Day 17; Touring Washington D.C. on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide (4300 miles)

map of the united statesIt has been over a week since I have given an update of my “trip of a lifetime,” wherein I am traveling around the United States in my RV with my Harley Davidson Electra Glide in tow.

I have video and pictures of my trip but have been unable to get them off of the memory cards. Tomorrow I will hit a Best Buy so I can post a few.

My last update had me in New Orleans having a great time. A lot has happened since then. I ended up staying in New Orleans for 2 days and nights.

On my first evening in New Orleans after having fun on Bourbon Street, while typing my last article, I noticed that I was starting to itch on my ankles and on my forearm.  By the time I finished the article I realized that I was being, or had already been eaten alive by bugs. I suffered over 10 bites. I think the bites were a combination of chiggers and mosquitos, or “no see um’s” and mosquitos. Suffice is to say it sucked!

Turns out with this year’s massive heat wave in the Panhandle states, there are a ton of bugs. I did not put on my insect repellant in time. I have been caking it on ever since. Elizabeth thinks the bites came from Kinder, Louisiana, I am not so sure. She had a bunch of bites on her arm as well.

While loading my Electra Glide back on to the trailer I had a bit of a mishap with the trailer. There are three motorcycle positions on the trailer. I did not hit the center position correctly and it slightly bent the diamond plate where it was not reinforced. Most would not notice it, but I am a stickler for detail so I noticed it. Putting the 4 straps on and ratcheting the motorcycle down was no big deal at all.

From New Orleans, we got back on the road and spent the next night in Tallahassee, Florida. On the way to Tallahassee, Florida we drove through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Let me tell you the deep southern USA is amongst the most beautiful and green land in the world.  I only wish I had months to explore these states instead of just driving through.

We hit some rain in Tallahassee which was no big deal. We also stopped off at the local Camping World to dump the folding bicycles; we decided to get full size bikes instead.

After spending the night in a nice RV park in Tallahassee, (I went out at night to have an O’Doul’s and a cigar and thought I saw a friggen Alligator) we hit a Wal-Mart the next day and got two full size Schwinn 22 speed mountain bikes to replace the folding bikes.

We decided to do a grind so we could get to Key West that night/morning, where we planned on staying a few days. We had a long but excellent ride all the way from Tallahassee to Key West. I was a little disappointed that I could not see the scenery while driving to Key West due to the fact that it was dark, but I figured it would be no big deal since I would see it on the way back.

We got to Key West at around 3am, and we were tired as hell. They had more security than we were used to, plus to top it off our RV space was the first one to not be a pull through. A pull through allows you to simply drive in to your space without having to back in. Since I have a motorcycle trailer on the back of a 35 foot motorhome, backing up is a big problem especially at night since the infra-red night vision on my camera reflects off the glass rendering it useless. When I get back home I will take it back to Camping World to have that problem fixed, since they installed the new camera.

Suffice is to say after a couple of attempts the Security Guard allowed us to park in the registration area. We closed the blinds and curtains, I fired up the generator from inside, and no big deal, and everything worked as though we were hooked up in a space. We crashed out until around 10am. We registered, took the motorcycle off of the trailer, folded the trailer, backed into our space, hooked up, took the new Schwinn bikes off of the ladder rack, and we were ready to have a great time for the next 4 days and 3 nights!

We stayed in a resort which was the last island before the actual island of Key West, 1 mile away. Due to its location, they charged us $100 a day for the privilege of staying so close to Key West.

On the first day, we peddled our bikes all over the island, swam in their salt water pool, and then set out for Key West on the Harley.

Key West is the southernmost part of the USA. I heard it was like 20 miles or so from the Bahamas and for all intents and purposes, it was a Caribbean island in the USA. There were a lot of foreigners there with various accents.

We toured the island on my Harley. There were tons of scooters on this island. Everyone was wearing shorts, tank tops, and no helmets. I was in shorts, wife beater shirt, and modular helmet.

