Road Trip: The Return!

Let’s resume, shall we, the tale of wonder and adventure and epic road trips by our intrepid heroes Red Chuck and KillerB.  It’s been months since we left off, but a brief recap should suffice; we’d conquered Pittsburgh with Kristin’s sister and friends, we’d run amok through the streets of Baltimore with my own sister & her fiance, and we broke bread with longtime Internet-friend/first time real-life encounter, Kevin J.  We’ll now tell the tale of DC…Washington DC.

But first, a confession:

When I was in 8th grade, a short, skinny, newly teenaged kid, I went to Space Camp.

Yes.  Let that sink in.

SPACE CAMP

Minus Lea Thompson and the talking robot, sadly (on both accounts).
This place, minus Lea Thompson and the talking robot, sadly (on both accounts).

I was obviously the coolest of the cool.

All kidding aside, though, Space Camp (or in this case, Academy) was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  Thanks much to the efforts of my stepfather and the support of my mother, I, space nerd, was able to spend a week in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.  I learned about the origins of NASA and the history of the space program.  We ran simulations.  We did things like this:

Space Camp 1

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And this:

Space Camp 2

I got to spin in that giant gyro thing.  Float around on a machine that simulated the kind of space jet pack George Clooney used in Gravity.  Simulate an entire shuttle mission in positions from Mission Control, the space shuttle, and more.  I watched the OJ Simpson verdict from a space station.  A space station!

It.  Was.  Awesome.

Basically, by the end of the week, this was me:

Space Camp 3

So, fast forwarding to our road trip, you can imagine how I reacted when we walked into the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum and saw this:

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There Will Be Drool

DC was a blast.  Our day in there was marked by a shortage of time, with packing things in regardless.

We got to Air & Space just before closing, leaving me running around the place, drooling over various bits of space nerdity until the security guard was glaring at me to get away from the lunar lander and get out the door so they could close the place.  But I still saw much.

We got to the Holocaust museum just in time for a class trip to snatch up all of the limited entries to the permanent exhibits.  But the exhibits we did see were amazing and heartbreaking.

We ran back and forth across DC, taking in every monument, historical site, or place of significance we could find.  We stumbled accidentally onto the FDR Memorial, a memorial none of use even knew existed until we were standing within it.  We stood before the White House, awed to finally see in person a place we’d seen so commonly on television and in movies.

Washington DC is more than just our capitol.  It’s a place of innovation and celebration of human accomplishment.  A place to remember our failures and our struggles.  It’s a place for our heroes and a place for our dreams.

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DC was a place to consider all that we do as a society, as humanity, and to remind that we have much more to do.  so let’s make a wish for the future:

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The Washington DC Flickr Album