My Southwest Adventure Part~1

23 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

The main reason for this trip was to attend the CAF AirPower Expo in Addison, Texas, where “FIFI”, the only flying B-29 in the world and her CAF 1companion B-24, “Diamond Lil”, were to be featured, along with a varity of other WWII Warbirds.  I had seen static B-24 and B-29 displays at museums, but this would be a special treat to see these famous WWII Warbirds fly.  Then after that experience, I planned to complete an 11-day, 2660-mile circuit of aviation museums and other attractions in Central/West Texas and New Mexico.

I knew I was headed for Texas, because on the first leg of my flight to Austin, Texas I sat next to an older couple who were dressed in western togs.  The man was holding his 10-gallon hat in his lap the whole trip, because he couldn’t wear it and lean back in his seat.  I didn’t pay much attention to that until we got ready to disembark in Austin, at which time 2he and his wife kept taking things out of his hat; like her watch and hair comb, and his glasses and billfold.  Now I knew cowboys used their hats on the trail, to give their horses a drink of water, but I never thought about how convenient those big hats would be to carry things in!  Then I arrived at the Dallas airport, many of the people were dressed in their western clothes and boots, and I saw this 10-gallon hat display used as a window decoration for a restaurant.  The next thing I noticed, after obtaining my rental car was the Geico billboard sign, with the Gecko wearing a 10-gallon hat.  Yep, I was in Texas for sure!

The next day, at the CAF AirPower Expo, as advertised, “FIFI” and “Diamond Lil” thrilled the crowd and gave us all a sense of being a part of the past, that few people of the modern generation can appreciate.  The many other WWII Warbirds participating in the Expo made for a special day for me to remember.  Being trained as an Airframe & Engine mechanic in college, I still love the sights, sounds and smells of the round-engine propeller airplanes from the 1930s-1950s era.

One of the most memorable things for me at the Expo was meeting Bob Searden, who was part of the 507th Airborne Infantry Regiment, parachuting into Normandy in the early hours of D-Day.  Bob was all decked out in his jump uniform, metals, and even a pair of jump boots.  I was privileged to have my picture taken with Bob, who I consider a real WWII hero.  Check out Bob’s memoir To D-Day and Backwhich chronicles his experiences on D-Day and his subsequent capture and life as a POW.

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——To Be Continued——

 

3 Responses to “My Southwest Adventure Part~1”

  1. DiVoran Lites October 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I think Bill has become a regular roving reporter and I love it.

    Like

  2. Joan Zugelder October 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Wow, this sounds great. When were you there? Did this take place in Austin? J & F

    Like

  3. oldthingsrnew October 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    This was a fun post, looking forward to more stories.

    Like

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