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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cruisin' July 4 on the Potomac

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming  
The view of the fireworks on the National Mall July 4, 2014, from onboard Virginia's Jewel on the Potomac River.  To the far right and barely visible is a tall, white lighted structure, the Washington Monument/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Sometimes, "late" is a good thing.

"Late" as in a fire which transformed a cash bar into an open bar, yes!

It was a July 4th miracle.
No matter where you go in this town, there is no escaping Bryce Harper.  This was the upstairs bar on Virginia's Jewel where alcohol flowed freely.  Happy July 4th, Everybody!/Photo by Patricia Leslie

The fire occurred at the Washington Marina and delayed the scheduled departure of the yacht, Virginia's Jewel, chartered by the International Club for a three-hour July 4 cruise.

My spirits doth overfloweth.
In Alexandria, Virginia's Jewel anchors behind two smaller boats/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Champagne greeted us who finally boarded the boat after a riding shuttle buses which the International Club had to procure at the last minute to take us from the marina at 1300 Maine over to Alexandria where the ship and delights awaited. 

Rather than leaving the Maine dock at the scheduled 6:30 p.m. time, the frustrated captain set sail from Alexandria at 8:15 p.m. but we guests were not unhappy, anticipating the three-hour boat ride, bounteous food and beverage, a beautiful night on the water with perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, a well-stocked bar, great times with new and old friends, and, ahoy matey!  Fireworks, ahead!
Rosslyn even looks kinda purty from the Potomac at night.  The captain of Virginia's Jewel said July 4 was the worst time to navigate a vessel on the river because of the jammed sea and so many inept ("drinking" and unlicensed) boat drivers.  "If something happens, I could lose my license," he wailed, "and they would lose nothing."  Maybe, a life?/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The time is always right for love. To the right in the distance and what looks like a straight pin rising from the ground is the Washington Monument/Photo by Patricia Leslie

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming...Our view of the National' Mall's fireworks July 4, 2014 was obscured somewhat by the ensuing black smoke, but it could not compare to the view from a hill at the Pentagon several years ago during a grey day when all we saw was black smoke and n'er a purty color or fireworks/Photo by Patricia Leslie 
For once, since it was July 4, the Secret Service ignored the red flying saucers above the Potomac River.  Far in the distance and what looks like the Batman building is the Washington National Cathedral/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Lucy in the sky with diamonds/Photo by Patricia Leslie
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air...Red birds flew in every direction frightened by the noise, I suppose/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Jefferson Memorial peeks out on the far right/Photo by Patricia Leslie
From inside Virginia's Jewel/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Adjacent to Virginia's Jewel was the Delta Queen getting ready to sail down the Mississippi River.  The white line of lights at the top of the picture is a reflection of lights inside the yacht, Virginia's Jewel.  Our boat was bigger than their boat/Photo by Patricia Leslie

After the really big fireworks ended on the Mall, we yachters were treated to more fireworks set off by partygoers who lit up the shores of Hains Point and other locations in Maryland. Did we see any fireworks going up on the Virginia side of the Potomac?  You've got to be kidding. Yes,Virginia, there really are fireworks in Maryland.

Towards evening's end, the yacht's restrooms got a little raunchy, and to quote my favorite politician:  Go early and go often.

The ship's wait staff was ample and attentive, frequently inquiring if we were "okay," especially as I briefly dozed on a table while lying on soiled napkins, overturned plastic cups, chicken remains, and slurring "life jacket" in my stupor. (Just kidding.  It's hard to beat non-stop, unsalted Margaritas. I only drank four. Really though, folks, the staff was wonderfully pleasant during the whole affair, especially, the besieged bartenders who never lost their smiles,  composures, or upbeat attitudes.)

Early tickets for the cruise cost $100 (later price, $145) for unreserved seating while $120 ($165) got you a reserved seat on the upper deck, both which included a loaded BBQ buffet.

On the menu were pork and chicken bar-b-cue, corn on the cob, cole slaw, potato and macaroni salad, petite chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, chocolate brownies, and plenty to drink/Photo by Patricia Leslie

We didn't dock until 11:15 p.m., affording the ones  onboard who rode the Metro, opportunities to ride uncrowded trains on July 4 from the Mall all the way home (Little Piggy) which set a new world's record for Metro efficiency. (Another benefit of "lateness.")  You see, the increased Metro fare is working, after all.
A band of revelers onboard Virginia's Jewel/Photo by another reveler 
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Francis Scott Key, 1814


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