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(OT/non-4x4) D.C. & VA Family Summer Trip 2014

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my parents are selling their house and land back in VA and so i wanted to take Aimee & B back there before it was gone. we also thought it would be a good chance to take B to D.C. as he really enjoyed the civics part of school this year and has been into architecture lately too... not to mention he wants to cross off every National Monument at some point.


we flew in to Dulles Airport and spent the first few days touring the central area of D.C. known as the National Mall.



the U.S. Treasury building... anyone owe taxes still?




as close as we got to the White House on this trip. apparently if you would like a tour you currently need to contact your state congressman to start the process, get a background check, and wait about 6 months.




the White House garden:




B was dying to see the Washington Monument, here he got his first glimpse. though we didn't book a tour ahead of time, we were just glad the scaffolding had come down last month so we could get the full view. (the monument was damaged in 2011 from an earthquake and had been under slow repairs since)




you can see the 2 different colors of stone in this picture. construction stopped for a while due to politics, money and a little thing known as the Civil War. by the time they started working on it again, rock had to be pulled from different quarries.




one more shot of the monument along with the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River. this is the main area of the Cherry Blossom Festival which we missed by about 6 weeks.





the Jefferson Memorial:




B was ecstatic to point out the Ionic and other major ancient Greek and Roman style columns found throughout the architecture in D.C.




this shot gives you an idea how massive the marble columns are in this memorial:





next stop was the FDR Memorial which is a long spread out structure with multiple outdoor "rooms", most of which have manmade waterfalls and quotes from FDR carved into the stone.






the MLK, Jr. memorial was next and pretty neat, but somehow we missed getting pics of that.



then we got trapped for a while on the wrong side of the road while the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally went by. the rally was to honor our Veterans and those soldiers Missing in Action.





this FDNY truck was on display to commemorate those lost in the September 11th terrorist attacks. it had been damaged by heat from being near the World Trade Center during the emergency response.





we stopped very briefly at the Lincoln Memorial, which was insanely crowded due to a demonstration at that end of the Reflecting Pool. here's looking back out at the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial Steps:




this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip (courtesy of Aimee)... a couple ladies in Victorian dress, 2 different races both holding flags, a kid on a summer trip to the Nation's capital, all set at the feet of Lincoln - that's about as American of a moment as you can get.






to be continued...

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Nice! I feel like I was right there with you. Thanks

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to be continued...


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Day 2


the second day we made it to the Capitol Building first.




and then the Smithsonian Air & Space museum was on my list and the plan was to just buzz in and see a few things. it turned out that B really liked it too so we ended up there most of the day.


the blue cube below is Stardust Aerogel, the lightest solid material ever constructed, 99 percent empty space and only slightly denser than air. it's porous and used to capture comet and other space dust for later study. the satellite's arm in the second picture held a bunch of tiles of the Aerogel.






the museum is full of planes, satellites, rockets, and related gadgets. you could probably spend 3+ days there if you actually saw everything. i was most interested in the internal working of all the machinery.








i'm amazed at the level of complexity in a single part of some aircraft and spacecraft.




even the older engines were a maze of pieces.




here is the suit and capsule used in the recent Red Bull Stratos space dive:






above the Stratos stuff hung several unmanned drone aircraft.










there were lots of rockets, including a cool section of some of the original equipment used by Goddard, but once i started getting hungry i lost interest in taking pictures ;)


there's also a great hands-on science section for kids (and adults) that we spent our last hour or so in - i definitely recommend that area if you have a younger one with you.


back at the hotel Brady enjoyed the indoor pool and that wrapped up day 2!



to be continued....

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Did you know the marble used for the Lincoln memorial came from Marble, Colorado. I have been to the Marble mine a few times and it is impressive. Marble is a small town after you come out of the deveil's punch bowl and schofield pass.


Nice pics.

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Did you know the marble used for the Lincoln memorial came from Marble, Colorado. I have been to the Marble mine a few times and it is impressive. Marble is a small town after you come out of the deveil's punch bowl and schofield pass.


Nice pics.


learn something new every day!

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Day 3


i stayed at the hotel to catch up on a little work and do our laundry - exciting! before all that though, i dropped Aimee & Brady off downtown at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. i'm don't have any story for the pics they took at the museum, but they look neat anyway!
























they also hit up the International Spy Museum, which is filled with exhibits from both the factual and fictional spy world.








i did hear the story behind this picture - the bar moved to just a little above your reach, then you tried to hang on as long as you could while it vibrated and wind blew in your face. it was to simulate hanging off the ledge of a tall building.




next they walked over to Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.




the gun that was used:




across the street is the Petersen House, where Lincoln actually died after the shooting.





to be continued...

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Day 4 and on...


we left D.C. fairly early to try and beat traffic and start the 5 - 6 hour drive to my parents house in VA. incidentally, the rented 2014 Charger turned out to be a nice ride during this entire trip... other than the huge dash and hood that i wasn't used to, still parking it wasn't bad.


our first stop was Skyline Caverns. it's a little north of the more famous and much larger Luray Caverns - not as impressive, but i figured it would be a quick in & out versus the huge tourist trap that Luray is.




the large gift shop is built around the cave entrance.




we were the first tour of the day, so the only waiting was a few minutes for them to get everything ready.


it's a very wet cave, with plenty of dripping formation, moss, 2 or 3 pools and a flowing river. there was a heavy storm recently that washed out some of the floor and so they had just put back in more pea gravel over the mud during the last week.




they use a lot of colored lights, which makes for neat photographs actually - but looked kinda cheesy in person. i think i would have preferred neutral white lights.




the cave is fairly tall and some of the openings above us reminded me of slot canyons here in the southwest.








here's one of the rivers - the "bed" of the river is natural, but you can see where they poured concrete at the end before the waterfall.




broken formations.




more colored lights...




a stalactite that had broken off the ceiling many years ago... it had already been moved from its natural location as one of the early discoverers tried to drag it out, but only moved it a bit before giving up. this is the only formation you're allowed to touch since parts of the cave are still "living".




more color, and a reflecting pool...






this section of the cave has a neat story behind it. supposedly when the original spelunkers began exploring the cave in 1937, they had to excavate a lot of loose mud from the floors to really uncover the entire cavern. while digging in the mud, they suddenly broke through into a new section of the cave that was previously a sealed vacuum. one explorer reported it sounded like a gun blast went off right next to his ears as the air rushed into the large chambers.




within this section of the cave they found curious crystaline formations called Anthodites. some of them almost resembled a sea anemone to me.










once at my folk's house, we spent several days with them doing what you do in the country - taking it easy!


we fed bread scraps to the fish in their pond, played in creeks, hiked in the forest several times, found a small old family cemetery, sat on the back porch and talked, looked for good walking sticks, etc. Brady even got to catch lightning bugs (firefly's) one evening.


and surely the sign of a city boy, he begged my mom to let him drive her riding lawn mower!





there's still a few things left to show pics of, so to be continued again...

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Give him a summer or two of cutting a lawn, and he would not be begging to ride it so much… :P


Cool Pic's… Thanx for sharing the trip with us… :cool:

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Awesome pics and Great Family Time!!!

The FDR Memorial is one of my favorites, and the Museum of Natural History! Cool that you guys got to see so much! Lotsa concrete and walking, but good to see so much!

Great pics! Thanks for sharing!

smiles, ladybug

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