Day 34 – 17/8/2019

 

On the start of our day, we visited briefly the The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The names of all of the fallen officers are engraved on the memorial.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
When your dress uniform get extra starch.

Our friend Sean has not only been a gracious host, but he took is to the International Spy Museum!!  If you are like me and just a wrinkled 16 year old boy, this place is for you. It is a fun combination of facts and fun things to do. While I hear the old museum was better, I can totally see taking a child to this and spending a day roaming the halls.

 

After a quick lunch, we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. If you get a chance, the videos on how people are using old school ways of making iron tools and art is insane. Hours of fanning and working ore into actual tools and art.

Detailed metal work in African art
Detailed metal work in African art -2

 

To cap our tour of Smithsonian museums, we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 

After the museum, wee walked back through China Town to our friend’s home.

Dinosaurs!
Jar Jar Binks in an early cameo
Washington DC’s China Town

Day 33-  16/8/2019 

Air and Space Museum created a symbol that can only stand for Thunder Snow!

We made it to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum! I have been trying to make it here for years. Sadly, about 25% of the building is torn up and/or closed. We did get to wander through several great exhibits.

We started in the navigation section and learned a bit about how ancient seafarers plotted their way around the world. Much different from the techniques I was briefly taught in the Navy, but some old methods are still in use.

Part of the USS Alabama’s BBQ-4 nav system. I guess this has been declassified?

From there, we moved on to  early flight. Looking at the original Wright Brothers air plane was great, but reading about the many difficulties and iterations of the planes and various parts was far more interesting. The tenacity to make bunches of versions and then test them with their own bodies is a commitment that few have.  The only thing they did better was copyright the heck out of their plane and their design. They wouldn’t let others touch or see it until AFTER it had a copyright. 

Wright flyer

 We also got to see one of Amelia Earhart’s airplanes. She had a few. She was a complete bad ass as a flyer.  

 

Amelia Earhart’s plane. Not the one she was lost in.

Day 32 – 15/8/2019

 

We were up early to get tickets to the latest Smithsonian Museum – The National Museum of African American History and Culture. It has a wait, so if you don’t get tickets early, you don’t get in. Laura scored 11:30 entry time, so we decided to get a run on the National Mall before breakfast and then a shower.  Thursday was super humid and warm at 8 AM. We ran 3+ miles and then grabbed a shower. The walk to the Museum was slightly less than an hour, but the walk in the museum seemed to go on forever. The museum starts you on the third level down and then you walk up from there. 

 

I probably don’t need to say it, but the history of Africans, slavery, and the systemic oppression of minorities in the US are dark and saddening. And lest we think that the West is free of this vile history, I am including a slice of Colorado’s laws. 

 

At the end of the day, we walked to the REI  to pick up a package and then next door to the Red Bear brewery. The IPAs were good and LGBTQ friendly. I highly recommend the “51st State” IPA.  

 

Colorado’s shameful past.

Day 31 – 14/08/2019

 

Like any relationship, the leaving is never easy. Traffic was thick and aggressive…kind of like a 1950’s movie. We made it safely to Washington DC and to our friend’s house. He lives 10-15 minutes walk from the National Mall. Prime sightseeing and  walking country.

 

We ate dinner at a Peruvian place that had wonderful chicken, but the real treat was ripe plantains. Yum!  Some Dogfish Head IPAs rounded out the evening as we caught up on the lost years.

Day 30- 13/8/2019

 

Laura’s aunt was having issues updating her Honda Pilot to the latest Navigation software. While I had never updated a car’s software, how hard could it be? First we gathered a few items: laptop, 32gb thumb drive, power cords, the usual voodoo dolls and sacrificial animals, and headed to her house. The process went fairly smoothly. We hung out and worked on various things while our laundry processed through her washer and dryer. It seemed a fair trade. After that, we retired to the apartment to relax with a beer after our day of relaxing at our aunt’s house. 

Day 29 – 12/8/2019

 

We woke up and decided to get a New York bagel. I mapped a highly rated bagel shop with Google maps and we set out. It was 1 mile, but hey, better than driving. The first hint I had screwed the pooch was when I turned away from the direction I thought wee were taking. Fast forward 30 – 45 minutes late, we are both agitated to find Google took us the exact opposite direction from EVERY BAGEL SHOP IN NYC. How is that even possible? We settled for a crappy bagel at Dunkin’ Donuts and started back. We stopped and got real bagels when we got closer to the apartment. 

