April 21, 2006 and we're in the nation's capital. We're actually staying in Maryland, but the city busses stop at the campground and take us to the subway; Washington has an excellent subway system, so we've been using it to get around.

Here's an important educational fact ... The official sport of the State of Maryland is - jousting!

The area of Washington around the Mall is extremely beautiful, as it was designed to be.

When Washington was chosen as the capital, it was planned that it would be a showplace of parks, monuments and fountains, which the center area certainly is. What wasn't planned was a myriad of office buildings teeming with lobbyists and bureaucrats!


  We arranged with our representative, Rick Larsen's office, to tour the capital building. One of his interns, a young lady named Laura was our guide and she proved to be knowledgeable and entertaining.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the House was not in session that day, and we couldn't, for some reason, tour the Senate, but we did get a great idea of the history of the building; and, from that, a history of how the government has changed through that history.

  Of course, we visited the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights reside along with massive amounts of other paper and electronic documents. We were at least able to ascertain that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are still there!


Part of one tour included a visit to Arlington national cemetery where we witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited Arlington House.

The grounds of the cemetery were originally a farm belonging to Robert E. Lee, Arlington House was his home. When Lee when south to lead the Confederate army, the property was seized for failure to pay $92.00 in taxes. One of his heirs later sued the government and won compensation in the amount of $150,000.

Interestingly the property became Lee's home when he married Mary Custis, daughter of George Washington's adopted son, (and Martha's grandson from her first marriage;) so Robert E. Lee was actually Washington's grandson-in-law!

Arlington cemetery is still used as a final resting place for American Servicemen and women, sadly, they're beginning to run out of space.



We tried to see as much of the Smithsonian as we could, but only saw a fraction of it. We visited the Museum of American History, The National Museum of the American Indian, and paid a very short visit to the Air and Space Museum.


We didn't get to see everything we wanted before our week here ended, so we still have lots to do on our next visit here.




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