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01 November 2010 @ 08:06 pm
Rally for Sanity  
Wow! What a weekend!

Thursday night I was thinking I was in really good shape to get ready and get some sleep before I needed to catch the bus... until I read a post from dread_ex  mentioning her exam and I suddenly realized I needed to take an exam before I left... and that probably meant I needed to finish watching the lectures. *sigh* I got it done in time, but I have no idea how I did. Anyway, Friday morning at 2:30 I drove out to the mechanic, where Scott picked me up and took me to the bus stop where I caught the 3:30AM bus to Milwaukee. I took the 7:30 flight to Washington DC, dropped my bags at the hostel, and by 11AM I was on my way to the Smithsonian!

I spent the bulk of the afternoon in the Museum of American History - there were some really great exhibits, from dresses of the First Ladies to the Star Spangled Banner to pop-up books to early American ships. Sadly, my camera's battery had lied about being full and I just have a few cell phone photos since the museum shop had practically nothing for postcards or books on the subjects I was interested in. I also had some issues with the humans in the museum. For the sake of all that's holy, people, act like intelligent beings and control your spawn. Ugh. 

Renaissance pop up geometry text book, gunboat Philadelphia, First Lady's dress

About the time I was going to slap someone (but after I had already yelled at two people about using a flash camera on antique fibers), it was time for my tour of the Capitol. That was interesting, but sort of underwhelming after the trouble it took to get the tickets lined up. Then I went through the Library of Congress, which was actually prettier than the Capitol, I thought, and also had a great exhibits but little in the bookshop. When they closed and kicked me out, it was on to the National Gallery. There I saw some cool things, including the second model of Singer sewing machine, a John Singer Sargent, and a miniature copy of Bacchante, one of my favorite sculptures.

Singer Model 2, Night Descending

Dinner was at a lovely Indian place and then I went back to the airport to pick up teffan . We hit the hay pretty early in order to get up bright and early. 

Saturday's first stop was the White House. This was a more satisfying tour, but I think if I were to go back again, I would spend more time in the Smithsonian and less time in the government buildings. Then it was back to the hostel for our afternoon packs and signs, since nothing was allowed in the White House. We had lunch, which was supposed to be quick, but ended up dragging perilously close to the beginning of the rally.

We tried to take a taxi to expedite things, but eventually had to get out because the crown was chocking off traffic. Indeed, many of the streets in the vicinity were closed. I had scoped out the site the day before and 7th Street was supposed to be the back of the rally. Yeah. Not so much. It was PACKED at that point and people extended as far back as we could see - the Parks department had opened up all the areas that had been closed to protect the grass since there were just so many people. Usually, heavy crowds make me nervous, but the mood was jovial enough that it was OK. Unfortunately, we were far enough back that there was no visibility and only spotty audio. I'll have to actually watch the video at some point. :P People-watching was prime, though, and some of the signs were amazingly funny or insightful (see previous post). After the rally broke up, I had a plan - I had brought a big roll or trash bags and so I started picking up trash and handing out trash bags to anyone who would agree to assist with the clean up. Most of the people I asked pitched in happily, and I only had a few people ignore me. Then I caught back up with teffan  - we had gotten separated during the clean-up but we had cleverly set up a rendezvous point -  and stopped by the bookstore before heading back to the hostel for a nap.

In the evening, we hired a cab for an hour and saw the monuments and points of interest by night. Happily, he had the audio from the rally playing on his radio since he had not been able to go and it suited all of us to leave it on, so we had a nice soundtrack for the tour. We saw the FBI, Capitol, Navy Yard, Pentagon, Jefferson Monument, and ended at the Lincoln Monument. We spent some time listening to the park ranger and exploring the monument before walking back to the hostel via the reflecting pool and the White House. 

Sunday, we got up early and headed to the Washington Monument - they issue same-day tickets, but they go quickly. We got there around 8:15AM, the ticket office opened at 8:30 and by 8:45 most of them were gone, but we had our tickets! We were part of the 9AM tour (unfortunately along with a huge school group from Mississippi) and it was as enjoyable as I had remembered. The view, even through the foggy plexiglass, was fabulous. Interesting trivia - the first elevator was installed in 1888 - it was steampowered and could take up to 20 minutes to get to the top.

After we came down, there was the mad dash back to the hostel to pack and catch the metro to the airport. Sadly, we missed the train and had to quick backpedal and grab a taxi and ask him to step on it, like a bad movie. We made it, but only just! We got to the gate as they were beginning the pre-boarding procedure! Yikes! That's closer than I'd ever called it.

Sunday afternoon, B picked me up at the airport and we went to American Science and Surplus for steampunk supplies for TeslaCon. knappenp  showed up for a bit but we were soon off to meet gwyneth1362  for lunch. I passed out on the bus ride home, which was probably for the best since the bus was entirely full.goldfrog  was kind enough to pick me up at the bus station and take me back to my car at the dealership.

Such a good weekend... such a wonderful, exhausting time!
Current Mood: tiredtired
reneekytokorpireneekytokorpi on November 2nd, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
When we moved from Rhode Island to Virginia Beach, we saw both the Statue of Liberty in the bay and the White House at night. Dad woke my brother and I up as we drove down the street in front of the White House and could see it illuminated. :)

Can't do that now though. :c
eithni: greeneithni on November 2nd, 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
You can still walk past it though. :)
(Anonymous) on November 2nd, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
That's so cool! I would have loved to have seen/been at the rally! And I also thought the Library of Congress was prettier than the Capitol. :D