Archive by Author

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Trip Part 8

22 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane

 

Day 8 (Thursday, Oct.6, 2016)

Last night was a little hectic. DiVoran and the rest of my family were all dealing with hurricane Matthew, as it heads for our homes in East Central Florida. And here I was, trying to do my part to help them by remote control in Indiana. It was after midnight when I finally got to bed. I was only able to sleep until 3:30, when I had to get up and make notes about more things I needed to remember to tell DiVoran about house preparations.

 

1

 

So, this morning after I talked over my list with DiVoran, I got ready and headed east to visit the Studebaker National Museum, located in South, Bend IN. This was an absolutely fabulous museum, consisting of three levels of beautifully restored Studebaker automobiles and associated vehicles/products, which the Studebaker Corporation has manufactured over the years.

 

2

 

The chronological history of the Studebaker Corporation, there at the museum, begins with the original hand-built Conestoga type wagon that John C. Studebaker designed and built, around 1835, to move his family from Pennsylvania to Indiana.

 

3

 

By the time I got finished looking at all of the fabulous Studebaker cars and associated vehicles/products, the morning was almost gone. So, I decided to skip The History Museum there in South Bend (which was just around the corner from the Studebaker Museum), and head straight for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, at the Notre Dame University located in Elkhart, IN. To my regret, I discovered that vehicle access near the Basilica area was restricted, so this photo, from a distance, was all I could get.

 

4

 

Next I checked out the National New York Central Railroad Museum, also located there in Elkhart, IN.  This turned out to be a very small museum with mainly local historical railroad memorabilia and a few pieces of well-worn rolling stock. I didn’t stay long.

 

5

 

Yesterday while visiting the Old Michigan City Lighthouse, a couple I met there, mentioned that if I was heading to Elkhart, I should be sure to visit the National RV Museum while I was there. So, that is where I was headed next. This turned out to be a very interesting museum, consisting of examples of RV type vehicles dating from the early 1920s to the present day. It has always amazed me how creative people have been, when it comes to designing and building mobile recreational vehicles over the years.

 

6

 

By now time was getting short, and I headed for my next visit at the Hall of Heroes Museum, also located there in Elkhart. This amazingly small museum was really fascinating (Check out the “Hall of Heroes” website for the amazing details of this unusual museum). The owner and curator, Allen Stewart, gave me a private tour of his museum, which houses over 60,000 comic books, 10,000+ toys and figures, and tons of other superhero related memorabilia. Allen’s collection includes a copy of the very first Action Comics comic book, which introduced the Super Hero, Superman, in 1938.

 

7

 

Recently I’ve been watching the “Fast N Loud” TV series, on the Discovery channel, and was surprised when one of their episodes happened to be when Richard Rawlings (Owner of the “Gas Monkey Garage” in Dallas, Texas), went to Elkhart to buy Allen Stewart’s ”65 Iron Man Shelby Cobra” from the Hall of Heroes Museum collection.

 

8

 

I had been told that this area contained a large population of Amish and I was anxious to try some Amish food at a local restaurant. As it turned out, I had researched this idea before my trip, and had decided to try the Amish Acres Restaurant Barn, located some 15 miles south of Elkhart, in Nappanee, IN. This restaurant is part of an 80 acre Old Order Amish* farm, homesteaded by Moses Stahly in 1873, and whose nine original buildings have been relocated and restored to create an attraction. The Amish Acres attraction includes a restaurant, the Round Barn Theatre, a one-room school, a blacksmith shop, an apple cider mill, a maple sugar camp, a mint distillery, an ice house and bank barns.

 

9

 

* Wikipedia: The Old Order Amish are a North American ethno-religious group consisting of some 2000 local churches. There is no formal church organization to bind them together, but they are linked by common faith, traditions and ancestry. In 1693, led by Jakob Ammann, the Amish separated from mainstream Mennonites.

 

10

 

I was pleasantly surprised with the food, but disappointed because it was served family style. There was way too much food for me to eat, but I was not allowed to take any of their delicious food back to the motel with me. They did however let me take a slice of their wonderful Shoofly Pie with me for dessert. Go figure?

 

11

 

So, with a full tummy, I headed for the motel to check on the status of Hurricane Matthew, see how DiVoran was doing, record today’s activities, and prepare for tomorrow’s adventures.

