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My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 14A

29 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 – Monday August 5

First thing this morning I headed 25 miles east on I-80 to visit the Grundy County Historical Museum located in Morris, IL. This is a small museum that collects and preserves artifacts, documents, and memorabilia related to the history of Grundy County.  This includes items of a cultural, social, geological and anthropological nature.

Heading northeast on I-80 some 20 miles I visited the Old Joliet Prison located in Joliet, IL.  This Illinois State Penitentiary was opened in 1858 to replace the first, and then aging, 1831 Illinois State Penitentiary located in Alton, IL.   Housing nearly 2000 inmates at its peak of operation, the inmate population continued to grow, and this prison was replaced by a new Illinois State Penitentiary in Crest Hill, IL in 2002.  Now just called the Old Joliet Prison, the museum gives tours of a portion of the site which provides visitors with a historical picture of 19th century prison conditions and methods of incarceration.  This was another one of those “You will have to wait for the next tour, and then the tour takes 1-½ hours.”  I opted to go on to the next museum.

Just a few miles south of the Old Joliet Prison I had planned to visit the Stradale Team, located within the Autobahn Country Club complex.  I had hoped to get to see some radical sports cars in action at their road-racing track.  As it turned out, entry into the shops and track was blocked by a sign on the electric gate that informed me that access to the complex was “For Members Only.”  Rats!!

So, I gave Greta (my Garmin) the address for the Illinois Aviation Museum located about 20 miles north, and we headed out.  The next thing I knew, I was caught up in a huge industrial warehousing complex, with literally hundreds of 16-weelers, of all types, heading in every direction.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, but a lot of them seemed to be heading down the same 2-lane road that Greta had me on, and the backup must have been a mile long.  It took forever to get to the “T” in the road where I thought we could finally make some time.  WRONG!  That 2-lane “T” road was also backed up as bad as the one I just turned off of, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS!  It took me a full hour to finally get to a decent 4-lane road where I could pass some of those trucks and make some time.  Whew!  That was frustrating.

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I finally arrived at the Illinois Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Bolingbrook International Airport in Bolingbrook, IL expecting a large museum with lots of beautifully restored airplanes.  What I found was an F-80 Shooting Star, a Huey helicopter, and several smaller airplanes, all jammed in one small hanger.  There was no one around, even after I called out “Hello” a couple of times.  So, I strolled onto the hanger, took a few photos of the airplanes, and told Greta, Let’s tray the next museum.

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Now I headed northeast about 25 miles on I-55 to visit the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the southern part of Chicago.  This large museum houses exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of maritime activities on Lake Michigan, with special interest surrounding the port of Chicago in particular.

As a side note, this museum mentions the two Lake Michigan side-wheeler passenger steam ships that the U.S. Navy converted into aircraft carriers (USS Sable & USS Wolverine) and used to train U.S. Navy carrier pilots during WWII.  As it happens, the museum in Florida, where I volunteer as a tour guide, has on display one of the airplanes that was used to train those pilots on those ships during that time period.

—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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 13B

22 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 – Sunday August 4 (Continued)

Continuing today’s activities at the Johnson-Sauk Trails State Park, I discovered Ryan’s Round Barn was built in 1910 and is one of the largest round barns in the country.  The barn is 80+ feet high and 85 feet in diameter, with a full-size 16-foot wide silo inside.  This restored wooden round barn actually consists of a lot more, on the inside, than a person might think (check the plaque below).  Back in the day it is said, religious groups in the area built their barns round because they “left no corners for the devil to hide.”  What a hoot that is!

Now I headed east another 25 miles, on I-80, to visit the Lovejoy Homestead located in Princeton, IL.  This 1835 home, that Owen Lovejoy lived in, was another of the many stations of the “underground railroad” used by fugitive slaves, in their flight north to freedom in Canada.  The Rev. Owen Lovejoy was a local Congregational minister and outspoken abolitionist, who preached anti-slavery from his pulpit, and later on the floor of the United States Congress.  The Lovejoy house is decorated in period furnishings, and visitors can view the secret space, in the attic, where the fugitive slaves were hidden.

