June 26 to July2


June 26, 2011    Herring Creek anchorage to Port Tobacco River anchorage

What a great morning!  We slept in and I read Bob a chapter from Michener’s book, “Chesapeake” about the hurricane of 1899 and how it changed Chesapeake Bay, the oyster beds, and crabbing for years to come.  It was interesting enough to think about that we had to look it up on the Internet. We had a leisurely breakfast and took Auggie to shore at the town dock.  It was already filled with the locals—fishing and crabbing.  With their lines tied to fish carcasses, they were hauling in one huge crab after another.  Two young boys filled their bucket with crabs and were headed home.  While I was walking Auggie, Bob chatted it up with a local lady who was on her bike.  She said the crabs were really in the creek right now and they were catching a lot of them.  She even invited  us over to her house for a crab boil tonight.  Yum!  Too bad we were moving on.  It would have been tasty!  Back at the boat, we hauled anchor at 9:00 and were on our way farther up the Potomac River.  It was a cloudless day to start, temp at 75, and winds at 7 mph.  The wind was blowing against the tide coming in, creating 1′ waves, but the ride was very comfortable.  The river continued to be wide (5 miles) farther up, so there wasn’t much to view until we got to St. Clement’s Island.  A 40 ft. high commemorative cross, stands on the shore of the island marking the location where religious tolerance in America had its foundation.  It is the site of the first landing of colonists in Maryland.  We could see the cross and a replica of the Blackstone Lighthouse standing nearby.
                              
For the next 16 miles or so, we found ourselves traveling in the “Middle Danger Zone”.  This area is used for firing exercises by the Naval Surface Weapons Center in Dahlgren, VA.  It is active during the week, but not on weekends.  Darn!  Range Patrol boats would normally warn us if the range was “hot” (active) and tell us where and when to proceed.  Now that would have been exciting to see!  On the western shore we could detect Mt. Airy and the red Nomini and Horsehead Cliffs.
The city of Colonial Beach was on the western shore.  It is the only port of call on the VA side of the Potomac River than even resembles a town.  We could see its 2 mile long beach from a long distance off.  The river narrowed here as the Harry W. Nice Bridge (U.S. 301) came into view and marked the halfway point to DC.  
The skies got a little cloudy and the tidal current switched directions, so the water calmed off and turned to glass. We crossed under the bridge at 12:20.  We were warned about floating debris in the Potomac and we did encounter a number of logs that we were careful to avoid.  We were traveling at 10 mph, so it was easy enough to stay clear of them.   The river narrowed to a width of a mile and a half after the bridge and the shoreline was heavily forested with homes hidden in the trees or high on the bluffs.
We took a detour off the Potomac into the Port Tobacco River to get to our anchorage for the night.  The town of Port Tobacco did export tobacco during colonial times, but it was named by the Piscataway Indians, who name this area, “Potopaco”.  The present name seems to be an anglicanization of the Indian name.  We dropped anchor near Chapel Point which is part of a Maryland State Park.  South of the Point a few boats had collected in a Sunday afternoon “raft up” with a “party barge” positioned in the middle.  They were looking to have a good time!
                                
We found better beach access to the park to the north of the point, so that’s where we stayed. We were looking for a little quieter place to spend the night.  We had traveled 39.1 miles today.
Once we got settled in, Bob worked on putting Auggie’s retractable leash back in working order before we went ashore.  The thermometer in the boat read 92 degrees, but the clouds and breeze didn’t make it feel that hot.  We took Auggie to shore at the beach landing.  Bob stayed with the dinghy while Auggie and I walked up the gravel road where we came to a clearing.  I spotted a beautiful bluebird flying by.  I can’t say that I’ve ever seen one before.
From there, I could see the steeple of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Chruch (1798).  We could hear the church bells chime on the hour.
After our walk in the woods, we dinghied farther up the Port Tobacco River almost to the end where there’s a marina and tiki bar.  There were many people enjoying the river on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  There were people tubing, jet skiing, fishing, water skiing, and partying on their boats.  It was a busy place!  We enjoyed the afternoon on the boat after our ride, just watching all the action.  Dark clouds moved in, so we checked the weather sites and radar for storms moving into the area.  There were no signs of any bad weather so that was good.  After dinner, we had a little sprinkle, but it didn’t last long.  We took Auggie to shore for his evening walk and waited for all the weekenders to head for home. The wakes from all the boats subsided and the waters were calm for the night. It will be a quiet place and hopefully we won’t see any more rain.

