Wednesday, June 30, 2010

D.C. Trip-- Day Four (part I)

And...another day to get up and go. This was our last day here.  So, we ate breakfast and headed out so we could get on the metro and ride.  It' s free to park on Sundays btw.  Kids were all excited b/c we were going on the "train."  Yes, that enthusiasm wore off quickly.  Had to switch trains.  Made it to Union Station (where the trains actually go to as well) and found our ticket booth for the D.C. Ducks Tour.  Tickets were pre-purchased but no guarantee of a seat.  Luckily, we got there and were able to get on the 11 o'clock tour.  So, we wasted some time before we had to go.  Talked to a nice couple in the lobby.  Took some pictures of some great architecture.


These are just some of the statues in union station.  You'll notice they all have shields.  When this building was built, the architect had all the statues nude.  There was such outrage that the artist was ordered to cover them up.  That is why there are now shields in front of them.  This building was massive and you just don't see great artwork or sculpture any more in American buildings.  Was a nice change to see.  


We tried to take a few group shots.  Do you think we got everyone smiling?


Umm, no.  Never can seem to get a group shot.  We did the best we could.  Anyhow, it was then time to get on the Duck Tour.  Was it overcast?  No.  Was it hot?  Understatement of the year.  Felt like the high 90's.  We were unable to get into the Duck for the shaded part of it.  This of course is a real problem for Alex as we know.  So, I put his bandana on him and soaked it w/ water.  This was going to be a long hour and a half for him.  And, we were off!  This is what we road in:


Most of us were in the very, very back of it.  HOT.  No water on board for us.  I had only brought one water bottle and was using it to keep Alex cool as I could.  We got to see a lot of sites and learn some history along the way.  I won't bore you w/ all the pictures of buildings, statues, or the Smithsonian.  But, then we were ready to splash into the Potomac River.  


Great views on the Potomac.  This was in front of the Pentagon I believe.  Flags are everywhere in D.C.  Our founding Fathers would be proud.  (maybe not proud of some things happening in our government now--LOL)  But proud of how the city turned out.  It does have it's beauty. The tour guide explained many things and did it w/ humor as well.  We were able to see many historic sites on this trip and learn a little too.  Just nice sailing on the river on a sunny day.  A new experience for us all and great to be able to do it together.




The above are the teens all enjoying a ride on the river and through the capitol city.  At the end of the tour, we all got quackers.  Lovely.  Just what you want to hear on the ride home to NC.  Of course, we got one too.  Must admit, it is kind of addicting using the quacker.  Had fun and the whole boat was quacking back to Union Station.  Captain Jim even quacked Happy Birthday to the birthday girl that day:


We finished up the tour and were parched.  I mean beyond thirsty and hungry.  Got back to the car and not really anything to eat.  A few cheesesticks we shared.  We all had a bottle of hot water.  Had to get gas as there was NONE.  Hoping we'd make it to a gas station and we did.  Attendant said there was a McDonald's about a mile down the road.  Great.  Figured we'd at least get a drink before the long haul home.  Plus, you never know when you'll run into traffic in this city.  We got there and realized we had Aunt Elsie's giftcards.  They could not have come at a better time.  We were all able to refuel and re-hydrate when we needed it most. Kids even got to try some new things there.  Younger ones were happy to get a happy meal of course.  I must have been practicing for more kids as I accidentally ordered an extra Happy Meal.  We saved it for Bear. 

That was probably a record breaking lunch.  We left at 2:42 pm.  Yes, I looked at the clock.  We get on the ramp, get speed up and come to an utter stop.  You guessed it...traffic.  D.C. traffic.  NOT fun.  We were ready to be on our way and instead sat for over an hour.  Kids were antsy as it was.  Only so much you can do to occupy time standing still.  And for some reason, none were tired.  URGHH.  Of all days.  We eventually started moving again and were on our way.  Things were going pretty decent and we were discussing what we liked best, what we did well, what we could improve on, etc.  Well, they it starts going south.  And I don't mean south to N.C.  More to come in a bit.  Stay tuned for the last part of our trip home. 

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