12/18/08

Washington DC

We had the opportunity to go with 30 pretty amazing high school students to DC the week after Thanksgiving. This is a trip that Scott has organized for the past 4 years for high school students throughout Northern Utah. We were supposed to be the chaperons, but we end up having just as much fun as the kids. This presented some challenges navigating the metro with 35 bodies, going through security check points ad nauseum and counting to 35 over and over. It was almost as much fun as herding cats...but not quite.

One of the perks of helping organize this trip through the Close Up Foundation and Congressman Bishop is the opportunity to go places that most people just aren't able to go in the Capitol. We spent about 2 1/2 hours just roaming around the Capitol building including going on the house floor and discussing the history of the House, the Capitol building and what it is like for Rob to be a Member of Congress. The best part about this tour was that it was at night. Which means that nobody else was at the Capitol. We had the place to ourselves and could go just about anywhere (as long as we stayed with Rob) and ask questions and listen to stories. Rob has quite a few 'tall tales' and 'embellished truths', but there are a few factual ones as well.

The other place that we were able to go was the new Lincoln Cottage. It is located at the Soldiers Retirement Home on a hill about 3 miles north of the Capitol. In the 1860's when Lincoln was President, the White House was unbearably muggy and infested with mosquitoes since they chose a swamp for the heart of DC. In the summers, Lincoln and his family would stay in the Cottage where he ended up spending about 25% of his presidency. It was there that he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and watched as Union Soldiers were burried all around him on the Retirement Home grounds throughout the Civil War. This was a unique place because they didn't talk as much about the location or just the history of the Lincoln Presidency, they discussed the difficult decisions that he had to make and their effect on the future of the nation.
Despite the cold weather in the first week of December, we had a great time visiting all of the historical and political sights in the Washington DC area. We were able to attend some pretty neat and historical events. We were there for the lighting of the Congressional Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol which was a first. They need to pick a better state than Montana to provide the tree, but it was pretty cool regardless.

We were also there on the opening day of the brand new (and way over budget) Capitol Visitors Center. This is the new entrance into the Capitol Building for visitors and has some pretty cool computer animations and historical models describing how the Capitol complex has grown over our history. One of the unique things about the new CVC is that it is entirely underground and doesn't change the view of the Capitol from the street.

One of the highlights of our trip this time didn't have anything to do with the sights in DC or high school kids (Karen was ready for the break). Our wonderful across the fence neighbors from home, Dave and Jenny Hickman, had been working for a couple of years to get into a Nurse Anesthetist program. Dave was finally accepted to a school in Pennsylvania and they were off. It just so happened that they flew into DC on their way to Philly and we were able to go out to eat with them to reminisce and say our good byes. I'm sure glad that we have free long distance because Karen and Jenny have been burning the midnight oil talking on the phone. We will miss having the Hickmans close (they were really the best neighbors you could ask for), but are excited for them and the opportunities that they'll have in Philly.
Even though we have been numerous times, the stories and the history of DC are still amazing and make us so grateful to live in America. We have become pretty good tour guides (even if we do say so ourselves) through this Close Up trip that Scott leads every year and the other opportunities that he has had to go back to the DC area, so if you are looking for someone to go with, we're game...most likely.

11 comments:

Kath said...

I am so happy to get your travel report!! I so want to go to DC with you and Scott as tour guides...when is your next trip planned?? It will be good to see you next week:)

Hickmanbunch said...

Okay, so I do not ever need to go to D.C. again, because I just got the grand tour! Thanks Scott! Great pics, you guys should get yourself a Pentax for Christmas! Dinner was so fun, and we miss you guys! Thanks for everything, we love you! Merry Christmas!

Chase and McKell said...

That seriously is such a cool/fun thing that you guys got to do together! I'm jealous. And nice background by the way, I'm glad you figured it out, haha!

Cardalls said...

That's it..next family reunion is in DC with Scott as tour guide! :)

Kristin Bishop said...

I didn't know you went! that is awesome. You would be a pretty fun tour guide...and/or chaperoen (sp?)

Great new background as well. I see that you figured it out:)

talk to you soon

kristin

Ashley said...

I'm glad you guys had fun! Maybe someday I'll get to D.C. I've never traveled much and there are so many places I want to see! Maybe you can be my tour guide when I finally get to go!

DAJP said...

Wow, that looks like so much fun. You guys look great. Hope you guys had a Merry Christmas! I promise I'll give you a call one of these nights. It's been crazy with the baby and all. Anyway, hope you guys are doing good and all. Love ya tons

tnralvords said...

How fun!!! I want to go back so bad, when I went I feel like I hardly saw anything. My family is doing good for the most part. You know same old same old. I hope your Christmas was great!!!

Ryan, Sarah , Ruthie and Tate said...

Yeah, been there done that! :) It's definately worth it to go with Scott and Rob. Glad yu had a great time. See you very Soon!

Martha said...

You two were the best chaperons ever.

Annelise said...

Remember when we went to DC together?