After a leisurely Saturday morning, Bob suggested we drive out to the Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum. We're so glad we did! It was spectacular, a huge hanger with all sorts of planes and spacecraft, and a totally engrossing tour.
It started off in a big way, with a close-up look at our 2nd space shuttle sighting of the year (Enterprise being our first)! We got to meet Discovery, the first one we have seen that actually went into space. It completed the most missions of the shuttles, 39 in all. Quite an honor to stand in front of it.
A model of Up Goer Five (the subject of one of my favorite xkcd comics ever)
A real piece of Up Goer Five:
Another great view of Discovery, along with a model astronaut doing a spacewalk overhead:
Back in time a little - an older model flying machine:
A Wright Brothers plane:
The Enola Gay - in awe, although rather difficult, to see this:
A "Top Gun"-type fighter plane:
A Huey helicopter:
A Messerschmitt - I assembled a model of one when I was younger, but it didn't look quite exactly like this nor did it fly as well, so it was fun to see the real thing:
Another Discovery view:
Looks like a crazy dogfight in the hanger:
A plane you can park to drive the front part around... curious:
Part of a Goodyear blimp:
An external shot of this wonderful museum (and observation tower where you can watch planes taking off and landing at Dulles, at least when it's not a fogged-over day):
Sunday we got up early for an easy drive into downtown DC. Good morning!
The quest for the day was to spectate at a complicated "move in" of several items into the new National Museum of African American History and Culture that is being built. First we watched as a convoy approached Constitution Avenue with a prison guard tower on board:
The star of the day was a shrink-wrapped Pullman car from the segregation era:
The cranes worked all morning, hoisting items from the trucks and over the wall into the giant pit where the new museum is being constructed. The guard tower and train car are too large to be added next year, so they had to go in early in the building process.
The stand for the guard tower:
Two large cranes, one of which is bringing the guard tower in:
The train car waiting its turn:
The underground levels of the museum, in progress:
Straps lifting the train car before they added a couple blue beams as bottom supports:
The amazing part was watching two cranes acting in tandem to lift the train car, each holding one end:
Even more incredibly, they had to rotate the train car enough for it to fit in between the cranes. This was done so smoothly and flawlessly, we were all fascinated for several minutes:
About to lower the car into the hole:
A temporary resting spot before the train car is moved into place in a couple weeks:
I snapped the above shot from a vantage point over the top of the construction wall - also captured Bob and John looking up at me:
John's turn for the best viewing location outside of the wall:
Huge thanks to Bob for finding out about this historic event, and to whoever scheduled it such that we could be there to see it :)