10/12/10

Greetings from another sunny fall day in Milwaukee…

Just got back from Washington, DC. On Friday John called me at work and explained to me that he needed to return to the DC area on Sunday. He asked if I wanted to go along with him and spend Sunday doing tourist stuff. I said yes, and he purchased a ticket for me, with me returning Monday (today). John had never done any of the tourist things in Washington, DC and I wanted to see them with him.

We woke up early on Saturday and made it to the airport right on time. John was able to upgrade our seats to business class and we were able to sit together. John’s going to DC enough that he really knows how to get through the airports with ease. At the Regan Airport in DC, John explained that if we walked to the car rental area we would beat the shuttle and not have to stand in line. He was right – the walk was really nice – was in the mid 80’s and sunny. The car rental place must have been scrapping bottom with their vehicles because we ended up with a Crown Victoria when we had a compact car reserved.

The car sounds nicer then it was. It’s a big boat of a car with not too much get up and go – but it did have big leather seats that were comfortable. I teased John that he finally has a car that matches his driving style – he drives like an old lady, but a very safe old lady. It did make him giggle a bit.

Our day of being tourists was nice. We first went to the Smithsonian American History Museum and checked out all of it’s exhibits. It took us around 3 hours to view everything. John did not spend too much time in the gallery of the first ladies dresses, but more in the transportation exhibits. I remembered some parts of the museum from my last time there 5 years ago, but enough had changed to make it interesting. Here’s a few pictures I took:

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John checking out big train engine

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John checking out a vintage travel trailer.

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Front of winner of the Darpa challenge for cars that drive themselves.

Have few more pictures of trip in a Picasa Web album – check it out if you would like.

So I’m still having pain in the left knee. It does not hurt too bad when I walk, but when I bend it to sit down, it really hurts. So had to deal with knee while doing stuff in DC. By the time we were done with the Smithsonian, my knee was doing pretty good – so did more walking around the area. We walked over to the Washington Monument to see if we could go up. Was not able to – they start handing out tickets at 8:30am and were out by 3:30pm when we stopped by. We then walked up to the monument and then decided to walk to the reflecting pool between the Washington Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Knee was hurting a little but, but manageable.

It was a really nice day out – still in the 80’s even at 3:30pm – so we kept walking along the pond to check out the Vietnam War memorial. I knew it was off to the side of the Lincoln memorial, but not on the side I remembered. I thought it was to the left of Lincoln memorial, when you face Lincoln, but was wrong. The Korean War memorial is to the left and the Vietnam War memorial is to the right. We ended up checking them both out:

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Korean War Memorial

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Walking up to the Vietnam War Memorial - was very busy.

The Vietnam War Memorial was quit crowded. There were several people with paper and pencil taking a rubbing of names of people they knew. This is the fourth time I’ve been to the memorial and it always amazes me to see how many people died.

We then decided to take a drive north of the DC area to check out the Cherry Hill Park campground. We wanted to see what it was like in person and see what their weekly and monthly rates were. We could have just called, but we were close enough to just go and have a look see. Long story short, it is a nice campground – nothing over the top, but well maintained. Bad part is that they do not have weekly or monthly rates – only their daily rate of $58.00 a night. That would put staying there a month at $1,740.00 – way too much…. Too bad because it is a great location and would work out great if I ever ended up working in the DC area.

Our next stop was to the hotel about 20 minutes away. The hotel John picked out (Holiday Inn) was decent. The room was nothing special, but it was clean and had nice flat screen hd TV. We relaxed a bit and then went to grab a bite to eat. John did not want to eat at the hotel so we drove around to find something that looked good. John was in the mood for pizza, so we used the GPS to locate a place. They were no longer in business, so we drove around some more and ended up at a CiCi’s Pizza. I dislike CiCi’s, but John wanted to go… so I pulled a “Tammy Wynette” and stood by him at the buffet line. If you like pizza with almost no toppings or cheese on it, then this is the place for you. I passed on the salad bar because of the amount of brown spots in the lettuce.

We then went back to the hotel room and watched TV for a bit. I got to go to sleep at 10:00pm, but John had to go and take care of work stuff. He did not get back until 2:30am… Poor John….

We woke up this morning at 7:30am and were showered and ready to go by 8:00am. My leg is still sore, so John took my suitcase out to the car while I waited for him in the lobby. We then had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. It was fine. John wanted to make sure to leave plenty of time to get me to the airport because of the unpredictable nature of traffic in the DC area. The roads were quite scenic – lots of nice old stone work, trees, creeks and old shipping canals. The traffic was not horrible, but did run into some stop and go situations. We ended up at the airport about when John wanted to.

Got checked in, through security and to my gate with no problem. The plane did not land on time – it was delayed by 10 minutes. Then when they landed they needed to take care of a “maintenance issue” for another 15 minutes. So was about 30 minutes late taking off. Then 20 minutes into the flight, the captain came on and said we will be landing into Baltimore, MD due to an indicator light coming on his panel. He said it was nothing to be worried about, but that he was required to land. Made it seem like more of a formality then anything.

Airtran did a nice job with the situation. Before we landed they explained that we will be transferring to another identical plane at a nearby gate. So we got off, walked over to the other gate, waited 15 minutes and then boarded. 20 minutes later we were back in the air heading home. It could have been much worse – been there and done that a few times.

I made it home to the MoHo by 3:30pm. The weather here in Milwaukee is a bit cooler then in DC, but still nice enough to not need a jacket – in the lower 70’s. Prince was very happy to see me. He spent 15 mintues meowing non-stop like he was telling me about everything I missed. I spent lots of time playing with him and giving him a good brushing. He seems happy now.

Just spoke with John on the phone. He spent a day driving a truck around DC in bad traffic and through the ghettos north of Washington, DC. Sounds like he is really tired. He needs to get some rest before having to head back out at 10:30pm to deal with drivers again. He will be out there until Thursday.

So that was our exciting weekend. Now I need to relax, put some ice on my bad knee and get ready for the short work week. Leaving you with a 1940’s movie entitled “Washington in War Time”. I recognize many of the building in the video – we walked past many of them on Pennsylvania avenue yesterday.

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