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Washington DC Trip!

Day 1 - The Journey to DC

Hello World...from the road!

Here's the daily web log for the 2007 Safety Patrol's Journey to Washington DC

We started out super early Sunday morning at 5am!

Our Bus had 3 schools on it Englewood Elementary, Cedar Hills Elementary, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary. Bus 7 ROCKS!

We had lots of fun playing PictoChat on our Nintendo DS's...bummer that the batteries only last a few hours. :(

We had a rest stop at the South Carolina Welcome Center (where the picture was taken) where we enjoyed a "continental breakfast". I've never had one before, but I guess that means a granola bar and Capri Sun to drink (I didn't eat either one). Then a bit of excitement, a paramedic had to administer some first aid to a girl in our group for a burn on her leg (I'll try to get a picture)...man those mini lights on the bus get HOT!

Here's the first picture from our Safety Patrol Washington DC trip!

Then off to a bag lunch at the Virginia Welcome Center (I didn't eat anything there either...I ate lots of Oreos on the Bus...Oreo's Rock!)

The Movies we watched on the bus were The Princess Diaries, Herbie Fully Loaded, Cars, Charlottes Web, and one I can't remember. (Ok, I remember now, it was Because of Winn Dixie...maybe that's why I forgot)

We ate dinner at the Old Country Buffet in Fredericksburg, VA...(I ate some ham) and the went to our hotel to check in.

Our room is on the top (9th) floor and because the line for the elevators was too long, my dad talked us into taking the stairs...so we lugged our luggage and stuff up 9 flights only for the door to our floor to be locked! Luckily, Austin's dad went down 1 floor and came up and let us in.

Our room is cool...we might go to sleep (just joking mom)...our wake up call is 6am!

Here's the picture of our whole crew "gangster style" outside our hotel room.















I'll update the site tomorrow...peace.

Day 2 - Driving, Walking, Driving, Walking...

Hello friends, family, and whoever else comes to this website...

A picture says 1000 words, right? I'll just let the pictures handle most of the words today!

We started off with a 6am wake up call after about an hour of sleep...the ice machine, people running in the hall, and a police chase kept us up...but who needs sleep? Not me!

Then off to...what?!...the Old Country Buffet again? At least they had lots of maple syrup for my waffles!

After breakfast, our first stop was at the Air Force Memorial...which was cool. This year's trip was the first to get to go to this memorial because it was just built in 2006.

Above and below are pictures from the Air Force Memorial.

If you've seen the movie Forrest Gump, we went to the place where they filmed part of that movie. Yes, that's the Washington Monument in the background! And if you were in this picture with me, if you looked past my dad (who's taking the picture) you would be looking up at the Lincoln Memorial. (Next Picture)

There are 58 steps that lead up to the Lincoln Memorial, our tour guide, Miss Ruth, told us to count them so we did, but she never told us why. My dad looked it up on the Internet and found out that Lincoln died at age 56 after serving 2 terms as president. 56+2=58. We also saw Ford's Theater where Lincoln was assassinated.

This is a picture of us on the Einstein Monument...see the E=MC2 in his book? Also at his feet, there is a star chart showing what the universe looked like when he died.

We went to the Vietnam and Korean War memorials (no pictures). These were places dedicated to the people who fought in those wars. There were lost of names on the Vietnam Memorial wall.

We rode the Metro Subway! To get there we had to use tickets and ride a super long escalator underground. We rode under the Pentagon...Sweet!

We had lunch in the Ronald Regan building (no picture). Everywhere you go in Washington DC has metal detectors and security that checks your bags, even the food court has security!

We went to the White House, but we didn't see the president (our guide said he was there, she could tell by his Marine guard that stood outside the Oval Office)...we did see lots of police, S.W.A.T., and other security people.

Below is the Grant Memorial where all 10 of the Duval County buses came together to take a picture in our blue t-shirts...it was very HOT outside!

