And on I went to Washington!
Three years, a car-wrap, and 100 letters later, I was going to meet my representatives. Oregon Senator Merkley was the first of my represenatives that said he would meet with me in Washington, and I had a meeting arranged at his weekly constituent breakfast.
I worried if they would let me in the Senate Office Building with this large poster on foam core and I was delighted when they did. When I was six-years-old my mom took me for a tour of NYC City Hall and she says that I went nuts with the wonder of all that power. Evidently I kept saying, "I can't believe they are making laws! Right here!" Well I felt the same way walking into the Senate Office Building. I felt downright reverent.
Right outside Senator Merkley's office I heard a little girl say, "There's that peace car!" Her name is Lily and she lives 5 blocks from my home in Portland! Turns out she and her family were visiting the Senator as well. Out of five parties there to meet Jeff Merkley, two of us knew each other.
It was wonderful meeting the Senator! He took a long time with each visitor and seemed very moved by the site of the picture of my car. He wondered if he could see the car itself and asked his staff to arrange for me to park it outside the senate office building later that day! I took off to find a car wash! Here he is next to the car, with the Capitol Building in the background. He, like most people who see my car, was shocked to see how many nuclear weapons we have. I'm sure he had access to the number, but seeing it is different.
Later that day I was supposed to meet with my other Senator, Ron Wyden. But alas he was busy speaking on the floor of the Senate about Cyber-security. At least I was able to meet with his staff, leave my giant Thank You poster, and to take this picture:
I have since invited him to come see my car in Portland.
Right next to where I parked (not easy near the capitol!), I happened to notice the national headquaters of the Quaker, Friends Committee on National Legislation. So I walked in to say hello as they are very supportive of peace efforts. And they were very happy to visit, take pictures, and offer their facility for meetings. It is an interesting measure of an organization's temperment - how they respond to surprise visits. FCNL responded well!
Dressing up is not my forte but I tried my best, using my pointiest shoes.
The next day I had a meeting with Congressman Blumenauer. He was very supportive of my concerns and had introduced legislation to cut 100 Billion from the budget for "modernizing" our nuclear weapons. I have since sent copies of his legislation to my Senators and will work to support it. Even with such a modest proposal to curb spending on nuclear weapons, he has had trouble finding co-sponsors. But I am so thrilled that he is trying!
Well there was one representative I had yet to meet and that was the President. I asked each of my other representatives if they could get me in to see him but alas, no. As a consolation prize I did drive my car as close to the White House as I could get. I jumped out of my car and took a picture even though I was in the middle of traffic.
Each step of the way on this process of writing 100 letters, and going to Washington, it was hard to keep going; hard to think I might make a difference. Even though it probably meant nothing to the tourists strutting around my stopped car, it meant the world to me that I had followed through on my efforts. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. Just getting there had its own resonant meaning for me. And If I had touched someone's heart or mind along the way, all the better.
Just today I wrote him this letter:
Back in Washington, I still had the afternoon free so I wandered off to the National Mall to see some museums. The National Gallery felt like an old friend - I've visited it many times over the years when I went to Washington for a march or conference. But I decided this was the time to venture into the Holocaust Museum, something I had never done. It was traumatic to see so many lost faces, but I couldn't help but believe I was doing my darnedest to prevent a holocaust on even a larger scale.
I was heartened to see this in the gift shop:
And stunned to see this - a homage to my father's infantry unit that liberated concentration camps. [The Fighting Sixty-Ninth](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/69th_Infantry_Regiment_(New_York)
I was staying with an old college (Oberlin) friend in Washington, D.C. by the name of Jane Lincoln. Yes she is a distant cousin of our President Lincoln, so I thought I should take a photo of her and her cuz:
I also visited with a friend from the same era, Valerie, and her family:
But soon it was time to head home!
I discovered that it is a little more laborious to drive home from a triumph than it is to drive toward one! There was a lot of driving, and Pandora music streaming, and books on tape!
I did visit my godson's family and loved this beautiful artwork to send me on my way!
I saw a lot of these!
And stayed in the historic Plains Hotel](http://theplainshotel.com/) in Cheyenne, Wyoming:
With a cool planetary skylight:
More hills and windmills:
And a yurt BnB:
I got real good at pulling into a town and finding an excellent place to stay in no time at all!
And finally, I got to the last leg of my drive. My sweet GF rode a Greyhound bus out to meet me! And together we drove the last day home:
Finally home in the Columbia Gorge!
If you have a dream...why not chase it?