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Evil Jim

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09:40 pm: Day two: Memorable memorials
Our day started about 12 hours ago after we awoke and walked to Union Station, having no luck in finding a bus that would take us there. But a man at an info desk before the escalator to the trains was helpful in guiding us in the right direction. After five stops and a transfer we re-entered daylight just west of the Smithsonian Castle where we stopped first. There wasn't many exhibits there other than Smithson's tomb and the info desk that had no paperclips, but I still could have spent a lot longer there had we not so much else to see.

Then to the National Air & Space Museum for the next few hours. I was immediately overwhelmed by the very real airplanes hanging from the rafters just inside the main entrance. John Glen was still on display there next to his space capsule and I had a nice chat with him.

Dad & I covered the main floor on a quick once-through and then found the cafeteria for lunch at (ugh) McD's, a necessary Evil. We walked back through the first floor and he pointed out damage to Voyager's wings upon takeoff for the first nonstop flight around the world. Like many other things there it's placed whereever it can fit, in this case above the information desk a few feet above the staff's heads.

Upstairs we found a room dedicated to the Wright Brother's history and the original 1903 flier. I spent a lot of time here and took the first of many photographs. Suddenly everything was fascinating and I soaked it all in.

Next door was a room devoted to the Apollo missions ans space travel that I didn't spend much time in. It just didn't feel right having stayed at the turn-of-the-century for so long.

Seeing all the old airplanes on display is a great impetus to make more models from my art teacher's plans. I will definitely share with him my adventures and photos once I figure out how to get the latter out of my camera to print.

There is so much to see and do here that I vowed not to lament the places I could not visit but rejoice in those I did.

At five-ish the place closed and we decided to check out the Washington Monument from Below. Unfortunately, due to construction around said base it will be closed until early '05. A tall wooden fence around the entire block prevented us from even coming close to it so one goal of the trip was lost.

Not to be put back, we went around the other side to the newly dedicated WW II Memorial. It's quite grand with a pillar and metal wreath for each state and territory from which our veterans came, all surrounding an elliptical pool with fountains. I wish my grandfathers could have lived to see this.

The reflecting pool before Lincoln's memorial wasn't as grand as I expected, being simply a long rectangular strip of water bordered by grass. The sun set as we approached and I knew not how to adjust my camera so I could photograph a $5 bill beside the building in that lighting.

I'm glad that I was finally able to go inside that famous landmark and take in its size and scope and read the inscriptions on the walls of the Gettysburg Address and his inagural speech. It's very wonderful and I want to return again before we leave. On the way down the stairs I stood on the very spot where Martin Luther King made his famous speech and gazed across the pool and up the mall. It finally sunk in where I was this week and all we had left to do.

I tried a couple more photos from the WW II memorial that are ok but darker than I wanted. Still much to learn about the camera and I hope I don't have to kill too many batteries in doing so.

We discussed options on returning to the room; I wanted to go all the way back to the Metro entrance, take a train to Union for dinner then find a bus from there. Dad wanted to take a cab as he was getting tired. He won and we found a cab shortly after passing in front of the White House and Ellipse and the cabbie informed us that the Union restaurants close early on Sunday so we instead had him take us to Wendy's, thn our room. I only wanted to use the cabs as a last resort as they are so expensive but we might need them more often if our nights keep ending like this.

I think this will work out well: mornings through afternoons at museums, evenings at memorials. Right now I'm too tired to think of where else I want to walk to, but I'll discuss with dad later what to see tomorrow. We'll have to get up earlier next time.

I wrote out a post card to sacredspud and have several more I want to send. I will try to write a few more pages in this journal each night of our trip. Until tomorrow, ja ne.

- E V I L O U T -

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