At 10 AM on Thursday morning, albeit two hours later than planned, we were on our way to Washington DC. The kids had off from school Thursday and Friday, so we were looking for something fun to do for an extended weekend. We had considered staying in Manhattan for the weekend like we did back in November 2011, but standard hotel room rates were a minimum of $300 a night. A night.
We decided to make a go of it to Washington DC instead. We would stay with my wife’s extended family in Leesburg, Virginia. The plan would be to see the various memorials, get a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, see my wife’s friends / former coworkers, and also see Nums’ sister as they would be moving into a new house that same weekend. It was a whirlwind tour, but lots to do. Joshua planned out a good portion of the itinerary, in order to earn his Family Travel WEBELOS badge.
The drive down was good, i.e. no traffic. We grabbed a quick lunch at a Wendy’s within the Maryland House Travel Center on I-95. In the afternoon, we made it down to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport. Now, I’ve been talking about visiting this museum for so long, my wife was probably sick of it. I’ve been to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum a number of times, most recently with the family during our Baltimore road trip in April 2012. Since we left late, I didn’t think we would get much time to see it, but we arrived around 3 PM, paid the $15 parking fee, and rushed in.
Amazing museum. I’ve been an aviation fanatic for as long as I can remember. I’m also a WW II buff. They had original and replica planes from the beginning of aviation (mostly U.S.) to the present day. I loved it. My favorites were:
1940s and World War II Aviation
- WW II fighters
- P-38 Lightning
- P-47 Thunderbolt
- WW II Bombers
- The actual B-29 Enola Gay
- Japanese fighters
- German Aviation [Luftwaffe]
- Dornier Do 335 A-0 Pfeil (Arrow)
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8/R1
1950s and the Cold War
- SR-71 Blackbird
- F-8 Crusader
- F-86 Sabre
1960s – 1970s [Korea and Vietnam]
- F-4 Phantom
- A-6 Intruder
- F-100 Super Sabre
- F-14 Tomcat
21st century [Modern Aviation]
- X-35 – prototype for the F-35 Lightning II
- The Discovery shuttle
- The various Gemini and Mercury capsules
Nums took the kids to some of the simulators, and then took Lily to the McDonald’s on the 2nd floor to keep her entertained. At least Josh was mostly interested as he and I toured the various exhibits. I loved seeing the SR-71 and the Discovery shuttle. Loved, loved, loved.
Our visit was soon over, and we drove over to Vienna to have dinner with Nums’ friend Anthony and his boyfriend Dennis at Pasta Pomodoro in Vienna, Virginia. After some gelato next door, we bid our farewells, and drove to Leesburg to meet Craig & Elizabeth (and the kids), and rest up for the next day’s tour of the U.S. Capitol Building with Patrick.