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It rained all night but we slept well. We left at 9.05am after the usual breakfast and hot showers. We were in light rain as we headed the 19 miles back along the road to the New Carrollton Metro Station. We parked the Earthroamer in the parking area and caught the metro to Washington DC - about a 25 minute trip. It was a beautifully quiet train and was automatically operated with a driver in the front who simply kept his hand near a red stop button to use if he saw anything on the tracks.
We caught the train to the Smithsonian Station after playing around with the automatic ticket vending machine. We couldn’t quite work out how much we had to pay so we put in extra money and the tickets seemed to work everywhere. Initially we walked out into the National Mall and headed down to the Washington Monument and beyond to the magnificent World War 2 Memorial. There is no doubt that Washington is a beautiful city. It just shows what can be done when there is unlimited money and time for planning.
As we walked back from the World War 2 Memorial we came across a number of scattered tents with cardboard tombstones. This was called “The Camp of Democracy” - basically against Bush, Cheney and the Iraq War. Dick had a quick discussion with some of the people. It was interesting to see how poorly supported the group seemed to be. There was no more than half a dozen people standing around or listening. Yes, there was a little bit of light rain but you would have thought that in a country of 220 million people that there would be more agro towards the War than this. Dick commented to the supporters of the demonstration that at least it was great that they could get permission to set up in the centre of their capital city to object to Government policy. In many countries this would not happen.
We then headed back to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It was nice to see that on the Spirit of Texas display of Ross Perot jnr’s flight around the world in the Longranger helicopter that Dick’s name was mentioned for his solo flight. Of all the absolute records mentioned on the plaque, the only one that appeared to be non-American was Dick.
The Perot display was excellent with the helicopter at ground level and a 5 1/2 minute video explaining the flight - all extremely well done.
We also saw Steve Fossett’s balloon which had Dick’s name mentioned as a member of the support team. Steve was the first pilot to fly solo around the world in a balloon - quite an extraordinary effort.
Of the space exhibits, the most extraordinary was the little capsule in which John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. It was so tiny it reminded Dick of his cramped position in the solar vehicle that he drove on the trip from Perth to Sydney. At least Dick had people close by to get him out if something went wrong. John Glenn had no such luxury.
We caught the train back to New Carrollton Station and left at 3.37 pm on 50 East towards Baltimore. A little later we saw the first sign to New York. Yes, we must be getting close to the finish of the second stage of our “around the world” trip.
It was amazing just how much traffic there was on a Saturday afternoon but the trucks seemed to be getting a little less in numbers. We noticed there were now more expensive cars.
We paid a $2 toll to go through the tunnel at Baltimore. Little did we know that from here on to New York we would be paying tolls every few hours.
We quickly paid another toll of $5 as we crossed the Susquehanna River. At Elkton in MaryLand, we stopped and put the last bit of diesel in the rear tank so that we would end up with about a quarter of a tank when we got to the wharf at Port Newark. The diesel here was $2.67 per gallon and regular petrol was $2.53. Calculating that to the Australian petrol price it would be equivalent to $3.36Aus per gallon. We pay $5.29Aus per gallon. That is 63% more in Australia, we wonder why?
Back on 95, we crossed into Delaware State. This is the second smallest state in America and the first State created in the United States. Another toll of $3 - we were not quite sure what for but probably just for being on the road. The traffic going in the opposite direction was bumper to bumper but luckily we were moving quite quickly.
We phoned John Levinson, the previous Chairman of the Explorer’s Club of New York, who gave us directions to get to his Wilmington home. We arrived there at 6.00pm, had a welcome drink and a wonderful home cooked meal of local crabs. We had a lovely evening with John and Carlie Levinson talking about adventure.
208kms Today 12557kms Total