Day # 2 – Washington D.C. & Baltimore

We got up around 7am and was out the door by 8am.  As we made our way down to the lobby to check out I realized that we were actually ahead of schedule.   The first thing we had to do was the tour of Ford’s Theatre at 10am, and it wouldn’t take us but about 20 minutes to get there via the Metro.  So we stopped at the bakery counter for a muffin and OJ and enjoyed our breakfast sitting on a park bench outside in one of the flower gardens.  It was nice and peaceful and the muffins weren’t too shabby either.

012

Bob at Ford's Theatre - June 16, 2009

I had taken some time to look over a map of the Metro before we left home, so I knew exactly where we needed to go and the best part is that the Metro station was on the street corner directly in front of our hotel, couldn’t be any easier.  We jumped on the Red Line which took us to the Gallery Place station.  From there it’s a short walk to Ford’s Theatre.

This is one of the places I had been wanting to see in D.C. since the first time I had come to town and while I did get to drive by it then, in July 2003, I was unable to take the tour.  The same goes for my next visit, May 2005.  Not this time.  This time we were doing it and with tickets in hand we got to the Theatre and got in line around 9:30am.  The line was already about 50 people deep when we got there.  As we stood waiting for the doors to open we met a family from Iowa that were in town for the week.  We got to talking trips, comparing our stops, and realized that we would be hitting some of the same places over the next week, like Gettysburg and Philadelphia.  Was a lot of fun talking traveling with them and sharing opinions.  I told them when in Philly they had to get a cheesesteak at Geno’s.  I let them know if they didn’t like it, they could cuss me out later 🙂

The doors opened promptly at 10am and after we all filed into the theatre a park ranger appeared on stage and started the ‘tour’.  Basically he just spoke about the history of the building and the first thing he let us know is that the ONLY part of the building that was original is the facade out front!  Are you kidding me?!?!?  This kinda took the wind right out of our sails.  To know that the stage, the seats, the entire inside of the building was not original really sucked!  I did not know that the place was gutted not that long after President Lincoln was shot and turned into offices.  This means that while it’s the same building, it is NOT the same place where Lincoln was shot.  The luxury box where Lincoln was shot might not even be in the exact location.  The only things they could say for sure is that the lithograph of President Washington that’s on display is the same one that was there that night as well as the couch and chair that was in his box.  The chair that Lincoln was shot in wasn’t there as it is in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI (I was lucky enough to have some friends take me by there to see it and other historical things, and a great Baseball Hall of Fame traveling display when I was back there in August 2006).

When we left Ford’s Theatre we decided to try an add a stop at the National Archives before we headed out to Arlington to tour the cemetery.  The Archives is just 1 stop down the green or yellow line from where we were.  The Metro stop is on the backside of the archives so we walked around front and found a huge line!  There was no way that we were gonna stay and stand in that line.  Just means that we have to add it back to the schedule for Saturday and when we realized we were gonna have to do that, we hurried to get to the train and head out to Arlington.

036

Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier(s) @ Arlington Cemetery

It’s about a 15-20 minute ride from the Archives to Arlington and when you get there and come up from under ground, you still have a bit of a walk to get to the visitors center.  As we got there Bob took some time to look around at the different things on display, while I got us tickets for the Tourmobile ride up to JFK’s grave, Tomb of the Unknowns and Arlington House.  This is something thats a must and I learned the hard way cause when Sean and I were in town back in 2003, we walked all the way up, in 100+ degree heat,  and by the time I got to JFK’s grave, I thought they were gonna have to bury this fat boy next to Kennedy!!   It’s only $7.50 for the ride around the loop and is so worth it.  While you ride they tell you facts about the cemetery as well as point out graves for you to see, like Abner Doubleday’s (though, they said he “invented” baseball, and well, if you study the origins of the game, you will know thats not at all possible).  The view from JFK’s grave looking back at the city of DC is awesome.  You can clearly see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and so much more.  Not too far from JFK’s grave is where his brother, Bobby Kennedy, is buried with a plain white cross.   Bob overheard someone say while looking at Bobby’s grave, “Look, he has the same last name as that guy over there.  I wonder if they were related?”  How incredibly sad is that?!

We got to the Tomb of the Unknowns just in time to see the ‘changing of the guard’.  If you have never seen this, you must if you get the chance.  This was my 2nd time and it was just as cool as the first.  Honestly, it’s nothing like I thought it would be.  I was expecting this huge thing, I mean to say, a big production… I was wrong.  What it is though is 3 soldiers that move in perfect harmony.  The precision is something else.  It’s very cool.  When it was over we went looking for the grave of the most-decorated soldier ever, Audie Murphy.   It took us a bit, but we finally found it.  It wasn’t that far from the memorials for the Challenger and Columbia crews.

