Sunday, September 12, 2010 Morning: rainy, 45 degrees; afternoon, clearing, 73 degrees
Clouds hovering over the mountain tops, fog settling in the valleys, and last night's rain still hanging in the air meant that our plans to take a scenic drive to Mt. Baker were a wash-out. Institute Plan B.
The first part of plan B included a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. Ever since our trip to Alaska, we've never really understood the mania that possessed those who were smitten with gold fever, so we thought it would be interesting to see how those men prepared for their ill-advised adventure. We were directly in front of the museum when we began our search for parking. Many lots and garages were in the area, but they said "Event Parking Only" or "Event Parking, $35." People were milling around the streets, and some were standing on the street corner with signs that read "I need tickets" as we drove in circles looking for that elusive parking space. After a half hour we decided to go with the second part of Plan B: the Museum of Flight."
The Museum of Flight is a gem. While we have not visited the Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport, this certainly rivals the one on the Mall in D.C. Exhibits represent all eras of flight from the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss through World Wars I and II, and into the Space Era. Aircraft were everywhere.
We first crossed to the outdoor exhibits and boarded the SST Concorde and the Air Force One that carried presidents Eisenhower through Reagen around the nation and the world. Back in the main building we spent a long time in the World War II area that displayed aircraft, uniforms, videos of the Battle of Britain, for example, recordings of historic radio broadcasts, films, and many placards that gave in-depth information about all three Theaters of War. It is the most thorough history lesson of this war that we've ever had.
In the Space Age section were the same types of displays from the beginnings of the Space Race to the current International Space Station. The evolution of space exploration from the theories of scientists as early as the 1920's to today is a wonder. And how men agreed to be sandwiched into those earliest modules and catapulted into space is beyond me. It's clear, though, that exploration further into space will require another giant leap of scientific and engineering knowledge.
Before we left, we wandered through the section that showed the workings of a control tower, around various military and civilian aircraft, and through the Red Barn which was the original Boeing Factory. We were there over five hours, and if we had the stamina, there was still more to be seen. Although we missed the opportunity enjoy another mountain vista, we felt that our day was well spent.
Tomorrow the weather will again affect the success of our plans, this time to Mt. Rainier. We know the chances of seeing its peak are small, but we're hoping to hike trails that will lead us to some beautiful views.
And the event that hogged all the parking? The Seattle Seahawks were playing the Oakland Raiders, and they won.
TODAY'S ROUTE: WA 20 to I 5S, to Auburn, and then WA 164 to Buckley