Yesterday we took a tour of the Capitol. We walked through an underground tunnel to the Capitol, stood at the center of Washington D.C. (picture group 2), saw the original supreme court,went inside the Capitol dome (picture group 3,4),saw the original supreme court and senate,and witnessed the house voting (unfortunately no cameras were allowed). When we left the Capitol, we went to the national gallery of art (picture group 6). We then went back to camp, and had almost fallen asleep when we heard sirens and another loud noise, when the camp police came near our campsite, we asked him what it was. He said that there was a storm with 50-90 MPH winds approaching. We quickly packed and locked the trailer and drove the car to a nearby hotel (leaving the trailer at the campsite in case the storm struck before we arrived). Just as we got to the hotel, it started to rain and we saw lightning in the distance. We checked in and took the stairs too our room (the power went out for a few seconds during the time we would have been in the elevator (if I hadn't thought of that and taken the stairs))
The next day we were worried that the trailer (still in the campground) was destroyed. Unfortunately our trailer was in the last place in the loop so we had a lot of time to see the damage that the storm had done (blowing down trees and destroying tents). In fact, the campground was closed because of the damage and because there is scheduled to be another storm tonight. When we finally arrived at our trailer we were relived to find it intact (picture group 7-end) although one large branch either barely missed the trailer or hit it and slid off(seen in pictures). We then took the trailer to a new camp area (a picnic area used as a campground substitute for today)
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Top left: a model of the Capitol; top right: views through the window; bottom right: a plaster mold for the statue on top of the Capitol (just the mold weighs 1300 pounds!).
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Top right: the center of the Capitol, and the center of washington D.C., the marker I am standing on is indented from all the people standing on it; bottom left: the original supreme court; bottom right: the original supreme court's clock, which was always kept five minutes fast so they would start on time.
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Top left:the first African American woman in congress; others: inside the dome of the Capitol.
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Top left: the Capitol dome; others: the original senate
 
 
Yesterday we went back to the zoo to see the orangutans live demonstration (of their intelligence). Unfortunately it was cancelled for that day (why today?!) so we saw another demonstration of mole rats (which are not actually moles or rats, and live underground in colonies), we also got photos of other animals(group 1). We went to the American Art Museum and saw a exhibit on the War of 1812(picture group 2). We then listened to a presentation about the art of video games(picture group 3)(not to be confused with the art in video games)

Today we went to the Supreme Court to hear the decision on health care. We were interviewed by 3 news stations (KCRA, Voice of America, and a radio station that didn't say their name). We then went to the Post office museum, followed by the Hirschhorn Art gallery(picture group 4,5)
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In this room there are 3 windows that each only let in the light of the corresponding colored light.
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Another walk through art exhibit.
 
 
On Monday went to the spy museum, where we were not allowed to take pictures ( as we learned after our first (first group below)) in the museum it had a test at the ginning and end to remember the information on your particular character as well as information on the history of spying.

We then went to the Smithsonian art museum (conveniently located directly accross the street) to see an exhibit on the art of video games, Where we saw games from a recreation of Pac-Man (the game system was so basic (more basic than the original, it only had one sixteenth (4kB) the memory of the original game) that there was only one ghost at a time (blinking rapidly between ghosts) and the collectible dots looked like walls) to modern Xbox 360, wii, and play station games (and everything in between). While the we saw a game even my mother liked (called flower, for play station 3, hopefully she will get a play station for that game)!

The next day (yesterday) we went to the national zoo (picture groups 2- end, below)
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Left: climbing an air duct in the spy museum; right: the flower ps3 game.
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Birds
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More birds
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Even more birds
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Mammals, top right: a sloth leaving his box to scratch his leg(slowly); bottom right: a meerkat
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Gorillas
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More gorillas
 
 
Yesterday we went to more museums. We first saw an exhibit on life of the early seas. Next we went to an exhibit on the origins of man. I liked seeing the different branches of human evolution, how they were different and how they evolved (homo erectus -one branch- lived almost two million years, nine times longer than homo sapiens (us) have been around!) Next we went to the Air and Space museum. I liked the interactive exhibits on the effects of thrust, weight, lift and drag on flight (although I knew everything already). When we left we took the metro back to our car, got dinner (spaghetti bolognese) and went back to our camp, where my mom tried to convince the camp host to clean the restrooms.

Today we briefly went to the natural history museum, followed by the Washington monument and world war 2 memorial. Our final stop of the day was the air and space museum.
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Left: an unique species rises from the depths of the stairwell (a mom climbs the stairs with contrast set high). Right: an elephant
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Left: an early human (non homo sapiens) 2 year old (same size as a modern 2 year old) ; right: getting food from a Neanderthal.
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The washington monument, pointing at the sun.
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Air and space museum
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Top: a head sized trilobite (my favorite, I want a pet trilobite!)
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The Washington monument
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Left: Washington monument; top:white house;bottom: ww2 memorial with Lincoln memorial in background
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Left:world war 2 memorial; right: air and space museum
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Air and space museum. Top right: earth at the center of the universe (notice position of the sun)
 
 
edit: missing photo added


The day started off badly. I spent an hour on yesterday's blog but when we went to a cafe with wifi (so it would post faster) the (weebly iPhone) app closed and I had to start over from the beginning which took another hour. When we finally got started, we took the metro to the Smithsonian museum of natural history, where we spent the day. While there we saw fossils of ancient sea life(picture group 1), dinosaurs,and mammals(also group 1), as well as modern insects(picture group 3). Later, while we were eating, there was a thunderstorm and I got slightly ensoggied (wet) on the way to the car. When we got back to camp it was still raining so we retreated into the trailer.
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Top left: a modern elephant; top right: a huge, extinct sloth; bottom left: a four horned creature (related to an antelope (if I remember correctly));bottom right: an extinct fish.
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Top: a t-rex; bottom: a triceratops.
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View from the national mall ("behold the mational mall" my mom said(she accidentally said mational instead of national))
 
 
Yesterday we saw the Natural Bridge (picture group 1) and then we went by an old mill (picture group 2). We then drove through the Shenandoah National Park. We went to the Greenbelt Park campground near Washimgton D.C.at which point it was too late to write the blog.

Today we went to Washington D.C. by subway and walked near the White House. Although I was melting from the heat we managed to get photos of the White House and the Washington Monument (picture group 3). After this we went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History (picture group 4-6) where we ate and then looked at exhibits on inventions of technology and other things. We had dinner at a restaurant and then returned to camp where we took pictures of the fireflies (group 7, taken with I phone app slow shutter cam).
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Top left: clock made by Timekeepers Union (or something like that) who later became IBM; top right: an early shopping cart and cash register; bottom left: the original peace sign; bottom right: an early model of a ship (I forget the ship's name).
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Left, center: early batteries; right: an early arc lamp.
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Top left: an early motor; top right: an early electricity meter;bottom left: an early generator; bottom right: me looking at some early batteries and motors.
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All: fireflies. Photo taken with iPhone app slow shutter cam (each photo lasted a few minutes)
 
