Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

US Capital, Arlington National Cemetery, and Leaving DC

September 17 - 20, 2015 

After all of the trouble (Hospital) Patty was in Yesterday after the White House tour, she was OK to go for the Capital Tour today.  This is pretty common with Patty’s condition; she recovers almost like nothing happened.  Well, almost anyway!  Right now she is a little on the manic side of things.

We headed off to downtown DC on the Metro on the Green Line getting off at the Archive station around 10 am.  We were going to have lunch at the Ebbett Pub before doing the Capital tour at 2:30 but it was too early yet.  We were right behind the national archives so we decided to look around in there first.  

In the DC Metro.  Patty on the left.  Probably the cleanest Metro I have been on and I have been on a lot of Metros around the world.

The DC Metro is very deep in some places.. This coming up out of the Archives station in downtown DC

The archives have several floors of written material from our history as well as some of the world.  We managed to see only 2 floors quickly which is about a third of what there is to see here.  You could spend a day in this place easily.  The highlights were seeing the original Bill of Rights and the Constitution as well as the Magna Carta. We spent 3 hours in the archives and missed our opportunity for lunch.  Maybe we will have dinner at the Ebbett tonight.

The National Archives building.  No pictures are allowed inside.

We got back on the Metro and headed to the Capitol South station.  This station put us about 4 blocks from the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  The Dirksen is where all of the senators have their offices with exception to the leadership positions.  This is really cool, we get to go into this building and go to our South Dakota Senators office.  Our Senators name is Thume whom we didn’t get to see as he was not in the office.

The Capitol is being refurbed right now so thee is a lot of scaffolding around the dome.  We walk past the Capitol on the way from the Metro station to the Senate Office Building.

The Dirksen Office building.  This is where all of the Senators have their offices.

We met up with Adam Wek his aide who is all of 22 years old.  He set us up with the Senators new intern who would give the tour; his name was Stephen.  Stephen has only been there a week and we were his first tour.  By the way, he just graduated high school and is 18 years old.  Stephen was very poised, however a bit nervous.  He was grateful we were his first tour instead of a large group.  He did fine!

Our Senate Office guide Stephen.  He is looking just bit nervous in this picture.  We are taking the Senate subway to the Capital.

If anyone is ever in DC and want to tour the Capital we highly suggest getting in touch with either your senator or congressman and ask them for a tour.   The tour is basically just you and the intern instead of one of the huge commercial tours we saw.  We also got to go in places where the big tours didn’t go.  

One of the places we got to go where the commercial tours went was to the Senate's subway system.  The senate subway goes from the Dirksen Office Building to under the Capital on the Senate side.  We got to ride the system!  That was way cool for me!

One of the Senate subway cars.

The pictures will tell the story of the tour.    However, the only place we couldn’t take pictures was in the Senate and House floors. This sort of sucked, but everybody has seen these places so many times on TV anyway.  When we were in House, they were debating the Iran deal.  Overall, the tour took about 2 hours.  

This is the Capital Visitors center.  Is has been built since I was here last in the early 90s. The visitors center was just opened in 2008.

There are statues from all of the 50 states here in the Capital.  Each state can have 2.  This one is from Hawaii.  We are told that the gold color is because it is all real gold!

This is a replica of the statue of freedom that is on the roof of the Capital.
Surprising how large this statue is!

The exact center of Washington DC is in the Capital.

The first place the Senate met in the Capital.  Not as many senators then.

This is one of the Indiana statues.  I have no Idea who this is.

Inside the Capital rotunda.  They are working in here too!

What can be seen of the dome from inside.

This is the statue of history.  I liked this one so it is here in my blog.
Time is at the bottom and she is turned around to write what she just saw.  

Ronald Regan Statue.  The main reason I included this pic is
because it has pieces of the Berlin wall in it at the bottom.

Hard to see even when you are there but the "spots"
 just below the platform for the statue are actually pieces of the wall.

The first House Chambers before they needed the room they do today for all 50 states.

The leadership get special offices in the Capital.  This is the entrance to John Boehner's office.

