Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Driver

I have always been the type that works just about seven days a week. Often the family just has to deal with this fact. Recently, I have been trying hard to make Sunday, family day. This past Sunday was family day for sure. We hopped in the car and went for a Sunday drive. It sounds so spontaneous as I write it, but it was actually very premeditated. We were to meet our very dear friends Jenny and Robert at the Museum of Natural History. Washington DC is about 45 minutes drive from my door to the door of the President, so going to DC is a piece of cake. Jenny is Beth's oldest and dearest friend. She is called Auntie Jenny by both our daughters and her new man Robert is an awesome guy.
Seeing your kid enjoying what they are seeing is an awesome sight, especially if they are learning something in the process. Ava is very bright and knew a lot about the fossils and dinosaurs we were looking at. She made honor role this quarter. I am still waiting for my bumper sticker that reads " my kid is an honor student at..." I told her I would put it on my truck with pride. The sticker I really have my heart set on is "my kid is the smartest kid in the whole damn school" Hey now, a father can dream.
Halle was even learning some stuff about whales. Did you know how the right whale got it's name? I do. They had a good deal of oil to them. The Whalers(not Bob Marley and Peter Tosh) sought them out due this and they were then called the right whale.
The museum was unusually quiet for a Sunday. That made the entire experience so nice. Last time we were here it was so packed you could barely move.
Since the day was so nice, we decided to walk to our next destination instead of driving and dealing with parking. If you ever go to DC the parking of the car is ten times worse than negotiating all the one way and angled streets. Being able to walk and just leave the car parked was indeed a luxury.
We took a short cut through the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art(short cut, yeah right, we spent a half hour there. We would have stayed longer had the security guy not gotten so upset with Halle walking on the grass so I could take he picture next to a Roy Lichtenstien sculpture).
I was most enamored by this new piece that just was added. It is full size tree made of aluminum. I was so captivated I never say who it was by.
We walked up to Chinatown for a Chinese( and Yensan) family tradition of Dim Sum. For many years we have topped off a museum visit with a meal in China town. Unfortunately real estate is so hot in this area that China town has become one block long. At one time is was very large, but now it has been condensed down to just this one section of G street.
The place we usually go to has the best roast pork. I always get a plate of roast pork when we come here. Two years ago I forced some upon a friends son. He is a big fan now too. From what I understand they do not serve pork like this in Wisconsin.
For those who do not know, Dim Sum is a traditional Sunday meal in China. It is little plates of food served to you from a cart. Women push the carts around to the tables and you choose what you want to eat. At the end you pay for what you had. The meal can go on for a long time. There is always something new to try.
If anyone is looking to go try Dim Sum while at the Cherry Blossom Rally next April, I would be glad to take you. I would tell you how to get there, but then I might miss out.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A plug

To the left of this post, you will see my blog list. One of the blogs is by my internet friend Chris Vile. I have plugged his blog before due to it being an excellent read filled with vivid photos of his Airstream restoration. I am sure that most of you reading this have seen his blog and enjoyed it. Chris is a professional cinematographer that specializes in documentary work. His Most recent project is called Airmen and Headhunter. It aired on PBS's Secrets of the Dead. I hope will take some time out of your day to watch it. The documentary examines a part of World War II history very few people know about.
I do not want to spoil anything for you, but it involves a plane crash, a rescue, and some decapitations followed by guerrilla warfare, more headhunting and more rescuing.

Chris is one lucky guy to have a job that takes him to such wonderful locations. Maybe he will take on the real exotic local of Jackson Center and tell the story of Wally Byam someday. Oh, Chris, if you need someone to clean your camera lens or fetch your coffee for you when you do your next project, well, I could be hired cheap.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It was an early morning yesterday, I was up before the dawn

To most getting up early and getting on the road is very difficult. For me it is second hat. There is something about those wee hours of the night that make knocking down the miles so much easier.
The view from the mirror always allows glimpses that one usually does not get during the day. So what has me on the road so early? A recovery, what else. This recovery however is not a trailer in some distant state. This recovery is of some paintings done by Beth's Uncle. Beth had an Uncle named Howard Hardy that was a painter and illustrator from the 1930's until the his death in the 1980's. Howard's wife Bea has been promoting his paintings since his death and recently she passed on too. We were asked by the family to go up to Long Island and retrieve the remaining paintings from her Estate. We dropped the kids off with their Grandparents and headed out the next morning.
There were many bridge crossing. Unfortunately, on the East Coast, to cross a bridge one must pay a heavy toll. I am amazed that I can drive all the way to California without paying a toll, but to just go through the state of New Jersey it costs me close to $10. I think this was the $9 bridge. There were so many, as you will see, that I lost count.
After we loaded all the paintings into the truck we decided to turn the work aspect of this trip into fun. What better way to enjoy one's day than to go for a boat ride. So we headed to the very end of Long Island and took the Cross Sound Ferry to New London Connecticut.
Being the truck in the group has it advantages on the ferry. I might not be the first on, but I will be the first off. I so wish my trailer had been in tow. This is the exact type of journey I would love to have my trailer with me for.
I do not know what it is, but every time I ride a ferry I feel like a little kid. The smell if the sea, the rumble of the motors, the thick diesel smell. All those things combine for a sensory explosion.
Fortunately it was a smooth day on the Sound. The wind was very cold and biting but the views were spectacular. At the very right of this photo are some little dots. Those dots are small fishing boats all huddled together over some bar or underwater structure. They are most likely hoping for a nice stripped bass. Half way between us and them were thousands of sea birds diving into the water at bait fish. Under those birds and bait fish, yep, big stripped bass. The water was boiling with fish and birds in a feeding frenzy.
Once the cold wind got to me I decided to go in and join Beth reading in the cabin. She was easily convinced to take her book into the bar. Yes, there is a bar on the ferry. A double Beam and Coke for me and Blue Moon for Beth. Very smart of the ferry line to have a bar on the boat.
The ferry goes to New London. Across the river from New London is where they build submarines for the Navy. Beth's cousin took command of a submarine just like that last week. Now that is job for some one besides me. I could not take being cooped up in that little tube.
Now they are sure to object to this photo, but the Collimore's were kind enough to put us up for the night. We met Don and Amanda at our third rally and we have been good friends ever since. We really didn't need to go to Connecticut, but that is where they live, so we made a detour there. We sat around the campfire in their yard and just enjoyed their company. It was nice to just talk and laugh a lot with them. They were very gracious hosts and sent us on our way the next morning with a belly full of excellent breakfast. My only regret about visiting them is that they live five hours away. I am very fortunate to have such excellent friends. I am truly blessed.
More bridges and more tolls. Last time I crossed this one it took over three hours. This time around it was smooth sailing.

And smooth sailing over this one too. I just wish Anna had been in this picture also.