Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 1 - 6, 2011 "Washington DC"

The broken record plays the same song again, “Where has the time gone?” A week in the Washington DC area, and trying to see so much is insane. Who me? OK, I’m guilty. For those of you that are planning a visit here, be VERY, VERY selective on exactly what you want to see and do, as there is far more here than can be accomplished in a week, or for that matter a month; just so much history here to absorb (the easy part) and try to understand. For those of you that have been to any one of the 19 Smithsonian’s, you can relate, and for those that haven’t, trust me, your brain will feel like it wants to burst, and if you walk the town, as we did, your entire lower body will be screaming at you in the morning.; that is, UNLESS you are used to walking 8 – 10 miles per day, then you should be fine.

On with the show. I have narrowed this blog entry down from over 200 photos that we took, which is in itself mind boggling, as everywhere one looks in this town, a Kodak moment arises. OK, OK, on to the snapshot of our visit.

Our home for the week is Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville, VA, about an hour drive west of downtown DC, almost due south of Dulles International Airport. The Smithsonian has opened a new Air and SpaceMuseum on the south end of Dulles, and being so close, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Admission to any of the Smithsonians are free, but at this Air and Space Museum there is a $15 charge for parking. Politics has found it's way into every aspect of our society. Is it only a tax if the Government CALLS it a tax? Or could it be a tax disguised as something else? Why don't they just come clean and call it what it is? Free admission but a charge for parking? Please. (As always, click on any image to enlarge.)

One of the historic planes on exhibit is the B-29 that flew the mission that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan, to end World War II, the Enola Gay.

The Space section of the museum is large enough to house one of the Space Shuttles, the Discovery.

The following day, we decided to “Do the Monuments in DC”. We drove the Jeep into Arlington, VA to meet with one of Jason’s friend and classmate, Christy, who is now working for our Government in DC. CC and I are both very proud of the woman she has become, but knew from the beginning, when we first met her over 10 years ago, that she was cut from the “Right Stuff”. She graciously agreed to play “Tour Guide” and we are so grateful she did; it MADE our visit perfect. Here we are pictured in front of the WashingtonMonumentat the start of our 8 – 10 mile walking tour.

The National Mall, which is the area that contains most of the monuments, and runs from the Capitol on the East end, to the Lincoln Memorial on the West end, a distance of about 2 miles, with the Washington Monument and World War II Memorial located between the two. As a child, I had the opportunity to visit, and the only monument to any war at that time was the World War I Monument.

The World War II Monument was opened April 29, 2004, and it is truly a heart touching experience to experience the loss of over 400,000 of our brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for OUR freedom. To stand there in reflection, I have a hard time understanding how any US citizen could be critical of our Military, and the price they have paid to insure the many privileges that We, the living, enjoy day to day.

Another new monument to me, is that of the Korean War, in which both of our fathers served, and were lucky enough to come home to us in one piece. The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995.

The Viet Nam Veterans Memorial – The Wall USA, was dedicated on November 1, 1982.
By now, it’s time for a break, AND a bottle of water, a bargain (?) at $3 on the mall. At this point I’m thinking, OK, we’re about half way through the tour. Boy was I wrong. We still had another 5 – 6 miles to cover, so time to gather our tired bones, and hit it; on to the remainder of the Presidents Monuments.
The Lincoln Monument seems to be pale in comparison to the Washington, but only from a height perspective. I had to chuckle, as we climbed the stairs, and entered the memorial, there was a sign that read, “Quiet Please In Respect of Others”, HaHaHAHa, it sounded like an NBA Playoff game in there. Either there are more illiterate people in the US than I thought, OR people don’t know how to be respectful, OR the signs are meant for everyone BUT them, the self proclaimed privileged few; I surmise a combination of the latter two.

There is a lot of construction going on in the area, new and that of a refurbishing type, so the walk to the Jefferson Memorial was quite a hike, considering the World War I Monument was fenced off, and we had to walk around. Next detour was a fence around the construction of the new Martin Luther King memorial, due to open later this year. Around the lake, bordered by Japanese Cherry Trees (not in bloom dang it) we made our way to the FranklinDelano Roosevelt Memorial.

More construction in route to the Jefferson Memorial, altered our path, but we were determined to make it. Jefferson was, in my opinion, the one person that made our country what it is as we know it, as author of the Declaration of Independence, served as third President of the US and commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Now, only a mile walk to the Metro. Get home, get some rest, for another day tomorrow.
We had plans to meet another friend, and former roommate, Gretchen, and catch up on what we have missed since seeing her last. I won’t go into any details here, but she is one tough lady, a side of here we had never known. We played phone tag all day long, and finally made plans for dinner. It was fantastic seeing her again, and re-acquainting. The meal was secondary to the visit, and it ended much too soon, but all good things must come to an end. Take care of yourself and those precious kids.

OK, back to DC, and the Smithsonian Museum(s). This is where I really had to cull pictures, but I’ll post a few “teaser shots”. The Smithsonian Cathedral houses the Visitors Center.

The most famous diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond.

Probably the most photographed house in the world, wasn’t high on my list of “must see’s”, but, as long as we were here, coupled with the fact that this was CC’s inaugural visit to DC, I succumbed to the pressure, and the walk, and made our way to The White House, home to the President.

A personal observation on Washington DC. This place is so out of touch with reality it amazes me. Walking through the Georgetown area, we noticed a gas station selling regular unleaded for $5.09 a gallon, while just 45 minutes west, close to where we are staying, it is selling for $3.69. CC and I had lunch at one of the Smithsonian Museum Cafes, and it was $26 for two sandwiches, 1 small bag of chips, and one iced tea; and I might add the sandwiches were not near as good as the pre-made ones you buy at 7-11 out of the cooler. The attitude of residents of the area seem to be, "What's your problem, pay up". So my question would be, does THIS Governments attitude toward money affect society, OR does societies attitude toward money affect this Government?

CC and Christy, looking like they have just swallowed the Hope Diamond!
Whew……………..(deep breath)……………What a week! Tomorrow, we have decided to move about 220 miles north to Atlantic City, for a little R&R. I can only speak for myself, but I need a little time to download. Until next time, take care, stay well, and thanks for dropping by.

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