Washington Trip – Day 12 – The Final Countdown

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Today is our last full day in Washington and the plan was to take it relatively easy as we have a solid +14h drive home to Port Elgin tomorrow. The plan was to get up and hit Georgetown University to check out the bookstore and then a quick hop back to the mall to finish up any and all museums we might have missed.

Things started out smooth enough, getting up early and making the walk over to campus. Once again, we were totally floored by the beauty of Georgetown and the Georgetown University campus. It kind of made us wish we’d headed down south for our undergrad…that is until we discovered it was essentially a living monument to staircases. In fact, we even found a sign for the Services for Disabled Students Office which was, we kid you not, at the bottom of a 40-odd step flight of stairs. Lost and alone, we finally decided to ask a security guard for directions, but instead of answering he pretended Jeff was a ghost and kept walking, as though a small but loud boy in a wheelchair hadn’t just spoken to him. It was uncanny, his ability to act as though nothing had happened. Just as Jeff was about to turn away and verify that he hadn’t in fact died without noticing and turned spectral, the guard muttered “follow me” and put us back on track. The bookstore was pretty great although we didn’t manage to find much we were looking for…but Jeff did discover he got a brand new copy of the Disability Studies Reader for about $10 more than they are selling it here used. Score.

After lunch, we got our first real taste of a good ol’ American thunderstorm and were unfortunately storm stayed for much of the afternoon. Luckily we’d already hit a lot of our big targets and so, despite not going to dinner with Obama, we feel pretty satisfied with what we managed to do despite having one day stuck indoors.

When the storm finally passed, we headed out for an early dinner and wandered Georgetown a little more. At dinner, we ran into a delightful chap who once again left us a bit star struck, as it turned out he was the Assistant Producer of the first two Superman movies. He also went on to explain how he loved Canada, especially British Columbia, and how lucky we were to live in such a beautiful country. That is actually a theme of this trip that popped up without us really noticing–Americans love British Columbia. Looks like that whole hockey riot stuff didn’t get a lot of play down here.

Full of dinner and amazing desserts from Georgetown’s life-changing Baked & Wired cupcake/coffee shop, we decided to retreat to the hotel for an early bedtime. We’re planning to head out early tomorrow morning to beat the rush and, hopefully, get back to Canada before the sun sets. Google is claiming the drive will take 13 hours if we swing through Detroit, but we’ll see what the GPS has to say in the morning.

For now, all that’s left is sleep and get ready for a long day on the road. Jeff hopes to put together some final reflections on the trip sometime this weekend, but in short this trip was pretty illuminating. First and foremost, Americans aren’t all crazy…although they are kinda fat and lazy. What was perhaps most enlightening was the vast diversity of this country–for a place that focuses on the “melting pot” there is just an amazing swath of people, personalities and backgrounds cobbled together to make this country. Although they face some tremendous challenges going forward, we feel this isn’t necessarily an empire in decline, but rather, a nation in flux, awaiting to emerge. What comes out the other side of this tumultuous cocoon is anyone’s guess, but we think they’ll probably be okay.