The morning dawned gray and quite chilly. Son was sluggish, but with a day of teaching to do, he mounted his bike to ride either to the campus or to the Metro station to catch the University Shuttle over to campus. Daughter in law has hours to put in on a piece of art due for a class tomorrow, but was slow moving to get to her campus. Grandson, who had the day off from school was up at the crack of dawn and stayed in the shower so long that I finally poked my head in the bathroom and asked him to turn off the water, so that the rest of us would have some hot water, then he snuggled under a towel on the floor of his bedroom until his Dad got up and asked him to please dress. The apartment is cool. They, like us, keep the thermostat low to keep their hard earned dollars out of the hands of the local power company and sweaters indoors are in order when the temperatures outdoors are low.
Once they left for their respective campus, grandson completed his homework with my supervision and practiced his guitar in preparation for his lesson later this week. We discussed how we wanted to spend this gloomy day, not just sitting inside. We agreed that a metro trip into the district was in order with the American History Museum the goal. First we needed to go mail a package to his cousins then decided to try to park at the Metro station instead of making the mile plus walk over to it. The garage lot indicated it was not full, but once in, it costs you a daily rate of $4.75 to get out. We took our chance and after driving every aisle on every deck twice, passing the same half dozen other cars looking for spots, decided that the garage was indeed full in spite of the sign and paid the fee to leave. The only other parking near the Metro station was a quarter for 15 minutes up to the limit of the meter, but the meter did not tell you what that limit was and I was unwilling to start feeding it quarters only to find out that the limit would be insufficient for us to make the round trip and see anything once we got there.
The other possible outing was to drive to Great Falls National Park, about 20-30 minutes away and check out the Potomac River gorge there, tour the visitor center and walk one of the paths through the woods along the side of the river. Three years ago, hubby and I both got Lifetime Passes to any National Park, available to seniors for a nominal fee. Prior to our cruise, we each emptied our wallets of all “extra” cards, to avoid their loss while on the trip. This card, sitting in my drawer at home, would have saved us the entry fee into the park, but the fee was a small price to pay for an outing with the eldest grandson. He is 8, an age of motion, fearlessness, and a desire to climb. It was fun watching him climb around on the rocks safely within the barrier walls, reminding him off and on to read the signage that implored him to not climb the railings or walk on the remnants of the C & O canal walls. Though we didn’t stay but about 90 minutes, he did expend some energy and I got some photos of the gorge and the grand enjoying the visit.
Entering the overlook that gives the best view of the falls, which we were told drop about 80 feet was this sign.
This sign was about 10 feet tall. Each number represents the year and the height of flood waters, that would put the water above the banks of the gorge with a total depth of 90 to 100 feet. The immensity of the volume and power of the water in those floods stages must be staggering. Oddly, the visitor center is within a flood stage depth that has occurred within the past 20 years.
Tomorrow, my 21 days away from home finally comes to an end. I will leave Northern Virginia when they all leave for school around 8 a.m. and will drive to our home, my own bed and the comfort of our own home. I have enjoyed the past 21 days, but I am looking forward to that.