Tag Archives: travel

Here we go again

Friday 6/2/2017 

Away on another adventure exploring the unknown and revisiting some known. The traveling Willoughby’s leave the misty, overcast humidity of Florida and head for Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Days of last-minute appointments, end-of-year school prep, airport excursions, family visits and of course, packing, has left us subdued, but most definitely ready for the peace and quiet of the mountains. Follow us as we once again travel, play, photograph and explore.

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DC Statues

One cannot help but notice the thousands of statues and sculptures that are scattered throughout Washington DC.  Notice one and you are probably missing half a dozen more.  These are great subjects to photograph as they don’t move.  They can be challenging in that you have to get your shots without people in them.  The shots are usually in the what I call the “crane your neck” view as you have to look up at them to take the shots.  This also means you have to watch that the sky doesn’t blow out your highlights.  This view, however, can add to the immensity of some of these works of art.  Especially my favorite, the view of the Infinity Sculpture/Artwork that we found outside the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  I’ve taken this shot before, but never did it come out like this one.  The reflection of the sky in the metal just added to the feeling of motion.  I don’t know what the names of many of the statues are, as I took them as we were walking from point A to point B.  Often, I was only afforded a few minutes to point and shoot.  We were always on the go!  There is just so much to do in DC.

 

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Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The first place we visit when in Washington DC is, of course, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  This is a must due to my very nerdy men.  My husband, a fifth grade teacher, loves science almost as much as he loves me and that’s a lot.  Our 8 year old son, gifted, cute and truly a young scientist at heart wants to be a NASA engineer when he grows up.  Last year he even got to meet a real NASA engineer, which of course, further fueled his desire to one day build a faster rocket than anything they have today!  Watch out future American citizens, he just might do it.

 

These are only a few of the photos I took.  I didn’t take near as many as I did the first time we went to the Air and Space Museum.  Back in 2014, I think I took a photo of just about every exhibit.  This year, not so much.  I wanted to concentrate on what I was seeing.  Of course, the coolest exhibit this year was the original model of the spaceship Star Trek Enterprise.  Being a fan of the show, this was a must see.

Arlington Cemetary: A Humbling Experience

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My father is a 20 year veteran of the United States Army.  He is a veteran of both the Korean and the Vietnam wars, doing several tours in each.  I feel extremely proud of my father and proud of all the men and women that have and do serve our country.  Many of these brave men and women and their families are not as lucky as I am.  My father came home.

We were very blessed to visit Arlington Cemetery.  While there we saw Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and burial site.  We also trekked up the hill to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  A must see at this part of the cemetery is the changing of the guard, a remarkable and humbling experience.  The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, rain, sleet, snow or as in the day we visited – sweltering heat.

The pictures I took cannot possibly do justice to the immense size of this place.  They cannot come even close to replicating the feeling one has when realizing just how many men, women and even children are buried here.  (Wives and children can be buried with their husbands/fathers.)  For those men and women that gave their lives for our freedom – Thank You!

NOTE:  There is a lot of walking to see this expansive cemetery.  Wear comfortable shoes, hats and sunscreen (for summer), and definitely take water with you.  Many of the sections are on hills and walking  can be difficult.  In the end, though, you won’t regret the discomfort.

Rules for Visiting Washington DC (summertime)

Rule no. 1:  Wear sunscreen.

Rule no. 2:  Wear a hat.

Rule no. 3:  Take the Metro.  Buy a SmartCard.  Yes it seems very safe, people are very nice and it is fairly clean.  Much cheaper and more flexible than a tour bus.

Rule no. 4.  Make sure your camera battery and phone battery are charged each day.  I must have taken a thousand photos, I kid you not!

Rule no. 5.  Realize you will be doing the tourist thing all day long.  It is tiring, but oh so worth it.  It also means eating out a lot!

Chillin' at the Zoo.  The misters were great.
Chillin’ at the Zoo. The misters were great.

Rule no. 6.  Because you will be at it all day long, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.  Also bring bottles of water with you.  I cannot emphasize this last enough.  Very easy to get dehydrated.

With that being said, we are leaving DC tomorrow and heading to Williamsburg.  I haven’t been there since I was 10 and I am so excited.

Photos from the National Air and Space Museum

Below are just a few photos from our visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.  This is a must  see if you are in DC.  Very well organized, taking the visitor from the very beginnings of humanities’ place in the Universe to the most modern examples of human space exploration.  We spent our time in awe and totally enjoyed every minute of the visit.  Well worth the time. 

Tomorrow the National Museum of Natural History.

Jim fell in love with this one.  Found it to be quite interesting.
Antartic Plane.  Jim fell in love with this one. Found it to be quite interesting.
I fell in love with the chrome on this plane.  What remarkable shine and smoothness.
Howard Hughes plane.  I fell in love with the chrome on this plane. What remarkable shine and smoothness.
Even the Navy is represented at the Museum.
All Hands On Deck.  Even the Navy is represented at the Museum.
Apparently this was one of the types of planes used in the Indiana Jones movies.
Since our wedding was based on Indiana Jones.  Apparently this was one of the types of planes used in the Indiana Jones movies.
From Wright Brothers to Drones.  We have come a long way.
From Wright Brothers to Drones. We have come a long way.
One of the planes Amelia Earhart flew.  Very beautiful.
One of the planes Amelia Earhart flew. Very beautiful.
The plane is the original plane the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, NC.  I went there as a child and have been fascinated with planes since.
The plane is the original plane the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, NC. I went there as a child and have been fascinated with planes since.
Only 5 of these bikes exist.  Quite beautiful workmanship.
The Wright Brothers started off with bicycles not planes.  Only 5 of these bikes exist. Quite beautiful workmanship.
Many exhibits show how man has visited space.  It was quite amazing.
Many exhibits show how man has visited space. It was quite amazing.
We ate lunch at the biggest McD's we have ever seen.  Also the most expensive.
We ate lunch at the biggest McD’s we have ever seen. Also the most expensive.
Jim was explaining about the Sputnik satellite.
In Awe.  Jim was explaining about the Sputnik satellite.