Tag Archives: Washington DC
July 1, 2011

West Coast Bound / I’ve been driving a mid sized car, I never hurt anyone, Is that a fact?

So, I’m leaving DC. Finally. After ten years of bitching and moaning about the DC area I am moving back to my beloved West Coast, specifically Seattle. And do I choose to reflect on those past ten years here, in this blog entry? No, instead I will write about gas prices and fuel economy. Once in the petroleum industry, always in the petroleum industry.

Perhaps another day I will write a reflection of my time here, but that requires actually thinking/pondering/etc, and I have far too much stuff remaining on my to-do list before leaving on July 6. I will say this, though – I am very much looking forward to returning to the West Coast lifestyle, being closer to my family (hurrah for 2.5 hour direct flights from Seattle to Palm Springs) and being within driving distance of In-N-Out (OK, it’s a ten hour drive from Seattle to the northernmost In-N-Out in Redding, but still, that’s drive-able).

As for the drive itself, I am really looking forward to it because I have never driven across the country and it is something that I have always wanted to do (Why? Who knows. A mild form of insanity, probably. Also, good food in the heartland). We are taking the route displayed in the map below, stopping to visit friends and family along the way and explore Yellowstone National Park. Our route is 3,159 miles.

View West Coast Bound in a larger map

One of the things I am not looking forward to, however, (in addition to the 12 hour drive from Missouri to Colorado…zzzz) is the amount of money I will be spending to drive across the country. My Xterra has a laughable fuel economy of 15 city/19 highway mpg so I’ll be stopping at a gas station every half hour to refill the damn thing. I used Cost2Drive to calculate how much I’ll be spending on gas and the website predicted $608.87. It will be interesting to see how closely I can stick to that number. Ideally it would be less, but my expectations are pretty low. Nevertheless, I’ll post the final amount when I arrive in Seattle and have the opportunity to pore over my credit card statement.

Now back to the packing…

December 23, 2010

POTD: The Enola Gay

enola gay

enola gay

Located at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles Airport), this Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb code-named “Little Boy” over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, causing extreme damage and immediately killing 70,000 people.

December 8, 2010

Camping in Assateague

In mid-October we spent a weekend camping at Assateague National Seashore, a barrier island off the coast of Maryland (south of Ocean City) and Virginia that is one of my favorite places on the east coast. Since Assateague is only a 2.5-3 hour drive from the DC area (wow, did I just say only?) and campsites are booked solid through the summer, we usually just go out there for the day. Starting in mid-October, however, reservations start to dwindle as the temperatures drop, giving us an opportunity to book a campsite for the weekend.

Was it cold? Oh, yeah. Daytime temps hovered in the 60-70 range (with a heavy dose of wind) and dropped to the 40s at night. Thankfully, we had picked up plenty of wood to feed the campfire. It was a bit too cold to go in the water or just relax on the beach like we did in the Outer Banks the previous month, so we did some short hikes around the island, drank a lot of beer, grilled hot dogs, and toasted marshmallows for smores.

Here are some of the photos I took that weekend:

The bayside area

Duly noted!

Here you can barely see the remains of Baltimore Boulevard, a road constructed in 1950 as part of a plan to develop the island. In 1962, a large storm destroyed the road and several houses on the island. Further development was stopped and in 1965 the island was declared a National Seashore.

Maryland don’t surf

Campsites are close to the beach

We spotted the famous Assateague ponies while we were driving to Ocean City for lunch. No one is quite sure how these ponies came to live on the island, but one far-fetched theory claims they are the descendants of ponies who swam to the island after the Spanish galleon they were being transported on wrecked off the island. Nevertheless, they are here to stay…and stand in the middle of the road…and rummage through the coolers of campers who failed to heed park ranger instructions. It’s their island, and they know it.

Pony attacks Jay’s car.

More Assateague photos here.

October 25, 2010

POTD: The Watergate



As students at The George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C., my classmates and I had the atypical college experience; we didn’t have a football team or expansive lawn on which to play frisbee, and most of the dorms consisted of former hotels and apartment buildings that the university acquired to house the burgeoning student population. During my freshman year I lived at the Hall on Virginia Avenue (HOVA), which was a former Howard Johnson’s hotel. My dorm was situated directly across the street from the infamous Watergate complex, site of the burglaries that eventually led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. My room, 419, was the original site of the burglars’ “lookout room” from which Alfred Baldwin and James McCord monitored the DNC office. The photo above shows the view from my room.