Yea yea I know that driving on a Harley Davidson with shorts is crazy, but the speed limit on the entire island was 30mph and the heat and humidity was so bad that after a few minutes you are soaking wet anyway. This kind of weather takes time to get used to.

The weather throughout our entire trip heretofore was basically hotter than hell, with horrible humidity. This night was no different. I was soaking wet in no time but it was OK. I am sure in due time if I decided to move to Key West I would acclimate to the weather.

Now let me tell you, Key West is off of the charts. There were a ton of people on the main drag walking, biking, shopping, taking carriage rides, you name it.

I love beautiful women, and the fine looking gals in Key West rival that of Southern California. It was fantastic. I could get used to this place real quick. We walked around for a while and then cruised the strip on my Harley. We had a great second night!

The rest of the stay in Key West consisted of swimming, lounging in the sun, bicycle riding, and tooling around Key West.

On the night before we were about to leave, we took the Harley back in to Key West; it started to rain. We went to this restaurant that was right on the beach. We had a nice Mediterranean style meal and it appeared the rain stopped, so we decided to go back to the main drag to walk around.

All of a sudden it seemed like the sky opened up. It was pouring rain the likes of which I have not seen since around 8 years ago in San Francisco. The difference in Key West was that it was still very hot, and I was luckily in shorts. The bad news was that we were on a Harley dressed for 30mph touring, and it was pouring rain. One wrong move and we would slide out. I took it real easy. We were literally soaking wet from head to foot. We decided to head back to the RV to call it a night. The next morning after 4 nights and 4 days, we were off again. The ride back to the mainland was great with nice views of the ocean and the Florida Keys. I would actually consider moving to Key West one day.

We decided to head to Miami Beach for a day. Once we got to the Southern Tip of Florida, we headed east. It seemed like the whole southern part of Florida was gated up for the super-rich with no public access to the beaches. Unlike in California where there is no such thing as a private beach, Florida has the exact opposite. They have literally gated up miles and miles of beaches for the super wealthy. It sucks and I was pissed off.

When we got to Miami Beach, it was sure a site to see. The development was off of the charts compared to Southern California where I am from. I hope Southern California never gets like Miami Beach at least in my lifetime.

We drove through South Beach, North Beach, and all through Miami Beach in my 35 foot motorhome with motorcycle trailer attached. We got some real curious looks along with way from the valet parking guys who were all along the street we were on. It was tough to navigate the Miami Beach jungle in my huge rig. Thank god we did not get stuck somewhere.

After going north for some time we found a public parking place where it looked like they had room for my rig and we pulled in. They charged me 15 bucks because they said I had a bus. We pulled in, pulled the blinds and the curtains, fired up the generator, and changed into our swim suits. We then went down to the beach.

Miami Beach is a trip compared to where I am from; there are high rise condos all along the beach, and tons of people on the beach. There were two things that totally blew me away; (1) There were no waves whatsoever, and (2) The water was like a hot tub.

As we walked to the beach I did not hear any waves crashing like what we have on the Pacific side of the nation. I thought something was wrong. The ocean was basically like a big pond, no waves whatsoever.

We laid out our blanket and sat for a bit. I decided to check out the water. When my foot hit the water, I expected it to be cold like the Pacific Ocean, boy was I surprised. The water was actually warm like a bath tub. I jumped right in.

I noticed that no one was going out too far. In the Pacific, we like to ride waves and we go out far. In the Atlantic, I have heard there are many sharks. Hell with the warm water and the lack of anyone going out too far, I decided to hang out close to shore. I had a blast swimming in the warm waters of Miami Beach. After a couple of hours, we went back to the RV, took showers, and hit the road again.

After driving a bit, we noticed a Hometown Buffet and decided to partake. They had steak, roast beef and a bunch of other stuff. I overate and had a great meal. Afterwards, we got on the road to head north to Washington DC.

Once on the road we realized that we did not reserve a campground for the night. We were both tired from a very long day, and we could not find a park close by off of the 95. To top things off, it started to rain a bit. While looking for RV parks I got stuck in two separate places where I had to back up before I could get out, which was real fun in the rain.

