Road Trip 2015, Day 11: July 4, 2015 (Washington, D.C.)

Celebrating the 4th of July in D.C.
(click here for today's pictures)

The night seemed to pass fairly quickly but I guess that happens when you stay up until 2.  Robby was still up moving quite early.  He even said today that he is a morning person and I would agree-he is definitely a morning person when we are on vacation.  On days that we are not on a vacation, then he is definitely not a morning person.  Graham must take after his Daddy because Graham was ready to go as soon as he saw Robby was leaving. 

Anderson tagged along on this trip and they were back fairly quickly with some ice.  Then Campbell and Graham went out again with Robby and they were gone long enough for me to get Whitman, Keaton, Reagan and myself completely ready.  I felt like this might have been a bit excessive and briefly thought about calling him but I figured he would show up eventually.  And he did bearing pasties from downstairs for us to eat for breakfast.

The kids all lined up in front of the tv eating their cinnamon rolls and drinking milk.  Then we went downstairs to load up for the day.  The Wilsons met us in the car and I had no idea that it was raining until we pulled out of the parking garage.

The rain looked like it had set in for a long, long time.  So Robby found a Walmart and Tony and he rain in to find some "cheap" ponchos.  Apparently, they don't make those any more!  All they had were ponchos that were not "cheap."  I was flabbergasted when I heard how much money Robby had to pay for those ponchos.  

We then drove right to the capitol building and Robby dropped us off while he went to find a parking spot of the car.  We spent most of our time trying to put ponchos on everyone...but before we could make our way to the building, the sun was starting to come out.  When he found us, we walked right into the capitol and then Tony asked about tickets and we were in line for our tour before we knew what was happening.  They had a short film before the tour.  Then you were divided into groups and handed headsets and your tour began.

Our tour guide was great and knowledgeable (though I know they have just had to memorize all of that.)  My big kids stayed interested in what she had to say and my little ones were just enamored by the head set and radio that we used to hear the guide.  

Interesting facts: the capitol building is in the middle of the city and has 4 different zip codes, each state has 2 statues on display there (one of ours is Mr. Rose from the Rose Law Firm) and when our guide was pointing out George Washington at the top of the rotunda, she said "he is the one that looks like Betty White wearing a snuggy!"

If you will notice on our pictures, the capitol is having work on the dome done.  They have scaffolding all around the outside and even some work is being done inside.  Robby and I have seen at least 10 capitol buildings that have scaffolding all around them-we might should start keeping count of those things!

During the tour, a police officer came and asked her to ask us if anyone had left a bag outside and wouldn't you know, when our tour was over the front entrances were closed and we were escorted out a side door.  We could have headed back to the gift shop area but it was much  more interesting to go out a door that we would normally not get to see.  

After the tour, we all hiked back up to Union Station to eat lunch and potty.  The walk was pretty long but eating inside in a semi-relaxed place was nice.  We all had Bojangles and even though it is a chain, I do like trying something new.  

Once we had finisihed eating, the Wilsons headed off to a Smithsonian or two and we walked back towards the capitol for pictures and then on to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress for more pictures.  I do hope you notice one of my pictures of Whitman on the steps of the Supreme Court having himself a good old 2 year old fit!  

By this time, we were hot and the kids were dragging.  So Robby picked us up in the van.  The plan had been to go to the White House and then we changed it to going to Roosevelt's place.  But then we ended up at Ray's Ice cream.  Les had helped us find some ice cream stops and while we were eating, Anderson said "Tell Les he is a master"-it is good to have an ice cream master in the family.

When we finished with our ice cream, we came out of the tiny restaurant and it was raining.  Robby said that we would just drive around for a few minutes to let it clear off and we drove and drove and there was no clearing.  Finally, he headed towards Roosevelts Memorial.

We were not expecting every single road to be blocked off down that way because of the fireworks.  Like it was crazy and before we knew it, we were being detoured over the bridge because of the fireworks.  And then it started pouring so hard that we just knew they were going to cancel the fireworks.  The National Park Service site even said that government buidlings were going to open to shelter people from the upcoming storm.  The roads were full of water-some places up to the bottom of the door on other cars (not ours though!) and when Robby would drive over water, it would just spew up beside the car and the kids would go nuts.

Robby and I started to worry that we were not going to be able to get back over to the other side to see the fireworks or even get the Wilsons.  The were changing museum during the downpour and even had to buy more ponchos (we should have never thrown those away from Niagara Falls).  While we were fighting the rain just in the car, Robby said "I don't care how much I paid for those things, this rain makes it worth it."

It probably took us an hour to get back to the other side of DC.  We found a great parking spot and even a quaint garden path to walk through.  This time the rain had slacked off but we still needed those ponchos for about 3 minutes.  Then we decided that maybe the kids needed to go and potty so we ran into a Smithsonian.  I batted my eyes and asked and they said sure but they were so ready to close that we had an escort to the potty-that was fine with me because the potty inside the perimeter of the secure fireworks zone were muddy, muddy.

The plan was to meet the Wilsons in front of the White House and we were about 20 feet from being in front of it when the police started shouting "the street is closed," and  "clear the park."  When you hear this from men wearing bullet proof vests and carrying guns, you do listen.  We were able to snap one quick picture as we walked away as we were told.

The Wilsons didn't even get that close to the White House when they were turned away but we all met right before we entered the Mall area.  The security lines were fairly short but the grounds were crazy muddy.  We found a spot and the kids took off playing.  I feel like there were less people tonight than usual and that was probably due to the rain. 

We waited and waited for the show to start.  The boys played frisbee with a kid from Wisconsin and then Reagan, Robby and Anderson walked all the way back to our car so they could bring back a football to play with.  They also picked supper up on the way back to us.

I guess we did get our money's worth out of those ponchos-we even sat on them tonight as we ate our supper (hot dogs, pizza and pretzels).  Before too long, it was time for the fireworks to start and man, they were good.  They put Osborne's fireworks to shame and at the grand finale, it was just boom after boom for about 5 minutes.  Whitman wasn't afraid at all this go around and Campbell, well, she danced the entire time with her glow sticks.  Most of the time she wasn't even facing the fireworks but she was having the best time ever!

Once the fireworks were over, we and about 30 thousand other people started heading back to their car.  Robby, the boy scout that he is, had a flash light and he hung it around his neck backwards so all we had to do was look up and follow the light.  We all made it back to the car and it probably helped following Robby's light.  

It took us about 15 minutes to get back to the hotel today because Robby missed the turn but that just provided us all with some extra quality time....especially since I do think my dvd player is finally broken (that makes me so sad since we are still a 1000 miles away from home).  

It was a pretty great 4th of July celebrating our country's 239th birthday in Washington D.C.  Hope we all rest well tonight and I definitely hope that it is not raining tomorrow.  (Currently, I have our ponchos laid out to dry in this room and plan to fold them back up so neat and tight tomorrow that they will go on us on each and every trip from here on out!)

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