30. Apr, 2016

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 MONDAY 13-10-08 

I didn’t want to get out of bed again this morning. I was up quite late last night with the computer; well that’s my excuse anyway. Today is Columbus Day, a national holiday, though for who, other than government and office workers I’ve no idea. 

My cheap, everyday green fleece jacket needed washing as it smelt of bonfires from the log fires we’d been having recently. So off to the shower block I went as usual taking with me the fleece which I’d squirted liquid soap all over. After showering myself I put the fleece on, got back under the shower and proceeded to wash it as if it were my skin. It certainly made an easy job of it, I’d even taken a coat hanger with me to hang it on and bring back to the RV having squeezed as much water out of it as possible. On my return I hung it outside on the rear step to dry. 

Being a public holiday there was a much scaled down train and bus service, but we did get lucky in catching a bus which was waiting to leave at the campground entrance, and when we arrived at the Metro station walked straight on to a train waiting there, which all in all, shaved about 15 minutes off the total journey time, but by now it was something like 10:30. First we went to the Smithsonian Institute to ask two questions - How do we get out to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center? (The extension of the National Air & Space Museum and located on the edge of Washington's Dulles International Airport)? And where do we catch the boat down the river to Mount Vernon

The helpful lady gave us bus and Metro details about how to get to the museum, and then went on to a website and established that the cruise boat down the river was running today as it was a public holiday, but normally only runs Friday to Sunday as we are now out of season. After more directions we finally arrived at the waterfront to be told that the boat was only running one trip today and that went at 08:30, and that we were the second people to have arrived expecting other trips. We were a bit miffed, but she did kindly point out that we could get there using the Metro and a bus. By now it was too late to go there and so we made for Dulles Airport as there wasn’t much I wanted to see at the museum and admission was free. We would now visit Mount Vernon tomorrow using the Metro train and bus. 

After over an hour’s travelling from Dulles metro station we finally arrived at the museum. After a quick bag search we were in and walking forward  to the first hanger and there she was - ‘Enola Gay’ the B-29 Super-Fortress which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, an act, which, along with ‘Bockscar’ the plane which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, and which we’d already seen at Dayton, Ohio, changed the world forever. We overheard a guide giving a talk to some visitors close by and it seems ‘Enola Gay’ was the aircraft’s skipper, Paul Tibbets' mother's name, and a few hours before taking off on the mission he got one of the crew to go up and paint her name on the side of the aircraft. 

I couldn’t believe how quiet the museum was considering it was a public holiday. Our next visit was to the shuttle ‘Enterprise’ which never went in to space; it has no rocket motors, but was used for testing the unpowered landing after having been launched from the top of a jumbo jet. After a quick walk around I was finished, and so we had a coffee before making our way back to town. Had we never been to the United States Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio I would have been very pleased to spend more time looking around the displays here but having been to Dayton, all other aircraft museums would come a poor second, I believe it really is the ultimate museum for aircraft enthusiasts. 

We arrived back at the RV around 18:00. We felt today had been rather unsuccessful, we’d achieved very little. Somehow we still have to squeeze in the Holocaust Museum and time is running out. 

This evening has been spent doing the laundry and housework, our evening meal being a fry up cooked outside on the portable gas cooker, unhealthy but very tasty, besides we’d earned it! 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Cherry Hill Park, 9800 Cherry Hill Road, College Park, MD 20740.