Sunday, August 14, 2016

Is it Ever TOO Hot to RV? RoadAbode RoadTrip August 2016

Too hot to RV? In a word - No. You just have to plan some different activities.
It was suppose to be DisneyWorld for August. But we found our house heating/cooling system needs to be replaced. So to save money, we opted for a "mini-trip." Right now I'm in RoadAbode relaxing at the beautiful Cherry Hill Campground in College Park Md. As I lie on the bed typing this, Amy is doing some work for The Table food pantry next to me and our girls are watching cartoons. It's 10 am and already it's over 90 humid degrees out.
I understand "it's not the heat, but the humidity" but each day's heat index has been over 102F.
The east coast has been in a heat wave for five days, and relief is not coming for a few more. Last night was the first time walking around the campground at twilight I've ever seen not a single soul sitting outside, or speaking with neighbors. A small troop of boy scout left early this morning - the heat just too much. Kind of glad we didn't do the expense of Disney this time!
So we are huddled in RoadAbode, a comfortably 79 degrees, doing things we want to do. Maybe not first choices, but definitely different than if we were home. So even though this weekend is not enjoying outdoors, we can still enjoy some "downtime". There are other things to do in this heat.
Cherry Hill Park Entrance
Yesterday, we treated ourselves to an IHOP down the road from Cherry Hill PArk, and then we stayed out of the heat and enjoyed a roadtrip to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. This annex of the Washington DC Air and Space Museum displays some of the hundreds of planes the Smithsonian has in it's possession. And most important on this overly hot day - air conditioned! Some of the more interesting large craft include a Lockheed Blackbird, the Concord, and the Space Shuttle Discovery. Other smaller craft that I found interesting were World War Two craft, including a wooden glider with a swastika on the tail fin. I found this interesting because my father told me of his memories as a boy, seeing these craft being pulled up into the air in farm fields by motorcycle. The enormity and variety of aircraft to see was almost overwhelming. One I did not expect to see was the Red Bull Stratos Capsule - which parachutist Felix Baumgartner used for his free fall from space.
The Red Bull Stratos
One that evoked mixed feeling was also on display. Though I know the Enola Gay is part of history, seeing this plane that had a part in the death of over 150,000 civilians saddened me. From the first floor viewing area, it almost seems as if the plane was on pedestals, looming over us. I understand that this is to help view the plane from the second floor catwalk. I hope we citizens of earth become smart enough to never repeat the decisions that led to what occurred in Hiroshima.
The Enola Gay
Other interesting craft included a section dedicated to helicopters, balloon flight, and stunt planes. A separate wing is totally devoted to spacecraft and rocketry, both from the United States and former Soviet Union's military and space programs.
The histories told and type of aircraft to learn about was almost overwhelming. We did not even make it to see the wide variety of military aircraft on display. Another trip is in order.
We did get to the mock air control tower they had setup. It provides a bird's eye view of it's next door neighbor, Washington Dulles International Airport, and the surrounding area countryside. Pretty cool to hear the radio chatter between the real air tower and pilots landing. The expansive windows in the viewing area allow you to see the planes take off and land.
The last stop we made was to the gift shop. We purchased a few sew on patches to add to our collection, and the girls got a few interesting trinkets and books
On the way back to Cherry Hill Park, we located on Google Maps a few thrift shops enroute. Two seemed pretty close to each other in the Silver Springs area. It turns out they were next to each other! Side by side, Unique Thrift and Value Village Thrift Store, and sharing space between these two stores, some interesting small retailers selling everything from electronics, phone accessories and apparel. There was even a small cafe/eatery in one corner. It was an odd setup, and from the signage found inside, the two stores must have the same owner. They were in the midst of a sale, so all summer type clothing was 50% off! I didn't need anything, but the girls found some great bargains on things that were already great prices. The preschool teacher of the family found plenty of books to share with her students. If someone was starting a first house or apartment, this would definitely be a great place to hit.
Once back to RoadAbode, the girls hit the pool, I took a nap and then we convened together at the Star cafe near the pool for dinner.  Cherry Hill Park has a great cafe, and from previous outings in years past I was looking forward to an authentic handmaid broiled Maryland crab cake. Alas, the cooks must have changed, as a crab cake was no longer on the menu, but the burgers, pulled pork and gyro we all had were very good, and not overpriced. They also  have a great list of breakfast muffins and pastries, and some very good selections of ice cream for your sweet tooth. Everything is fresh, made to order, and their kitchen prep areas are noticeably very clean. I'd say it's the best campground cafe we have ever been to!
After dinner, we opted to watch some tv and play some card games. If you've never experienced Exploding Kittens, I'd suggest adding it to your repertoire of "games to play for all ages."
A card game about Explosions. Kittens. And sometimes Goats.
Overnight we had a pretty intense thunderstorm. This was according to the girls and Amy, apparently I slept through it. Today was a "swim day" so we had breakfast, and relaxed by surfing the web (girls) doing some work (Amy) or reading (me). The pool opens rather late - Noon - so we had plenty of time for these activities.  Once we got to the pool, I was surprised how few were taking advantage of a dip during the heatwave. Then I remembered that many people come here to hit Washington DC, and were probably sightseeing. It was great to have two pools almost all to ourselves! It was also nice to see they had a lifeguard positioned between the two pools, actively scanning the waters for trouble. So few campgrounds have lifeguard staff anymore, and rely on "swim at your own risk" signs. We stayed in the pool for a few hours. The water could have been a few degrees cooler, and felt warm. I did cool off once I stepped out for a bit. Not sure if the pools are heated, or it was just the action of the sun warming up the water.

Cherry Hill Park "mushroom" water feature in one of two pools
Checkout is a little early - 11am - (but then check-in is early too at the same - 11am) than usual for us, so we just lounged a bit and slowly readied RoadAbode for departure. The ride home is almost all freeways. I mentioned to Amy we should come more often - the ride is really only about three hours from RoadAbode's home - depending on time of day traffic of course.

More About Cherry Hill Park - This is a top park to visit. This is the first time we stayed more to "home base" and relaxed than go visit DC. There is plenty to do in the area besides Washington DC. Cherry Hill Park is also close to area restaurants, and a great pizza place and a large grocery store is only about a mile up the road. The office staff are very knowledgeable and helpful for getting around to the various attractions. Think of them as more of a concierge service that just someone to check you in, or ring up a sale. The store itself has plenty of Washington DC souvenirs for sale, a small grocery aisle and a large RV parts department. While there I picked up some some items, a nice sewer cap with a handle I'd been wanting to replace (lost when we had a tire blowout), and some washers with filter screens built in. I did a price comparison and they were about the same as Amazon or less (not including shipping) In fact, if you needed work done to your RV, you could make an appointment to have that done by an onsite tech while you are out sightseeing for the day. Check them out at
Decorative Pond at Cherry Hill Park at sunset
Yours truly with lazy summer beard and the college-bound youngest at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.