August 16, 2013
We had missed our morning reservation for our Segway tour, but I was able to get it re-booked for an evening tour. Determined not to miss this again, I rousted Houston and Jeannie from the International Spy Museum and herded them toward the Metro. We arrived at City Segway Tours 45 minutes early. I didn’t mind getting there early – it gave me a chance to get off of my aching feet. I had been walking for three days straight, and was ready for a rest.
I wasn’t sure how many would be on this tour. The other tourists began to gather, and it looked like a fairly large group. The time came, and we first viewed a training video that showed us all the ways we could fall off of these things and get hurt. After the video we were divided into smaller groups and introduced to our guide, Christine.
There would be five in our tour group – Houston, Jeannie, me, and another couple, Gerry and Maddie. After introductions we headed outside to learn how to ride.
Controls on the Segway couldn’t be simpler. You lean forward to go forward, and pull back to slow down and stop. Lean right or left to turn. The device has zero turn radius, so it will spin in place on its two wheels. Houston was up first.
Each of us in turn got to try. When I got on the thing started bucking. Apparently this happens if you flex your knees too much. I got straightened out (literally) and was soon riding with no problem. We scooted around the little plaza area practicing a bit before we hit the streets.
Our little group lined up like ducks in a row, and we set out, first on sidewalks, then on city streets. There were restrictions on where Segways could ride, so we had to follow our guide’s lead. After a couple of street segments, we arrived at the Blair House and Executive Office Building.
From there we proceeded to the White House, where it looked like there were lots of Segway groups gathered. In fact, it almost seemed like Segway tourists outnumbered those on foot.
We road to the Mall, with a brief stop to look at the Washington Monument, then a stop at the World War II Memorial.
We had all pretty much mastered riding the Segways. The one problem I was having was that my feet and legs were already hurting from the day’s touring, and the way you ride a Segway was not helping. As much fun as I was having riding, I was in agony.
Even so, it was still fun, and our little group started to bond. We enjoyed talking to our tour guide and to the other couple on the trip. We rode back around the mall, then headed to the Jefferson Monument. There we were allowed to park and explore the monument.
We continued on around the tidal basin to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, where we again dismounted and explored. I only did half of the monument, since my feet hurt so much. I came back early and chatted with Christine, finding out that she was a drama teacher and “queen of the part time job.”
By this time the sun had set. It was much cooler, and we had little LED headlights on the Segways so we could continue the tour.
Our next stop was the MLK Memorial. The main entrance was blocked off for construction, and the MLK statue was shrouded with scaffolding. For some reason, withe the lighting and everything, the MLK statue reminded me of Han Solo encased in carbonite. There were spectacular views across to the Jefferson Memorial.
Our last stop was the Lincoln Memorial. This is probably my favorite of all of the monuments. The views from the steps are amazing, the building itself is imposing and nothing short of astounding, and the statue within is just as impressive. It’s hard NOT to take a great photo of it, especially at night with it lit up.
This is the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech, delivered from the steps of the monument. One man was sitting at the spot where the speech was delivered, watching a video of the speech on his laptop.
We got back to the Segways a bit early, and Christine let us zip around the monument plaza a bit before heading back. We took the streets back to the Segway place, having complete a nice circuit of the Mall area. The tour was quite enjoyable, and I would highly recommend it for anyone else.
Here is a slide show of all of the shots from the tour…
…however, I also had the GoPro camera mounted on the handlebars of my Segway. I was able to video the entire thing, so I put together a YouTube video of the trip. Here is that video…