My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 13

28 Sep

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites


Day 13 (Thursday)


As it turned out, I was disappointed to learn my friend, Terry, woke up with a sever crook in his neck and couldn’t go with me to the museums today. After breakfast I wished him a quick recovery, and headed out for Birmingham. My first stop today was to visit the Southern Museum of Flight located adjacent to the Birmingham-Suttlesworth International Airport. The museum’s collection of airplanes is located in a small exhibition hall (beautifully restored static displays) and outside static aircraft displays two blocks away.




The outside displays are enclosed in a chain-link fence with no access. So, any pictures of the aircraft on display there have to be taken through the fence, which sometimes can make for a difficult process.




I had tried to contact someone at the Old Car Heaven Museum in downtown Birmingham, but was unable to find out what their operating hours were. Greta took me to the correct address, but there were only two cars out front and the doors were locked. Just as I was getting ready to leave, this guy pulled up and went to enter the building. I asked him if I could take a look at the museum’s cars, and he told me to walk around to the back stairs and ask for the mechanic.





The mechanic’s name was Tom, and he didn’t seem too happy to see me. After I told him I just wanted a quick look at the museum’s cars, he cooled down some. He walked me around the warehouse full of some 103 cars of all makes and models, in various stages of restoration. He informed me that he was the only mechanic, and was responsible for keeping all the cars running, and preparing the ones the boss wanted to display for any given event the restaurant/lounge sponsored. I told Tom I understood his frustration, when Fred (the guy from around front) let someone in without notifying him. He warmed up at that point, so I took some photos, and he told me all about some of the museum’s unique cars.





Next on the list for today was a visit to the Baker Vintage Motorsports Museum located just east of Birmingham, off I-20 in Leeds, Alabama. This is a huge five-story museum complex housing somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 motorcycles, represented by over 200 manufactures from 20 countries, plus 100 race cars and automobiles. The museum building is laid out in such a manner that you can take an elevator to the fifth floor, and then slowly walk on a gradually sloping circular walkway, around the interior of the building, allowing you access to all of the motorcycles and vehicles on each floor as you slowly travel down.




Each of the older motorcycles (beginning with many from the early 1900s) is perfectly restored, while many of the newer models look to be brand-new. This is an absolutely amazing display. In addition to the Vintage Motorsports Museum, the Barber Motorsports Park includes a world-class 16 turn 2.38 mile road course, and a vehicle proving ground which are both open to the public. If you are a motor sports fan, and ever get a chance to visit the Birmingham area, be sure to check out this museum and motorsports complex. You will be overwhelmed!




I had planned to visit the Avondale Brewery, which was not far from the Old Car Heaven Museum there in Birmingham, but they did not open until 4 PM. While I was waiting for them to open, I Googled breweries in the area, and found that there were two others close.




So, I went down the street a few blocks from there to see if I could get a tour of the Good People Brewery. They were open but informed me that they only gave tours of their brewery on Wednesdays and Saturdays.




So, it was back to the Avondale Brewery to wait. I took a walk to stretch my legs, and down the block, I came across the Post Office Pies Restaurant.  The name intrigued me, so I stepped inside the door, only to find out that it was all about pizza pies, not dessert pies.




At 4 o’clock I received my mini-tour of the Avondale Brewery. It consisted of two very small buildings and was a very quick tour. I commented to the tour guide/office manager how, as far as I could see, they had all the processing equipment that Budweiser had, and she said, “We would be a tiny speck on a sheet of paper compared to them!”




On the way to the motel, I spotted the local Longhorn Steakhouse and stopped for another dose of my favorite meal of their baby back ribs, a sweet potato and a garden salad with ranch dressing. Then I headed for the motel to record today’s activities and prepare my list for tomorrow’s museum visits. So ends another great day of scenic travel and museum visits.



—–To Be Continued—–

One Response to “My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 13”

  1. divoran09 October 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Nice Post, dear.

    Love, DiVoran


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