Another 20 miles east on I-80 I visited the Westclox Museum located in Peru, IL.  This museum is housed in the original building where Westclox (United Clock Company/Western Clock Company/General Time Corporation) manufacturing began in 1885.  The museum displays all types of clocks, watches, and other time related items from all over the world.   It also tells the historical story of the Westclox business and family adventures.  From the story of this company, it is likely that most everyone in this country has, or will, own a Westclox product at one time or another in their lifetime.

Just a couple miles east of Peru, I was heading to visit the Illinois & Michigan Canal (I & M) dock located in LaSalle, IL when I saw a small train depot off the side of the road.  I stopped to take a photo, and discovered it was the old 1900 Peru-LaSalle Rock Island Railroad passenger depot, which was the original eastern terminus of the Rock Island Line at that time.

Description: Image result for peru-lasalle rock island railroad passenger depot.

Across the railroad tracks I stopped at The Illinois & Michigan (I & M) Canal Boat Passage dock there in La Salle.  The I & M Canal was built to connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River.  The 96 mile Illinois portion of the canal was built in 1846, and connected the Chicago River (Chicago) and the Illinois River (La Salle).  The canal used 17 locks to take care of the 140’ water height difference between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River.  Even though the canal improved productivity in central Illinois; traffic on the canal consisted of only slow mule-drawn barges until America’s western advancing railroad system replaced it in 1933.  Today visitors can take a leisurely ride in a restored mule-drawn canal boat on a one- mile portion of what is left of the original I & M Canal.

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Now I headed east some 15 miles on US-6 to visit the Ottawa Scouting Museum located in Ottawa, IL.  This small museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of youth scouting (American & English) over the past 100 years.  William D.  Boyce was one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, and he lived in Ottawa and is buried there.  Ottawa was one of the many canal cities that evolved from the introduction of The I & M Canal in the 1800s.  The museum also displays historical items related to the growth of the city of Ottawa. 

Just outside the city of Ottawa I visited the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center located on the Illinois River.  The Illinois Waterway is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is over 300 miles long, and includes portions of the Illinois, Des Plaines, Chicago, and Calumet Rivers.  The Visitors Center is located at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam site, and gives visitors an in-depth view of the Waterway’s history and operations.  Surrounded by the Starved Rock State Park, on both sides of the Illinois River, this area’s beautiful woodlands are a favorite for camping, hiking, and bird watching. 

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Now I ask Greta (my Garmin) to take me to tonight’s motel there in Ottawa.  Once I got checked in and unpacked my necessities, I heated up my leftover Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack delicious St. Louis Ribs, with baked beans and cole slaw from last night, and enjoyed that great meal again.  Too bad I can’t take Jimmy Jack and his famous ribs with me on the rest of this trip.

Description: Image result for jimmy jacks rib shack in iowa city ia

—–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

Meditation Musing~Your Choice

17 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Reblogged 1/16/2020

Palmetto walk

 

My Dear Child,

Sometimes you suddenly realize that you’re going the wrong way. Perhaps you see that your motive isn’t clear or that your attitude is unproductive. That is when you know you’ve been veering onto the rebel way. Don’t allow this process of conviction, which is a good thing, to start you down the slippery slope of guilt and self-pity, which is the biggest possible waste of life. The deeper you go into negative thinking, the harder it is to back out. Don’t dwell on making things right with everyone. I will guide you well in My own time and in My own way and you will be astonished at what I do for you and for them.

Get back with Me as soon as possible. The need for confession came from me. I’m on the case, and I will steer you right, if you will let me. Don’t try to figure things out on your own. Even though you are a temple for My Spirit, you are yet human. Christian maturity is different from human maturity. In human maturity you become more independent, in my Kingdom you become increasingly dependent on Me.

As soon as you see your trespass face it and let me help you. Acknowledge that you have been forgiven ever since I died to atone for all Sin. But if you wish to feel forgiven then forgive everyone who has ever offended or hurt you. Know, too, that because I have been gracious enough to uncover your error, I am already nudging you back onto the joy path and giving you the strength to proceed. As you travel you’ll find new adventures and trials, but you will get in the habit of letting Me handle them with you. My joy and strength awaits.

“The joy of the lord is my strength.”

