Saturday, we got an earlier than normal launch. The weather today was beautiful, the pick day of our trip. Our first stop was the Eastern Market, a farmer’s market, but also a Mecca for artists, gift shops and tourists. We had breakfast at a corner coffee shop that featured communal tables and an abundance of crockery. We toured the Library of Congress and then the Capitol building. According to Anne, we were on Dan Brown’s “Lost Symbol” tour. A central feature of this Dan Brown novel is the Apotheosis of George Washington, which is a fresco at the top of the ceiling of the Capitol dome. You can partially see it through the ‘donut’, another artifact of the dome’s restoration. After the Capitol tour we went to see the Supreme Court, which was not in session. In fact almost all of DC was not in session today. On our way over to the National Botanical Garden, we were passed by what I took to be were two congressional aides. As they passed us, I heard the guy ask the girl, “So, he is willing to let 5,000 people get laid off, just to make a point?” After the gardens we had a late lunch / early dinner. We waited for sunset on the Mall, then hopped a train and called it an evening.
Story Corps is one of the largest oral history projects. Since 2003, Story Corps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the Story Corps weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition.
I first saw the Story Corps Airstream trailer parked out in front of the History Museum yesterday, even though it has been there for almost two weeks. What with first being out-of-town for the MS-150 bike ride and then last week’s illness, I haven’t been riding in Forest Park much lately. I passed it yesterday without stopping, because I was booking to make the start of the balloon race. I shouldn’t have worried, because they never start that race on time and this year it was no different. Today, I was in no hurry and stopped to take a picture. It turned out that Trailnet had set up a rest stop there too, for their big end-of-season hammer-fest, the Ride the Rivers Century. Tom and Audrey had been manning the rest stop, but were in the process of taking things down when I arrived.
I was supposed to bicycle with Captain Don yesterday, but I begged off at the last moment. I’m glad that I did, because once back on the bike, I still felt rather punk. Plus, it took me forever to launch. I replaced the batteries in my bike computer and it took me an hour to figure out how to re-sync it with its sensor. It is a wireless device, with thirty-plus channels to choose from. The wireless wheel sensor and the bike computer have to be synced to operate on the same frequency. I finally found the manual online, but even with these instructions; it still took another half-hour before I was successful. Damn, inscrutable Japanese electronics!
In my abstinence, the Forest Park bike path has been completely resurfaced. Most of the path has just been resealed though and most of that still needs restriping. There is also an awful lot of new signage going up. I’m guessing that it will be used to guide visitors unfamiliar with the park to its various attractions. Instead of a conventional rectilinear road network, the park has a series of interlocking circular roads, which can keep the clueless out-of-town visitor going in circles. These signs might put me out of business as an informal park tour guide, because visitors will finally be able to figure out where they want to go.
I love the Story Corps stories on NPR. They are diverse, they are full of emotion and they frequently make be cry. Almost all of them are dialogs and generally at least one of the participants are baring their soul. While, I was photographing the trailer, an out-of-town couple came up to me and asked about Story Corps. They had never heard of it. I guess that they don’t listen to Public Radio. I clued them in, with the hope that they might start listening.