Tuesday, Day 6 out, found us not so ready to climb out of bed and get going . . . we didn’t leave the campground until 9:00! We had a plan and knew how to handle the metro, and knew exactly what to do to get on at our Franconia-Springfield out at the end of our line.
This morning we rode the Metro a short distance to Arlington Cemetery and arrived in time for a 10:00 tour. The heat was already powerful and promising to get much worse throughout the day, but the open-air tour bus was breezy as we got on and off at the different stops.
Since we last visited the Kennedy grave with the eternal flame Jackie Kennedy has been laid to rest beside her husband John F. and Teddy Kennedy has been buried nearby next to his brother Robert. Our tour bus made a stop for exactly 8 minutes for us to dash up to the grave sites to snap a picture and get back . . . . or miss the bus!
At Arlington House we were reminded of the history of the plantation: it was originally built by George Washington Parke Custis who was raised by his grandmother, Martha Dandridge Custis, who was wife to George Washington. He married, and his daughter, Mary Lee Fitzhugh, married General Robert E. Lee. Arlington was their home for over 30 years before the Civil War.
The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a moving ceremony that happens every ½ hour during the hottest months. The honor guards that provide the duty can never in their life commit an act of undignified behavior, or their name would be forever struck from the roster. I still don’t understand how those soldiers are able to walk without any body motion but their feet!
By noon we popped back onto the subway and rode into the Capital South metro stop. Coming up out of the ground we saw a Mexican restaurant across the street and made a bee-line for that. Great chips and salsa . . . and quesadillas and burritos and enchiladas . . . and a great place to cool off and re-energize.
The United States Capital Building was next on our list and was just a short walk away. We were excited to see the new Visitor’s Center that was opened in 2008. In past years we would just walk into the Capital and mill around and see things on our own. Now, within the structure of the Visitor Center, tours are greatly controlled and crowds are thoroughly screened. The Visitor Center features a beautiful “Emancipation Hall” from which all levels circle, and from which soaring views of the Capitol Dome can be seen through a glass ceiling.
Tours outfit each person with a headphone set that amplifies the tour guide so that he can be heard over the noise and activity that is always present in the building. The Rotunda was an excellent experience with the magnificent view of the inside the dome.
The newest statue in the hall was one of Rosa Parks. It was fun to watch as a group of women proudly posed by this magnificent statue.
At this point we had been sightseeing for over 10 hours and were weary as we said goodby to our Nation's Capital Building. Our thoughts were also on the parking meter as we hopped back onto the metro and headed out of the city -- arriving back at the van with 13 minutes to spare. Tomorrow we were again going to brave the city -- but this time we were going to ride the van in and risk the DC traffic!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown