This blog is a reprint of my internet journal from 2001 to 2002 in which I documented my "vagabond" solo journey in a Chevy Conversion Van tracing my roots. I not only traced their paths and found their homes and final resting places, but I did extensive genealogical research in court houses, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, cemeteries, and talked to the local people. I traveled with a laptop to upload my notes and photos, and use e-mail. It was a fantastic journey which lasted two years. I had no other home except my van to sleep in...just a bed and video player. My household goods were put into storage for two years. My mail was delivered to me at general delivery when I phoned "MailBox, etc." and told them where to send it. At night I stayed in campgrounds, motels, friends' backyards, friends' homes, and those of the few living relations I've tracked down. As I traveled I collected so much genealogy information, that I had to get rid of items that I had originally thought essential to my travels (like a microwave oven). Between ancestral sites, I visited any tourist sites I could find and got to know alot about the USA. This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm still sorting through all the wonderful memories, photos and invaluable genealogical data I found. I will post to this blog as I can - one or a few days at a time of that journey from 2001 to 2002

Thursday, September 2, 2010

16 May 2001---Wednesday Washington DC

Union Station - so big!
Union Train Station - Wash DC
Washington DC beckoned and I drove to Glenmont, unfortunately there is no Metro Parking there. I parked in a shopping center lot nearby as I had to get to my very important appointment! I hoped that the van looked like it belonged to a shopper, not a commuter.  I got off the Metro at Union Station - a very beautiful building, worthy of our capitol.
I went directly to the Hart Senate Office Building where I had a 10:30 am appointment to get a tour of the White House courtesy of the office of Senator Inouye of Hawaii (you get this type of tour by contacting your senator or congressman's office and requesting it).     I met Senator Daniel Inouye.  The Hawaii senator with one arm (WWII injury).  We talked a little bit and he was very cordial.   He's good friends with Laura and Pinky Thompson. By the way, their son, Nainoa, a Pacific non-instrument canoe navigator, was just given an award by the Dali Lama today in San Francisco.  
Senator Dan Inouye (Hawaii)  and Donna in Wash DC
I got a tour by Sen Inouye’s staff to the Capitol. I went from his office to the Capitol by a special little metro type underground train. Very nice.

Hart Senate Office Building
The little underground train to Capitol
At the Senate chamber I saw Sen Ted Kennedy speaking about an education bill in the Senate. Also Sen Jesse Helms came walking in to vote. Also saw the House of Representatives in session. Fantastic tour. To see the houses in session and it happening right before your very eyes is almost unreal. I was definitely in awe of the whole tour. You’re not allowed to take photos in the House or Senate chambers, but plenty of opportunity in other places.
Inside Capitol
Capitol interior
Father Damien one of two Hawaii statues at the Capitol
Feeling very happy, and patriotic, after that tour, I went next door to an historic house with history of Women's Voter rights, called the Sewall-Belmont House Nat'l Historic Site. Home of Alice Paul an avid Woman's suffrage and woman's rights leader.

Window over door at Sewall-Belmont House
Then through the Library of Congress for a tour through one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. I highly recommend a visit to see this building.
Library of Congress
Back on the Metro to the Foggy Bottom stop and a free shuttle bus to the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts where I had another tour arranged. Since I was early I took the opportunity to have cappuccino coffee at the Watergate! I sat with Monica Lewinski at an outside table (just kidding).

Coffee at the Watergate Hotel
Potomac River from Kennedy Ctr
The Kennedy Center is fantastic. Huge and awesome views from the terrace. It's right on the Potomac River. They have about 6 different stages. We saw most of them - the Concert Hall, the Opera, and the Millennium stage with a jazz concert was going on. Took photos of the presidential boxes at each hall. Very nice free tour that anyone can just take at 4:30 pm.

Kennedy Center

Kennedy Ctr Auditorium
I Took the metro back to where I had my van parked in a shopping center. Happy to see that it hadn’t been towed away! No more Parking Garage attempts.

I'll return to the National Archives to do more genealogy, tomorrow.

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