DC - Day Two

October 2nd - Day 5 (second day in DC)

Back on my Leave fun. Yays for Leave!

I did something a little bit different the second day. The metro works a little odd in DC, you can buy a day pass but you can't use it until after a certain time, so you have to buy a trip pass in the morning and then use your day pass in the afternoon. I didn't like this set up so much so I decided I would go ahead and drive the second day.

Um, my advice for DC. Don't drive. Just, Don't.

Because I had my car though, I decided to get the items that are kind of off in the boondocks and away from the Mall out of the way. This included Arlington Cemetary. I wanted to hit up the National Zoo as well, but I ran out of time. It was a bit out of the way so I couldn't get to it.

Trust me, driving in DC is just a big pain in the fourth point of contact. Getting from my Hostel up north (which was just across from a Metro terminal) proved to not save me any time if I had simply waited for the Day Use Metro. I would have saved a few bucks too.

But alas, I drove this day.

Anyway, back to Arlington. A very somber site.

I observed a changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. However, I should have been on the other side of the tomb to get a good view of it. It was very interesting, a lot of awesome rifle movements.

They looked Sharp. Very impressive.

I found the Marine Memorial. Saw the Air Force too. Never did see the Army memorial however. But the Marine Memorial with that image of IwaJima is quite gripping.

Women Veteran's Memorial. This is only a few years old, really recent in fact. Very well done.

After spending a couple hours walking around Arlington, I got in my car and decided to visit the Pentagon. Except I got lost and couldn't figure out where to park to visit the memorial. Eventually, I just gave up and decided to come back, instead focusing my time on finding Mt Vernon. This is one place I do recommend driving to go see if you have a car, but it is accessible with Public Transportation as well. If I had planned it out better, I would have done it that way instead.

This would be George Washington's estate. I walked all over the place, toured his home, pet the goats, and saw his original burial tomb as well as his final resting place. There is a very interesting museum about his life as well.

Mt Vernon is not free, unlike much of the rest of Washington DC.

Afterwards, I decided to give the Pentagon memorial another shot. I figured out the parking arrangement, which is actually suited fairly well for visiting this monument. They don't like pictures, but I believe taking pictures is ok.

They just dedicated this memorial this summer. It is very beautiful and peaceful, and like so many things I tend to get drawn to visiting, very somber and reflective.

Each bench represents a victim of the attack on the pentagon. the benches facing toward the pentagon represent those on the planes, the benches facing away represent those working in the building. They are organized by the year in which the victim was born. I believe the youngest was in the 1990's, the oldest was in the 1930's.

I saw a lot the second day, but not as much as the day previous, or the next day. Mostly because I made the mistake of driving. I decided to try to see the capital and went and visited, to discover that you have to get tickets to view it. Same with the Supreme Court.

So I walked the grounds of both buildings instead. Saw a few congressmen, but have no idea who they are or what states they represented.

The idea of watching congress in session made me think that I could probably get a good feel of it by watching some CSPAN.

And I had other things I wanted to do. So I decided not to get tickets the next day.

But the daylight was waning, and being in DC, I wanted to visit another building that I could likely only take advantage of with my Vehicle. For those of you who are not aware, I am LDS. I generally do keep this point mute in my blog most of the time, because of my rantings and ravings, it doesn't always point to me as being the best example of my faith and I don't want people to judge me by my faith or my faith by me. I wish I was a sterling example, but alas, I am human and prone to err.

Anyway, being in DC, I wished to go visit the Temple. I also wanted to get some pictures of this building, as it is quite beautiful. The sun was setting, I had to take the scenic route to get to it, and lost my way several times, but I successfully found it again.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to see it, but when you turn the corner on the freeway from the East, you cannot miss this building. It just pops out at you out of nowhere. You can't miss it.

I wish I could have gotten a shot of it from the road, but I was focused on Driving in Rush Hour Traffic.

I discovered that dusk is a really good time for taking photos of buildings.

There was an exhibit showing at the Temple Visitors Center called Reflections of Christ, which was a series of pictures depicting various moments in Christ's life. Very powerful, I gained a greater appreciation for it after watching the little video on the making of this exhibit. It is highly recommended, as any Christian can appreciate these pictures.

By the time I left the temple grounds, it was quite dark, and I had to try to find my way back to the Hostel.

