Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Convenient outdoor map of the National Mall

Washington Monument at sunset

Chinatown at night

There's a male zebra on the metro

My next stop was Washington, DC. There aren't many campgrounds right near the city. I booked a stay with one of the only ones that is open in March.

It turned out to be a nice campground. The bus stopped directly at the campground and went to the Metro station. Thus, I completely avoided driving my truck into DC.

My primary reason for stopping in Washington, DC, was to visit my cousin's daughter. She was still in the hospital recovering from an emergency liver transplant. Her spirits were up and she's hoping to be released from the hospital soon.

My next stop was the International Spy Museum. About half of the exhibits were historical accounts of actual spies, from ancient times through World War II. The other half of the exhibits were about the best known of all fictional spies: James Bond.

An interesting twist for the kids is that the tour starts in a room with dozens of "cover stories". Everyone was told to select one of them and memorize all of its details. We were warned that we would be challenged later in the tour to test our ability to remember our chosen alias. I claim that I have a memory like a sponge. That is, it's full of holes. (grin) My short-term memory is basically nonexistent due to a combination of stroke and "senioritis". I decided that if my life depended on remembering obscure facts then my life as a spy would be very short indeed!

After the Spy Museum, I made the obligatory visit to the Smithsonian Museum. My timing was perfect to view a showing of the 3D IMAX film called "National Parks". Great background information for a full-time tourist like myself. Interestingly, I've already been to nearly all of the National Parks that they highlighted.

I finished the day with dinner in Chinatown. My personal rule of thumb is that a Chinese restaurant is authentic if the other patrons are Asian and the tables are set with chopsticks instead of knife and fork. I found one that came close to meeting my rule. That is, about half of the customers were Asia and the tables were set with both chopsticks and knife and fork. Their menu was classic American-style Chinese. Nearly everything Americans know about Chinese food was invented in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. I've been to China twice. With only a few exceptions none of the food served in China resembles anything you'd find in a Chinese restaurant in America. Nonetheless, this meal was great!

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