Washington, DC 2007

July 28th- August 4th

Our good friends Greg and Carol Carter, who also happen to be our neighbors, are visiting us this week. Upon arriving, we give them a tour of the fish market which is next door to our marina. The market has an incredible variety of fish from all over the world. It is fascinating just to walk through the market looking at all the different types of fish.

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One can purchase everything from the standard fare such as shrimp and crabs to shark, octopus, or eel. Greg and Carol were able to bring their bicycles and we enjoyed several days of touring the city by bicycle. The park service leads a bike tour each weekend which takes you to most of the monuments in Washington. We were able to enjoy a wonderful tour in which the rangers gave us the history of the Bonus March which occurred 75 years ago this week. The tour was three hours long and was very informative. We were also able to ride our bicycles back to Mt. Vernon. While Greg and Carol toured Mt. Vernon, we rode to George Washington’s Distillery and Grist Mill which is about three miles outside of Mt. Vernon.

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One day, we led Greg and Carol on a bike ride to Georgetown and then on to Great Falls. It was a long day on the bicycles but they seemed to enjoy the ride and were great troopers.

On Tuesday, we were led on a walking tour by one of the park rangers in which we were able to walk down the Washington Monument. Each day there are two tours in which visitors can walk down the 500 feet from the top of the Washington Monument to the bottom. Inside the monument there are stones from every state which were donated by the different states.

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The walking tour takes you by all of the different stones and also gives some history on many of the different stones. One evening we rode the bikes to East Potomac Park which lies between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River. We rode out to Haines Point where there is a great sculpture called the “Awakening”. This is a massive bronze sculpture of a man rising up from the earth.

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In addition to all of our biking we were also able to visit Congress, The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, and The Holocaust Museum this week. We were also able to tour the National Archives which houses the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

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We have managed to eat very well this week. We have tried to sample as many different types of cuisine as possible. We had a very elegant steak dinner at the Capitol Grill. On other nights we have visited Italian, Indian, and Mediterranean restaurants. Our most interesting meal was in Georgetown at Zed’s which is an Ethiopian restaurant. Not really knowing what to order, we each ordered a different beef or chicken dish. When our food arrived at our table, the waitress brought out a large round platter with a type of flat bread covering the bottom of the platter. She then took each persons dish and dumped it on a section of the platter.

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We were also give a plate of flat bread which was rolled into rolls which looked similar to ace bandages all wrapped up. There was no silverware. We quickly discovered that we were to tear off pieces of the bread and scoop up some of the food with each bread piece.

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Once all of our “ace bandage” bread was gone, we were to eat the bread lining the bottom of the platter. It was a great experience and the meal was very tasty.

Sebastian has been very happy having company this week. He has missed Courtney ever since she left. On Greg and Carol’s last night, they decided to let Sebastian sleep with them.

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There was no hesitation on his part and he was in the bed and under the covers in about 10 seconds. He was happy as a clam. Daisy has not been so happy this week. Due to her ripping up our screens during the storms, she now stays inside a dog cage if there is any threat of storms.

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She managed to bend several of the wire bars with her teeth but has not yet managed to escape from the dog cage. Her mouth has to hurt from bending the steel bars but it is much better than destroying our boat.

We were sad to see Greg and Carol leave on Saturday. However, another friend, Jerry, arrived Saturday afternoon and will spend the next two weeks cruising with us on the Chesapeake. We will leave Washington, DC early tomorrow morning and head down the Potomac. We have enjoyed our months stay at the Capital Yacht Club and will miss this place. It has become home to us. All of the members go out of their way to make you feel like one of them. It has been enjoyable seeing such an active club with different club events occurring several times each week. We have many new friends and look forward to the time when we return to visit once again. We are however ready to begin cruising once again. We have seen almost all the sights here in Washington, DC and are ready to be out on the water once more. Today we loaded up the freezer with fish and shrimp from the fish market.

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We will leave the docks at first light on Sunday and should be down the Potomac River and back on the Chesapeake by Monday.
At this point we have no specific plans other than to head north on the Chesapeake. Stay tuned for more.

