Saturday, April 1, 2017

22,000 steps and Counting

We picked up Brett outside his apartment for our early morning excursion to Arlington Cemetery.  It was a little cool, but the sun was out so it felt warmer than yesterday.  Brett had several gravestones that he wanted to see that were off the beaten path along with the typical ones that we had planned on visiting.  We started at the eternal flame marking the grave of John F. and Jackie Kennedy.  There were white crosses adjacent to them for each of President Kennedy's brothers that were on our list as well.  After paying our respects and reading their speeches etched in stone, we continued up the hill to the home of Robert E. Lee.  His is a fascinating story of marriage to Martha Washington's great-granddaughter, living in a home with beautiful views of the Washington monument.

The tomb of the unknown soldier and the changing of the guard were next.  The ceremony was impressive and we were very close to the entrance of the soldiers.  In the same area were memorials for the Spaceship Challenger and Columbia and the mast of the USS Maine.  Brett really wanted to find the graves of William Jennings Bryant and General Pershing.  Doug agreed to go with him as it was a good distance from our location and we had already walked almost 6000 steps.

Therefore, I headed back to the Kennedy grave sites with Meg and Cam.  We spent time texting Cal while we waited and planned for our next stop.  Brett was pleased to report that he found both graves even though Bryant’s was hidden.  Once we met up again we walked to Thurgood Marshall’s and William Howard Taft’s grave sites.  As a bonus we were even able to locate Medgar Evers on our way back to the visitors center.  It was a lot of walking up and down hills, but we were all happy with our visit to Arlington.

We decided to make our next stop the National Zoo.  Cam wanted to see the Pandas.  We had watched them on the live panda cam on the drive out.  The pandas were just as active as they were on the camera and we all enjoyed seeing them out and about.  We spent the next several hours walking through the rest of the zoo enjoying the Asia trail, the ape house and the small mammals.  Cam and Meg found panda shirts before we headed out.

We were close to the National Cathedral so we stopped there next.  I had never been in it and wanted to see the inside.  Everyone else said they would be ok either way, but in the end we all thoroughly enjoyed our self guided tour.  It was impressive to say the least with an observation tower, stained glass windows and over half a dozen chapels.  Woodrow Wilson was even buried in the cathedral.

As we left the cathedral we decided that our feet were ready for a much needed rest.  We had almost doubled my daily FitBit goal of 10,000 steps.  On our way to the Embassy Suites we drove by the home of Vice President Mike Pence.  It was impressive to say the least as were the embassies of the ambassadors to the United States that we passed along the way.

The hotel happy hour wasn’t quite as great as advertised, but our feet appreciate the rest.  We drove to the Pentagon Mall afterward.  Meg said it was the nicest mall she had ever been in and I would have to agree.  Brett found a new pair of Vans while the rest of us spent time window shopping.  We found a Bonefish Grill close by and enjoyed a nice dinner together.  As we dropped Brett off for the night I couldn’t believe all that we had accomplished in one day.  Although I have walked more steps in one day, I was still impressed with the 22,000 I logged in today, especially since it included over 50 flights of stairs.

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