 
Last night there were people riding motorcycles around our campsite, keeping us awake. The next morning my mom went to tell the campsite host, not noticing a pair of barking poodles, when stepping near them she was bitten. After this we went to a local drugstore for neosporin. When we got to the car, the screen said brake failure, we searched for Toyota on the iPhone and saw that it was only four minutes away. We decided to try to drive there despite the brake failure, only to find the car wouldn't go out of park! We called Toyota and they said it was probably a blown fuse and instructed us to use the fuse removal tool (tweezers is what my mom called it)and install a spare fuse. We started to follow their instructions, only to find the fuse removal tool was missing. We called AAA and waited for an hour for them to tow us. When they arrived, they told us that they couldn't tow the trailer. We the decided to stay with the trailer (so it wouldn't get stolen) when, to our surprise the wrecker (they call tow trucks wreckers around here) driver got the car into drive. Once he did that, he told us to drive it to the Toyota dealer ourselves, but to make sure not to shift it to park. Toyota fixed the fuse and told us that the spare connector touched the trailer hitch and shorted out, blowing the fuse (we had a connector for trailer lights before we bought the trailer so we had a connector installed, we later got the proper connector installed on the car so it could charge the trailer's battery (for the fan,interior lights, etc.),the old connector was left dangling)we then went to the Charleston museum of west virginian history(picture groups 1-3). After this we drove along the Kanawha River, We then passed a house that one of our ancestors built. We continued towards Virginia. We turned around and drove backwards to a bridge (my mom's idea), however we did get some good pictures(group 4). After turning around we continued driving and finally arrived at KOA (at 10:50). We are now in the Shenandoah valley.
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Phone related things at the museum
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Just outside the museum
 
 
We left the KOA in st Louis and drove along the Mississippi river stopped at a town to see the houses (my mom's idea (of course)). We then drove across Illinois to Kentucky. Then we arrived at another, (you gussed it)KOA (c)kampground.
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Top left: summary of the day; Top center: more plains; Bottom left: big trees; Bottom center: a small town on our way. Right: the mississippi river
 
 
We left Jefferson city in the morning and headed for another KOA in st louis. On the way, we saw the gateway arch( first photo group below) and I wanted to go there. After setting up camp, we decided to go to the arch. When we arrived, we immediately bought tickets for a ride up the arch, unfortunately the next ride was in two hours so we had to wait a while. As we waited, we looked around the lewis and clark museum (photos below, group 2).when it was finally our turn(and after long line (it felt like line took 30 minutes)), we rode up to the top of the arch (picture group 3) (the ride up took 3.5 minutes according to a sign near entrance)we reached the top. The view was amazing. Highlights-a live baseball game (photo group 4),seeing the car (group 5), top of the world! (group 6), buildings and gardens (group 7). -Eventually we left and went to our (k)campsite, taking a few photos of the arch on our way (group 8).
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1. Views of the arch from the car
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2. The museum (mostly about Lewis and Clark )
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3. The ride up the arch.
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4. The baseball game
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5. Our car, from the arch.
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6. Top: top of the world!; Bottom left: entrance to the elevator to the top of the arch; bottom right: base of the arch (North side).
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7. Buildings and gardens
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8. The arch exterior
Note: the grouping of photos I have been doing the past few days was done using the iPhone app pic stich, It is a good app. to get it click here
 
 
Last night, just after posting on this blog we went swimming. After swimming in the pond, we saw one of my mom's shoes was missing. First we searched the bottom of the pond, when that failed I asked my mom to put the other one in the water to see what to look for and how far we could see (it was very murky water) when doing so we saw it floats! We then searched on the surface, after a few minutes we found it (on the other side of the pond (first group of photos, below) most of the rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we left the KOA (second group of pictures),and visited another historic town (third group of pictures). At the end of the day we were heading to the campsite (not a KOA) the gps said 9 minutes to our destination on mari osa delta st when- wait a minute, this route stops on bald hill road- not mari osa delta, we checked the iPhone (fourth group of pictures), same result. We called the campground and they gave us directions. The next problem came when my mom took interstate 50 west instead of 50 east. After heading back she took the wrong exit. After calling for directions again she took the wrong path and went in a circle eventually, after calling the campground two more times we found our destination (wasting over an hour total).
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The runaway shoe hiding (top photo) and exposed (bottom photo)
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The KOA from last night
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A historic town
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Top left: iPhone guiding us the wrong way; Top right: GPS guiding us the wrong way; Bottom: the signs were not much help.
 

    Author

    I am Patrick Leiser and this is a blog for a vacation I am going on this Summer (summer of 2012) on it you can track my progress on my way to Washington D.C. and back.

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