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Cruising in DC

Hello Cruisers! In my opinion, a big plus of being a Cruiser is the kinship with new friends who, like me, love to RV.

 

Bridget and I have been on several cross-country trips, and I look forward to each trip every year. This summer, our adventure was made even more exciting because we got to share and make memories in a seven-rig cross-country convoy! There were a few couples with us who are not in the club, but the core group was Cruisers. Club members traveling with Bridget and me were Aaron & Racheal Burgess, Richard & Donna English, and Kevin & Rochelle Goran.

 

As you can probably surmise, an 8000-mile, 29-state, 7-RV convoy takes a little bit of planning. That's an understatement. We started planning our trip almost a year ahead of time. We met monthly, plotting out our stops and stays. The goal was to hit people's bucket list spots. We stopped at and drove through several national parks, visited relatives that folks hadn't seen in a while, and took tours of places that we may have only heard about, read about or seen on TV.

 

We toured Graceland in Memphis, and Paisley Park in Minneapolis. We toured New Orleans and even had a tour of the White House.

 

A tour of the White House. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? The "Nation's House." It's kind of a big deal, huh? In order to get this ticket, you have to write to your state senator or congressperson 90 days ahead of your visit. Provide the following: name, address, drivers license info, social security card, a picture of all of the above, a DNA sample, and a retinal scan. I'm only half kidding.

 

How many of you have seen the movie where Jamie Foxx is POTUS and Channing Tatum is doing the most trying to keep them both out of the hands of some crazy terrorist organization? You probably remember the tour with the docent telling the group all about the different rooms, with anecdotal info on the artifacts, antiques, and gifts amassed within the White House? Yeah, it's not like that.

 

In the real world, everyone who gets an appointment to see the White House is instructed by email to show up at an appointed time. …or thereabouts, because it doesn't really matter. When you get there, you think you're special. Or you may have before the realization hits you while you are in a line of a thousand or so other Americans who thought they were special too, and their senator got them a special ticket into the White House also. Yup, the line we were in stretched down 15th Street and around the block. Ten o'clock doesn't mean ten straight up; that is solely a guideline.

 

We got to the White House in just enough time to have two dogs wearing Secret Service badges sniff in areas that illustrated to me why your mother always reminded you about the importance of always wearing clean undergarments. Next, we walked into a tent where two more Secret Service Agents scanned our drivers licenses, as four other agents, all wearing SWAT tactical gear, looked on, as all compared the ID photo presented to the picture the government has on file, as they looked you up and down to verify that the person standing in front of them at least had a similar height, weight and physical appearance to the person they were looking at on the portable laptop computer in front of them.

 

After that, we walked into another line, which led us into a hallway where several more Secret Service Agents, with more agents watching, of course, had us present our IDs once again as we emptied our pockets and submitted to a Blade Runner-type X-ray machine. Yes, it found and isolated my titanium knee.

 

Once we passed this final check, the next Secret Service Agent we met explained that our tour had begun and pointed to the sign explaining that we were on a self-guided, walking tour of the White House. …and we were. There were velvet ropes and more Secret Service Agents that kept us out of any room that we thought we may have wanted to see. There was no evidence of anyone working in the building other than the hundred or so Secret Service Agents that we saw and the cashiers in the gift shop.

 

The only thing we saw was a long hallway with pictures of the current president and his predecessors doing presidential stuff. There were a few rooms (roped off so that we passed by and not through them) with some really gaudy French Provincial furniture and furnishings. There were a few paintings of former POTUSes and lots and lots and lots of Secret Service Agents, uniformed and not so uniformed but still very obvious.

 

The next thing I knew, we were out. Wait! Was that it? Yup. Move along. There's nothing more to see here.

 

That was the White House.

Oh. Then, we made a stop at Ben's Chili Bowl and met the matriarch. She's kind of a big deal, and she hung out with us for about 30 minutes, telling us all about Black history stuff in DC and how they started the business, which has lasted three generations. That was pretty cool.

 

Cruising with the Cruisers.

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