Wednesday, May 12, 2010

They've gone city!

Not so very long ago, the intrepid conquerors of the vast, silent expanse of flat, arid land known as the Texas Panhandle (or as a normal person might call parents) traded in their country life for a city adventure in the D of C.  Yay for vacations in my own city!  Also, a little more yay for the bounty of Texas goodness that my parents, knowing I'm yearning for a return to the motherland, hauled halfway across the country for me.  New Red Raider shirt, assorted "don't mess with Texas" goodies, a massive peanut patty in the SHAPE OF TEXAS, and.....tortillas from Rosa's!!  I used them to make breakfast tacos one morning, and I think Dad was pretty jealous of my morning meal.  Thanks for the goodies, parents!

After rescuing the parental units from the airport, we made our way to their hotel for a drop-off of the stuff, which was very quickly followed by a short drive over to Ray's Hell Burger for some much-needed sustenance in the form of massive, juicy, delicious burgers.  Super yum.  Long day of travel, so we called it an early night to be well-rested for our DC adventures the next day.

Thursday morning, Erin's Personal Taxi Service dropped off the parents at the Holocaust Museum so they could jump in the pre-opening line and snag tickets for us while I ditched the car at home and Metro'd back over to the museum.  Let the Metro adventures begin!  Mom did a pretty good job with the map and was much more with it than the horribly confused woman who kept asking me where the Vermont Avenue stop was.  Ummm...there is no Vermont Avenue Metro stop.  She could not be convinced of this, however.  I try to help when I can, but come on, people, work with me.  We did have a little Metro adventure of our own as I abandoned my parents on a bench at my home stop and ran home and back to drop off Dad's pocketknife (yeah, that pocket item wasn't going to go over so well at the Holocaust Museum, or really anywhere where you have to pass through the metal beepy gates and security of any kind - we're not in Texas anymore!).  They had plenty of people-watching to keep them entertained and stayed on their bench.  Good job, parents. =) Then we continued on over to Union Station for one of Mom's favorite ways to see a city - a Duck Tour

I've done these a couple of times in Boston, and Mom and Dad toured their way through Seattle Duck-style - it's really a pretty cool way to get a good overview of the major sights in DC.  We cruised up and down the National Mall and splashed down into the Potomac, where Dad got to take the Duck for a quick spin (photo captured by Captain Mike, who timed it to get the Washington Monument sticking out of Dad's head):

Even with the little kids spinning us in circles in the water and Captain Mike experiencing some close merge encounters getting on and off highways, everything was going wonderfully and we were all having a peachy time...until we paused outside the National Museum of the American Indian and the Duck...well, the Duck died.  As in, lost all power and could not be coaxed into restarting at all.  You know it's not a good sign when Captain Mike has to crawl out and pop the hood, hoping that whatever's wrong is one of the few things he knows how to fix.  Fortunately, we were stuck in the shade.  Doubly fortunately, the problem was some wire that just needed to be popped back into place, and we were back on the road in no time.  Well, we never left the road, actually.  Just blocked traffic for a little while.  Made it around the Capitol and back to Union Station, quacking all the way - woohoo!

After the Duck Tour we had one of Dad's favorites for lunch (can you say PIZZA?!?), and then we made our way over to the Holocaust Memorial Museum for an afternoon in pretty stark contrast to the jolly morning we'd had.  I'd actually done this one before when Diana and Trinity came to town last summer, and honestly didn't think I'd mind going through the exhibits again...but I think I'm done with that one now.  It's a very sobering experience and has definitely made a lasting impression on me.

So let's continue on to the next morning...which wasn't exactly uplifting, either, since it consisted of touring Arlington National Cemetery.  At least it was a beautiful day!  I also have to say that compared to my last experience in Arlington National Cemetery, which was about five years ago in blistering heat and suffocating humidity as Amy and I climbed hills and felt as though we might actually die, this time around we covered a lot more ground in greater comfort courtesy of the Tourmobile.  Best $7.50 you'll spend on the trip, trust me.  Now, if only the massive hordes of school children would pay attention to the signs asking for a little silence and respect.  Geez, kids, I realize this may not be the highlight of your week invading our nation's capital, but take it down a notch, would you? 

We made a stop at JFK and also witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, all of whom could snap me like a twig if they so desired.

And look, a picture of the three of us!  This is from Arlington House (Bobby Lee's house), and we even managed to get the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol in the background behind us.  Thank you, kind soul who took the picture a couple of times to get it just right!

After our cemetery adventures we loaded up in the CR-V and began our journey to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum that's way the heck out by Dulles and is super-ginormous so that it can hold massive, massive things that stay up in the air through the magic of engineering and innovative thinking.  I'd actually wanted to go for a while, and not just so I could check if off my list of Smithsonianity list (only five to go!)...and I think I now know where I get my minor obsession with air and space things.  It's all Dad!!  He LOVES this stuff!

We probably could have used a little more time there - sadly, it really is a heck of a drive AND we spent a decent amount of time at the cemetery...but at least we didn't have to shell out the $15 bucks for parking (since we got there right after 4:00!) AND we got there just in time for me to make the last elevator run up the observation deck where you can check out all the Dulles airport action.  Which actually wasn't quite as cool as I was hoping, but I did make use of reflective surfaces for a self-portrait while you can see some random "mountains" off in the background.

We did see all kinds of cool things, like space shuttles...

Who can find Mom & Dad??

...and an SR-71 Blackbird, which apparently goes uber-fast and Dad was WAY excited about...

...and oodles and oodles of really cool flying things, like the Air France Concorde and the Enola Gay and many many many many many many many more.

And as a grand finale to the day....Harrison actually sat on Mom's lap.  Of his own free will.  For at least seventeen seconds.  It was kinda amazing.

Alllllll of the pictures are up here and here on Picasa, so feel free to browse away to your heart's content and see pretty much every airplane ever made.  I can't wait to see Mom's movies!

No comments: