Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 4 of 7: Mandatory Amusement Park

swings!

Yup, that’s me, back in the days when a guy could wear a backwards cap in public without onlookers casting aspersions on his character or anti-fashion sense.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.

Day Four: Wednesday, July 9, 2003. Tuesday and Thursday were set aside for our official Washington DC tourism. We knew my son would need a break from history and learning to do something more overtly kid-like, more indulgent, and arguably more thrilling. The solution was a one-day intermission at Six Flags America, 20 miles east of town and not too far from Baltimore, home of Homicide and The Wire. It wasn’t the best amusement park ever. The security check-in at their front gate was sterner and more invasive than what we’d encountered at the Washington Monument or any other institution post-9/11. More rides were out-of-order than we would’ve preferred. And then there was the anxious moment when one guy got kicked off a ride and expressed his displeasure by tossing a basketball over a crowd’s heads and getting extremely lucky that it didn’t hit any of us.

But hey! Thrill rides on a sunny day!

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Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 3 of 7: Flying with Dinosaurs

Kitty Hawk!

The original Wright Brothers flyer dangles overhead with Wright brother simulacrum feigning giddiness.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.

After quote-unquote “lunch” on Day Three we headed a few blocks east to visit our first Smithsonian museum. Handy trivia: any show or movie that tells you an artifact or MacGuffin is “in the Smithsonian” is fudging their verisimilitude. The Smithsonian Institute comprises nineteen museums, many but not all of which are in DC. If someone tries faking their Smithsonian familiarity like that, ask them “WHICH ONE?” and tap your foot impatiently till they either answer with credibility or embarrass themselves by answering, “Uhhhhh, the really big one.”

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Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 2 of 7: Bullseye Goes to the Washington Monument

Washington Monument!

The first of several photo ops with our very special guest star. And the boy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth.

Day Three: Tuesday, July 8, 2003. Our first full day in the nation’s capital began with our first ride on a DC subway down to the Smithsonian station to start hitting the major attractions around the National Mall, the densest, most appealing area for tourist attractions and vintage buildings. Many of them were free. Not all of them were open. Several, including the National Archives and Ford’s Theater, were undergoing renovations or simply taking time off during the summer. Two years after 9/11, White House tours were out of the question unless you belonged to a scout troop or other organization of verifiable import. But we tried to make the most of those fabled institutions that rose to the top of our to-do list by dint of not being closed.

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Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 1 of 7: About the Boy

Black bear!

A black bear welcomes travelers to a rest stop in Pennsylvania, where apparently black bears are all the rage.

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we’ve fired up the WABAC Machine and retold the stories from our first four outings together:

* 1999: our first Wizard World Chicago
* 2000: the second and final Gateway Science Fiction Convention in St. Louis
* 2001: our first Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL
* 2002: hangout with internet friends in Grand Rapids for the opening of Attack of the Clones

2003 was a milestone for a number of reasons, at least one of which you can discern from our lead photo. No, not the bear.

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 5 of 5: The Day the Vice Presidents Took Over

Man in Space!

Anne hanging out with Jud Nelson’s “Man in Space”, our greeter at the Ford Museum. Per aspera ad astra, and all that.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

Our miniseries finale begets a confluence of regrets, as eventually came the time to take our leave of our gracious hosts and hit the road home. We had three more stops planned along the way. Two of them worked out. I’d love to share a thousand solid words and a couple dozen photos from what we did that Friday. Yep. Sure would be cool. I’ll get to what we do have in just a moment.

Caution: travelogue finale contains some meta elements of writing about writing…

Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 4 of 5: The Meijer Art Department

American Horse!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless it threatens your life perforce…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In Part 3 we walked you through the scenic greenery at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, years before a series of subsequent expansions turned it into one of Grand Rapids’ largest attractions. But as the name implies, we saw more than just gardens. Assorted sculptures are on display for the art lovers curious to see human creations in the natural mix. The largest piece by far is Nina Akamu’s 1999 The American Horse, which would be quite the destroyer if magic ever brought it to life.

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