Nehemiah 8:9-11

Music

 

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 13A

15 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 – Sunday August 4

This morning after breakfast, I headed east some 55 miles, on I-80, to visit the Palmer Chiropractic Museum located in Davenport, IA.  Called the founder of Chiropractic, Dr. Daniel D. Palmer is said to have performed the very first Chiropractic adjustment on Harvey Lillard in 1895 there in Davenport.  Dr. Palmer and his family went on, over several generations, to create what is now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic Academic Health Center with facilities in Iowa, Florida, and California.

Description: Image result for d.d.palmer in davenport, ia

This Museum is a part of the Palmer College campus there in Davenport, and resides on two floors of the Vickie Anne Palmer Hall.  The museum showcases the evolution of Chiropractic and its impact on overall health that is said to have helped start a revolution in health care in the early 1900s.  Over the years the Palmer family has been avid collectors of Chiropractic artifacts, and the museum displays many of these artifacts and memorabilia from around the world.

While I was looking for the Bix Beiderbecke Museum, also located in Davenport, I passed an Irish Memorial and stopped to take a photo.  This outdoor memorial was erected by the local St. Patrick Society and honors the many brave men, women, and children who, in the 19th century, left their homes in Ireland and traveled to America to start a new life.

The Bix Beiderbecke Museum resides on the first floor of the River Music Experience Building where exhibits, artifacts and musical scores of this legendary jazz musician/composer are displayed.  A re-creation of the Hudson Lake Casino stage, where Bix performed with his cornet, shows Bix in his prime and the museum will appeal to many jazz lovers and enthusiasts. 

Now I headed northeast on US-67, following the western bank of the Mississippi River, to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead located in Princeton, IA.  Located just north of Le Claire, on the Mississippi River, this original boyhood home of Buffalo Bill was built by his parents Isaac & Mary Cody in 1847.  The house is furnished with period furniture and artifacts, that tell the story of the young Bill and his brother Samuel, growing up fishing and swimming in the nearby Mississippi River. Interestingly, I saw more live Buffalo here at the homestead than I did last year on my road trip thru the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming.

I had to backtrack a few miles south, on US-67, to find the I-80 bridge across the Mississippi River.  As I was passing thru Le Claire, IA on my way to I-80, I happened to spot the Buffalo Bill (Regional History) Museum and stopped to check it out.  This small museum is located right on the Mississippi River, and consists of artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia related to the history of famous people from Le Claire, such as Buffalo Bill Cody (showman), James Ryan (inventor), and James B. Eads (engineer).  The 1869 steam-powered paddlewheel towboat “Lone Star” is part of the museum, and is located adjacent to the museum in a special pier. 

After crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois, I headed southeast, another 20 miles or so on I-80, to visit the Geneseo Historical Museum located in Geneseo, IL.  The museum is housed in the family home George Richards built in 1855, shortly after the railroad came to Geneseo.  The museum is appointed with period furnishings, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of Geneseo and the surrounding area.  It has been rumored that this house was one of the many stations on the “Underground Railroad” used by run-a-way slaves, on their way to Canada, during the Civil War.

Next I headed east on I-80 and south on SR-78 to visit the Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park located just south of Annawan, IL.  The reason for this small side trip was to check out the unusual barn structure that I saw when I was researching this area of my trip.

This park is located on 1365 acres in the north-central Illinois area, formerly referred to as the Great Willow Swamp.  The area is a favorite for camping, fishing, hiking, and nature enthusiasts.  It was initially part of the Great Northwest Territory, claimed by the French, until after the French and Indian War.  In 1765 the land was ceded to Great Britain, where it became part of the Northwest Territory, and finally the Illinois Territory, until Illinois gained it’s statehood in 1818.

—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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 12B

8 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – Saturday August 3 (Continued)

Now I headed some 85 miles southeast on SR-163/US-63 to visit the Airpower Museum located in Ottumwa, IA.  I found that the Airpower Museum is actually several miles west of Ottumwa, at the Antique Airfield which is near Blakesburg, IA.  The museum is housed in a small building with aviation displays, artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.  There is also a single small hanger adjacent to the museum building that contains several airplanes in various stages of repair or restoration.

For some of you mini-series buffs, Ottumwa happens to be the hometown of the TV series “M*A*S*H” character “Radar.”  This loveable character played the part of MASH 4077’s company clerk, and pretty much ran the outfit, until he was shipped home and replaced by another MASH character “Max Klinger.”  I was one of millions of Americans who laughed their way thru 11 fun-filled seasons with all of the MASH 4077 characters.

