Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Everyday since my sister and brother in law have arrived, we have "planned" to visit Washington DC. Ron was very interested in seeing the Lewis & Clark exhibition at the Smithsonian and Jeri wanted to walk to the White House. Unfortunately, every day some new reason seemed to crop up which meant we didn't go. We did Gettysburg, then Fairfax, then rested, then Antietam. Mainly though, Judy and I procrastinated the DC part because we consider it 'work' to haul into DC and catch the Metro. We also have all kinds of rules about not going until after rush hour is over in the morning and leaving before rush hour starts in the afternoon. These rules, not surprisingly, limit our time in the capitol. (I told you--we're LAZY. I wasn't kidding.)

Since Ron and Jeri are leaving tomorrow, today was now or never to visit DC. We finally managed to get into the car sometime after 9:30 this morning (a bit of a late start) and headed down I-695. Judy, who always drives, briefly debated betweent I-95 and the Balto-Washington Parkway. She went for the parkway. We had intended to park at New Carrollton Metro center and ride in. Unfortunately things went awry when Judy took the exit for I-495 North. Oops. It's not so easy to fix such a mistake--but hey, let's make lemonade. I've been wanting to try driving to Arlington National Cemetery and parking there before taking the Metro into the Smithsonian stop. I also wanted to visit the Cemetery too, so it all seem serendipitous.

We continue our drive on I-495N...veer off onto the George Washington Parkway, eh voila! We are at Arlington National Cemetery. They have plenty of parking and it is very reasonably priced. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't share that--I don't want too many people to know the trick.

We took the short tourmobile tour of the Cemetery. We stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown and watched the changing of the guard. Very moving and worth standing in the hot sun. If those guards can do, I can do it! Ron really wanted to tour Arlington House, but it was already after 1:00, so we discouraged him and popped onto the Metro to hit the Mall.

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

First stop, the American History Museum. Did you know that it is closing for two years of renovations?? Last day to see the current exhibits is September 4th. The First Ladies exhibit has already closed as they prepare for construction. We had a pleasant lunch (expensive, I should note) and then went looking for Lewis & Clark. Turns out Lewis & Clark are at the Natural History Museum. (Hello--Andrea that was totally your misinformation!) Judy stayed at the American History Museum to tour the polio exhibit. She read a book about the development of the vaccine and she's really into it. Jeri headed off into the blazing heat of late July in Washington to see the White House, sans hat or sunglasses while wearing a polyester top. (Warned her, she didn't listen.) Ron and I walked to the Natural History Museum to see Lewis & Clark. Well, Ron saw it. I sat on the bench and 'rested'. Lest, dear reader, you think me a cretin for missing the opportunity to see the exhibit. The museum below the St. Louis Arch is dedicated to the Lewis & Clark expedition and I've seen that TWICE. I did walk through when I finally wondered what had happened to Ron and looked at the displays briefly. It was very nice. I took a picture (no flash!) of a buffalo robe.

All four of our party reconnected shortly thereafter to make our way to the Metro and head for home. We were all HOT and TIRED and ready to be done. Jeri even admitted that she thought she was all walked out. I didn't think she could be all walked out so that was kind of a surprise. It was well into rush hour by now and Judy is a bit intense about it so we tried to walk as quickly as we could. Once on the highway, we discovered to our delight that WE were allowed to drive in the HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle) for people with more than two people in the car. Yea. We zoomed along with great delight. A more immature person might have made faces at all the single person cars we passed, but I restrained myself and just grinned manically.

We avoided the worst of the traffic by shooting up I-270? it's the road toward Gaithersburg and then bopping off on to highway 27 to 26 and home. Highway 27 was a bit congested and it is a two lane road, but by 26 the traffic was all going in the opposite direction of us, so we'll use that route again. We celebrated our safe arrival home and Ron's birthday, by dinner at Red Lobster. So a good time was had by all.

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