At 3am, wide-awake and restless, I said screw it and drove to D.C.
I was in Richmond, VA for Suzy & Kylan’s wedding, blog post coming soon, and I made a last minute decision to visit D.C. before I’d fly back to LAX. I knew this decision would take a toll on my body but I told myself it would be worth it. I was right, on both parts.
My plan was to go back to the hotel after the wedding, pack my luggage, take a 3 hour power-nap and wake up for the 2 hour drive to D.C. Like most things, this didn’t go as planned. D.C. was in my sights all night, not even action packed tennis match from the Australian Open could keep my mind off D.C. and seeing the White House for the first time.
By now I realized it was completely useless to even think about going to sleep, I walked down to the lobby, checked out, and waited for the poor valet get my car in the chilly 3am air. I tipped the valet, hopped into my car and was on my way, with a Redbull and the radio for company.
I drove over the 14th Street Bridge at 5am and saw The National Mall come into view. I made my way to Union Station and that proved to be an adventure on its own. I could not find the parking structure. I made 3 trips around looking for an entrance or a sign. I finally pulled over and asked a cab driver for directions and he pointed out the parking ramp and we both had a laugh. It was in plain view the whole time.
I got a cab and he dropped me off just to the left of Lincoln Memorial. The surreal morning dawn only offerred a few brave tourists, photographers, and locals on their morning jog. It was gorgeous. I just took the scene like a deep breath. I snap some quick photos and pondered more than anything. I looked to the east and the sun was starting to peek above the horizon. The light that glowed gave life to Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool.
I walked east on foot along the pool, pass the WWII Memorial and turned left towards the White House. I got to the White House and I took photo like any normal tourist. I was lucky as the street was about to get closed off due to the increased security for inaugural weekend. As I left, I hail down a cab and got back to Union Station to pick up my rental car. It was a short time in D.C., but it was sweet. My body did pay the toll for rest of the day as it consisted of airport security lines and layovers but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. :)