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Photo credit Fanpop.com

Next I headed northeast on US-63/SR-92/22 to visit the Old Capital Museum located in Iowa City, IA. This museum is housed in what originally was the Iowa’s second Territorial Capital building.  The first Iowa Territorial Capital was actually established in Detroit, MI as part of the Wisconsin Territory (1834-1838).  The first Iowa Capital Building was in Burlington, IA (1839-1841), the second was Iowa City (1841-1849), and the third was Des Moines (1849-present).  When the capital of Iowa was moved to Des Moines, the Old Capital Building became the first permanent building of the University of Iowa.  The university has expanded over the years, and the museum now sits on a hill in the middle of a four-block park-like area (the Pentacrest) of the University of Iowa campus.  The museum displays many exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of the capital building, the university, and the state of Iowa from as far back as the mid-1800s. 

Since I was going to spend the night there in Iowa City, I just had to take the time to check out the site of what is said to be the World’s Largest Wooden Nickel.  Measuring 12’ across and tipping the scale at 4000 pounds, this unique wooden monument is said to have been erected in 2006 as a protest against Johnson county officials’ decision to raise speed limits in the area.  The half-dollar size wooden nickel I have at home is a joke, but this roadside Icon seems like a good example of a non-violent protest to me.

Description: Image result for world's largest wooden nickel
Photo Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light

Now it was time for Greta (my Garmin) to take me to the motel there in Iowa City.  After I got checked in at the motel, I headed over to Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack for a plate of their delicious (falling-off-the-bone tender) St. Louis Ribs with baked beans, cole slaw, and a slice of their homemade honey-butter cornbread.  Boy was that YUMMMY!  This was a meal to remember, and the best thing about it is, I will be remembering it again tomorrow evening.

Photo Credit jimmy jacks rib shack in iowa city

—–To Be Continued—–

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 12A

1 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – Saturday August 3

My first museum this morning was the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum there in Waterloo, IA.  This is a large museum filled with tractors, all kinds of farm equipment, and engines of all types and sizes dating from the mid-1800s.  Starting with his first steel farm plow design in 1837, John Deere improved his plow and farm equipment designs, and expanded his company, to include farm tractors beginning in 1907.  The company has continued to grow and expand its product line, over the years, to include all types of farming and harvesting equipment.  In 2019 the company was listed as being ranked the 87th American company in the Fortune 500 list.

Before leaving Waterloo, I swung by the Grout Museum to see what it was all about.  This small museum honors the military service and sacrifice of all Iowa veterans from the Civil War to the present.  The museum has an impressive display honoring the five Sullivan brothers, who hailed from Waterloo, and who were all sailors on the USS Juneau (CL-52) during WWII.  Unfortunately their ship was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in November of 1942 with the loss of 687 crew members, including all five Sullivan brothers.

The story goes that at the time, a standing naval policy was in effect restricting siblings from serving in the same unit.  However, the Sullivan brothers had refused to serve (I don’t know how they got away with that) unless they were all assigned to the same ship, and the policy was overlooked by their commanders.  Following this family tragedy, the U.S. Navy was mandated to strictly inforce the policy for all siblings.  

Now I headed southwest on U.S. 63/30/65 to visit the State of Iowa Historical Museum located in Des Moines, IA.  This museum’s Historical Collection of over 80,000 items includes artifacts, memorabilia, and displays, related to the state of Iowa dating from the early 1900s.  These items are housed in the large State of Iowa Historical Building, along with the State Historical Library Collection and the State Historical Archives Collection.  Way too much for me to see in one visit.

As I was passing thru Des Moines, on my way to the next museum, I drove by the Iowa State Capital Building and decided to stop for a photo of this beautiful edifice.  I’ve learned that the building’s location in Des Moines was the third location considered for the Iowa State Capital after Iowa City and Monroe City.   The building was constructed between 1871 & 1886, and is the only 5-domed capital building in the U.S.  The building houses offices for Iowa’s Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor, as well as the State Senate and State House of Representatives.