June 27, 2011  Port Tobacco River anchorage to Mattawoman Creek anchorage

Happy Birthday, Mom!  It rained off and on overnight with small showers.  The skies were cloudy when we got up, but they started clearing as we had our breakfast and got ready to take Auggie to shore. We left the anchorage at 8:45 and motored our way slowly past all the crabpots to the main channel of the Potomac where the water depth measured 119 ft.  Auggie chose his spot for the ride and was ready to go.
The sky turned hazy and the breeze created ripples on the water.  We still had to keep a keen lookout for debris and logs in the river and be ready to dodge anything we saw.  The current was against us and slowed our speed to 8.4 mph, where we normally would be doing 10 mph at the same RPMs.  The Potomac along this section was heavily forested with a sprinkling of houses and farms nestled on the hills or bluffs above us.  We were one of very few boats on the river this morning.

We finally passed another boat going in the opposite direction.  Woo-hoo!  (As you can see, we were starved for scenery stimulation.)  
The water turned to glass as we cruised our way up towards Mallows Bay.  Mallows Bay is home of the Ghost Fleet, “the largest shipwreck fleet in the western hemisphere….if not the world.”  In WWII, there was a need for mass transportation to support the war in Germany.  A plan was created to build a 1000-ship fleet of wooden transport ships.  The war ended before they could be useful, therefore 285 ships had to be salvaged.  The intent was to salvage the metal and burn the wooden hulls.  Those attempts failed.  The last attempt was to bring the ships into Mallows Bay, dam the bay to evacuate the water, then recover the steel and burn the hulls.  Today there are 88 hulls of the 110 ships believed to have been in Mallows Bay.  Look at Mallows Bay from Google Earth and you will be amazed.  My picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s much more impressive on Google Earth.  Check out this website for the whole story about the Ghost Fleet.  http://www.dnr.state.md.us/naturalresource/winter2001/ghostship.html

A little farther north from there, we passed Quantico on the Virginia side of the Potomac.  Quantico Marine Corps Base is a training base for new Marine Corps enlisted and officer personnel.  It is also home of the Marine Helicopter Squadron One–responsible for all helicopter flights for the President.  There were some huge helicopters sitting on the deck in front of the buildings.
                                
This section of the river for the next 20 miles is supposed to have the largest concentration fo bald eagles in the area and so far we’ve seen three.  We entered Mattawoman Creek around noon and picked our way in slowly to a spot near the Sweden Point State Park.  We had traveled 33.2 very slow miles today.
There was a dense Hydrilla growth near the marina and boat ramps, so we stayed clear of that. 
We settled in and had lunch.  After lunch, we dinghied into the park dock and took a walk across the bridge which spanned the river of Hydrillas.


The bridge took us to the campground where they had campsites and cabins for rent.
Auggie loved his walk in the deep woods.
                          
We left there and dinghied into the marina at the park to take a look around. The facilities are very nice, but the whole park seems under-utilized.  What a shame!  There was really no one there except the Ranger.
Back at the boat, Auggie finally took the time to eat his breakfast, standing half-in, half-out of the door.
                            We checked with the marina in DC and found out that we are able to get into our slip tomorrow instead of Wednesday.  That is good because they are predicting stronger winds and thunderstorms tomorrow later in the day.  We just hung out at the boat doing some reading, working on the blog, and just taking it easy.  We have a lot to see and do in DC and will need all the energy we can muster.  The sun came and went all afternoon with dark clouds hovering over us at times, but no rain fell.  It had gotten quite warm, but at least the humidity was down.  We ate dinner and Bob took Auggie to shore while I did the dishes.
I enjoyed the sunset as I waited for them to return.  The water had turned to glass and as darkness fell, the croaking of hundreds of frogs pierced the stillness.  It was quite a symphony. 
Bob and Auggie returned and picked me up for a fast dinghy ride out to the Potomac. 
The air was cool by now and it felt so refreshing.  We returned to the boat to watch a DVD and then fell asleep listening to the sound of the frogs in the Hydrilla field. 

