July 13-17, winding up the trip to DC

Published: July 27th 2010
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DGS near CapitolDGS near CapitolDGS near Capitol

Most of my photos are pretty standard, so not including too many of them -- you can just imagine this kid at various places in DC!
Tuesday, July 13: We rode in the front of the Metro train again to Capitol South, a long ride. Went to LOC, Capitol, Nat’l Gallery of Art, and Natural History before coming back from Archives Metro again in the front (very crowded afternoon rush hour; got back a little after 6, later than usual). Big thunderstorm about 8 or so -- glad we weren’t out and about. Stayed in room; we were pretty tired after a lot of walking and looking today.

We went up and into the Library of Congress first, looked out the overlook into the Reading Room (can’t just go in there anymore of course) and saw some of the exhibits; DGS wanted to check out a book. Tried to go thru the tunnel to the Capitol, but no food, bottles, cans allowed, so we went outside and sat at a table and had our pretzel and liquid snack, then walked over outside. Took a photo of DGS by the Philo T. Farnsworth statue, since he loves TV, and watched the short movie about the House (it’s rather “helter-skelter” and doesn’t explain Congress to a younger audience very well, altho that’s probably what it’s supposed to do).
DGS and Grandma at the PentagonDGS and Grandma at the PentagonDGS and Grandma at the Pentagon

The only place you're allowed to take a photo once you get off the Metro
DGS enjoyed playing the Interactive quiz -- that type of thing (computer-related) is his favorite thing to do here. He’s not much interested in the “flat” displays, but does watch the movies and do a lot of the interactive stuff. Took an outside photo of the Supreme Court. All the security has really limited what you can see and do in DC now, along with accommodating the bigger crowds. Hiked out onto the Mall and went to the National Gallery of Art. I wanted to see Dali’s Last Supper again; it’s just hung by the elevator now, in a plain spot at the Modern wing (east building) so not as impressive as the first time I saw it. We rode the moving walkway with its light tunnel (really neat) to the Café for lunch (not as good as the Newseum, for about the same price -- generally spending about $25.00 on lunch every day in DC). Went into the West Bldg and the info lady directed us to a few things she thought might interest DGS. We spent a fair amount of time in there, partly relaxing in the peaceful East Garden Court (his idea). We saw a DaVinci, and
DGS -- first lobster dinnerDGS -- first lobster dinnerDGS -- first lobster dinner

He enjoyed it, but not anxious to have another one -- the texture was a little different (guess he prefers crab, like his Grandma)
a Turner that he thinks may have been in the “Night at the Museum; Battle of the Smithsonian” movie (it was -- neat that he recognized it).

Walked by the Picasso and young girl paintings that I took DD’s photo with when she was a baby (rushed by and didn’t get a pic of DGS there; he was on a mission to find something on his list from the lady at the desk). Saw the smaller Thinker that we also saw when DD was little (kind of fun again, now that I've seen the big one at the Rodin Museum in Paris, and learned more about the process).

Went on to the Natural History Museum, altho DGS had been wanting to come back “home” most of the day, he spent quite a bit of time there (I was getting exhausted) -- it was hard to get him to go the NHM, then nearly impossible to get him back out of it. On two visits there, we still have not seen it all -- which is true of most of the places we’ve gone; they’re all too big to see in one visit, and we just get too tired.
Two of us at Marine Corps MemorialTwo of us at Marine Corps MemorialTwo of us at Marine Corps Memorial

A nice passerby offered to take the photo (I think she was with a small group of intern-looking young people).
Maybe tried to do too much today -- getting close to the end of the trip and next couple of days should be less tiring.

Wednesday, July 14: Let DGS sleep in some again (but then it’s hard to get him settled down at night), then drove down thru Old Town Alexandria; stopped and took photos by the fountain and went to the VC (parked right next to it). Drove over to the Office of Patents and Trademarks, which is close to our timeshare, to go to the Hall of Inventors. It’s small, but well-done, altho the main display is about food and kitchenware -- not of interest to DGS. The movie focused on extreme sports equipment, which meant more to him. The entry program is a series of “portraits” on the wall explaining a little history, with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Edison, Steve Wozniak and a couple of others -- very neat. Came back to timeshare for lunch and a little rest, trying to take it a little easier today. Headed out on Metro to go to Arlington, and should have left earlier. Got Tourmobile tickets and went to the Kennedy gravesites and the Tomb of the Unknowns,
Highlight of the trip for DGSHighlight of the trip for DGSHighlight of the trip for DGS

The Udvar-Hazy part of Air and Space out at Dulles was used for filming a scene in DGS' current favorite movie -- glad we went there at the end of the trip.
and we saw some other things from the bus, but should have spent more time there. Robert and Edward each have a simple white cross in a large grassy area to the left of JFK and Jackie. Came back one stop on the Metro to meet my niece at the Pentagon. Need two forms of ID to go into building, and be meeting someone, or on their tour which requires reservations days or weeks in advance. It was really interesting to see part of the inside of it -- lots of artwork and displays along all the halls. We went to her office on the top floor; she took us down the Marine Corps hall -- portraits of commandants going way back, but they didn’t figure out a way to include any women (at least in in that hall). She is a major and her boss is a full colonell (woman). She changed out of her fatigues and we went to Old Town via Metro and free trolley and had dinner at the Fish Market restaurant -- Sam’s first lobster (they had a $14.95 special). I had salmon bisque and a crab cake sandwich (just ate the crab part and ate Sam’s cole slaw and potatoes), and had a large Smithwicks’ ale (good) -- very good dinner (with tip it was about $80 for the three of us).

Thursday, July 15: Had a leisurely morning; did a little packing/organizing and headed out about 11 or a little later. Drove to Arlington Cemetery, so I could go to the Women’s Memorial. It’s much bigger than I expected -- an easy walk from the Visitor Center; DGS waited at the VC for me, since it was hot, and probably not of interest to him at this point (he watched the movie at VC). I looked up my sister in the registry and picked up the form to register myself. It has some nice displays. Then we drove on to the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial, which seemed to impress DGS; it is very large and has a view over to DC. Our main destination was out at Dulles Airport -- a longer drive than I realized; we should have left earlier to have more time there. DGS was thrilled to discover that this section of the Air and Space Museum was where a scene in Transformers 2 (movie) was filmed, with “Jetfire” -- a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird plane. We walked on the very floor that Megan Fox and Shia LeBeouf, etc. walked on for filming. We had lunch at Mc D’s there, and saw all the planes, but could have spent more time there. I enjoyed seeing the Enterprise test shuttle. We also saw a Concorde and the Enola Gay, and lots of others. It was an easy drive back to visit my friend Jean’s house and her family; had a pleasant dinner with them and their two dogs, Rowdy and Skippy. Had unpleasantly loud neighbors when we returned; had to call them to ask them to let us try to get to sleep. (Fortunately they checked out on Friday).

Friday, July 16: Our last day was another day of hot weather, and we only went to one site, instead of the two we had planned. We spent several hours at American History Museum. DGS opted for a simulator ride (that he described as a rip-off -- he'd ridden it before at DisneyQuest) and a Mini-Plasma ball instead of going to the Crime and Punishment Museum. We actually did not see all of the exhibits at the Museum; repeated a couple from the previous visit, and saw some others (esp. the 1812 Flag). The nice restaurant is gone, and the food court has several choices, but is not very good quality. There are now three separate stores, but not as good as the big one they used to have (I think some of that space is now the simulators). It is not as good a museum as it used to be, IMHO. But DGS enjoyed the Invention play place and some of the other things; we again spent time “riding” the stationary train in Chicago, 1959, watching the movie of the passengers. Going "home," we had a little delay on the Metro -- the Blue line was experiencing an incident at the end of the line that affected earlier stops, so it took us longer to get back (our last Metro ride of the trip, disappointing for DGS). We had a mid-day break, and a snack and then visited my other FS friend in the evening in Arlington. She and I had a nice visit and her son set DGS up with an X box game that enthralled him. Stopped on the way back to fill up the gas tank in an area that has lower gas prices, since we have to leave early in the morning. Got settled in late, even though no noisy neighbors. Saw lots of stuff/sites but there are many more that we didn’t get to on this trip.

Saturday, July 17th. Left Wyndham, Old Town Alexandria at 9:50 a.m., odo about 3846 (trip has reset to about 5 miles). Traffic was horrendous on I-95, took two hours to go 45 miles to Fredericksburg, so I headed toward Charlottesville and Hwy 29 down to Danville. Very long day driving, some rain. Got home about 8 p.m., 4256 on odo, 465.2 on trip from Alex about 10 hours, with our stops and the detour, which was much prettier and less stressful than the freeway. Some people make the drive in 7-8 hours, but that’s when everything goes smoothly on freeways, etc. We were pretty tired and grumpy when we got home.

I think it worked better for us not to have any tours scheduled so we could be flexible and take it easy, esp. with dealing with the heat. Not sure either one of us would have really enjoyed a tour situation anyway, altho arranging that several weeks in advance is the only way to see much of the “main” buildings: White House, Capitol, Pentagon, etc. -- some same day tix are available for the Capitol, but trying to do that didn’t look appealing to us. And we weren’t good at getting going early in the morning to try to go inside the Washington Monument or Bureau of Printing and Engraving. It would be so much better to visit DC in the Spring or Fall, but of course the school schedule doesn’t allow that. Overall, we did have a successful trip, and I never had to take any ibuprofen! When I asked Sam the highlights of the trip for him, he said seeing the Leonardo DaVinci painting, the White House, Capitol, Washington Monument, and “Jetfire.” I think there was something every day that he enjoyed seeing or doing (except the long driving days).


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