Vacation Day 2

Today we ventured in to DC. Our only true goal today was to make it to the Starbucks in Union Station… that is not a lofty goal. After that we had no plans… we were just going to wander around DC aimlessly and wait to see what happened.

We started our journey at the VRE station at Quantico where we got on a train…

IMG_0016VRE means “Virginia Railway EXPRESS”. Despite the fact that when you are standing on the platform and they fly by they are going so fast your hair stands on end… when you are actually on the train it is really not that fast. In fact, there are some points we were going so slow I thought we were going to stop. It was painstakingly slow at times. I am sure it was better than actually driving into DC, but still… really?

Mom and Dad were sitting across from me.

Mom and Dad were sitting across from me.

I thought I was going to have a panic attack waiting to get off. In reality it was only an hour ride, but it seemed like an eternity. PROBABLY because we had not yet had breakfast or coffee yet! We were saving it until Starbucks. AND, since I was sitting in a two-seat area by myself I spent half the trip worrying about who was going to sit with me as the train filled up. Eventually someone did, but luckily he moved when another seat opened up. Apparently I was not a good seat mate.

As soon as we got off the train at Union Station we found Starbucks and it WAS the BEST coffee I have ever had!

We left  Union Station and headed toward the Capital Building.

Here is the first view leaving Union Station

Here is the first view leaving Union Station

We headed down Delaware street to the Capital Building. It was a PERFECT weather day – the sky couldn’t have been more blue.

IMG_0023IMG_0026We felt perfectly safe as there were armed guards at every turn. DC must have the biggest police force in the nation. At most corners there were at least 2 or 3 of them – most carrying rifles.

We wandered around and finally decided to go into the National Archives, where the Constitution is held. The guards were not really friendly and we could not get a straight answer from them as to how the Constitution was protected. We even asked them how Nicolas Cage might have taken them in the movie ‘National Treasure”, but they did not find us amusing. We realized that in the movie they took one copy of the Constitution, but in reality there are 4 pages!

IMG_0032We decided the secret code must have been on the last page with the signatures


We even went so far as to go to the gift shop to find the copy that Nicholas Cage stole in the movie. This time ask the gift shop attendants about the movie and they had a great sense of humor. They said that the movie was actually filmed here, but they did not get to see any of the actors.

Rolls and rolls of fake Constitutions

Rolls and rolls of fake Constitutions

We were about to leave when we were lured by a guard in to another exhibition. It turned out to the be the highlight of the trip. It was a special exhibition for the BIG 75th anniversary of the National Archive museum.

On thing it had a a map of Vietnam that had flags representing every MIA “sighting”.


There was also a large globe to scale of Earth. It was neat because you could see the mountain ranges

Sideways view of eastern US

Sideways view of eastern US

The Himalayas

The Himalayas

Also, there was a large bathtub that was special made for President Taft since he was so large – 340 pounds!

IMG_0043By this time is was about 1:30 and we were starving so headed out to find a place to eat.

We came across a restaurant that looked good so gave it a shot. They had a buffalo chicken sandwich on the menu so, since my meal yesterday was less than satisfactory I thought I would give it another try. It was delicious! All of our meals were! Mom got a salad, Dad got a burger topped with an egg (the new thing in culinary circles) and I my buffalo sandwich.

IMG_0046IMG_0051IMG_0052Clearly we hated everything!

IMG_0054We decided to make our way back to the train so we could get back and visit with the other Marines. We hiked a short cut through DC – off the tourist track. We were safe despite passing through some questionable areas.

We got back on the train with fresh cups of Starbucks ready for the long ride home. This time passed a bit more quickly for me (and Mom and Dad, as it turns out) as we all were apparently enthralled with a couple on the train. We were sitting on the upper level and perfectly happy to look out the windows…

IMG_0057IMG_0058Down below there was a couple that did not appear to know each other at first, but were clearly flirting with each other at the end. I think he was trying to be sexy and was really trying to flirt. I was straining the entire time trying to hear what they were saying, but I could not hear.


I will never know!

Here is a map of the path we took today. It was a great day!




  1. Ashley O

    Laura, you are hilarious. You seem to be having a great time 🙂 See you next week!

  2. lauraph2009

    Yes, there is never a dull moment with my parents! We are having a great time.

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