Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday in DC

DCPics2 048A Got up this morning and had breakfast with Dianne – well, I had breakfast while she picked at some fruit. We went back to the room and she fell asleep almost instantly. After an hour or so, she said she still wasn’t feeling well and suggested I should go to the National Air and Space museum on my own. It’s sad she wasn’t feeling well, but I don’t think she was thrilled about going there anyway. I grabbed the Metro just south of Washington Circle and went through the museum. It was fun to see many historic planes and space vehicles. In the main area there is the Spirit of St. Louis, the X-1 Glamorous Glennis, the X-15, and SpaceShip One that recently won the X-prize. Across from these planes on the second floor were other notable planes like the Lockheed Vega (the B model that was similar to the Winnie Mae flown by Wiley Post) used by Amelia Erhardt to fly solo across the Atlantic (~5 years after Lindbergh) and the Lockheed Sirius floatplane used by Charles and Anne Lindbergh to chart great circle routes from the West coast of the US to the far East. DCPics2 049C Some of the early planes like the Wright Flyer and the Vin Fiz (made the first transcontinental flight) were interesting. Pictures of the Vin Fiz are here and here. I wonder what Vin Fiz tasted like? The story of Cal Rogers and his journey across the US in that plane to win the prize put up by William Randolph Hearst is pretty interesting. I can’t imagine seeing the US that way. The Ole Miss was perched high above the viewing floor. Imagine riding in a plane continuously for about a month! They even had a platform built just behind the radial engine so they could work on it while in flight! It’s amazing what folks did to promote aviation. In that same era were air racing items like the Hughes Racer that set speed records and the Bendix Trophy.

One thing nice about the NASM is not only can you walk around the planes at their level, but you can also view the planes from raised platforms that go around the periphery of many of the rooms. That gives you an interesting view that you don’t get at other museums like the US Air Force Museum in Dayton. An example is this picture of an ME-109 – a German WWII era fighter. You can see other pictures from my visit to the NASM by clicking here for the Flickr group.

DCPics2 055A It was very hot in DC today (upper 80’s) and very humid. I walked over to the reflecting pool in front of Capitol Hill and felt like jumping in the water to cool off. On the way home, I stopped at a 7-11 store to get some liquids and meds for Dianne. She looked pretty pale, complained about being cold, and felt pretty hot. She’s not having a great vacation so far. Hopefully she’ll get back on feet tomorrow. I think I’ll be eating dinner by myself again tonight.

No comments: