Archive by Author

2022 Road Trip-Part 14A

18 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 (5/29/2022)

This morning after breakfast, I headed southeast out of Charleston, WV 60 miles on I-64 to visit The Veterans Museum located in Beckley, WV.  This is a small ‘All Wars’ Museum that displays military artifacts following the history of U.S. Military involvement in wars from the Revolutionary War to the present conflict in the middle east.  They also have a scale model of the Battleship West Virginia (BB-48) on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

From Beckley I headed south 40 miles on I-77 to visit the Mercer County War Museum located in Princeton, WV.  This museum is housed on three floors of the old renovated 1928 Princeton Municipal Building. The museum is another of ‘Those Who Served’ museums that displays local artifacts honoring southern West Virginia, Mercer County, and local Princeton members of all U.S. military services who served in wars dating from the Civil War to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Princeton, it wasn’t far to where I visited the Princeton Railroad Museum located in the old restored early 1900s Princeton Depot.  Known as the “Richest Little Railroad in the World,” the depot served as one of the stops on the Virginian Railway’s Hampton Roads to Deepwater route from 1909 to 1959.  This museum has two floors filled with local railroad artifacts related to the development of the railroad from the early 1900s.  The restored 1949 Virginian Railway caboose No. 308 is displayed outside the museum for visitors to go thru.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Princeton, I headed south another 40 miles on I-77, across the border to visit the Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum located in tiny Wytheville, VA.  This turned out to be a small museum situated in an old restored 1926 gas station.  This small one-room museum displays antique gas station artifacts and tells the story of the early highway (US-21) that was used to connect the states of Ohio and Florida during the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Wytheville, I drove downtown to check out Edith Bolling Wilson birthplace.  This museum is situated on the second floor of the old restored 1860s Wilson home and is filled with antique artifacts of the life of Edith, from her birth in 1872 to her death in 1961.  As I’m not an American History scholar, I had no idea what an influential person Mrs. Wilson was in her later years.  It turns out she not only was First Lady to Woodrow Wilson, our 24th President, but it is said that she was also a descendant of Pocahontas, and was somehow related to Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee.  What a lady!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Wytheville, it was less than 10 miles east on I-81 to where I planned to visit the Mansion at Fort Criswell, VA but the address Greta (My Garmin) took me to was nothing but a sign pointing which way to go on a rutted wagon trail that was closed off with a barbed wire fence.  Their website describes the place as an elegant mansion filled with mid-1800s furnishings, but that trail didn’t work for me.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So, I picked up I-77 and headed south 20 miles to check out the Planet Chopper (?) located at the intersection of Woodlawn Road and Coulson Church Road in Woodlawn, VA.  I pictured a motorcycle museum or shop, but what I found was a three-story travelers bunkhouse, store, and motorcycle repair shop, all closed with no one in sight.  It appears to be a motorcycle B&B and support organization to help riders enjoy touring the surrounding area on their bikes or on rentals.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 13 B

11 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 Continued (5/28/2022)