 

We then wanted to go check out the High Line, which is a converted elevated train track that is now a walkway and art show. Laura didn’t want the stress of riding the bus, so we walked the mile or so to the first train station. We caught the subway to the 14th street station.  The area is busy and interesting.  We headed straight to the High Line after getting me more caffeine in the form of coffee.

 

The High Line is cool and fun. lots of people to watch and art to check out. The entire project uses reclaimed bits and bops from the old train system with plants and art to make it more pleasant and interesting. 

 

After a walk, we ate some New York pizza and then headed home. We had an appointment to see Laura’s grandmother and maybe get dinner afterwards with Laura’s aunt and cousin.

 

Art on 14th Street
Future building
After the fall of man, wee made a cool monument.
Banksy art installation
Name that tree!
Empire State building, Mother Teresa & Gandhi, and quote
This sidewalk has a dry side and a wet side. Fun for the hot days of summer.
Grandma wishes all safe travels.

Day 28-  11/8/2019

 

We left Cape Cod at a leisurely hour. The roads weren’t as plugged as the broken bus in the blocked off HOV lane, but they weren’t light either. We cruised through Connecticut and Rhode Island and Providence Plantation (when we these guys shorten their state’s name to something that fits on a driver’s license?).  We hadn’t taken the “No Tolls” setting off the Google Maps, so the ride was really interesting. Side streets and possible alleyways weren’t the half of it. At one point we were directed (and took!) a road up onto what felt like a sidewalk attached to the outside of a bridge. It WAS a road, but oh hell it felt like a drunken afterthought. (Edit: I think it was the Queensboro bridge. If you look at the Wikipedia photo, you can see the single lane of cars OUTSIDE of the main bridge. WTF NYC?)

Wikipedia photo. Please note the kludged lane on the side of the bridge.

 

Arriving in NYC at Laura’s aunt was a relief. We kind of twitched and shook for a bit until we relaxed. Then is was to our other cousin’s apartment (she’s living out of state, so we had to be let in). We followed our aunt and cousin #1 to the other cousin’s apartment. This was interesting. Keeping up with our cousin #1 was like inadvertently entering a rally car race. I ran no less than 3 red lights and took our lil’ Honda through its paces to keep cousin #1. I guess living in NYC makes a gal a fast driver. 

 

We got a shower and situated and then went out to dinner with cousin #1 and Laura’s aunt. Mexican food!! I finally got my tomales. Mmmmmm.

Day 26- 9/8/2019

 

Our cousin went to her job while we did laundry and visited the nearby beach. York Beach ,York, MN has cold water, a small beach, and lots of people. Not bad overall, but not really our thing. We walked up to the Nubble Lighthouse, but stopped at one of the top 10 ice cream shops in the world (so says Jason from Zero to Travel https://zerototravel.com/). It was good. I had Coffee Oreo and Laura had Java Crunch (chocolate covered espresso beans factored heavily into this decision). 

 

After we enjoyed our ice cream, we visited the lighthouse. It is cute on the little island (seperated from land by 100’/30 meter or so). 

 

With the lighthouse seen and the ice cream eaten, we went to say goodbye to our cousin and her boyfriend. We didn’t have long as we needed to make the annoying drive through Boston to Cape Cod to our campsite for the next 2 days. 

 

The drive was punctuated by getting stuck in the HOV lane for 45 minutes or so due to a stalled bus. Yeah!

 

The campsite Laura picked seems nice and is conveniently close to a bar with a large list of good IPAs. Last night we tried a couple splashes, (Idle Hands’ – Four Seam and Shovel Town’s – Flyaway). Flyaway won the taste off for the day. 

 

Dunne’s !!!! Ice Cream Heaven
While the Nubble Lighthouse is often shown in photos, here is me to add scale to this tiny structure.

Day 25- 8/8/2019 

 

We got up and showered. After packing, we walked to the Lebanon Diner. ( https://www.facebook.com/TheLebanonDiner/ ). Our cousins own and run it, so you know the food is great and the people quirky (in a good way). After a breakfast burrito and lots of coffee, we headed to York, MN to visit our other cousin, Anne. 

 

We wasted a few hours in the library (updating web pages), and seeing if the world was still there. 

 

We strolled through a park at lunch and then went shopping for dinner fixings. After much deliberation, swordfish, cheese, quinoa, and HeadyTopper (for me) was selected. 

 

Dinner was nice and we crashed at our cousin’s house.

Flower garden
lily
Bees!!!!!!!! Run!