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Total Miles by Bicycle This Week: 89

July 14th-27th:

We have spent the last week exploring Washington, DC by bicycle. The bike paths here are phenomenal. We have ridden over 160 miles this week and there are still many trails we have not been on. Most of these trails are paved and have two lanes. Each day we meet many people running or biking on the trails. These trails are by far the nicest we have seen in any U.S. city and they rival the bike paths in Europe. Most of the trails are converted railroad beds. Some of the trails have been in existence for over 25 years and the city is still adding more trails to the system.

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July 17th was Jeff’s birthday (50th!). We decided to take the bike path to Old Town Alexandria and explore the town. This trail took us within feet of Regan Airport. It was a little strange riding our bikes right next to the runway as big jets were landing. After leaving Regan Airport, the trail winds along the Potomac until reaching Alexandria. We celebrated Jeff’s birthday that evening at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Both our meals were excellent and the service was great. The next morning we hit the bike trails again. Today we rode to Georgetown and then picked up the Capital Crescent Trail which took us to Bethesda, Maryland. We ended up riding 25 miles on this trail. We were invited to dinner tonight at Mike and Anda Ostegards’s house which is about 25 miles outside of DC. This is the couple we met several months ago while at the marina in Yorktown. We enjoyed a nice dinner along with Mac and Jan, another couple which we met at Yorktown.

The next day we retraced our path through Alexandria and rode the Mt. Vernon Trail to George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon.

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It was interesting biking along the Potomac as we recognized many of the sites which we saw by water on our way up the river. We enjoyed our tour of Mt. Vernon. The house is perched high upon a hill overlooking the Potomac. There is so much to see and one could spend several days here alone. We spent the day touring the home and grounds. While here we visited the grave site of both George and Martha Washington.

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The home has been remarkably preserved. After 40 miles, we ended up back at the yacht club with very tired legs. This evening the Capital Yacht Club is hosting a cookout. There is a good turnout of about 80 people. The members grill both chicken and steaks accompanied with potatoes and salad. It was a great meal for only $8.00 each. The yacht club has a very active membership. There is something going on almost every week.

It just so happened that my cousin, Bobby, and his wife, Anna, are in town this week. On Saturday, we arrange to meet them at the International Spy Museum. The museum was very well done. Jeff saw several items which he used while in the FBI. After touring the museum, we enjoyed a nice lunch at a local Thai Restaurant with Bobby and Anna. We walked back to the boat passing the White House, Washington Monument, and Fish market.

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We gave them a tour of the boat and enjoyed spending the afternoon visiting with them. This evening there is a party on our dock, C dock. Each year, the different docks take turns hosting a dock party for all of the club members and guest. Tonight is C docks turn and they decided to serve foods from different states. One of the yacht club members is from Tennessee so we are given the state of Maine since Jeff’s parents lived there for many years. We decide to serve blueberry pies for our contribution. Again, there is a good turnout for the dock party.

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Each boat sets up the food on the dock box behind their boat and people travel from boat to boat sampling each states offering. We have more food than anyone could possibly eat.

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We are on the bike trails again the next morning. We pick up the C & O Canal at Georgetown and ride to Great Falls. We hike to the falls and watch as several kayakers navigate the rapids of the falls on the Potomac River. This area is composed of huge granite outcroppings which are completely unnavigatable.

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The C & O Canal was constructed to bypass these rapids. One of the canal boats being towed by two mules pass us while on the C & O Canal trail.

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From Great Falls, we ride back down the C & O Canal for several miles and pick up the Capital Crescent Trail which runs through Bethesda. We then connect to the Rock Creek Trail which takes us through the Rock Creek National Park which is just a few miles outside of Washington, DC. While riding trough this park, one would never know they are just minutes from downtown DC. We arrive back at the boat after 55 miles of trails. Tonight we enjoy a nice dinner at Jenny’s Asian Fusion which is just feet from our marina. We again have a nice meal.

Total Miles By Bicycle this week: 165

July 5th- 13th, 2007

This has been a week of walking, walking, and more walking. In the last week we have managed to do a whirlwind tour of all the major sites in DC. Courtney, Jeff, and I all come back to the boat each night completely wiped out with very sore feet but by the next morning are ready to tackle the sights once more. The Capital Yacht Club is a great place to stay. We have a nice green park just across the Potomac River from our boat slip.