After that interesting adventure at the Ark Encounter, I headed south 30 miles on I-75 to visit the Toyota Manufacturing Plant located in Georgetown, KY.  I had hoped to get a tour of the plant.  However, the plant had suspended their tours because of Covid-19, and I was disappointed.  So, I just continued south another 25 miles on I-75 to visit the Aviation Museum of Kentucky located at the Blue Grass Regional Airport in Lexington, KY.  This museum displays a collection of 15+ beautifully restored military and civilian aircraft, a repair facility, and an aviation history library.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was about 30 miles southeast on I-64 to where I visited the Bluegrass Heritage Museum located in Winchester, KY.  This museum is not about music.  It displays ancient Eskippakithiki Indian artifacts, and early pioneer to present day memorabilia related to the history of the local ‘Bluegrass Region.’  An Eskippakithiki Indian village replica helps visitors see how the Native Americans lived and worked during the early 18th century time period.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed east about 100 miles on I-64, and across the border, to visit the Museum of Radio & Technology located in Huntington, WV.  This museum has many artifacts and lots of memorabilia on display that tell the story of the evolution of the radio and a number of other technologically associated devices that have changed our way of communicating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Huntington, it was just a short drive to where I visited the Callis P. Huntington Railroad Museum.  This is really two museums.  The one I visited is their outdoor museum which displays the 1949 Baldwin steam locomotive (# 1308) and several other restored static pieces of rolling stock representing the C & O railroad activities dating from the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a short distance from the Huntington Railroad Museum, I swung by the Taylor Auto Collection, there in Huntington, long enough to take a photo.   I was told the museum was closed because Jimmie Taylor had passed away.  That was such a shame, because Jimmie had a very nice collection of beautifully restored early 1900s cars in his museum.  What was strange to me, was that this is the second time during one of my road trips that I have arrived at a museum that was closed because the founder had recently passed away.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Huntington, I headed east 20 miles on I-64 to visit the Blenko Glass Museum located in Milton, WV.  I had tried to visit this museum during another road trip a couple of years ago, but they were closed that day and I missed seeing their beautiful collection of blown glass objects.  Well, today they were open and what a fabulous display they have for sale in their museum and showroom.   I would have bought DiVoran one of their lovely glass pieces, except she has several glass pieces from our trip to Italy, and is always trying to reduce the clutter of other glass objects she has.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was another 20 miles east on I-64, across the Kanawha River, to where I wanted to visit the Nitro Museum located in Nitro, WV.  This is another one of those museums I missed getting to visit on that other road trip a couple years ago, and now I missed it again.  I hope to one day be able to get inside this museum, as I am interested in all things that explode, and I think this museum would be fun.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was less than 10 miles southeast on SR-25, and back across the Kanawha River, to visit the C & O Depot Museum located in St. Albans, WV.  This museum is situated in the old restored 1896 C & O train station and displays antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia related to the Kanawha River Valley area and its growth, from the early 1900s, mostly due to the C & O railroad activities.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southeast about 15 miles on US-60 to visit the Clay Center located in Charleston, WV but it was closed by the time I got there.  This huge Arts & Sciences Center would have been interesting, but I just didn’t have the time today, so I just took a photo and headed for my motel there in Charleston.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I gave Greta (My Garmin) the motel address and she took me right to it.  I got checked in and as soon as I got settled into my room, I heated up my leftover Colorado Omelette from IHOP and enjoyed the delicious meal again (just half of what you see in the photo below).  Yummm!  What a treat.   Then I recorded my day’s activities and tried to find something on TV to watch, but to no avail.  So, I just went to bed since it had been a very long day and I really was tired.

Photo Credit: ihop colorado omelette – Bing images

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 13 A

4 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 (5/28/2022)

After a quick breakfast this morning, I headed southwest 30 miles on I-75 skirting Cincinnati, OH, where I picked up I-71.  I had wanted to visit the Creation Museum, but it was too far out of my travel route so, I just continued south another 30 miles on I-75/I-71 to where I visited the Ark Encounter located in Williamstown, KY.  I had hoped to beat the crowd, if possible, but there were lots of people already waiting in line to buy tickets by the time I arrived at the attraction. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The wait to purchase a ticket was short, and the agent gave me a ‘Double’ discount for being a Veteran and over 65 years old.  I was pleased with that start of the day.  However, the wait for the bus to the Ark entrance was another story.  It was like being at Disney.  The lines went back and forth forever, it seemed.  Once we arrived at the Ark, I was blown away by the size of the thing.  At 510 feet long, 85 feet tall, and 51 feet wide; it is huge!  They told us it took 3.3 million board feet of lumber, 1000 workers, and six years to build.  This photo doesn’t begin to show the size of the Ark, as it is far behind me.  Just try to see the people down near the right end of the Ark.  You can hardly see them for how tiny they are by comparison!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was a pretty good walk from where this picture was taken, where the bus dropped us off, to where we actually entered the Ark.  There was a sloping ramp for wheelchairs on the outside, and elevators for those who needed them at the main entrance.  Then it was one long ramp after another to reach the first level.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The Arc was divided into three levels.  The first, or lower level, was specifically designed for, and held, models of large caged animals.  I never did see where they would have kept the really big animals, like the elephants and giraffes.  The cages for these animals emitted very realistic sound effects of the various types of animals.  Food storage bags for these various animals were arranged, floor to ceiling, on the other side for easy access.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Tons of animal food storage bags gave the impression that it took a hugh amount of food to keep all those animals fed.  It was amazing at how organized the animal cages and food storage bags were.  I guess it needed to be that way in order to be able to take care of that many animals for a long period of time.

