Saturday, May 12, 2007

Trip to See Ronnie and Nancy

Today Debbie and I loaded up the CRV and went north to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. We thought it would be nice to travel back to a time when our enemy was clearly defined and the US was more hopeful about the future as we achieved "peace through strength" in the Reagan era.

The library is out in the middle of no where, so it's peaceful and serene. It does a fantastic job of showcasing our 40th president's love of horses, the southwest and his beginnings in Hollywood.
However, there is an incredible lack of presidential memorabilia. Most of his story is told through a series of 5 minute film vignettes. There are few physical items from his presidency - letters, phone calls we can hear, treaties signed, etc. It felt like a giant political commercial for Ronald Reagan or better yet a movie trailer.

We do have the requisite cases of White House China, gowns Nancy wore and a booth from their favorite restaurant. The Air Force One pavilion is interesting as was the replica of the Oval office, but overall the place lacks depth and it wasn't very interactive.

For a man that orchestrated the end of the Cold War he is reduced to key sound bites and the number of miles he travelled on his plane meeting dignitaries. It isn't quite the picture of the man I expected.

Then again maybe that was the spirit of the age - progress and optimism. During his presidency our confidence as a nation soared, just fast as the interest rates and inflation plummeted. We were in a boom and felt secure as our military was strengthened. Maybe I couldn't connected to the laisse faire attitude of the 80s as we rested on our laurels of our longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. Knowing what comes next the nostalgia just wasn't enough. So we left a little disappointed, but still glad we went.

To redeem the 90 mile drive to the Valley (from Orange County) we stopped at Olvera St on the way back to eat a churro and visit Union Station.

Then we topped the day off with a trip to Versailles, my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, to have some Cuban food with Erika, another of my favorite things in Los Angeles.

All in all a fantastic day.

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