June 28, 2011  Mattawoman Creek anchorage to Washington, DC (Gangplank Marina)

It was a beautiful morning — breezy and sunny.  Bob took Auggie to shore while I readied the boat for departure.  It was hazy again and the storms that were headed our way never materialized last night.  We moved out of our anchorage at 8:45 and were back onto the Potomac River heading north to DC.  Unfortunately, the Potomac has a lot of sediment in it which gives it a brown “tea color”.  We really haven’t seen blue water since we left FL.  Today we were still dodging logs and going against the current.  Sometimes the navigational channel took us through the middle of the river and sometimes it brought us right up against the shoreline in 50 ft. of water.  The water looks blue in this picture, but it wasn’t.
As we neared Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, we could see a large boat at the dock.  It was a tour boat, The Spirit of Mt. Vernon.  We had hoped to tie up to the dock and tour Mt. Vernon, but hat didn’t leave much room for us.
Bob wasn’t happy about the wind conditions and leaving the boat anchored out while we toured Mt. Vernon for 2 or 3 hours, so we’ll try and stop on our way back or rent a car and see it by land.  “Car if by land, boat if by sea.” The house was pretty impressive from the water.
Around the next bend was Fort Washington.  This home on the bluff was almost as big.


Now we were on the home stretch into Washington Harbor.  Up ahead….Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.
We could see the Capitol off in the distance as we rounded the bend in the river.
The skyline of Alexandria stood out on the Virginia side of the river.
                                
The Washington Monument was somewhat obscurred by haze from a distance, but it became more visible the closer we got.  The Jefferson Memorial stood nearby.
Once we got under the bridge, I could feel my excitement building in anticipation of finally being here after 1,943 miles.  Can you believe it?  The Washington Monument got closer and closer as we neared the city and pulled into the Washington Channel where Gangplank Marina is located.
This big boat followed us into the harbor and finally passed us to get to their docking location.
Diane, the assitant dockmaster, came to meet us and catch our lines as we pulled into slip H13 at 12:30 after 29.8 miles today.  We are so happy and excited to be here!  We checked in at the marina office and got our bearings.  After cooling off, we put together our bikes and rode along the waterfront to the “Fish Market”.
                              
We checked out the 13 open-air spaces where they were selling every kind of seafood you can imagine at Captain White’s Seafood City.  You buy it fresh and can take it home or they will cook it for you right there.  It was amazing to see.  We also made a stop at Washington Marina where they sell boat supplies.  Bob found 2 things he needed and the owner was very helpful.  We came back to the boat and found some grass to walk Auggie.  This is the view we see from the bow of our boat.
It was very hot and humid today, so we took a break in the AC after our ride and then made dinner.  They don’t let you grill out on your boat, so we have to adjust our cooking a little.  It was hard to distinguish the thunder outside from the jets taking off from Reagan International Airport just across the river, but the dark clouds in the distance told us we might get some rain.  We decided to take Auggie for a walk before it rained and did a little touring around the docks on our way back.  This pirate ship was coming back from a tour and was docked next door at the Capital City Marina.
We also spotted that “stealth boat” that passed us going up the river a few days ago.  It was here in DC so the owner could try and sell it to someone…like the military.  There were some “suits” on the boat today, checking it out.
There was more thunder and some lightning, but the rain didn’t come right away.  We got to watch some real TV and news, which we haven’t done in over 2 weeks.  What a treat! Bob was really tired after having his eyes glued to the water in search of logs for 3 days.  We turned in early, so we could begin our tour of the city early tomorrow morning while it’s still cool.  The city is really starting to gear up for the 4th of July celebration.

June 29, 2011  Washington, DC, Gangplank Marina (day 2)

It was going to be a cooler day today than yesterday, so we wanted to get an early start to our sightseeing.  We had breakfast, walked Auggie, and by 9:00 we were ready to go.  We hopped on our bikes with our trusty maps and headed up 7th St. to the National Mall.  There was a flurry of activity going on as they were setting up for the 4th of July and the Smithsonian 2011 Folklife Festival which is starting tomorrow.  The festival is there to “provide diverse, authentic, living traditions with a goal to strengthen and preserve these traditions by presenting them on the National Mall in a respectful way to promote mutual understanding.  They will have food, music, dancers, performers, arts and crafts from many different countries.”  Everything is free to the public (except the food, of course).  We rode along the mall to the Smithsonian Freer Castle which serves as the information center. It is an awesome building! 
From there, we rode up the hill towards the Washington Monument.  (We are able to view the monument from our slip in the marina.)  We have tickets to go up in the Washington Monument all the way to the top.
 
