South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog

 

 

 

 

 

unrestored WWII plane

 

Enola Gay

dodge those bullets

 

 

 

star wars missile destroyer

Discovery

 

Univac computer

satellites

capsule retrieval boat

Enola Gay

Enola Gay


The Smithsonian Air and Space museum located in downtown Washington is an amazing place, but when you are trying to showcase airplanes and huge spacecraft, getting them downtown and having enough exhibit space is a challenge hard to overcome. In 2003 a second museum site opened near Dulles Airport and this is where we found the big boys. You can walk along the wheels of the planes or observe them from a catwalk high above. It was especially moving to see the Enola Gay, the plane we used to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. You have to stop and think how the world would be today if different decisions had been made during that time. The museum houses a Concorde, a plane I always wished I was rich enough to take to Europe, only a four hour ride away. There weren't enough people who were rich enough and the Concorde went out of business. Also on display was the glider that flew solo non-stop around the world. The space shuttle Discovery is here and numerous satellites hung from the ceiling like Christmas ornaments. Most of the planes were beautifully restored, but some were au naturel, a visual reminder of how old they really were.

We're camped not too far away from this supplemental museum in a county park near Lake Fairfax and have left the big city behind. It's a pleasant place to be, but the other facilities here make me wish I had grown up in Fairfax County. The park has a waterpark that could give the Disney versions a run for their money and a skate board park. It even has a cricket field, something we have never seen before here in the New World. Little children were here today, looking for the eggs that the Easter Bunny had hidden. You can rent boats on the lake or ride bikes on the trails. A fun spot.

We're here because the park is close to a bike trail that runs from Washington to Pittsburgh. The eastern end was a towpath and the western end was a rail bed. We've ridden a section a few years ago and cannot cover much of it on our own, but the weather tomorrow sounds too cold and windy for pleasant riding. I can't complain; it's snowing at home.

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