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My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5B

16 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27 (Continued)

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

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

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

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

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—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5A

9 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27

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

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

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

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


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

—–Today’s activities will be continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip-Part 4

2 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – Friday July 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 3B

25 Sep

Day 3 – Thursday July 25 (Continued)

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 2

11 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 – Wednesday July 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip~Part 1

4 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

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

Day 1 – Tuesday July 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10 (Continued)

20 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 10 Sunday 10/28/2018

 

 

Now I worked my way back to I-95 and headed south to visit the Jacksonville Fire Museum, located in the Midtown area of Jacksonville.   This museum is located in the restored 1886 Fire Station #3, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related the evolution of the Jacksonville Fire Department from the 1850s.  This includes various hand operated, horse drawn, and motorized firefighting and rescue equipment, that have been used by Jacksonville firefighters over the years.

 

 

The Museum of Southern History located in the Fairfax area of Jacksonville was my next stop.  The museum was closed today; however, their website informs me that this museum depicts the lifestyles and cultures of the antebellum South.  The museum also covers the cultures of the early Florida Native Americans and those who settled Florida, with respect to the Civil War and more recent times.  As it happens, the Civil War Governor of Florida, John Milton, whose plantation site I had visited, near Marianna the other day, is also mentioned in this museum’s website write-up.

 

 

Now I headed a few miles west to visit the Norman Silent Film Studios Museum located in the Arlington area of Jacksonville.  This studio complex (museum) began as the “Eagle Film Studios” in 1906.  This was a typical example of the northern U.S. film studios wanting to be able to continue filming throughout the winter months. Between the years of 1908 & 1922, as many as 30+ northern film studios moved their operations here, where the area soon became known as the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” Richard E. Norman purchased the Eagle Film Studios in 1908, and moved his Midwest film operations to the Jacksonville area, where he renamed it the Norman Silent Film Studios.  Over the years the Norman Film Studios gradually declined as the Jacksonville film industry moved its operations to southern California in the 1930s.  Finally, after many years of very little activity, in about 2008, as part of an overall restoration project, one of the existing buildings was opened as the museum (Google Norman Silent Film Studios to see how the film studio has progressed over the years).

 

 

Next on the list, I travelled across town to visit the Kingsley Plantation, located in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve on Fort George Island.  This 1797 plantation house, and out buildings, are situated conveniently on the Fort George River, where the owner’s docks gave him access to all types of river traffic, and for his own needed supplies and crop transport. Zephaniah Kingsley was a slave trader and shipping magnate, and owned several plantations along the St. Johns River, by the time he became the third known owner of this plantation in 1814 (Google “Kingsley Plantation” for more interesting details about Zephaniah Kingsley and the Kingsley Plantation).

 

 

By now I was ready to head for the motel, and gave Greta (my Garmin) the address.  After leaving the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve and St. George Island, I spotted the Sandollar Restaurant and decided to stop in for a seafood dinner with them.  That was a very good choice.  Their Fish Tacos were out-of-this-world good, and the view of Mayport across the St. Johns River, from my outdoor patio table, was beautiful and restful, with the soothing river sounds and the whole scene being painted golden by the setting sun.

 

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10

14 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 10 Sunday 10/28/2018

 

This morning my plan was to head north on I-95 to visit the Kings Bay Submarine Museum, located just across the border from Jacksonville in Kings Bay, GA.  I was hoping to get a photo of all of the submarine launched missiles (display) that was advertised to be part of the museum.  When I got to the gate entrance to the base, I was informed that the Museum was no longer on the base, but had been relocated to the town of St. Marys, GA. The only thing related to the base was a submarine “Gate Guard” near the gate entrance.  So I took a photo of the Gate Guard and headed for St. Marys.

