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My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5B

16 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27 (Continued)

Continuing today’s activities, I crossed the Menominee River (the border between Michigan and Wisconsin), where I visited the Marinette Logging Museum located in Marinette, WI.  This museum was built in 1962 and offers information related to the history of the early homesteaders to the area. Visitors will find several authentic pieces of sawmill and ice cutting equipment, and displays of early 1900s farm and logging equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia.  This museum also has the restored1897 Evancheck homestead log cabin that is filled with period furnishings.  Another interesting area of the museum is their collection of Menominee Indian cultural items.

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This is where the many Native Indian names of this region (many of which are spelled and sound similar) got me in trouble.  When I was making my motel reservations for this trip, I booked a room, for this night, at a motel in what I thought was Menominee, MI.  Now, I had just come across the Menominee River to visit the Logging Museum in Marinette, and knew it was only a couple of miles back to the motel.  But when I plugged the motel address into Greta (my Garmin), she told me to turn in the opposite direction, and that it was 240 miles to the motel.  What?  Have you lost your mind Greta?  I entered the motel address again, but got the same results.  I remembered passing a Quality Inn earlier, so I drove back across the Menominee River to Menominee to find the motel.

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The motel clerk said she didn’t have a reservation for me.  I showed her a copy of my reservation, and she pointed out to me that my reservation for that night was in Menomonie, WI.  Greta had been right.  My reservation was for the wrong town.  I couldn’t believe I had made such a foolish mistake.  Evidently I had hit “WI” instead of “MI” and didn’t notice the slight difference in the spelling of what sounded to me like the same word.  Well, balderdash!  I was going to have to eat the cost of that reservation, as it was “non-refundable.”   I asked the clerk if she had a room for me, she said, “No we are completely full because of the Oshkosh Air Show this week.”  And I discovered all of the motels in the surrounding area were full for the same reason.  So now what was I going to do?  Sleep in the car?  She was kind enough to call around and finally found me a room at the Best Western, there in town, so at least I would have a bed for the night.  

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After I got checked in at the motel, I asked Greta to take me to The Brothers Three Restaurant, there in town, where I waited almost an hour after ordering, to be served the worst Calzone I have ever tried to eat.  There were lots of cars in the parking lot, and the restaurant was full, so maybe some of their other Italian dishes are better, but I sure can’t recommend their Calzone to anyone.

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—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5A

9 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27

I started the day with a visit to the Ojibwa Cultural Museum located, across the Mackinaw City Bridge (from what is called the Lower Michigan Peninsula to the Upper Michigan Peninsula) in Saint Ignace, MI.  This was a small museum, but it had some very interesting memorabilia and Ojibwa Indian cultural exhibits inside and outside the museum.

I found it interesting to learn that the native Indians in the Upper Peninsula had not always been friendly with each other.  A historical marker, outside the museum indicated that the Huron Indians had been displaced by the hostile Iroquois Indians, from their homes in Canada, to the St. Ignace area in around 1671.  These peace loving Huron Indians were ministered to by Father Marquette at his St. Ignace Mission until they joined Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac on his expedition to Detroit in 1701.

Next I picked up US-2 and headed 40+ miles west, to visit the Top-of-the-Lake Snowmobile Museum located in Naubinway, MI.  This is one of the most amazing museums I have visited.  The museum consists of over 185 unique, vintage, and classic snowmobiles of every type imaginable.   It was well worth the time to stop and see how inventive people have been to come up with ways to travel on the heavy snow in the frozen North Country.

After that interesting museum I headed west, another 30 miles on US-2, to try to find the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Gallagher, MI but to no avail.  I couldn’t find any road signs, and Greta (my Garmin) could not find the address either.  Another 15 miles west on US-2, it was the same thing when I tried to find the Bishop Baraga Shrine in Manistique, MI.  I even stopped and asked a local man on the street, but he had never heard of the Shrine.   So I continued to follow US-2 west, another 50 miles, until I reached Escanaba, MI to check out the Sand Point Lighthouse located on the shore of the Little Bay de Noc, at the entrance to Escanaba Harbor.  Built in 1867, this small lighthouse served to protect the shipping industry of Escanaba until 1966, when it was abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard, and converted into a museum that displays local maritime artifacts and memorabilia.


Next I visited the West Shore Fishing Museum located off SR-35, just west of Rochereau Point in the Kate A. Bailey Park.  Located a  few miles north of Menominee, MI, this museum is the restored home and fishery of Charles Bailey, who operated one of the area’s largest commercial fishing operations from 1893 to 1950.  The museum opened in 1997 with family owned commercial fishing artifacts and memorabilia from the family’s many years of fishing the Green Bay.  Mr. Bailey conducted a very creative fish exchange with Florida fish processors of the time, whereby they sold each other their fresh local fish.

—–Today’s activities will 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.

Bill

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip-Part 4

2 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – Friday July 26

My first museum this morning was to visit the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum located in Bay City, MI. This museum is housed in the destroyer USS Edson (DD-946) which is tied up alongside the Saginaw River near Essexville, MI.  Since I served on a WWII destroyer (Gearing-class) while in the U.S. Navy, and I have visited many ship museums, I opted to just get a photo and move on to the next museum.

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I headed north on I-75 to visit the Standish Historical Depot located in Standish, MI.  The first Standish depot was built in 1871 by the Michigan Central Rail Road (MCRR), but was replaced by a new depot (1877-1889). This small depot museum has been restored, and retains many of its original beautiful hardwood fixtures.

Now I headed northeast on US-23 to visit the Wurtsmith Air Museum located in Oscoda, MI.  This turned out to be a fairly large museum with three hangers of aircraft, equipment and memorabilia, designed to preserve the history of nearby Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which was operational from 1923 to 1993.

I decided to take US-23 north along the coast to Mackinaw City, MI where I visited the Colonial Michilimackinac.  This Mackinac State Park is a work in process.  The reconstructed 1715 Colonial Fort Mackinac and fur trading village consists of 16 buildings furnished with early 18thcentury furnishings, and guides dressed in period costumes, to tell you all about their building. Reenactments are performed daily to help the visitor appreciate the life and times of the period, including Fort Mackinac’s participation in the War of 1812 with the British.

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While in Mackinaw City, I visited the Mackinaw City Bridge Museum, located on the second floor of MaMa Mia’s Pizzeria.  This small museum relates the history of the building of the “Mighty Mac” and honors the thousands of workers who participated in the bridge’s construction. The museum is filled with artifacts, photographs, and all types of memorabilia. 

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Local business and investment concerns showed interest in a bridge from Ignace to Mackinaw City as early as 1884, however the Michigan state government was not ready to tackle such a project.   Increased tourist traffic in the area during the early 1900s finally saw the implementation of an automobile ferry service in 1923 between the two cities.  As the traffic flow increased, and with the ferry service in full swing, carrying as many as 9000 cars a day, traffic backups waiting for passage began to increase and were sometimes known to stretch for miles. In 1928 the Governor of Michigan called for the Michigan State Highway Department to perform a bridge evaluation.  In 1934 the Michigan Legislature created the Meckinac Straits Bridge Authority to study the concept, however financing during the Great Depression was non-existent.  Serious plans for the bridge began as early as 1936 , but was delayed by WWII.   Construction finally began on the bridge in 1954.  Approximately 11, 350 workers, from all over the country, completed the $70+ Million Icon in 1957.  At the time of its completion, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 26,372 feet (5 miles).

My restaurant choice this evening turned out to be at Scallywags White Fish & Chips, located on East Central Avenue, just down the street from the Mackinaw City Bridge Museum.  I had their White Fish Tacos that were some of the best I have ever eaten.  Their chips were also excellent.  I struck up a conversation with the guy at the next table, and discovered he was also an ex-navy man, and he had been to some of the museums, in Canada, that I plan to visit next summer.   He said he had some photos of some of Canada’s rarest airplanes, and would email them to me, if he could find them.

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After that great meal and interesting conversation, I was ready for Greta to take me to tonight’s motel, where I could relax from the long day’s drive.  I recorded my day’s events, and before I knew it, I was falling asleep at the desk.  I decided it was finally time to call it a day, hit the sack, and hopefully dream of exciting things I had planned to see tomorrow.

