Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 5: Group Photo, White House, Smithsonian, Home Sweet Helena

Day 5 began with my stomach feeling wildly unsettled again. Thanks to Sash for donating a box of Cheez-Its to my cause! We all donned our blindingly yellow tie-dyed shirts and set off for the Capitol Building again. We took our panoramic group picture there, which was an interesting experience. The teachers were all situated at the very edge of the group and once the camera panned past us, we had to duck behind the rows and sprint to the other side, pop up with the rest of the group, and smile again. I'm still not entirely sure how the final product will look, but everybody got a chuckle out of watching us duck and run.

Our next stop was the White House. We stayed for a bit to take pictures, and Tour Guide Tim gave us more tidbits of wisdom than any of us ever wanted to know. Ever. The White House was very pretty, but it was smaller than I imagined. Mr. Obama was scheduled to deliver a eulogy at the National Cathedral later that day, so I was hoping we'd get to see his motorcade. No such luck. We bid adieu to Tour Guide Tim forever and drove onward to the Smithsonian.

We had about 5 hours to tour the Smithsonian so we let the groups split up and go off on their own. It finally hit me why we were wearing those obnoxiously bright t-shirts...collection purposes. You could spot those t-shirts all over the Mall, and it made gathering everyone much more efficient. I'm sold! The teachers went to eat lunch at the Ronald Reagan Building (visit #2) to reflect on the trip and then hit up the American History Museum and the Natural History Museum. I loved seeing the First Ladies' dresses, the Abraham Lincoln artifacts, and all the jewelry at the Natural History Museum. The lack of sleep finally came crashing down on us during our museum visit, but I forced myself to chug through. It's not every day that you get to tour the Smithsonian! We rounded everyone up and walked back to the Ronald Reagan Building for supper (well, whatever meal it is that you eat at 4:00). That marked visit #3, and less than 5 hours since visit #2, just in case you're keeping track :) We boarded the buses and waved goodbye to DC...Helena-bound!

The drive through the night was less than pleasant, but at least I had two seats to stretch out on. Several 6-foot plus dads weren't quite so lucky. It took us about 13 hours to get back, with rest stops every 2 hours. We swapped drivers in Virginia (we missed you, Jamie!) at about midnight. When I woke up for good at 5:30, there were kids laying all over the floor (ewww) under the seats and in the aisles and our bus had taken on the unmistakable aroma of a was time for the trip to be over.

This adventure was more fun than I ever imagined it would be. I was blessed with great kids and parents on Bus 3...I loved getting to know everyone better. I think I'm all caught up on my sleep by now, and I'm ready to sign on for next year :)

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