Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Excursions

So, it's been more than three and a half years now since Janice got the great idea of our trying once each month to do something we haven't done before -- go to a new place, try a new activity, and the like. It's all too easy to fall into a routine,* or to never get around to seeing some of the interesting places not that far away. And, inevitably, we'd find some things we'd want to do over.

Hence our return visit weekend before last to the first place we went, back in January 2007: the Museum of Flight, a Boeing-sponsored place full of airplanes --vintage, historical, significant, or just plain interesting. They've got everything from a mock-up of the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk plane to a retired Air Force One and the Concorde. But the time we went the Space exhibit was closed for re-modeling. So, this second visit we made a bee-line straight for the spacecraft section, where we spent most of the rest of the afternoon. Rockets (from Goddard and Van Braun onwards), satellites, the US and Soviet space programs, probes, &c. were all there. It was somewhat surprising to see a Lunar Module, a Lunar Rover, a segment of the Int'l Space Station, one of the Mars rovers, &c and see how bulky and low-tech some of them were, held together with rivets and screws.** Some of these were prototypes, some training modules, some replicas; a good mix of each (as opposed to the WWI room, which is almost entirely reproductions with only a smattering of genuine old planes). Their signage and voice-overs didn't always agree with what I thought I knew about the space program(s), so I'll have to do some digging to find out if I'm wrong on various minor points.

They did have an illuminated rotating globe that was great: push any of ten buttons and its surface replicated that of any planet in our solar system (plus the Sun itself). Be nice to have a home model of this. On the whole, I'd say that museum staff might go batty listening to JFK's we will go into space speech over and over again, but overall they have a great exhibit. So much so that I lingered until there wasn't time to see much more of the rest of the museum. So we headed over to the WWI exhibit for a quick look at the planes there, being careful this time to avoid the horrifically depressing trench warfare part of the exhibit and listening to as little of the voice-overs describing what the war was really like as possible.

And then, this past weekend, we did something completely different: once again took part in the farm tours held once a year in this area. This time instead of just the two of us we met up with The Monkey King and little Heidi and drove up to see three farms in the Snolquamie Valley: two on the verge of Falls City and the third just south of Carnation. The first had a lot of animals (miniature donkeys, friendly horses, pheasants, a tom turkey, interesting-looking chickens, quail, &c). The second had alpacas. And the third had a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a hayride. It's interesting how visiting a farm with a four-year-old changes yr perspective on an excursion like this one. Sorry we didn't make it to an orchard this year, but all in all, an enjoyable outing. Perhaps next year we'll do the Vashon Island farm tour, since we still haven't ever gotten over that way yet in thirteen years.

And next month we plan to stay in a B&B shaped like a 16th century castle. More on this later.

--John R.

current reading: WILLIAMS AND THE ARTHURIAD (by CSL), WICKED (by Maguire).

*our code for this is 'needing to get off the West Valley Hwy'.

**an interesting exception was the Space Station unit, which deliberately avoided touch-panel on/offs, since that wd make it too easy to activate (or deactivate) something just by brushing against it.

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