Posted by: bkropf | November 6, 2007


Arriving at Union Station in DC I was immediately struck by the fact there were no tall buildings. The city was built very horizontally like a pancake. My cousin Jeff explained this is because people didn’t want views of the monuments obstructed. Valid reason.

Jeff picked me up and we took a driving tour of the city. It was the most perfect weather you could hope for. I have been really blessed with amazing weather everywhere but one day in Maine. We dropped by the Holocaust Museum for a couple hours. It was very good, though very heavy. In college I took an entire class on the history of the Holocaust and have read a number of books by survivors so it was very interesting to get a more rounded picture of the events leading up to the ‘Final Solution.’ The museum is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I have mentioned in the past I am trying to become better in touch with my feelings on this trip (i.e. – reading poetry, writing more and spending time reflecting). There were a couple point in the museum in which I became closer to crying which was a big victory for my emotions. If the visit to the museum was two weeks later in my journey who knows, maybe I would have been weeping like an Arizona State fan after the Ducks beat them handily.

Jeff and I dropped my possessions off at his house and drove to where the Oregon Alumni Association meets to watch the Ducks play. It was as close as you are going to get to attending the game without actually fighting the crowds. There were about 150 fans cheering and singing Mighty Oregon at every score. I really had a great time at the game. After, we drove back to Jeff’s house and watched Boston College lose, YES!!!

We also went to a Thai restaurant and I forgot how much I missed Seattle’s Thai food.

Sunday morning I got up and we did a few more monument viewings and then Jeff dropped me off at the Air and Space museum and I spent a couple hours liking at planes and then went to the modern art museum. I love the fact all the museums are free. It was also nice because this is the off season for tourists so I didn’t have to fight as many crowds.

Matt, another college buddy, found me in the museum and we spent a couple hours chatting and seeing some more sights. Matt is another one of those guys that tend to be very liberal and articulate and I enjoy discussing policies with him. He has been living in DC for three years working at a food bank so it was good to hear what life is like in DC for hungry people. We visited a really old restaurant close to the Capital called Hawk and Dove. Sounds like on election nights Democrats and Republicans all show up there and yell at each other like some sort of sporting event.

Back at Jeff’s house on Sunday night I decided I should probably try to figure out where I was going to stay the next night in Charleston. I got a couple phone numbers of motels but haven’t actually picked any to stay at. To be honest, I am least prepared for Charleston. I randomly picked it because I remember hearing it was really nice and I wasn’t aware of any better place in the South to visit on my way to Tampa.

Why is it that apple fritters are always exponentially larger than normal donuts. Fritters are my favorite donut however if I choose to eat one, I have to pick up this huge piece of dough. Additionally, they are way more expensive!!! I think I should start a donut shop that specializes in fritters that are the same size and price as normal donuts. I am telling you, there is a huge demographic out there who desire normalized fritters!

I also think it is interesting to visit places you remember from your childhood. Our family went on a vacation driving around the United States in a minivan when I was a child (Please see paragraph A below). One of the significant memories I have from the trip was Union Station in DC and the ‘huge’ food court. I remember wandering around awestruck, gaping at all these places to eat. I had only fantasized about a place like this and often considered it to be a good description of heaven. It was a shame I could not try each restaurant. To say the least, it made a huge impression on me (You can probably tell I have a problem with food given this is one of the pinnacle moments in my life). Walking through Union Station as an adult the experience was much different: no awe, no wonder, little excitement. I guess I’m more calloused or I wasn’t very hungry.

Paragraph A: I am impressed my parents had the ambition to through 4 children into a minivan and drive around the nation. I’m sure we were very frustrating. Two funny memories:

1) We each had a limit of half an hour of Gameboy time. However, if we memorized some Bible verses, we could get additional time.

2) I had to stay in the van at the Grand Canyon because I was complaining about Bryce Canyon was superior to the Grand Canyon. Mom says there were more factors going into the punishment and I’m sure she is right. It is still a funny story though.

We visited the National Cathedral in DC and it is always surprising how amazing these cathedrals are. I am always amazed at the extreme detail in stone carvings and other pieces of work that would take years to complete. I am also always amazed at the commercialization of these places. They seem so much more about the building, tours and gift shops then about fellowship with believers and God. I think the day more people come to Mars Hill for tours than attend the church will be the day I find another church (but please don’t quote me on this).

On the train this morning, I had a quick meeting with myself to see if I was achieving my goals for the trip. I would say I am reaching or seeing success in many of them, however I really don’t feel like I have been able to narrow down what I want to upon returning to the Northwest. I’m pretty certain, I want to eventually settle in Seattle or possibly Portland opposed to Harrisburg, but that is pretty much as far as I have gotten. I really would like to move to Dallas and live with Nathan and start a chain of drive through coffee shops. I would really like to go to either Hungary, Russia, Poland, Thailand, Japan or S. Korea and teach English for 6 months or a year. I would like to move to Seattle and get a nice safe job. I would like to move to Utah and live by Glendon and do something there for a year.

One of the most random things happened. I was walking past the Washington monument and I heard someone call my name. It ended up being an old friend from college who moved to DC. Crazy!





  1. Barney! It’s so nice to read of your adventures. Maybe on your way back you can stop by Fife…talk about the epicenter of the Puget Sound.

  2. Barney, I’m so glad you’re going to Charleston! The architecture is beautiful, they have a great open air market (or at least they did when we were there…)and make sure you take a nice long walk along the Battery. If the weather is nice see if you can take a tour of the historic district via horse-drawn carriage. Oh yeah…if you want good ribs, you NEED to go to Sticky Fingers!!! You’ll enjoy it! Cheers!

  3. I did see Sticky Fingers this morning, now that you recommend it, I’ll try to go tomorrow. I did go along Battery and I did take a tour via horse. The markets were a little lame I thought, I just blew through them looking for the restrooms. Thanks for the information though. I hope you are doing well.

  4. You mentioned some fun places to go teach English… though I’m pretty sure “hungry” is when you feel like you should eat something. I have been to Hungary though… ironically I almost starved. Thank goodness for those 50 cent rings of bread.

  5. I love your photo of the monument..seriously! You always take some fresh angles on your photos!

  6. P.S. It’s funny about your memories of the trip. That’s not what sticks out in my mind at all. Are you sure you stayed in the van?

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