The second, or middle level, held the smaller animals, reptiles, and birds.  There were also sound effects of the many various types of birds.  Food storage containers for the many types of small animals and birds lined the walls from floor to ceiling on this level also.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The top level was set aside for living quarters, food preparation area, and workshops for Noah and his family.  There was a large amount of food containers and clay oil jars lining the walls.  Many of these items were located close to the food preparation area for ease of access.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I would have thought that food preparation for Noah and his family was the least of their problems.  My guess would be that feeding and caring for all those animals would have taken up most of their time every day.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The Bible doesn’t mention that God told Noah how long he would be in the Ark.  Noah must have planned for a long voyage, or, he was used to a very comfortable living, as the family living quarters were quite luxurious for the ‘zoo boat’ they were in.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

And of course, Noah needed to preserve as much history as he could for future generations, so there was a library, or study, of sorts.  This room was filled with scrolls, charts and writing materials for Noah to record the past history, his experiences in the Ark, and the New World he and his family would find at the end of their voyage.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

And, of course, there would always be the need for a workshop, to make repairs to any part of the Ark as the need arose.  You know, like broken animal pens, leaks on the boat’s hull, and other such mundane  tasks.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

There was a lot to see and read on each level.  I didn’t read everything and only spent two hours going thru the Ark.  A person could easily spend the whole day in the Ark and the other things that are a part of the Ark Encounter attraction, such as the Ararat Ridge Zoo and even a camel ride if you dare. 

Photo Credit: https://arkencounter/ararat-ridge-zoo

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 12 B

28 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 Continued (5/27/2022)

So, after missing out on a visit to the Gasoline Alley Museum there in St. Marys, I just headed east 15 miles on US-33 to visit the Armstrong Air & Space Museum located in Wapakoneta, OH.  I had visited this museum once before on another road trip, but since I had worked on the Apollo-Saturn V launch vehicle (at KSC) that put Neil Armstrong, and the other eleven American astronauts on the Moon, this museum held a special interest for me.   The museum is housed in a specially designed 17,291 sq. ft. building and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the military and space life achievements of Neil Armstrong and what led to man’s first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969.  There is now doubt that he was an amazing person. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that great trip down memory lane, I headed south 30 miles on I-75 & SR-273 to visit The Bicycle Museum of America located in New Bremen, OH.  This 2-story museum is absolutely jam-packed with 150+ bicycles of every size and configuration dating from 1816.  The curator told me the museum is a part of the private collection of one man, Jim Dicke II, and consists of some 750 cycles (600+ in storage).  I even got a chance to try my luck on their 1870 ‘Big Wheel’ cycle (fixed in place).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was less than 10 miles south on SR-66 to where I visited the Wilderness Trail Museum located in Fort Loramie, OH.  This museum is situated in the old renovated 1852 two-story brick building that was originally a hotel used by Miami-Erie Canal travelers to the area.  The museum is arranged to represent a mid-1800s hotel and displays antique artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Fort Loramie and the surrounding Shelby County area from the late 1700s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was another 15 miles south on SR-66 to where I visited the Johnson Farm & Indian Agency located in Piqua, OH.  The Johnson Farm is a 200-acre site where General Anthony Wayne built the Fort Piqua in 1811.  After the military withdrew from the fort around 1858, John Johnson extablished a traiding post and Federal Indian Agency at the site.  The farm includes the Johnson home (circ 1815), restored portions of the old Fort Piqua, and a one-mile restored section of the Miami-Erie Canal.  Visitors to the Johnston Farm can also take a ride in a replica of the 70-foot mule-drawn ‘General Harrison’ canal boat (circ 1845).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only about 10 miles south on SR-25A to where I planned to visit The Museum of Troy History located in Troy, OH but they were closed.  So, while I was in Troy, it was only a short drive to visit the WACO Aviation Museum located there in Troy.  This museum has a restored 1856 barn that was relocated from Lorain, OH and two other large hangers, filled with a beautiful collection of restored WACO biplanes dating from 1921.  WACO built some of my favorite “Golden Age” aircraft, and I love seeing them up close and flying (Not today).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The original 1820s building in which the Overfield Tavern Museum, is housed is also located there in Troy, and was in the process of being renovated when I stopped by for a visit.  So, all I got for my troubles was a photo and then was on my way to the next museum on my list.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 10 miles south on I-75 to Vandalia, OH where I wanted to visit the Sunwatch Indian Village, but they were closed.  So, I just continued south another 50 miles on I-75 to Sharonville, OH where I planned to stop for the night.  I found an IHOP Restaurant in the Oakley Center and ordered one of their ‘Colorado Omelettes’ and enjoyed that delicious meal.  Yummm!  It was hugh, and I even had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: ihop colorado omelette – Bing images

