07/10/2005: D.C. Day 2, Museums and visiting old friends
Up! Up! Up! Go! Go! Go! We got up early to make the 9:45 Members-Only Backstage Tour of the Smithsonian Castle. Karen groaned and voted to miss the tour. I wouldn't have it. We packed up and prepared to leave Ken and Beth's.
The plan was to head out via Virginia. We got on the road to the Metro by 8:00. We found the Wheaton Station in an hour. Meanwhile, Karen discovered that she'd left some important things behind. So, we had to return to Ken & Beth's this evening. We had to change trains because I'd picked a station more convenient to our exit. We jogged into the Smithsonian a bit after 10:00. We got redirected to a "Staff Only" entrance, and the guard told us to run down another hallway, and maybe we'd find the tour. We got to the Information Desk, and a gent there gave us out tour badges, and we did catch up with the tour. It was mostly worth the hassle.
After the tour, we had coffee and a snack behind the Castle, and then went to the Museum of Natural History. Many impressive exhibits of every category of living and extinct species. You'd have to spend a couple of days there just to walk through all the rooms. There was an exhibit of photography by Ivar Silis in Greenland. Amazing pictures and stories.
We had lunch in the food court (good food, but not as interesting as at the American Indian Museum), and then headed back across the Mall.
Karen wanted to follow up on one of the stories we heard in the Behind the Scenes tour involving a mosaic in the Freer Gallery.
Afternoon was waning, and we had plans to go visit a couple of college roommates of mine just across the river in Virginia. I thought I had good directions, but I missed a turn, and it took an extra hour to get there.
David I met the day I met my first girlfriend at the end of high-school. He had a different name, back then. Jonathan was the alpha housemate where I lived during my sophomore year of college. Now, they've built a house in the woods in Virginia for themselves, their son, 3 dogs, and an orange tabby cat named "Richard Parker". I asked why Richard Parker, and was handed the book, "The Life of Pi". I enjoyed the book, once we got back home.
Their goats and chickens live out back.
We had a nice supper, half from our cooler, and half party leftovers from their house. Then a long walk along an overgrown trail on their property to watch the sunset from a cliff over a river valley. This is the sort of place Karen's been wanting to get.
But, by 9:00 we had to drive back toward the Chesapeake Bay area to Ken's house. By the time we'd arrived at Jon and David's, I knew I had a cold. My insistent energy in the morning had been a typical manic before the crash. Sniff. This is not a good way to start a long trip. Yep, the trip is only beginning!