—–(This day’s activities will be continued next week)—–

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 11

25 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11 – Friday August 2

This morning after breakfast, I started the southern portion of this road trip, by heading southeast on I-35E, about 30 miles, to visit the Holz Farm Park located in Eagan, MN.  This picturesque 80-acre farm was originally settled in the 1870s, and farmed by the Holz family until 1993.  The city of Eagan purchased the property in 1995 and converted it into a living farm park. The farm offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience rural life as it was in this part of Minnesota in the late 1800s thru the mid-1900s, with hands on participation and special events.

Next I continued south on I-35 about 60 miles to visit the Steele County History Center & Village of Yesteryear, located in Owatonna, MN.  The museum displays rare photos, artifacts, and memorabilia that follow the history of Steele County, MN.  The Village of Yesteryear is a collection of 19 restored structures, relocated from various locations in Steele County, to preserve the history of the way of life of the mid-1800 pioneers who first settled in the Owatonna area of Minnesota.  I passed up the opportunity to take the tour of the “Village” since the next tour wasn’t scheduled until later in the day.

Another 30 miles south on US-278, I visited the SPAM Museum located in Austin, MN.  This is a very interesting museum that tells the history of SPAM (originally called Spiced Ham by its inventors) over the years.  SPAM was created by the Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937, to meet the need housewives had for cheap, quick meals requiring minimal preparation.

Then the military got in the act, and during WWII Hormel supplied hundreds of millions of cans of SPAM to U.S. and allied troops all over the world.  That may be one reason why so many U.S. veterans turn up their noses at the word SPAM.  It’s been rumored that some G.I.s believe SPAM is an acronym for what they call “Scientifically Processed Animal Matter.”

That doesn’t seem to matter to people all over the world, as witnessed by the creation of original SPAM recipes from over 44 different nations.  I was surprised to find out that SPAM is now available in 17 different flavors.  The samples I was offered at the museum were “Hickory Smoke” and “Roast Turkey.”  I thought they were both quite good.

As a side note; it looks like I measure about 22½ SPAM cans high.  How about that for an unusual method of measurement?

Now I headed west on I-90 about 25 miles to visit the Freeborn County Historical Museum located in Albert Lea, MN.  This museum displays some 40 exhibits, as well as artifacts and memorabilia, tracing the history of the city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County.  An unusual exhibit is the museum’s collection of rare vintage WWI and WWII posters.  The museum also maintains a late 1800s “Village” consisting  of 18 restored buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse, church, general store, and train depot, that will help visitors to this museum see how early settlers to this area lived and worked.  

As I headed south on I-35, I crossed the border into Iowa, on my way to visit the John Deere Tractor Museum.  Greta (my Garmin) took me off I-35 and onto some small backroads, where I happened to see “The Little Brown Church in the Vale,” and had to stop for a photo.  I am always looking for unusual houses, churches, or buildings on my trips.  I love to see how creative people can be.  In this case, it was the name of the church that got my attention, not necessarily the small quaint 1860 church building.

By the time I got to Waterloo, IA it was too late to visit the John Deere Tractor Museum, and besides that my stomach was still acting up.  So before heading for the motel, Greta helped me find the Chick-fil-A there in Waterloo, where I enjoyed an order of their Grilled Chicken Nuggets and another bowl of their extra special and healthy Chicken Soup for my evening meal.

Then it was off to find the motel, there in Waterloo, get checked in, and record today’s events.  As usual, there was nothing worth watching on TV, so I just called it a day and hit the hey.

—–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 10

18 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 – Thursday August 1

I woke to another beautiful Minnesota day for visiting museums.  After a really great complimentary breakfast at the motel, I headed southeast, thru about 10 miles of  I-694 and East River Road morning traffic, to visit the Firefighter’s Hall of Fame & Museum, located just north of downtown Minneapolis.  This small museum houses historic fire trucks, firefighting equipment and memorabilia related to Minneapolis Fire Departments dating from the 1860s.  The museum also has interactive displays for children of all ages.

Now I headed about 10 miles southwest on I-394 to visit the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting located in the St. Louis Park area.  This museum displays a large collection of antique and vintage radio, TV, and broadcasting equipment dating from the 1920s.  I found it very interesting that the museum has one of the first German AEG Magnetophon tape recorders (unknown technology in the US at the time).  This recorder was brought to the U.S. after WWII and first used, by John T. Mullin, to record the Bing Crosby Shows in 1947.  It was also used to record many of Crosby’s famous songs of the time.  The evolution of this technology, over the years, has led to many of the high-tech radio, TV, movie and high-quality recording systems we enjoy today. 

