We arrived in Manassas, VA (my family's hometown just outside of Washington, D.C.) late at night. We both had worked the full day, so it was rough. And after driving for about six hours I still felt like I was moving down the road. The next morning, I felt like I'd been up all night drinking.
Saw this the next morning outside the hotel. I feel ya, buddy.
We slept in a little and grabbed some breakfast, hoping to miss most of the horrible rush hour traffic from Virginia to DC. We did okay for the most part, and about thirty minutes later we'd arrived at the Metro station to ride the rest of the way into DC.
We had quite a few plans for the day, but we started off with some sadz. We decided to drop by the Pentagon to check out the September 11th Memorial since we'd never seen it. I hadn't been to the Pentagon in close to thirty years (not much to do there unless you're in the military) so we hopped off at the nearby Metro stop and walked to the memorial.
It was very moving to say the least. The layout was pretty awesome, even though it was sad. They had these benches representing each person that lost their life that day...
And they were arranged depending on where the person was at the time the plane crashed into the building. The benches facing away from the Pentagon were those that were inside, and the ones facing the building were people on the plane.
Like I said, sad. But very respectful. I'm glad we stopped by.
Anyway, we hopped back on the Metro and rode to the next stop. More sad, but also respectful. We spent some time at Arlington National Cemetery to pay our respects and take in some history.
We walked around there for quite a while, eventually spending some time at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
We watched the changing of the guard ceremony (twice actually) and it was awesome. Between the two we watched I was explaining to Lunchbox how sometimes the sentinels have to yell at the crowd when they won't shut up (that's disrespectful.) I told him that there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that show it and we would look at them later. Well, we didn't have to. It happened three times while we were there. It amazes me that people don't know how to show respect, but whatever.
Anyway, I wasn't taking any video, but here is a link to one that someone else filmed...
We eventually got out of there, but no doubt the sentinels had to yell at the crowd again after we left. We hopped back on the Metro and headed up to the National Zoo to take a quick stroll. We mostly just checked out the Pandas...
And we spent a good bit of time with the various Great Apes.
That was the end of our "planned" activities. We did what we always do when we exit the zoo, and grabbed a few bikes from a nearby station to explore the city.
It's quite a long ride back to the heart of DC from the zoo, but we made it in no time (probably because we are experienced cyclists.) We grabbed some lunch, then continued our exploring on foot for a while. We headed down Pennsylvania Avenue and happened to catch some street performers doing crazy shit in front of the Treasury Building.
Then we tried to hang out in front of the White House, but there was some shit going down (a regular occurrence for sure) and we couldn't get close.
To me, it doesn't matter who lives in that house because someone will always be upset with them. It's been going on since this country was founded. Who gives a shit. I love history and I love this country, so no matter who happens to be in that building I still respect the Office. There is a difference, so take your political beliefs somewhere else. I still enjoy visiting the White House.
Anyway, we stayed on foot and explored the National Mall. The Washington Monument was closed for elevator repairs, so we just looked at it.
Then we walked down to the Lincoln Memorial...
And sat on the steps to watch the sun go down...
We talked to a Park Ranger for quite a while, and that dude really knew his history (some of them don't by the way.) Once it got dark, we grabbed some bikes again and rode over to the Jefferson Memorial. I didn't take any pictures of it (Google it), but I did get a photo of the Washington Monument at night from across the Tidal Basin.
We kept the bikes and took off towards The Capitol. It's always neat to see at night.
We were running out of gas. We'd been out since early in the morning. We decided to get out of town at the last minute (the Metro stops running at midnight) and headed back to the station where I'd parked. It was a long day, but fun as usual. Like I said before, I really dig history. And despite problems within our government, Washington, D.C. is still my favorite place to visit.
And it's easy to see it all in one day if you can ride a bike. You should try it sometime.