 

12

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 7

15 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

 

Day 7 (Wednesday, Oct.5, 2016)
I took my time getting ready this morning because my first stop today was to visit the Grissom Air Museum (located only about 10 miles north of the motel) and just south of Peru, IN. Since they didn’t open until 10 o’clock, I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. The museum had a small memorabilia area with some cockpit simulators and a nice collection of static displayed aircraft outdoors.

 

1

 

Next on the list was the Kersting World of Motorcycles Museum, located 4 miles south of North Judson in Winamac, IN. This museum turned out to be situated in the middle of cornfields on all sides, and Greta and I had a difficult time locating it. I was given a personal guided tour of the museum, by the 80-year old founder and owner, Jim Kersting. Jim told me that he built his first motorcycle at age 12, and that he called it the Simpletag (See the museum’s website for the fascinating story of how the motorcycle got its name).

 

2

 

The first motorcycle of Jim’s collection was a 1931 Indian 4-cycinder, which he got at a farm auction, and his collection has been growing ever since. Jim told me the story behind many of his various 100+ machines in the museum, and was especially proud of the ones he raced at Daytona, Florida when he was younger. He had some great stories to tell of his adventures.

 

3

 

Next, just up the road a ways, I had planned to visit the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum located in North Judson, IN. However, it turned out that the museum is only open on Saturdays, so the best I could do was to stop and take a picture of the station.

 

4

 

My next stop turned out to be the farthest west I would go on this trip. The plan was to visit the Indiana Aviation Museum, located adjacent to the Porter County Regional Airport in Valparaiso, IN. When I couldn’t find the museum, I stopped at the airport and talked to a friendly young man. He informed me that the museum had evidently sold all their airplanes, and closed the museum a year or so ago. They still had an Internet website listing, so I was surprised to learn of the museum’s closing.

 

5

 

Even after getting off to a slow start this morning, I was still running a little ahead of schedule by now, so I headed northeast a few miles to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum, located in Michigan City, IN. This was a very small lighthouse building that has been converted into a museum. The ground floor of the building is made up of mostly local lighthouse memorabilia, and I was offered the opportunity to view the yacht harbor from the top of the lighthouse structure. I declined this offer, as I’m sure my knees would have given out before I got to the top. The elderly museum curators understood completely.

 

6

 

Next, I headed southeast to visit the La Porte Historical Society Museum, located in La Porte, IN. This was a fabulous multi-level museum, containing a huge collection of local historical memorabilia of all sorts. This part of the museum included fully furnished living room, dining room, and kitchen representations for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

 

7

 

The Door Prairie Auto Museum, which once was a museum by itself, has now been incorporated into the La Porte Historical Society Museum, and takes up the entire second floor of the building. This automobile museum has some of the most unusual examples of the early American auto industry, and each automobile has been beautifully restored for museum display and public auto shows.

 

8

 

By now it was time to head for the motel, for a marvelous meal of leftover Cracker Barrel grilled catfish with green greens, corn, and one of their famous hot buttery biscuits and honey for dessert. One of my favorite meals.

 

9

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip Part 6

8 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane

 

 

Day 6 (Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016)
I headed west, out of Dayton this morning, on my way to visit the first museum on my list for today. The Wayne County Historical Museum is located just across the border, in Richmond, Indiana. This was one of the most interesting historical museums I have ever visited. Created by Julia Meek Gaar (at age 71) in 1930, she selected the 1865 Hicksite Quaker Meeting House for her museum. She filled the museum with many of the items she had purchased, over the years, during several of her worldwide trips.

 

1

 

The Lindemuth collection was added to the museum in 1954. There were also automobiles and an airplane, included as part of the museum’s collection. Many of these items represented the early industrial years in and around the Richmond, Indiana area.

 

2

 

Just around the corner, there in Richmond, I visited the Model “T” Museum. This small museum displays 14 Model “T” Fords spanning the early years (1908 to 1927). This history of the Model “T” production industry provided me with many new and interesting details about the early manufacturing processes, and body style variations, of Henry Ford’s Model “T” automobiles.

3

 

Next on the list today, was a visit to the Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum in Hagerstown, Indiana. Born in 1867 Wilbur said, later in life, that he and Orville were initially drawn to an early interest in aviation by a toy helicopter (based on an invention by French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Penaud), that their father gave them as a gift when he was 11 years old.

 

4

 

Wilbur and Orville of course, went on to improve on the design as their interest in aerodynamics grew, and their creativity turned out to be endless. I was also interested to learn that Wilbur Wright’s father was a traveling minister in the Ohio region during the middle to late 1800s. As it happens, my grandfather was also a traveling minister, in Louisana, about that same time period.

 

5

 

Just a few miles north I visited the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana. Even though the National Model Aviation Association headquarters is located on a 1000+ acre site, I was surprised to see how small the headquarters and museum buildings were. I was however, impressed with the museum’s collection of model aircraft and model aircraft engines, dating from the early 1900s.

 

6

 

Next on the list was a visit to the Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum located in Kokomo, Indiana. This was a very impressive museum that displayed 300+ beautifully restored automobiles, from many different manufactures, dating from the early 1900s to approximately 1970.

 

7png
The Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company was located just down the street from the Kokomo Automotive Museum there in Kokomo. This glass company prides itself in the creation of beautiful original stain glass windows, decorative art pieces, and blown glass creations. I was unable to get a tour of the factory while normal working operations were going on, but I did talk to one of the stain glass workers at length, about how the glass company created custom orders and speculation pieces.

 

8

 

Dinner tonight was a great meal, at the local Kokomo Cracker Barrel restaurant, where I had their grilled catfish, green beans, sweet corn, and one of their famous biscuits with honey for dessert. Yummy! There was plenty left over for a repeat tomorrow evening. Double yummy!

 

9

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 5

1 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 5 (Monday, Oct. 3, 2016)
Since I had attended the 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow, and seen the many existing and new aircraft additions at the Museum of the United States Air Force (my two main reasons for this trip), I was a little ahead of my planned schedule for today. So, I decided to visit several local Wright Brothers affiliated locations there in Dayton. First on the list, was to check out the Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center located just down the road a short drive from the USAF Museum. The Center’s exhibits and films focus on the early achievements of the Wright Brothers, that took place at the nearby Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

 

1

 

Next I drove over to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, to see the actual field where Orville and Wilber performed about 150 flights during 1904 & 1905. This effort is what led to the development of the 1905 Wright Flyer III, which they considered to be the first practical airplane (the original 1905 Flyer III is now housed at the Wright Brothers Aviation Center).

 

2

 

Now I made my way a few miles south, to visit the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.  This Park commemorates three of the important aviation historical figures; the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and how their lives came together.

 

3

 

 

The center also exhibits re-creations of the Wright Brothers engineering office, work shop, and one of the Wright Brothers bicycle shops across the walkway.

 

4

 

A short distance west across I-75 I visited the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, located in the Carillon Historical Park. This is where the original 1905 Flyer III is housed, along with many other Wright Brothers artifacts.

 

5

 

The beautifully restored 65 acre Carillon Historical Park is home to many historic buildings and exhibits, associated with the history of technology that has taken place in and around the Dayton area. It also honors the contributions of the many Dayton residents who have been part of that history, dating from 1796 to the present.

 

6

 

After leaving Carillon Park, I swung around a few blocks to check out the historic Patterson Homestead. This beautifully restored mansion was built by Robert Patterson on part of the 2038 acre Rubicon farm, where three generations of Patterson’s lived. As it turned out, Patterson’s grandsons, John and Frank Patterson , who also lived in the house as young children, would eventually go on to found the National Cash Register Company (now NCR Corporation) in 1884. I wasn’t interested in touring another mansion today, so I opted to head for the next museum on my list for today.

 

7

 

Now it was back across I-75 a few blocks, to take a look at the Paul Laurence Dunbar house. This was the home, for a short while, of the famous African-American poet, that in 1890 wrote and edited The Tattler, Dayton’s first weekly African-American newspaper. As it happened, Dunbar’s newspaper was printed by his high-school acquaintances Orville and Wilbur Wright in their fledgling printing company.

 

8

 

Next I stopped by the Veteran’s Memorial Park there in Dayton to take a photo of the Park. I was impressed with the mottos of the various U.S. Military Services. I had not remembered that each of the services was originally created in 1775 to fight the Revolutionary War.

Since things were going quickly, and I had run out of things to see in the Dayton area, I decided to head south to Cincinnati, Ohio. I had never been to Cincinnati, and since it was only about 40 miles south of my last stop, I thought I would drive down and have lunch there and see what things of interest I could come across.

 

10

 

While I was having lunch I Googled “Things to Do in Cincinnati” and one of the first things to catch my eye was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. But when I got there the center was closed.

 

11

 

Another place of interest was the Cincinnati Union Terminal, which was listed as one of the Great American Stations. I have to admit the beautifully designed Art Deco terminal building was something to see. But as an active train station, it only had room to display a small amount of Cincinnati Union Station historical memorabilia.