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Almost every day the President’s Marine One Helicopters fly directly over our boat, sometimes several times a day. Each time we wonder who is on board. We are within walking distance of all the major sites. However most days we opt to take the subway as it is a very efficient means of getting around the city.

We spent our first day riding around on the tour mobile. The tour mobile is an open air trolley which is run by the National Park Service. It stops at all of the National Memorials every 30 minutes. We spent several hours just riding the trolley without getting off at the stops in order to get a layout of the city. The second day we visited the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Holocaust Museum.

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Each Saturday and Sunday there is a fabulous farmers market in the Eastern Market neighborhood. It is an easy ride on the subway to Eastern Market. This was Courtney’s first farmers market and she enjoyed seeing all of the fresh produce stalls, many varieties of breads and cheeses, and all the fresh cut flowers.

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We enjoyed a nice breakfast at one of the outdoor cafes overlooking the street. We next headed to the National Cathedral. It is a magnificent building perched high on one of the hills surrounding Washington, DC.

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It is equally impressive from a distance as it is up close. This cathedral rivals any we have seen in Europe. We take a guided tour of the interior. It was a much needed reprieve from the heat to be inside as it is almost 100 degrees today. Saturday afternoon we had tickets for the Washington Monument. Jeff was in line at 7:00 AM this morning to procure three tickets for the monument.

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The 600 foot ride up the elevator is very quick. The view from the top is phenomenal. From this vantage point you really appreciate how well laid out the city is. We have great views of the White House, The Capital Building, and The Mall. We can even see our boat from one of the windows.

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We set aside Sunday for visiting the National Zoo. This facility is also free to the public. We spend over an hour watching an elephant training session which is very interesting.

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We also watch a gorilla feeding. After the feeding, several of the gorilla’s get into a fight creating quite an interesting few moments. We get an opportunity to see two of the pandas on loan from China. Sunday afternoon Courtney gets a chance to try out the swimming pool which one of the boaters has created at his boat slip. It is a large blue tarp which is sunk at his slip between the bow of his boat and the dock. The pool is 10 feet deep complete with a ladder, filter pump, and floating rafts. Courtney has a great time.

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On Monday we are able to tour the Capitol. It is very impressive seeing the Rotunda in person.

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We make a stop at Zach Wamp’s office who is our Congressman. He is not in but Courtney does get to see his office.

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We are given tickets to the gallery of both the Senate and House from where we can watch a live session. We will return tomorrow to view our government in action. We next tour the Supreme Court.

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The Supreme Court Justices are not in session but we are given a tour of the court room.

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The Library of Congress is next door so we make a stop there next. It is one of the most impressive buildings which we have seen.

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The carvings and tile mosaics on the ceiling are an amazing site.

Monday evening we are invited over to Lionheart who belongs to fellow loopers Richard and Sue. We were docked next to Lionheart at Dowry Creek Marina where we weathered out tropical storm Barry together. They have brought their boat all the way from California to the East Coast via the Panama Canal. We enjoy spending some time with them and hearing all about their travels.

On Tuesday, we head back to the Capitol for a visit to both the Senate and House of Representative’s chambers.

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We are able to see both houses in session. There are very few Congressmen attending today but it is still fascinating to see first hand how our government works. We are also able to tour several of the Smithsonian Galleries. All of these galleries are free to the public. We tour the National Art Museum, Museum of Natural History, Air and Space Museum, National Gardens, The National Aquarium, and the Native American Art Museum. It would take days to see all of the different Smithsonian Galleries. We visit the White House Visitor Center in preparation of our White House tour on Friday.

On Thursday, we take the Circulator Bus to Georgetown. The C & O Canal starts here and goes for 185 miles to its terminus in Cumberland. We are able to take a ride on a barge which is pulled by mules.

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The National Park Service does a good job of replicating this mode of transportation.

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We have lunch at an Indian restaurant which is very good. This was Courtney’s first experience with Indian cuisine. She is very adventurous and tries a sampling of all the different lamb and chicken dishes.

