Location: Washington, DC
We went to the capital first--we'd scheduled a tour with our local Representative, Chris Cox. (Cox is a Republican who's fairly big on Internet tax freedom, among other things--he chairs a couple committees and is generally a pretty important guy.) The tour was led by an intern who turned out to be between her junior and senior years of high school. She was very nice...
Right, back to reality. The capital tour was interesting enough. I was surprised to see that one of Colorado's two statues was of Jack Swagert, one of the Apollo 13 astronauts. (If you've seen the movie, Jack was the bachelor who was added to the mission at the last second.) Jack had pretty bad luck--after the abortive Apollo 13, he was elected to Congress, but died of cancer before he took office. Apparently Colorado thought he was worthy of remembering.
Anyway, we got to see the House's chamber. We wanted to see the Senate chamber too, so we followed the intern back to Cox's office, using the House's subway. (It sounds more impressive than it really is, trust me.) She gave us passes, but the Senate was closed, so they were worthless. More souviners, I guess.
After that, we went to the last of the Smithsonian museums we wanted to see: the American history museum. The highlights for me were the information technology section and the firearms section.
The IT section had all sorts of old tech, from early computer UNIVAC's front panel to half of the chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue. We didn't have a tour guide, but Dad was better--at one point he reached over the railing to demonstrate how to key the boot loader into an old PDP-8. No tour guide would know how to do that.
After that, we went back to the hotel. We had dinner, then went out to try to do the monuments again.
As we were leaving Smithsonian Station--the station closest to the monuments--lightning was flashing in the distance. Stupid Californians we were, we thought it was cool. About the time we reached the Washington Monument, it started drizzling. Halfway through the path next to the reflecting pool, it started really raining. By the time we reached the Lincoln Memorial, it was pouring.
We did our touristy stuff and sat down to watch the rain. After half an hour or so, we decided to walk back to the station. It stopped raining about the time we reached the entrance to Smithsonian Station.
The closed entrance.
There was another entrance to Smithsonian Station a couple blocks away, so we walked to it and went home.
I should add that the walk down the hall and the reflecting pool is at least a mile in each direction. Added to the events of earlier today, my feet are deservedly sore.