Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Travelogue – Discovery

Thursday, April 28

The weather today was rainy, a good time for something inside. My goal for the day was to visit the Udvar-Hazy part of the Air and Space Museum next to Dulles Airport. I checked transportation through Google Maps. It said I would have to go east, almost to the Potomac River before getting a certain kind of shuttle to take me west to Dulles Airport. As I was checking this at 10:00 it said I would get there by 4:00. Um, no.

Cousin left for her work. Then I remembered she had talked about a county bus system, one that Google apparently didn't know about. I found it online and indeed I could get a bus from the nearby Metro station to the airport and museum. Buses left every 20 minutes and the ride took 40. Cousin's assistant had agreed to take me to the museum and was relieved she had to take me only a mile to the station.

Between the airport and the museum I could see on the highway ahead a row of motorcycles, one in each lane with blue lights flashing. They slowed and came to a stop. I knew we were in for a bit of a wait when the riders dismounted. After maybe five minutes whatever was ahead had cleared. They remounted and slowly got up to speed.

At the museum I had a quick look over the military planes, then on to my real goal, the space hall. This is the resting place of the shuttle Discovery. It looks quite big up close (and the Mercury capsules look quite small). I enjoyed just sitting there looking at it.

I'm puzzled why the flag on this side of Discovery is backwards. The one on the wing and on the opposite side are correct.

I caught up with a museum tour and kept with it while it was in the space hall. I did see other things in the hall – space food, space tools, space clothing, space science instruments, Mars rovers, and various satellites.

After a late lunch (ugh – the only option was McDonald's) and more time in the space hall I did work quickly through the commercial airplanes, such as the Enola Gay, a Boeing 707, and a Concorde.

Around 4:00 I had enough of the planes, so took the elevator up to the observation deck. It is a good place to see planes landing at Dulles – when the weather is good. But it wasn't. I could see the planes in their final approach, but nothing beyond them.

I took the bus back to the Metro station and then a neighborhood bus down Cousin's road. I didn't do it in the morning because it only runs during rush hour.

This evening Cousin didn't have to work. We made a stir fry and talked about family, including her sons. One is gay and lives locally. Alas he is too busy meet me this week. Her other son is attending a university in Berlin, Germany. He is majoring in linguistics.

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