Next I drove just a couple of miles east to visit the Minnehaha Railway Depot (part of the original “Milwaukee Road”) located on the shore of Lake Harriet, in the Minnehaha Regional Park and Wabun Picnic area.  Built in 1875, the depot served Minneapolis commuters and visitors to the park until 1963, when it was turned into a restored historic site.  I was intrigued with the Indian names associated with the area.  It is said, in the 1855 poem, The Song of Hiawatha (excerpt) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, that Minnehaha (laughing waters) was the wife of Hiawatha (1525-1595).  Hiawatha was a fictional Ojibwa warrior in the adventures of Longfellow’s poem.  Check out the history of this famous poem when you have the time.

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Now I headed west about 15 miles on I-394 to visit the Wayzata Depot Museum located on the shore of Lake Wayzata, in the small town of Wayzata, MN.  This depot was built by the Great Northern Railroad in 1906, to replace the original 1867 depot, and serviced the community of Wayzata until 1971.  The museum has a large display of vintage train memorabilia, including rare photos of the depot and the city of Wayzata from the late 1800s.  There is also a permanent miniature Minnesota Garden Railroad layout on the east side of the depot that is operated by the Wayzata Historical Society, on the weekends, to the delight of children and adults alike. 

Greta (my Garmin) took me a few miles east now, to visit the Bakken Museum located adjacent to the Lake Calhoun in the St. Louis Park area.  The museum is Minnesota’s only Smithsonian-Affiliate, and is the only library/museum in the world that is devoted to medical electricity.  The museum educates visitors about the history of electricity and electromagnetism, as it relates to medicine, from as far back as 1200 AD to the present.  The museum is filled with artifacts and memorabilia that tell the evolving story of medical electricity over the centuries.

My plan was to drive a few miles northeast to visit the Minnesota Newspaper Museum, located in the Falcon Heights area, but Greta couldn’t find the address.  I was disappointed not to get to visit this museum, as I have not come across that many newspaper museums, during my trips, and I am interested in the early evolution of the printing press and newspapers in general.  Their website informed me that they have volunteers, who can print souvenir copies of the “Maynard News,” using vintage linotype equipment.  I would love to have been able to witness that operation.  As a boy I was actually allowed to operate an old linotype machine (supervised) that was in the basement of my father’s office building.  It was being used, at the time, to print newsletters and other articles.

By now it was time for Greta to take me back to Brooklyn Center where I stopped in at a Chick-fil-A for some of their Chicken Fingers and a bowl of their famous Chicken Soup.  This was the easiest thing I could think of, to help sooth my upset stomach.  That seemed to work, and I headed for the motel to record today’s events and see if there might be something on the TV.  Of course there wasn’t.

—–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 9A

4 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 – Wednesday July 31

My plan was to stay in Minneapolis two days to see the many museums in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  So to start today, I headed back southeast about 15 miles on I-694/I-35W, in morning traffic, to visit the Minnesota Transportation Museum located in St. Paul, MN.  This is a fabulous museum that is housed in a portion of the restored 1907 Jackson Street Roundhouse maintenance and repair facility.   The museum is beautifully laid out to represent the original Great Northern Railroad steam engine roundhouse, where various types of restored vintage train cars are displayed for visitors to walk thru.  Many other railroad artifacts and memorabilia fill the museum.  Additional restored unique and vintage rolling stock are displayed outside the museum building.  

Now I made my way south, to visit the Commemorative Air Force-Minnesota Wing, located adjacent to the Fleming Field Airport, just a few miles south of downtown St. Paul.  This was a very active hanger, filled with 5 or 6 aircraft of various types, all being worked on by at least two or three people.  Their largest plane was a B-25J named “Miss Mitchell.”  Everyone in the hanger, while busy, was very friendly, and informed me that all of the airplanes being worked on there were in flying condition.  After that quick visit, Greta (my Garmin) and I tried to find the Science Museum of Minnesota and the New Brighton History Center, but to no avail.  We finally gave up and headed for the Historic Fort Snelling.