After that great meal, I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address for the motel there in Sharonville, and she took me right to it.  I got checked in, got my stuff into the room, and recorded the day’s activities.  Then it was to bed for this tired puppy.  No TV again tonight.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 12A

21 Dec

My Take

Bill Lites

Day 12 (5/27/2022)

This morning, after breakfast, I headed northeast 25 miles on US-24 to visit the Science Central located in Fort Wayne, IN.  This science center is housed in the old original 1809 City Light & Power plant.  A 30,000 sq. ft. section of this 75,000 sq. ft. building has been renovated for use by the Science Central and is filled with interpretive exhibits and will keep children of all ages busy all day.

Photo Credit: https://preparmy.com/fort-wayne/science-central/

It was just a few blocks from the Science Central to where I stopped to check out the Old Fort Park there in Fort Wayne.  This park is a living history fort replica of the original fort, built on this site in 1816 by Major John Whistler, at the confluence of the St. Mary, St. Joseph, and Maumee Rivers.  The fort has several log homes and buildings with 1700s furnishings, and hosts the annul Colonial America, and other 1700s era re-enactments for visitors from far and wide.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, it wasn’t far from the Old Fort Park to where I visited the Indiana National Guard Base and the 122nd Fight Wing Heritage Park located adjacent to the Fort Wayne International Airport (Baer Field).  This outdoor aviation park displays seven restored static aircraft utilized by the Indiana Air National Guard since 1947.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed downtown to visit the Firefighters Museum there in Fort Wayne.  This museum is located in the old renovated 1893 firehouse No. 3 and served Fort Wayne until 1972, when a new firehouse was built.  The museum is set up to represent an 1800’s firehouse, with living quarters on the second floor and a fine collection of antique fire engines downstairs in the engine bay, that date from 1860s.  The museum’s fire engine centerpiece is the 1893 Amoskeag horse-drawn steam fire engine that was first used in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

From the Firefighter’s Museum, it wasn’t far to where I visited the Fort Wayne Railroad Museum.  This museum is situated in the old 1914 Baker Street Station and displays antique Railroad artifacts and memorabilia that date from the early 1900s.  The museum also has one of the last 1944 Nickle Plate Railroad steam locomotives (No.765) which they use, along with other pieces of rolling stock, to give visitors local excursion rides and other event train rides, during the year, from New Haven to Angola.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

On my way to Decatur, IN to visit the Peace Monument, I had to detour thru Monroeville, and was impressed with a city mural I passed.  So, I stopped to take a photo of this mural before continuing on my way thru more back roads.  From that mural, it’s not hard to guess what most people who live in the Monroeville area do for a living.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Greta (My Garmin) finally got me to Decatur, IN and found the Peace Monument there on the grounds of the Adams County Courthouse (in the background).  This beautiful cenotaph memorial was designed by Charles Mulligan in 1912 and is in honor of peace and the sacrifice of all soldiers in war.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now, I headed southeast 35 miles on US-33, across the border, to visit the Gasoline Alley Museum located in St. Marys, OH.  I was a fan of the Gasoline Alley gang comics when I was a kid and was eager to visit this museum.  However, it was nowhere to be found.  I talked to some locals at a gas station near the ‘address’ for the museum, but they said they had never heard of the museum.  It’s hard for me to believe the museum was not known by locals of a small town like St. Marys when I see the photos of the museum on the internet.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: https://aldrichpears.com/gasoline-alley-museum  

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 11B

14 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11 Continued (5/26/2022)

The inside portion of the Grissom Air Museum displays various military aviation and space related artifacts and memorabilia.  These include photos of Gus Grissom and the Mercury Redstone 4 (Liberty Bell 7), in which he was the 2nd American astronaut to orbit the earth.   Grissom was the 2nd American astronaut to fly twice in space in the Gemini 3 (Molly Brown) space capsule with John Young.  I also checked out the cockpit of the museum’s restored F-4 Phantom while I was there.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Almost next door to the Grissom Air Museum, I stopped to see what they had going at the American Huey Museum, but it was closed.  So, before I left Peru, I drove over the check out the Peru Historical Circus Winter Quarters.  Since it wasn’t WINTER the area and buildings all seemed deserted, with just a few circus wagons scattered around the grounds.  I took a photo of their sign and was on my way to the next museum on my list.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast 15 miles on Alternate US-24 to visit the Wabash County Historical Museum located in Wabash, IN.  This museum is filled with local artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the city of Wabash and the surrounding Wabash County area dating from the time of the Native Miami Indians and French fur traders of the early 1700s to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed northeast 20 miles on US-24 to visit the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park located along the Wabash River in Huntington, IN.  This village park museum is set on the site of the signing of the historic Treaty at the Forks, in 1838, that allowed the extension of the Erie Canal into the Wabash Valley.  There are restored original and replicas of 1800s cabins, buildings, and a church, with period furnishings, on the site to help educate visitors about the life and times of the early settlers to this area.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Huntington, I checked out the Veterans Memorial located next to the city’s Memorial Park.  This memorial honors veterans from all branches of U.S. military services.  The Memorial 

is used to celebrate several military events each year, and historical markers around the Memorial honor past Huntington citizens who have contributed their lives and talents to our nation’s history.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

 It was only a short drive to where I visited the Corn Coast Comics, which turned out to be a computer games and all things ‘geek’ store and was closed.  So, for my last museum today, I drove over to check out the Sheets Wildlife Museum there in Huntington.  This museum is a collection of animals, fish, and bird taxidermy displays of hunter, Sumner B. Sheets, which he has taken during his many hunts all over the world.  A unique example is the 2nd largest polar bear ever known to have been taken.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address for tonight’s motel, there in Huntington, and she took me right to it.  After I got checked in, I asked the desk clerk for good restaurants there in Huntington, and he rattled off a list of restaurants close by.  I selected the Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant, where I had their Chili Relleno plate which came with yellow rice and refried beans.  That was indeed a delightful meal. Back at the motel, I recorded my day’s activities and went to bed.  No TV tonight.

Photo Credit: https://www.nomascantina.com/items/chili-relleno

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 10B

30 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 Continued (5/25/2022)

While I was in Lincoln, I wanted to take a look at the World’s Largest Railsplitter Covered Wagon.  This tribute to Abraham Lincoln, and the historic western movement, was built in 2001 by David Bentley and was displayed on Historic Route 66, in Divernon, IL until 2009 when it was moved to this location, for all to see and appreciate.  I have to agree this IS the largest covered wagon I have ever seen.  I think it is much more impressive in some of the other photos I have seen, with the canvas cover in place.  The photo below will give you some perspective as to its actual size.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only about four miles from the World’s Largest Covered Wagon to the Lincoln County Airport where I wanted to visit the Heritage In- Flight Museum, but they were closed.  So, I headed northeast another 10 miles on I-55 to visit the J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum located in Atlanta, IL.  This is a fully restored, and operating, 1903 wooden grain elevator (amazing) that was used to store locally harvested grains until the Illinois & Midland Railroad could load and transport it to places like Terre Haute, Indiana and other destinations on their early 1900’s rail route.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Atlanta, IL I wanted to visit the 19-foot-tall ‘Paul Bunyan’ holding a giant hot dog statue (one of the many Old Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues) that was supposed to be located on SW Arch Street.  Greta (my Garmin) took me to the correct address, but the Paul Bunyan statue had been replaced by a large Golden Eagle Statue.  I took a photo of the eagle thinking I could read the wording on the plaque later, but the words came out blurred, so I’m not sure what the eagle is supposed to represent.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast 20 miles on I-55 to visit the Prairie Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Central Illinois Reginal Airport in Bloomington, IL.  This museum is filled with model aircraft, photos, and aviation memorabilia, while their outside airpark has a collection of several restored civilian and military aircraft on static display dating from 1945.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I travelled 50 miles southeast on I-74 to visit the Illinois Terminal located at the Event and Meeting Center Plaza in Champaign, IL.  This famous MTD terminal was originally built in 1896 by the Terminal Railroad Co. to serve the railroad needs of the city of Champaign and the surrounding Champaign County during the late 1880s.  The old Terminal and Meeting Center have been renovated several times over the years to their present status as the Illinois Terminal.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was time to head for my motel for the night.  I gave Greta (My Garmin) the motel address and it only took her a few minutes to get us to the Urbana, IL location, which was only a couple miles east, on the outskirts of Champaign.  I got checked in, got my things into the room, heated up my leftover Riblets Dinner from Applebee’s, and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  YUMMMM!

