Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A geographer and his family in DC

This year Spring break for the boys coincided with my attendance at the American Association of Geographers conference in DC. We decided to make it a family vacation. We flew out Sunday night after Sarah's mission report in Sacrament meeting earlier that day. We flew into BWI airport where we rented a car. Next morning we headed north to Forth McHenry to see and learn more about where our national anthem came to be.

As a 62 year old I found out I was eligible to buy a National Parks Senior pass for $80 which permits lifetime visits to all national parks at no additional expense. Heck of a deal.

15 stars and 15 stripes.

Great location to protect the entrance to Baltimore's inner harbor.

Statue of Orpheus to honor Francis Scott Key.

Washington DC Temple under renovation.

Next stop: Shenadoah National Park. We drove most of the Skyline Drive (the southern portion was closed) with tis magnificent views of the Shendaoah Valley.


We had time for lots of scenic view stops and for one short hike.

The view of Old Rag. I hiked it twice during my times living in DC.

Another view of Old Rag, and an old man.

Me atop Old Rag in 1985 with a group of youth, missionaries and leaders from the Southeast Asian Branch.

We enjoyed dinner in downtown Charlottesville. This is the still standing statue of Robert E. Lee that was at the center of the August 2017 race driven protests, riots and deaths in the city.

Randolph House. Tuesday we spent the day at Williamsburg. We visited years ago when Sarah and Joel were five and three.  At the time Sarah was a big fan of American Girl Felicity.



Wythe House

Governor's Palace

Nothing like straight lines for borders.

An idea for future decorations in our home.

Nice depiction of the parallel ridges of the Appalachian Mountains which served as an impediment to westward expansion.

Chamber Organ

With Will at the lead we navigated the maze in the rain. Always a favorite for me.

In the center of the Maze on our 1969 epic "Back East" motorhome road trip. Kudos to mom for making sure our socks matched our shirts.

Then and now I was interested in the gardening.

Lockable spice box in the Everend House from back in the day when nutmeg, cloves and other spices commanded a much higher price.

Wednesday morning we set out on foot from our Foggy Bottom Hotel. Not too happy with some of the recent edicts from the Interior Department.

By the time we knew our schedule in DC it was too late to reserve on-line tickets for the newest Smithsonian Museum--The National Museum of African American History and Culture, so I logged on at 6:30 that morning to get same day tickets. We spent nearly five hours (including lunch in the museum cafe--I had fried catfish) exploring the six levels of this exceptional museum.

The three below ground levels trace the history of African American from the slave trade up to the modern day. It is amazing to witness how integral African American are to all aspects of US history.

A reminder of where Joel will be serving his mission.

Portugal has the notoriety of transporting the most slaves to the Americas.

Hard to fathom in this day and age how slavery was every justified and practiced by men like Jefferson who so eloquently and convincingly spoke of equality and freedom for all.

Thomas Jefferson backed up by stacked blocks representing all of the slaves he owed.

Our history of slavery is so troubling. This is not an easy museum to visit.

Harriet Tubman's shawl and hymn book.

Proud to read about religious leaders like Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos who during the civil rights era spoke out against racist policies in the US.

Segregated rail car.

From a list of racist laws in all of the states.

Joel recognized Joan Trumpauer--she came and spoke to Springville High last year about her involvement in the Civil Rights movement.

Learning about lunch counters, sit-ins and activism.

Special exhibit about the impact of Oprah.

After lunch we visit the upper levels which are devoted to African American Culture. I had never heard the phrase: "Making a way out of no way", but I have come to learn that it encapsulates the African American experience where, amid almost insurmountable challenges, blacks have made their mark and offered lasting and significant contributions to all parts of our history.

I never focused on the topic of this movie.

We then walked around the Tidal Basin during the peak of cherry blossoms.

It was a blustery day at times.

The FDR Memorial

So many historic statements that still resonate today.

