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Critter in the Attic

19 Apr

 

A Slice of Life

By Bill Lites

DiVoran and I moved to East Central Florida in 1965 and bought our first brand new house. At the time, the area was booming with the Manned Space Program, and the construction industry couldn’t keep up with the demand for new houses. Our new house was located in a small new sub-division, and was typical for the time and area; concrete block construction, with pitched roof, jalousie windows, and minimal insulation.

 

 

Having both been born and raised in the southwest, we were not used to the heat and humidity here in Florida. As a result, I spent a lot of my spare time during those first several years in the attic building board walkways, installing lights, and wiring ceiling fans for every room in the house.

 

 

There were stories of how the contractors were cutting corners to meet their schedules and reduce costs. We didn’t pay a lot of attention to the stories at first, as we were just happy to have been able to find and buy a new house in such a “Buyer’s Market” so quick. However, working in the attic gave me a good idea of some of those shortcuts.

 

 

For instance, the attic insulation was very flimsy. It was made of Aluminum coated corrugated craft paper! Try to imagine, in the picture below, that the top and bottom layers are corrugated craft paper (somehow bonded together) with the aluminum coating on the outside surfaces. The aluminum coating, we were told, was supposedly to reflect the radiant heat from of the sun. The open area between the top and bottom layers was an “insulating air space” to keep the heat from reaching the ceiling. I can’t imagine how any building industry standards organization could have ever approved such a flimsy and ridiculous design. But, there it was. And of course, there was NO insulation of any kind over the garage area.

 

 

DiVoran and I always had pets while growing up, and of course we had to have a pet to go with our new house. Our beautiful long-haired gray and white tabby’s name was “Pepper” and he was a very active in-door addition to our family. I can’t remember just when the following episode occurred, but suffice it to say it was some years after our move to Florida.

 

 

In the middle of the night, I woke to hear what sounded like a small critter in the attic above our bedroom. It sounded like it would scurry around quickly, on that flimsy craft paper insulation in the attic, and then it would stop and I could hear it gnaw on something. Then it would scurry around some more, and then back to gnawing. For the next few nights, I pondered on how I was going to get rid of that pesky critter. I could just see it gnawing through the insulation on an electric wire and starting a fire. And, I didn’t want it to make a home in our attic and start raising a family to add to the potential problem. Then I believe God gave me an inspired idea!

 

 

The next evening I put Pepper in the attic and closed the access door. He circled the access door a few times, meowing. When he finally realized I wasn’t going to open the access door and let him out, I heard him walking across the craft paper insulation to the vent holes in the soffit.

 

 

He kept moving from one vent hole to the next, looking for a way to get out of the attic. He progressed around two whole sides of the house until he got to our bedroom, when his movements stopped. All this time our pesky critter had been busy gnawing and scurrying around its usual area of the attic, just above our bedroom light fixture. There was silence from Pepper for a full minute, while the critter kept gnawing. Then there was a loud thump! And then complete silence. We heard no more sounds from the attic for the rest of the night.

 

 

The next morning, I opened the attic access door and called Pepper. It took him a while, but then I saw him walking toward me on the walk-way board, meowing all the way. I lifted him down and he seemed happy to be back in the house with his family. As it turned out, we never had another problem with critters in our attic. Who knows, maybe Pepper left his scent up there, and it deterred any other adventuresome critters from making a home in our attic. Whatever the case, we are happy they have stayed away. Just in case you were wondering, we did put some real insulation in our attic not too long after that.

 

 

 

—–The End—–

 

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 15

12 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 15 (Thursday Oct.13, 2016)

 

I was up early this morning, and had a delicious breakfast at the Bob Evens Restaurant just down the road from the motel. With a full tummy, and since I didn’t have to be at the airport until after lunch (2:00 pm), I decided to drive around the Columbus area, to see what I could find of interest.

 

 

I drove up and down what looked like busy business streets, but came across nothing much of interest in the area where I had stayed. I Googled “Things to do in Columbus,” and one of the things recommended was German Village. So I picked the Schiller Park, which was said to have an interesting “Umbrella Girl Fountain” on display. It turned out to be a beautiful but small park, and the fountain display was very restful.

 

 

By the time I got through checking out the Schiller Park and the “Umbrella Girl Fountain” it was getting close to noon, and I thought I better get something to eat to tide me over, on the Southwest “Peanut Flight” back to Orlando. Google had also informed me, that one of the best places to eat, in the German Village area, was the “German Village Coffee Shop” located on Thurman Street. I found it (it was tiny) and tried one of their grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I’m not sure what all the “Hoopla” is about?

 

 

Then I headed for the Enterprise Rental Car office to turn in my car. That process went well, and I tried to call an Uber ride. That didn’t go so well, until one of the Enterprise agents helped me out. I had a ride within ten minutes, and was delivered to the John Glenn Columbus International Airport in another fifteen minutes. What a great service!

 


The non-stop Southwest flight from Columbus to Orlando was on time, smooth, and the peanuts were fresh. Those peanut bags are really small, and I had to ask for an extra bag. I was in the first row isle seat on the left, so was one of the first off the plane in Orlando. The walk from the arrival gate, to the tram into the main terminal, and the wait at Baggage Claim took almost as long as the flight had.

 

 

My lovely wife, Divoran, picked me up at the arrival area, and we headed north on SR-436 looking for somewhere to eat dinner. She let me know that she had her mouth set for pizza, and we were able to find a small Pizzeria not far from the airport. We enjoyed the food and time alone together, bringing each other up to date, mostly about her adventures with Hurricane Matthew.

 

 

The trip home to Titusville was uneventful, and I was glad to be home where I could unwind and sleep in my own bed for a change. Living out of a suitcase gets old in a hurry, and people’s loud TV at night doesn’t help. And as they say, “Home is where the heart is.” At least until I can plan another of my exciting travel adventures. Hope you have enjoyed hearing about this road trip and will join me for the next trip, when I will be exploring the many museums of the American North Country.

 

 

 

—–The End—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 14

5 Apr

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

Day 14 (Wednesday Oct.12, 2016)
Today was more or less a free day, since I had visited some of the museums around Columbus, scheduled for today, on the first day of this trip. I started

with the hope that I could visit the Waco Aircraft Collection of Anthony M. Morozowsky, there in Zanesville, before I headed toward Columbus. A month before this trip, I sent Mr. Morozowsky a letter requesting a visit to his collection. However, I never did receive an answer and the only thing I had to go on was the address on the FAA Registry, for his 30+ aircraft. When Greta informed me that we had arrived at our destination, I was disappointed that it turned out to be nothing more than a vacant lot and a couple of rusty broken down vehicles.

 


So I headed west on I-70, to visit the Historical Aircraft Squadron located in Carroll, Ohio. This was a small one hanger museum with six nicely restored airplanes, and a collection of retired ex-military volunteers sitting around the coffee machine sharing war stories. What a great bunch of guys!

 


Next on the list, was a visit to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, located a few miles north in Pickerington, Ohio. I have visited so many museums, in the last two weeks that it was sometimes hard to remember which ones I had already visited, until I actually pulled into the parking lot. This was one of the museums I had visited earlier. That’s OK, since I was headed that direction anyway.

 


Just a few miles west, I went to visit the Bob McDorman Automotive Museum, located in Canal Winchester, Ohio. This museum was closed when I tried to visit it on day 1 of this trip (even though the sign out front said “Open Wed-Sat 1-5”). As it turned out, it was closed again today (Same sign was outside; Go Figure), and I missed out seeing Bob’s fine collection.

 

 

Now it was on down the road, to visit the Motts Military Museum located in Groveport, Ohio. To say this was the most extensive display, of military memorabilia that I have ever seen in a museum, would be an understatement. There were two large wings to the museum absolutely chocked full, from floor to ceiling, of memorabilia on both walls covering the U.S. military services dating from the Civil War through current times. The museum also had a very nice display of restored military vehicles and weapons displayed outside.

 


Now I headed into Columbus to visit the Ohio Village & Museum, at the Ohio History Center. The portion of the Center that housed the museum was a massive edifice, and would take the average person hours to go through it. Once I got a look at a museum layout map, at the visitor’s desk, I decided not to spend the time there and move on to the next museum.

 

 

The Camp Chase Site and Confederate Cemetery, located some four miles west of downtown Columbus, was surrounded by a high brick wall and I almost missed it. Wikipedia informed me that the camp was established in 1861, during the Civil War, as a staging and training base, and included a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. Named for Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, the site was closed in 1865 and the buildings were dismantled. The cemetery arch was erected as a memorial, to the many Confederate soldiers who were imprisoned at the camp, and to the 2200 that died there before the war ended.