 

12

 

Next I tried the Cincinnati Fire Museum, not too far down the road, but like a lot of museums that stay open on Saturdays and Sundays, they were closed. This was a small building and I’m sure they would not have had room for a large display.

 

13

 

Just a few miles away I checked out the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, but here again this was another “Closed on Mondays” museum. As a matter of fact, there didn’t seem to be much of anything going on in Cincinnati today.

 

14

 

Well, my score for places to see in Cincinnati wasn’t going too well, and it was getting on in the afternoon, so I headed back to Dayton. Greta took me on some backroads on the way, and as I rounded one bend, I saw the strangest structure I believe I have ever seen adjacent to a farmhouse. I couldn’t begin to describe it. You will just have to guess what it is, like I did. Stretches your imagination doesn’t it?

 

15

 

By now, it was time to head for the motel and warm up my wonderfully delicious repeat of the El Morro Special Mexican dinner from last night. Yummm!

 

16

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 4

25 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 (Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016)
I was up early today in order to make the drive to the National Museum of the USAF here in Dayton, Ohio. I knew I was going to spend a lot of time at this museum today, and because of that, I wanted to be one of the first to get one of the many electric carts they provide for visitors with bad knees like mine.

 

1

 

I believe this is the largest military aviation museum in the world, with 360+ aircraft, and is laid out (mostly) chronologically in four huge hangers. All of the aircraft in this museum have been beautifully restored, and displayed, in such a manner to allow photographs to be taken from the best possible angles. In the first Hanger, are aircraft examples from the beginning of American aviation history, through those used during World War I (The Early Years Gallery).

 

2

 The Early Years Gallery

 

And then, there are the huge variety of aircraft used by the USAF during the WW II years, which are displayed in the (World War II Gallery).

 

3

World War II Gallery

 

The second Hanger, consists of aircraft used by the USAF during the Korean War, and are located in the (Korean War Gallery).

 

4

Korean War Gallery

 

The aircraft used by the USAF during the Vietnam War era, are also located the second hanger, in the (Southeast Asia War Gallery).

 

5

Southeast Asia War Gallery

 

The third Hanger houses a large variety of aircraft used by the USAF during the Cold War era, and are located in the (Cold War Gallery). Also located in the third Hanger are many of the modern aircraft being used by the USAF as part of their current operations.

 

6

Cold War Gallery

 

The third and fourth Hangers are separated by the (Missile Gallery), which displays many of the USAF offensive and defensive rockets and missiles which have been developed and deployed over the years.

 

7

Missile Gallery

 

The huge new fourth Hanger houses aircraft used by past U.S. Presidents while in office, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, and are located in the (Presidential Gallery).

 

8

Presidential Gallery

 

The many different types of aircraft used by the USAF Airlift Command, to move personnel and equipment where needed around the world, are located in the (Global Reach Gallery) of the fourth Hanger.

 

10

Global Reach Gallery

 

There is a Space Shuttle Exhibit, including the CCT-1 Crew Compartment Trainer, various satellites, and a Titan IVB Rocket located in the (Space Gallery) section of the fourth Hanger.

 

11

Space Gallery

 

The museum’s largest aircraft, the XB-70, and other aerospace related vehicles that the USAF has sponsored, for research and development projects, over the years are located in the (Research & Development Gallery) of the fourth Hanger.

 

12

Research & Development Gallery

 

The majority of these aircraft had been on display somewhere in one of the three hangers, or outside, the first time I visited the USAF museum in 2009. With the opening of the new fourth hanger in 2016, many had been rearranged or relocated to new areas within the four hangers. As a result, it did not take me as long to go through, and view all the aircraft in the four hangers, as I had originally expected. It still took most of the day to see everything.

 

13

 

Since many of the Wright Brothers aviation historical points of interest here in Dayton are close together, I spent the rest of the afternoon visiting as many of those locations as time allowed. These short visits to many of the sites on the “Aviation Trail” included stops at the Dayton Aviation Heritage Historical Park, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, and the Aviation Trail Museum. Stay tuned for details about these visits in tomorrow’s blog.

 

14

 

On the way back to the motel I stopped in Englewood, Ohio for a delicious meal at the Cazadores Mexican Food Cantina. Their EL Morro Special, consisted of grilled chicken strips cooked with pineapple and Mexican pork sausage, topped with shredded cheese and fresh green onions, served over a flower tortilla. I had a small side salad with guacamole and sour cream. The combination made for an outstanding meal. Then I topped it off with a dish of Mexican Flan for dessert.

