Big C goes to Washington D.C.

For a while now, my friend BP and I have talked about me getting out to D.C. to visit. He made it out to Chicago at one point for work and we were able to hang out a while, but it’s been a while – at least a couple years – so this was a regular topic of conversation. Plus, I had never been to D.C. and it seemed like a place everyone should go at least once.

Additionally I’ve been pretty open about the mid-life crisis of sorts that I’ve been going through lately, and one constant thread of conversation I’ve had with a number of close friends (I’m looking at you RK, CM, and GK who will never read this) is to seize the moment, to start saying yes, to stretch myself outside of my comfort zone, to live life and give myself something to look forward to.

So one day while BP and I are having one of our regular video chat smokes, I made a rush decision that I was going to D.C. After some conversation and schedule checking, I decided 4th of July weekend made the most sense – and just like that, it was on!

The initial plans to head to D.C. on my own, but during a conversation with a group of friends, MR said he was down to come with – so it became a party! Instead of flying I wanted to drive, so early Friday, June 30th we set off for the nation’s capital.

We stayed in Bethesda as it was closer to where BP lives and as it turned out we picked up a hotel right on the metro which turned out to be a good thing because we rode the train more than I’ve ever ridden a train ever in my life ever. But it was cool. Friday night we chilled with some German food and giant beers, then Saturday morning the 3 of us met up and headed out!

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The great thing about this trip is that it was very evenly split between doing the tourist thing and just hanging out and seeing the city, which was perfect. The first day we were out and about my body was wrecked from the heat and walking, but it was still a blast! We walked the mall a bit and hit up the Air and Space Museum on the mall. We also hit up the National Archives (below) which was both exhilarating and infuriating. We’ll start with infuriating because it isn’t worth more than mentioning that a couple people out there in the world decided

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they wanted to make drama of some sort, for some reason, and be irrational and stupid. Now that we’ve established that.. the Archives themselves were amazing. I was so emotionally impacted by seeing the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution. It was even stronger since this was 4th of July weekend. It was absolutely a place I feel everyone should visit at some point.

We wrapped up the night hitting up a couple breweries, having some beer and great food. BP introduced us to a couple of his friends who were great to hang around with – they did an amazing job making us feel welcome.  BP also introduced me to the new love of my life this night  – Mambo Sauce. I’ve eaten this stuff almost every day this week cuz why wouldn’t you? If you haven’t tried it I highly suggest you give it a shot – amazing on chicken wings but I don’t know that I’ve found anything it’s not good on.

So Sunday, we hit up the Museum of American History which was an interesting trip. I geeked out on the mock up of a bulletin board including the Homebrew Computer Club (where Jobs met Wozniak, below) and spent way too much time reading everything on that board.. numerous times. Checking out some old school computers and tech was a blast. It really helped bring me back to what really excites me in life..

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We also headed out and spent time seeing the city. We hit up a few breweries including one where I had to take picture of this mural because it hit so damn close to home on what I’ve been feeling and what I’ve blogged about.

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It just reminded me so much of what CM had told me time and time again to just experience everything. RK talked about breaking out of your rut, trying new things, and saying yes to everything. Those are the words that echoed back when I looked at this picture and it just hit so damn close to home. Even more so since I was viewing this in a city I had never been to before, on the 3rd vacation I’d ever taken, and 2nd vacation in 3 months this year. So while it was a somber moment, it was also a celebration moment.

Then we went and had the most ridiculous chili dog ever at Ben’s Chili Bowl. There was a super cool mural outside the building that I had to snap some pictures of. We finished off the night with rooftop smokes and drinks with new D.C. friends. What a time!

On Monday we took it easy and slept in a bit before meeting BP after work and headed out to Virginia to see the Udvar-Hazy Center which was un-freaking-real.

BP and I took a space shuttle Discovery selfie. Saw the SR-71 Blackbird which always intrigued the hell out of me as a kid. We saw the Concord and even an F-14 straight out of Top Gun – no sign of Maverick, though.

IMG_0502After this BP decided we needed more amazing food so we had some sort of Middle Eastern dish. I don’t remember what it was but it was fan-flipping-tactic.

We finished the night at Civil Cigar Lounge which is much more swanky than I’m used to.. and they also were jamming with some old school hip hop. I mean, a cigar shop with Bone Thugs playing? Unreal.

It was also unique in that I couldn’t go in the humidor to pick out my own cigar (hated it) and they brought the cigar to you, cut it, and lit it for you (different, but didn’t hate it). They also had a ton of scotch which was awfully nice. It was a nice cap to the day.

On the 4th I had a few cigars, cuz it’s what I do, then we headed down to the Watergate Hotel. They had a nice whiskey bar there that we enjoyed for a while before we met BP’s sister and headed over the the Kennedy Performing Arts Center (which I didn’t snag a picture of, of course) to watch some fireworks. It was really the perfect place to watch – not too crowded, could smoke and drink and just hang out. Plus, our view included the Washington Monument which was really cool.

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We wrapped up our last night in D.C. by stopping down to Adams Morgan which I’d heard stories about, and picked up more food.. these amazing empanadas and of course a jumbo slice.

And with that.. our trip was over.

It was an amazing time. I had a blast. I’m thankful for MR for joining me on the adventure. Happy to have made new friends in a new city. And I’m incredibly grateful for BP for all he did throughout the weekend – he went way above and beyond to show us great time, to be a gracious host, and to make sure that we saw all we wanted to see and then some.

The fact that this was a bit less on the touristy stuff than most people may do was fine by me – in fact, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Meeting some new people and actually living through the city a bit was amazing and I felt it really gave me a better feel for the city than I would have had just hanging around the mall the entire time. In fact, I found that I really, really enjoy the city. I will absolutely be going back to visit. And who knows, maybe the next step in my path of life will take me there more permanently..

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