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Memorials at Night by JCWander

Huntington Beach, CA
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Memorials at Night by JCWander

After my visit to Mt. Vernon earlier this day, I went back to my hotel and took a nap. I wanted to visit Old Town Alexandria and the Monuments at night, but I was exhausted. 

When I woke up, it was too late to gain entrance to any place I wanted to see in Old Town so I planned out my route to the Mall at night. As I’d had success getting to the Soldier’s Cottage earlier in the week, I felt fairly confident I could get where I needed to be without a hitch. WRONG. Some event must have been going on that night because the street where I needed to turn was blocked off by two police cars. Uh-oh.

I got SO LOST after that. I know I was a hazard and to the people who live in DC, I apologize for my stupidity. I circled the roundabouts like carousels, before spitting myself out into some unknown neighborhood and found myself in Dupont Circle and beyond. There didn’t appear to be any places to pull off to the side of the road to get my bearings to I sallied forth in the dark to God knows where. I could have been in Baltimore for all I know.

After an hour and a half of being lost, I found a lettered street and slowly crept back toward the White House where I eventually found the same two cop cars blocking the same street I’d needed earlier. Not wanting a repeat of my miserable buggy ride, somehow, don’t ask, I got to Constitution, abandoned the car at the curb and headed like a zombie in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial. Would it even be worth seeing it at this point? 

The dark walk alone through the Vietnam Memorial was a little intimidating.

When I finally saw the Lincoln Memorial, my mood improved greatly as the beauty of the memorial wiped away my previous fears and I stood entranced looking up at it. On my way back, I caught the breathtaking view of the Washington Monument lit up in the Reflecting Pool, and eventually the Monument with the Capitol in the background. Yes, I was glad at that point that I’d gotten out of the car.



I’d wanted to tour all the memorials that night but my head hurt so bad I thought my left eye ball was exiting through my ear and that an Aspirin might be appropriate. Also I didn’t feel comfortable being alone after midnight so I decided to leave having just a few snaps of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument lit up at night.



I got back to my hotel at 1:30 wondering what the heck had just happened to me. I took that Aspirin and promptly fell asleep.

I have just 3 photos, but I'm proud of them considering I had no tripod and I was still a little in shock . . .

http://jcwander.shutterfly.com/pictures/288

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The Dupont Circle
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1. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

For others who might find themselves lost - there are actually plenty of places to pull over and get your bearings on city streets! Not on major roads during rush hour, but on any other city & neighborhood street you can easily pull over into any no parking zone as long as you stay with your car while consulting your map.

Your map. Your paper map. DC is really not so difficult to drive around if you spend a little time studying a good paper map ahead of time, getting a feel for the simple grid street system as well as the sometimes confounding diagonal avenues & circles.

A good paper map will also give you immediate options to navigate around streets that might be unexpectedly closed. You can get free maps from AAA, but even spending $20.00 for an ADC book map which pretty much every CVS stocks, to spare yourself hours of lost driving, seems like a pretty good investment.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Best guess, you encountered the road closure on 14th Street at E Street / PA Avenue that's been in place the last four or five days. It's due to a sink hole that opened up in the middle of 14th Street at F Street; it has been messing up my morning commute all week. They were going to try and get it fixed by this weekend, but I've not been downtown to see if it is done. Sorry for the disruption.

Huntington Beach, CA
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3. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Oh, I'm fine now ~ I was sorry for being a hazard though. I was driving purposefully in the dark way after rush hour to not be in anyone's way, but it was still plenty busy that night. I do agree on the map, however, I didn't have that good of a map and like I said, I couldn't find any place to pull over as cars were next to me and behind me and some of them honking as I was trying to get a reading on a sign. The only way I found my way back is that I knew DC was on a grid system and found a lettered street. I calmed myself down enough from my panic to work my way back to the mall area. I was pretty far out there, though, and that's when I started to panic.

Edited: 27 May 2013, 16:58
washington dc
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4. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Again - not chastising you - just trying to put out helpful tips for others. If you don't know where you are, just pull over. Take a look at the signs, and at your map. Do not rely on GPS or google maps. Remember that DC is a small city. Very logical street system except when it isn't! At Dupont Circle, you are only 1 mile to the White House. Learn the main N-S arteries - Conn. Ave. - 16th St. - 14th St. Wisconsin Ave.

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5. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Even though I've lived here all my life, I will say that when I first started driving the circles were the scariest part of driving in DC for me, so I do sympathize with any first-time driver who encounters them.

Washington, DC
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6. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Another hint for drivers is letter streets are east/west and number streets are north/south and always know NW, NE, SW, or SE for the address you are driving to. It makes a big difference.

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7. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

I know all the street hints, visit fairly regularly and still get lost. Great pics.

Huntington Beach, CA
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8. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

Thanks for the kind sympathy :) Like I said, it was an adventure I won't ever forget. I just didn't expect the road block so that's a lesson to me, to have a backup plan.

jc

9. Re: Memorials at Night by JCWander

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