Photo Credit: https://yahoo.com/applebees+riblets+plate

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 10A

23 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 (5/25/2022)

This morning after breakfast, I headed east 15 miles on and I-55 to see what The Largest Catsup Bottle, located in Collinsville, IL was all about.  It turns out it is this huge 170-foot-high Collinsville water tower (100,000 gallons).  Built in 1949, in the shape of a catsup bottle, it has the name ‘Brooks’ painted on it, to honor the Brooks Catsup Company, that was in business there from 1907s to 1959, when the company merged with the P. J. Ritter Co.  The Suppiger Bottling Company moved its operations to Illinois in the early 1960s, and their name also appears on the water tower. Collinsville is also the self-proclaimed Horseradish Capital of the World, and hosts the annual Horseradish Festival held there in the city.

Note: Collinsville, IL was originally founded in 1837 as Unionville, IL. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was northeast 45 miles on I-55 to visit the Litchfield Museum located in downtown Litchfield, IL.  This small museum is the Official Route 66 museum in the area, as Old US-66 ran thru Litchfield, but was bypassed by I-55.  The museum has a large displays of early Route 66 artifacts, memorabilia, and curios.  The curator and I had a nice time remembering the Route 66 days of our youth.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

North 40 miles on I-55 I visited the Chatham Railroad Museum located just off Main Street in Chatham, IL.  This small museum is situated in the old restored 1902 C A & M station, that replaced the original 1852 C & M Railway Depot, and displays local railroad artifacts, memorabilia and photos associated with the railroad’s influence on the growth of the city of Chatham and the surrounding Sangamon County area from the mid-1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only another 10 miles northeast on SR-3 to where I visited the Air Combat Museum located at the Lincoln Capital Airport outside Springfield, IL.  This museum consists of the private collection of Mick George and has 18 beautifully restored aircraft, most of which are in flying condition.  Their latest project is the restoration of a WWII P-40N Warhawk, which is being restored to flying condition.  The crew were very friendly, showing me around their restoration hanger, and I invited them to visit our Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville the next time they were in our area.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next it was only a couple of miles over to visit the Lincoln Memorial Tomb Site located within the 180-acre Oak Ridge Cemetery there in Springfield.  Wikipedia tells me that the National Lincoln Monument Association was formed by citizens of Springfield on April 15, 1865 (the day Lincoln died) and has maintained Lincoln’s tomb ever since.  It is a magnificent mausoleum to our 16th President.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After touring the rest of the beautiful Oak Ridge Cemetery, I headed east another 30 miles on I-55 to visit the Postville Courthouse Historic Site located in Lincoln, IL.  This is the site of the 1839 Postville Courthouse that served Logan County until 1848.  As a member of the Traveling Bar of the 8th Illinois Judicial Circuit, young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, attended court here twice each year until the county seat was moved to Mount Pulaski, IL in 1848.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 9A

9 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 (5/24/2022)

I was up early this morning, had breakfast, and headed for downtown St. Louis to visit The Gateway Arch and Museum.  I wanted to get there early to find the right parking garage which I had not been able to locate yesterday.  As luck would have it, I found it on the first pass and even with the three-block walk, still arrived at the Arch before the doors opened.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The prelude talk before the ride to the top was long and took us from one level to the next, but we finally arrived at the trams.  The 6-minute ride to the top of The Arch was knee-to-knee crowded in the tram, but when we got there, the view was worth the ride.  The windows were small, but the view (30 miles in any direction on a clear day) was spectacular!  I was amazed to feel the floor under my feet move slightly at one point.  We were only allowed about ten minutes at the top before we were herded back into the trams for the 4-minute trip back down.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As we exited the trams, we were guided onto the museum floor and the exits.  The museum is a very impressive layout.  There are six-themed exhibit areas that chronicle 201 years of American Western Expansion history as was witnessed by the St. Louis area from 1764 to 1965.   The displays are informative and explain each of the six periods in detail, with hands-on items for the younger visitors.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After completing that ‘Bucket List’ adventure, I walked over to check out the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France church (known as the Old Cathedral).  This cathedral’s roots date back to 1764, when St. Louis founders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau dedicated land (church block) to the people of St. Louis for religious purposes. The log cabin built on that site was the first church west of the Mississippi River and the first church in St. Louis.  This 1831 Cathedral (renovated over the years) is the fourth structure to be built on this site and tells the story of the early history of St. Louis.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed off to explore some of the other museums on my list there in the St. Louis area.  First on the list was the Jefferson Barracks POW & MIA Museum located in the 405-acre Jefferson Barracks Park which was founded in 1828 as part of the Jefferson Barracks Military Post.  This museum is housed in the old restored 1905 Post Exchange building and is designed to honor those men and women who did not return from the war they fought, with personal and military artifacts and memorabilia.   