Standing on the hill, we could see the Lincoln Memorial and the reconstruction of the reflecting pool taking place.  
We rode a short distance to the WWII Veterans Memorial.  I found the column representing Wisconsin.  There were many veterans there visiting the monument.
                            
We parked our bikes and climbed the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial.  It was quite breathtaking standing at the top of the stairs looking across the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument and the Capitol building.

We took our turn getting our picture taken next to the famous statue of Abraham Lincoln. 

We walked around the Memorial to see what we could see from the other side.  Around the back, we could see the Arlington Memorial Bridge that leads to Arlington Cemetery. 

We’ll make a trip over to Arlington Cemetery before we leave.  I saw some kids doing this picture shot, so I had to try it for myself.

In the other direction, we could see the Jefferson Memorial sitting near the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River.  We’ll make a trip out to see it in the next few days of our visit here in Washington, DC.

We rode our bikes to the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  It was quite a sight and must be even be more impressive when it is lit up at night.

I had seen the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial on TV, but it was so much more awe-inspiring in person.  We learned all about how the names were listed on the “Wall” from one of the volunteers who was there to answer questions.

As we were riding back towards the National Mall, we saw the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.  We just had to get a close up view and stood by the fence like all the rest of the tourists. 

I applied and got tickets for a tour of the inside of the White House on Friday.  We are two of the lucky few, but we had to go through a background check first.  It will be one of the highlights of our trip.  We asked the guard if Obama was home, but she said she didn’t know.  The Obamas have a vegetable garden growing on the grounds. From there, we rode down Pennsylvania Avenue to 12th St. where we were looking for the Old Post Office.  It was such a cool building.
                           
We went inside to take a free tour of the bell tower where you can get a 360 degree view of the city from above.  We took a glass elevator to the 12th floor.
                         
From the observation deck, we could see the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the rooftop terraces on the nearby buildings.  It was a fantastic view!


                        
Inside, it was a beautifully restored building with shops, offices, and eateries.  We stopped and had a slice of pizza for lunch and did a little shopping.

On the 10th floor you could stop and see the actual bells that are rung every Thursday night for practice.  That would be something to hear!  I walked across Pennsylvania Avenue to look down the street towards Capitol Hill. 

We rode back on 7th St. past the Federal Triangle.  It had drive-thru arches and was quite the busy place.
                           
Bob stopped to give his comments to the IRS as seen in this picture.  He didn’t think they had been listening all these years.  Passers-by got a kick out of it and gave him a “thumbs up” as they went by.  We snapped this picture and got out of there quickly before we got arrested for subversive activity. 

We got back to the marina around 1:00 and stopped to check out the Marina Cantina, a cute little bar right on the dock.  We’ll have to stop by and check out their happy hour another day. 

The marina has a lot of liveaboards with people living on all kinds of boats.  There are quite a few houseboats and this is one of the nicer ones on our dock.

The afternoon had just started to heat up, so we relaxed on the boat in the AC after taking Auggie for a walk.  Bob did a Skype call with Denny to check out the new hookup for the Board meeting tomorrow night.  Everything worked well.  I did some wash while the laundry was available. We had an early dinner and sat out back as the evening cooled off.  We took Auggie for his evening walk and ran into a man who also had a miniature dachshund.  While the adults chatted, the dogs played.  We got the inside info on the area from one of the locals and the dogs had a great time.  We talked until it got dark and then headed back to the boat for a little TV before calling it a day.  We had seen a lot on our first full day with lots more good things to come. 

