My last class did not end early on Thursday, as I had hoped, so it was rush hour by the time I headed north to D.C. I did make it to the hotel, I just took the scenic route by way of downtown D.C. and I-64, neither of which should have been part of the journey. The roads here are crazy, you exit one limited access highway and find yourself immediately on another; if you miss an exit you are pretty much hosed, there is a lot of construction and detours as well, which throws off the GPS and google map directions.
Anyhow, I DID make it there, somewhat wrung out, and I was met by Tracy and James in the hotel lobby. Kathryn flew in on Friday and we met her at the airport, by way of the metro. I am all for using the public transit system in a major metropolis!
It was a great weekend. Friday we went to the Old Post Office, which is the tallest tower in D.C. you can actually enter, now that the Washington Monument is closed due to earthquake damage. This is a different building than the Postal Museum, which is housed in a newer old post office. The Old Post Office is a National Park site but the lower floor, which they used for mail sorting, is leased out to different shops and the upper floors are devoted to government office space. After that, we went to the National Archives, where I found the first museum in D.C. that was unwilling to admit out of state law enforcement carrying off duty. This building is guarded by “Special Police,” from talking to one of them outside, they are basically armed security guards with power to detain but not arrest.
We did go back to the Archives on Saturday, but first we went to the National Zoo. The National Zoo was a repeat, we had been there Thanksgiving week, but Kathryn requested it as her top choice. Sunday we travelled out to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. It is a ways to travel outside the city but well worth it. Personally, I liked the Dulles exhibit even more than the main Air and Space Museum on the Mall. After Air and Space, I took Tracy, Kathryn, and James to see the FBI National Academy. There were not too many people on campus; I gave them the nickle tour and we ate dinner in the cafeteria. Well, actually we ate dinner in the Boardroom, there were so few people on campus they had closed the cafeteria and were serving meals in the bar.
Monday morning we did a quick walkthrough of the Smithsonian Castle ground floor exhibits. I had heard there were tours of the building available but apparently they do not run every day. I would like to do that someday, the building’s architecture is fascinating. We also hiked to the Jefferson Monument. It is a mile or more from the National Mall because the monument is fenced off now and you have to walk all the way around the outside of the grounds to get to the one entrance. James really enjoyed that (not). I took Kathryn back to Reagan for her flight that afternoon, which was delayed due to heavy rains moving in. A big Thank You to Matt for getting Kathryn to and from the airport!
Despite the rain, and proving my mother was right when she said I did not have enough sense to come in out of the rain, I went back to the mall after dark to try some night photography. I would like to try it again when the weather is more cooperative, I was soaked to the skin by the end. I did get a few shots I was happy with, though. This morning Tracy and James headed back to Reagan on the metro and I drove back to the Academy. After today, there are really only five days of actual classes left; it looks like some of my classes will end even earlier than that.
As I write, Tracy and James are safely back home. It has been raining continuously here since last night. This should make the challenge run tomorrow a lot of fun, since there are rope assisted climbs up rocks and crawls through trenches under barbed wire. My ankle is still sore from last week’s challenge; I need to run into town and buy an ankle brace for tomorrow.
Here are some of the pictures from the weekend:
I basically turned the small camera over to James. Most of these are his:
Oh, I also stumbled upon another blog from a fellow FBI National Academy 246 student. It is the same guy whose photos I linked to earlier, Greg from Hawaii. I think I have done a much better job of keeping my blog updated: