My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 2

11 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 – Wednesday July 24

I was glad things worked out as they did yesterday, since one of the main reasons I picked this area for this road trip was to visit the Air Zoo Museum in Portage, MI.  This is one of the most amazing aviation museums I have visited.  Their 35+ beautifully restored aircraft are strategically positioned and lighted so the visitor can get good photos.  Their restoration building is one of the most organized and clean facilities I have ever seen.  This museum was one of the high-lights of this trip!

After this great museum visit, I headed northeast on SR-43 about 25 miles to visit the Gilmore Car Museum located in Hickory Corners, MI.  This turned out to be another fantastic experience!  The museum consists of some 18 individual buildings, situated on 90 acres, filled with 300+ beautifully restored automobiles, motorcycles, and vintage memorabilia dating from the late 1890s.

The collection actually had on display more vintage Duesenberg motorcars than the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN that I visited in 2016.  There is also a replica 1930s full service Shell Station where gas is always $.18 cents a gallon.

And if you’re hungry, there is the 1941 “Blue Moon Diner” where visitors can stop in for lunch.  I could have spent a whole day at this museum, but I had miles to go and other museums to visit, before this day was going to be over.  

From here I headed southeast on SR-89/37 to visit the Post Cereal Museum located in Battle Creek, MI. Started in 1892 by Charles Post, on this site, the Postum Cereal Company produced cereal drinks and breakfast cereals such as Postum, Grape-Nuts, and Post Toasties before becoming the General Food Corporation in 1929.  Through the years the company grew and was purchased by various conglomerates, until it became a part of Kraft Foods in 1989.  I didn’t have time to wait for the next scheduled tour to begin, so I opted to move on to the next museum.

Now it was east on I-94 to visit Ye Ole Carriage Shop in Spring Arbor, MI.  Because of road construction in the area, this small museum was very hard to find.  I was looking forward to getting a look at a 1902 JAXON steam car in their collection.  The JAXON (which I had never heard of) was built by one of the 24 companies building cars in nearby Jackson, MI during the early 1900s.   When I finally did find the museum, it was closed.

Just a few miles northeast I planned to visit the Cell Block 7 Museum in Jackson, MI.  The museum is located on the grounds of the operational State Prison of Southern Michigan.  What originally began as a log structure in 1839, housing 35 inmates, has grown over the years to become one of the largest walled institutions in the world, housing as many as 5000+ inmates at any one time.  As with the Post Cereal Museum, I didn’t go through this museum as I would have had to wait for the next guided tour.  I have found that these guided tours usually take 1½ to more than 2 hours, and that is more time than I usually like to spend to see a museum.

While I was in Jackson, I tried to find the Hackett Auto Museum, but discovered they were in the process of restoring an old building for their collection and wouldn’t be ready to open until sometime in 2020.  So, I headed east on I-94 again to visit the Waterloo Farm Museum located in Grass Lake, MI. This farm museum is built around the original 1854 farm home of Johannes Siebold and his family.  The museum honors the Michigan pioneer farmers of the 1850s, and has a restored farmhouse,  farm buildings, and farm equipment used during that time period.

Now I headed east to visit the Argus Museum located in Ann Arbor, MI.  One of my first cameras was a 35mm Argus C4 that my Aunt Jessie gave me for high school graduation.  I used that camera to take tons of pictures in the many foreign seaports I visited while I was in the U. S. Navy (1956-1962).  According to their website, my camera was built in this building sometime between1951-1957).  The museum consists of camera displays, artifacts and memorabilia related to the company’s history from 1936-1969.

Since the Saline Depot Museum in Saline, MI was only open on Saturdays, and would take me 20 miles out of my way, I opted to bypass that museum and head east on I-94 to visit  the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum located in Ypsilanti, MI.   This museum is housed in the building that housed the longest operating Hudson dealership in Michigan (1927-1955).  The museum has 30+ beautifully restored cars, including a 1952 Hudson Hornet and a 1948 Tucker  movie prop. The museum name was changed around 1995,but the name on the building is still Hudson Auto Museum. 

By now I was getting hungry, and I asked Greta to take me down the road a few miles, to the motel in Romulus, MI.  The desk clerk recommended Leonardo’s Italian Grill there in town, where I had their delicious Baked Lasagna dinner with fresh baked rolls, and Tiramisu for dessert. Yummm!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 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 Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels 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 there 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.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 2”

  1. divoran09 September 11, 2019 at 4:35 pm #

    This was a great post.


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