Living in a Tent at the White House – Day 130

Living in a Tent at the White House

Day 130 – August 8, 2003 – Friday

Washington, DC is quite a place. It was overcast all day, hot, and extremely humid. I took a lot of photos, but I had sure hoped for beautiful blue skies. If by some freak of nature, the sky is blue tomorrow, I will head back to see sights I missed and to take more photos. Unfortunately, the forecast for the rest of the trip is thunderstorms all along the Atlantic Coast. I had so hoped to end the trip along the coast with sun and bright blue skies — perfect weather to see the various outdoor sights on the itinerary.

Bozzie Jane was unable to meet me in Washington as planned. (My inability to get a hotel room in Maine shortened the trip by several days, and Kitty B Kitty had a tooth extracted, so Boz was not able to change her schedule to get here.) Boz has never been here, so we definitely plan to come back together soon.

My Dad took a business trip to Washington DC when I was in junior high school, and I was so proud when he invited me to accompany him. What a great experience. We traveled by train, and then I went on a bus tour all around town and saw the Smithsonian. The sights in DC were incredible…but the first time in a big city all by myself added to the enjoyment.

40 years or so later, I believe I was even more impressed today. Washington is so big. The buildings are so impressive. It’s so busy. There is so much to see. The trees and parks and flowers are very beautiful. Bigger, more impressive, more beautiful, and busier.

Washington, DC is a DISTRICT — not a state. People live in the District, so as I was driving around, I all of a sudden realized I needed to see if there was a DC license plate. There is. I never thought about it before. I snapped a photo of the first District of Columbia license plate that I saw, so I will have all 51 plates in my virtual license plate collection. Only South Carolina and Hawaii plates to go.

Did you know a woman has lived in a tent across the street from the White House since 1981? I saw a woman, a tent, and some signs claiming she had been there since 1981. I asked a nearby policeman if this protest had really been going on continuously since 1981, and he said it had. So, I walked over and met Concepcion (Connie) Picciotto. Connie is an anti-war protestor. To be more precise, she is the co-founder of the White House Anti-Nuclear Peace Vigil. She lives on donations, averaging $15 a day. To say she is extremely serious about her mission would be a gross understatement. She has been right there on the sidewalk in Lafayette Park — directly across the street from the front door to the White House since 1981. Day and night. Summer and winter. It’s incredible that she has been physically and mentally able to do it…and that our country and our government allow her to do it. I’ve met people in every state that I’ve been to so far, and Connie is the only person that I met today in DC. I’m not anti-war or anti-nuclear, so Connie and I are not likely to become close friends, but I was pleased to meet her. She read my card and said she needs a writer to assist her with her web site and her story (could make a great book, I suspect). She asked if I was interested, but I had to tell her I didn’t believe I was the right person for the job. I couldn’t tell her that I don’t share her anti-war beliefs as she just seemed like the sweetest lady. See

The White House looked really good. Much prettier than I remembered. I saw the National Christmas Tree; I didn’t realize we now have a permanent Christmas tree.

There was construction all over town. There are also barricades, big cement pylons, and police just about everywhere. It was sad to see what terrorists have forced us to do.

As I drove into DC this morning, I passed the exit for the CIA. I exited at a sign that said “Pentagon.” I saw a big sign: “Unauthorized photography is prohibited.” There were a lot of police cars, armed guards; and there was a police car behind me the whole time, so I didn’t even try to take a photo.

I saw the Washington Monument, the Department of Treasury, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, Union Station, the Postal Museum, Pennsylvania Avenue, the Federal Trade Commission, the Archives of the United States of America, the Ronald Reagan Office Building (3.1 million square feet of office space — the largest in Washington, D.C.), Freedom Plaza, the Treasury Department, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, United Press International, the Department of Commerce, the White House, Kennedy Center, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.

I ended the day at Arlington National Cemetery. I revisited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and I saw the President John F. Kennedy memorial area. President Kennedy is buried there as well as Jackie and two of their children. I was surprised to see that Bobby Kennedy is buried nearby with a plain white cross as a tombstone. The ONLY way to see Washington, DC effectively is to take a tour as parking is virtually impossible to find, and the various sights are spread across a big, big area. Boz and I will take tours when we come back to visit. It’s also a place that requires several days to see. There are so many great museums that you could spend weeks here. For tours, go to

While I do not share her political views, I ended the day with great respect for Connie, the woman who has lived in a tent at the entrance to the White House since 1981. Talk about dedication and perseverance!

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
 Washington DC — Washington Monument — Department of Treasury — Bureau of Engraving and Printing — Department of Agriculture — Department of Energy — Department of Transportation — Capitol Building — Library of Congress — Supreme Court — Union Station — Postal Museum — Pennsylvania Avenue — Federal Trade Commission — Archives of the United States of America — Ronald Reagan Office Building — Freedom Plaza — Treasury Department — Department of Veterans Affairs — Department of Commerce — White House — Kennedy Center — Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial — Lincoln Memorial — Arlington National Cemetery