June 30, 2011  Washington, DC (day 3)

Today would be another relatively cool day (85 degrees) before the heat wave returns for the weekend.  I had a hair appointment at the Bang Salon in the Dupont Circle neighborhood to the northwest of the Mall at 10:00, so we made plans for the best way to get there.  After a lot of research, we decided to go by taxi since we didn’t really know where we were going and what kind of neighborhood it would be.  We did our usual morning routine and then left to catch the cab in front of the hotel.  We left about 9:15 and it was a 20 minute ride.  We got there a little early, but that was ok.  Mark would do my cut and color while Bob took a walk around the neighborhood and did some reading.  He walked to Dupont Circle where there were 200 restaurants and stores and back to the salon.  After checking to see how much longer I would be, he walked to Logan Circle where there were some beautiful row houses and a statue of General Logan, a Civil War general.  Around noon, I was done and we walked out of there to catch the Metro home.  We thought we’d give it a try.  We walked about 6 blocks to the Metro Station at Dupont Circle and rode the Metro right to the waterfront, about 3 blocks from the marina.  Not bad for our first time!  Once we got back to the boat, we had lunch and Bob worked on doing his “treasurer homework” for the  Tropic Isles Board meeting tonight.  I took Auggie for a nice long walk around the area.  Around 2:00 we took a 10 minute bike ride to the Jefferson Memorial.
We parked our bikes and walked around to the front of the Memorial.  Inside the memorial was an impressive statue of Thomas Jefferson.
Sitting on the steps of the memorial, overlooking the Tidal Basin, we could see across the memorial parks to the White House.
While we were resting there on the steps, 2 official helicopters flew over us towards the White House.  One landed on the White House lawn and one flew off to circle overhead.  (We were told that they always fly 2 helicopters when transporting the President and First Lady with one helicopter acting as a decoy.)
We waited awhile in the hopes of seeing more activity, but there was nothing.  From that vantage point, we could also see the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where we’ll be touring tomorrow afternoon.  

We also had a wonderful view of the Washington Monument across the Tidal Basin. It seems we can see it wherever we go in the city.
We left there and biked back to the marina where we stopped for happy hour and nachos at Cantina Marina.
We made it back to the boat for Bob’s 5:30 board meeting via Skype.  Auggie and I hung out in the back of the boat enjoying the shade and cool jazz music playing off in the distance, while Bob participated in the meeting.  We’ll skip dinner tonight (since we had nachos) and enjoy the coolness of the day sitting out in back of the boat.  We’re very excited about our tour of the White House tomorrow at 9:00.  Unfortunately, we can’t take our camera inside, so we’ll just have to remember everything we see. We might need to set our alarm clock tonight! 

July 1, 2011  Washington, DC (day 4)

We did set the alarm for 6:30 (Yikes!) and got ready to go to our tour at the White House.  We walked Auggie, ate breakfast, and hopped on our bikes at 8:00.  We biked up L’Enfant Promenade to the Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle.  From there, we went up 14th St. to Pennsylvania Avenue where the White House Visitor’s Center was located.  We stopped in to watch the orientation movie before going to the check-in point.  We offered our IDs and were checked off of the official list of tour reservations.  We entered the White House through the Library on the lower level and then moved through the China Room where they display the different  pieces of china and glass used by the various presidents.  From there we moved on to the Vermeil Room, where we saw a collection of vermeil guilded silver and the portraits of recent First Ladies.  The one of Jacqueline Kennedy was especially awesome. We climbed the stairs to the ground floor which took us into the East Room, the largest in the White House used for receptions and ceremonies.  From there, we moved through the Green Room, the Blue Room (my favorite), and the Red Room.  Our last stop was the State Dining Room.  It was a self-guided tour, but there were Secret Service Officers posted in every room to provide historical information and answer questions.  We would have liked to have seen more, but it was a great tour just the same.  Since we weren’t allowed to take cameras inside, I wasn’t able to take any pictures, but you’ll have to take my word for it, that the furnishings were beautiful, historical, and extravagant.  We spoke at length with one of the Secret Service Officers and the exit gate about what life is like for the Obama children and the family in general.  He was very candid and had lots of interesting things to say.  He also spoke a little about his job as a Secret Service Agent.  It was very informative. After exiting the White House on the north lawn, we grabbed our bikes and rode on the section of Pennsylvania Avenue that has been closed to vehicular traffic since 9/11.  From the north side of the White House we rode around Lafayette Park and back down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, built between 1871 and 1888.  I wish I had had my camera with me because the Eisenhower Building is an impressive building that houses a majority of offices for the White House Staff.  Here is an aerial shot of it from their website.  

