Today we went to
Gettysburg National Park.
I never really knew what Gettysburg was about, except that there is
a cemetery there and there was a battle, and President Lincoln gave
a speech there.
The park itself is huge. There are supposedly 26 miles of streets in
the park, and it takes two full hours just to drive them without even
stopping to see the sights. The town of Gettysburg is right in the
middle of the park, and some of the sights take you right into town
or through town.
A battle took place here July 1-3, 1863. There were separate battles
each of the three days, and each was staged in a different place:
on the north side of town, on the west side of town, and on the south
side of town. This is one reason the park is so big.
There are lots of official and unofficial tours of the park. One of
the official tours costs only about $40 and a private guide comes
along with you in your own car. I thought that was a great deal
pricewise, but of course we don't have room for a third person to
ride with us in the truck. We found another option in the bookstore:
a set of two audio CDs with a guidebook. You play the CDs in your
car and it tells you where to go, where to stop, what to see, and
the historical significance of what you are seeing. You can see the
park at your own pace, spend more time at the sights that interest
you more, take a break to rest or eat, or skip something that
seems dull. The CDs cost $20 for the set, and the bookstore clerk
said it is the absolute best way to see the park. We took about
four to five hours to see pretty much everything except the
After finishing up at Gettysburg, we headed on down to Washington
DC, only about an hour and a half away. We drove over the bridge
into downtown just to see what the monuments look like at night,
without intending to get out. Mary did get a few photos of the
Washington Monument all lit up, but it was impossible to drive
past the front of the Lincoln Memorial. We might try this again
before we leave, since we now have Metro passes. There is a night
tour but all we really want to do is to get photos of the monuments
all lit up at night.
I tried to drive us into Georgetown, but I made a wrong turn or
got dis-oriented and we headed north from the mall instead of west.
We ended up on Georgia Ave near Walter Reed hospital; then I knew
I'd gone terribly wrong. But for a good 30 to 45 minutes, I was just
totally lost and I was just trying to keep driving until I passed
a familiar-sounding name or a freeway entrance.
We settled into a hotel
in College Park, Maryland, on the east side of Washington, around