Monday, July 21, 2008

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's... Su-per Grover!

Roadtrip - After Pageant – Destination: Washington DC

So, the pageant is over… and as the wig-ladies say, “Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened!” I had an absolutely ‘wonderful-marvelous’ time at the Hill. Unfortunately, however, I didn’t have a whole bunch of time to get to blog my experience but I will update that part ASAP. In the meantime you are welcome to read my sister’s blog, which has great pics of us at the pageant, and right now, I am going to post about today’s events.

This morning we got up early at the Red Carpet Inn in Canandaigua, New York. Luckily for us, we had taken the time to pack up our stuff so all we had to do was shower up and ship out! We grabbed a bite at the local Micky-Ds and headed to the Rochester airport. It was today that I realized that it has been seven years since I was last on a plane. That was summer of 2001 – before 9-11 – There is no lie about how security has changed since then. I will admit, however, that the wait for security wasn’t bad at all since we had an early flight and there wasn’t very many people in the terminal. We had to take any of the liquids/gels out of our suitcases, I had to take out my laptop and we both had to take off our shoes. That was just weird… being shoe-less in an airport…
Because of the increased security it is pretty much mandatory that you arrive at the terminal two hours before your flight departs. Well, since we got through security fairly fast and since it wasn’t too hard to find our departing gate we had a little less than an hour and a half to wait for our plane. The sheer irony of this whole thing is that our flight was only 45 minutes long! My sister figured though, that it would have been a day driving to Washington D.C., so when you calculate the time gained and the things that we were able to do today it all worked out in the end.

But now, back to the flight, oh my goodness! The plane was small, it had about 16 rows of seats (Chrissy and I figured) and each row had four seats and the rows were divided by a small aisle. That my friends, is how I got the aisle seat and how Chrissy got the window seat. So, because it was a smaller plane, the norm of having two carry-on pieces is different. We actually had to give them one piece of our luggage so they could put it in the belly of the plane – there wasn’t enough room on-board. Another thing about the plane being smaller was that it was a bit bumpier in the air than a bigger plane, that was the only thing that I didn’t like about the smaller plane. I didn’t mind them taking my other bag. OK, so the next thing about flying in this plane was that when we arrived we didn’t get out in the terminal. We got out on the Tarmac!!! Ever since I’ve seen the old version of “Parent Trap” I have wanted to get off of a plane on the Tarmac. So there we stood, not five yards away from the wings of the plane!

On the Tarmac, waiting for my luggage right by the plane!

Once we had gotten into the building we walked to the other side of the building (not far at all) and literally walked onto a shuttle from the building… it pulled right up to the building, like a truck would at a loading dock. Have you seen a loading dock before? If you have you know the height of it and I think that these docks for the shuttles were pretty high too – that was evident to me when I looked out the window as we pulled away from the building – the wheels on these things were HUGE! Ok, ok, they weren’t as big as the wheels on the machines at Kennecott Copper Mines but they were significantly bigger than any care tire.
So we were speeding across the Tarmac on this shuttle to get to the main terminal. Once there we confirmed out tickets for the “Super Shuttle” from Dulles to Washington D.C. and within another hour we arrived at the Holiday Inn Capitol. This hotel is literally within walking distance of the Capitol, the White-House, the Washington Monument, and several Smithsonian museums as well as many other tourist hot spots.

As soon as we had checked in to our room we headed to the Air and Space Museum. There were so many cool things there! There were things that some of the earlier astronauts took with them up in space was very interesting… to see how their food was packaged, what they used for breathing, what safety equipment they had the tools they used to collect space stuff… back in the developing days of space-travel. Now everything is so different, but yet in a way, it isn’t… Does that make any sense? Another thing that I really liked was seeing this presentation about flight – it was meant for kids, but there were ‘kids’ of all ages watching. The young (probably college age) presenter explained the four characteristics of flight. Honestly, I can say that a lot of what he talked about was applicable to my physics class. I am such a nerd… There were artifacts and displays of the beginnings of flight as well as artifacts and displays of space-crafts and many neat hands-on learning centers so that the laws of flight, gravity and space could be better understood. I’ve gotta say that the display of presenter was asking the kids questions, sort of in a rhetorical sense, because I think he knew that a lot of kids were kinda intimidated, and I wanted to raise my hand and answer them, but it wasn’t my place to do so… The questions weren’t meant for young adults.

A NASA space aircraft

Ahh! I don't wanna get sucked in!

Planes - Dude!

And you thought I was short before!

After we went to the Air and Space Museum we headed to an expo that was going on at a part of the Smithsonian – Jim Henson’s Fantastic World! It was a really neat thing to go to. Not only were their displays that had the Muppet and Sesame Puppets but there were commercial reels and sketches that got Jim started in the TV industry. There were story boards of some of the things you see on Sesame street as well as sketches of what some of the main characters looked like originally. For example, Oscar, the Grouch was sketched as being purple, but in Season 1 of Sesame Street, Oscar was orange. If you have seen Sesame Street at any time in the last several years you would know that Oscar is neither Purple or Orange but he is Green! Did you know that that Elmo’s World has been on Sesame street for the past ten years? It aired beginning in 1998, I was 9 at that time and it is still going strong today! Here is a quote from the expo,
"As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood."

Unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures inside the gallery, but it’s understandable for preservation purposes. However, I did take this picture of Christine at the entrance of the gallery.

After we finished at Jim Henson’s Fantastic World! we headed for the Washington Monument, but unfortunately we arrived there after the tours ended so we couldn’t go up inside of it, but we were satisfied just being within yards of the monument.

One view of the Washington Monument, we took so many pictures of that thing!

Finally, to finish up our first day in D.C. we headed to the National Museum of Natural History where we spent about an hour in the display area for stones and gems.

Topaz: My birthstone. There was an entire case of large chunks of Topaz, here are a few that I really liked. If you need any ideas for a birthday present, here's one! *wink wink*

A HUGE chunk of Quartz that we could touch

Christine, touching some lava-rock

After a long day of going up and down the National Mall, we headed back to the hotel and ordered an extra cheesy pizza from room service - ah it was delightful!

Well, that was a long post, and I need to turn in for tonight.
Blogging later,