I Was Never There Dot Com

Round Trip: Halifax - Washington DC - Halifax

In a past life (read job) I worked for an airline. One of the benefits of working for an airline is fight-passes.
With these you could fly for free, or almost free anywhere that airline flew if there are empty seats. And you
could bring along a buddy. This is the story of one of these trips.

The Plan

Thursday Afternoon - called Roswell: "Got a current Passport? Want to do a quick flight on Saturday? The Plan is
to pick you up early and have you home back by midnight. There is something I saw on the Net that I want to go pick up.
You up for a busy day?" The answer was of course - YES!

Phase 1 - Saturday - Getting There

0400 Get up, shower, and off to pickup Roswell
0415 Pickup Roswell and breakfast from the Tim Horton's Coffee Shop by the highway
0445 Check-in at Halifax International Airport with preprinted boarding passes for Montreal and to Washington DC and no luggage
0550 Flight to Montreal in a little CRJ200, 0710 Arrive Montreal
0720 Clear US Customs in Montreal - Inform Customs that were both NEXUS Card Holders
0800 Depart Montreal for downtown Washington DC - DCA (Ronald Reagan National Airport)
1115 Arrive Washington DC, walk off the plane into the general public (remember customs was back in Montreal)
1120 Check in the Air Canada Desk in the airport - pickup our boarding passes for our return trip later today (seats assigned)

Phase 2 - On the ground - on the way to the White House

1130 Using the exit door next to the Air Canada Check-in, exit and cross the street to the DC-Metro, pick up fair cards for $20
1135 Hop on the Blue Line passing Crystal City and the Pentagon and hop off at the Arlington Cemetery Stop
1140 Come up from the Metro stop, walk to the gates and enter the Cemetery noting the rows and rows of white headstones
1145 Taking a hard right - Moving along the headstones to the Iwo Jima Memorial for a quick photo shoot
1210 Continue across the cemetery to the Orange Line at the Court House Metro stop (Next to the SRI Offices - wink-wink)
1230 Hop off the Metro at MacPherson Sq. (not related)
1235 Head over 2 blocks for a quick Beer and Nacho’s in an Irish Pub next door to where I got a special Watch a while ago

Phase 3 - The White House and Smithsonian Institute

1300 Head out of the Pub, over 2 blocks, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for another quick photo shoot at the White House
1330 Photos in L'Enfant Plaza of the protesters (always there) and the grandeur of the White House
1345 Up the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial, crossing over the Reflecting Pool to the Vietnam Memorial for another photo shoot
1410 Down the Mall to the pools (always under repair), the Washington Memorial and another photo shoot at the Capital Building
1430 At long last - 10 hours later - We enter the Air and Space museum for a 2 hour tour

The sole goal of this entire trip was to pick up a very specific piece of aviation art. As part for a fund raiser for the
Smithsonian Institute they were selling works of art based on the Nose and Tail art from historic aircraft.

The record holding SR-71A Blackbird Number 17955 is now on display at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB.
Construction started on May 13, 1964 and 17955 first flew on August 17 1965 with Weaver and Andre at the controls.
This aircraft served as the Palmdale test aircraft until 1985. It accumulated 1993.7 hours of flight time.

On this trip the tail fin art of SR-71A Number 17955 (The Pride of Skunkworks) was added to my private collection.
Thank you Smithsonian

Phase 2 - The Long Way Home

1630 Following 2 hours of Space and Aviation history we walk out the back and go down into the Metro again. 15 minutes to the Airport
1700 Using our already check-in boarding passes we go right to Boarding Security.
1715 I never planned for how hard it would be to take an airplane tail fin through Airport Security - but we did it in only 15 minutes
1810 We made the 1810 departure for Toronto without incident but not without a visit to the bar at the end of the terminal for beer and burgers :)
1925 We arrive in Toronto, cleared immigration (Airline Pass Flyers always go quickly - no checked luggage) and go right to customs
1935 I explain what the fin is, show the paperwork, pay a import fee, thank everyone, and out and on our way in less than 8 minutes
2035 Depart Toronto for Halifax (we had backup plans should we need them - but didn't)
2320 Arrive Halifax (time change), pick up the car, drop Roswell off at home at 23:45, and home before midnight

That was one long day, looking back now I think about how much fun it was to do trips like that.
I think I went to Washington 6 or 8 times, London twice, Calgary 4 times (in 3 weeks), Montreal and Toronto far too many to count.
There was also New York for the 4th of July
London England for Fish and Chips
Paris for a 24 hour photo shoot
Oh yes, 4 family vacations as well too.
I do miss that perk.

But as I like to say

Go Home

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