As a young boy in the 1960s I was always fascinated with space exploration. I stayed up all night in 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong step onto the moon. So while I was in Smithsonian in 20111 I took numerous pictures of the space shuttle. This is perhaps my best one.
Washington DC – Smithsonian
What could be more American than the “Spirit of St. Louis”.
Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
The plane that Wilber and Orval Wright used to push us into the 20th century is located in the Smithsonian along with many other historical items. This institution is preserving the artifacts that make up the heart of America. If you are even in the area you must brave the horrendous traffic to visit the Smithsonian.
We got into our hotel room early today at 5:00pm. It, like yesterday, was pretty much a road day but we did get in two sites.
We made an unscheduled visit the Flight 93 Memorial in central Pennsylvania this morning. There is really not much there to see but the placards strategically placed around the site gave it a serious feeling. For those of you who might not remember Flight 93 was one of the four planes that the terrorists hijacked on 9/11. It was the only one that did not make it to its target. It went down twenty minutes short of the Capital. About the only thing that is there is a quarter-mile walk with a black wall and marble slabs with the names of the victims.
The second stop, besides lunch, was to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Yeah, we finally made it to the D.C. area. This museum is a new one for us. It was built after our 1988 trip. The most viewed thing in the museum is the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was bigger and also cruder than I imagined. Yvonne said she thought the upper part looked like it was made from paper mache. The picture here is kind of eerie with the light shining on it. It reminded me of the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Speaking of that they also had the model of that ship there and it is about 3 feet in diameter! That’s Hollywood for you. I also got another peak of my favorite plane and that is the SR-71 Blackbird. That plane has always fascinated me!
Maybe I am just getting used to this tour bus stuff as there is nothing much to say about it today. 🙂 We are getting to know the others on the tour. They are a bunch of nice folks. We are scheduled for a group dinner in about ten minutes so I better get moving. Tomorrow is a full day starting with a White House tour..
More about that later.
We learned at dinner that we will have to get up around 5:30 in the morning to meet the White House schedule. It is almost unreal as to the rules you have to follow to be allowed on the White House grounds now. No this, no that, no just about anything. I will probably be too sleepy to even remember the tour and since no cameras are allow I hope I have something to report about it tomorrow night. (ha).
I wanted to let you know that starting tomorrow I will be doing a series of “On The Road” posts here. For those of you who are not familiar with them they will be end-of-day posts about our trip to Washington DC and Baltimore. Except for a one day trip in 1998 this will be the first time we have taken a tour bus. This will be a six day trip.
Of course the first and last day of the trip will mainly be sitting in a hopefully comfortable air-conditioned bus and letting someone else do the driving for a change. I am already lining up all my techie toys to take with me. I will be working on my MacBook to do some work (my wife calls it play) and of course the iPad will go along with us. My wife loves to play many of the games installed there but I hope she will relinquish it occasionally to let me do some of my regular internet stuff including responding to your comments here. 🙂
Yvonne and I were in DC in 1988. It was a pretty stressful time given that I had only recently went deaf and we had not worked out a good means of communications between us. That along with trying navigate the streets there drove us to the edge more than once. My wife vowed that she would never set foot in that town again!! The only way I convinced her to do it this time is that we will be chauffeured to each of the site and will not have to get behind a steering wheel for the entire trip. But I’m still kind of amazed that she agreed to go.
We are scheduled for several visits to the Smithsonian, as well as trips to the White House, Congress, Arlington Cemetery, and the Mall and other places I am probably forgetting. It will be a busy but enjoyable time. Like always the old saying “Things are never as good as you had hoped or as bad as you fear” will come to play here. I have certain hopes for how meaningful the trip will be. I’m sure that as usual some of these will be dashed on the proverbial rocks. We will both be finding out about that soon.
One of my all time favorite books was Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck. It was about Steinbeck and his dog Charlie traveling around the U.S. in a makeshift truck camper. I read the book when I was about fifteen years old. The way Steinbeck described his experience totally enthralled me and I quickly tried to make his writing style as my own. I later discovered Will Rogers and had the same experiences. So today I say my writing style is a meager attempt to combine my two favorite authors.
No, I am not Charles Kuralt (for those of you who are not old enough look him up on Wiki) but I think I can entertain you with my on-the-road reports. Check them out in the coming days. If I happen to miss a day due to exhaustion or whatever please excuse me in advance. 🙂