The Grand Finale

July 4th in Washington D.C.


This blog is a little dated for several reasons; one, I’m a little hesitant to end the trip, two, I didn’t take part in most of the activities the last week of the trip and three, we have spent the last two weeks scrambling to prepare for the next chapter in our lives.




left: The Dudes make Fourth of July T-shirts.








I’m not much for scheduling but I thought it might be fun and fitting to end a tour of the country with a visit to Washington D.C. on July, 4th. That week also happened to be the week of an annual professional meeting I needed to attend for much needed continuing education credits. It seemed like a win-win. The only down side to the plan was that I wouldn’t be able to spend the last week of the trip with the family (I have been to D.C. several times before) and I would have to rely on them for pictures and stories about their adventures (not a promising thought).








left: The Martin Luther King memorial  right: The Washington Monument and Mall.


We arrived in D.C. just in time for the Super Derecho, you know, the freaky storm that hit the mid atlantic area knocking out power to 2 million people for a week? We happened to be camped right in its path and I had visions of the bus spinning through the air like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz. Only the wind of a Super Derecho doesn’t spin. It goes straight and with hurricane force. The winds that night were recorded as high as 90 MPH!




left and below: Inside the Air and Space Museum.










As we lay in our “breadbox” falling asleep, we could hear the winds escalating and they continued to do so for hours accompanied by a continuous rumbling sound. Not the flash and boom of a regular storm. I lay there thinking about evacuation plans in case our movable house began to lift off. It was a long sleepless night and by morning 2 million people were without power during one of the summer’s worst heat waves, including us.






left: The Lil’ Dude inside a megaladon jaw.







right: An Ammonite at the Natural History Museum.








It was then that I began to actually look forward to spending the next four days in a conference center that just happened to still have power. The boys would be on their own to sweat it out.













They managed to visit the Memorials, the White House, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space and Natural History Museums, the National Museum of Builders and even took a day to drive over to Delaware, just to knock it off the list.




left: “Building” at the National Building Museum.













We reconvened, as a family, on the 4th in front of the Jefferson Memorial for the fireworks display. We were told to arrive early to get a spot amongst the half million people that show up for the fireworks which was fine except for the continuing heat wave. We quickly decided that sitting at the Mall would result in a ticket to the emergency room with heat stroke so we made our way over to the Jefferson Memorial where there were a few trees for shade and a slightly perceptible breeze off the lake.



left: The half million people at the Mall we decided NOT to join for the fireworks display.




right: With a heat index of 105 degrees, this was all of the energy I could muster waiting for the fireworks.




It was still a very long hot afternoon but proved to a great spot for the show with the Washington Memorial in view and the reflection of the fireworks on the water. I watched intently, wanting the show to last forever, not wanting the grand finale to come as it would sadly signify the official end to our 14 month adventure.




left: Cooling off with popsicles waiting for the show.






right: The Lil’ Dude literally “climbs a tree” waiting for the show.










left: We were treated to a “sunset show” before the fireworks.



But, the grand finale did come, like the end of our trip, all too quickly. And, without much fanfare, we packed up our blanket and made our way to the train that would take us back to the bus we have called “home” for the past year.
















Maybe it was the long day or maybe it was the heat but, it seemed a bit anticlimactic after all of the adventures we have had this past year. Then I decided that the fireworks didn’t signify an end but a transition from our grand adventure to the next one about to unfold as we have decided that the next chapter in our lives will take place in a little town in Oregon called Bend…….stay tuned.



 ”Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit”      

 Ralph Waldo Emerson




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7 Responses to The Grand Finale

  1. Bunny says:

    While I was preparing for a nomadic lifestyle like yours, a friend alerted me to this blog last September and I’ve eagerly checked it each morning. I’ve since taken two extensive trips across the southeast and the west and am about to take an even longer one to the northwest. I got chills when I read that you were relocating to Bend, where I’ll be August 17! Thank you for a totally enjoyable chronicle of a fascinating (and inspiring) journey. Would love to continue communication via email.

  2. DEETS says:

    It was an adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed. I do hope we will get blogs from Bend. Love, Deets

  3. Diane Ludwig says:

    It is hard to believe that we met you all a year ago at this time, while in Anchorage, Alaska. And yesterday, while hanging out with the boys at the Botanical Garden @ UAF, I remembered visiting with you here in our town. It has been wonderful – and inspiring – to follow your subsequent travels here in your blog. I esp enjoyed your entries of showing your boys those actual places from the stories of your past! Thanks for sharing your adventures and I hope your transition to the next phase is blessed!

    • Dawn says:

      I can’t believe it’s been a year either. Wow, time flies when your havin’ fun. Some of our fondest Alaskan memories are of spending time with the “boots kids”. Our move will place us about half the way to Alaska!

  4. The Junks says:

    Any leads in Bend? I wish I had more contacts down there for you guys, if I hear of anything I’ll pass it on. We’re looking forward to having you guys “close”.

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