It seems like forever ago when Zeus first mentioned a family expedition to Washington D.C. I listened and then forgot. He brought it up again, this time to the kids. Of course, Eris jumped right on it. The rest were lukewarm (or downright cold) to the idea. Zeus continued to discuss and plan.
The timing soon became critical and this spring seemed to be the logical time to do it. Bubba is a senior in high school and at the time it looked like he would be leaving home shortly after graduation. Littlest Ms. is 5 1/2 and old enough to participate and remember the sights and events that we would see.
Preparations would take months. Books about Washington D.C. were handed out, suggestions for an itinerary were taken, maps were studied, Internet searches were conducted. Monthly meetings were held. Assignments were made for researching airline tickets, ground transportation, ticketing, availability of sights, hotels, etc. Christmas gifts were luggage and spending cash.
In the last two months the trip really started to come together. Spreadsheets magically appeared, sometimes color-coded. There was an abbreviated course on U.S. History 101 taught by Eris. Reservation confirmations finally arrived and dog-sitters were all in place. Binders were made with all necessary information tabbed and organized. Little and Littlest Ms. received ID tags. Our trip mascot was named and prepared for the journey.
We met at the airport on April 2nd and began this once-in-a-lifetime journey. For eleven incredible days my family shared the sights and sounds of our country's capitol and other historic sites. Starting with five spring days in Washington D.C. began with Arlington Cemetery. We toured five Smithsonian's, the Capitol, Library of Congress, The National Archives, the White House and countless National Monuments. We walked the Tidal Basin where the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. After leaving D.C. we headed east to Pennsylvania where we spent a very rainy afternoon doing the auto-tour of Gettysburg, a very sobering and beautiful place.
The next day found us in Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the rooms where the documents that formally established this country were signed. Our final day was back in Baltimore where we finished up our fabulous vacation with an afternoon of our national pastime, a major league baseball game with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.
While in D.C. the family was out sightseeing each day for 10-13 hours. According to pedometers and GPS we walked an average of 10-15 miles daily, plus hours taking in the various museums. We used many different modes of transportation: airplane, metro, bus, taxi, shuttle, light rail and rental cars. Even the little ones were experts at navigating the metro by the time it was over.
Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that this adventure would go so perfectly! As we arrived in Salt Lake City and collected the piles of baggage there was a profound sense of sadness for me. After being a family of eleven moving in unison for over a week we would now head for home in separate cars, a situation that I found totally unsettling. There were long hugs goodbye and even tears shed.
One week later we are all recuperated. Feet and legs are not achy anymore. Returns have been made to school and work. Dogs have been properly pampered and reassured. Suitcases are stowed and ready for the next adventure. There were seven cameras in action with over 1,200 shots.
Photos have been edited and printed. My scrapbook is nearly complete. If you are interested please click over to the Numismatically Shooting blog where you will find my favorite images from our trip. There are eight separate posts.
And one more thing: I now know for certain that I have the best family in the entire world! Thanks to all of you for making this dream come true!