Smokey the Bear in DC

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

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Where I stayed
Aquia Pines Campground

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our last day in this area.  Craig had set an appointment for us to be at the Federal Bureau of Engraving and at 10am and we were certain to get in the HOV lane this time and we did.  We had not been to this side of town to park yet but found a Mark Park right as we entered the area. We had some time to spare and we were looking to find somewhere to have a cup of coffee.  We found ourselves in the National Forest Service Building.....the home of  Smokey the Bear and he was there to greet the kids.  It was kind of odd to find ourselves learning about forest fires in the middle of Washington DC but the kids were entertained. 

When we entered the BEP we were directed to an area where we watched a movie and then proceeded through an area that seemed vaguely familiar to us.  The press room where they imprint the money 32 up on a sheet 25%cotton/75% linen runs $320,000 per lift.  They had a sign on a locker that read "I print more money in an hour than I make."  We were shuffled into a gift shop where we bought money with plastic.  Huh? 

Off to the Treasury Department where Craig had set a personal tour up for us with Mary.  It was an immensely beautiful building with decades of secrets and history.  We stood in the Treasurer's office where current financial decisions are discussed and decided upon.  We also got a close up visual through the window of the white house and watched the officers (they don't like being called guards)  a top the building standing guard as this building is on the same grounds of W's house.  We also went into a room that use to be a vault where they kept the money wen it was used to disperse funds to all the banks and is now used for the secretary to sign all the notes.  The steel wall had three layers filled with ball bearings so that if a thief would try and drill through it, the bit would hit a ball bearing and just spin.  Ingenious design!  They also put cement over the skylights during WII to eliminate light coming from the tops of the building and took personal donations over many years to get it removed and restored.

We met Craig at the end of the tour with Mary and then he took us to his office in the graphics department and showed us the digital printing facility.  Yes, once again looking very familiar to us.  The kids said "It smells like mom and dad's old shop."  Indeed it did and it was the first time we were able to actually smell it in years.  We caught a quick bite for lunch with Craig, said our thanks and goodbyes and hurried off the the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial.  It is located on its own island as it should be as he was all about nature and implemented the States Park System.

We then headed up Washington Memorial Parkway to the Great Falls of the Potomac River.  Just up the road a piece in a very wooded area even though we were still in the metro area.  It provided for a lovely drive and some peace outside of the bustle of the heart of DC.  As we made our way through the meandering road along the river we saw a couple deer crossing the road.  This is not only a place to see rushing waters tumbling off large rocks creating the great falls, but also where George Washington created a canal with a 74 lock system to bypass the falls so that the ships could get further upstream to DC.  It failed miserably back then, but it is currently used to give boat rides and tours to show how it was supposed to work. It probably has more paying customers now then in the day when it was supposed to.  
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