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Larry’s Blog: East Coast And Vietnam Memorial

Editor’s note: this is the fifth installment of Larry’s Blog about the epic motorhome trip he took with partner in crime Sue and Corgi dog Maggie May  — 10 Weeks, 34 States, 14,000 Miles And Still Married

We resume with Larry on the East Coast. 

Hated to leave Maine as it was awesome, but further East Coast adventures awaited us. Of course we had to visit Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts where the Pilgrims landed. There it was, with a wood enclosure surrounding it. Pretty cool! Lots of history.

Also took in the coast of New Hampshire, very scenic and we enjoyed our drive along the coast heading for Rhode Island. Why? Simple: my granddaughter Sarina lives there after spending four years of college at Johnson & Wales. While the school offers multiple majors, Sarina opted for a major in food, namely baking! Some of the cakes she created during her time there were pretty fantastic. What you’d see on a TV baking show.

Click on images to enlarge

She’s now living in the little big town of West Warwick not too far from Narragansett Bay, across from the old town of Newport. Exploring Newport was quite the challenge as the South End contains many of the mansions of the very rich and ends up at the Atlantic Ocean.

Due to a huge traffic jam caused by repairs to the bridge which connects Newport to the mainland, we decided to find our usual camping spot at the tip and sure enough, secured a nice smooth spot just off the coast. Scenic and quiet.

We got up in the middle of the night to get across the bridge and headed over to West Warwick to meet up with Sarina, where we enjoyed a quiet breakfast at one of her favorite cafes — where she worked in the past. That night we met her boyfriend, intending to take them out to dinner but — plans at a birthday party for her boyfriend Scott’s aunt had us meeting his family and enjoying a great meal with them.

That night we headed back over the state line to the little town of Rehoboth, home of some of Sue’s ancestors where she hoped to find some more information.

Pulled into what looked like a park to spend the night and woke up the next morning to find that the “park” was a Veterans Memorial. I walked over to it and was amazed at how it was put together with a brick walkway.

At the very start of the walkway, each “war” contained bricks with the names of the local patriots who participated. I believe 1640 was the beginning, all the way up to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was very moved walking along the paths and amazed that a little town had gone to so much research to include the hundreds of locals who were inscribed there.

Sue visited the local library to try to find out some ancestry information but not much luck.

Our next stop planned to be the most important stop for us: Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and — for me being a Vietnam vet — the Vietnam Memorial. Also we wanted to visit the National Science and Aerospace Museum located not far from the memorials.

Big cities were not on our stopping list so, in the middle of the night, we chose to drive past Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia — avoiding traffic jams. But found Washington D.C. one of the worst.

However, we finally found our way to the memorials and decided to visit the Vietnam Memorial in the evening. Good choice as it was not crowded and was lit just enough to find your way. Finding over 48,000 name of brave soldiers and others  inscribed on the wall.

I cannot tell you how emotional it was for me at that moment. I served there from March 5, 1968 to March 4, 1969, exactly one year. I went feeling pretty gung ho but left feeling what the hell were we doing there? Most of the Vietnamese people just wanted the killing to be over. It didn’t matter to them which government ruled over them, during peacetime they just wanted to go on with their lives.

The next day we toured the memorials including the WWII, Korean (one of my favorites), Lincoln, Washington, you name it.  Lots of people, lots of different groups marching to their own personal drummer (beliefs). I was pretty tired at the end of the day.

Oh yeah we found a USFS campground just eight miles from Washington, D.C.  Even the locals didn’t know it was there. When you drove in there was no campground sign, but passed the headquarters of the Washington, D.C. police.

Then we came to a T and a sign that said “Picnic Area” to the left, “Campground” to the right. Drove about a mile through the heavy trees and came out to the campground. No hookups but plenty of spaces available. And since it was a Federal Campground, we paid just half-price with our Senior Pass!

Next day was a laundry day and a day of rest after the grueling hiking thru the monuments.

Then we headed early to the Smithsonian Science and Aerospace Museum and found a Disabled Parking place right across the street! Luck! Spent the day there wandering through the amazing exhibits including the Samuel Langley area! Maybe I’m related?

Leaving Washington, D.C., our next stop was to visit a pair of Sue’s friends from her Flea Market Gardening group who lived in Harpers Ferry, WV, not far from Washington, D.C.

And that will be the focus of the next blog!

 

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