 

 

The Ohio Railway Museum, located in Worthington, Ohio, some 12 miles north of Columbus, was the last museum on the list for this trip. As it turned out this was a very small museum, consisting of local railroad memorabilia and some very weather-beaten rolling stock.

 

 

 

Since it was still early afternoon, I headed for the motel, to get settled in and, so I could use their computer to print-out my boarding pass for my Southwest flight tomorrow. Because the Enterprise Rental Car office, where I rented my car, did not provide transportation to the airport, I had to come up with some way to get there on my own.

 

 

There was the taxi option, or possibly the Uber option. I liked the sound of the Uber option better, and spent quite a bit of time registering an account with them. I just hoped I would be able to use them tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait and see how that works out.

 


Dinner tonight was another delicious (leftover) dinner of Grilled Rainbow Trout with corn, green beans and one of their Cracker Barrel famous buttermilk biscuits with butter and honey for dessert. Yuuum!! Again.

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 13

29 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 13 (Tuesday Oct.11, 2016)
This busy day started out with a visit to the MAPS Air Museum located in North Canton, OH. This museum reminded me a lot of the Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville. They had many of the same airplanes, engines, and military vehicles that the VAC has.

 

 

The big difference between the two museums, is that all but two of the VAC’s aircraft are beautifully restored and hangered, whereas many of the MAPS aircraft are permanently displayed outside, and are the worse for wear by constant exposure to the weather. Three of the more interesting aircraft at this museum, as far as I was concerned, were their 1908 Martin Glider, their Sopwith Triplane, and their B-26 Marauder.

 


Down the road a few miles I visited the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum located in Canton, OH. I was amazed at the extent this city has gone to, in honoring their hometown man, William McKinley.

 

There is a huge memorial edifice, as well as the large presidential library. The museum is beautifully laid out on three levels, and shows many different examples of McKinley’s life and his time as President.


Next on the list was a visit to the Canton Classic Car Museum, also located there in Canton. This museum displays some 40+ beautifully restored rare and unusual classic/special interest cars, as well as a large variety of historical automotive memorabilia.

 

 

While I was in Canton, I had Greta direct me to the First Ladies National Historical Site (Museum). I didn’t realize, until informed by the tour guide, that this museum was physically located in the original restored 1841 McKinley residence.

 

 

I was truly impressed with the story of the saving and restoration, of the residence, and all of the information displayed about the First Ladies of our American Presidents. I think DiVoran, or any woman would have enjoyed the tour much more than I did. The decor of the residence and the styles of the time period displayed and referred to, during the tour, I think would be of great interest to most any woman.

 


Heading south on I-77, I was planning to make a short visit at the Schoenbrunn Village, located in New, Philadelphia OH. But when I got there, this early American village looked too spread out, and would have taken way too much time to see it all. I learned from their web site, that the Schoenbrunn Village is a reconstruction of the early Delaware Moravian Village that was started by David Zeisberger in 1772. The current village consists of 17 reconstructed buildings, including Zeisberger’s cabin, his church, and the first village schoolhouse.

 

 

A few miles to the southeast I visited the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum located in Denison, Ohio. This was a very small museum, with local railroad memorabilia and some very nicely restored rolling stock. The museum is one of the only remaining examples, in the nation, of a railroad canteen that reflects its WWII heritage. I learned from their website that the Dennison Depot was built in 1873, and became an important central rail hub for many years.

 

 

During WWII the “Dennison Depot Salvation Army Servicemen’s Canteen” (operating 24/7 from 1942-1946 by some 4000 volunteers), served millions of military service personnel free food and coffee, which eventually earned it the nickname, “Dreamsville, Ohio.”

 

 

My next stop was to visit the Hopalong Cassidy Museum located in Cambridge, Ohio. I had talked to the curator of this museum a few weeks ago, to find out what their hours of operation were. So, I was completely surprised when Greta informed me that I had arrived at the museum location, only to see a burned-out two story building! I asked a lady on the street if that was the museum location, and she informed me that it was, and that the museum had been destroyed by fire just two weeks ago. What a bummer for everyone!