We then went to the old post office building and bought some souvenirs. I got a pen that shocks you when you click the top and shocked so many people that the batteries died! Then everyone got something that shocked people like fake gum that shocked you when you tried to get a piece and a fake cell phone that shocked you when you tried to use it. Most of the guys got S.W.A.T. hats too...we're now called the S.W.A.T. team!

At 7pm we went to dinner at MaGill's...it's a pizza buffet with games that let you win tickets.

When we got back to the hotel, my dad hooked me up by going to Outback (he didn't like the food at McGill's either) and getting me a big steak with au jus sauce just like I like! We're going to play cards and chill in our room for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go to the Smithsonian! Sweet!

Day 3 - More Monuments!

Hello friends! Welcome back!

Today we started out at the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial. In the picture you see Miss Ruth (in the white hat and sunglasses) giving us instructions on when to meet back at the tour bus.

The memorial was pretty big, with sections for each term he was president. There were lots of waterfalls and opportunities for the parents to take pictures. Even though it was early, it was already hot. All of the fountains we saw today made us want to go swimming! But we are not allowed because Duval County forbids it...man, that's harsh...summer starts tomorrow!

Don't we look cool in this picture? You can pretty much see the Washington Monument from everywhere in Washington DC...so there are lots of pictures of us in front of it! Here is one of us as we are walking from the FDR memorial to the Jefferson Memorial.

Our guide pointed out that we could see the White House from where were...so my dad took a close up of it. Can you see it between the trees?

Here is our group from Thomas Jefferson Elementary in front of the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Jefferson Memorial...that's a lot of Jeffersons!

Then we went to the National Cathedral for a guided tour. It's the 6th largest cathedral in the world! It took a long time to build, and they only finished it in 1990 and started in 1907. Woodrow Wilson is in a tomb there too. There were lots of stained glass windows (one with a real rock from the moon in the middle). If you look behind us in the picture you can see some of the carvings in stone that took years for the artists to make.

Next we went to the World War II memorial. It was very cool. It had a Pacific side and an Atlantic side. With lots of fountains in the middle.

Here you can see the fountains...no wading allowed. Bummer!

The WWII memorial isn't far from the Smithsonian. But first we stopped at the Holocaust Museum and saw an exhibit called "Daniel's Story" which is about the 1,500,000 children that died during the Holocaust. I read all of the diary entries that "Daniel" wrote about how his life changed...it was sad.

Then we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum! There was tons of cool stuff there...but the only picture we have is when we were eating at the McDonalds in the Food Court there. (Dad left his camera on the bus) We also saw a cool demonstration on how airplanes were invented. Then we went to the gift shop and got some cool stuff that flys!

Then we went to see the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and Silent Drill Team Parade. The only bad part was that we had to wait an hour and a half before it started...but we wouldn't have had the great seats we had if we didn't.

But it gave us time to chill, meet some people and take some pictures...

Here's the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps playing...they played a lot of cool songs like the James Bond theme and James Blunt's You're Beautiful!

The Silent Drill Team was awesome!

Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you who the special guest was at the parade...can you see her in the picture below? She's wearing blue...

How about this one? Yup Hilary Clinton! She was really close to where we were sitting. We never knew she would be there!

The parade finished with a 21 gun salute and Taps. The memorial in the background is the Marine Corps War Memorial.

After a long walk back to the bus, we went back to the hotel and had a pizza party in the hallway! We got crazy playing with the flying toys we got at the Smithsonian and even the chaperones looked like they were having fun. :)

We check out of our hotel in the morning...wake up call is at 5:30am...should we bother going to sleep? ;)


Day 4 - Arlington Cemetery and The Smithsonian

What's Up? Thanks for coming back...In case you were wondering, we are having a great time on this trip. Today we had to wake up at 5:30am, pack all of our stuff up, check out, and be on the bus by 6:30am. I think the lack of sleep is finally getting to us...but we managed to get on the bus on time. Then we shot to Old Country Buffet for waffles! Some other kids eat stuff like bacon, sausage, grits, and eggs...but that doesn't interest me much. I only eat waffles, waffles with "way too much syrup" according to my dad. I say mmmmmm waffles!