With time running out on us for the day, we skipped Arlington House and headed for the Metro to get back to our hotel to get our car and get outta town.  It took us about 30 minutes and 2 train rides to get back to the Metro stop where we started that morning.  I decided to take the elevator up to the surface, Bob was gonna take the escalator.  I have a real fear of those things, ever since the one that didn’t seem like it was gonna end at the Ballpark In Arlington back in 2000.  On the elevator you ride up at least 5 stories and as I walked out the door onto the street, that made me think, was the escalator ride that long as well?  I stood there on the street corner looking for Bob and I couldn’t see him anywhere.  So after about 3 minutes, I called his cell phone and got a message saying that the subscriber I have called is out of range. Huh?  So I waited another minute or so and called again… this time he answered.  I asked where he was and he said “Still on the escalator!”  He was just about to the top of the longest escalator he has ever seen.  He said there was no way that I would have ridden it and from the sounds of it, I probably would have puked just looking at it!!

DSCN0148

Ken @ Ben's Chili Bowl

We grabbed our car from valet and hit the road.  Our first stop was for lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in NW DC.  Ben’s is famous and has been there for just over 50 years now.  Many Presidents have ate there, including President Obama on Inauguration Day.  Ben’s is also a favorite restaurant of Bill Cosby and his favorite item is the “chili half-smoke”.  So that’s what we tried.  What they are is a big ole hot dog, 1/4 pound half pork and beef, on a steamed bun, with mustard, onions and Ben’s spicy homemade chili sauce and served with some potato chips.  I thought it was really good.  Bob thought it was ok, but thought the chili would be more like we Northwesterners think of chili, the stickin to your ribs, big chunks of meat with beans kinda chili.  I do have to say though, if you’re in town, check out Ben’s, it’s worth it!  Just before we left I wasn’t sure if we had to clear our table ourselves or not, so I started looking for a place to put our stuff and a worker there, Tremaine, came up and took our stuff and asked if we would like a refill of our Cokes for the road.  I said sure and when he returned, we hit the road.

On  the way to Baltimore we had to exchange our car at the airport.  See, when we planned this trip, we were originally gonna fly overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.  Everything was booked based on that and then we found out we could do a Monday morning flight and I was unable to get the car from Avis for Monday, so we booked with Alamo and we had to change cars.  It didn’t take too long to do and we were on our way to Camden Yards.

Oriole Park @ Camden Yards

050

The Warehouse - Oriole Park @ Camden Yards

Parking at Camden was very nice and only $10!.  We got to park really close, right by Eutaw Street on the 1st base side of the park.  I had been  telling Bob about Camden Yards, the warehouse and all, but it didn’t really sink in until we were walking up and he saw it all with his own eyes.  He fell in love!  We weren’t even to our seats yet, section 98, out in the CF bleachers, before Bob was talking about how he thought this park was awesome!  This was the first time he has experienced a park like Camden, as he had only been to 4 different MLB parks before this (Kingdome, Safeco, new Comiskey and Miller Park).  He loved the coziness.  Loved how it was all about the game, was so quaint.  He thought the warehouse was really cool.   Was a lot of fun watching him check out the park and take it all in.  Then again, who doesn’t love Camden Yards?  For all the reasons Bob mentioned, and sooooo much more!  Camden Yards is a ballpark lovers ballpark.   The red brick, the green steel, the use of surrounding areas, the views (the Bromo Selzter tower), it’s just all so awesome!  This was my 3rd game at Camden Yards and it was as if it was my first again, cause I was drinking it all in.

As we made our way to our seats, which were in center field, right behind us was Boog’s BBQ, as we walked by, we saw Boog there taking pix with people.  I was hoping to get back there and get a pic with him myself, but he was gone before we knew it, just after the start of the game.  Oh well, next time.  The game itself was good.  The Mets jumped to a 4-0 lead in the 4th, the O’s grabbed 2 back in the 6th only to give them right back in the 7th.  The Orioles tried to make a game of it by loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th and pushing 2 runs across, but Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez found his form and shut the Birds down for his 17th Save of the year.

Random Thoughts:

I met a guy with the worlds coolest name, Kenny, who was at Camden Yards for his first time.  He is a Mets fan from Long Island.  He and a couple friends drove down for the game and said  they will be driving back right after the game.  Was great talking to him about Camden Yards, baseball in general and I even got to pick his brain about the new Citi Field.  He told me I needed to eat at the “Shake Shack”.

I also got to meet long time Oriole fans, Cass & Shirley.  They were at the game with their awesome orange bird feather hats on.  They told me how they dont get to come as often as they used to, and how they used to sit down closer to the field but after each of them had surgeries, they just can’t do the stairs any more.  When I asked if I could take their picture they let me know I am not the first and wont be the last.  They said that tourists from as far away as Poland and Russia have been there at games and asked to take their pictures…. kinda puts my Lacey, WA in perspective, huh? 🙂

I also got to meet Paul, a Mets fan from New York who was at the game.  I met Paul originally on ballparkchasers.com and it was great to get to met him in person at the game.  We stood out in center field watching the game, enjoying some of Boog’s BBQ.

Team123456789RHE
Mets (33-29)0004002006110
Orioles (27-37)000002002473
W: Pelfrey, NYM (5-2) L: Guthrie, BAL (4-7) S: Rodriguez, NYM (17)

Boxscore

Leave a Reply