After leaving there, we rode to the Mall and the Museum of Natural History.  Bob really wanted to get a look at the Hope Diamond.  We were two of many who stood in awe of that gorgeous gem.  We looked around at the other amazing gemstones and took a walk past some of the other exhibits.  After spending some time there, we rode another block to the National Gallery of Art.  Bob had a special interest in seeing some portraits  and paintings by some of the famous artists like Leonardo di Vinci and Rembrandt to name just a few.  The gallery and garden inside were beautiful in themselves, but the artwork and portraits were memorable as well.  It’s amazing to me that all these museums and historical places are free and open to the public.  What a treasure they have here in DC.  It was getting to be around noon, so on our way back through the Mall, Bob wanted to check out what they had for Asian food at the Folklife Festival.  It was all pretty spicy, so we decided to ride back to the boat to have lunch.  After relaxing awhile after lunch, Bob took Auggie for a walk, while I took a bike ride to Fort McNair, built in 1791 to protect and defend the city of Washington. 
 
The route along the Promenade to the Fort has a great view of the city from the riverfront.
Tthe officers’ homes have a lovely view of the water from this street in the Fort.  
The General’s home was all decorated for the Fourth of July and stood very impressively among the others.
At the very end of the Fort grounds, was an immense building.  It was the National War College.  I never knew there was such a thing but I was very impressed.
On the other side of the grounds, sat the National Defense University.
I am amazed at how serene and peaceful the grounds on the Fort were….not only at this fort, but at the others I’ve been to as well.  The streets were tree-lined and everything was neat and trim.  There were not many people out and about, so I had the place pretty much to myself.  After leaving there, I rode back along the waterfront and came to a memorial statue of the Titanic.  You can recognize the pose if you’ve seen the movie.
I rode back to the boat with enough time to relax a little before we had to leave for our 4:00 tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This was another place where cameras were not allowed. (I really felt naked without my camera with me today.) We were about to leave when I noticed my bike was not where I left it.  At first I thought someone had stolen it, but the dockmaster reminded us that this place has full security and only those people who have boats in the marina can get in and out. So what happened to it?  He suggested that if we parked it on the finger pier next to the boat, it might have fallen overboard.  It wouldn’t be the first time that it has happened according to him.  He gave us a grappling hook to see if we could dredge it up, but after about an hour we finally gave up.  We weren’t really sure it fell into the 18′ depths near the boat……until I noticed a tire mark on the boat next to us that matched the tread on our tires.  That’s what must have happened when someone came by and laid down that big wake we felt this afternoon.  We tried a little more dredging near that mark, but we had no luck, so we called a local diver who will come by tomorrow at noon and see if he can locate it for us.  What a freaky thing to happen!  Why me???????
Another boater was kind enough to let me use his bike (he said the same thing happened to him) so we could make our tour appointment, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if the bike is really down there.  We took the 10 minute ride over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and made the tour on time. 
The tour was interesting as we got to actually see our money being made.  Today they were printing 100 dollar bills.  There were stacks and stacks of them.  Unfortunately they aren’t considered legal tender until they get their serial numbers registered with the Treasury Department.  Shucks!  I did get to take a few pictures in the gift shop, but they weren’t giving away any free samples.
                           
Bob got to see how he “measured up” in 100s. I guess he’s worth $1, 584, 400.  Not bad!

We rode back to the boat and had dinner.  We had to come up with an alternate plan for how we were going to get to our Capitol tour tomorrow at 9:30.  We had planned to ride our bikes, but not this time.  We’ll have to leave a little earlier to walk the 2 miles there.  So far this week is not going so well for me.  Two days ago Auggie chewed on the strap of my old worn out sandals and rendered them useless, so I had to order a new pair online and wait for them to arrive in 2-3 business days.  I had not brought another pair of boating shoes with me.  Duh!  What was I thinking????????????  Now the bike incident.  What next?  Things can only get better……..’cause they can’t get any worse.  I walked Auggie and it was time to call it a day.  What a day it was! 

