1. After a day of recreation, Mike, Ed, and I were ready to plunge into the heart of our vacation. We piled into the Toyota Cambry I rented and blazed down to Union Station and took a leisurely walk to the visitors' center of the U. S. Capitol and went on a tour of this august structure. This was my second tour of the U.S. Capitol building and each time I have suspended my knowledge of the opportunistic, power-grabbing, highly partisan practices of our elected representatives and give myself over to listening to the the ideals of our democracy as they were discussed in the short movie to begin the tour and in the idealistic ways this seat of government was constructed. It's fun to surrender to the beauty of these ideals, to be inspired, even though I know that when I leave the Capitol, I will read or listen to stories telling about our elected officials behaving in ways that fall short of the lofty aspirations of the American Experiment.
2. After the Capitol Tour, Ed and Mike and I hiked back to Union Station and got our tickets to hop on and off the Big Bus. We hopped off twice -- first at the Jefferson Memorial and then at the Lincoln -- and when we were on the bus we enjoyed fine commentary from Ellen and, later, Chris, who both made learning more about our nation's capital very enjoyable.
3. The three of us rested for a while at Union Station and then hopped back on the Big Bus for a night tour of Washington, D. C. under the witty guidance of Sam. It is a beautiful, stirring sight to see the great monuments and the capitol building lit up and we had the good fortune of having our tour on a night that was not brutally cold, so we could sit in the upper deck of the bus and enjoy the sights even more and not freeze.