 

15

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

 

 

My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip Part 3

18 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 3 (Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016)

I was surprised this morning to see partly cloudy skies and no rain. So, after I had shaved, showered and finished my breakfast I headed for the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow located adjacent to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. In spite of the rainy weather over the past few days, the turnout for the first day of the Airshow was amazingly well attended.

 

Dawn Patrol

 

Of the 20 Plus World War I replica aircraft entries, between 12 and 15 pilots braved the weather and flew their fragile aircraft here to participate in the first day’s activities. The number of antique cars was limited and there were no antique motorcycles this year. Also, I missed the re-enactment gun emplacements, field hospitals and memorabilia tables that were part of the displays during the 2009 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow I had attended. I even had to look hard to find people dressed in WWI costumes.

 

1

 

The WWI R/C model airplanes (smallest of which was ¼ scale) flying at this event outnumbered the full-size replica aircraft at least 3 to 1. There were some really beautiful model airplanes, and they were also in the air more often than the full-size replica aircraft were. The bad weather over the past few days I’m sure had a major impact on this event.  However, I still had a great time.

 

2

1/2 Scale Sopwith Camel (B6313)

 

The wind came up about 12:30, with a 45° crosswind to the active grass runway, which made it very dangerous for the full-size replica aircraft to take off and land. So, since the flying portion of the air show was going to be delayed for today, (with no time estimate for resumption of full scale aircraft flying), I opted to leave the air show and check out a couple other museums in the area.

 

3

 

The first museum I visited this afternoon was the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum located some 30 miles north of Dayton in Bradford, Ohio. This turned out to be a very small museum, consisting of mostly Pennsylvania Railroad memorabilia.

 

4

 

Strange as it may seem, the museum is housed in what used to be a small bank, and one of the lingering features of the museum structure, that they could not hide, is a huge bank vault on the ground floor at the back of the one-room museum. There was no rolling stock associated with this museum, but the curator informed me that they hope to eventually add some Bradford Ohio Railroad rolling stock adjacent to their museum when funds allow. This was another one of the Ohio railroad depots that witnessed the Lincoln Funeral Train as it passed through the city of Bradford on April 30, 1865.

 

5

 

Next I headed north again, to visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum located in Wapakoneta, Ohio which is the hometown of Neil Armstrong. This is a very nicely organized museum, honoring and displaying memorabilia from the military and NASA life of Neil Armstrong.  The museum also honors the Ohioans, who are noted for having defied gravity, with exhibits that detail the feats of the Wright Brothers and John Glen

 

6

 

Now it was time to head back to the motel for tonight, which was located in Franklin, Ohio. Dinner this evening was a delicious meal of leftover Outback Pork Porterhouse with garlic potatos and some of their dark bread. And as I had hoped, it was double yummy!

 

7

 

—–To Be Continued—–

My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Trip Part 2

11 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 2 (Friday 9/30/2016)

 

I got off to a late start this morning because I wanted to check out the Eddie Rickenbacker Airport again before I left Columbus. The other reason I was not in a hurry this morning was because the first museum I was going to visit did not open until 10:00.

 

1

 

So, after seeing that the Rickenbacker Airport was not open for operations yet, I headed for the Champaign Aviation Museum located just north of Urbana, Ohio. This was a very small museum with only three aircraft which consisted of a  B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and their major project, a B-17 Flying Fortress called the “Champaign Lady.” All three aircraft were under one phase of restoration or another.

 

2

 

One of the volunteers at the museum wanted to know if I had ever visited the Waco Aircraft Museum near Troy, Ohio.  I told him I had not known of it, and he gave me directions to the museum. On my way to Troy to visit that museum, I came across The Depot Coffee House, which is located in the historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Urbana, Ohio. This depot was part of what was once called the “Panhandle Railroad” (late 1850s) and was on the route taken by the funeral train, in 1865, which carried President Abraham Lincoln on the way to his resting place in Springfield, Illinois. I stopped to look over the depot and use their restroom. It was a little hard to tell that it had once been a railroad depot.

 

3

 

Now I headed southwest to check out the WACO Aircraft Museum, located adjacent to the Historic WACO Field just south of Troy, Ohio. Wikipedia informs me that the WACO Aircraft Company was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country in the late 1920’s and early 30’s. I didn’t realize this, and as it turned out, this very nice (small) museum is dedicated to the memory of those times. The museum consisted of a dozen or more vintage Waco aircraft dating from the 1920s. The lady at the desk turned out to be my tour guide and gave me a personal tour of the museum and its history.

