Sunday, September 15, 2013

The "Grand Tour" Road Trip Part 3/4

DAY 7, Sunday (June 16th) -

Happy Father's Day!

Slept in again, but up and on the road by 8am.  It was 68-degrees with 82% humidity!  Seriously, I don't know how people live in weather like this!  And the bugs here are HUGE!  When we were at Gabriel's house for the BBQ, a ginormous cicada fell out of the sky and landed dead on the patio.  However, Gabe's dog ate it before I could get a picture.  Crunch crunch.

We spent the day humid and sweaty touring civil war battlefields - Fredericksburg Battlefield and Chancellorsville Battlefield.

Of the 15,300 buried in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery (est. 1865), the identities of fewer than 3,000 are actually known.

All that walking made us hungry, so for lunch - surprise! -  we ate more BBQ at Dixie Bones and it was there that I discovered I like sweet tea.  Who knew?  We ate so much BBQ during this trip that I swear I gained like twenty pounds (and not all of it was muscle)!

After lunch, we wandered around downtown Fredericksburg Historic District - still muggy!

Picked up some souvenirs at the 'Made in Virginia Store'.

Made a new friend.

I like the sign by Robert's feet that reads, "To the bar" with an arrow to point the way.  Just in case you fall down drunk and get lost.  

In San Diego we have dolphins.  In Virginia they have crabs.  This greatly amused me for no apparent reason.

We passed by the Episcopal Church (built in the 18th century, but rebuilt in 1815 and again in 1849)...

...and saw this this sign at the cemetery adjacent to the church.  I bet it's haunted as it's from 1732!

Passed by City Hall...

...and then discovered the beautiful Shiloh Baptist Church.  

Alfred Hitchcock?

All that walking made us hungry again so it was off to meet Gabriel at the Steak and Shake for an early dinner.

After dinner, we spent more time visiting with Gabriel as it would be the last time we'd see him before heading home.  Another good day.

DAY 8, Monday (June 17th) - 

Another must-do on our trip was to tour Washington D.C.   Robert arranged for U.S Tours to pick us up at our motel so we would not have to drive as it had been recommend to us that we not take a car to Washington D.C.  We were in a van with eight other people and six of us were from California. We all got a laugh out of that.

The driver would drop all of us off at a certain location and let us wander around anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours depending on the sight.  It was an incredible experience to tour Washington D.C., but it certainly can't be done all in one day.

Our first stop was Lincoln Memorial (dedicated in 1922).  Amazing.  I never realized how big it was. 

About a month ago this was vandalized with green paint and closed to the public.  

Unfortunately, the Washington Monument was under construction to repair damage from an earthquake last August, so it was covered with scaffolding, but still, it was awesome to see.     

We also stood in the exact spot as Martin Luther King, Jr. when he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech in 1963.  

Visited the Korean War Monument...

...and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which was probably the most somber.  So many names listed on that wall...heartbreaking.

Our driver got us passes to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, but no pictures were allowed inside.  

We have never seen so much $$$$.  Just pallets of money sitting around waiting to finish the printing process.  

We saw a sign that read, "How do you think I feel?  I just printed my entire yearly salary in just ten minutes!"  

Bureau of Engraving and Printing getting a face lift.

And then it was onto the Thomas Jefferson Monument...

...drove past the Potomac River (you can see Arlington National Cemetery on the hill in the background)...

...and rolled up on Layfayette Park where there was a large crowd having an anti-drug rally.  Avoided the chanting and clapping people and made our way to the White House where we pressed our faces against the wrought-iron fence to get a peek at Obama's abode.   I have to say I wasn't impressed.  I guess I thought it would be bigger and more ornate, still, it was the White House and we were thankful to see it.  

Unfortunately we didn't see Obama, I think he was out of town, but Robert (almost) bought an Obama t-shirt (I say almost).

After the White House, we had lunch at Lincoln's Waffle Shop...

...and then it was on to tour Ford's Theater where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.  Again our driver got us tickets in advance so we didn't have to wait in line.

Robert gives Lincoln a bit of style.
My twin brother, perhaps?
I think our favorite tour of the day, however, was of the Capitol Building.  Impressive in every sense of the word.  

Each state gets to put two statues in the Capitol building.  California has Junipero Serra and Ronald Reagan.

Roberts reads the Declaration of Independence
From the Capitol Building we took a tunnel to the Library of Congress and wandered around a bit, but didn't spend much time there.  

We wanted to get back to the Capitol Building and take some more pictures of the outside.

Unfortunately, that was the last stop on our tour and we headed back to our hotel.  We got dropped off about 6pm and then headed to Cracker Barrell for dinner.  

Another AWESOME day.

Coming soon....part 4 (the end) of the Grand Tour Road Trip.

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