July 2, 2011  Washington, DC (day 5)

Neither of us slept soundly last night.  It must have been that we were thinking and worrying about finding the bike.  We did set the alarm again because we had a tour at 9:30 at the Capitol and had to be there 45 minutes in advance to check in.  We decided to try the Red Bike system. 
You can rent a bike for $5 for the day and the first 1/2 hour is free.  There is a bike station right at the marina.  We had our breakfast, walked Auggie, and were out at the bike station by 8:15.  We had some trouble getting it to work right, so we had a slight delay, but we finally figured it out and made it up to Capitol Hill on time. 
We waited in line at the Visitor’s Center where everyone gets processed and has to pass through security. 
We entered the Visitor’s Center/Emancipation Hall, checked in, and had some time to look around the exhibits. This is a replica of the Statue of Freedom that stands atop the Capitol dome.
The Capitol’s majestic dome can be seen through the two large skylights, that provides visitors the greatest connection to the historic Capitol.  At our designated time of 9:30, we got in line for the orientation movie and entered the theater. 
We watched a 13 minute movie about how the Capitol was built and how Congress was designed by the Founding Fathers.  From there, we got in line with our tour guide, Shane, and received our headsets. 
Soon we were off on the hour tour of the Rotunda and the Old House Chambers. The Rotunda had a beautiful ceiling dome depicting George Washington as our first president and a person representing each of the original 13 states.
There are beautiful paintings of historic moments in our history, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the moment when George Washington resigned his commission as General of the army.                                   
From there, we went into the Old House Chambers where most of the states have a representative statue of someone in their state’s history.  For Wisconsin, we have Robert LaFollette.
On the floor is a mark where the desk of Andrew Johnson, among others, stood.  It was amazing to think that those Founding Fathers built our government in that room so many years ago. 
Unknowingly, we scheduled a tour on a Saturday when the House and Senate Chambers are not open to the public.  Bummer!!  We can always come back next week and get passes from our Representative who has an office across the street and try to get into the Senate and House Chambers.  We’ll think about doing that.  After our hour tour, we grabbed our bikes and rode around the Capitol to get a different view. 
                             
The Captiol Hill neighborhood had some nice row houses along our path.
Across the street stood the majestic Library of Congress.
Around the other side of the Capitol were the House and Senate Office Buildings.  
                           
We rode back on 7th Street to the marina and returned our Red Bike.  We’ve finally figured out the quickest route to the Mall and other places that we want to go.  We can consider ourselves “assimilated” now.  We got back to the boat in time for our appointment with our diver, Bill, who would search the bottom for my bike.  We got his name from one of the boaters on our dock. We called him to let him know that we were back from our tour and that he could come early if he wanted to.  He did and started on the process of locating the bike.  He dove in the water near where the tire mark on the side of the other boat was found.  He told us that as he was searching around next to the pier, his foot hit the bike, and he was able to locate the spot where it was laying.  It had ended up floating a little bit under the boat at the next pier and that’s why, when we dredged for it yesterday, we couldn’t find it.  While this was all going on, I had gone to the office.  When I got back from returning the grappling hook to the office, the bike was sitting on the dock.  I was SO relieved that he was able to find it.  We thanked him immensely, paid him, and when all was said and done, he invited us to a 4th of July party on his boat on the river.  He and a few other boats will be anchored out in the river with a live band, food, and drink.  He told us to dinghy over for the festivities. I think we will.  After he left, Bob rinsed off the bike and did some lubricating of the gears and chain and hopefully, it will work for the rest of the trip. My prayers had been answered.  We had a little lunch and talked about what we had planned for the rest of our visit to Washington, DC.  Around 3:00, we took a dinghy ride farther up the Potomac to see the Jefferson and Washington Memorials from the river. 
                     
We went as far as the Rochambeau Memorial Bridge that goes to the Pentagon and got a closer look at the city. 
We were checking out our bike route for our Tuesday trip to the Pentagon for our 9:00 tour.  There was a lot of boat traffic out on the river today and quite a few boats left our marina for the weekend.  We saw the Sequoia, the JFK-era Presidential yacht, sitting at the dock.  It is very distinctive looking.
It was a hot day in the sun with very little breeze.  I think the temp. topped 90 or better.  We stopped to fill up the gas tank in the dinghy at the James Creek Marina on our way back to the marina. There was a yacht at the dock that was all decorated for the 4th of July.
Once we got back, we enjoyed cocktails in the coolness of the AC and relaxed a little before dinner. Yessterday we had put up the back canvas cover to help keep the boat cool.  It was really doing the job.
We took Auggie for his last walk of the evening and when we got back he relaxed in the shade of the cover.
                            
There wasn’t much of a sunset because some clouds had moved in.  We watched a little TV and turned in early.  We were both beat from getting up early.  Tomorrow we’ll sleep in and make a bike trip over to Arlington Cemetery.