Jonathan Sumner Evans
Sumner Evans
Software Engineer at Automattic working on Beeper

Denver to Washington D.C.

Posted on in Trip to D.C. and Montreal • 939 words • 5 minute read
Tags: Travel, Washington D.C., Denver, National Natural History Museum

Next week, Beeper is having a company retreat in Montreal, Canada. Since I haven’t really done any sort of leisure travel that requires air travel since the pandemic began, I decided to tack on a weekend getaway to the east coast. I decided to meet up with a few fellow Mines graduates to hang out in DC for the weekend.

Today I flew out of Denver to Washington D.C., and I’ll be flying to Montreal on Sunday. My roommate kindly took me to the airport at around 05:00 this morning. I have Global Entry, so I got TSA Pre which made security a breeze. It took me 15 minutes from arriving at the airport to get through security! And that was despite having to walk across the airport because only south security had a TSA Pre line (I went in the north side of the airport).

Currently, I’m on the plane, and the captain just announced that we are starting our approach into Ronald Reagan International Airport (DCA). The plane is not full; lots of aisles with only one or two people on them. I am in the window seat, and there’s nobody in the middle seat next to me which is great. I was able to put my backpack there for most of the flight for more leg room. (It’s the little luxuries that count on a plane these days…)

I didn’t check any bags, so I should be able to get out of the airport and to my hotel pretty quickly, and then have the rest of the afternoon to sightsee.

After landing, I figured out how to get into D.C. via the Metro. Finding how to get to the metro station from the airport was quite an adventure. It is not obvious where you have to go to get to the platform, even though the platform is in sight of the terminal. I ended up finding the path through what seemed to be an under-construction part of the airport.

I made it to Union Station, and met up with Sam Sartor who came up to D.C. from College of William and Mary where he is getting a PhD in computer science.

After leaving our bags at my hotel, we walked down towards the mall and went to the museum of natural history for a few hours. We spent a while looking at a whole lot of gems in the geology part of the museum. It was an impressive collection. At Mines, we have a fairly large geology museum, but this one was larger for sure. We joked that if Mines’ museum was going to be second place to another museum, at least it was the Smithsonian.

There was another exhibit all about water and its affects on geography and geology. One display showed all the areas around Washington D.C. that used to be water. The entire National Mall was once a waterway and there were many streams throughout what is now the city!

After that exhibit, we wandered through some other exhibits including a dinosaur exhibit and an exhibit featuring a bunch of different mammals. I especially enjoyed the exhibit about Australian animals. I think it’s cool how diverse the ecology is there because it was geographically isolated for such a long time. We went fairly quickly through the exhibits, mainly looking at the various objects rather than trying to read everything.

After we finished at the Natural History Museum, we decided to go over to the American History Museum. We went to the flag display where they have the flag that was flown over Ft. McHenry during the attempted invasion of Baltimore during the War of 1812. That battle is what inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner.

We then went through another exhibit about various American inventions. By this time in the day, we were both fairly tired since both of us had gotten up early for travel, so we went fairly quickly through the exhibit. It was neat looking at the various objects and learning a bit about them, though.

After leaving the history museum, we walked over to the Washington Monument and relaxed for a few minutes while we waited for Jo to get off of work and come to meet us. I decided to get a photo of myself doing a side kick in front of the Washington Monument to show the people back at my taekwondo school.

Sam and I walked around the WWII Memorial, and then headed back to Union Station where we met up with Jo. She recommend that we try a nearby pizza place so we walked over there. It was a nice place with Italian-style pizza. It was a beautiful evening as well, and it was nice getting to catch up with friends. We all had gone to Mines together, but both of them have since moved to the east coast for work and school.

We headed back to my hotel after dinner so I could check in. My room is quite the experience. It has RGB lights everywhere, and you can control them with a little screen thing. None of us quite knew what to think about it. But hey, I got it for $80/night.

A photo of my hotel room

After a while, Sam and Jo left for her apartment so that they could let Robby (who was flying in from Denver) in when he arrived.

Tomorrow, we are all going to meet up and go to the Air and Space Museum. I have been there before, but I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of looking at rockets and planes.