East Coast 2018:
Day 3 - Washington DC

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East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

Monday, April 2, 2018: Ocean City was overcast so clearly it was time to leave.
What a cute water tower! It's a beach ball riding a wave.
A friend who lives in Sacramento had told us the night before about a sign on the Ocean City Bridge that showed the mileage to Sacramento. It's 3073 miles via US-50. There's a matching sign on the other end of US-50 in Sacramento that shows the mileage to Ocean City. We looked it up on Google Maps (on April Fool's Day) and Waldo was in our screen shot from Debbie's laptop.
Here's our photo of the sign as we sped by.
Imagine how glorious it would be to live in a land that has stores called Crabs-to-Go. Not likely to ever happen in land-locked Indiana.
We entered Delaware on our way to Washington DC.
We headed to Seaford, Delaware in search of ...
... Delaware's Merci Train boxcar.
The historical marker reads:

"Forty & Eight Boxcar

This car is one of 49 given to the American people by the citizens of France in thanks for aid rendered during and after World War II. Utilized for hauling military cargo during two world wars, they were known for the complement of "forty men - eight horses." The "Merci" or Gratitude Train was assembled fby French veterans, who decorated each car with the coats of arms of the provinces of France. On February 12, 1949, the citizens of Delaware formally welcomed the gift-laden offering at a ceremony held in Wilmington. A statewide exhibition tour followed. The car is owned and maintained by the American Legion's Society of the 40 & 8, Voiture No. 1320."
Here's the French side, ...
... and here's the English side.
Next, Maryland welcomed us once again.
We crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
An Indiana bridge can be crossed in less than 30 seconds, ...
... but this was a five-minute drive.
We drove to the New Carrollton Metro Station and left our van there.
We added funds to our pre-purchased Metro cards, ...
... and were on a train in just a few minutes.
Twenty five minutes later, we were on the National Mall in Washington DC. This is the first of approximately 100 photos we took of the Washington Monument.
We headed east to meet our friends, Audrey and Dean, who had already been in town for two days.
We made a quick rest room stop at one of the only public restrooms on the Mall, not far from the Washington Monument.
Then the four of us jumped onboard the Big Bus for a tour of the Blue Line.
It was really chilly out, but our timing was great as far as seeing the famous DC cherry blossom trees. Many trees were already in full bloom and the rest were just a couple of days away.
Here's the Jefferson Memorial. We drove past it numerous times but never saw it up close.
Then we drove across the Potomac River to take a look at the Pentagon.
Here it is.
Then we drove through Arlington, Virginia for a bit. The building to the left is the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Museum.
Here are some luxury apartments in Arlington.
Next, we drove to Arlington National Cemetery, passing one of the newer fields of graves on the way.
This is the 4th Infantry (Ivy) Division Memorial.
Here's the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.
Here's the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center. The bus stopped here to drop off and pick up passengers, but we stayed on the bus for the entire route.
Here's another field of gravesites.
The large semi-circular structure is the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, with the Robert E. Lee Memorial on the hilltop behind, and JFK's gravesite on the hillside in between.
Looking back across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It also bridges both sides of the American Civil War, with the memorial to Robert E. Lee on one side, and the memorial to Abraham Lincoln on the other.
Memorial to the United States Naval Construction Battalions, known as the Seabees. "With willing hearts and skillful hands, the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer."
Looking north from Arlington Memorial Bridge into Rosslyn.
And here are still more Arlington graves. To the far right is ...
... the Netherlands Carillon, an open steel tower housing 50 bells, given in 1954 from the people of the Netherlands to thank the United States for its aid during and after World War II.
Here's the US Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. It was inspired by a photo taken of six Marines raising a U.S flag atop Mount Suribachi during World War II.
We headed back over the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge toward DC and passed the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on our left.
This pretty building is the United States Institute of Peace.
This little island is the home of Constitution Gardens, containing a memorial to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Here's a prettier view of it.
We had taken an opportunity to move to the covered section of the top deck of the bus, and then grabbed another opportunity to move to the very front. So much warmer here!
We passed the construction site for the Lockkeeper's House, built in 1832 to collect tolls and keep records for the C & O Canal.
Here we were looking over the Ellipse and the South Lawn to the south face of the White House. The annual Easter Egg Roll was taking place as we drove by.
This is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian.
We weren't kidding about the cherry trees being in full bloom.
After we returned to our original starting point, we set out on foot for a bit. This cool granite or marble or whatever was striking. This is the walkway up to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
We photographed our reflection in the skylight of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dean had to stand really far away to be roughly the same height as the rest of us in the previous photo. Those buildings in the back are the Economic Development Administration (left) and the Andrew Mellon Auditorium (right).
This building houses the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Here's the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, part of Federal Triangle, also home to the EPA.
For lunch, we walked to Ollie's Trolley, on the corner of 12th St NW and E St NW.
We had to stand in line and had a fairly long wait for our food, ...
... but it was hot and delicious and worth the wait.
After lunch, we headed to Madame Tussaud's to start another Big Bus tour. We passed the Lincoln House Restaurant. Audrey and Dean had already eaten there but it didn't fit into our schedule.
Across the street was the famous Ford's Theatre, ...
... and back on our side of the street was the Petersen House, where Lincoln was brought after he was shot. He died there the next morning.
Our Big Bus tickets came with free entry to Madame Tussaud's, but since Audrey and Dean had already been there, we didn't go.
Instead, we got on the bus to do part of the Red Loop. We got seats up top at the very front of the bus.
Here we are at the start of our trip looking south on 10th St NW toward the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
We passed the National Theatre, which was showing a production of "Waitress."
We passed the US Treasury Building for the first time, but we'd be back. A lot.
We had purchased prepaid keys to use with the Capital Bikeshare racks, but our traveling partners weren't fans of bikes so we didn't get a chance to use them. Next visit, definitely.
A Segway tour passed by next to us.
Here's the Old Post Office Museum and the Trump International Hotel.
This license plate noted that it was part of the US Government fleet. The regular DC portion of it had a slogan at the bottom: "Taxation without Representation."
Here's the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters.
This is the National Archives Building, where they keep the Constitution and the Declaration of Indepedence.
To the left is the Newseum with the US Capitol Building further down the street.
Here's a closer look at the Newseum where we'd be later in the week for the 4D Summit party.
Adjacent to the Newseum is the Embassy of Canada.
Across the street, there was a giant blue rooster on the roof of the National Gallery of Art's Art Research Library.
There's the west front of the US Capitol building again.
Here's a cool building.
This is the Georgetown University Law Center. It isn't located in Georgetown because they just plain ran out of room over there.
There's a Walmart in this building. A small Walmart, but a Walmart nonetheless. Weird.
This is the National Postal Museum.
We hopped off the bus at Union Station to do some sightseeing on foot.
But first, we took a look at the magnificent interior with its lovely gold surfaces in the ceiling.
Dean was looking for a Starbuck's so we took a look at this directory. Correction: the sign actually read "Director" so our very own Director, Audrey, posed underneath it.
We had a conversation about whether the circles in the ceiling were transparent or not.
Once we left the building, we found the source of the red lights that were reflecting off the ceiling.
In front of Union Station is the American Legion Freedom Bell, a model of the bell on display at the American Legion Headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. It is a 2:1 replica of the Liberty Bell. Dean tried to get it to ring but was unsuccessful.
We were fascinated by these barricades at the corner of First St NE and C St NE, that can be raised and lowered as needed. That the Hart Senate Office Building in the background.
The Russell Senate Office Building is on the other side of the street from the Hart Building.
Here's another stunningly beautiful tree in bloom.
We walked to the Supreme Court of the United States and each of us were in awe of it.
It's a huge, imposing structure and has been the site of such significant history over the years, so we stood and took it in for a while.
A gentleman was standing with a sign so Dean spoke to him about his cause for a few minutes.
An internet search turned up absolutely no trace of anything on this guy's sign.
As we walked to the corner to view the Capitol Building, we realized that this was a perfect location for a group photo.
From here, we could see the East Front of the United States Capitol across the street, ...
... so we went there.
Here are the Senate chambers on the north end.
Here's the central section, with the dome and great rotunda and a government nerd dressed in blue.
This metal compass rose embedded in the walk reads:

W United States Capitol
N Senate Office Buildings
E Library of Congress, Supreme Court
S House Office Buildings

The needle says: East Capitol Street

Tom got a panorama of the Capitol because there's no way to fit it all into one shot otherwise.
Audrey did the same.
We crossed back across the street, one block south of the Supreme Court, to view the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress.
Tucked in front is the Court of Neptune Fountain.
Here's the library. Our original plans called for visiting it earlier in the day on our own, but a last-minute schedule rearrangement and meet-up with Audrey and Dean meant that it was now 5 PM so we couldn't go in, unfortunately. Best laid plans...
From here, we walked south past the James Madison Memorial Building ...
... to the Capitol South Metro Station.
Here's the interior of the Metro Center Station where we disembarked.
We ducked into Macy's for a restroom break. Oooh, look at all those pretty stand mixers!
Above ground, we saw a sign for the production of "The Wiz" at the Ford Theater, so Audrey and Dean decided to move on down, ...
... move on down ...
... the ro-oad. They had tickets to attend the production the very next evening.
Check out this giant pen on the sign for Fahrney's Pens on F St.
We walked to the Willard Hotel, arriving well over an hour early for our night bus tour.
It's a lovely series of buildings so we all took lots of pictures.
Matching Democrat and Republican statues stood outside.
We got in line for the night tour at 5:45 and did our best to kill time until our 7 PM departure time.
So there's the west front of the Capitol again.
And the US Treasury Building again. Audrey and Debbie walked over to get a closer look and check out the statue up front.
"What's your name, son?"

"Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton."
Tom found an official invitation to the Easter Egg Roll on the street and gave it to Audrey to keep as an unusual souvenir.
Dean chatted up our line buddies from Monticello while Debbie continued to photograph the very photogenic Willard Hotel.
Shortly before 7 PM, we were on the top deck of the bus right up front, so our long wait in line was worth it. Debbie got this photo of the same Capital Bikeshare rack we had seen earlier and verified that the app knew exactly how many bikes were currently there.
How about that Activity app on our watches? After walking for one million miles, all rings were definitely closed.
And we're off! We could see crowds leaving the Easter Egg Roll as we drove past.
Here's the Herbert Hoover Federal Building, Headquarters of the US Department of Commerce.
The bus ahead of us leaned uncomfortably to the right as it rounded this corner, ...
... while we waited at the same intersection for this forklift to move a huge piece of steel plating.
We passed the Ellipse, South Lawn, and White House once again.
Here's the American Red Cross National Headquarters, ...
... the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, ...
... and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
As we headed up 17th Street, streetlights were starting to come on.
We passed Pennsylvania Avenue, ...
... and then the north side of the White House, where we saw Lafayette Square and a statue of Andrew Jackson.
There's the Old Ebbitt Grill ...
... and the Hotel Washington, now part of the W hotel chain.
We passed the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ...
... the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, ...
... the Jefferson Memorial, ...
... the Washington Monument, ...
.... and Arlington Memorial Bridge ...
... on our way to ...
... the Lincoln Memorial.
We had a half hour for a brief tour and then free time, so off we went in a group.
Our tour guide gave us a little talk on the steps of the monument, ...
... while we zoomed in to get a better shot.
Audrey and Dean knew where the rest rooms were located, so we went there and then spent a little bit of time viewing the displays about Lincoln and the monument on the first level. Here are excerpts from Lincoln's letters speaking about equality.
Then we took the elevator to the second level, ...
... where Lincoln himself was waiting for us. Debbie photographed our line buddies, ...
... then waited patiently for the teenage girls to get out of the way ...
... for the perfect shot of the big guy.
Here's the famous view looking east along the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument.
We visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with our free time.
It's a beautiful memorial ...
... but even more so when lit only by path lights.
Here's the other end of the memorial path heading toward the Capitol and the Washington Monument.
Here's the Vietnam Veterans Women's Memorial ...
... and a blurry view of the Three Servicemen statue. We got a better one the next day.
Back on the bus once again, ...
... we passed the United States Institute of Peace for the second time. This time it was beautifully illuminated.
We passed the statue of Albert Einstein in front of the National Academy of Sciences, also for the second time, and failed once again to get a non-blurry photo of it.
We drove along Constitution Avenue.
Here's Debbie taking a photo of it.
Then we turned the corner to pause in front of the stunningly beautiful World War II Memorial, with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.
Right behind us was the Washington Monument again.
We went past the Jefferson Memorial, now nicely lit up, ...
... then got yet another photo of the Washington Monument reflected in the Tidal Basin.
We drove along Independence Avenue and got this spooky backlit photo of the Smithsonian Castle's silhouette.
Here are the Hirshhorn Museum, ...
... the National Air and Space Museum, ...
... and the National Museum of the American Indian.
And now for the highlight of the evening: a perfectly-framed photo of the west front of the US Capitol Building.
At this point, there wasn't a real need to photograph the Washington Monument again, if it wasn't for the odd red glowing box in the distance. A little bit of camera zoom revealed this photo, ...
... and all the optical zoom we had revealed this. We looked it up and learned that this was Ferris Bueller's Ferrari for the Cars at the Capital 2018 exhibit.
We passed the Canadian Embassy again, lit up with cool red lights, presumably to represent the Canadian flag.
There's the Newseum, ...
... the National Archives Building, ...
... and the US Navy Memorial Plaza.
Our guide explained to us why the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial in front of the National Archives building was so small, and we got a closer look the next day.
There's the Old Post Office Museum again looking lovely at night.
We returned to the Willard Hotel to conclude the tour.
Audrey and Dean headed to their hotel and we headed to the Grand Hyatt to see some friends.
But first, we had to take a quick Facetime call from the grandkids.
Johnny had asked to talk to Grandma and Grandpa so we had a nice little chat.
It was past 9:30 when we made it to Randy's suite for a little gathering.
We just wanted to say a quick hello to our hosts and a couple of friends, ...
... so we didn't even take off our coats or sit down for a drink.
Instead, we had a quick conversation with our friends Tom D. and Brian, ...
... who were good enough to pose for a formal portrait with our Tom.
Ten minutes later, we were back on the ground floor where we found a magical entrance to the nearest Metro station.

A quick walk, a Metro ride, a drive, and a hotel check-in later, we were finally in Bowie, Maryland, our home-away-from-home for the next three nights.


Day 4 >

East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

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