23 March 2007

I'm 550 Feet Tall On A Good Day

My first trip to our nation's capital. I'm very excited. We land at Reagan airport and our adventure begins.

We go to pick up the rental car and they are out. We have a choice of two and while the guy is pointing them out to us, someone takes one! We had reserved a compact and got a full-size. As we are driving away, we chuckle and think our friend the Pilot would be proud of the upgrade we finagled!

Off to the Washington Monument on three hours sleep. We are on Constitution Avenue and see a parking spot. One slightly legal U-turn later, we are parked! We have three hours. We walk up to the monument and ask a Park Ranger if we can get in earlier. He says no. (Very firm about that!)

We haven't eaten since Dallas so we head toward the Old Post Office Building for lunch - it's a food court & shopping center now. They also have a tour where you can go up the tower and see the bells and view the city from above.

If you go to DC, I highly recommend the Tower Tour. One of the ladies on our elevator asked the Ranger if the elevator would drop suddenly. Gotta love Disney fans!

We walked back to the Washington Monument and arrived about 30 minutes before our tour time. This time the Ranger (same one) said "Come on in!"

We went up to the viewing level at 500 feet and we had to take the elevator back down. The Park Service is understaffed and not able to have visitors walk down the stairs. They do slow the elevator down and illuminate the shaft so you can see the commemorative stones. But someday I will have to go back and walk down (I'm going to ask first).

Back to the car we went. I think we were the only car on the block that didn't have a parking ticket. Obviously people don't read the posted signs. We still had time on our three hours, but now we were off to Baltimore to pick up our luggage (see previous post for the explanation).

90 minutes later, we are back in DC and the cell phone rings. Our host wants to know what we want for dinner. About 45 minutes later, we are approaching our exit in Virginia when we hear someone honking and we turn and it's him! So we had an escort to the house, which was lucky because there's a certain jog in the road that we would definitely have missed.

We hate to eat and run, but we have tickets to a show at the 9:30 club that evening. The guidebook had warned that this neighbourhood was a bit rough but we knew there was a parking lot nearby. We only got lost once, in a traffic circle, but we just went around again and made sure we were in the correct lane. Who laid out this city anyway? I am used to midwestern and western cities that are virtually grids with some diagonals, perhaps a few jogs for farms or whatever. DC is crazy!

I loved the 9:30 club. I have heard broadcasts from there on NPR. I love that you can go in and out. The staff were friendly, the patrons weren't too rowdy. I met some very nice people, and had an excellent time. It goes without saying that the musical entertainment was BRILLIANT. Minibar, Moses Mayfield, and Pete Yorn. A show so nice, we are seeing it twice (tomorrow night in Baltimore). I finally got my Desert After Rain CD signed. Silly me forgot to take it to the last show I went to.

We got a bit lost again on the way home. One way streets that don't go all the way through are nearly as bad as traffic circles. We ended up near the Old Post Office and were able to get our bearings at last.

I'm very grateful to be staying so close. All I can think about is sleep, but we have to get up tomorrow morning. We have an appointment with our Congressman's office at 10am.

Sleep is for the weak!

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