We spent the morning looking at some other touristy things in Scranton. We did make it to the Scranton Iron Furnaces - they are very cool! No one else was there when we were there and we were able to wander around by ourselves. It was really interesting to see the remnants of the historic technologies in the city. I took a bunch of photos but we haven't checked them yet. I hope they work out :)
After that, we went to the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour. It was well worth the $8 admission. We only had to wait about 30 minutes for the tour to start and it lasted about an hour. We actually went down into the mine!!! Apparently the mine was shut down in 1966 because there is no demand for coal these days. It had a devastating impact on Scranton that lasted about 30 years. The mine could be re-opened at any time as there is still a lot of anthracite coal there and it is still in tip-top shape.
We got some history on the people that worked in the mine. They were all boys and men who were 7 years old and up. 7!!!!! I couldn't imagine working in the mine. There are lights there now, and they can string electric lights on areas that have been blasted, but when working in new areas the only light is the one from the miner's headlamp. There were rats, too. The guide said that there weren't any these days, but I don't think that's true - they probably don't come out when people are around, but I'm sure that they're there. Also, I guess they'd work any vein that was 36" wide or more. Can you imagine trying to drill and blast when it's only a yard wide?
I was also amazed at how they put structure into the mines. Each vein of coal that's being mined has cross-cuts and gangways and other things - basically, they honeycomb the coal veins and prop them up with pillars of coal together with timbers. No wonder they collapse! Working in and around the mine is/was very dangerous.... definitely not something for me :)
After the tour we hit the road to Washington, DC. Traffic was quite heavy the whole way, partly because we drove on expressways in the middle of several big cities. We had a little trouble finding our hotel (I got us lost) but we made it here. We're right near the Library of Congress. The hotel is pretty nice but is in the middle of a management change. The room and lobby are quite nice, but the toilet is slow and the door is weird - it's hard to lock. Parking will be $28 tomorrow; we can park on the street until 8am tomorrow. If we couldn't do that we'd have to pay for two days of parking. Gulp.
I tried to do my blog in the lobby (there's supposed to be complimentary wireless internet there) but after connecting to sites once, the laptop wouldn't connect to anything. It's not our laptop; there's something wrong with the service. Grrrr. Internet is $9.95/day which seems like a lot.... so to write this I've connected to a nearby unprotected network and am using that. Yeah, I know that that's not really good but we can't use the lobby and I don't want to pay a lot, so, well, I'm "borrowing" someone else's internet. :)
Tomorrow we plan to explore the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. Unless it rains, in which case we'll do something else fun and touristy :)