 

           

When I got to the St. Marys Submarine Museum, located on the St. Marys River waterfront, in downtown St. Marys, it was closed.  However, I noticed there was a car parked in front of the museum, and decided to see if it was open after all.  Sure enough, the curator was there doing some work and agreed to let me look around the museum until he was finished with his work.  This small museum is dedicated to the history of the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet, from its inception, and includes submarine memorabilia and artifacts dating from the early 1800s.  The museum also has a submarine control room display, with a working periscope. 

 

 

Across the street from the submarine museum I took a stroll thru the St. Marys Waterfront Park overlooking the St. Marys River.  This is a beautiful quiet park where a person can enjoy the surroundings while being soothed by the sounds of the river flowing nearby.  In the 1800s, tall ships frequented the St. Marys harbor, as it was the southernmost point of the United States (at the time), and was a prime trading port.   Today the city of St. Marys offers several areas, within the park, to rent for weddings and other special occasions.

    

       

While I was in St. Marys, I checked out the St. Marys Railroad Museum, located just a few blocks north of the Submarine Museum.  This museum was closed, but their website informs me that the museum is situated in the restored late1800s St. Marys SM&K train depot.  The museum offers 1-hour excursions, on “Train Days,” on their restored diesel powered train with open site-seeing train cars.  The museum also displays model railroad layouts, of different scales, inside the building.  The museum building also doubles as the local St. Marys Little Theater.

 

 

I headed south on I-95/U.S.-17/SR-200 to visit the Amelia Island Museum of History, located in Fernandina Beach, Fl.  This museum is housed in the restored 1878Nassau County Jail building, and displays artifacts and memorabilia on two floors.  The museum showcases the island’s some 4000 years of Florida history.  There is an emphasis on 8 flags, representing the 8 countries that have occupied this island area over the centuries.   Displays include a Timucuan Indian Village scene, evidence of the Spanish Mission period, Civil War photos, and artifacts from the early Florida settlers.

 

           

 

—–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.

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 9

6 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 9 Saturday 10/27/2018

 

This morning I headed southeast on U.S.-231 & I-10, to see if I could find the Whippoorwill Sportsman’s Lodge located on Lake Talquin in Quincy.  I’m not sure how I ended up on U.S.-90, but I saw a Historical Marker and stopped to see what it was all about.  As it turned out, this was at the entrance to the Blue Springs Recreational Park (closed because of hurricane damage).  The historical marker indicated that this park was, at one time, the site of the “Sylvania Plantation” built by John Milton in 1845.  The plantation was actually a small family community, consisting of the large manor house, barns, a family chapel, a school, a blacksmith shop, and living quarters for his 50 slaves.   John Milton later served as Florida’s Governor during the Civil War.

 

 

Instead of getting back on I-10, I continued east on U.S.-90 thru more hurricane devastation, and finally found the Whippoorwill Sportsman’s Lodge located in Quincy.  This turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting. If there was a lodge or club house, there in the trailer park, I didn’t see it.  So I just took a photo and was on my way.

 

 

Now I heading east on I-10, by-passing Tallahassee this time, to visit the Old Monticello Jail Museum located in Monticello.  This museum is located in the original 1893 Jefferson County jail that was in use until 1984. In addition to being a modern jail (for its time), the Sheriff’s office and his home were both designed to be part of the building.  I discovered the Old Jail is currently under restoration, so I took a photo and headed for the next museum.

 

Traveling east on I-10 again, my next stop was to visit the Treasures of Madison County Museum located in Madison. This museum is housed in the restored original 1890 W. T. Davis building, and displays artifacts, exhibits, and all kinds of memorabilia, related to the early history and development of Madison County, Florida.  The original W.T. Davis building has also served as an opera house and theater over the years.

