East Coast 2018:
Day 5 - Washington DC

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East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

Wednesday, April 4, 2018: After a quick McDonald's breakfast, we were on the Metro and downtown by 7:45 AM.
Demonstrators were marching as part of the Rally to End Racism. This was the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
We got to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing right at 8:00 AM ...
... and the line stretched to the end of the block. Audrey and Dean had gotten caught in traffic but they joined us about ten minutes later.
The Jefferson Memorial was looking quite lovely this morning.
By 8:30, we were still in line and all of the morning tours were sold out. Well, not really sold out, because the tickets are free, but you get the idea.
At 8:45, it was our turn to request tickets and we snagged four tickets for the 2:45 tour.
We crossed the Mall, passing the Rally to End Racism in the distance, ...
... got another picture of the under-photographed Washington Monument in all of its blooming cherry blossom glory, ...
... and got a photo of National Museum of African American History and Culture in slight sunshine, which Audrey swears makes the building glow. This museum was so popular that you had to stand in line for timed tickets to enter.
We headed for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Audrey stopped to get a cool photo of this sculpture with the sun behind it.
There was no line there but that was probably because it didn't open for another hour, so off we went, ...
... past the US Customs and Border Patrol, ...
... and the Willard Hotel (again), ...
... to the White House Visitor Center. Our previously-arranged-and-scheduled White House tour had been cancelled, so this was the closest we were going to get. Imagine our excitement to learn that we could buy official White House Easter Eggs here!
We went through a rigorous security screening to get into this large room.
First, we had to examine this model of the White House grounds.
Did you know that the Oval Office is not in either one of those oval-shaped rooms in the middle of the White House? Debbie sure didn't.
Instead, it is tucked over here in this building on the west side. Some might refer to it as the West Wing. The more you know...
Here's a photo of a photo of the grounds.
This fascinating exhibit outlines the events and timeline that take place when one presidential family moves out and the new one moves in.
Who Ordered That? This display showed several plates of fake food that you could slide out of the way to learn about the president who liked to order that particular dish or snack from the White House kitchen. See, Tom? Other people like rice pudding. Squirrel soup doesn't sound all that appetizing though.
This display contained examples of presidential schedules, giving an idea of how busy - and how carefully timed - a president's day can be.
This was a great quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower: "No easy matter will ever come to you. If they're easy, they will be settled at a lower level." So true, Dwight, so true.
Here's another great quote, this time from President John F. Kennedy: "Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press." This exhibit contained chairs from the Press Briefing Room that were added during the Reagan administration.
"This place setting was used during the State Dinner for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in celebration of the American Bicentennial, July 7, 1976." So, let's clarify this: we invited the ruler of the country that we broke up with to rub 200 years of independence in her face? That design in the middle of the plate is an eagle taking his stuff and flying away. Harsh.
This was a Braille display showing the layout of the White House grounds.
Want to make desserts bearing the presidential seal? Look no further than this handy chocolate mold!
After viewing all the exhibits, we did some shopping.
So many things to buy! Ornaments! Accessories! Models! Books! The official 2018 Easter Eggs were $8.95 each, except for the gold ones which were $14.95. We bought a pink one to bring home.
Audrey and Dean bought their first pressed penny, which is one of the most fun souvenirs you can buy.
When we were done in the visitor center, we walked over to the White House grounds. Here's yet another photo of the White House, but this time we were much closer.
But this photo shows how far away we still actually were. There were a lot of barricades between us and the White House and we had to get past a guard just to get this far.
Here's the White House Christmas Tree. It's not centered in front of the White House for reasons unknown.
We went in search of a Starbucks again for Dean, and spotted some people on top of the JW Marriott, presumably Secret Service guarding the White House. Our amazing camera zoomed in as far as it could go to see what was going on. Here are the dudes having a little chat about their upcoming weekend plans.
We found a Starbucks inside the JW Marriott building, ...
... and were all grateful to have a snack, a beverage, and a rest. We almost never go to Starbucks since we don't drink coffee, so it was the first time we'd had Starbucks' peanut butter cookies. So delicious!
Here's a sculpture titled "Federal Triangle Flowers, Rose" outside of the EPA building's inner courtyard entrance.
It wasn't quite spring yet but these pretty hellebores were blooming.
We headed to the Mall entrance of the National Museum of American History and took only five minutes to wait in line and get through security.
Here's the entrance to the "Star Spangled Banner, The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem" exhibit. We came back here after viewing a few of the other exhibits first. No photos are allowed inside in order to protect the extremely old, extremely fragile giant flag, so there are none to show you.
We were most excited to see the First Ladies exhibit so we went there first.
We waited in line to walk past the exhibit.
Here's Caroline Harrison's evening gown, ...
... Lou Hoover's evening gown, ...
... Jacqueline Kennedy's state dinner dress (left), Frances Cleveland's skirt and bodices (middle and back), Lou Hoover's day dress, ...
... Edith Wilson's evening dress (left), Julia Grant's evening gown (right), ...
... Grace Coolidge's dress (left), Grace Coolidge's evening gown (middle), Mamie Eisenhower's evening gown (right), ...
... Mary Todd Lincoln's dress with a coffee and tea service engraved with the Todd family crest, ...
... Lucy Hayes' reception gown, ...
... Dolley Madison's silk gown and evening dress, ...
... Edith Roosevelt's inaugural gown, ...
... Lady Bird Johnson's inaugural gown and coat, ...
... Betty Ford's state dinner dress (left), Rosalynn Carter's inaugural gown (right), ...
... Nancy's Reagan's inaugural gown, ...
... Barbara Bush's inaugural gown (left), Hillary Clinton's inaugural gown (middle), Laura Bush's inaugural gown (right), ...
... Michelle Obama's inaugural gown, shoes, and jewelry, ...
... and finally, Melania Trump's inaugural gown.
Q: Does the Smithsonian own an inaugural ball gown for every first lady?
A: Each presidential administration is represented in the collection by an article of clothing that belonged to the first lady or the president's official hostess, but not all are inaugural ball gowns.

