Washington D.C. May 2005
Destination: Washington D.C.
Dates: May 5 - 7, 2005
People: Mom, Mark, David, Aunt Carolyn
Day 1: Thursday, May 6, 2005
This was a short day to get the trip started. May 6 was Ascension day this year. Mom and Mark went down to First Bethlehem Lutheran in Chicago for the Ascension Day service. Mark's Vicarage congregation, Trinity Lutheran, is a sister church to First Bethlehem. And they have joint worship services on Ascension Day every year.
Mark and Mom left the church in downtown Chicago around 9:15pm and started their drive to Washington. After a quick food stop somewhere on the Skyway they were off to Indiana. Along the way Dad was on the cellphone with us looking at hotels along the Indiana tollway. We ended up finding a well-price hotel to stay at in Sturgis, Michigan, just a few miles off the toll road and north of Howe, Indiana. We drove until just after 11pm central time this night.
Day 2: May 7, 2005
This day began very early. We knew we'd be driving most of the day to Washington with approximately nine hours to go from where we started. We got left around 6:30am eastern time. Our goal was Washington by 4pm to meet David while he could still get into his office building.
The morning drive went very quickly. By the time we knew it Indiana and Ohio had passed us by and we were heading into Pennsylvania. Mark did all the driving up to this point but a stop somewhere in Pennsylvania for lunch gave Mom a chance to give Mark a rest from driving. The roads in Pennsylvania were beautiful and we even had some hills and a tunnel to through on the PA Turnpike.
In the afternoon we finally made it into Maryland and started to make preparations for heading into Washington. Mark took over driving again and Mom got ready to navigate the roads into Washington. We had hit no major traffic until we got close to the Beltway (I-495) around Washington. Even then, our road heading into the city was much better than the traffic heading out of the city.
We took the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway into downtown. This led us straight to Constitution Ave which we then left to head around the Jefferson Memorial to find parking down by the river. After making a few loops around downtown and crossing the Potomac twice we found our parking.
We walked up through the nice parks and ran into the new World War II Memorial as we made our way to David's office. This memorial was just put in in 2004. It is oval-shaped with pillars lining the outside with a pillar representing each state and territory of the United States. There are large monuments at each end, one for the Atlantic, one for the Pacific. If you look to the east from the memorial down the National Mall you see the Washington Monument. Looking west you see the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflection Pool.
Leaving the WWII Memorial we headed further into downtown and reached David's office building. He was at the door waiting for us. We took a tour of his offices and saw what they all did in the Presidential Correspondence office. He had many good friend he made amongst his co-workers in the offices. David clearly was well liked for the hard work he poured in to his internship.
While David was finishing his good byes Mark and Mom headed out and did some walking around the White House. We walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and took some pictures of the front of the White House. We then walked around to the backside through the ellipse and then finally met up with David.
It was dinner time then so we stopped in a pasta shop and ordered a whole 16" pizza. We ate the whole thing, everyone was quite hungry. After dinner we took a walk back down to the memorials. We walked with David through the WWII Memorial again. From here we walked on down to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. There were tons of other grade schoolers there so we didn't get too many good pictures. We continued on down the mall to the Jefferson Memorial. Before we reached the Jefferson we were on a sidewalk next to the waters of the Tidal basin which were overflowing onto the sidewalk. There was a mother duck with her ducklings in the puddles on the sidewalk.
The Jefferson Memorial was very nice and still had a handful of people at it. We got some sunset pictures towards the White House and Washington Monument. From there we headed back to the car parked down by the Potomac and headed to Megan's Aunt Carolyn's condo just outside of Washington.
Mark met Aunt Carolyn for the first time that evening. We had a good evening visiting with her and watched the Bulls vs Wizards game which the Bulls eventually lost.
Day 3: May 8, 2005
This final day we got up and were left from Carolyn's condo around 8am. We headed back into Washington and found parking along the National Mall next to the Smithsonian American History museum. Our parking down by the river was blocked because of a bike race.
We wanted to head into the National American History museum but it didn't open till 10am. We had tickets to get into the White House this morning but they weren't until 9:45am. So we took advantage of our free time and did more walking. We headed down the mall past the Washington Monument whose base area was still under construction. David said they had just reopened it to tourists but it was difficult getting tickets.
We continued down the mall, on what was a beautiful day, and reached the Vietnam Memorial. From there we proceeded to the Lincoln memorial and got some fine pictures there. We wrapped around the reflection pool and went past the Korean War memorial. At this time it was getting near our appointment to head into the White House. So we headed to the southeast gate.
We headed into the White House just a few minutes before 9. Our tour guides were some officemates of David's so he knew them well. The tour headed us into the east wing. From there we proceed past several rooms including the library and went up to the main level. This level has all the decorative rooms and the ballrooms. There are pictures of each of the 43 US presidents up to this point in the White House. Our tour ended coming out the front door of the White House and down the front lawn.
We started heading back to the car finally from the White House. We stopped in at the White House visitor center briefly and then got back to the car. We decided to head into the National American History Museum just briefly. They had the original star-spangled banner on display as a part of its restoration. We saw it in a special room where they had been working to restore all the torn fragments and thin areas of that wonderfully huge flag. In the place where the star-spangled banner once hung they had a new American flag which had been draped over the pentagon after 9/11.
That was it for our Washington D.C. experience. We headed back out of town on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and got some fine pictures again of the parkway and the neighboring Potomac River.
Mark did most of the driving on the way back to Illinois. The driving went by quickly and Mark and David spent most of it debating/discussing theology and other fine topics. David took over the driving just before Indiana and finished up the trip home.