We left Stephen at the Capital Visitors Center and headed to Amtrak’s Union Station.  We decided we were going to have dinner back at the RV tonight so we got on the Metro at Union Station and headed back.

Union Station in DC.  Very impressive rail station.  I have been in this station many times in my career but have not been outside to take a picture.

On Friday the 18th we decided to visit Arlington National Cemetery. We again boarded the Metro Green line to L’Enfant station and changed to the Silver line to Arlington Cemetery.  The trip took about 45 minutes. 

Arlington Cemetery is located just the other side of the Potomac River directly across from the Lincoln Memorial. 

View from Arlington Cemetery across the freedom bridge to the Lincoln Memorial.

We walked for about 10 minutes to the Visitor Center and found that they have a tram tour for $12 a person.  Again, the pictures will tell the story of Arlington.  Depending on one’s level of interest, Arlington can be seen in just 3 hours or it could be all day.  We just spent time at the highlights; Kennedy’s grave and the changing of the guard.

This statue is just outside the entrance to the visitor center.
It is bronze and they are cleaning it with a flame thrower device.

Vietnam Memorial Tree

Patty taking a picture of the Gold Star Mothers memorial tree for her sister Sandy.
Sandy lost her son Travis in Iraq.

Photo of the Washington Monument from Arlington

The eternal flame at Kennedy's grave site

Air Force Memorial at Arlington

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The whole change takes about 10 minutes and happens each half hour.  Each guard protects the tomb for about half an hour.

This is the end of the change.  The superior marches out
with the old guard leaving the new guard.

Picture of the guard leaving his post.

Guard and his superior leaving the tomb

After Arlington we decided to have dinner at the Ebbett Pub near the White House.  The Ebbett is very near a Metro stop on our way back to the RV making it very convenient.  It was, after all a Friday night, so we knew the place would be packed, and it was.  The maître d’ said that the wait for a table would be an hour and a half.   So we followed the advice we got from the RV park seminar and went to the bar.  

The bar was also packed but there was at least room to stand along the wall.  We waited there with a beer for about 15 minutes and were able to grab a couple of seats at the bar. Gotta love how friendly people are in DC.  People around the bar were helping us as well as others to get seats with them as they became available. How cool is that!

A pub since 1856!

Cool animal heads on the wall above the bar.

The place is still lit with gas lights.  Very nice atmosphere

After dinner and a couple of beers for me and a beer and a Bloody Mary for Patty, we headed back to the RV.  It was a great day and our last in the downtown DC area.  There is much more here that we didn’t do.  But we needed to go slow for Patty’s sake.  We got to see the major sights but missed a lot too.  We will need to visit again in the future to see the other stuff if Patty wants to.  I have visited the DC area several times over the years so it is only cool to do it if Patty wants to.

We decided to just chill out on Saturday the 19th at the RV Park.  The park has 2 swimming pools and a hot tub.  The park also has a mile long woodsy loop trail to hike.  We did 2 miles on the trail and then spent some time at the pool.  It was a nice day overall and a good way to end our stay in the DC area.

On our hike around the park

We cooled off here for the afternoon on Saturday

OK, one last thing in the DC area.  We needed to hit a Walmart before we headed south so we went to this Walmart in DC.  This Walmart has only underground parking so you need to use an escalator to get in and to leave.  That's Patty waiting on our cart at the bottom.

Your cart rides down in the center of the escalators!  Never seen anything like this!

Sunday the 20th was our leaving day.  We are now headed 1800 miles southwest to our winter place in south Texas. 

On our way in Virginia with this nice view of the mountains in the background

Our first stop was a Passport America kid’s tourist RV resort, Jellystone RV resort in Natural Bridge Station Virginia.  The Jellystone Park is 217 miles southwest of DC.  We left our site in Cherry Hill at 11 am and arrived at the Jellystone Park at 2:30.  

Our site at the Jellystone Resort Park in Natural Bridge Station Virginia

The weather turned cool and wet when we got there.

Goodbye to DC and Texas here we come!  Slowly!!

Stay Tuned!

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