Thursday, March 10, 2016

Washington, DC

 Monday, May 1, 2006, we were staying at the North Fork Resort in Front Royal, VA. We were going to drive our Chevrolet Cavalier the 70 miles into Washington, DC for a day of sightseeing and tourism. It was a beautiful drive into the city on I-66. The temperature was in the 60s and the sun was bright. We had been driving about 20 minutes and I was in the right lane, when a car in the left lane darted in front of me to pass a slower moving car. I jerked my steering wheel to the right and took my foot off the accelerator to avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, my reaction pulled me onto the shoulder and headed for the grass. I fought the steering wheel for a few seconds to keep our car in our lane. I remember thinking in the midst of my fishtailing that this short steering radius was going to get us killed. I had been driving near the speed limit before, but it scared me enough that I slowed down even more.

I had visited Washington, DC once before, while attending a training class in West Virginia. That time we drove around the capitol building and the White House and had no trouble finding a parking space. I was foolish enough to think we would do that again on this beautiful Monday morning. No such luck. We discovered they had added a fence around the White House and there was no way to get close and no parking spaces available, even if we could get closer to it. We drove on.

The Washington Monument had scaffolding all around it and people were not allowed to walk through the construction area, so we bypassed it. I kept looking for a parking space and there were no spaces available. After an hour or so driving around, we saw a sign for a tour bus and decided to give that a try. We parked in the tour bus parking lot and paid our fee to ride the bus. The tour buses ran regular routes by all the monuments. Passengers disembarked at the sites they wanted to see and caught a later bus to continue the tour.

Arlon standing among the Korean War soldiers.
We stopped at the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall and the Lincoln Memorial. As the morning progressed, the temperature rose. It was still cool, I suppose, but too hot for Kathi and I to walk far. We enjoyed seeing the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Wall and mingled with the crowd of steadily moving viewers. Many people brought flowers to place along the wall. There was a sign stating that all flowers were trashed at the end of each day. With the huge crowds, garbage duty had to be a full time job.

Fighting the crowd at the Vietnam Wall.

Construction near the Lincoln Memorial

Abe Lincoln

By the time we got up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial we were spent. We rested and took pictures, while reading Lincoln's 2nd inaugural speech and the Gettysburg Address. Both speeches read and sounded like poetry. It was an exciting day, but we were too tired to walk any further in the heat and high humidity, so we got back on the tour bus and went back to retrieve our car.

Kathi standing in front of one of the 36 huge pillars at the Lincoln Memorial.

Arlon and Abe

I could not figure out how to get back on I-66, so we drove until we found signs to direct us. We passed by the exit to go to the Pentagon, but I passed up the opportunity. I really wanted to see it, so hopefully I will get another chance in the future.


  1. This was so good I will read it again. I recognize some of the photos.

  2. This was so good I will read it again. I recognize some of the photos.