—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 3B

25 Sep

Day 3 – Thursday July 25 (Continued)

Continuing today’s activities, I headed northeast on I-94 to visit the Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum located in Marysville, MI.  This museum tells the story of C.H. Wills, who after working as a design engineer for Henry Ford, left Ford in 1919 to start designing and building his own cars. The resulting modern and stylish Wills Sainte Claire Model A-68 car and other cars he created were not a success. The price of his cars for the time, and the Great Depression, caused the company to close its doors in 1929, along with many other car companies of the time.

Next I headed west on I-69 to check out the Sloan Museum located in Burton, MI.  This museum is part of the Cortland Center Mall, and has around 30 beautifully restored cars on display dating from 1904, including 5 ultra-rare Concept Cars.  Because I took so much time at the previous museums, I was running out of time for today. So I decided to skip the three museums, on my list in the Flint, MI area, and head north on I-75.

My sister, Judy, and another friend had told me that if I got a chance, I should stop in Frankenmuth, MI to check out that unique and beautiful Bavarian city.  The downtown Bavarian designed buildings were unique but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Abby’s of Frankenmuth tourist trap area.  I was also very disappointed that the Michigan’s Military & Space Hero’s Museum there in town was closed.

I took time to watch the Bavarian Bell Riverboat return from a run down the Cass River, and took a stroll thru what is called Michigan’s Largest Wooden Covered Bridge.  Built in the late 1977s, this beautifully designed covered bridge (Holz Brucke) is 239 feet long and is wide enough for two auto lanes with sidewalks on either side.  As a serendipity on this long day my son, Billy, called to check on me while I was standing in front of the bridge watching the Bavarian Bell Riverboat dock across the Cass River.  He looked up my location on his cell phone, and was describing the surroundings in such detail that I asked him if he could see me waving.  What fun that was.

My last museum today was to be the Saginaw Railway Museum located in Saginaw, MI.   Of course, I had planned too many museum visits for today, and it was after 6:00 before I got to Saginaw.  The museum was closed, but I got some pictures of their museum building and their rolling stock.  The museum website informed me that the museum is housed in the restored 1907 Pere Marquette Railway depot that was moved from Hemlock, MI and sits on the original 1881 site of the Marquette Union Station. 

By now I was past ready for Greta to take me to tonight’s motel in Auburn, MI. After I got checked in at the motel, I heated up last night’s leftover Baked Lasagna from Leonardo’s Italian Grill, and enjoyed that delicious meal again.

—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 3A

18 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 – Thursday July 25

I was really disappointed when I visited the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville, MI this morning.  I had read many articles about the famous Willow Run B-24 Bomber plant that Henry Ford built during WWII, and I was expecting to see the museum’s aircraft displays in the remaining portion of that plant.  Well, I was informed that the building was still being renovated, and most of their 25+ aircraft were on temporary loan to other museums.  Bumber!  The small collection of five aircraft and some memorabilia in the small museum building was unimpressive.

I headed northeast on I-94 about 20 miles to visit The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.  This museum in overwhelming!  A person could spend a week in this museum, and not see everything. It seems that Henry Ford was a visionary in more ways than one.  I learned that by the late 1920s he was a world-famous collector.  This museum is built on Ford’s Rouge Factory site (birthplace of the Ford Model “T”), and is where much of Ford’s collections have been used as displays. I was especially impressed with the Heroes of the Sky aircraft displays, and the automobile collection that showcases over 120+ beautifully restored cars dating from 1865. Added to all of this is the Greenfield Village, the Dearborn Development Center and the IMAX movies, and the average person just can’t see it all in one day.

Now I headed east to visit the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, MI.  I learned that the Ford Motor Company produced its first Model “A” and Model “AC” cars in 1903, in a converted wagon shop that became known as the Ford Mack Avenue Plant.

Then in 1904, Ford’s assembly operations were moved to the new Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the evolution of the Model “A” thru Model “T” continued.   In 1910, when the demand for Ford’s Model “T” made this building inadequate, assembly operations were moved to the larger Highland Park Ford Plant, where the Ford Motor Company first used the moving assembly line to produce its cars.

In 1914 Henry Ford shocked the car manufacturing industry when he announced he would raise his employees’ wages from $2.34 to $5.00 per day, and cut the shift hours from 9-hours to 8-hours per day.  This move allowed Ford to work three equal shifts per day, which would keep his assembly line producing cars 24-hours per day.  It also cut his employee turnover rate from 31.9% in 1913 to 1.4% in 1915.

