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.