Cherry Blossom Festival Time!
March 24, 2012
Dan and I heard that the cherry blossoms were going to peak early this year, so we made a last-minute plan to check them out while they were still pink. That meant that there were no (reasonable) hotel rooms left, so we’d have to improvise. We decided to camp about half an hour away from the District, at least giving us a head start on the day. Then Dan convinced me that we should just leave early Saturday morning. We’d have enough time to visit the Spy Museum and take pictures, Dan’s goal and my goal.
We left around 7am and drove the 200+ miles in about 4 hours. We skirted the District itself and arrived at the Arlington National Cemetery and circumnavigated the entire place before we could find the entrance. Dan had the idea to park the car there, see the cemetery and then walk across the bridge into the District to check out the sights. Overall, it was a good plan. It would have been much more pleasant if it hadn’t been raining.
We parked the car and walked to the Visitor’s Center, overrun with school kids on tours of the grounds. We took in the Kennedy Grave site and then up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The rain was light, more like the Seattle drizzle I’m used to, and it was a pleasant temperature so it was an enjoyable day.
We left the Cemetery in a slightly heavier rain and crossed over the Arlington Memorial Bridge and into the bustle of holiday crowds. We could barely see the Washington Monument due to the low clouds.
(Please forgive the occasional rain drop)
We meandered past the Lincoln Memorial, saw that the famous Reflecting Pool had been drained for maintenance, headed for the Washington Monument. By now the rain had tapered off and we could enjoy the rousing demonstration of the Reason Rally on the Mall. It appeared to be fairly well-attended, with only a flanking of “godly people” along the edges and near the port-a-potties.
God’s Love – can you feel it?
From here we headed away from the memorials and into the business district. We passed Ford’s Theater and came at last to the Spy Museum! We went in and as soon as Dan saw the crowds he stated “Forget it.” I can’t say that I blame him, but I had to laugh: it was the one thing he’d been talking about seeing for the entire trip. We turned around and went to Subway before going to see the Capitol Building.
At this point my camera battery died. It was just as well, as we’d seen most of what we’d see of interest anyway. We rounded to the “front” of the Capitol Building (which was closed and closely guarded by men with rifles) and then went across the street the Supreme Court building. There was a haphazard group of people protesting Obamacare wandering out front, chanting their chants and holding up their signs. The thing that ticks me off most about them is that the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag used to be a sign of such a great thing, something patriotic and powerful. But now…it stands for something I can only shake my head at. We left quickly and meandered our way back to the Memorial Bridge, where it started to rain again in earnest, and to the car. We were on the road again by 5 o’clock and home again by 10pm.