 

4

 

I know my friend Terry will be jealous of my chance to visit the WACO Air Museum, as he is a “Golden Age of Aircraft” kind of guy that loves any kind of

Bi-plane, especially any WACO variant. I’ll send him photos of the planes in this museum and hope he can visit it someday.

 

5

 

Then it was on down the road to visit the America’s Packard Museum located in downtown Dayton, Ohio. This was one of the most amazing automobile museums I have been to lately. Their collection consisted of 50+ vintage Packard automobiles of every possible description, many of which are one-of-a-kind or special order vehicles, dating from the early 1920s to the late 1940s. Each of these Packard automobiles has been beautifully restored, and all are in perfect running condition.

 

6

 

From there, I headed south on I-75 to visit the Wright Brothers Airport. This airport has a museum honoring the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers. It also operates a growing fleet of “look-a-like” replicas, including a 1910 Wright “B” Flyer, nicknamed the “Brown Bird.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to the museum before they closed (2:30) and they were only open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I’m sure I will see other 1910 Model “B” flyers at some of the other museums I will visit during my four-day stay in the Dayton area.

 

7

 

So, now I headed a few more miles south on SR-123 to visit the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad Museum located in Lebanon, Ohio. This museum features periodic four-mile nostalgic train rides, which are themed with favorite children’s characters including Thomas the Tank Engine and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The museum was closed and only advertised their next one-hour train rides, to be on October 5 & 13. Since these train rides seemed to be tailored more for children, I didn’t think I would be missing too much.

 

8

 

Just another few miles southwest on I-75 I visited my last museum for today, called the EnterTrainment Junction Model Railroad Museum, located in West Chester, Ohio. This has to be the largest model railroad layout that I have ever seen.  I’ve seen videos of the huge indoor model train layout in Germany, but I have no idea how it compares in overall size with this model train layout. I forgot to ask one of the museum hosts how long it took to build this model train layout, but it had to have taken many years. With several representations of American life, built around our nationwide railroad systems, this model railroad museum was outstanding.

 

9

 

After I located tonight’s motel and got settled in, I treated myself to dinner at the Mason, Ohio Outback Restaurant. I had a delicious “Pork Porterhouse” entre’, with garlic potatoes, stewed veggies, and a garden salad,. Yummm! And, I had enough left-over for a repeat tomorrow night. Double Yummm!

 

10

           

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Part 1

4 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

1

The name for this series of blogs is the main subject of my most recent road-trip. Every two years, several WWI enthusiast groups come together to put on what is called the “WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous” airshow. This fabulous event takes place adjacent to the USAF Museum located in Dayton, Ohio. They have full scale WWI flying replica aircraft, German, British and American field hospital re-enactors, restored WWI vehicles, and all types of WWI memorabilia for sale.

 

1

 

The local model airplane club brings and flies many of their ¼-scale WWI R/C model airplanes. This sounded like just the kind of event I was looking for as the main attraction for my next road-trip. Since I found several museums to visit in the Columbus area, I gave myself a couple of days before the air show, to scout them out and then get over to, and situated in, Dayton for the October 1-2 “WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous” air show.

 

3

 

Day 1 (Thursday 9/29/2016)

 

My Orlando airport check-in and security check this morning was a breeze, compared to my last trip (I’ll never fly on Friday again). The Southwest Airlines flight to Columbus, Ohio was smooth and we arrived right on time. (I flew non-stop to Columbus, not available to Dayton). Baggage claim at the small Columbus airport was a little slow, but not a real problem.

 

4

 

I took a shuttle bus from the airport to the Days Inn hotel, and called Enterprise Rent-A-Car (the “We’ll Pick You Up” guys) for a free pick-up from the hotel. Somehow my reservation turned out to be at a different Enterprise office from where I expected to rent my car. They said the hotel location was outside the radius for their office pick-up (?).  They told me they would transfer my reservation to a closer office for the pick-up.

 

5

 

It took them some time to do the transfer, work out all the details, and get a car to the hotel to pick me up. After finalizing the rental agreement I put my bags in the car and was getting ready to leave, when I noticed that this car did not have cruise control. The agent wanted to increase the rental price for a car with cruise control, but I told the manager that I had requested a car with cruise control at the price they quoted. He was kind enough to switch cars for me at the same price.

