Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 4: Mount Vernon, Capitol Building, War Memorials, Monuments

Day 4 started early: 6:30 departure from the hotel. The weather was cold (40s) and really windy. It was still a pretty day, but a little too chilly for us Alabama folks! We picked up Tour Guide Tim and I battled a nasty case of carsickness. I never get carsick but something about Day 4 did it to me. I spent all of the ride to Mount Vernon with my eyes closed trying with all my might to not heave on Tour Guide Tim. Once we got off the bus, I was fine (thanks again, Brian!)...weird. Mount Vernon was beautiful, but in a different way from Monticello. It seemed a lot "farm-ier" to me. We waited in line outside in gale-force winds for about 30 minutes to tour the house, only to be led around on a way-too-long-to-be-interesting tour by some fairly grumpy guides once we got inside. By the time our house tour ended, we only had 20 minutes to see everything else. We managed to see George Washington's tomb (old and new, thankyouverymuch), the sheep/goats, the visitors' center, the gift shop (of course!), and the bathrooms in those 20 minutes...not bad! Tour Guide Tim said our visit wouldn't be complete without the house tour, but if I could do it again, I'd drop that house tour in a heartbeat. Too much else to see!

We ate lunch (at 10:30 Eastern Time, mind you) at the Pentagon City Mall and then left for our tour of the Capitol Building. Tour Guide Tim talked to us about how tight security is at the Capitol and told us to leave all unnecessary items on the bus. He reminded us adults to leave our bodily fluids on the bus as well. Um, say what? That got us all tickled and when someone asked him to clarify, he said, "You know, your lotions, shampoos...all that stuff." Oh, THOSE bodily fluids. Gotcha. I about got in a fistfight with Tour Guide Tim when he told me I couldn't take my backpack of emergency medicines (EpiPens, emergency know, nothing important) in with me. I won that fight, and security let me right on through. I loved getting to see the Capitol Building. It was so impressive. As was our tall-drink-of-water tour guide. Just pointing out the facts! After our tour we met with Rep. Spencer Bacchus and I was pleased that he spent about 15 minutes talking with our group.

After supper crammed in the back corner at Harriet's, we set off for our tour of the monuments and memorials. This was by far my favorite part of the trip. We saw all the war memorials...WWII and Vietnam were my favorites. Very striking. We visited the Lincoln Monument and I had to refrain from running into the pond Forrest and Jenny-style; it was a struggle. We dropped off Tour Guide Tim, and our driver Jamie was already surveying the traffic situation over his left shoulder when he opened the door for Tim. Jamie started to move without realizing that Tour Guide Tim wasn't totally off the bus. Tour Guide Tim took a giant leap like his life depended on it and very nearly missed the curb; we couldn't even wait until the door was closed to explode into laughter. This incident inspired "Tuck and roll, Tim!"...that became our catchphrase for the rest of the trip :) After walking 900 miles, we were on to day 5!

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