Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Grouch Heads East! - Part three: a quick visit to D.C.

So, after an extensive visit at the U/H air museum I was ready to call it a day...but I was the only one.  Older son said we had time for a quick trip to D.C. to see his lady friend and hit some sights in town, so off we went.  He used his mad driving and parking skills to get us into the center of the action and find a safe place to stash the rental car.  After he parked the car he and LF joined us for a walking tour of the nearby monuments and sights.

Don't let this picture fool you.  They were good for another 5 hours of sightseeing!

Young Son shows his approval of the cake that LF offered us when she joined up with the group.  Cake!  Yummmm

The view of the Washington monument from the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln memorial when we were there in March.  Not as many people for some reason...


March.  It was cold!

The Korean war memorial.  Very powerful and not as well known as the Vietnam war memorial.  I wish the sculptor hadn't clad the soldiers in ponchos but I guess it saved him time from having to detail the uniforms and web gear under the ponchos

Very realistic - a 1919A4 crew, assistant gunner and gunner calling to each other
The WW2 memorial

The entrance to the memorial is lined on both sides with these tablets that tell the war history in both the Pacific and European theaters.  Very well done.

Meeting the Soviets at the Elbe river at the end of the war

Each state and territory has a free standing column

For my Dad, Corporal Grouch, USAAF

A handsome couple!

After visiting these locations we walked a good distance to a dinner spot that Older Son wanted to try.  We passed several government buildings and museums along the way.  Much to see and do and little time to do it in!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Grouch Heads East! - Part Two - the Air and Space museum annex aka Udvar-Hazy center

Day Two saw us traveling to the Air and Space museum annex at Dulles IAP.  This is the overflow for the main museum and in some ways even better than the 'big' museum as it is less crowded and it is easier to get close to the aircraft.  Plus there are some real 'stars' located at this facility  Here is the official website:

For this trip I invested in an up to date Tom-Tom GPS and let me say it was one of the better $100 I've spent recently.  Never wrong and easy to follow!

The family were good sports about spending as much time as we did at the museum.  Older son joined us there after a couple hours and I enjoyed walking with him to view the planes.

The gang getting their photo taken before the ordeal - I mean the visit!

Younger daughter looking lovely

Ok - here we go!

So many of my favorite aircraft are to be found here - this is the P-26 Peashotoer.  Advanced when introduced in the mid 30s but hopelessly obsolete by Pearl Harbor.

The P-40; Claire Chennault showed the Japanese in China that they were about to be in big trouble - his Flying Tigers racked up a number of victories in an earlier version of this plane.   Heavy, built like a tank, and able to take amazing punishment and still could fight on.
Looking one direction from the elevated walkway

Two technological marvels of the 20th century: the SR71 and the Space Shuttle

The plane that ended world war II

Jet combat aircraft, some actual combat veterans

The Concorde, the Boeing Stratoliner, and the Boeing 707: all three on the leading edge of aviation technology

The alien spacecraft model used in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"   A close encounter with the model (it is huge) reveals many interesting things such as a mailbox, a WW2 fighter plane on a catapult and...

A Mercury space capsule - 'a man in a can'.  No room to move in there! 

The Discovery - it is huge!

According to Younger daughter who knows things - when the Discovery was overhauled and damaged tiles replaced, the black tiles by the cockpit glass were added as 'tears' for the lost shuttles.
You can even view the aircraft overhaul work area!  Not much was going on when we were there.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Grouch heads East! The grand tour of part of the east coast - Alexandria VA part I

The Grouch, the Missus, Young Daughter, and Young Son journeyed in July to the east coast for visiting both sides of the family in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.  We touched down at Reagan IAP in Washington D.C. and drove to Older Son's abode in nearby suburban Virginia.

On our first full day in town we headed to Alexandria for some sightseeing.  We were there in March when it was snowy and very cold.  This time around we had heat, humidity, and drizzle.  Despite that we had a great time!

Not only is this street interesting for its construction of stones and obvious old age but something almost as interesting sits at the top of the street on the left.  Can you spot it?

A close up view of the fitting of the stones.  That had to take some patience to do!

Here is what was at the top - a Land Rover Defender.  Fairly rare here in the U.S.

The Missus cannot pass up a Christmas shop, even in July so we went in where we saw platoons of nutcracker figures.

We signed up for the Potomac river cruise.  Goodbye Alexandria! 

A nice day on the water
This ship looks just right for exploring exotic isles in the far Pacific.  What it is doing on the Potomac is a mystery to me.

The Missus told me not to take her picture so I did

Something impressive is going on in that building if the satellite dish is any indication

Reagan airport, where we arrived the day before.

The Watergate stairs to the Lincoln memorial, not be confused with the Watergate hotel

The Coast Guard was busy inspecting boats on the river

They don't mess around - look at the M240 MG!

The former presidential yacht ex U.S.S. Sequoia 
All in all it was a grand day out and a great start to our tour of some of the east coast (the best parts).  Stay tuned for each day's adventures!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sunset off road trek

Recently the Missus and I participated in a sunset off road trek.  The trail was steep and the descent was even steeper.

Read about it here: