Saturday, September 29, 2012

Washington DC - Days 8 - 10

Visiting Washington DC has been on our bucket list ever since we got the RV.  We finally made it this trip.  We stayed at Cherry Hill Park Campground.  This is one of the best campgrounds we have stayed at.  Its located in College Park Md.  You can catch a metro bus right from the front of the campground that will take you to a metro train station so you can ride the metro rail into DC.  We bought Smart Trip passes at the campground to use for riding the metro buses and trains.  This is the best way to pay for the rides since you need exact change to ride on the buses.  Its like using a debit card.  At the train station the have ATM type machines where you scan your pass and then using a credit card you add money to the passes.  Each time you use the card at the turnstiles a screen shows you what the balance is on the card.  When you run low just visit one of the machines and add more dollars.  So we took the bus to the metro station and then took the green line metro into DC and got off at the Archives/Navy Memorial station.  From here we walked about two blocks to the National Mall, around which you will find most of the museums to visit.  This is where I got my first look at the Washington Monument.  As with everything else in Washington DC, its almost breathtaking to see everything in person.

The first museum we toured was the Museum of Natural History

The first thing you see as you enter is this large elephant
Here is the Hope Diamond
There was so much to see, we just took the elevator to the top floor and then began walking thru the exhibits.  Way too much to take in, even in one day.  It was lunch time when we left here and we walked a short distance along the mall to the Museum of American History.  We ate lunch in one of the cafeterias there.  Almost all the museums have cafes and cafeterias in them which makes it nice.  We spent a few hours in the American History museum and then it was time to head back to the campground.  Our two pets, Ginger & Kellee travel with us on our RV trips so we had to keep them in mind whenever we left them.  About six or seven hours is about all we like to leave them in the RV.  Here is a good picture of the Capitol building from the mall.
 On Day 9 our plan was to visit the Air & Space Museum and the Lincoln Memorial

After touring the Air & Space Museum it was time for lunch.  We were told that there was a very good restaurant on an upper floor of the Library of Congress.  So we began a long walk toward the Capitol Building, the Library was on the block behind the capitol.  Here is a closer picture of the Capitol.
We are now walking uphill and were getting a little tired.  We finally made it to the Library of Congress.
As with all the buildings this was enormous and again breathtaking.  However, after getting thru security and asking for directions to the dining room we found out that we needed to be in the Library of Congress (Madison Building) which was across the street.  Oh well, we should have paid attention to the directions.  Anyway, we made it to the Madison Building and found the dining room and were very glad we did cause it was just about the best place to dine for lunch with reasonable costs.
Our next stop was the Lincoln Memorial but it is located on the other end of the national mall.  Not wanting to walk all the way back down the hill we got out the map of the metro rail system and realized there was a blue line stop nearby.  So we got on the metro and rode the blue line a few stops to the Smithsonian stop which is almost in the center of the national mall.  So we exited there and began a long walk toward the Lincoln Memorial.  On the way we walked around the Washington Memorial (which is now closed due to the earthquake damage)
As we walked around the monument we heard a helocopter and looked up and saw that it was the Presidents chopper.  Here is a picture of it landing at the White House.
Continuing on our way we walked past the WWII Memorial

 Getting closer to the Lincoln Memorial

Here is a view of the monument looking from the Lincoln Memorial
After all this we were beat.  It was time to take the long walk back, catch the metro and head back to the campground.
Our plan for day 10 was to visit Arlington National Cemetery.  James' Great Grandfather is buried there.  He was killed in action during WWI.  We wanted to find his grave and also see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.  So we got on the green line metro and rode it to were we could connect with the blue line, then rode the blue line to the Arlington stop.
 Picture of me at the entrance.

President Kennedy's grave

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and changing of the Guard



After the ceremony we took off on foot to find the grave we were looking for.  As we walked I noticed this grave of a WWII Naval Officer awarded the Medal of Honor. 
We passed a section reserved for Nurses
After finding section 18 and after a short while we found the grave of James' Great Grandfather, who was killed in action in WWI.