A Slice of Life
Day 2 (Friday 9/30/2016)
I got off to a late start this morning because I wanted to check out the Eddie Rickenbacker Airport again before I left Columbus. The other reason I was not in a hurry this morning was because the first museum I was going to visit did not open until 10:00.
So, after seeing that the Rickenbacker Airport was not open for operations yet, I headed for the Champaign Aviation Museum located just north of Urbana, Ohio. This was a very small museum with only three aircraft which consisted of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and their major project, a B-17 Flying Fortress called the “Champaign Lady.” All three aircraft were under one phase of restoration or another.
One of the volunteers at the museum wanted to know if I had ever visited the Waco Aircraft Museum near Troy, Ohio. I told him I had not known of it, and he gave me directions to the museum. On my way to Troy to visit that museum, I came across The Depot Coffee House, which is located in the historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Urbana, Ohio. This depot was part of what was once called the “Panhandle Railroad” (late 1850s) and was on the route taken by the funeral train, in 1865, which carried President Abraham Lincoln on the way to his resting place in Springfield, Illinois. I stopped to look over the depot and use their restroom. It was a little hard to tell that it had once been a railroad depot.
Now I headed southwest to check out the WACO Aircraft Museum, located adjacent to the Historic WACO Field just south of Troy, Ohio. Wikipedia informs me that the WACO Aircraft Company was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country in the late 1920’s and early 30’s. I didn’t realize this, and as it turned out, this very nice (small) museum is dedicated to the memory of those times. The museum consisted of a dozen or more vintage Waco aircraft dating from the 1920s. The lady at the desk turned out to be my tour guide and gave me a personal tour of the museum and its history.
I know my friend Terry will be jealous of my chance to visit the WACO Air Museum, as he is a “Golden Age of Aircraft” kind of guy that loves any kind of
Bi-plane, especially any WACO variant. I’ll send him photos of the planes in this museum and hope he can visit it someday.
Then it was on down the road to visit the America’s Packard Museum located in downtown Dayton, Ohio. This was one of the most amazing automobile museums I have been to lately. Their collection consisted of 50+ vintage Packard automobiles of every possible description, many of which are one-of-a-kind or special order vehicles, dating from the early 1920s to the late 1940s. Each of these Packard automobiles has been beautifully restored, and all are in perfect running condition.
From there, I headed south on I-75 to visit the Wright Brothers Airport. This airport has a museum honoring the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers. It also operates a growing fleet of “look-a-like” replicas, including a 1910 Wright “B” Flyer, nicknamed the “Brown Bird.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to the museum before they closed (2:30) and they were only open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I’m sure I will see other 1910 Model “B” flyers at some of the other museums I will visit during my four-day stay in the Dayton area.
So, now I headed a few more miles south on SR-123 to visit the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad Museum located in Lebanon, Ohio. This museum features periodic four-mile nostalgic train rides, which are themed with favorite children’s characters including Thomas the Tank Engine and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The museum was closed and only advertised their next one-hour train rides, to be on October 5 & 13. Since these train rides seemed to be tailored more for children, I didn’t think I would be missing too much.
Just another few miles southwest on I-75 I visited my last museum for today, called the EnterTrainment Junction Model Railroad Museum, located in West Chester, Ohio. This has to be the largest model railroad layout that I have ever seen. I’ve seen videos of the huge indoor model train layout in Germany, but I have no idea how it compares in overall size with this model train layout. I forgot to ask one of the museum hosts how long it took to build this model train layout, but it had to have taken many years. With several representations of American life, built around our nationwide railroad systems, this model railroad museum was outstanding.
After I located tonight’s motel and got settled in, I treated myself to dinner at the Mason, Ohio Outback Restaurant. I had a delicious “Pork Porterhouse” entre’, with garlic potatoes, stewed veggies, and a garden salad,. Yummm! And, I had enough left-over for a repeat tomorrow night. Double Yummm!
—–To Be Continued—–