We went to the Capital Building after breakfast...see the photo? My dad made me "fix my hair" this morning because you can't wear a hat inside the capital building. You also can't take pictures or chew gum or even talk in some places! But it was cool anyways. Our guide, Miss Ruth, (not Dr. Ruth, says dad), got us "Gallery Tickets" for the House of Representatives. The tickets have to be signed by our local representative , so ours were signed by Corrine Brown who is a democrat. Not every school got to go inside, just the ones on our bus! (Bus 7 Rocks again!) We actually got to sit in on part of an actual session of congress! Did you know they say a prayer before every session of congress? And then they say the pledge of allegiance...why don't we do that at school?

There are these 16 year olds that are all dressed in suits that work in the Capital Building. They are called pages. They go to school for a little while each day and then work for senators and representatives. That must be a cool job. To become a page you have to get a recommendation from a congressperson. I guess they want to be a politician one day themselves.

Arlington Cemetery has a lot of tombstones there! Before it was a cemetery it was the house of Robert E. Lee, but when he left to become the General for the South in the Civil War, they took his house away from his wife and used it as a cemetery to make him (and her) mad. So they started burying people in Mrs. Lee's rose garden, and now there are thousands of soldiers and politicians buried there. President Kennedy and his brother are buried there, so is Abraham Lincoln's son.

There is a place at Arlington Cemetery that is called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is for all of the soldiers who died in wars but were not able to be identified. There is always a guard who guards the tomb, they even live below the tomb in quarters so they can always be there. They don't talk, they just march back and forth watching the tomb. Every 30 minutes they change the guard so the other one can rest.

You can see in the picture above how the stone is worn away by the guard (and the sergeant who checks him) marching back and forth all the time.

The boy in the back is from my school. He had the privilege of participating in the "wreath laying" ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is really a great honor, and he did great.

In this picture you can see the wreath that was set out....it says "Jacksonville Safety Patrols"...we rule!

After Arlington, we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We looked at lots of cool stuff, had some food at the Cafe' (well, dad did), and got some cool stuff in the gift shop. There are dinosaur bones, giant cockroaches (that are alive), and the Hope Diamond in the museum. 

Have you ever heard of Easter Island? It's an island (duhh) off the west coast of South America with all of these giant unexplained statues of men on it looking out at the shore. The statues are called Moai. This one was taken from the island in 1886...I think it is super cool!

This photo is of us all sporting our 3D glasses waiting to go into the "Sharks 3D!" IMAX movie...although we don't look bored here before the movie...the movie was kind of boring. But we were ready for a nap anyway. :)

Someone told my dad he looked like Elton John with the 3d glasses on...who's Elton John?

After the Natural History Museum, we ate at the Old Country Buffet and drove to our new hotel...it is sweet! They gave us "soothing" music to listen to and stuff to spray on our sheets to make them smell good...I chilled out listening to the music, maybe I'll even use the stuff on the sheets.

Tomorrow is the day we go to Busch Gardens...Yeah Baby!!!

Day 5 - Busch Gardens!!!

It's Thursday June 21st, the first day of summer and we're spending the whole day at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA! I can't think of a better way to bring in the summer than splashing, screaming, and speeding through one of our nation's great amusement parks. I know, this trip was mostly about learning about our government and nation's capital. But I'm not the only one who was waiting for this part of the trip!

Our day started again at 6am...getting up, getting dressed, and getting breakfast. Mine consisted of the marshmallows out of a box of Lucky Charms...my said dad I made him proud. Then back on the bus...and the hour long drive from Richmond, VA to Williamsburg seemed to fly by.

We got to the park at 9:30 and were given our tickets and meal vouchers (2 $10 vouchers for lunch and dinner) and told to be back by 6pm sharp! In the picture below you see us coming into the the park ready to hit the big coasters! Our chaperones got us t-shirts yesterday so we could all dress alike the way the other schools do...the color is "mango"...I didn't know that was a color.