I decided to by-pass the Bunert School Museum in Warren, MI as they are only open on Sundays, and I’ve seen many one-room school houses on previous trips.  So, now I headed northeast to visit the Michigan Transit Museum located in Mount Clemens, MI.  This museum is in the restored 1859 depot, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the railroad’s history of this part of Michigan.   A Historical Marker outside the museum described how a 15 year-old Thomas Edison saved the life of the Mount Clemens railway station agents’ son, and was rewarded with his first telegraphy lessons.

—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

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.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip~Part 1

4 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Prelude:  The original idea around a Great Lakes region road trip was that there is a lot of history in this area and there are many areas of these northern states that I had never seen.  What little of this region I have seen, during past trips, was so different from the Southwest where I grew up, and Florida where I have lived for the past 50+ years, that it made the idea of visiting this area in more detail, very intriguing to me.   And of course, the summer time was the only time for this southern boy to venture that far north.

Day 1 – Tuesday July 23

I started this road trip with a great non-stop Southwest flight from our Orlando International Airport to Chicago’s Midway International Airport.  They didn’t serve peanuts on this flight, only miniature pretzels and miniature Oreo cookies, but they were both fresh.

My niece Karen, her husband Brian, and their daughter Katie picked me up at the Midway  Airport and we went to the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, not far from the airport, for lunch. I had a delicious German Sausage plate, consisting of Vienna-style Frankfurter, pork & chicken sausages, served with imported sauerkraut, mashed potatoes & onion mustard.  Yumm!  That helped me get over the Southwest pretzels. 

We had a wonderful visit, all be it very short.  Katie has a new job as Stage Manager for a small theater company in western Illinois, and I got to hear all about it.   After lunch they drove me a few miles from the restaurant, to the Avis Rental Car location in Franklin Park, IL to pick up my rental car.  I ended up with a brand new Hundi Forte with all the bells and whistles (I never did learn how to operate all those electronic accessories).  I told them how much I enjoyed the visit, thanked them for lunch, and we said our goodbyes.

I headed east on I-90 for Gary, IN to visit the Aquatorium.  I was not sure what to expect there, but I learned the original Lakefront Park Bathhouse, built in 1922, has spent most of its life pretty much unattended.  It wasn’t until 1991, when the Gary Historical Society took over the renovation of the structure, that it was brought back to life as a museum.  The Aquatorium now honors Octave Chanute, who, it is said, flew the first aeronautically designed glider in 1896 from a dune just west of the building, and the famous Tuskegee Airmen who made a name for themselves as fighter pilots during WWII.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the honorees. 

So, I moved on northeast another 30 miles or so to Michigan City, IN where I hoped to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum.  Now you would think a structure as tall as a lighthouse would be easy to spot, but neither Greta nor I could find it.  The internet picture I had of the lighthouse showed that it really wasn’t all that tall, so I felt a little better not being able to find it.  

I was sorry to miss visiting the New Buffalo Railroad museum located in New Buffalo, MI.  This small museum was closed, but their website tells me that the museum is housed in a replica of the original 1920s Pere Marquette depot located on the historic New Buffalo rail yard site.  Three of the original 16-stall roundhouse and coal tower are an interesting part of the museum.  Displays include restored WWII Pullman Troop Sleeper Car & a C&O Chessie  Blue Box Car.

Just a few miles east on U.S. 12 I stopped to check out the Three Oaks Bicycle Club Museum, located in Three Oaks, MI.  This small museum was closed, but here again, their website informs me that it was really a one-room-museum, with a collection of some very old bicycles, whose ages date from the early 1800s.

I got to Kalamazoo, MI late in the day and decided to wait until tomorrow to visit the Air Zoo Museum, as they were closed by now (I hope that decision doesn’t throw my Wednesday schedule too far out of reach). While I was planning this trip, I had researched the best restaurants in each of the cities where I would spend a night.  So, I asked Greta (my Garmin) take me to the “42ndLatitude Restaurant” there in Kalamazoo, for a bowl of their Jambalaya.  It was delicious!

By the time I finish that wonderful meal, I was ready for Greta to take me to the motel, so I could rest my weary bones.

—–To Be Continued—–

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 13

3 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 13 Wednesday 10/31/2018

 

After a great breakfast at Denny’s this morning, I headed south on I-95 to visit the Southeast Museum of Photography (which is part of the Daytona State College) located in Daytona Beach.  This museum is best known for its rotating annual series of artistic events and photographic art displays.

 

 

The museum didn’t open until 11:00, so while I was in Daytona Beach, I headed west on U.S.-92 a few miles to visit the Daytona International Speedway Museum.  Because of all the race-day traffic cones and painted lane directions, it took me a while to find the museum. Once I found the museum entrance, I discovered you can’t see the cars in the museum collection unless you are part of one of the museum’s guided tours.  I was fast heading for a time/location crunch, so I said, “No thank you”for today’s museum tour and headed back up I-95 to meet my son for lunch in Ormond Beach.

 

 

Before I started this trip, I knew I would be going right by my son, Bill’s, office there in Ormond Beach on the last day of my trip, and made arrangements with him to meet at a restaurant close to his office.  When I arrived at Bill’s office, he had already made arrangements for us to eat at one of his favorite BBQ Shacks.  We drove over to Colt’s Pig Stand, where I had a “Verity Plate” of some of the most delicious pork sausages.  Outside the restaurant, Colt’s Pig Stand has the absolute largest “mobile BBQ Cooker” I’ve ever seen!  When they say, “We Deliver”they really mean it.

After that delightful lunch with my son, Bill, he went back to work, and I headed south on I-95 and east on U.S. 92 again.  This time I was looking for the Daytona Beach International Airport, so I could visit the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Embry-Riddle was founded in 1925 as an aircraft dealer and U.S. Mail provider, located in Cincinnati, OH.  During WWII Embry-Riddle operated as an aviation school in Miami, FL.  After the war, in 1965, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute was moved to the Daytona, Beach location.  The school continued to grow and expand over the years, and was renamed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1970.  I had always wanted to visit the university, thinking they would have a static display of aircraft spanning the years.

 

 

But I was wrong.  This large scale model hanging in the lobby of one of the Aviation Maintenance Sciences buildings was just about it.  The only other airplanes I saw as I drove thru the Engineering campus were the many Cessna 150’s being flown by student pilots. I sat and watched them take off and land for a few minutes, and I estimated there was an airplane taking off at about 1-minute intervals, and one landing about every 2-minutes.  All I can say is, they must have some really good Traffic Controller’s in their tower to keep all those airplanes out of trouble.

 

 

Next I headed south on U.S. -1 and A1A a few miles to visit the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse & Museum located at Ponce Inlet.  The first lighthouse built in this area was a wooden structure in 1835, but it didn’t last. In late 1835, during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), the natives attacked and set fire to the structure and it collapsed the following year.  It was not until 1887 that another lighthouse (known as the Mosquito Inlet Light) was built on the north side of Mosquito Inlet.  This 175 foot tall lighthouse is the tallest in Florida, and one of the tallest in the U.S.

 

 

In 1927 the name Mosquito Inlet was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet, and the lighthouse was turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939.  In 1972 the Coast Guard deeded the lighthouse to the city of Ponce Inlet.   A Lighthouse Preservation Association was formed to restore the lighthouse and three lighthouse keeper dwellings, and they also operate the museum.  In 1982 the lighthouse was restored to active service.

 

 

By now I was only about 50 miles from home, and headed south on U.S.-1 thru the familiar towns of New Smyrna, Edgewater, Oak Hill, and Mims, before reaching the outskirts of Titusville. As I pulled into my driveway, ending another interesting and unusual trip, I was filled with that warm feeling I get when I’ve been away from home for a while, and know I am about to see my lovely wife DiVoran,  and be sleeping in my own bed tonight.  I sure hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures on this Florida Road Trip as much as I have writing about it.  It’s been fun, reliving the various experiences accompanied by some of the sights and sounds along the way.  That’s it for now folks.  Hope you will join me next time, when I take to the road again, to who knows where and when.

 

 

 

—–The End—–

 

 

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.

 

Bill

 

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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 11(Continued – 3)

27 Mar

A slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Note to our readersI uploaded part 12 last week in error, so this week, we back up a day. My apologies-Onisha

 

Day 11 Monday 10/29/2018

 

The Hotel Alcazar lay unoccupied until 1947, when it was purchased by Otto C. Lightner to house his extensive collection of Victorian Era pieces.  The museum was opened in 1948, and consists of Gilded Age displays of the Lightner collection on three floors of the original hotel, including the three-story Ballroom (capable of holding 350 wedding guests).  The first floor houses a Victorian village and a music room filled with all types of musical instruments, including player pianos and orchestrions dating from the 1870s.  On the second floor visitors will find a large collection of Victorian glass items displayed, including stained glass works by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  On the third floor (Ballroom) there are displays of Victorian furniture, fine art paintings, and sculptures by famous Victorian artists dating from the early 1800s.

 

 

Across Cordova street from the Lightner Museum is the Casa Monica Hotel.  The hotel was built in 1888 by Franklin W. Smith, who also designed the Hotel Alcazar for Henry Flagler.  In fact, Smith was instrumental in convincing Flagler that the St. Augustine area was the perfect location to begin building the “American Rivera” down the east coast of Florida that Flagler dreamt of.  Not to be outdone by Flagler, Smith decorated and operated the Casa Monica Hotel as a showplace for the rich and famous.  However, soon after the hotel opened, Smith began to run into financial trouble that became so bad that he finally had to sell the hotel.   In 1902 Smith sold the hotel to his friend/competitor Henry Flagler. By the time of the sale, Henry Flagler had already completed two hotels there in St. Augustine (the Hotel Alcazar (1887) now the Lightner Museum and the Ponce de Leon Hotel (1888) now part of Flagler Collage).  This put Henry Flagler at the top of the heap as having a monopoly of the luxury hotels in the city of St. Augustine.

Trivia note: Did you know that Saint Monica (322-387) was the North African mother of St. Augustine (354-430), who was Bishop of Hippo Regius (395-430), in North Africa, and who the city of St. Augustine was named for.

 

 

 

 

 

Across King Street from the Lightner Museum is the Flagler Museum. Originally built in 1888 by Henry Flagler as the Ponce de Leon Hotel, this elegant hotel was another tribute to the entrepreneurial character of Henry Flagler.  At the time the luxury hotel business, in the St. Augustine area, was at an all-time high. It’s hard for me to imagine the opulence that adorned these luxury hotels.   They were so far ahead of their time that, for instance, Flagler had to hire additional staff to turn the electric lights on and off for the guests, because they were afraid to touch the switches.  As a part of Flagler’s dream to build the “American Rivera” in Florida, over the next several years, he began expanding what would become, the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC), south to eventually reach Key West.  But, Flagler overlooked the fact that this new railroad would allow some northern tourists to by-pass St. Augustine for the warmer climates of places like Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

 

 

 

The Ponce de Leon Hotel survived the depression and WWII, but after a long downturn period, the hotel finally closed in 1967.  Then in 1968 Flagler College was founded on 19 acres behind the hotel and the Ponce de Leon Hotel became the centerpiece of the newly established college.  (Check out interior photos on the internet of this luxury hotel that students are surrounded by on a daily basis – e.g. Dining Room with its stained glass windows by Tiffany).  Also go to Wikipedia and click on Henry Flagler (1830-1913) for many more interesting facts about the man and his adventures.

 

 

While Franklin Smith was in his architectural prime designing and building luxury hotels, he also designed and built his own winter home there in St. Augustine (1883) just one block west of the current location of the Casa Monica hotel.  Smith built his home in the Moorish Revival style and named it Villa Zorayda.  It has sometimes been called the first example of “fantasy” architecture in Florida.   Henry Flagler visited St. Augustine in 1883 and was so impressed with Smith’s Villa Zorayda that he tried to buy it for his wife, but Smith wouldn’t sell.  Smith finally did sell the Villa Zorayda to Abraham Mussallem in 1913. After having been used for several different businesses, over the years, Villa Zorayda was finally opened to the public, as a museum, in 1936.

