Today has been a mixed experience. We didn't cover as much ground, but we hadn't needed to, because we were planning to spend some time in and near Washington, D.C. And at first it went quite swimmingly. We decided to make up for yesterday's rush by stopping at Fredericksburg, where we caught up on a little bit of history. I even had a discussion with a couple of the National Parks Services staffers/officers about the importance of the battles in the Fredericksburg area in the context of Gettysburg. One thought that Fredericksburg was pivotal; another claimed that the Battle of Chancellorsville, during which Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a brilliant leader, was mortally wounded. As a bit of trivia, General George S. Patton reputedly patterned his tank strategies after General Jackson, whose troops frequently lightened their load, enabling them to cover greater distances in shorter time, such as a 70-mile march from Winchester to Fredericksburg in just four days.
The visitor center is free, and there's a 22-minute, $2.00 video, a great rate. If you're in the neighborhood or plan on passing by, take a little time out to get to know about this chapter of our nation's history.
In the parking lot, Dad discovered an old, rather large tree that he liked:
Before getting into the District of Columbia, we decided to stop in Alexandria to look for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We saw this Masonic temple along the way:
Here I am at the James Madison Building itself:
Once we got into Washington, though, traffic became intolerable. Further, looking for lodging in Maryland was no easy task. Most of the areas we went through seemed drab, depressing, and downright unsafe. We did finally find an Econolodge in Takoma Park, Maryland, though it was nowhere as nice as the Econolodge in Richmond, Virginia. Still, as strangers to the area who hadn't planned that far ahead because of the variability of our schedule (thanks, Tropical Storm Fay!), we decided not to waste too much time searching, and settled for this place.
Because we settled in past 5 p.m., the museums were closed. Further, we wanted to meet up with some friends. So we got in some rest, and then set off for Jaleo, a Spanish tapaseria in Bethesda, Maryland, where we had dinner with Travis and L2. (By the way, the directions given by Google maps didn't work very well for us; fortunately, Hraesvelg had lent us a GPS, which was meant to help us find lodging and food along the way. It's now served an even greater purpose: preventing us from getting lost in a strange conurbation!)
At some point during dinner, L2 wondered about this series of blogs. As it turned out, she was intrigued by the idea of appearing in one of the video log entries. Nevertheless, she protested that she would not know what to say. The following video log entry was in no way scripted; you can judge for yourself how she did!