Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bike the Sites DC: Monuments at Night

Ever since I saw this tour on someone else's blog over a year ago it's been in the back of my mind.  When I found out we actually were going to Baltimore and DC it was the first thing I looked up.  We had such an amazing time with the Bike and Roll crew!

We met the group just a block off the Mall and got bikes, helmets, and these lovely fluorescent yellow vests to wear! (no, I don't have a picture of us in them, I forgot until it was too dark)


Then we headed over to the Mall to get started.  Here is our awesome tour guide, Drew, giving us the intro. He would give us a brief history of each monument and then let us go explore it on our own for a few minutes. 


If you're ever in DC and see all these yellow vested bicyclists go by... you'll know they belong to Bike and Roll!


First stop, the Jefferson Memorial.  This is one I'd never seen even a picture of before.  There are 4 quotes on the walls and then when you turn around you see across the Tidal Basin to the White House and the Washington Monument.

 White House to the left of the Washington Monument in the break in the trees.

If I remember correctly (just assume that I'm saying that for all the rest of my facts so I don't have to type it again, okay? There was a LOT of info on this tour!) which ever president had this monument built did it this way so that Jefferson would always be looking over the White House, keeping the current president in check, per se.

Last term, FDR died in office

Next, we went just around the Basin to the FDR Memorial.  This one is relatively new and it's quite large.  It's spread out into four sections, what they call rooms, that make up the 4 terms of his presidency.  We ended up going through it backwards and I have no pictures of the first couple rooms because there were a couple other walking tours that showed up with mobs of people.


This statue has small wheels on the back to represent the wheel chair that he had to be in, but never wanted to actually be seen in public.  It was very small and he always had a cape to cover it.


Eleanor Roosevelt is the only woman with her own statue here.  All other women are simply representative.  She was the first "First Lady" to have a real political presence.  The seal is from the UN.

Somewhere over on this side of the Basin they are currently building a MLK Jr. memorial.  I'm not sure when it will be done or what it's supposed to look like.



The Korean War Memorial is just in front and to the side of the Lincoln Memorial.  There are 19 soldiers in a "field" of bushes with granite strips running through the middle to represent the jungle and swamps they had to walk through.  And anywhere you walk through this memorial there is always one soldier looking at you.


This war was only 4 years as opposed to the 12 of Vietnam yet almost the same number of men were lost.  The wreaths were there because the day before was an anniversary of some sort.


The Lincoln Memorial is seriously huge.  Just like you see on TV and pictures.  The funny thing is there is a rule that no statue on the Mall can be taller than the one on top of the capitol building at 28 feet.  But the creators of this memorial got around that by making Lincoln 28 feet tall... sitting down.  So if he were actually to stand he would be much taller.




The view back from the Lincoln Memorial is really neat... except that the Reflecting Pool is currently a giant mud hole.  They're making a new foundation and adding a filtration system (I guess the water is never as pretty as the pictures), but it will take a year and a half to be done.



This was a little past the halfway point of our tour, we got granola bars (I wish we'd brought our own snacks too!) and then we were biking in the dark.  Drew reminded us to keep our mouths shut unless we needed more protein... in the form of bugs!

We did have lights on the front of our bikes, but I'm not a huge fan of biking in the dark somewhere I've never been before!

I'm very glad we picked this tour rather than try to see it all (including the capitol buildings) in 3 hours because we'd never have gotten off our bikes (and my behind wouldn't have made it!).


And I have so many more pictures that I'm going to have to make this two posts... part 2 is now up!

Bike the Sites provided me with a free ticket to go on this tour because I asked if they would in exchange for my write up.  However, my love for this tour is all my own!

4 comments:

  1. Look at you scoring free passes in exchange for blogging about it! Sa-weet!
    I would really like to see D.C someday, but I have not even visited my own capital yet (Ottawa)!

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  3. I visited DC a while back and I loved it! It was so amazing to see all those landmarks in person. Very humbling.

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  4. What a wonderful tour of DC. I always wanted to someday, visit the place!

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