South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog

cherries in Cherry Park

the campground


Today was such a long driving day we actually set the alarm to ensure that we got up and got going, something that makes us remember all those days spent going to work. The actual distance (460 miles) was not so bad, but the fact that the drive began and ended during rush hour in big cities made the day much longer. When you are 65 feet long, driving through a big city is always a challenge, especially when frequent lane changes are involved and the traffic is heavy. Metro Charlotte traffic was heavy before we even crossed the border from South Carolina, but there were no lane changes: I-77 all the way. From our vantage point high up in the motor home, we watched impatient commuters change lanes incessantly. As long as no one hit each other and no one did, we could crawl along at golf cart speeds and eventually the city was in our rear view mirror.

We did a bit of mountain climbing into the fog as we crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway. The redbud was blooming, but most of the trees did not have leaves yet. The rest of the drive proceeded quickly, but despite Ken's best efforts, we landed in Washington DC at rush hour. We had to drive almost half way around the city to get to the campground, again at golf cart speeds.

Camping near a major metropolitan area is always a challenge. Where we live there are no metro campgrounds, so we are lucky to be at Cherry Hill serenaded by the noise of a nearby expressway. To spare us more rush hour traffic, the park recommends taking the commuter train into Washington from a nearby station for $10 roundtrip including parking at the station so we'll give that a try tomorrow. We have vague memories of camping at Cherry Hill in a blue tent in the early 1970's and driving into the city, long before GPS. They had an annoying habit of reversing the direction of the one-way streets to lessen the impact of rush hour. It was so traumatic, it remains a vivid memory even after all these years.

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