Today a Krogen 39, “Forever 39”, has arrived at the marina. We enjoy a nice visit with the owners Tom and Charlene Cooper. This evening Courtney and I surprise Jeff with a banana walnut cake and some balloons in celebration of Jeff’s 50th birthday.

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Jeff’s birthday is not until the 17th but Courtney will not be here then so we have an early birthday celebration. Jeff has been teaching Courtney knots while she has been aboard the boat. For her to get an official Idyll Time t-shirt, she has to take a test demonstrating her ability to do three different knots. She decides she is ready to take the test, and passes with flying colors.

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Friday is our last day with Courtney and also the day for our White House tour. It literally takes an act of congress to get a tour of the White House. I applied to Zach Wamp, our US Representative, over three months ago for this tour. We were very fortunate to get a tour on the week that Courtney was visiting. They do a complete back ground check on you before being able to do the tour. We are able to tour The Blue Room, The Green Room, The Red Room, State Dining Room, The East Room, and The Library all unescorted. There is a Secret Service Agent standing in each room. Courtney said this was here favorite sight in Washington.

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We are really sad for our visit with Courtney to be ending. We have had a great time this week with her being on the boat. Sebastian is especially sad as he has been her bed buddy each night. He really likes the attention that she gives him. She has also been a great help feeding and taking care of the “Parker Zoo”. We look forward to a time when Courtney can come back and go cruising with us.

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July 4th

It is exciting to be in Washington, DC and especially spending July 4th here. Our favorite niece, Courtney, is spending a long vacation with us. She is twelve years old and has done many adventures with us in the past. We are looking forward to seeing all of the sights of DC with her. Idyll Time is all clean and shiny as we gave her a good washing after arriving at the Capital Yacht Club. We have IT all decorated for the 4th and she is proudly wearing her patriotic flags and banners.

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She looks good.

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The dogs are in their festive red, white, and blue bandannas.

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Jeff had flown home several days ago to take care of some business. He and Courtney returned early this afternoon. This was Courtney’s first time to ride a subway. She is very excited about being in D.C. and seeing the boat for the first time. The dogs are ecstatic to see her. They bark and jump up and down for about 10 minutes. We give her a tour around the boat and explain how living on a boat is different than on land. She will be with us for 10 days.

We enjoy a nice 4th of July cookout at the Capital Yacht Club. There is a good turn out for this event. They grill hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken on the grill . Today is also Daisy’s birthday. She turns 11 today. We are also celebrating Sebastian’s birthday as we got him on the 4th of July nine years ago today. We make one of Courtney’s favorite cakes, “Better than Homework Chocolate Cake” for our celebrations. Courtney helps decorate the top with red raspberries and blueberries which spell out “Happy Birthday Daisy”.

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In anticipation of the fireworks, Jeff procured some tranquilizers from our vet for the dogs. Daisy is petrified of fireworks and thunder. I guess it has something to do with her being born on the 4th. While we were at the cookout, some early fireworks have already begun. We were waiting until 7:00 PM to give Daisy the tranquilizers as it only takes 30 minutes for them to take effect. We do not worry too much as she is safely locked in the boat. Boy, were we wrong. We return to the boat and can not believe our eyes. Our screen for the saloon window is completely shredded and ripped out of the window.

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Daisy is pacing around very nervous. We can only assume she was trying to escape. Luckily, the windows were closed. We should have given her the tranquilizers before we left for the cookout. We are just glad the windows were not open as she would have been in the water. If anyone wants a dog, Jeff may just give you a good deal on a sheltie. We are really surprised as she has never done anything like this before. She usually just trembles and shakes.

We gave both dogs the tranquilizers around 8:00 PM. Daisy is knocked out cold.

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They don’t seem to affect Sebastian as much but they do take the edge off of him. We have a great view of the fireworks from the fly bridge of our boat. The fireworks were more than we expected, being very colorful with various shapes and designs.

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They seemed to last forever.

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Once the fireworks were over, all of the boats sounded their horns. Courtney had a great time adding ours to the chorus.

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