 

6

 

It had taken me longer to get from the airport, and rent my car than it had taken me to fly from Orlando to Columbus! I plugged in “Greta” (my Garmin), and we headed for the Wagner & Hagans Auto Museum located there in Columbus. This was a small museum of approximately 20 cars, consisting of several early 1930s Packard automobiles and 1950s Classic cars. Steve Wagner gave four of us a private tour of his and Mark Hagans Collection.

 

Steve informed us, that the cars there in the museum were only half of their collection. He explained that they only had room for the cars displayed, and had to rotate the others into the museum from time to time.

 

8

 

Next on the list for today was a visit to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame located in Pickerington, Ohio. This was a large two-level museum, displaying hundreds of motorcycles of all makes and models. The majority of the museum’s collection, were modern dirt bikes and racing bikes. This museum reminded me of the recent mini-series I watched titled “Harley and the Davidson’s” except there were very few vintage motorcycles in the museum.

 

9

 

Now I headed south to visit the McDorman Automotive Museum located in Canal Winchester, Ohio. This is a small museum created by Bob McDorman, who was a local Columbus Chevrolet dealer for years, and known for his Corvette collection.

 

10

 

As it turned out, this museum was closed, even though their sign out front said they were open Wednesday-Saturday 1:00-5:00.

Next it was on over to visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which is an American cartoon & comic art museum affiliated with the Ohio State University library system. The location of the museum/library, there in the bustling university area, made it impossible to find a place to park, much less avoiding almost running over six or more students. So, I just took a picture of the library building and headed for the next museum on my list for today.

 

11

 

A few miles south, I wanted to visit the Rickenbacker Airport, to see if I could find the Rickenbacker ANG Museum that I assumed would be close to the airport. Well, the museum was nowhere to be found, and there were no signs to indicate that the museum was anywhere close. I guess I’ll have to Google the museum again for better details when I get a chance.

 

12

 

By now it was getting late, and I headed for the tonight’s motel located in Obetz, Ohio. On the way I saw a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, and decided to have dinner with Colonel Sanders this evening. Boy, do I like their fried chicken! I had their two piece dinner with green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy, and a biscuit and honey for desert. Yummm!

 

13

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

Why I Joined the Navy

28 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

It all started one day when my friend, Bud, and I were complaining, to each other, about how hard it was to get the attention of the girls in town. The problem, as we saw it, was that we had too much competition. You see, we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in the mid-50s, there were two military bases located there. Sandia Base (AFSWP) was situated on the southeast edge of town, and Kirkland Air Force Base was located on the southwest part of town. Between the two bases, the number of guys seen in U.S. Air Force uniforms, on any given day, on the streets of Albuquerque was overwhelming.

 

1

 

We were both approaching draft age, and were worried our number would come up soon. Bud’s idea was to kill two birds with one stone; 1, we would join the branch of service of our choice (and avoid the Army draft). This would allow us to legally wear a military uniform on the streets of Albuquerque, and greatly increase our chances of attracting the girls. And 2, as it turned out, since the Navy was our choice, they had a reserve unit right there in town (much different uniform). As we saw it, we would only have to go to reserve meetings once a month (how bad could that be?). Then after the meetings, and still in our uniforms, we could hit the streets on the prowl. Great idea, right? Well, as you might have guessed, the Navy welcomed us with open arms. Just sign on the dotted line “Dummy.” Right away they issued us these swell looking uniforms. Sexy, looking aren’t they!

 

2

 

OK, so white uniforms looked a little sloppy. It’s hard to make a skinny kid look smart in a loose fitting uniform, without the leggings, belt, white gloves, and the pretty orange scarf. Now you do have to admit, the dress blue uniform looks a lot smarter, with all that extra gear. But hey, we were just kids playing around! What did we know?

 

3

 

The things the Navy didn’t tell us, when we signed up, was what we would have to do at those monthly meetings; like all the marching we would have to do out on the “Grinder” in all kinds of weather; the many shots they gave us, for every kind of disease known to man (some made my arm sore for a week); having to learn how to tie all those crazy looking knots, and each one of those knots had a name we had to learn; then there was the Morse Code system we had to learn, and that crazy Signal Flag Semaphore system. It was worse than high school, with even more homework! And what was worse, when we stopped at the A&W Root Beer drive-in to check out the girls, many of our friends laughed their heads off. They couldn’t believe we thought we were going to impress the girls in those silly looking uniforms.

