Memory Lane Trip~Part 2

20 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 – Wednesday 4/18/2018


I headed west on U.S.- 61 this morning for my first stop to check out the South Louisiana Executive Airport located in Reserve, LA.  This turned out to be a very small local FBO with no activity and only a few hangered airplanes. However, they had a beautifully restored F-11 Tiger jet that was painted in Blue Angels colors as their gate guard.



Next I continued west on U.S.- 61 until I picked up I-10 west, to check out the USS Kidd (DD-661) located in Baton Rouge, LA.    The whole area around the ship, which was part of the Veteran’s Memorial Museum, was blocked off to visitors.  I discovered the ship was being used in the making of a new movie named “Greyhound” starring Tom Hanks.  The ship was surrounded with barge-cranes and boats to handle all the movie sound and lighting equipment.  I didn’t see any filming activity on the upper decks, and it will be interesting to see how they use that stationary ship in the finished movie.



Next I tried to find the Old Arsenal Museum also located there in Baton Rouge.  Access to the museum (which was hidden from sight from the only road where parking was available), was difficult to find and when I finally did get to the museum it was closed. A sign on the front of the museum indicated that it was the original powder storage magazine for the Baton Rouge Arsenal & Ordnance Depot. Wikipedia informed me that the Baton Rouge Arsenal was one of several arsenals established by an act of Congress in 1816 to protect Louisiana borders after the War of 1812.  In early1861, even before Louisiana had seceded from the union, the Louisiana State Militia captured the arsenal and held it until mid-1862 when Union forces recaptured it, during the Battle of Baton Rouge.



Just around the corner and down a couple blocks from the Old Arsenal, I checked out the Louisiana Old State Capital Building Museum situated on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  Designed and built in 1847-1852, the “Castellated Gothic” turreted edifice served the Louisiana Legislature from 1852 until 1862.  During the Civil War, when Union forces captured Baton Rouge, it was used as a prison and later as a military garrison.  I didn’t go inside because it was full and overflowing with junior high school age students on a field trip.



Now I headed west on I-10, across the Mississippi River, to visit the USS Orleck (DD-886) which is tied up on the Calcasieu River, located on the northwest side of Lake Charles, LA.  This turned out to be another real challenge for Greta, in that she directed me to the wrong side of the road.  The ship was tied up in an area which was almost completely obscured by trees and shrubbery, which made it very difficult to see from the road and also hard to photograph.  The ship was in a state of dis-repair and didn’t look like visitors were welcome. I googled the USS Orleck when I got home from my trip, and Wikipedia informed me that the ship was damaged during the 2005 Hurricane Rita and is now being prepared for the scrap yard.



While I still had some time before supper, I went looking for the Lake Area Radio Kontrol Society flying field located in Sulphur, LA just a few miles from Baton Rouge. This actually turned out to be the highlight of the day as far as I was concerned.  Greta found the field with no problem, and there was one club member with his Grumman F-7F Tigercat, getting ready to fly.  The club had one of the greatest flying field setups I’ve ever seen.  They have a 600’ paved runway, with several run-up stations and paved taxi-ways to the runway.  There is a large metal covered prep area with tables and chairs.  They also have a nice-sized attached clubhouse with full kitchen and bathroom.  We had a great time talking model airplanes before and after he flew his beautiful Tigercat.



The light was fading fast by the time I left the LARKS Model R/C field, so I headed for the motel there in Lake Charles.  Greta did a good job of finding the motel this time.  After I got checked in and settled in my room, it was time to relax, and  warmup my leftover Saltgrass Baby Back Ribs.  Who could ask for more to finish a long day on the road?



—–To Be Continued—–



Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 58 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, writing blogs for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing. He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville. Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill’s favorite Scripture is: Philippians 1:6


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