MLK Memorial

We were all plumb wore out from walking at this point, but after some Lemonade at the Lincoln Memorial we forged on.

Korean War Memorial

"To bind up the Nation's wounds."

Vietnam War Memorial

At George Washington University on our walk back to the hotel. A bench and a plaque in recognition of acts of integration.

"There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves; nothing that reminds us of the ones who made the journey and of those who did not make it. There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road. " (Toni Morrison, The World, 1989).


Thursday and Friday were conference days for me. The Thursday Keynote speaker was former Attorney General Eric Holder. He spoke about his efforts to repair the sectarian damage done by rampant gerrymandering through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Impressive man. https://democraticredistricting.com/    

Friday afternoon I presented my paper:
Tsunami Awareness and Mitigation Efforts in the Tourist Environments of Bali and Lombok


The conference meetings were held in the Marriott Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham hotels. The Omni Shoreham has hosted lots of dignitaries over the years including a full wing set aside for the Beatles.

The beautiful gardens of the Shoreham are popular for ritzy weddings.

In route to join the family for dinner on Thursday I happened upon this memorial to the black soldiers (listed by regiment) who served in the Civil Way.

No time to visit the nearby African American Civil War Museum.

In honor of and preparation for Joel's mission call to serve in the Ghana, Cape Coast mission, for dinner we enjoyed some delicious (at least to me) Ghanaian food at the Appioo Bar and Grill on 9th street near U street.

Joel tried the fufu (mashed plantain dumplings) with chicken and peanut soup on top. He liked it. Good thing, it is a staple in Ghana.

I enjoyed the vegetarian sampler. Tasty and spicy. I also enjoyed some of Joel's fufu and Will's clove spiced fried plantains.

We had plenty of opportunities to ride the Metro. The Woodley Park/Zoo Metro stop has an extra long exit escalator.

I was amused by these Metro advertisements for skiing in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I've skied Pennsylvania before and I didn't feel a whole lot of YAASSSS.

While I was conferencing, Marie and the kids visited the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and a good dose of the Smithsonians. They also rode scooters along the Mall and then rented bikes to ride back to the hotel.

Saturday Morning we visited the National Gallery. The above favorite is a familiar scene in our home.

A very dramatic Shipwreck by Vernet. Intrigued by the men climbing down the ropes to safety.

The not very biblical looking Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still upon Gibeon by John Martin.

The kids recognized Winter Harmony by Twachtman because a copy of it that I bought years ago at the National Gallery hangs in our basement bathroom.

The Apostle Paul by Rembrandt

Back at the hotel we watched the morning session of LDS General Conference. Rumored changes to the Word of Wisdom (LDS code of health) did not materialize but that didn't stop my siblings from having some fun texting about coffee no longer being forbidden.

Saturday Afternoon we enjoyed beautiful weather and a cool new stadium for the DC United vs LAFC soccer game. DC lost (0-4) and Rooney (who some say Will looks like) got a red card.

Rooney  (#9 in black on the far right) kicks a penalty kick.
It was a long steep climb up to our seats.

Our view from the top of of the Audii Stadium: Fort McNair housing, Potomac River, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials and Rosalyn, Virginia.

Our final stop of the day was the National  Portrait Gallery.

The primary destination of our visit.

Marie seldom requests that I take her photo, but she wanted a photo with President Obama.

So did Joel.

I was inspired by this special exhibit: The Struggle for Justice.



I read a biography of Booker T. Washington when I was in high school. It changed the way I think about peanuts.

Sunday morning we joined Marie's brother Matt for a walking visit to Arlington National Cemetery.

Netherlands Carillon

JFK burial site.

11:00 changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington Cemetery

Uncle Matt. He has spent his career as a foreign service officer and ambassador in the Middle East. Maybe one day he can help bring an end to US involvement in Iraq.

We then watched the morning session of Conference a Matt's hotel room before our evening flight home out of Reagan national airport. It was a great week.

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