October 5, 2010

POTD: Great Falls Park in Virginia

great falls park

great falls park

No far-off destination today – this is Great Falls Park, just outside of Washington, DC. It’s a great place to go if you are looking to escape the city for a day.

August 5, 2009

Shooting clay pigeons in real Virginia

After doing so poorly at skeet shooting in Illinois, I decided I needed some proper instruction in the finer parts of shooting a moving target with a giant gun, so back in June some friends and I took the “Learn to shoot” class at the Bull Run Shooting Center in Centreville, VA (does that qualify as real Virginia?). If you live in the DC area and have any desire to learn how to trap shoot, I highly recommend the class. Here are a few photos from that shooting session. I went back a few weeks later to shoot a few rounds with Wayne and Olga and even bought a fancy Browning shooting vest (I desperately needed the recoil pad insert, and the giant pockets to hold the shells). I gotta say I am pretty hooked on this new hobby. Now I just have to purchase my own shotgun. I guess that’s an important thing to own, or whatev.







May 19, 2009

2009 Joint Service Open House @ Andrews Air Force Base

I still have a ton of Costa Rica photos to upload, but here are a few photos from this past weekend when Liz, Nick, and I went to the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base. You basically spend the day checking out all the cool military equipment that your tax money buys and eating junk food like hamburgers and funnel cake. Mmm tanks and funnel cake. What could be more American?



Bunker buster


Cockpit of a DC Air National Guard F-16

The Golden Knights (U.S. Army parachute team)

Liz and I in the Huey


Crazy Red Bull helicopter that did a bunch of tricks



Manning the Mk 19 grenade launcher atop the Stryker. Liz and I had to wait in a line full of seven year-olds for our turn to climb up there. No, seriously, everyone playing in the Stryker was at least 20 years younger than us.

Patriot missile battery


I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat, everybody look at me

USAF Thunderbirds. These guys put on an amazing show.

April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday on Assateague Island

Assateague Island National Seashore is perhaps my favorite place on the East Coast. Assateague is a barrier island located off the eastern coast of Maryland and Virginia and is a scenic three hour drive from Washington. I love it out there because it’s undeveloped (no gaudy boardwalk scene) and there is plenty of room for people to spread out. Of course, when it’s April and 59 degrees you don’t really have to worry about crowds. Here are a few photos of today’s trip to Assateague:

Tucker loves the beach

American pose…in America. Don’t usually do that.

Tucker thinks he is a lapdog, BTW.

We’ll be back in the summer, when it’s a bit warmer.

April 5, 2009

Great Falls Park

Beautiful weather this weekend, so hiking around Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia sounded like a good idea. I had never even heard of this place until a few years ago when a dude from Texas mentioned it.

I would like to be a park ranger and walk around with a snake in an adorable carrying case

The remains of the Patowmack Canal, the first canal in the United States that used locks to raise and lower boats.


Rock climbers

I want to go kayaking here

The Potomac River appears to be much cleaner up here


March 1, 2009

Inauguration weekend photos

A few photos from Inauguration weekend (yes, I realize this was over a month ago). Most of these photos are actually from Annie and Cheryl.

My mom and I with the Patino side of the family from LA. They were in town because Tom was doing some shots for Leno’s Tonight Show.

We took a tour of Lincoln’s summer cottage in NW DC.

Checking out Lincoln’s top hat at the newly renovated Smithsonian American History Museum.

Waiting to pick up our tickets from Mary Bono’s office.

Yeah, these were pretty much everywhere.

The Obama store…INSANE.


Annie and I

Cheryl, Annie, my mom, myself, and Katherine in front of the Capitol a few days before the Inauguration. All of the tourists were so happy they would say “Happy Inauguration!” to each other. It was a giant love fest.

Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House

Obama’s viewing stand

The morning of the Inauguration, a little after 5am. We stepped out of the Courthouse and there were already thousands of people pouring out of the Judiciary Square metro station chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!”.

It was really, really cold that morning.

Waiting at the blue gate.

Did I mention it was really, really cold? Thank god for those instant hand warmers. I stuck them in my boots, back pockets, hat, and uh, basically anywhere I could.

Annie, our professional photographer. She was using a metal barricade to boost herself up and the dude in front of her was nice enough to allow her to use his head as a tripod for her camera.

Obama, as seen through her zoom lens.

I-395 was shutdown to traffic so that pedestrians could use it to get to the other side of the National Mall.

Goodbye, Bush!