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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Around and About D.C.

Yeah!! It’s Tuesday morning! I’m up, outside and on my way to pick up a car from Enterprise Car Rental on “D” Street in Washington, DC. In 15 Minutes (it’s only 7/10ths of a mile from the marina) I’m at the Enterprise counter where an incredibly efficient staff has me in my car and on the road in another twenty minutes. In less than an hour, I’m back on the boat with Kim and Schooner and we’re ready to tour the outlying areas of D.C. and all of its special attractions and points of interest.

First on the list of places to visit is a local propane dealer. We ran out of gas in both of our tanks and, unless we get them filled, cannot cook anything on the boat. We had to go to Maryland because D.C. law prohibits propane tank filling within the city limits (Blue Rhino service ONLY!) A nearby U-haul store solves the problem and it’s back to the boat, drop off both FILLED propane tanks and then hit the road again.

Next stop is Alexandria, VA, on the western bank of the Potomac. Alexandria, which has played a prominent part in American history since its founding in 1685, is now a quaint town filled with small shops and bistros. It’s a great place to just walk around, see the sights and talk with the local people.

From Alexandria, we went to the Pentagon to see the 9/11 Memorial. It’s quite impressive and the local security staff is helpful in explaining the significance of the Memorial’s layout. You can take pictures of the Memorial, but don’t photograph the Pentagon building. Apparently, the government doesn’t want anyone to know we have a building there!

Last stop for the day was the National Marine Corps Memorial, dedicated to all of the United States Marines who have died in the defense of our country since 1775. This is only the second time we’ve been here and it still makes me speechless. A list of conflicts in which the Marines have served encircles its base. The list has gotten a lot longer since when I served in Vietnam.

From the USMC Memorial, we headed for the new World War II Memorial, which is located on the Mall, between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. The best time to see this memorial is from dusk into nighttime. The fountains and marble courtyard are beautiful in the glow of the recessed and underwater lighting. It’s a fitting tribute to those who gave so much of themselves for all of us.

Tuesday, we struck out for parts south. Arlington National Cemetery, to visit the grave of a friend of Kim’s and her family, was first. Next was the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico. The finest compliment I can pay to this facility is, whoever designed and built the museum “reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest tradition of the Marine Corps of the United States Navy Service.”

Wednesday was spent with Vern and Judy, old family friends from our Ohio days. They took us to see the Capitol Building, Union Station, the C & O Canal and Georgetown. What a tour!! Going out with Vern and Judy gave us an opportunity to see things that only a local person would know. We had a great day and lots of fun.

The next three days were spent walking the streets of D.C. We visited the Holocaust Museum, every available part of the Smithsonian, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Korean War Memorial, The Wall, and the White House. And, speaking of the White House, through dumb luck, we were able to wangle invitations to the Annual Fall showing of the White House Gardens. Done once a year, by invitation only, guests are free to wander the south gardens (under the ever watchful eye of the Secret Service) and take close up pictures of the building and grounds. It was a real treat!!

With our time in D.C. at and end, we settled in on the boat and made ready to leave Sunday Morning. Hopefully, the trip down river will take less time than the trip up. At least we’ll be able to rest our weary feet for a day or two.

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