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving the Jefferson Barracks Park, I visited the Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum which is situated in an original restored 1896 building.  This building was originally designed as a two-family duplex, and was part of in the ‘Officers Row’ housing section, within the U.S. Army Jefferson Barracks base.  The museum features an extensive collection of telephones, and telephone related equipment dating from the late 1800s to 2012. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I drove out to the Creve Coeur Airport, not far from the Missouri River, to visit the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum.  As I was pulling into the airport complex, I saw a sign for the Army Aviation Heritage Flying Museum which I didn’t know was also located in this complex.  I looked for their museum all over the complex, but couldn’t see any other indications as to where their museum was.  So, I tried the Restoration Museum.  This museum was closed, and I was really disappointed to miss a chance to see their collection of beautifully restored ‘Golden Age of Flight’ aircraft.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 8A

26 Oct

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 8 (5/23/2022)

After breakfast this morning, I headed northwest 35 miles on US-68 to visit the old McCracken County Jail Museum located in Paducah, KY.  As it turned out, I forgot to add the word ‘Museum’ to my search, and I ended up at the ‘New’ McCracken County Jail.  No museum there!  I realized my mistake and drove just a few blocks to where I intended to visit the Paducah Railroad Museum, but it was closed.  So, as I was heading for the River Heritage Museum, I passed the old William Clark Farmers Market House entrance and stopped to take a photo.  This historic building, in the middle of Paducah was built around 1827, when the city was platted by William Clark, and was the city’s farmers market and gathering place for many years.

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

When I arrived at the River Heritage Museum, I discovered, it is a small museum located on the banks of the Ohio River that displays artifacts and memorabilia used to help educate and preserve the history of America’s river systems.  I have to admit that I have never been an avid American river history student, and really couldn’t tell you what rivers run thru what states. This museum was quite an education.

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

Just around the corner, I stopped to check out The National Quilt Museum there in Paducah.  This museum has three galleries which display some 600+ fiber art quilts from local artists as well as those from around the world.  The museum is also unique in that it provides workshop classes for fiber art students for all ages of children and adults.  Quite an interesting and beautiful display!

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

Leaving Paducah, I headed northwest, along the Ohio River for a while, on SR-306, picked up I-24, and crossed the Ohio River (border) into Illinois.  Then it was northwest another 70 miles on I-24 to visit the General John A. Logan Museum located in Murphysboro, IL.  This small museum is situated in the original house built by Tom Logan in 1885, and is filled with artifacts and memorabilia covering the life and times of General John A. Logan (1826-1886).  The General (at his wife Mary’s suggestion) was instrumental in the creation of our Memorial Day holiday (originally known as Decoration Day).  A mister Christopher C. Buller purchased the house in 1890, where he and his wife, Anna, raised 15 children.  In 1908 General Logan’s wife, Mary Logan, turned their ‘Calumet Place’ home in Washington, D.C. into a museum honoring the general, and later she donated the general’s furnishings to this museum.

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

Now I headed north 30 miles on SR-13 to visit the Old Perry County Jail Museum located in Pinckneyville, IL.  This museum is housed in the original 1871 Perry County Jail, which replaced the 1833 Perry County Jail, and served as the only correctional facility in Perry County until 1987 when it was replaced by a new jail facility.  The museum displays prison artifacts and memorabilia describing prison life as it was in the 19th and 20thcenturies in southern Illinois.

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

Next, I headed west 40 miles on SR-154 (a little out of my way) to visit the Spinach Can Collectables & Popeye Museum located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Chester, IL (birthplace of Elzie Segar, the creator of the ‘Popeye’ comic character).    This small store-front shop and museum sells and displays a large assortment of ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ antique artifacts (some not for sale) and collectables.  The museum also hosts the annual ‘Popeye Festival’ held there in Chester each July.  Popeye was my hero as a youngster!

Photo Credit; Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

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