The very first ride we rode was the Loch Ness Monster, it was an awesome way to start the day! No wait in line at all! Now, not everyone in our group likes to ride rollercoasters so we split up into groups and our group went straight to the newest rollercoaster at Busch Gardens...the Griffin! It basically drops you straight down...twice! The 2 pictures below shows us before the ride...Me, Cody, Courtney, Mrs. Lisa, and Mr. Mike (plus my dad who took the picture) all rode the Griffin...

Here we are about to depart for the scary (but fun) Griffin! I'm only holding my dad's hand because he said he was scared...see him? He's obviously upset...

Then we rode the train and went to a show called "Pirates 4D" so the people who didn't like coasters wouldn't feel left out. The pirates show was cool...they had a 3D movie and did things like having pigeons poop on the screen and then they dropped water on your head so you thought that you were pooped on! They also tricked you into thinking bees were attacking you by vibrating your seat...I love that stuff!

Then we went to Escape From Pompeii, a ride that lasts about 14 seconds (that is NO lie!) We had way more fun standing out in front of the ride than we did riding it. If you look at the picture below you see the boat coming down the ramp...and when it hits the bottom it sends up a giant wall of water all over where we are standing. See my dad taking the picture? He's about to get wet too! (Can you see my head right below his elbow?)

If you have a high speed internet connection you can see what it looks like when the boat comes down the final drop. Click the link below but if you don't have high speed, it will be a long wait for a 7 second video!


The shot below is a picture taken at the same time the video above was taken...how cool is that?

I'm not in the picture below...I went with the other group after the Pompeii ride. But I WON the dog! These guys went back and rode Apollo's Chariot (2 times) and the Big Bad Wolf. One of our chaperones (on the far right) had never ridden any rollercoaster before today...and she rode them all! You are awesome Miss K!

Here's a picture of me with the other guys getting on a ride like the one's at the agricultural fair. We're wet from the Whitewater Rapids ride!

I wasn't here either, but my dad insisted that I put this picture here...he's weird. He didn't buy the hat...he said he wanted a purple one!

We got back to the bus at exactly 6pm...there were some people who didn't make it back on time...but we did! The bus ride back to the hotel was fun...here's a picture of Cody acting crazy on the bus.

When we got back to the hotel we had pizza and played games. Tomorrow we go home...I'm glad and sad at the same time. I'll try to take lots of pictures and post the final day's blog when I get home tomorrow...thanks for coming to the site!

Day 5 - Home Sweet Home!

Hello everyone! It's sad when something so great comes to an end, but we've arrived back home safely. We had to get up at 5:30am to be on the bus by 6:30...man 5 days of waking up early takes it's toll on kids our age! You can see our smiling faces in the picture below.

The bus arrives...Miss Gloria was the best bus driver ever!

We had to eat breakfast (a bagel in a box) and lunch (from Burger King) on the bus so we could get home quicker!

I took lots of pictures on the way home of everyone sleeping...here is one where everyone in the picture is sleeping! That's my dad in the sunglasses...why do you need sunglasses when you are asleep?


Really sleepy...

We got back to Jacksonville at 6:00pm on Friday and we all said good-bye! It was very sad for me, I had made lots of new friends on the trip, and I was sad about maybe not seeing my friends from Thomas Jefferson again. Luckily, most of them are going to JWJ next year...I hope to see you guys then! I hear that we may take an 8th grade Washington DC trip...sweet!

Bye ya'll,



Hello readers of ChaseRader.com; this is Chase's dad (yeah, the guy in the fuzzy hat) and I hope everyone has come back to the website to see if there is anything new now the trip is over. We went straight to dinner after the pickup at Alltel Stadium and Chase, who usually runs at 1000 miles per hour, came to a screeching halt before our drinks were served.

I just thought it fair to post these pictures of him since he had so much fun taking pictures of people sleeping on the bus and posting them (including mine). When the Chef arrived at our table he got a kick out of waking Chase up before he started cooking.



Chase went home and slept until 1:30pm the next day, approximately 15 hours, a first, as far as I know.

The Safety Patrol DC Trip 2007 was an awesome time! I'm happy we got to share it together.


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