Intrepidus (Fearless) is on a long journey from Coast to Coast and Border to Border. Our plan was to go from Bellingham, Washington to Acadia, Maine and then south to Florida. Then we would head West through Texas, to San Diego, and then turn north for home. Then we reached Pennsylvania to connect with old friends we had to reassess.
This trip has been full of wonder, pain, frustration, joy and excitement. We have realized our limits. I can’t drive the bus for 9 hours every day, Amanda can’t handle us driving for more than 5 hours due to her chronic pain conditions, and of course we can only drive 55MPH (short bus problems). In short, we aren’t in Kansas anymore. We are behind schedule and since we are behind schedule we decided to add another delaying tactic: visiting Universities. Belle is at the age (how did that happen?) to start getting a sense of who she wants to be.
The only way to get from Pennsylvania to Maine is to be willing to drive through a tyranny state. In this case: New York. Why is NY a tyranny state? We have firearms, we both have our concealed weapons permit (WA), and we carry firearms on the bus. . My family (including doggos) are on this bus. We are responsible and we take care to follow the law as we can. While driving, the guns are unloaded, the ammo is in one safe, and the firearms are in another safe. They are at the back of the bus and nowhere near the driver. This is good enough in most states, in fact I would say all states except NY and NJ. To give you context, in NYC you have to register your pepper spray. That is how ridiculous the mentality of the state is. It is also why NY is once again at the Supreme Court arguing about their guns laws.
We had an alternate plan: we will keep our firearms in our Philly friend’s safe for a few weeks while we head up to Maine. Then reality set in. If we go to Maine, we will be even further behind schedule. As it is, we are likely not getting home before Christmas. Thus, we decided to go to Washington D.C..
Washington D.C. is a fantastic place to visit. It is historic, the museums are free and it is built for walking. You can spend a whole day at the Capitol Mall just enjoying the monuments or you can dig in for education at any number of museums. We enjoy the Aerospace museum and we always visit is the Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust Museum is a sobering reminder of the nature of unchecked power and provides a very real insight into the atrocities of Nazi Germany as well as the inhumane treatment of Jews by the United States (and other Allied countries). In a lot of ways, I wonder if the United States financially and militarily continues to help Israel because of the United States’ willingness to overlook the very real need that the European Jews had in WWII.
So how do you stay in D.C. with a bus?
First, expect to spend some money. D.C. is not cheap. Parking is easy, however, if you park at Union Station. Union Station is great because it is a 15 minute walk to the Capitol Mall. It also has dedicated RV/Bus parking so there are no worries about height. When we stayed it was 60.00 a day (reservation) and had in and out privileges. However, you can not sleep in your vehicle (at least not without violating their policies). Our recommendation is to get a hotel or AirBnB (which is what we did) and park your bus. We had an excellent AirBnB just a 10 minute walk to the Capitol Building and another 10 minutes to dozens of museums.
We arranged the AirBnB so the teenager would have her own space and we would have a home base close to the Mall. Washington D.C. is not Buslife friendly. There is no boondocking. I repeat, there is no boondocking. We tried it before we parked at Union Station and ended up with a $1000.00 ticket and a very friendly visit from the Capitol Police at 7am.
Here’s what happened:
We were awakened to voices and the words, “Is anyone in there? Did you knock?” Sighing, I put on clothes and bounced out of the bus only to be surrounded by Capitol Police with a rather noble looking Police Dog.
I explain who we are, where we are from and what we are doing. He looks genuinely surprised and impressed. He then says, “This is D.C., there are no firearms allowed in the city. Do you have any firearms in the bus?”. Now, there may be firearms in the bus or they may be in the safe back in Pennsylvania. I answer, “No, there are no firearms in the bus.” He says, “O.k., let me finish my sweep”. The officer then proceeds to allow the dog around the bus several times and then he asks me, “Are there any explosive materials in the bus?” I said, “Absolutely not” and the look on my face must have been priceless because the officer then says, “We never see full size buses parked on the street in D.C.” The question then made sense: a Skoolie could easily carry enough explosives to level a city block. I now understand why the dog was brought in. They weren’t sniffing for drugs, they were sniffing for bombs.
Welcome to D.C.!
We promptly re-parked Intrepidus at Union Station, but not before we received a $1,000.00 parking ticket.
Intredidus Vita (Fearless Life) is the brainchild of Amanda Nystrom and Joshua (JD) Drake. It is a Life and Leadership project to promote fearless living and inspire others to do the same. You can follow us on Instagram: @intrepidusvita or you can read more about us at https://unlimitedwithexceptions.org/ and https://joshuadrake.me/.