Next I traveled some 10 miles west, across the Mississippi River, to visit the Fort Snelling Veteran’s Memorial Chapel located in the Fort Snelling State Park.  Access to this State Park from the direction I was coming was a nightmare, and took me three tries to finally make it to the chapel.  This is a beautiful park and the 1927 Chapel is dedicated to the many U.S. veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our country.  The Chapel also honors Colonel Josiah Snelling, who served as the fort’s commandant from 1820 to 1824, and for whom the fort was named.

Now I headed a few miles north to visit the Minnesota ANG Museum located at the north end of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.  It turns out that the museum is on the National Guard base, and when Greta took me to a guard gate,  the guard said the museum was no longer open to the public without the proper background check pass.  Rats!  This is another case of a museum internet site not providing a person all the information needed for directions, hours, access requirements  and etc.

 I made a “U” turn and was heading for the intersection, when I spotted an unused driveway off to the side.  I pulled in to inter the address for Greta to take me to the next museum.  I couldn’t have been there more than 2 or 3 minutes, but when I looked up from concentrating on the address, there stood two Military Police outside my window.   They were dressed in their camos, wearing every accessory known to the Military Police.  With their hands on the butts of their weapons, they politely asked me what I was doing.

I explained that I was just using the unused driveway (outside the fenced area) to look up a museum address.  They informed me that I couldn’t park on “Military Property.”  I thanked them (for not shooting me) and got on my way, under their watchful eyes.  After this incident, I moved on north a few more miles, to visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum located in the Bandana Square area of Saint Paul.  This museum began in1834 as the St. Paul Craftsman Club, and over the years, has grown to display a world-class model panorama of the Twin Cities railroads of the 1930s-1950s.  The museum also displays several different gage-size model railroad layouts and other railroad artifacts.

—–(This day’s activities will be continued next week)—–

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 8B

27 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8 – Tuesday July 30 (Continued)

I continued north on SR-35/SR-37 about 60 miles, to visit the Chippewa Valley Museum located in the Carson Park area, just to the west of downtown Eau Claire, WI.  This is a very interesting museum that displays artifacts and memorabilia dating from the late 1800s, that tells the history of the early Scandinavian pioneers to the Chippewa Valley area.  The museum hosts local field trips to the off-site Schiegelmitch House that teach the participants about Chippewa Valley history and culture as far back as the 1650s. The museum also hosts several special events throughout the year.

Now I headed north another 15 miles on US-53 to visit the Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology located in downtown Chippewa Falls, WI.  This museum is situated in the Cray, Inc. building and displays computer models, artifacts and scientific memorabilia; including some of the hand written notes of Seymour Cray who was born and raised in Chippewa Falls.  Cray is known in the computer world as “The Father of Supercomputing” and is noted for his creation of the early high-speed computers, and the founder of Control Data Corporation (CDC).   The efforts of Cray, along with others, led directly to the development of what we call “Supercomputers” today.  As a point of interest, the first advanced Cray-1 Supercomputer system was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory facility in Los Alamos, NM in 1976.

I headed west on County Road “N” about 20 miles to visit the Colfax Railroad Museum located in Colfax, WI.  This is a small museum, located in the third depot building to be built on this site over the years.  The museum consists of railroad artifacts dating from the 1850s and a large collection of railroad paper weights. Several pieces of original rolling stock are on display outside the museum.  A museum volunteer happened to be available to give me a tour of the museum’s rolling stock and a brief history of the Old Colfax Depot and the museum.

To get to the last museum for today I drove west on I-94, about 75 miles, across the Mississippi River again, back into Minnesota, where I visited the Bell Museum located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus in Saint Paul, MN.   This museum has been Minnesota’s official Natural History Museum since 1872.  The museum is now housed in a new building which includes wildlife dioramas, high tech exhibits, an on-line searchable interface that integrates data from the museum on birds, mammals, fish, plants, and fungi.  The museum also has a 120 seat digital planetarium, where visitors can explore interesting films of our own Earth and other planets with new “seamless” technology presentations such as “Habitat Earth” and “Out of This World” or “The Hunt for Dark Matter.”

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By now it was getting late and I asked Greta to take me to the motel for the night, located in the Brooklyn Center area, just a few miles north of downtown Minneapolis.  After I got checked in, I warmed up my leftover BP Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs, baked beans and some coleslaw.  Yummm!  I love BBQ anything, and anytime!

Description: Image result for baby back ribs with baked beans and cole slaw

—–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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