 

 

As I mentioned at the first of this day’s blog (Monday 10/29/2018), there was so much to see there in St. Augustine that I ran out of time to see it all, up close and personal.  Some of those places I saw from the trolley, but didn’t have time to go thru were:

 

“Gonzalez-Alvarez House” (1723) or “The Oldest House”

     The Ximenez House (1798)

 

             The Oldest Drugstore (1886)

 

                                                                                                   Potters Wax Museum (1949)

 

            Black Raven Pirate Ship (1720 replica)

              Colonial Corner (1740)

 

With the help of Greta (my Garmin) I finally found my way to the motel, just outside St. Augustine, and got checked in.  Once I got unpacked, I warmed up those wonderful Fish Tacos from the Sandollar Restaurant, and enjoy them anew.  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.

 

Bill

 

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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 12

20 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 12 Tuesday 10/30/2018

 

My plan this morning was to drive to outlying areas around St. Augustine to visit several additional points of interest.  As I was driving back into town, I passed a sign on a store-front, that advertised “Big Bill’s Die Cast” and I just had to stop to see what it was all about.  This is an amazing store!  This guy, Bill, really does have a die cast model of just about everything that has ever been made.  Cars, Trucks, Airplanes, Motorcycles, Boats, Tanks, and you name it, Bill has the item in several sizes.  His moto is, “If I don’t have it, they don’t make it”and I believe him.

 

 

After that interesting stop, I headed across the “Bridge of Lions” and Matanzas Bay onto Anastasia Island to visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum.  Some historical records tell us that this area has been the location of a coastal warning light (watch towers) as early as 1565.  The current lighthouse was built in 1871 to replace the original 1824 lighthouse (the first official lighthouse in Florida built by the new, territorial, American Government) that collapsed in 1880, as a result of erosion and a changing coastline.

 

 

Now it was south on SR-A1A just a few miles to visit the Fort Matanzas National Monument (fort) located on the eastern side of the Matanzas Inlet.  This small fort was built by the Spanish in 1742 to guard the southern mouth of the Matanzas River, which opens up the southern access to St. Augustine. The fort itself is only accessible by ferry across the river from the Park Service Visitor Center.

 

 

This fort was built and manned by the Spanish to protect the rear entrance to the city of St. Augustine from attack.  The only way to get to the remains of this small fort is by a short ferry-boat ride.  I asked the Ranger how long it would take, from the time one left the landing, until the ferry-boat brought them back.  He said the ferry made the trip once each hour.  From the pictures I saw of this small fort, I didn’t want to take that much time to see it today.  Maybe another time.

 

 

South on A1A another few miles, and across the Matanzas Inlet, I checked out the Dolphin Adventure at Marineland.  This attraction was first opened by a group of dedicated sea mammal enthusiasts headed up by W. Douglas Burden and Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney as the Marine Studios.  This original facility was situated on a 125 acre plot located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercostal Waterway (Matanzas River).  As the world’s first Oceanarium, the Marine Studios was designed to rescue, study, and film the underwater life and habits of sea creatures.

On my way south on A1A to visit Marineland, I had noticed several large homes, perched on stilts, located right on the beach.  Now as I headed back north towards St. Augustine, I stopped on the side of the road to get a closer look and take a photo or two.  It looked like the houses were located along the beach road known as Old A1A.  I had no idea people were allowed to build that close to the ocean.  I doubt they would have too many visitors during hurricane season, but of course, they would have an excellent view of any 20 or 30-foot tidal surge or tsunami coming in at them from the ocean.

 

 

 

 

I had to do a little back-tracking on A1A to get to SR-312, where I turned west to avoid having to go through down town St. Augustine again.  Then I turned north on N. Holmes Blvd. until I came across 4 Mile Road, and north again to where I turned west on SR-16.  All of this (with Greta’s help) got me to the St. Augustine Aquarium. This turned out to be a very interesting family-participation type  attraction, feathering all kinds of salt water  creatures including sharks and rays.  I was there long enough to witness the afternoon shark feeding, but wasn’t interested in the snorkeling or the zip line ride.

 

So, before heading back to the motel for the night, I started looking for a place to eat supper. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a Cracker Barrel Restaurant just down the road.  I stopped in for a delicious Meat Loaf dinner with garlic mash potatoes and green beans, and one of their fresh baked biscuits with butter and honey for desert.

 

—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

 

 

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