We are really excited to bring a new feature on Captain Dan’s Travel Tips. We are pleased to introduce Day- Tripping with Rick, written by Rick Wright who is going to be a regular contributor in our travel category. Rick has travelled extensively and offers a different perspective on travel. Please check out Rick’s bio at the bottom of this post. He is a very interesting guy.
DAY TRIPPING WITH RICK – WASHINGTON, DC – THE NATIONAL MALL
Today’s trip is a familiar one to us back east. In Pittsburgh, we are a scant 250 miles from Washington, DC. Add to that numerous trips to visit our friends at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and we get to our nation’s capital more than any other US city. However, to those of you who might’ve gone once for a school trip, visiting Washington is a wonderful adventure. And, almost everything is free. Well, of course, we all pay for it with our taxes…so….you might as well take advantage Washington has been the federal capital since 1790. At that time, the banks of the Potomac River were a mosquito-infested swamp. It was cold in the winter and unbearably hot and humid in the summer. It was thought that the decision to locate it here was to dissuade people from making a living in government. An able man was elected to Congress, spent his two years, then got back to his livelihood in his home state as quickly as possible.
All this changed with the invention of the air conditioner.
1. METRO TO THE US CAPITOL
Unlike most US cities, Washington has a wonderful Metro train system. So you’re better off staying outside the city and taking the train in. We tend to stay out toward the end of the Red Line in Rockville, MD. This is mainly because the US-NRC is there. So while I’m trying to convince the regulators that my nuclear plant design is safe, I can stay a day later and take my family on a wonderful day trip. Your stop is Capitol South which is on the Orange and Blue Lines. I take the Red Line to Metro Center, then switch to the Orange or Blue Line. Five stops later and I’m about a block from the south side of the Capitol building. As you walk to the Capitol, you pass the US Supreme Court Building. If you listen hard, you can just hear Justice Ginsberg snoring.
The Capitol itself is a sprawling structure situated on the aptly named Capitol Hill on the eastern end of the Mall. The dome in the middle has seen presidents lying in state. I can just remember John F. Kennedy’s funeral when, as a five-year-old, I couldn’t understand why my mom was crying and there were no Saturday morning cartoons on TV. To either side of the dome are the Senate and House chambers. A tour of the building shows the architecture as well as marble busts of leading Americans throughout our 250-year history. The west side of the building, where the president takes the oath of office every four years, provides a wonderful view down the Mall to the Washington Monument and beyond to the Lincoln Memorial.
Interesting note. I saw my state representative there on one visit and asked him, “How many people work here in the Capitol?” He said without hesitating, “About half.”
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About Rick Wright
Meet the Rick behind “Day-tripping with Rick”. He’s a nuclear engineer who designs power plants which gives him the opportunity to travel all over the world. Rick has collected some of his favorite trips into informative and interesting posts that go beyond the guidebook recommendations. His wife Denise has a successful food blog where Rick occasionally guest-posts, using his many years of travel adventures for inspiration. A life-long Pittsburgher, Rick spends much of his time supporting the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, and having fun with Denise and his son, Max. Rick also has two older children, Laura and Ricky, and two grandchildren (with one on the way). When not posting or making electricity, Rick likes ice hockey which he has played for over 40 years. Although he’s too old, he keeps going out there.