Man, my first trip to D.C. was a blast! Granted it was an adventure and, as such, it had its ups and downs! After I got off the air on Friday, February 28th, Tessa and I finished packing and we had my mom and Aunt Pat pick us up to take us to the train station to board the Amtrak Crescent train that runs from New Orleans to New York. Somewhere along the way from N'ollins, the train ran two hours behind schedule. In order to get a little distance from some of the interesting clientele in the boarding room, we ran to the nearest Waffle House to get some coffee and kill some time.
When the train finally arrived at nearly 1am, we boarded the train and took our viewliner roomette which was REALLY small! NOT recommended for tall or fat people or, God forbid, tall AND fat people! Thank God we are only SHORT and fat!
We arrived in Washington D.C. at Union Station around 10:30 or 11am and took the Metrorail to the Foggy Bottom station where our hotel was. After we checked in, we got right back on the Metrorail and rode into the Arlington Cememtery station so we could check out Arlington Cememtery (DUH!). We walked extensively around the cemetery and the Arlington House and also caught the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The next day was going to be the warmest day we were to have with the high in the lower 50s so we decided to go to the Smithsonian National Zoo. The zoo was right in between two Metrorail stations so we had a good walk getting to the zoo followed by an extensive walk in the zoo itself and getting back to the next station.
We then took the Metrorail into Gallery Place station and visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We had skipped lunch so we were both quite hungry but I insisted on getting this museum in before it closed at 7pm. We managed to cover the entire museum but just barely as I had no idea just how involved it would be.
Thankfully we were within a short walking distance to the Hard Rock Cafe where we had a much needed dinner after the day's ventures.
On Monday, the Lord decided to bless our vacation with a generous helping of snow. Our original plan for the day was to take in the monuments and memorials at the National Mall since they cannot technically close due to winter weather. However, when we exited the Smithsonian station and experienced a wind chill of -7, we quickly changed our tune and boarded the Metrorail and rode to the next station, L'enfant Plaza to visit the only Smithsonian museum that was open: the Air and Space Museum!
Thankfully everything reopened the next day so we made our way to the Smithsonian Institution Building (also known as the Castle) and looked around until the National History Museum opened at 10am.
On Wednesday, we took the Metrobus heading for Wahington Dulles International Airport then took a shuttle bus to the other Air and Space Museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This was by far my favorite of all the museums as it consists of three oversized hangars featuring many amazing and historical aircrafts such as the Enola Gay, the SR-71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Fyi, that look on my face isn't completely exaggerated as I was, indeed, freaking balls at the size of the hangars. I have this weird phobia of looking up at heights NOT looking down from them.
Thursday was our last full day in D.C. so we walked from our hotel straight down to the Lincoln Memorial then walked the length of the Reflecting Pool (which, unfortunately, was drained) and walked by the Korean and WWII Memorials and the Washington Monument. We also got a fairly good view of the White House before heading up to Honest Abes Souvenir shop to wrap up our souvenir shopping.
On Friday, we checked out of the hotel but they agreed to hold our bags so we could make our way to the Pentagon City station so I could hit up Best Buy for a Silver Book copy of the new Hunger Games movie Catching Fire on Blu-ray.
After grabbing some lunch, we went back to the hotel to grab our bags then headed back to Union Station to board the Amtrak Crescent train and head home. This time we did not have a roomette but just coach seats which sucked because, although the train was on time leaving D.C., we ran into icy conditions as we were heading into North Carolina that slowed us down and put us off schedule by a few hours so we did not arrive in Greenville until around 8am.
Personally, I enjoyed taking the train. My wife, however, was NOT a fan!