 

4

 

It wasn’t long after I joined the Reserves, that I met DiVoran. And what do you know? She really liked my uniforms, and thought I looked great in them. That made the whole adventure worth it. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this Reserve thing was not just a game that I could quit any time I wanted to. I was stuck with what I had signed up for and was going to have to see it through.

 

5

 

Of course, I don’t think my friend, Bud, had ever intended to see it through. When he found out that the Navy uniforms didn’t get the kind of reaction from the girls he had expected, he stopped going to meetings. The next thing I knew, the Navy was looking for him. He disappeared from the area, and later I heard the FBI was looking for him. Some friend, huh? I eventually got tired of all those Reserve meetings, and went into the regular Navy, to fulfil my required active service and get it over with. And that is about the gist of this story. You’ll have to read the blog series, “You’re In The Navy Now”  for the rest of the story of where this foolish idea led me.

 

—–The End—–

Let Us Trim That Tree

21 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Over the years, many of the trees on our property have grown larger than we ever expected them to. It was getting so bad, that sometimes I had to duck under the oak tree limbs, over our driveway, to get to my van. Our yard man has been trying to keep them trimmed the best he could, but he is getting older and doesn’t get up and down the ladder like he used to.

 

1

 

The other day, a tree service guy knocked on our door and wanted to know if he could give me an estimate on trimming our trees. The estimate he gave me was a little high, and I told him I would think about it. That afternoon he was back with a revised estimate. I told him I was still thinking about it, and he dropped the price to where I couldn’t refuse the deal. When I asked when they would plan to do the job, he said, “My crew is just down the street, finishing up another job, and we can start right now.” I asked him if he was sure he had time to do the job then, and he said, “Yes, it won’t take us that long.”

professional-tree-service-free-estimate

 

I learned that our tree trimming crew was just one of three teams that this company had working in our neighborhood that day. Our crew consisted of a cutter and three young helpers. The plan was to thin the branches of each tree, and raise the canopy of each tree, to give the trees a more uniform and healthier look. I don’t have to duck under the oak tree limbs now to get to my van.

3

 

The crew worked well together. As the cutter would lop off a branch, one of the young helpers would drag the branch over to their flat-bed trailer, where another young helper would cut the branch into short sections for placement in the trailer. I couldn’t believe how fast and efficient the job went. There were several chainsaws at work, most of the time (lots of noise).

 

4

 

All together, we had some seventeen trees (front and back) to be trimmed. The work progressed steadily, with only a couple short breaks. About halfway through the process, wood bore damage and trunk rot was found in one of the trees in the back. It was recommended that the tree be cut down before it got any weaker, and possibly fell on my model airplane “Hanger.”

 

5

 

This created more work for our crew, which they had not planned for, and seemed to cause tension among the workers. I had commented earlier, that it looked like they might not be able to get all this work done before dark. Now it looked like they were going to need a larger trailer to carry all the cuttings. When I mentioned the need for a larger trailer to one of the young workers, he laughed and said, “Yea, bigger is right, and one with a tilt bed would be nice!”

 

6

 

The next time I looked out front, the four of them were unloading the trailer. “What was that all about?” I wondered. “Maybe they wanted to put the big tree logs on the bottom or something?” About this time, the boss came driving up and there was a heated discussion while the unloading continued. When they completed unloading the trailer, the cutter got in his van and drove off with the trailer! That left all the cuttings laying, spread out, all over my driveway, parkway and the street. Now the three young helpers got orders to get everything picked up and stacked neatly along the parkway.

 

7

 

The boss was still fuming when he informed me that he had to lay-off the cutter (I didn’t ask why). He was sorry, but now he would have to go to East Orlando, the next morning, to get his big truck and clean up the mess that he had been left with. I told him I was sorry to hear about his employee problem, but that I needed access to my driveway,

 

9

 

To my surprise, the next morning two of our resident squirrels were having a field day in that brush pile. They would scurry around in the pile of oak limbs, until they found an acorn. Then they would run (with their prize in their mouth) looking for the “Perfect” spot in our front yard, burry it, and pack down the dirt with their front paws. Then it was back to the brush pile, to look for another tasty acorn. I told DiVoran, “They must really enjoy the easy pickins’, since they don’t have to climb the tree each time they go back to look for another fresh acorn.”

 

11

 

This YouTube video will give you an idea of what the squirrel action was like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWzTd87cUyg

The brush pile finally got cleaned up and all is back to normal around the house. The trees look better and we have a much better view of our back area from our back porch. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes our trees to put out new growth heavy enough to require trimming again. So goes life!

—–The End—–

%d bloggers like this: