Wednesday, May 18, 2011

East Coast RoadTrip - Days 0 and 1: SFO-BWI

Prologue to Esther & Nick's East Coast Road Trip

This has been an bumper year for us being invited to weddings of the legandary Girl Scout Troop 757 alumnae.  First Jessica married Timi in February in Foster City.  Then I officiated at Liz and James' Wedding in April in San Gregorio. That's the ceremony in my previous entry.  Now Christina is marrying Meigh in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Since the opportunity was there, Nick and I decided to make a vacation of it, see some family and friends and some sites.  I'm actually typing on day 6.  In decades gone by, I used to say if I had time to do cool things, I didn't have money.  If I had money, I didn't have time.  Now it seems, if I have something cool to write about here, I have the time.  But if I have the time, I don't seem to have anything fun to write about.   I'm hoping my faithful followers will hang in while I catch up.

Day 0 - Leaving on a Jet Plane

On Thursday, we said good bye to Denali and Borealis and promised to return and headed on up 101 to SFO.  At the United Terminal, there was an art exhibit which seems to be turning into a recurring theme:  items made out of recycled materials.  Even then I laughed at how many Girl Scout Badge or Interest Projects have the requirement - make an object out of old whatever.  In this case, there were baskets made from used telephone wires, duck decoys out of milk cartoons and lawn chairs from plastic bags.  Someday, I have to do something with all the photographs.

Our flight to Baltimore-Washington was pretty uneventful - watched two movies, Reds (with Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren stealing scenes) and something dumbish title out of my head by now. We arrived about 11:45 a few minutes late.  Got our luggage and took the shuttle to the Thrifty rental booth at 12:20and made friends with a guy just in from Perth.  Seriously, we were almost BFFs by the time the rental agent got to him.  Let's just say, Thrifty isn's Swifty.  We left the airport at 1:20 am.  We were in our room at the Silver Spring Hilton at 2:15am, a little late to connect with anyone. 

Day 1 
The Smithsonian is Huge!

Not so bright nor early on Friday, we took care of a few necessities at the nearest Target.  Some of you may know about that I always carry a package of Pepperidge Farm Milanos for emergencies.  Somehow I didn't have any  and... I needed a special wardrobe item.  Found it at the nearby Champs store.  Back to the hotel to change and off we hiked 3.5 blockes down Coldsville Rd to the Metro Station.  This was the first of drizzly (or worse) days.   We tootled on into DC to meet Val, someone I know through the Reconstructionist  movement, for lunch at the National Gallery.  These building also houses the Smithsonian  American Art Museum and used the be the Patent Offices.  The cafeteria seating is inside/outside.  It's a covered courtyard which still has the facades of the old building.  It was quite nice. We chatted and got to know each other better.

Val guided us around the museum through several areas - including, that theme - art from recycled materials.  Most notable to me was the driftwood horse. A favorite work, not recycled, was a neon map of the United States.  Each state contained TV sets showing video relevant to the state. Alaska had whales and moose.  South Dakota had George McGovern. I had way more fun in the portrait galleries than expected, cause I recognized so many subjects.  We parted ways with Val in the shop and amazingly, I bought nothing.

We had some spare time before our next reunion/adventure, so we took Val's advice and headed down towards the National Mall and found the Hirshorn Sculpture Garden. I was having a great time photographing things like the giant typewriter eraser and a variation on Shelob (Lord of the Rings reference) and the Caulder horse (oh forgot to mention the Caulder exhibit -  sketches and wire artworks of people) and the dancing waters fountain when the fountain turned off and the ducks settled in.  Then a guard hustled us all out cause it was closing time.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

We hiked on down again to the Metro heading towards our next destination - Nationals Baseball Stadium where I was totally appropriately dressed in my new Nationals T-shirt (see above Target bit).  A bit of back story.  At Nick's 40th Harvard reunion on the first day's luncheon, we sat down at an empty table and waited to see who joined us.  Short version - a classmate named  Ken, whom Nick didn't know before came over with his partner, James.  James and I started laughing about being the non-classmates - it's like a title at Harvard reunions.  On the next night's dinner, we all caught up with each other again and James and Ken and I had a great diversity discussion and are just all crazy about each other.  Ken and I have kept touch via facebook.  He's as big a baseball fan as we are.  He's from Tennessee but his first team is the St Louis Cardinals - whom we hate because of a few World Series issues, mostly, 1967.

As American Leaguers (Red Sox, Athletics), we could easily cheer for the Nationals.  So we let Ken know we were coming and he got us all great tickets.  We got there first and OMG, I love that ballpark.  You walk in and have this great view looking out over the park from left field.  The concessions are on a spacious promenade and everyone working there is friendly - like really nice and helpful and friendly.  Americorps was even giving away rally flags which are proving quite useful on this trip.

James doen's like baseball so came later, mostly to see us and became our iPhone guy.  See, we were following the Cards playing the Cincy Reds and the Red Sox playing the Yankees as well as the game in front of us, the visiting Marlins.  It was a great game - with the lead changing and being tied up a few times.  I think James was startled to have not one but three maniacs jumping up and screaming at good plays. Ken loved the company and Nick & I love baseball.  The game ran 11 innings, long enough to start following Oakland vs the White Sox.  Sadly the Nationals lost 6-5 but the Red Sox began the first of the three game sweep!

And now I must head for sleep.  I'd tell you about tomorrow but that would be spoilers.  Instead,
Preview for Day 2, Saturday, May 14 (my half-birthday) - starts with Lions, Tigers, Bears and ends with   two gorgeous brides.


© 2011 Esther A. Heller

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