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Patty’s Health update and a White House Tour

September 14 – 16, 2015 

Monday the 14th we packed up in Whaleyville MD and headed up to Washington DC.  We are staying at the Cherry Hill Park Campground in College Park MD.  Cherry Hill is about 130 miles Northwest of where we were in Whaleyville.


Crossing the Chesapeake Bay


Traveling from Whaleyville to Cherry Hill is one of the easiest drives we have had.  Basically we got on to US 50 and stayed on that for all but the last 10 miles.  I will say that the drive on 495 (beltway) is not fun even in non-rush hour traffic!

We really liked the Cherry Hill Park Campground.  They are very into helping provide you with a great experience in our nation’s capital.  They are a tad expensive ($58/night with AARP), but you just can’t get a better place for touring the DC area.  


I was met at the Park by these two characters!


When you arrive you know they are different from other ordinary campgrounds.  The parking area is well defined with 3 long lanes for RVs to register and one for going into the park.  You don’t have to decide where to go with your RV or how to get around the RVs when you are already set-up. 

The reservation area resembles more a front desk of a hotel than a campground.  The receptionist gives you all of the information you need to tour the DC area right from the start. Also, at 4pm the Park has a seminar to explain all of your options for touring including how mass transit works there. At the seminar you can even purchase Metro Bus and train tickets as well as all of the tour tickets.  The park also has Metro and tour bus stops right in the park!  

The park is quite large but the gravel sites are adequate size. There is plenty of room to park your toad or, as in our case, our truck in front of your RV.  The sites even have an area with a picnic table.  From the park entrance to the back it is a little over half a mile.  We were parked pretty close to the back of the park and the bus picked up in the front so we drove to the metro rail station in College Park for our sightseeing trips. 

I was surprised at how close Cherry Hill Park is to all of the DC area.  The Metro train is 10 minutes away by driving or you can take a bus from the park.  By the Metro Train it is only about 30 minutes to all of the sights in DC.

We most always use rail transportation when it is available because we are just very familiar with using it.  My career was in public rail transit and both of us have used it all over the US and Europe, so we are very used to using it.  Just need to say too that the DC metro rail is one of the easiest to use rail systems anywhere.  The only negative is that the DC metro rail is on the expensive side as rail metro systems are concerned.  We used the system 3 different days and it cost us about $40 for the 2 of us.  The $40 is not that much money for us but it is a lot as compared to the New York City system.  I would much prefer to ride the DC metro over the NYC system though!

We arrived on Monday the 14th and didn’t have any real plans until the 16th when we had a tour of the White house planned.  Patty was still not feeling very good since this past Saturday so we just hung out at the park on Tuesday the 15th. 

We did manage to attend the tour seminar at 4pm on Tuesday.  Funny thing, we tried to attend the seminar on Monday but crashed a rally meeting by accident!  We didn’t find out it was a rally event until it started about 45 minutes after we sat down with the free wine and munchies!  The rally was upstairs and the seminar was downstairs.  The receptionist gave us a map that they marked with the 4pm time but it didn’t show the downstairs where the real seminar was! 

Now, I have more on Patty’s health issue.  Patty has suffered from depression since she was 13 and has been medicated for it.   She has, for most of this time, been seeing a Psychiatrist concerning her depression.  However, since we have been full-time RVing for the past 3 years she has not seen anyone for depression.  She is still taking 2 of her 3 medications though.  Well, it now seems apparent that Patty is going to need to again start seeing a doctor about depression. 

Patty’s central health issue is diabetes which has been hard to control.  The increasing bouts of out of control depressive episodes have just added to her physical health issues stemming from diabetes control.  In other words, out of control depression has also affected the control of her diabetes. 

These depressive episodes have really ramped up after her mother died last October.  Neither of us recognized this happening until just now.  We have been trying to get medical relief for her physical symptoms but didn't know they were symptoms related depression.  At least that is the way it is looking now.  

