“Pic of the Week”, October 5, 2018 : Space Shuttle, “Discovery”

04 Discovery

When the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in the early years of the Obama administration, museums around the world scrambled for the right to receive and exhibit one of the four remaining shuttles.   It seems highly appropriate that one of these unique spacecraft should find its final home at the prestigious Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located in Virginia, close to Washington Dulles Airport, about a half hour’s drive from downtown DC).  

Situated in a separate wing of the Udvar-Hazy Center with other relics of space travel (including an especially an impressive collection of satellites), the Shuttle is one of the Center’s prized exhibits.  The shuttle Discovery is parked so that you can walk around it …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Space View Park, Titusville, Florida

00 Titusville (8)

Situated on Florida’s east coast, 15 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads, is the small town of Titusville.  Titusville sits on the Indian River and has a lovely park on its waterfront called “Space View Park”, wherein we stopped while making our way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching.  The park is a lovely shaded spot with some wonderful views towards the Kennedy Space Center and, to our delight, had a great monument to the earliest American astronauts, the Project Mercury team. 

I was a schoolboy during the great era of space travel that President Kennedy’s challenge spawned in the 1960s.  “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things not

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.All Trips / D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA / Washington District of Columbia

Martlin Luther King Jr Memorial, Washington D.C.

00 Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (10)

 
“Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope”

 

One of the newer memorials in Washington DC is also one of its most unusual and memorable.  The Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial is located adjacent to the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, beside the National Mall and the FDR Memorial.   The MLK Memorial is spread along the banks of the Tidal Basin and cover four acres, but is centered on a carving of the famous Civil Rights leader. 

The MLK statue is incorporated into part of a large granite boulder that has been sliced into three pieces, much like the layers of a giant sandwich.  To enter the monument from the National Mall, you walk through the outer two …

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D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, February 16, 2018: Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC

Washington 285 Lincoln Memorial at night

Always held the 3rd Monday of February, President’s Day is intended to honor the first President, George Washington’s, birthday.  February (12th to be precise) is also the birthday of the President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President.  

Both men were great leaders who are remembered on their nation’s currency and through monuments in the nation’s capital.  Today’s Pic features my personal favorite, the Lincoln Memorial.   Built at the western end of the Washington Mall and styled after a Greek Doric Temple (which like Lincoln is featured on the $5 bill), there’s a H-U-G-E sculpture of Lincoln is inside.  If the Lincoln statue could stand up, it would be 29 ft (8.5 m) tall.  It’s carved of Georgia white marble and weighs 175 tons.  The …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 22, 2017: Christmas Tree, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

00 Christmas Tree Reagan Airport

Washington DC dresses up beautifully for the holidays, as witnessed by this gorgeous and huge Christmas tree at Reagan airport!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

 

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“Pic of the Week”, December 1, 2017: Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort

31 Disney World Swan Resort

I attended a medical meeting at Disney World not long ago which was held at the award-winning Dolphin and Swan Resort complex.  I’d never been to these hotels before and found them to be pretty impressive.  Very massive modern structures, with over 2000 rooms between the two of them, they had interesting architecture, sitting beside a man-made lake.  The resorts are near the Disney Boardwalk and very close to one of Disney World’s entrances.

Boat services on the lagoon allows guests to get from the resorts to various water-based destinations around Disney World, such as Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Each hotel has many restaurants and those I tried had excellent (albeit not cheap) food.  

I was a little surprised that …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 17,2017: Palmetto

P1020038

The most common palm tree in the United States is the saw palmetto, a hardy plant capable of growing in habitats as diverse as sand dunes to swampy wetlands.  It is a fire-resistant and attractive low maintenance plant commonly used in landscaping, and is slowly growing and capable of living hundreds of years.  

Saw palmetto can be low to the ground, like a bush, or grow into a tree 25 feet tall and 7 feet wide.   What I and others find attractive about the plant are its leaves which earn the plant its name, being edged with small but sharp spines that can tear skin and cloth.  Saw palmetto blooms from April to July, producing white flowers that ripen …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 4, 2017: Amphicars, Florida

03 Amphicar 11-2015

You might recognize these cars from the movies, like Inspector Clouseau, but if you want a chance to see and ride one you’ll need to head to Florida’s Disney World, where I spotted this bunch.  I’d never seen an Amphicar before and it was fun watching them drive in, around, and out of a large lagoon.

Amphicars were the first mass-produced vehicles to be driveable both on land and water.  The car was designed by Hanns Trippel and production began in Germany in 1961.  The Amphicar’s 4 cylinder engine was mounted at the rear of the craft, driving the rear wheels.  For use in the water, the same engine drove a pair of reversible propellers situated under the rear bumper.  Once …

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