Q: If a first lady has two terms, does the Smithsonian collect gowns from both inaugurals' balls?
A: Although Ida McKinley's second inaugural ball gown and three gowns worn by Eleanor Roosevelt to inaugural festivities are part of the collection, the Smithsonian usually collects only the gown from the first inaugural ball. The second gown is often exhibited at the presidential library.
Who Is a First Lady?
Every president has had an official hostess ... it was not until the mid-19th century that we settled on the unofficial title of "first lady."

What Will Happen When the President is a Woman?
She will have to reconsider the duties of the "first lady" and decide whether she expects her husband, a family member, or others to assume this role in her administration.

(Firstly, props for saying "When" rather than "If" the president is a woman. Second, at what point exactly did we decide that "first lady" was a role in the administration rather than the spouse of the president?)
Here are some facts about the various first ladies: who they "served" under, dates of birth and death, years as first lady, and age at which they became first lady.

Frances Cleveland (center) has an interesting additional plaque:

"Frances Cleveland scheduled Saturday afternoon receptions so that working women who could not attend on weekdays would have a chance to meet her." Frances Cleveland was awesome.
This goblet is from a service belonging to Martha Washington. Fun fact: the swirled glass pattern in this stem matches the stemware in our own home, so come on over and drink like Martha did.
This china service belonged to Abigail Adams. But what is that scalloped bowl in the back for?
So, that was the First Ladies exhibit. So cool. In a different gallery, we found this bandana depicting a biographical sketch of George Washington, with excerpts from his farewell address. A nearby sign read, "The true test of America's young democracy was not the election of its first president, but rather the transfer of the office to its second, John Adams."
Here's a huge vault door marking the entrance to the Gallery of Numismatics.
This display discussed the origins of money.
Now that's some serious money origami!
When one doesn't have the appropriate handbag for one's gold coins, one can always opt to wear one's gold coins around one's neck.
This antique is a one dollar bill from 1880.

Speaking of historic notes, here's an amazing invention: Post-It Notes

"Sticky Note, 1980s
Arthur Fry for Patent No. 5194299

Arthur Fry perfected a pressure sensitive adhesive material while at 3M. After years of working on applications, 3M introduced the now ubiquitous Post-it Note."

We took a well-deserved break from walking for a half-hour or so. The line for the museum cafeteria was incredibly long, but this little seating area was sparsely populated.
Here's the Batmobile from Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman.
Here are Oscar the Grouch and Prairie Dawn from Sesame Street, plus Fred Rogers' sweater and music from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Here is some Bill Nye the Science Guy memorabilia, including one of the 19 Emmy Awards that the show won.
Containers! This was the "America on the Move" exhibit, including the impact of containerization on global commerce.
Within seconds, Debbie had won Maersk!
We knew nothing about the Matson company when we first encountered their containers in Hawaii in 2009, so here's some knowledge from the display:

"Matson brought containerization to the West Coast in the 1950s, and sent their first container ship with 20 containers to Hawaii in 1958. Two years later, their ship Hawaiian Citizen became the first all-container ship carrying 436 containers to enter Pacific service."
Here's a Matson container ship model.
It's always fun to see McDonald's Golden Arches with foreign text on the sign.
Check out these china oyster service plates! So fancy!
Debbie was on her game. She won Maersk again, and for something that didn't mention Maersk anywhere. This sign notes that this part of the exhibit was made possible by the generous support of the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation. Really high-level players know that A.P. Møller is the founder of A.P. Moller–Maersk Group, AKA Maersk. Yes, this counts as a win!
The Ruby Slippers Exhibit should be here. Please enjoy Indiana Jones' Hat and Whip while the shoes are out for conservation work. #KeepThemRuby
Here's some Art Deco-style jewelry from 1915-30. Pretty.

Debbie: "We need to see Edith and Archie Bunker's chairs."

Tom: "That was so long ago. Do you really believe they're still there?"

Debbie: <snaps this photo>

This is believed to be the first substantial sample of enriched uranium 235, produced before the US entered World War II.
Let's get nice and close.
The Swedish Chef debuted in 1975. Bork! Bork! Bork!
It's Pong! Many decades ago, this was the most amazing thing we had ever seen. Ever.
Here is inventor Ralph Baer's workshop, recreated complete with a door on the other side of the wall.
Before leaving, we had to visit the gift shop. It had so many options for the NASA nerd in your life.

It is filled with grandparent bait too.
Space chess? This is a thing? Cool!
This reminded us that Tom owns many space toys but they're all at his office, so it might be time to bring them home to introduce them to our grandkids.
We had chicken sandwiches and such for lunch from this refreshment stand.
We ate it in very high winds at the tables in front of the museum. Here, Dean thoughtfully blocks the wind for Debbie while she eats.

We started to head over to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. The Rally to End Racism was still in full swing on the National Mall.

We spotted three planes flying in formation in the distance.
They are F-18s.
The high winds sent sand and dirt flying through the air.
We weren't the only people who gleefully photographed this sign while holding tour tickets.
We were supposed to arrive 10 minutes early for our 2:45 tour. We arrived 11 minutes early but had to get someone's attention to let us in, because they had already escorted 2:45 ticket holders in and changed the sign out front to indicate the next tour was at 3:00. C'mon, Bureau, we all have smart phones, so there's no reason your clocks can't be synchronized with ours.
Once inside, we just waited until it was time to start the tour.
There were some displays to enjoy while we waited. This case held one million dollars in ten dollar notes. It was clearly much too heavy to fit into our backpacks so we left it there.
Here's a folding tester used in the 1920s. US currency is designed to be folded 4,000 times along the same crease before tearing.
These displays showed details about the changes that were made to the $20 bill in 1996, the $5 and $10 in 1999, and the $20 and $50 in 2004. The changes are designed to make the bills more secure and more difficult to counterfeit.
We watched a video that explained most of what we were going to see. Since we learned afterward that we couldn't take cameras with us on our tour, we really really really regret not getting photos of the video.
With all the turnover in the Trump administration, how often do they have to change these pictures? And whose job is it to do it? And what about the signatures on the bills? How soon after a new Treasury Secretary comes in does that get changed?
When the video was over, our tour guide escorted us through the tour. We got to see most of the process of printing sheets of bills, checking them for quality, printing them some more, cutting them into individual bills, and packaging them into blocks of bills. It was fascinating.
Twenty five minutes later, we were in the gift shop which is open to people not on the tour as well. It had some interesting displays too. This one shows a variety of historical notes.
Here's a 1955 treasury note for $500 million dollars. That's $500,000,000. If you have that in your possession, be sure to keep it where it won't get spilled on and where the cats can't reach it.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing standardized the size and design of US currency to help make the bills more readily identifiable. After standarizing the size of US currency, no changes were made to the design until the 1990s when the Bureau began introducing technology to deter counterfeiting.
We got to assign a monetary value to ourselves by comparing our height to a stack of money. Tom is apparently worth $1,631,000.
Debbie is only worth $1,584,400, but she's a woman.
So this is where they've been keeping the money truck. And seriously, this is the only place you can find it. We decided not to buy one here but have had absolutely no luck finding anything like it online. Regrets...
We exited the Bureau at 3:30 and ordered an Uber to bring us back to Audrey and Dean's hotel.
We got one last photo of the Bureau, then turned our attention across the street.
The cherry blossoms were absolutely gorgeous. In fact, the National Park Service declared the very next day to be the official peak of the bloom season, so we were quite fortunate to be there when we were.
The winds were still really strong, and there were huge whitecaps on the Tidal Basin.
We got another photo of the Washington Monument in the beautiful sun (last one, we promise!) ...
... and another one of the cherry trees before heading over to meet our Uber.
We said our goodbyes to Audrey and Dean and then walked the two blocks to the Grand Hyatt where we relaxed in the lobby before our evening with 4D. We headed down to the conference level briefly to get our hands stamped for the party, which was the only part of the Summit we'd be attending.
Friends stopped by for a minute or to have a beer, including Lahav, ...
... Drew, Wayne, ...
... and Mike.
