I wanted to find an activity that would keep the girls interest and be a unique way to see the sites. I came across the company Bike and Roll and after some research found out that they do monument bike tour at night. I was so excited to find something that would appeal to my tweens that are becoming pickier by the day. When we arrived we got all geared up with a helmet and a right sized bike. We also got a bottle of water and snack for the road.
Our first stop was Jefferson Memorial which has a beautiful view of the tidal basin and also a straight view of the White House. Cherry Blossom trees surround the basin and the view would be beautiful during the spring during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Next was the MLK Memorial which is the newest memorial we hadn’t seen yet. This memorial was the biggest surprise for us because of how inspirational it is. The beautiful presentation and layout of this memorial was awe-inspiring. The sculpture and mountain are composed of 159 granite blocks that were transported too Changsha, China, where Master Lei Yixin assembled and sculpted 80 percent of the artwork. It was then disassembled and transported by ship to Baltimore, and reassembled at the memorial. Master Lei completed the last 20 percent of the sculpting on site in Washington, D.C.
The FDR Memorial is represents one president I am fascinated with. This memorial has four open-air rooms that represent each of the four terms of office to which he was elected. A meandering pathway leads past waterfalls, bronze sculptures, and FDR’s own powerful words carved on the granite walls. The memorial honors the memory of one of America’s great leaders and the optimism and courage that he shared with his fellow citizens through the ordeals of the Great Depression and World War II. A statue of Roosevelt sitting in a wheelchair greets visitors and reminds them of the man who refused to let disability stop him.
By this time the sun was setting and it was getting darker so coming up to the Korean War Memorial was a bit spooky. The haunting white soldiers coming out of the trees reminded us how hard it was to be a soldier during the Korean War. The wall behind the soldiers held an interesting surprise. From far back it looked like the mountains and bogs of Korea but when you get closer you find that there were etchings of real soldiers and scenes from Korea.
This was our second stop at the Lincoln Memorial today but this time we hoofed it up the stairs to see the Lincoln’s statue. Interesting fact, no building can be taller than then Statue of Freedom that tops the Capitol building which is 288 feet tall. So when the Lincoln Memorial was created it would’ve been several feet taller than the Capitol building bc Lincoln was standing so they redesigned the memorial with Lincoln sitting and the building turned out to be 1/2 foot shorter than the Capitol building.
While coming down the stairs back to the bikes I saw a lot of flashing lights and big black SUVs pulling up to the monument. In my mind I thought this could be a really good or bad thing. A bunch of flashing lights is never a good thing. In this case a bunch of people in suits got out of the cars and made their way toward the monument. It turned out to be the Polish President, Andrzej, and his wife, Agata. He was meeting with President Trump during the day (Joe saw him on TV being interviewed when he was at the hotel.) Even though he was surrounded by secret service, he and his wife waved and smiled at the tourist as they toured the monument. They also the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Wall.
By this time the lights were coming on as we ventured toward the Vietnam Wall Memorial. This continuous wall with all the names of the soldiers who died was very impactful. The wall chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. Along the way were mementos that were left by loved ones. Flags, poems, notes, etc. brought the wall and the soldiers who died come alive.
The last stop on our bike tour was the WWII Memorial and the one I most wanted to see. My father was a WWII war veteran and traveled with the Northern Colorado Honor Flight to see the new memorial before he passed away. We walked around and found the Pacific Pavilion (my father was stationed in Okinawa) and the Colorado Pillar. By the time I got to the Field of Stars I was tearing up and wished my Dad was here with me. The field of 4,000 sculpted gold stars on the Freedom Wall commemorate the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives.
While at the WWII Memorial it started to rain. As we road back to the Bike and Roll offices we went past the Washington Monument with an abbreviated lecture on the structure. We rode past several of the Smithsonian museums and arrived completely soaked and exhausted from our busy day of touring.
While at the WWII Memorial it started to rain. As we road back to the Bike and Roll offices we went past the Washington Monument with an abbreviated lecture on the structure. We rode past several of the Smithsonian museums and after the 4 hour tour and biking 3 miles we arrived back at Bike and Roll, drenched, a bit tired, but with big smile on our faces at all the fun we had and memories we made.
Bike and Roll