I went to bed early Thursday so I could get up at 10am on Friday. I knew I'd get to the Vienna Metro earlier than Charlie and Feorag would, so I took some old WashPost with me. Charlie called while I was driving (I don't answer the phone while I'm driving) saying they were a bit late, and just as I'd parked in the Kiss 'n' Ride lot and was starting to call him back, he called again. I had the phone open and I realized I'd forgotten how to answer it when it was open (hasn't happened in the three years I've had it), so I closed it and called back. He just wanted me to know they'd be about 15 minutes late, which was fine, since I had the papers.
I figured which train coming in was theirs and put the paper away and started watching people coming out. I saw them come out, but to the buses, so I pulled up near and waved wildly. They saw and came over and got in. We headed off to Udvar Hazy, which has odd parking lot directions. We had to go around a bit to get to the side of the entrance that had a lot more open handicapped spots. I guess most folks just took the first side. We went up the ramp and Charlie got ready to take the first picture of the entrance, but Feorag told him to turn around, and indeed, the picture back down the ramp to the swoopy sculpture was really great. They both had bags which had to be inspected and they were thoroughly told not to chew gum in the building. I asked about the wheelchairs and we went across to get one. One of us had to leave a license and Charlie was faster getting his out than I was.
After that, Feorag pushed me some, but Charlie pushed me most, and I really appreciate it. I've never been there because I can't walk that far and I can't use the manual wheelchair myself. My left side is partially paralyzed and I just go in circles until the left arm stops working. Not very useful for seeing a museum.
We went up an elevator to the air hangar where we were immediately confronted with a Blackbird. Charlie and Feorag took lots of pictures while we were there and concluded at the end that it was about the quality of the RAF Museum. But we saw planes from the beginning (one of the Wrights' with the original engine and reconstructed plane) to the Concorde. Engines, items worn by fliers, radios and other equipment, were all in cases around the sides. There were elevators or ramps/steps that let you go up and take pictures from above. The Enola Gay was much bigger than I realized. I guess I've never seen it entirely in context with something I could measure.
We took the side trip into the space hangar where they had a mostly-mockup of the Enterprise. They did have a poster on an easel about Clarke next to it, though. Here we saw missiles, anti-missiles, ancient computers, satellites of various types, and actual Apollo capsules. There was also an Apollo Quarantine booth (made from an Airstream trailer). We saw test spacesuits and real spacesuits and a great collection of models of spacecraft, plus the models competing to be the space shuttle. On the way out was the actual model spaceship used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the text said that it had been made from lots of model kits all kind of thrown together to look right. It told us some unusual models to look for and Charlie found R2D2 and a plane with catapult, but we didn't find the Volkswagon bus or US mailbox, along with others.
We took the elevator up to the observation deck and watched a couple of planes come in at Dulles. It was a pretty cloudy day, so in other directions there was mostly trees and cloud, some buildings. We went back down one for the control tower exhibit. Most of it was posters with things we knew, but there was a live display and ATC chatter at one spot.
The museum store was next, and I would have happily waited while they went in, but apparently all the stuff was the same as the NASM on the Mall. (The WashPost has had articles on how lousy the Smithsonian Museum giftshops are, and how they've hired someone to make them better.) There was a squished penny machine and Feorag got one with a Concorde.
Then we headed out and back in I-66. Feorag is a vegan and was having trouble finding food and she'd found out there was a Whole Foods in Vienna. On the cloverleaf to get off I-66 and on to Nutley, a car just about hit us. They came off the circle and moved over without looking, but I was able to slow us quickly enough. I know where Maple Ave. is (main street of Vienna) and we watched carefully as we passed the area I usually patronize and Feorag saw it first, in time for me to turn in safely.
I'd never been in a Whole Foods so I went in with them. There was a lot more fresh stuff (and interesting stuff) than the Giant, and I people-watched while I waited in the cafe. They have a lot more staff, too. It's more expensive, and quite a drive, but the next time I come in to Star's Beads to see what she brought from foreign lands, I might stop in.
We went back across I-66 to the station where I stopped and then turned into Kiss 'n' Ride and got a thump on the back of the van. The people who apparently wanted to cross on the crosswalk were just arriving at the corner when I turned and I didn't know they wanted to go across instead of down the sidewalk. The lot was very crowded, since it was coming-home time, and I went ahead and pulled into a spot and let Charlie and Feorag out, carrying two full (and heavy -- they bought European beer) Whole Foods bags.
I started back home, which took a good while, and picked up mail, checked email, and made the beginning of this post. Then I slept in the recliner for seven hours. When I got up, I realized I hadn't eaten or had my rehydration fluid yet, so I did both of those, including finishing the WashPost I'd taken with me. I went to bed after three hours, but had to be up at 10am again (four hours of sleep) because today was our twice-annual textile recycling collection at the transfer station (I had a dead compact fluorescent, too). After delivering those, I got money for next week at the ATM, ate at Tony's, and came back to sleep in the recliner five more hours. I've been online catching up since.