Traffic Jam

Trip Start Jun 03, 2008
Trip End Aug 12, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Virginia
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Once again we got up early to get into to DC early enough to stand in line to get tickets to get into our Nation's Capital.  We left at 6:45am with the intention on being in line by 8:30.  It was a good intention, but by 9:15 everyone in the car had to use the restroom and we had only gotten to the King St exit for Alexandria 15 miles from our camp site. We had missed the one entrance to the HOV lane and were stuck in rush hour traffic and the line for entrance to the Capital.  After the Griswolds clan relieved themselves we decided to take the Washington Memorial Parkway in to town.  At least it was more interesting.  We got there in the normal amount of time, parked the car and got in line for the National Archives.

After about 45 minutes we were allowed in the Rotunda to view the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  The documents are kept under dim lighting, sealed cases and armed guards.  They were very cool to see, but there wasn't much that was legible on most of the documents.  We did however find a carrot with a change to make the sentence correct on the Constitution.  

After viewing the Hall of Records, we decided to walk over to the Capital to get a closer look of it from the exterior.  We found that there were still tickets available to get in.  We had enough time to get some lunch over at the American Indian Museum where Clark enjoyed the Great Plains menu and the others found the Meso-American cuisine to be interesting.  We watched a movie about various cultures from the Eskimos of Barrow Alaska to the Puebla natives of New Mexico before heading off to a world of politicians and law making.

Absolutely no food or beverages or anything that could be used as a weapon are allowed into the building.  Even if the food is prepackaged and in your backpack, you must throw it out.  Unfortunately, they just have large trash bins where you dump everything and no one would want to retrieve anything from there after the tour.  After going through a metal detector we were paraded across the front of the building into the rotunda where there were several impressive paintings and sculpture steeped in history and symbolism.  They then moved us into the original House of Representatives where it houses statues gifted by various States.  The statues represent a person of significance for the state in which it was gifted from.  They also have golden squares in the tile floor where men of significance sat.

We then were led into the center of the capital were a star in the floor represents  the intersection of the four quadrants of the city as well as where Washington was to be entombed.  It was designed for onlookers to look down from the second story to see Washington's grave, therefore those paying their respects would have their heads bowed with respect for the General.  This however is not the case as they found in Washington's will that his wished were to be buried at Mt Vernon.  In this same area, there were several press people waiting outside an elevator with numerous cameras waiting to snap a shot and get the news breaking story (maybe on the Fanny May and Freddie Mac situation).  

As we left the building, there were dozens of suits on their way into the capital heading in to take a vote.  Who they were and what issue they were voting on we weren't sure, but it was interesting.  We encountered a sitin against the Iran controversy where he was playing music the went something like this "He Lies, He Lies, He Lies."   We walked from the capital over to the White House area and met our friend Craig for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  While we waited for a table we were entertained by some man who appeared to have been drinking there most of the day.  He was temporarily very happy.  We had a great time with Craig again catching up on old times and returned to his home to see the puppies one last time before calling it a day. 
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