01 April 2006

Yet More DC

Ugh, ok…I still have a ton of stuff to post about DC and we left there today. We are no longer in DC, but I’m going to try to catch up as quickly as possible, I’ll have at least one more post (likely two) after this one before I’ll be done with DC.

On the 23rd we drove out to Manassas, VA to tour the battlefield, also known as ‘Bull Run’. http://www.nps.gov/mana/ it was really a lot of fun and their visitor’s center has a lot of really great information. Bill enjoyed it because although he had been there before, they’ve added the visitor’s center and all the displays.

We walked all over the battlefield and I had a great time learning more Civil War history, we left Manassas to head for home and got stuck in traffic. It was all fine and good until the last 20 miles, it took us three hours to drive 20 miles, I’m not kidding or exaggerating, it was horrible!

The 24th brought us back into DC to tour the Air and Space Museum after that we had planned on spending the whole day and evening in DC to watch the monuments light up at night. We had found parking lots for the monuments that were free to park in and no restrictions on how long you parked there. We got there Friday morning, pulled into the lot and saw a bunch of signs that had been posted to change the unlimited parking to 3 hour parking because of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Let me tell you that 3 hours isn’t enough time to see anything in DC, especially not when it’s a 30+ minute walk from those lot’s to the museums. LAME! So we parked, went to the Air and Space Museum, practically ran through it which was fine since it was overrun with rude, unattended children, bailed back to the truck to move it, decided that was a pain in the ass and we wouldn’t really get anything accomplished by having to move the truck every 3 hours and have a 30+ minute walk each way to and from the truck. So we left DC after seeing the Museum and decided to go see the Naval Museum at the Washington Naval Yard.

Bwahahahaha…..insert hysterical laughter here! We got to the Yard, pulled into the gate, were told we were at the wrong gate, turned around circled the block to the other gate, were directed to a parking lot, parked, went into the visitor’s center to get a parking permit for another lot by the museum. Turns out that you really can’t anywhere in the DC area anymore without security checks, every museum we went to you have to have your bags searched and walk through metal detectors…no problem. The Naval Yard wanted copies of our Ids and social security numbers to run a security check, then we would have to patted down…that’s just to get the parking permit, after that we park, go to the museum and get searched again before we can go in and see what they had. Bill and I looked at each other….and left. That was way TOO involved, I so don’t care what the Naval Museum has.

After that bit of insanity we went home and looked up some other things we were going to do. Guess what you can’t do anymore since 9-11? You can’t tour FBI training academy at Quantico, you can’t tour the White House without calling ahead and going through god knows what (probably a full cavity search), CIA headquarters tour, The Hoover building tour, or the Marine Corps Museum on Quantico. There are more things you can’t do anymore, but that’s just a start. AWESOME!!
OK, so on Saturday the 25th we visited the Spotsylvania battlefields. These are really cool. http://www.nps.gov/frsp/ We didn’t have the cameras with us for these, we didn’t take the cameras with us a lot while we were in the DC area. The three battlefields in this area that we toured on Saturday are: Spotsylvania Courthouse, The Wilderness, and Chancellorsville. If you want to know the history, do the research…I’ve learned a ton on this trip and there is no way to write it all down without writing my own book. If you want to watch a really good documentary on the Civil War in general buy the PBS DVD set called The Civil War. If you want to read the best book ever about Gettysburg in specific (nothing to do with the Spotsylvania battlefields) read The Killer Angels, I’m about half way through it and it’s awesome.

Ok, that’s it for this round. Sunday the 26th was laundry day, but the week following was jam-packed again. I’ll post about all that later. We left DC today and arrived in Gettysburg, we are glad to be here and are glad to have the craziness of the DC area in our rearview window. Virginia is beautiful, DC is really cool, and you can’t walk a hundred feet without tripping all over history, but the people really ruin the place!


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