 

 

Next on my list was the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, also located there in Cambridge. The museum displays over 6000 pieces of beautiful classic glassware creations by the Cambridge Glass Company from 1902-1958. There is also a small interpretive area where visitors can see how glass was made; from the gathering and shaping of the glass, to the etching and engraving of the final product.

 

 

Now I headed south a few more miles, to check out the Byesville Coal Mine & Train Museum located in Byesville, Ohio. This was a very small museum (part of the M&P Railway system in 1871), with local railroad memorabilia and a few items of restored rolling stock.

 

 

There was also a monument and memorial to the many Ohio coal miners of the early 1900s to mid-1900s, who filled the coal cars of “The Route of the Black Diamond” trains, and helped put this area of Ohio on the map.

 


Now as I headed west, my next stop was to visit the John & Annie Glenn Historical Site located in new Concorde, Ohio. This small museum consisted of memorabilia from the lives of John & Annie Glenn, displayed in their former residence there in Concorde.

 


After putting all those miles on the rental car today, I finally headed for tonight’s motel located in Zanesville, Ohio. Dinner tonight at the local Cracker Barrel Restaurant, was a serving of their delicious Grilled Rainbow Trout with corn, green beans, and one of their famous buttermilk biscuits, with butter and honey for dessert. Yummm!

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Trip Part 12

22 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

Day 12 (Monday Oct.10, 2016)
I awoke to another brisk Ohio fall morning of 36° with a high expected today of 60°. I bundled up, and headed southeast to visit my first museum of the day, which was the National Packard Museum located in Warren, OH. I have discovered that quite a few museums are open on Saturdays, but closed Sundays and Mondays. This was the case for this museum. I was not too disappointed about missing a visit to this museum, as I had visited the American Packard Museum in Dayton on the second day of this trip. That’s not to say I would not have enjoyed viewing more beautifully restored early Packard automobiles at this museum.

 

 

Next on the list for today, was a visit to the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum, also located there in Warren. This turned out to be a relatively small museum founded by Ernie C. Hall in the early 1900s. Information on an Ohio Historical Marker indicates that Ernie Hall was a good friend of the Wright Brothers and other early aviation notables.

 

 

His web site says that Ernie Hall holds the distinction of being actively involved in all aspects of aviation longer than any person in the world. What an honor!! His website also says that as a member of the exclusive Early Bird Club, Ernie was one of the many early aviation enthusiasts that helped birth the American aviation industry. He established the Hall Flying School in 1915, and during WWI joined the Army Signal Corps as a flight instructor. It was during this time that Ernie trained many well-known aviation greats, such as Jimmy Doolittle and others, to fly.

 

As I headed back east toward Akron, Ohio I stopped at the Kent University to visit the memorial to the May 4, 1970 shooting of students, by members of the Ohio National Guard. The students were protesting the Nixon Administration’s “Cambodian Campaign” there on campus, when the Guardsmen opened fire, killing 4 students and wounding 9 others.

 

 

Down the road a ways, my plan was to visit the Hale Farm & Village Museum located in Bath, OH. This farm and museum was closed, so it was difficult for me to find out what their main emphasis was. However, I did find out from an Ohio Historical Marker, that the Hale family settled in this area in the early 1800s, and was instrumental in the founding of the Bath Township, also considered part of the “Firelands” (Northwest Territory).

 

 

 

Now I headed south, to visit the Bethlehem Cave & Nativity Museum, located in the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Catholic Church in Akron, OH. A very friendly escort informed me that Father David Halaiko had created the Bethlehem Cave from photographs, and collected many of the memorabilia items on display. Also a number of Father Halaiko’s parishioners had brought back memorabilia items, from their trips to countries all over the world, to add to his display.

 


Next I checked out the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad Station located on the north side of Akron, OH. This is part of the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad Scenic Railroad System that stretches from Independence, OH, through the center of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to Akron with seven stops at smaller stations along the way.

 

 

 

While researching for this trip on the Internet, under a “List of things to do in Akron Ohio,” the Glendale Cemetery was listed. I wanted to see what was so interesting about this cemetery, so I drove through and took some pictures of some of the stately mausoleums.

 

 

 

This cemetery dates from 1839, and I was amazed at the size and complexity of some of the structures. Many of the mausoleums are modeled after Egyptian, Greek and Roman temples or Gothic churches.

