This was the first FULL day I got to spend in DC – I looked at some maps and figured I would check out the Mt Vernon trail that would take me right to the Lincoln Memorial and from there I could navigate all the way around DC on my bike.
Before I left I headed over to the metro station to figure out how to get a pass as I would be using it the next day to get around. Unfortunately the staff was less than helpful and I stood there waiting while 2 employees had a conversation. Every time there was a pause and I started to ask a question, they looked at me, turned to ignore me, and then continued their conversation. It was very frustrating. I was FINALLY able to ask how I get a metro card and the lady yelled at me “B – TWICE, C – TWICE, PUT YPUR MONEY IN” WTF does that mean? “I’m sorry?” I said to which she yelled back again “B – TWICE, C – TWICE, PUT YOUR MONEY IN” “ok thank…” I said still totally confused as to what that code was supposed to mean. I went over and stood in front of the machine as if it would just spit a card out for me – I FINALLY figured it out and paid, but my change was those STUPID dollar coins that are real American currency, but no one thinks they are real because no one uses them – so what the heck am I gonna do with $10 in dollar coins? BUMMER!
Anyway I headed back to my hotel after grabbing breakfast, grab my bike and a few items for lunch and I was off.
It was VERY easy to get from my hotel in Rosslyn to the Mt Vernon trail and from there I just followed the trail to the Arlington Memorial Bridge. I have to say looking across the water and seeing the monuments from the trail was absolutely amazing. I crossed the bridge and pedaled over to see good old Abe Lincoln. I felt a bit uncomfortable leaving my bike with so many people around, but then I saw a bike tour group. The group had gone up to check out Abe and the leader was sitting on the ground with all the bikes….so I just put my bike on the edge of that group and hoped the tour leader wouldn’t mind watching 1 more bike. I ran up, snapped a pic, then headed back down to retrieve my bike – I’m pretty sure the guide didn’t even realize because he was on his phone the whole time! 🙂
Then I headed down to see the Washington Monument (which is actually the 2nd Washington Monument – FUN FACT: the ORIGINAL Washington Monument is in Maryland along part of the Appalachian Trail – and it looks like a GIANT old milk bottle – no lie – look it up!!).
Then I headed down to see the Capital Building. I was not sure where you could and could not bike, so I mostly rode on the roads, although some people were biking on the sidewalks. I could not for the life of me find a bench where I stopped in front of the capital so I just sat in a grassy area and ate the lunch I packed. Turns out I could have brought my lunch into the US Botanic Garden which is where I visited next. I loved the gardens and spent quite a bit of time there – even spotting a random dinosaur tucked into the plants – how cute!! After wandering around inside and out I hopped back on my bike and started heading back on the other side of the Mall area.
The next stop for me was the National Museum of Natural History. It was awesome inside and I especially LOVED the butterfly garden and DINOSAURS!! HELLO – there was a Triceratops – my FAV!!! I was worried because I read they were working on their dino exhibit, but I wasn’t disappointed. I have to say I was a bit nervous locking up my bike here because there was a bike on a rack that was totally stripped – and when I say totally I MEAN TOTALLY – all that was left was the frame and the U lock. I figured there was no way someone was gonna do that to my bike with a ton of tourists around and sure enough my bike was safe when I went back for it.
Back on my bike I headed over to the White House – I only stayed here for a bit – enough just to snap a pic or two because the largest amount of people were clustered in this area. I ended up getting off my bike and walking through the crowd.
After a bit more sightseeing I went back to my hotel – I think I spent about 4 hours or so just cycling around and being a tourist. I would NEVER want to drive in DC and I was so glad I decided to cycle. It would have taken me forever to walk and see everything I did and the cars were just sitting in traffic the whole time – cycling DC is the way to go for sure! They are not kidding when they say that DC is very bike friendly – with the bike lanes and bike racks EVERYWHERE I was in heaven!!
Back in my hotel I ordered in and thought I could use up those damn dollar coins as a tip, but when the guy delivered my food he looked at the coins and asked “What are THESE?!?!” I had them laying on the table. So I explained they were dollar coins, but he had of course never seen them before so I ended up just tipping on my card and not giving him the coins that you apparently can NEVER USE!!
Full day in DC – TOTAL SUCCESS – oh and did I mention it was FREE to visit all these places?!?!?! I was fully expecting to have to pay to get in everywhere, so keep that in mind! 🙂
HAPPY TRAILS!! 🙂