At 6 PM, we went downstairs to the conference level to gather for the party. Doris was kind enough to pose for this action shot of hand stamping.
She also was willing to stamp Jesse's hand a second time upon request. She is a saint.
The rest of the Orchard crew all got their hands stamped too. See if you can guess which hands are Jesse's.
Tracy is getting used to me photographing her over the years, and is always a good sport about it.
Buses were waiting outside to drive us to the Newseum. Walking was also an option, but we had done more than our share of that by now.
The buses had normal seating except for this fun little cocktail area. Of course, we had to sit there.
Tim (left) took a photo of our table and we took a photo of his.
We rolled up to the Newseum right at 6:30, ready to party.
Hey! That's 4D on the sign!
We packed ourselves into large elevators to get to the seventh floor. A big thanks to Drew for not calling attention to Debbie's claustrophobia at this moment, even though we know he considered it.
No one is really surprised anymore when Debbie starts taking pictures in an elevator. It's not the first time and it probably won't be the last.
On the seventh floor, we could see down into the atrium of the museum below. Summit attendees also received a pass to visit the Newseum during normal hours if they wanted.
We entered the party space, where beverages and canapes were waiting for us.
Beer and wine were on offer at the open bar.
The highlight of this venue was the outdoor terrace with the fantastic views of the Capitol. We had extra jackets with us so we shared them for a bit because it was really cold out there.
Debbie got a photo of the Orchard crew staring directly into the sun. Sorry, guys.
At the end of the terrace, a photographer was taking photos of people.
Smile, guys!
He took our photo too. This is not that photo.
We asked Ryan to get a photo of us on our camera and this is what we found on the memory card the next day. Intentional? No idea. Hilarious? Definitely.
He did take a nice photo of us, so thanks, Ryan!
Tom got a photo of us as well. With a backdrop like this, you have to take advantage of it.
Here's an unobstructed view of the Capitol.
Here's the view looking south to the National Gallery of Art, ...
... and looking north with the Federal Trade Commission on the left and The Capital Grille on the right.
The cold drove most people indoors during the cocktail hour but it was still a great time.
Debbie had a nice time catching up with Rich.
Tim and Tom D. struck their best male model poses for the camera.
At 7:30, the dinner buffet opened.
The food, provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering, was exceptional. Not shown: a tasty assortment of mini desserts.
The table decor was lovely too, ...
... as was the sunset out the windows.
Our table was next to the windows facing the Capitol. We had a great dinner with Tom D. and the Tailored Solutions folks.
Facing away from our table, here's the rest of the room.
The Orchard crew was having a nice time with Caroline, William, Randy, and Sara.
As it got dark out, the city lit up, ...
... so it was time to brave the cold and head back out to the terrace.
There's the Federal Trade Commision building again on the left.
Here's that Capitol view again with part of the dining room visible on the left, ...
... and here's the zoomed version. Our capitol is beautiful, isn't it?
Inside, it was time for a raffle.
Mike was the big prize winner, receiving this HD drone set. Somehow, it ended up in our car at the end of the night. Thanks, Mike!
Here's Tom D. with Eric, the CEO of 4D.
It's a tradition started in New Orleans and continued at every Summit since: Debbie and Brian will drink beverages and take a selfie, then pronounce themselves even better looking than previous years.
This gentleman did a great job of keeping up with the beverage requests once the dancing started.
Did someone say dancing?
Yes! "They were dancin' ...
... and singin' ...
... and movin' to the groovin' ...
... and just when it hit me, somebody turned around and shouted ...
... play that funky music, white boy, ...
... play that funky music right, ...
... play that funky music white boy, ...
... lay down that boogie and play that funky music 'til you die."
Once the gentlemen had shown off their fine moves, the ladies came onto the dance floor as well.
Meanwhile in the bathrooms, the walls featured mistakes that appeared in print. This one features a weather map with the caption, "Shaded parts of the map locate areas occupied by Israel since 1967." Oops.
Tiny video displays over each sink reminded us that we were at the 4D Summit 2018 party. Love that logo!
There was more dancing.
Hey, there's Brian! Can you spot him?
That's some rockin' air guitar right there.
The DJ had some sweet air guitar moves of his own.
At 9:30 sharp, it was time to head out and Mike got his walkin' beer.
The non-walkers loaded back into the buses and of course we had to grab the cocktail table again.

Word on the street is that two of these people ended up going out for karaoke later on, but it wasn't Tom D. or Debbie. We called it a night and said goodbye to our friends.

Day 6 >

East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

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