Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - Steven Udvar-Hazy Center

Many people are familiar with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC.  Not all are aware that there is a second site, the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport. 

This location houses scores of classic and historic aircraft.  We had been there once before but did not get all the way through it.  This weekend we went again to see what we hadn't been able to before.  There is now way to document everything there is to see, but here are a few of our favorites.

Dan at the entrance to the Boeing Aviation Hangar (l).  Barb looks over the SR 71 Blackbird (r).

The SR-71 Blackbird from dead on front (l).  The space shuttle Enterprise (r).

The gallery of civil airplanes.

The Boeing 367-80 (l), predecessor to the 707 and the KC-135.  The Concorde (r), the only supersonic commercial airplane ever built and operated by airlines.

The Boeing Strato-liner (l), one of the first airplanes to have a pressurised cabin and fly above weather.  THE Enola Gay (r) which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

It was a good day to be inside, as cold as it was, but it was fascinating looking at all the aircraft on display.  Hey Randy, Randy Shields, if you get out here again soon maybe we can do one more trip here for the record before we move back to Seattle! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Day in the Life

If one asked me (Dan) about a typical day in the life of a Boeing Government Affairs manager, this wouldn't necessarily be it.  But it's not bad ....

The National Aero Club of Washington holds a luncheon once a month, and always has a guest speaker.  Depending on the notoriety of the speaker, I may attend. In January, the guest speaker was Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood.  Boeing bought a table for the event, so we were right up in front of the dais.  Several of us arrived early and were standing by our table when in walked the Secretary, accompanied by the FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt.  They came right over to our table and started talking.  One of the very few things Secretary Lahood and I have in common is that we are both grads of Bradley University.  So I mentioned that to the Secretary and we had a nice chat for several minutes.  It was a little surreal because I had just seen him on TV at the President's State of the Union address the night before. 

They were both very generous with their time, and a co-worker offered to take our picture together.  Here it is:

Randy Babbitt on the left, Ray Lahood on the right.

It was a nice opportunity to meet and hear some of the thoughts of a man who works for the president of the United States.

Friday, February 11, 2011

After the Postal Museum

After we went to the museum, we did a little exploring, had dinner, and then went to take some night shots around town.

The US Capitol catches the late afternoon sun.

A visit to Scott Circle, where we found a statue of (not surprisingly) a guy named Scott .... General Winfield Scott to be exact.  Known as "Old Fuss and Feathers" and the "Grand Old Man of the Army," he served on active duty as a general longer than any other man in American history and many historians rate him the ablest American commander of his time, serving from the War of 1812 to the early years of the Civil War.

No circle in DC worth its salt has only one statue!  Also found at Scott Circle.....

...gee, did you guess?  It is Daniel Webster, a great statesman in the early-mid 1850s, and a lawyer whose cases before the Supreme Court set several significant precedents.

Also ....

.... there was a statue of Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (10 April 1755[1] – 2 July 1843), a German physician, known for creating an alternative form of medicine called homeopathy.  Why he is so honored by a statue in Scott Circle, we don't know.

Later, we had dinner in the famous hotel called Tabard Inn.  Here is a picture of the warm, cozy waiting area.  It's not great, and we didn't get a picture from the outside or in the dining room, but you get the idea.

After dinner we went to the Mall to see some of the monuments lit up at night.  For fun, we took a few pictures.

The plaza of the WWII Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

Soldier statues at the Korean War Memorial

The famous wall of etched faces, also at the Korean War Museum.  At this point we were far too cold to keep going so headed home.

Admittedly our night time photos aren't the greatest, but we enjoy giving it a go. 

So started the 2011 installment of our DC adventures. Stay tuned to see what we discover next.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The National Postal Museum

As you know, Washington DC is full of museums, many of them a part of the Smithsonian.  I once teased the kids that we had attended the Smithsonian Nation Umbrella Museum, and they almost bought it.  Well, when we told them that we had gone to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Kacie was quick to ask if that was as real as the Umbrella Museum!  Well, for sure, this one is real, and we went there on Saturday the 22nd of Jan.  It is a part of the Smithsonian and housed in what was once the main post office in Washington, DC.  Inside, it tells the story of the Postal Service throughout the history of the United States.

Outside the main entrance (l) and inside the grand hall (r).  Beautiful turn of the century (20th century, that is) architecture.

This sign tells the history of the building, built between 1911-14 and used as the post office until 1986.

An escalator descends into the museum area (l) and the marker commemorating the opening of the museum, some seven years after the post office moved out.

A statue of Benjamin Franklin, father of the postal service and first postmaster general.

The main hall with displays of some of the main modes of moving mails through the years.

An early 1900's mail truck (l) and stage coach (r).

A display of postal boxes (r).

And would a postal museum be complete without a display of stamps?  This museum has tens of thousands of stamps from US history and from around the world, many of them very rare and highly valued.

Ok, not the most interesting Smithsonian Museum we have been to, but we're glad we did it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Crystal Lake

As we said in the last post, Barb travelled from Seattle to Crystal Lake to help Mom recover from shoulder surgery.  While she was there, she was lucky enough to have lunch with Laura and the girls.

Mom enjoys flowers while she recovers.  Barb was there to help, but more help came when a home care worker would visit each day.  Recovery has been slow, as shoulder surgery is no trivial thing.  But Mom is doing good.  Chuck and Donna also came over several times to help and give Barb a break.

On the last day, Barb crossed paths at O'Hare with Matt, who was just returning from a mission trip to Brazil.

We were blessed that Barb could be available to be with her Mom during this time.  Yet we were both very happy when she finally got back home.