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Old 03-24-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
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Cindy and I arrived at Cherry Hill Park about noon today, driving in the rain after two beautiful and easy days on the road. We're supposed to have some rain today and tomorrow, hopefully without much wind to damage the blossoms. After that the forecast is generally sunny and cool for the entire week.

We've met one of the FROG couples who arrived about two hours after us. They came from Oregon, travelling down the coast and then coming via Flagstaff, Albuquerque, and on east on I-40 to avoid bad weather. Apparently it ALMOST worked!

We'll post some information and pix during the week. This is going to be a great time!
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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Bob I have been walking around with my Seeing Eye dog looking for you! What site are you in? Youroo!!
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:20 AM   #13
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We have about a dozen FROG couples in camp as of the end of the evening on Sunday. Cindy and I had very pleasant visits with many of them this afternoon and evening, and a light dinner with four other couples, including Mr. & Mrs. Youroo. A few of us got together afterward for a campfire and more visiting before calling it a night.

We went into DC for a while earlier this afternoon and got to see some of the major monuments. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms took a beating with the rain over the weekend. We're still going to have an excellent time, though, and are looking forward to more time spent visiting and enjoying the area with new FROG friends.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:17 PM   #14
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Today was a great day. All but one FROG couple has arrived, and they are on their way following some unfortunate mechanical issues with their truck along the way.

It was crisp and cool today, without a cloud in the sky. Greetings were made and new friendships begun. Folks gathered in small groups around the registration table enjoying snacks and comparing notes on hometowns. One of our FROGs ran into a couple who used to live down the street from him years ago -- not part of our group, but here by coincidence. Another mentioned the small town where he lives, and a woman nearby turned out to have grown up in the town.

The Wisconsans (Wisconsinites?) seem to have a strong representation, although the Northeast is right up there with "Maine-iacs," Vermonters, New Hampshirites, and northern New Yorkers. Credit for the longest trip to the rally goes to the couple from Oregon, who drove down the coast into California, then across I-40, outrunning snowstorms for three of their eight days on the road.

We enjoyed dinner together, awarded "FROG swag" -- caps, tote bags, aprons, and flags, all embroidered with the FROG logo, and generally enjoyed one another's company.

Tomorrow is a continental breakfast, and then we hit the buses for a tour of many of the DC memorials and a picnic lunch along the Potomac near the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin.

More to come......
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:51 PM   #15
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Today was a great day at the FROG Cherry Blossom Festival Trip! The day was sunny and pleasant most of the day, although we got about twenty minutes of light drizzle late in the afternoon. This evening has turned beautiful again.

We met this morning to have a continental breakfast at the campground and go over some reminders about the bus tours. After loading lunches on board (an addition to the original meal list) we set out for the U.S. Capitol. After entering the Capitol Visitors' Center through massive security, members had a chance to tour the Capitol, while a few decided to cross the plaza to the U.S. Supreme Court, where historic debates were going on regarding Obamacare, and others visited the Library of Congress.

After returning to the buses, we enjoyed a picnic lunch in Potomac Park, alongside the Potomac River and the Tidal Channel. Following lunch, it was on to the Mall, where FROGs that the opportunity to tour the Museum of American History or the Museum of Natural History, or both. From there we traveled to the World War II Memorial, located between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. We did a drive-by tour of several more monuments before stopping to see the White House Visitors' Center and get a photo-op at the White House. We closed out the trip with a visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial, the newest addition to the Mall area.

After returning to the campground and unwinding a bit, several groups ended up at a local restaurant to reflect and share stories about the day, and to get to know one another and build on new friendships developing on the trip.

Since yesterday's registration, when we distributed name tags and welcome kits containing information on upcoming events, we've gotten three more registrations for the Las Vegas / Grand Canyon / Albuquerque trip, and two more for next August's FROG International Rally in Goshen. It looks as if we have happy FROGs on the trip.

Tomorrow will be a "down day," with some members just relaxing and visiting at the campground, while many have made plans to return to the city or to other historic locations in the area.

More to come ...
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:04 AM   #16
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It sounds like everyone is having a great time. I wish I could be there. Thanks for the updates.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:19 AM   #17
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Yes Oakman,I wish you were here also,sure is lonely sitting out here on this bench all alone! Youroo!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:01 PM   #18
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Yesterday was an unscheduled, or "down" day -- so much so that I forgot to post an update.

Some of us got together in the morning and shared pastries left from Wednesday's breakfast, along with coffee, in front of the fire at the bathhouse patio. The split seemed to be about 50/50 between those deciding to go back into the city on their own and those deciding to kick back and relax or do chores around the campground.

For those going into the city, learning to use the Metro -- a combined train and subway system -- proved to be not only an adventure but a great way to get around the city. The Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving and Printing (sorry, no samples), and the Air & Space Museum and various other Smithsonian museums proved to be among the most popular stops.

For those of us staying behind, there was an opportunity to learn more about one another and build friendships, swap travel stories and suggestions, clean or otherwise work on units, and just wind down. Following dinner on our own, some of us gathered on a small hillside to enjoy a campfire under a crystal-clear starry sky. It's amazing how bright the stars are so close to a major city, but then we're in an area where there are no skyscrapers since no building in DC can be taller than the Capitol.

After dousing the fire (are you listening, Smokey?) we turned in to get rested up for the next day.

This morning dawned clear and chilly, although it later warmed up considerably and eventually clouded in and provided a very brief and very light shower.

We loaded lunches and drinks on the buses and set off for Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington on a vast hillside overlooking the broad Potomac River. Our trip took us along parkways bordering the river until we arrived at the estate, where we had guided tours of the mansion, visited some of the outbuildings and the crop and animal areas, and paid our respects at the tomb of President and Mrs Washington and members of their family.

From there it was off to Olde Towne Alexandria for another step back into history. We enjoyed a drive-by tour of much of the historic city, ate lunch in a park along the Potomac, and stopped for a visit to the beautiful 17th century Christ Church, where both George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshipped. Back on the bus, we followed the river past the Pentagon and stopped to visit the U.S. Marine Memorial, the famous statue of Marines raising the U.S. Flag atop Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

(On a personal note, that stop brought Cindy to tears as she thought about her Dad, who was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry for his service on Guadalcanal with the First Marine Division. He carried the original typewritten citation, signed in pencil by later-Admiral "Bull" Hulsey in his wallet until the day he died on the weekend of the 50th anniversary survivors' reunion.)

From the Marine Memorial it was a short drive to Arlington National Cemetery, where we visited the Kennedy gravesites and witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns from some of America's 20th century wars. It's always a moving experience to see these men, members of the U.S. Army's Old Guard, who march their post at the tombs 24/7 regardless of weather. A few years ago, as a hurricane bore down on the city, the guards were told that they could seek shelter and leave their post at the tombs. To a man they refused, and walked the measured 21-steps, paused 21 seconds, shifted their rifles to the other shoulder, and repeated the process throughout the hurricane.

Unfortunately, a delay in the trams at Arlington caused us to have to postpone our stop at the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and Korean War Memorial, so those will be our first stop on tomorrow night's "Memorials by Moonlight" tour. We closed out the day with a trip to the Sir Walter Raleigh Inn, where we were served a fabulous dinner of roast beef, herb roasted chicken, lemon-buttered salmon, sides, drinks, and dessert. The FROGs enjoyed the personal touch displayed by the owner of the inn, who stopped by each table to greet each guest and to personally welcome us to his establishment.

Having returned by bus to the campground, everyone seems to have settled in for a well-deserved rest and to anticipate adventures yet to come.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:00 AM   #19
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And so the last full day of the FROG Cherry Blossom Festival trip has drawn to a close.

The day dawned cloudy and chilly, and some of the FROGs gathered in small groups to greet the day. The dog walkers led the way, chatting and laughing while their pets got to know one another in slightly less appropriate ways.

A group of about 50 met to coordinate plans to return to the Capitol for a follow-up tour arranged through the office of Senator Lugar of Indiana. Car-pooling to the Metro station and taking the train/subway was a new adventure for many, but we managed to come up from underground just two blocks from the Capitol Visitors' Center. Today was an especially busy day for Capitol days, but the ticketing system worked much more smoothly. Everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to revisit the Capitol and see some things that might have been missed the first time.

Following their tours, the FROGs set out for other adventures on their own. Some went to the Holocaust Museum, some to Chinatown, others to various Smithsonian Museums. A few trekked to the National Archives to view the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, while some took advantage of the tunnel from the Capitol to visit the Library of Congress.

Others in the group opted for individual adventures, ncluding visits to nearby Annapolis and Baltimore, shopping adventures, and other trips in the area.

Later in the evening, most of the group assembled for our last bus tour. The "Memorials by Moonlight" tour seemed to be a great hit, and the buses followed slightly different itineraries. Everyone visited the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, as well as the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. One group walked through Lafayette Park to Pennsylvania Avenue for photos of the North Front of the White House, then went on to a drive-by of Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated, and the Petersen House across the street, where he died the following morning. The other two groups took in the FDR Memorial and drove by the Iwo Jima and Air Force Memorials.

Around 11:00, a chorus of tired but happy FROGs returned to the campground and called it not only a day, but a long day. Tomorrow there will be time for a continental breakfast, hugs, and "see you down the roads." No good-byes allowed. Then it will be back on the road, having made wonderful memories and wonderful friends, and on to safe travels and more great adventures.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:50 AM   #20
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Bob, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write about the FROG rally in Washington D.C. Reading your reports is the next best thing to actually being there. You made me LOL in this last report when you said "their pets got to know one another in slightly less appropriate ways." That was a unique way of putting it, too funny.

A great report and great writing, thanks again.
Bob
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