For the past 18 months she has been having episodes of feeling really bad, can’t get out of bed, and no hunger that last for 2-5 days at a time.  Since she is diabetic, the drastic change in her activity (staying in bed) and lack of food (no appetite) usually sends her to the ER.  The outcome of which is that she is sent home after getting her dehydration and blood sugar under control with no reason why it happened in the first place (driving us nuts).  This has happen at least 10 – 12 times over the last 18 months.  

On Monday, evening during the current episode, I asked Patty if she thought this may have something to do with mental health and maybe not something physical.  I think that was the trigger where she became aware of the issue. 

So, where does that leave us?  We have decided to head back to our winter place in Texas early so Patty can get help. We decided to finish our tour of DC and then start back to Texas. 

We are just about as far from Texas as we can get right now at 1800 miles.  We are going to go back on our regular fast pace, 200 miles a day and stay 2 nights for each stop.  It then should take us about 16 days to get back by the first week in October.

This really is a positive awakening, even though it hasn’t been real positive as it happens.  We are hopeful that with medication changes and doctor care, we can get Patty back to normal.  This is the one piece that we just were not focusing on that we should have been.  Even though we are full-time RV travelers, we also have to deal with life as it happens, and this too we will get through.

OK, back to our regularly scheduled blog about our life as full-time RV travelers.

We had a White House tour set for 9:30 am and a Capital Tour set for 2:00 pm on Wednesday the 16th.  Both of these tours we arranged via our South Dakota Senator Thume’s office.  Since 9/11 this is the only way to get inside the White House now.  The Capital can still be done with outside tour groups but it is great to get a personal tour with a Senator’s aide!  

We made it to the White House tour with no problems.  We arrived with about 30 minutes to spare.  Patty was still not feeling very good but she was hanging in there.


Inside the DC Metro Rail system

Everybody cued up to get into the 9:30 am White House tour

The White House tour took about an hour, so our plan was to take a National Mall circle bus around the Mall and then have lunch before doing the Capital Tour at 2:30 pm.  


Visitor entrance to the White House

East Room

Hallway from the East Room to the State Dining Room

View of the South Lawn from Green Room

Green Room

View of the Washington Monument from the White House

Green Room

Blue Room


Red room


Formal State Dining Room

Less formal dining room.  Used to be used by the family before putting in a room upstairs in the living quarters.

Front entrance to the White House

North lawn



Just have to have protesters out front of the White House
On our 15 minute walk to the Mall bus, Patty got very sweaty and passed out about half a block north of the Washington Monument.  Several people stopped to help get her down on to the sidewalk.  Here we go again!


I took this just before Patty went down.  She went down just about
where the guy in red is standing.  The chopper landed in the opening to the right.


Now, for the really weird part of this story.  A POTUS EMT helicopter was making its normal circle over the area and saw Patty go down.  The chopper called 911 and landed between us and the Washington Monument!  I didn’t even know there was a POTUS EMT helicopter!  Anyway, it was quite the event to say the least!

Potus EMT arriving on the scene!




Patty was treated by the POTUS EMT people first and then by a local land based EMT unit.  She was then taken to George Washington University Hospital in DC which was pretty close by.  She had the usual blood work (nothing but slight dehydration) and was given a couple bags of saline and then released around 6:30 pm.  She was now feeling pretty good again as is how this usually works.  We took the Metro Rail back to our truck and then back to the RV arriving by 7:30 pm.  I guess the Capital tour will be postponed!


Back to tranquility!  These were waiting for us at the College Park Metro Station where our truck was parked.

We will play tomorrow by ear and see where we go from there.

Stay Tuned!

1 comments:

Tom and Marci said...

OK, so the helicopter thing was pretty darn cool, but too bad that Patty had to endure the health issue that lead to it. Glad you are zeroing in on a source! Nice pictures of you guys at the White House, though, so glad you were able to get that in! Was your tour guide named "Donnie"? (Have you seen "White House Down"? Good movie)