I got hopelessly turned around multiple times, found two gas stations out of gas, and got a little worried that the economy was going to tank and riots would explode while I was on leave.

Fortunately, I made it safe and sound and in time to watch the Vice Presidential Debate.

And listen to the owner of the Hostel give us a clue onto his political leanings.

Hint - He wasn't a fan of Sarah Palin. And that's putting it nicely.

Happy Halloween

I dressed up for Halloween this year. . . sort of.

You see, I'm on the road right now, driving home *YAY!!!* and I wanted to have something comfortable and easy to wear, and not having to do anything with a mask.

I actually had this idea a long time ago, four years ago in fact, but I couldn't make it work then because I couldn't get the right kind of stickers. Well, when I was in NYC this year, I managed to pick up some buttons to make it work. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the shirt but I picked that up a couple of days ago.

Now the question i have for you is, can you figure out what I am?

I walked around wearing this all day (er, not the jacket) and nobody seemed to notice anything strange unless i pointed it out to them. And then they laughed. One person told me I should be careful, I might get attacked.

I am, afterall, currently in Illinois.

But it goes with the season, don't you think?

Left side

Right side

(I can't help it, I love that "Barack to the Future" Button)


Sarah Palin Rally in Indiana

I'm in Jeffersonville Indiana right now.

Going to see Hank Williams Jr and of course, Sarah Palin.

Will tell you how it goes.

Update (9:18 PM EST): The rally was outstanding! Security estimated between 25-32,000 people showed up. Hank Williams Jr entertained the crowd and got things going a bit, but man, the crowd went WILD when Sarah Palin walked in. Everyone was cheering. I took a bunch of pictures with my super zoom lens camera and as soon as I get home I'll try to post some of them. I was about 25-40 feet away from Sarah I think, I'm not the best estimate on these numbers, but I got in early enough that I could get pretty close. Not that it helped matters, cause see, I'm very short and a lot of people were taller then me and I had to get over their heads to get a good shot.

Now, the logistics of getting out of this place, er, I might not be getting home for another couple of hours. Which sucks, because I have a few last minute things I have to do to get prepared to leave this place and a fairly early day tomorrow. But being from a very blue state, and currently residing in a very red state, this was my best opportunity to see Sarah Palin and I wasn't going to miss it! My parents say they are envious.

UPDATE (11:59 PM EST) - My video is horrendous. My trip home even more so. It took me an hour to get out of the parking lot, and there were a few people that were a little tempered unfortunately. They had a bussing system set up but because of the mass transit trying to get out, everyone ended up having to walk to their cars (I need to check myself for ticks after walking through a field and falling in a ditch).

Anyway, Picture Time!

This is a really quick quote I picked up (there were a lot more but I grabbed this one because I remembered it quite vividly) and I loved how she put this. Well stated, unfortunately the crowd cheering blurs out what she is saying but it might give you an idea of how crazy this crowd was.

Actually, I do have a video of everyone cheering as she walks in, but truthfully, the video can not do this justice. This place was just rockin'!

Of course, we are in the great state of Indiana (actually, this region is often referred to as Kentuckiana) so we had a lot of Hoosier references.

Best sticker ever.

Hank Williams JR rockin' it country. He played us a little Johnny Cash that I particularly enjoyed. Big Johnny Cash fan.

Sarah and the 'First Dude of Alaska'. I love what she calls him. I'm sure if Sarah ever makes it to the White House as President, he will still be known as the First Dude. Unfortunately, none of the munchkins were present.

I got a lot of Sarah just talking with the crowd cheering and what not. I like this shot, mostly because of the background. I am still learning the settings on this camera nad unfortunately learned after the fact that I could have used some different settings then I did to get some clearer shots, but hey, you live and learn.

I really like this one as well for some reason. I love the blurred foreground with people waving and cheering but you can make out Sarah through it.

Anyone who says that this woman is a drag on the ticket is on crack. She has energized the base like nothing I could have imagined. Everyone there LOVED her! We were all cheering, and I think she is a great speaker.

More Palin Love

Yeah, pictures not as clear as I would have hoped, *I'll get them better next time* but I'm so pumped I could have made it!

I've got plenty of campaign buttons now! I'll focus on a few of 'em, I got some good ones!

I specifically wanted to get a McCain-Palin T-shirt. I have plans for this. More tomorrow on that.

