Look below for Day 2 in Washington!
Welcome back to the Roemer trek! We have gone to the far corners of Virginia now and back. Our first stop was Monticello. This is the home Thomas Jefferson built in western Virginia. It is full of his inventions, love of farming and family during his 83 years of life.
Next stop Richmond. Ann's Mom was born and raised here. So we visited Ann's cousin Doug and his wife Judy. Ann and Doug went cemetery hopping! The rest of the day was spent cheering on the US Soccer Team and catching up. It was fun! Madeline made a friend in their dog Peewee.
Then onward to Manassas and Ann's cousin Nancy. They live in a great old house that is 135 years old. Ann had not seen Nancy in many years. They had great fun looking at photo albums of their Mom's over 50 years ago and their Grandmas' 50 years ago! It is so fun being with all this great family - we hate to leave every time. Madeline found a new friend for life - Cody.
We did see Mount Vernon which was Washington's home. Washington really was a brave man and also a dedicated farmer. Both his and Jefferson's homes were very ornate in some rooms and well planned. It was pouring down rain for the tour. We decided to head back for home and follow those signs. Funny thing was we kept seeing this Telegraph Road again and again. We tried to go west and ended up northeast. After an hour we saw the entrance to Mount Vernon again. Well we were all a little punchy by this time - laughing that is. Finally one hour later, we found Nancy's house and the All-star Homerun Derby!!
Tonite we decided to drive in DC and spend the night. We checked in, had dinner and saw the sights at night. Look below for details!
Monticello on a sunny day in August. Here we are after a thirty minute tour of the first floor. They have 65% of Jefferson's furnishings and are quite knowledgeable. Hey this looks just like the nickel!
Here is Nancy, Doug's and Ann's Great Great Grandmother Theresa Sedonia Heyer. We found some old plots that day - but Doug and Ann didn't unearth any new family skeletons!
Ann's mother - Mary Madeline Mesco Scott's gravesite with her namesake and Colleen and William.
Here are we are with Doug and Judy. This is on the steps to their home. It is gorgeous and on the site of an old Civil War battlefield all through this section of Mechanicsville. Doug has found old Civil war artifacts and has a ditch in his backyard.
Some of us slept here for the night, but Dad and Patrick braved the rain and electric storm. Their children Jaime and Courtney were off working at a Bible Camp in Pennsylvania.
WE MISSED YOU JAIME & COURTNEY!
Madeline with Peewee.
Here is Mount Vernon's back porch. In one year alone he entertained 700 guests. It overlooks the Potomic River. It is a lovely home. We were soaked after we finished though! That is us sitting on the far right of the porch.
Only 25% of this house is original.
Here is the crew by an old well which used to feed the house. Nancy and her daughter Carlye are on the right. Chip was off coaching a State High School Soccer All Star Tournament. We missed their other daughter Ginger.
Our RV just fit into the corner of Nancy & Chips' driveway and we bunked here for 2 nights. Chip had 3 old antique cars from his Dad's collection. They were really cool - one was an old electric car with no steering wheel! He also had a 1912 Buick and a 1906 Dodge. The kids loved sitting in them!
Sorry Peewee, Madeline has a new best friend. She played fetch with Cody and caught more fireflies. They were both exhausted by days end.
We haven't got lost yet in Washington! After dinner we set out to conquer the sites. This is down the mall toward the Washington Monument.
We missed the first turn for the White House and ended up parking next to the Treasury Building - right next store. It was a last minute decision to spend the night here but it worked out great because the traffic was light.
As we walked to the front of the White House, the US Army band was playing in front. We got there just in time for the finale - Stars and Stripes Forever on a warm, balmy night. It was great.
This is a piece of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Try to explain this one to your kids. One of my children wanted to know what communism is and why so many people died. By 10:00 PM my brain doesn't answer those so well.
This one is for Mike Welsh and all our other friends from that war.
The Lincoln Memorial does look great at night. Now I am trying to explain the Gettysburg Address though. (...that the government of the people, by the people and for the people would never perish from the face of this earth). Madeline and Will are having a great time running around the stairs and the Mall.
The Jefferson Memorial. Was he really that tall????
Ann tried to take a picture and dropped her camera - whoops I guess we know what she's getting for her birthday this year!
Now we're tired and it's home to construct a web page.
DAY TWO IN DC
After a late night, we rose very slowly. Phil, my great fix it guy had tinkered with my camera and fix the lens closing mechanism. Mom was back in business. Score another one for the humans! We'll let the pictures do the talking!
Show me the money Uncle Scotty!! We picked up tickets for the tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Here they print all most of our currency, stamps, and other secure stuff.
It is very secure and you have to go through a metal detector to get in the building and tour. As Patrick walks through the metal detector the bells blow and alarms sound. The police officer said, "Step to the side Sir, please empty all objects from your pockets." Walla - out comes a gameboy!! We need one of these at home.
We wish we could send you pictures of the tour, but no videotaping or cameras allowed. It was cool to see all that money being printed and engraved. Did you know a dollar bill only has the average life of 18 months? Or money is actually printed on a fabric - that makes it survive the laundry!! 95% of the money printed here is to replace old currency.
Next stop, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. So much Washington - so little time!!
Who put that huge dinosaur here?? Mom saw tons of dinosaurs she taught her kids about at Saint Frances Cabrini. She was so excited!!
"Hey Patrick, look
out - there is a T-Rex behind us!"
Here is the famous Hope Diamond. The crowd was huge today in the museum. This was in the Earth Science part. Colleen starting getting museumed out so we went faster. Patrick and Michelle loved the crystal and rock section and wanted to stay longer.
We walked over to the National Air and Space Museum. A little popcorn and we were as good as new (well for awhile).
This place is incredible and our favorite! If you look carefully, here is Kittyhawk (the first plane to fly), the first plane in the top right to break the sound barrier and in the bottom right corner the first manned capsule to orbit the earth with John Glenn of course.
The museum is full of great first - rockets, M262 Germany's first jet ever, first ballistic missile, US and Russian ballistic missiles which were eliminated in the Salt Treaty and the Voyager.
We also saw the IMAX movie TO FLY. It was great. The Natural History Museum also has a new IMAX theatre.
They also have a fantastic hands on exhibit to teach children about the principles of flight. A lot on thrust, wing shape, air pressure around the wing, gravity, buoyancy and more. Here the effect of gravity is shown as you pull up an astronaut into space and then drop him. Go Patrick, Will and Colleen!
So cool! We need to lobby the Tech Museum to do this - not enough Physics in that Museum!
Museums are closing - time to go, we'll have to come back with more time to spare.
On our drive out of time we stopped at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This is the largest Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere. There are close to 20 shrines (little altars) to Mary here.
This is a view looking into the main altar of the church. The main body of the church seats over 6000 people. The small altar in the crypt downstairs for daily Mass seats 400.
This is a beautiful mural about the Judgement Day. It is very dramatic with the common saints depicted mixed with people in current day clothing.
The altars to Mary are incredible and the shrine is very ornate without being overdone.
Adjacent to this shrine is the Catholic University and a few other Catholic schools nearby.
Now we're off to explore new places - New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Two days until Yankee Stadium!! See ya there!