 

 

On the way to the motel, due to road construction, Greta kept directing me in a figure eight of exits/ramps trying to get me on I-77 north. That was really frustrating! I finally stopped, got out my Ohio map, and worked out a way to get to the motel area, without taking the route that Greta was insisting upon. That made for an extremely long day, before I could stop, relax, and call DiVoran, to tell her about the adventures of my day.

 

(This cartoon from the Internet expresses just how I felt!)

By then it was way past time to heat up the leftover Baby Back Ribs, sweet potato, and green beans for another delicious Applebee’s dinner. Yummm again!

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 11

15 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

Day 11 (Sunday Oct.9, 2016)
Weather Note: The temperature this morning when I awoke was 38° with a high forecast for today of 60° at 3:00 pm. I’m sure glad I brought jeans, heavy long sleeved shirts and a windbreaker on this trip. They sure will come in handy for the next few days.

 

My first stop this morning was to visit the Liberty Aviation Museum located in Port Clinton, OH. This was a small museum, with only about eight beautifully restored airplanes. They also had a variety of nicely restored military vehicles as part of their collection, and this was the home of the Art Deco styled Tin Goose Diner.

 

 

Next, I headed east for a visit to the Sandusky Maritime Museum located in Sandusky, OH. This was another very small museum, consisting of local maritime memorabilia and a couple of outside boat exhibits. I didn’t spend a lot of time at this museum.

 

 

Down the road a ways, I visited the Mad River Railroad Museum located in Bellevue, OH. Here again, this was a very small museum consisting of local railroad memorabilia. However, they did have several nicely restored pieces of rolling stock. I have been amazed to discover, how much railroad activity there was in Ohio during the steam engine hey-day of the 1920s through the 1950s.

 


Across the street from the Mad River Railroad Museum, was a large beautiful church that I just had to get a picture of. Its architecture reminded me of many smaller castles had seen in Europe.

 

 

As I headed east, out of Bellevue, I spotted a small sign on the side of the rural road advertising the Historic Lyme Village Museum. I had miles to go today, and didn’t have time to stop to see what the museum was all about. I Googled the museum later, and discovered the Historic Lyme Village and museum depict life in the Firelands (Northwest Territory-1787) of the first settlers (from Connecticut) in the early 1800s.

 

 

Next on the list for today, was a visit to the NASA’s Glenn Research Center located on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. The guard at the gate informed me that the museum is not open to the public except for monthly one-day tours, which had to be made on the Internet ahead of time.

 

 

As I was leaving the Glenn Research Center, I passed the 100th Bomb Group Restaurant and decided to stop and use their restroom. I wish I’d had time to stay for a meal at this aviation themed restaurant, which salutes World War II heroes, and gives their guests a view of the Cleveland/Hopkins International Airport runway while they eat.

 


I headed east again, to visit the International Women’s Air & Space Museum located, on the shores of Lake Erie, just to the northeast of the city of Cleveland, OH. As it turned out the Browns vs. Patriots football game was being played in the Cleveland Browns Stadium, about a half a mile to the west of the museum. Several of the roads in the area were blocked to traffic, and every parking lot within a ½-mile radius of the stadium was full by the time I got to the museum. They had even closed the museum and locked the building, because of the deluge of after game people, trying to use their restroom that had created horrible problems for the museum in the past. I was disappointed not to be able to visit this museum, as I was curious about how women have been portrayed in the Air & Space rolls by this museum.

 

 

Next I tried to visit the USS Cod (SS-224) Submarine Museum, just down the street from the International Women’s Air & Space Museum, but was again disappointed to find that this museum had also been closed because of the crowds attending the Browns vs. Patriots football game.

 

 

I had noticed a sign for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum, as I was heading for the USS Cod Museum, and thought I would see if I could find it. However, I had made too many turns, on too many streets, and could not find it. I was however, able to find the following photo and (interesting historical marker) on the internet.

 

 

So, I just headed for tonight’s motel located in Warrensville Heights, OH.
After I got checked in at the motel, I headed off in search of a restaurant for dinner tonight. I ended up having Baby Back Ribs, sweet potato, and green beans at the Applebee’s Restaurant down the road a ways, in the little town of Bedford, OH. There was more than enough left over for another meal tomorrow evening. Yummm!

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 10

8 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

 

Day 10 (Saturday Oct.8, 2016)
This day did not turn out anything like what I had expected. Here it was another beautiful Saturday morning, when I thought everyone would be out and about, but no, that’s not the way it was.