That was a blast! I immensely enjoyed getting out, though I need to be careful next time, as I am supposed to be packing to get myself ready to get out of here. But I couldn't pass this opportunity up.

Funny, I found out about this rally YESTERDAY and kind of nabbed tickets for it last minute. glad I could make it!

Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Before the rally, I saw these four teenagers really enthused to see Palin. They can't wait to vote. I should merge this photo with another of Sarah speaking.

DC - the first day

Day Four - October 1

Yes, I'm getting back to my Leave Time. I found my camera that I thought I lost, the point and shoot with my pictures on it. Very Grateful.

I was in Washington DC earlier this month when I was on leave. I have never been to DC but have always wanted to go. I stayed at a Hostel in the Northern Part of DC and parked my car for $5 a day and took the Trans. Definitely recommended in DC, don't take your car anywhere here, which is what I learned on teh Second day. It is a pain to park.

One thing that is really awesome about DC is the fact that there are free things to do EVERYWHERE. One upside is the Smithsonian. There were a gob of museums I wanted to go check out, including the Smithsonian Museum of American History but unfortunately it was closed for renovation.

I had to wait until the Museums opened to go check them out however, and most museums didn't open until 9:00, and I'm on military time on leave, so I'm up at 6:00 and ready to go. Their was a sculpture garden to check out, so I did that.

Some weird sculptures were to be found.

I have a fondness for modern art, and incorporating myself with it. However, i was quick to learn not to sit on the pieces when a security guard came by and scolded me for getting to close to a piece.

It must be just a flesh wound. Where the heck are this guy's legs?

Honestly, I don't know about this one. supposedly it is some woman sitting on a bench, or something. . . and it is obviously abstract and only supposed to represent something. Or something or other.

The National Space and Air Museum however, that is one I could have spent all day in. I'm a space junkie, so anything that has to do with space or flying is awesome with me, and this museum went through the history of Air and Space.

I also caught a show in the planetarium on Black Holes and that was freakin' Awesome. I was also caught up on these following sensors. One senses heat, the other, er, I don't remember. Infared or something. Gah! I knew this!

I guess I better look it up. But can you see me taking a picture?

I spent all morning in that museum, and could have spent all day if I wanted to. Unfortunately, I did not have the time allotted to spend all day in one museum. I went across the mall to the National Art Museum. It is not part of the Smithsonian, however it is still very much free. And free is good.

They had a lot of european artists, lots of renaissance art, and I have discovered while touring this museum that I am more interested in landscapes and Modern Art then renaissance art. I did find the Leonardo DaVinci, the only DaVinci in the US in fact. And I got a picture with it.

The Eastern Musuem was more interesting to me in the long run. I wanted to see more of the American Artists but that exhibit was closed. *sighs*

After the art museums, I found my way to the National Archive, discovered that this is where the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution (the original documents) all reside.

I checked them out. So very fascinating. There was a lot of historical documents to see here, but i was also running out of time and had a lot more I wanted to see.

Like the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Where I saw the Hope Diamond and a bunch of other awesome stuff. Like Butterflies!

These butterflies are in this enclosure and they just fly around and land on you and do all sorts of stuff. I'm not really much of a girly girl that swoons over butterflies really, but it is fun when bugs start landing and crawling on you.

I spent my time in this museum until the place closed down. I thought about going to check out Arlington but found that the hours weren't conducive to my being there. So I had to walk across the bridge and found my way at the Lincoln Memorial.

Abe Lincoln is the BEST!

Can you see my pockets are laden down with all sorts of Stuff? Here is the view over the mall with the washington Monument back there in the BG.

I spent the remaining daylight hours at the Wall.

My dad served in Vietnam and I asked him if there were any names he wanted me to look for. I was able to get a rubbing for him. And a few pictures of the name.

The wall is a little surreal in some ways, one of those places where you stand there and reflect on the loss of life that came with this war.

I ended up talking to an old vet near the wall, looking for the nearest metro back to the hostel, and when I told him I was a drill sergeant, he looked at me with this expression that likely had him thinking 'this girl is a drill sergeant? what happened to the tough drill sergeants of Vietnam that could kill you just by looking at you?'

He obviously never saw me give anybody my angry eye.

Walking to the metro at night was a little interesting, but I never really feared for myself in any way. I did keep a lookout for unusual characters, but didn't see any. I didn't think DC felt unsafe in any way while I was there.