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Author Topic: Touring Washington D.C. in a bus.  (Read 1331 times)
Barn Owl
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« on: August 03, 2008, 10:01:23 PM »

Touring Washington D.C. in a bus.

I have been to D.C. on two times this summer and this post is about what I did with the bus and not so much a travel log. For starters, donít go to D.C. between Memorial Day to Labor Day, every tour group you can think of is there full of out-of-control, public educated, bratty kids that have no clue of the significance of why they are there, and what they are looking at. One of the first things I noticed was there are more 45í buses per square mile than you would probably see anywhere else. If they can move around downtown, then anyone with a bus can. We were able to navigate around the mall without any problems. I would say 90% of the buses I saw where 45í Prevost, they seem to have the market cornered.  One of the smartest navigational aids one could have is a GPS; I wouldnít go downtown without one. The endless procession of one-way streets can be madding. When I got off the beaten path it would get me back to where I wanted to go.

If you are an early bird and donít mind walking you can park your bus for free all day down by the Potomac on Ohio Dr. Below Independance and above 395. You will need to get there before 7a.m. or then it becomes hit or miss because every tour company bus seems to end up there.

Ohio Dr. on Google maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Washington,+DC,+USA&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title


The easiest place to park is Union Station; they are open 24/7. Facing the station the bus entrance is on the right, up the side to the back. Ask the attendant how to get out because the bus exit is at the side, not the same place as the entrance. They have 90 bus parking spots on a first come first serve basis and if you donít wait too late into the day you should be able to find a spot. $20 between 7a.m. to 7p.m., and $10 for the flip side. Here is how it works, if you get there at 6:50a.m. you will pay $10, and as soon as the clock strikes 7a.m., you get to pony up another $20. Weird, but that is the way it is. There is always an attendant walking around to take your money and help you park in the right place because if you screw up and park with the city buses, you get a big parking ticket.

From Union station you can do the two block walk to the Mall (Thatís what we did). The Mall is where the Smithsonian and the monuments are located. Or you can catch the Metro, or take one of the hop on/ hop off tour buses that circle the city. Union station has lots of shops and restaurants if you are into that.

Union Station Parking:

http://www.unionstationdc.com/directions.asp?gid=13


Union Station website:

http://www.unionstationdc.com/default.asp


Union Station map:

http://maps.google.com/maps?rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Washington,+DC,+USA&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title


We also traveled to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museumís Udvar Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. A place I have wanted to see. It is well worth it and they have plenty of bus and RV parking for $12. If you go try to hook up with one the free tours they give. You will get a lot more information than you normally would by just reading. I like planes so I could spend a day there no problem.


Smithsonian National Air and Space Museumís Udvar Hazy Center:

http://www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy/



We also stayed at two campgrounds that were close, nice and inexpensive.  Bull Run has full hookups, paved spots and a nice skeet range. Lake Fairfax has gravel spots with electric and water. Both were nice and I would stay again. We didnít use the parkís rest room facilities so I am not able to comment on them. Thatís an advantage of not tent camping.


Bull Run Regional Park:

http://www.nvrpa.org/parks/bullrun/index.php


Lake Fairfax Park:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lakefairfax/


Below are some photos of Ohio Dr, Union station and Lake Fairfax.  I wish I would have let someone out with a camera and take some photos of me driving around the mall. We had a good time.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 10:10:37 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
Blue Ridge Mountains, S.W. Virginia
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 10:02:00 PM »

Union station:
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 10:05:55 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2008, 10:02:31 PM »

Lake Fairfax and the Air and Space Museum:
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 10:06:48 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
Blue Ridge Mountains, S.W. Virginia
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Slow Rider
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 10:17:08 AM »

Wish I had known you were going to be here, Bull Run is only about 15 minutes from the house.  If you head this way again , give me a yell.

Frank
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 01:52:02 PM »

Wow...sounds very cool...er hot to me.  We haven't visited Washington D.C. since 1981......literally a lifetime ago.  Spent two (2) weeks camped at Silver Springs and I daily took the metro into town.

I loved the visit.  Mary got bored after a bit and stayed at the campground.   Wish I could do it again and this time spend four (4) weeks.  Thanks for the great posts everyone.  Our Capitol indeed.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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TomC
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 02:53:08 PM »

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that DC is one of the most confusing cities to get around-mainly because there are so many trees you can't really get a bearing on where you are.  Unlike cities like Denver, SLC, Phoenix, L.A. that are surrounded by orienting mountains.  GPS-every time!  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 03:19:31 PM »

I am glad it is you in DC rather than me.  I lived in Leesburg Va for 7 years 20 years ago.

I drop for a equipment rental company and my aera was the Dc metro aera with a 48 foot landoll trailer.  I can remember some long days trying to get around up there. 

After that i worked at the Dulles airport at nigh and drove school busses into Dc during the day for feild trips. 

Need less to say I am glad to be back home in TEXAS despite the heat
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 06:01:41 PM »

Laryn,

Thanks for the informative article and the pictures.  I'm printing the info in the links for future reference; Marilyn has informed me that D.C. is on our agenda!

Dennis
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2008, 06:30:05 PM »

Dennis,

When I get back from Disney, we need to get serious about a get together.

Laryn
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2008, 09:18:03 PM »

Thank you Barn Owl!

Excellent advice for the DC parking!

I'll support every one of them as a completely viable choice for a busnut.

I have parked the coach right on the Mall in the evening.

The memorials have a different character in the dark, that many do not get the chance to experience.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
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