And now for something completely different. We have been walking
around in Washington for four full days. Mary's feet are killing her.
I decided we can try something else today.
We started by going to the Marine Veteran's Memorial, also known as
the Iwo Jima Memorial. We were almost there when we took one wrong
turn, and we ended up going many miles out of our way before we found
our way back. Today was definitely our day for making wrong turns.
Eventually we got there and after the busload of kids left, we were
left alone with the ranger, who was a volunteer and a Marine veteran
of Lebanon 1958, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic. We learned a
lot about the memorial and the crowds from him.
Next, we saw the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial. In fashion true to his
reputation as a conservationist, his memorial is on an island without
roads, accessible only via a footbridge. The island is peaceful except
when the planes land at nearby Reagan National Airport just across
the river; this happens only about every five minutes or so. Grrr.
Next came the most comedic stretch of wrong turns in our whole trip.
I wanted to go across one of the 14th street bridges to the
Jefferson Memorial. We went back and forth past the Pentagon on one
freeway, then another, then surface streets, then into the back lot
of a business, then into a dead end, then back up the GW Parkway
ten miles into another county before we found a place to turn
around, then back past the Pentagon again, without ever being in
the right lane to exit onto any bridge at all. Finally, we ended
up on the Key Bridge at 4:30 pm, which is really crazy. Key Bridge
is the one farthest from where we wanted to be, it was rush hour,
and we were heading right into downtown. We eventually made it down
to the Lincoln Memorial and I tried to go around it, but confound
it, that road goes back across the river and pretty soon we were
back across where we started, near Arlington Cemetery again.
We found another circle where we could turn around and come right
back across the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial. Then we found the
back road down the island where the Jefferson Memorial is. It was
worth going "out of the way" to get too; even Mary agreed. It is
a beautiful building with a rounded dome that looks like a bald
head; no spire on top like the Capitol has.
OK; we've had it. We have been in Washington six days and we have
barely made it halfway through two Smithsonian museums; we could
stay here another week and not get through it all. At some point
you've got to take up stakes and get moving. Only problem was,
we're not done making wrong turns yet. I wanted to take the
Anacostia Freeway out of town to the east, but going over the
river I took a wrong turn, and we ended up in Anacostia Park
instead of the freeway. We had to ride along the shoreline for
quite a while before we found our way back to the freeway. I have
been lost in Anacostia before, at night in the dark, and I was
very afraid. Anacostia is a neighborhood across the Anacostia
River from downtown, and it is a slum. I figured we'd be safe
in the daylight, in the park, but I wanted to find my way out
As we headed up through Baltimore, we found a few sections of
road that required tolls. We temporarily mislaid the small change
jar, we've spent all our bills except one dollar, and we don't
have enough in the car to pay the next toll. We found an exit
just shy of the next toll and we found an ATM.
As we passed Baltimore, the weather started turning bad. Eventually
the rain got to the point that I could not see very well. We got
off in a place called Havre de Grace or something like that, to
slurp a chocolate shake at McDonald's and wait out the storm.
In 20 minutes, the storm let up a little and we left armed with
directions from the locals how to get into Delaware paying the
least possible in tolls.
Eventually we made our way to the north side of Philadelphia,
where we will visit downtown tomorrow.