After some time, we were burnt out. At around 11pm we found a Wal-Mart with a security guard and decided to park the RV on the Wal-Mart parking lot and spend the night. Wal-Mart allows RV’ers to park in their parking lot and sleep overnight because they sell RV gear in their store. I prefer an actual RV park but this particular night we had really no choice. After parking, I fired up the generator, we turned on our satellite TV and it was just like home. RV’s are basically a home on wheels. Anywhere will do!

The next day we woke up around 9am, had some breakfast in the RV, and we were off again. We had an excellent drive through Florida all the way to a great RV park in South Carolina where we spent the night. South Carolina is a truly beautiful state. I could live there! The RV Park was like something out of a movie, perfect green lawns, trees, pond, etc. I have pictures but cannot get to them right now.

Once I set up camp I enjoyed a nice cigar and an O’Doul’s, then watched some Satellite TV and Redbox videos in the RV. I went to sleep early.

I woke up early, broke camp, and got back on the road with our next stop being Washington D.C.  We decided to do the ride to D.C. in one swoop which was around 500 miles or so.

There is one thing about the ride from Georgia to DC that I should tell; Interstate 95 was lined with beautiful tall green trees on both sides of the Interstate the entire way. We are talking millions of trees. It is much more beautiful than anything Los Angeles has to offer. However, in a way it was disappointing as well. Traveling around the nation is what I am doing so I can see the nation. With trees lining the entire Interstate from Georgia to D.C. with little breaks in between, we could not really see anything but trees; it gets old after a while.

Again in the future, I will visit the Deep South again and spend some time actually seeing it instead of just driving through it or taking breaks here and there like I did on this trip.

During the trip to DC, we hit a massive thunderstorm in North Carolina. The rain was coming down so hard I could not see in front of me even with my wipers on full blast. To top it off the wind all of a sudden felt like it was going to tip my RV over. Luckily there was a rest stop a mile away. It was around 3pm but it was almost dark, that is how bad this storm was. I guess the south does not get its green grass and trees from lack of rain.

There were truckers and a bunch of cars at the rest stop. Believe you me; if you cannot see with your windshield wipers set to the fastest setting, you need to pull it over. I kind of felt bad for everyone else at the truck stop, because we had our house with us and they did not. I started up the generator from inside, Liz made us a good lunch, and we sat at the table and had a good meal while everyone else was hunkered down in their vehicles. After about a half hour to 45 minutes it stopped raining enough to where I thought we would be ok and we got back on the road.

I knew it would be a long grind to Washington DC, but it was worth it to me to just get there instead of stopping somewhere for another night. We stopped at a Waffle House at around 9pm and had dinner.

When we finally got to the DC area I thought I would give Liz a little treat and drive my RV/Motorcycle Trailer setup through the streets of the capital. Boy was that a mistake. There are turnoffs which are hard enough to handle in a car let alone a 35 foot RV with a motorcycle trailer. We almost got stuck in the Union Station roundabout.

It finally got to the point where my exhaustion, coupled with the size of the rig I was driving made me set the GPS to the RV resort where we were going to stay instead of playing around the Capitol with my RV. I was so tired that I missed several freeway options so we ended up taking the streets. Our RV resort is about 10 miles from DC.

The RV resort is a place where you really do not need to leave to leave. There are people that live here full time. Heck I could get used to it as well. I love resorts! They have multiple pools, a hot tub, gym, restaurant, store, and a bunch of great people.

When we got to the resort on Thursday night/Friday morning we pulled into our space, I set up camp and we crashed for the night. On Friday we had a blast touring the capitol on my Harley. We were the only Harley Davidson in town yesterday. It was a great time.

Today we decided to sleep in, lounge around the pool and hit DC in the evening.

So there it is, a brief update on how the trip is going so far.

We will be staying in DC until at least Tuesday maybe Wednesday. The next stop will be New York City.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, August 4, 2012

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