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Issue #211, Epic Road Trip, July 3, 2018: Air and Space Museum and the White House, Washington, D.C.

July 3, 2018 We spent our first day in Washington D.C. yesterday, leaving the Cricket before the sun had topped the trees and started to bake our camp. We drove to the closest metro staton that would allow us to finish the rest of the journey by train - still about half an hour away on congested streets - and headed straight over to the air and space museum, conveniently situated just minutes from where we emerged from the underground stop.

I was forced to throw away my swiss army knife that I had buried in my fanny pack, since there was no other option; but once I had done that we were free to roam the vast caverns of aviation and space exploration history along with thousands of other tourists. We did spend about an hour making a diversion into the ‘virtual reality’ are where we paid to have a family virtual reality ride around the space station several hundred of miles above the earth; the effect was wonderful, giving us a shared memory of hanging out together there.

The kids did an additional ride as we split off and each explored on our own. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information one could absorb; still, I spent quite bit of time in the exhibit room for Orville and Wilber Wright, as the background material was quite complete there; the navigation exhibit; jet engines and propulsion; the history of aviation in regards to government regulation and deregulation; the space shuttle room, and the lunar landing exhibit.

I walked through ‘Skylab’ and examined how people used the toilet in space on the shuttle, and oogled at the engines.

The kids took their own trajectory through the complex, and it wasn’t until about 3:30 that I tried to assemble everyone back together, using our phones to communicate our location. Paige bought a t-shirt for Orion and then we were out of there in to the completely oppressive heat of the mall area, where we immediately bought lemonade for the kids and decided that even though it was so hot, we would still try and walk to the White House, 34 minutes away.

It was a very visually stimulating 34 minutes, as we passed a sculpture garden, the Academy of Art ad the Archives, Trump’s “Hotel”, the Treasury building and finally the White House, where we hung out for about half an hour, looking at the tourists, security guards, and protestors.

The other weird thing that happened was that when we got back to the parking garage, to “section 16” where we had left the car, we couldn’t find it; after 15 minutes of wandering around not seeing it, I was fearing that it had been towed, or was stolen; and was about to call the security when Paige spotted it, in a distant section that also said 46! Whew!. The kids laughed at me: “Dad, did you think that the car was stolen”?

The drive back to Prince William took a long time due to traffic congestion and accidents, plus I brought some beer at a random grocery store. The kids swam for only 20 minutes before they were kicked out, at 8pm. We ate leftovers and collapsed into our sleeping module.

black photographer
taking picture of a drunk black
in Lafayette Park

even in the heat
federal workers with suits
walk past the white house

protest encampment
arrayed with injustices
for trump to look at

guards with guns on roof,
stern-looking police with vests
stand amidst tourists

deranged protester
stands in front of the white house
chanting, holding sign

trump’s hotel, downtown
so much more presidential
than that old white house

middle class family
in front of the treasury
taking group photo

busted by the guards
with forgotten pocket knife
deep in folds of bag

convincing the kids
that a cold lemonade drink
will help white house walk

behind marble walls
like willy wonka’s enclave
government churns

starlings in the heat
snatching french fries from the trash
walk with beaks agape

with blue suit and badge
this government employee
looks tired on the train

kids disappearing
into the vast edifice
of aviation

the evolution
of navigation ends with
broken iPhone

tragedies beget
navigational progress
in ocean travel

a virtual ride
takes us to the space station
to fix broken stuff

near calamity
when we can’t find our volvo
in parking garage

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen