget to take any pictures.at.all.  Just means we’ll have to go back.

Dee & Kurt host us for dinner at their house so we can drop off Jackson.  They have graciously agreed to adopt him for the week so we can take a trip to Maryland to see our boy.  I’m soooo happy since we haven’t seen Ethan since Christmas 2016 due to our vagabond ways and his busy schedule.  This will be the first time since January 1st that we’ve slept or showered anywhere but in Lucy.  I’m a little worried we’ll be too spoiled from the hotel experience.

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Ethan gives us the grand tour of his virology laboratory at the University of Maryland.  Actually it belongs to his primary investigator/professor, but he is her first grad student and helped to set up the lab and order the equipment & supplies.

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We are so very proud of this young man.  Ethan indulges me and poses in front of the scientific poster that features his name first on the author list.  Hopefully a first of many posters and publications to his credit.  He’s able to show us the special cell lines they’re growing for experiments and we get a peek through the microscope.  Brings back memories from my med tech days.

Sloth Bears

Our big outing with Ethan and his girlfriend Stephanie is to Washington, DC to see the sights.  Stephanie really wanted another crack at seeing the sloth bears, so we headed to the National Zoo.  Those bears have been hard to spot in recent visits since they don’t like it too hot.  Fortunately we get there just in time for a feeding and get a grand performance from the female sloth bear.  She sucked termites through this long hose.  Amazing suction!

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You’ll have to settle for this sign about the bears.  She bear was behind a big plexi-glass wall, so photos didn’t turn out.  She’s getting a male companion soon, but he was in quarantine at this time so we couldn’t check him out.  She’s apparently VERY interested and knows he’s in there.

The zoo was closing soon for a halloween event, so we didn’t get to see much after the sloth bears, but we’re considering it mission accomplished.  The cheetah says don’t look at me, but the gazelles were a curious bunch.

Smithsonian Art Museum

We hop back on the Metro and head to the National Mall.  I just want a quick spin around one of the art museums and we settle on the National Gallery of Art West Building.  I’m sure the kids weren’t overly enthused about this stop, but when you start seeing such famous pieces by the great masters, you can’t help but get into it a little.

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Monet and ‘The Japanese Footbridge’.  Both Pat and I like the impressionists and Monet is one of the best.

A few other favorite images.  I didn’t know they have Van Gogh’s self-portrait here.  I just assumed it was in the Louvre.  Of course my earliest “schooling” in the masters comes from the kid’s game Masterpiece.  I remember playing it, and the goal is to get the million dollar painting and avoid the forgeries.  Each painting card in the game tells the artist and a bit about the paiting.  Here’s one I was delighted to find on the walls here…

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Renoir – Girl With a Watering Can

We asked one of the docents to tell us the most famous artist on display.  Leonardo da Vinci, of course!  And just like that, Stephanie is on the hunt.  It was exciting to see one of his works up close and personal.

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Leonardo da Vinci – Ginevra de’ Benci from 1478.  It’s not the Mona Lisa, but it is the only da Vinci on display in the Americas.

The Mall

We’ve been to the National Mall before, but you just can’t get enough of the bigger-than-life monuments and views you’ve seen in the media all your life.  A fast and furious day, but we managed to get in a few favorites.

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The Lincoln Memorial has always been my favorite and especially at night.  So astoundingly huge!

These two cuties posed for me probably more than they wanted to.  Just so nice to be here and with them.

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Our Nation’s Capitol

Last time we were here the building was covered in scaffolding and it really marred the beauty of the view.  I felt like it finally got its braces off and what pretty teeth it has!  And food trucks.  That really is America for you.  A contrast of the grand capitol surrounded by food on a stick.

I make Pat pose, too.  And then there’s the view from where Mr. Lincoln sits.

National Harbor

One more big outing with Ethan and Stephanie and it’s to the National Harbor.  We’re meeting up with Pat’s nephew Andy who’s stationed in DC for a year with National Guard duty.  Speaking of impressive young men, he definitely is one.

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Stephanie gets photo credit here for the family shot with “Marilyn”.  I don’t know why those two goobers on the left insist on leaning.  They do that in every picture when they stand together.  Andy and I try to act natural anyway.

So many cool statues on the waterfront.  The Awakening, Churchill, FDR, and Stephanie “can do it”!

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My favorite of the day with the harbor behind us.  Ethan and Momster.  I now have this one framed and on my bedside shelf.

Alas, but all good things must come to an end and we have to head back to Springfield.  Our “vacation” is over.  Stay tuned for the next post to finish off Springfield and the return to RV living.  See you on the way!

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