The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
A couple of years ago, I began to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. As I grew up, I slowly shaped into something completely different than I had always imagined. I assume, in some of the opinions of friends and family, I have “grown down” not up. When we made a decision to live in a camper and leave our jobs, I’m sure all sorts of people thought we were crazy, irresponsible, running from things, etc. I spent a lot of time trying to think about what I could do for work and pay the bills, but also be happy. During this same time period we developed our love for the National Park Service and quickly I had a dream job, to be a park ranger. When the camper’s wheels rolled away from Asheville, NC, a little over a year ago, we planned all of our trips since around National Parks. At this moment, we are a one ranger, camper household and I don’t mind being Mrs. Ranger. Since my/our decision to embrace all things NPS, I have befriended on Facebook, twitted on Twitter, followed on Instagram, subscribed to email… all things NPS related. A couple of months ago I received an email talking about the National Christmas Tree Lighting. The what? I didn’t even know a such thing existed. After seeing the star-studded line up I quickly thought about how expensive those tickets must cost. I kept reading and was shocked to discover tickets were given out via a lottery. Well shucks, I never win anything, so click click and I entered the lottery. Checking my email one day, I was shocked to see the words, Congratulations you have been chosen to view the lighting ceremony of The National Christmas Tree. Well shit, oh shit, how am I suppose to get to D.C.?
As life has a tendency to happen, going to Washington D.C. on December 1, 2016 was not ideal to say the least. But sometimes you just have to make it happen, and I’m sure glad we did. I checked into flights and hotels and realized it wasn’t completely unreasonable and when would we get another chance like this, so a few more click clicks and tickets were purchased, there was no turning back now. We made our way from Asheville, N.C. to Greenville, S.C. the night before to stay with my aunt and uncle to save some time in the morning. They were a huge help letting us keep the truck at their house to save on parking and also took us to the airport and picked us back up. Thanks a bunch guys! We arrived early to a sleepy airport and were greeted with a delay, so someone took a little siesta.
The hotel offered a shuttle from the airport and to the metro, so transportation was a breeze. We flew, we shuttled, we metro’ed, we trolly’ed, and walked our butts off ( I wish). With only four days we managed quite a bit and even found a little time to relax. When we arrived we took a quick trip to the hotel to drop of our backpacks (luggage) and hopped back on the shuttle in search of food and to make our way to the National Christmas tree.
When we arrived downtown, we went to scope out the area and quickly realized the line was already forming to be admitted for the event. Our tickets were for the standing area so we got in line and waited and waited. The 2016 Lighting of the National Christmas tree had a great line up of performers including James Taylor, Garth Brooks, Yolonda Adams, Kelly Clarkson and several more. This day became a very long day once the sun went down and the temperature dropped. There are certain things you do in life because you got the opportunity, and it was a great adventure but the next trip to D.C we take will be in warmer weather. Cold weather just isn’t our thing.
The second day of our trip we took it easy. We got tickets for the Old Town Trolley that would take us almost everywhere we needed to go, you could hop on and off, and it was good for 2 days. We relaxed on the trolley for a trip around the city, took in the sites, and grabbed dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe (a must for us when in a big city).
Day three we were on a mission, visit as many National Park sites and see all that we could along the way. One of my favorite stops was the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. We checked out the constitution at the Archives, had lunch at Union Station, breezed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, walked and visited so many places. I thought we had conquered our to see list. Four days in D.C. is no where near long enough but thats all we had so we didn’t idle too long any any location. This trip was on fast forward speed, the highlights, next visit we will know what we missed and the places we care to spend more time at.
We felt good about day three and all we had accomplished. We felt good and tired. After arriving back at the hotel I realized we had skipped something, The White House and the National Christmas Tree, oops. We had been there our first day but never got cancelation stamps or photos. Day four, being troopers, we added that to our list, yes we were very ambitious. We headed downtown with our luggage, got our stamps and photos then back to the metro to Arrlington National Cemetery and eventually the airport. We arrived at the airport just in time to grab some food and get on our flight home.
Thanks for reading!
Until our next adventure,
Rebecca and Jamie