 

 

Now I headed east on SR-6, thru the Twin Rivers Wildlife Management Area to visit the Old Jail Museum located in Jasper.  This museum is housed in the original 1893 red brick jailhouse.  The museum was built to house the sheriff and his family on the first floor, which now contains artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the jail in the late 1800s.  Originally prisoners were housed on the second floor, and the central tower was use for hangings, the last taking place in 1916,

 

 

Taking U.S.-41 southeast several miles, I was planning to visit the Steven Foster Museum located adjacent to the Suwannee River in White Springs.  As it turned out, the museum is part of the Steven Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, which looked to me more or less like a Day Park where a family would plan an all day event.  I didn’t want to pay admission to the park and then have to take the time to find the museum.   So I took a photo and was on my way to the next museum.

 

 

Heading southeast out of White Springs on U.S.-41, I passed the Adams Country Store and just had to stop for a photo.  The store was closed, but their website Informs me that this building was built in 1865 and was restored in around 2011 using mostly building materials from other old buildings in the area  (where possible).  The “Store” is filled with every conceivable thing that you might find in a general store during the mid-1800s time period, including antique gas pumps and gas station signs.

 

 

Continuing southeast on U.S.-41, next I visited the Keystone Heights Airport in Starke to see what might be on the ramp and in the hangers.  As luck would have it, the entire airport was deserted.  So I took a couple of photos and was on my way northeast toward Jacksonville.

 

 

I gave Greta (my Garmin) the motel address for tonight, and headed northeast on U.S.-41 & I-10.  I skirted downtown Jacksonville, by taking I-295 north to find my motel, located in the Pecan Park area, near the Jacksonville International Airport. After I got checked in, I heated up my Mexican food dinner and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  Yummmm!

 

 

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 8

30 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

This morning I was at the National Museum of Naval Aviation there in Pensacola when the doors opened. I had been to this museum on previous trips, but knew they rotated their aircraft from time to time, and I wanted to see what they had on display at this time.  With 150+ beautifully restored aircraft dating from the early 1900s, I knew it was going to take me a while to do the whole museum.  I am constantly amazed at how this museum can get such a large number of aircraft in the space available, and the place not look crowded.  In most cases there is room between the aircraft to allow for good photos.  I would place this museum with some of the top “Must See” aviation museums in the country.

 

 

Just a short distance east of the Naval Museum, I visited the Pensacola Lighthouse & Museum located adjacent to Pensacola Bay.  This lighthouse was built in 1858 to replace the 1825 lighthouse, to give better navigation aid to ships within Pensacola Bay and outside Santa Rosa Island.  The museum displays artifacts of the history of the lighthouses that have served in this location dating from 1823 (See Wikipedia for many more interesting lighthouse details).

 

 

Now I headed another few miles east to visit Fort Barrancas located in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This fort was built by the Spanish in 1839 directly across Pensacola Bay from Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island, to protect the bay from water attack.  The fort is now part of the 860 acre Fort Barrancas Historical District, which is now actually located within the Pensacola Naval Air Station (See Wikipedia for many interesting details about the history of Fort Barrancas),

 

 

Next I headed northeast on I-110 & I-10 to visit the West Florida Railroad Museum located in Milton. This small museum is situated on the original 1882 Pensacola & Atlantic Railroad passenger depot site, that provided  L & N Railroad service to the area until 1973.  In addition to railroad memorabilia inside the depot, the museum has a restored  bridge tenders house, a section shed with motor car, and several restored pieces of rolling stock outside.

 

 

As I was heading toward my next museum, I saw a Historical Marker in the small town of Bagdad, and stopped to see what it was all about.  The marker informed me that in late 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces attacked the Confederate forces in the town of Bagdad, in what was later called the “Skirmish on the Blackwater.”  This activity took place in and around the Bagdad area, with the Union forces ultimately occupying the town and the Thompson House, shown in the photo below.

 

 

I continued northeast on I-10 & SR-4 to visit the Baker Block Museum located in the city of Baker. This museum turned out to be sort of a small indoor artifact and exhibit building next to a historic village, outside,  related to the history of early Florida panhandle living.  The village consists of a restored late 1800s post office, log cabin, corn crib, grist mill, blacksmith shop, and outhouse.

 

 

—-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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