 

The first stop this morning was to visit the World War II Victory Museum in Swanton, OH. As it turned out, this was the location of the 180th Ohio Air National Guard base, but there was no museum. At least Greta and I couldn’t find one anywhere in the area. Just this sign at the entrance to a closed gate.

 

 

So I headed up the road to visit the Snook’s Dream Cars Museum, located in Bowling Green, OH. As luck would have it, this museum is closed on Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t believe a classic car museum would be closed on the weekends. Is that out of the ordinary or what? What do YOU think about that!  I was really disappointed!

 

 

But what could I do except head on down the road to visit the Toledo Firefighter’s Museum in downtown Toledo, OH. Now I had made such good time this morning, because I expended no time at the first two museums, so I got to the Fireman’s Museum at 10:30. And, you guessed it! They didn’t open until 12 noon. Well, I wasn’t going to wait around 1-½ hours for them to open, so I got back in the car and headed down the road again.

 

 

Next on my list for today, was the Colonel James Schoonmaker Ship Museum located on the Maumee River, just to the north-east of Toledo. This museum is part of the National Museum of the Great Lakes Maritime Center there in Toledo. It consists of a visitor’s education center, and a tour of the grain and ore carrying ship. The visitor’s education center was quite interesting, with lots of historical maritime memorabilia associated with the Great Lakes shipping industry. I opted out of a tour of the ship, as the access ladder to the visitor’s deck area was WAY more than my troubled knees would have carried me, and there was no elevator.

 

 

Next I headed back into Toledo, to visit the Toledo Police Museum located in the small quiet Ottawa Park.  This was a small, but interesting, museum consisting of historical memorabilia associated with the Toledo Police Department, some of which dates back to the late 1800s.

 

 

When I headed south to visit my next museum, I was surprised when Greta said, “continue 119 miles on I-75 south.” I exited at my first opportunity and checked the location on my Ohio map. I discovered that I had miss-placed this museum entry address, for the WACO Museum on my “Trip Itinerary.” I had actually visited that museum on day 2 of this trip. Dua! I wonder how that happened?

 

As you can see, I spent a lot of time on the road today, but this did not turn out to be a very productive day for museum viewing. So, I gave up any further attempt at sight-seeing, in the Toledo area, and headed for this evening’s motel which was located in Perrysburg, OH. Dinner tonight was leftovers of some of that most delicious Lasagna, from the Four Seasons Family Restaurant last night. Double Yummm!!

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 9

1 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane

 

Day 9 (Friday Oct.7, 2016)

After a few direction problems with Greta, my first stop this morning was to visit the National Automotive & Truck Museum located in Auburn, IN. This museum consists of 200+ vehicles, located on two levels, representing mainly cars from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The cars were packed so close together that it made it difficult to get a good photo of any individual car or truck.

 

1

 

In the same block, was the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Automobile Museum. This was one of the most fascinating museums that I’ve visited. It has 7 galleries which display some 125 beautifully restored 1903-1937 cars. I was surprised to learn from one of the roving docents that, during these years, the Auburn was what today we would have considered the Chevrolet of its time; the Cord was considered the Oldsmobile; and the Duesenberg was considered the Cadillac.

 

2

Each of these cars was beautifully designed, and technically advanced for its time. What little I had known about these cars, over the years, had led me to believe that each one was to be considered at the top of its class for its time.

 

3

    1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster

4

                                                     1936 Cord Convertible Coupe

 

4b

1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe

 

These two museums were among several auto museums, in the Auburn area, that had put together a “Museum Passport” type brochure, to advertise each of their museums. When I showed my passport, each museum would give me a discount on their admission price and stamp my passport. This handy passport had the name, address, and phone number for each of the eight cooperating museums in the Auburn area.

 

5

 

This really helped solve the rest of my direction problems with Greta, in Auburn. When I arrived at the next museum location, I discovered that four of the other museums, I wanted to visit there in Auburn, were all located in this same museum complex.

 

6

 

First on the list was the Kruse Automotive & Carriage Museum, which features a variety of vehicles, including beautifully restored Classic Cars, Custom Hot Rods, TV/Movie Super Hero cars and costumes, Indy race cars, and Monster Trucks. There were also early antique horse-drawn carriages of all types (including several British Royal Carriages) dating from the late 1700s.

 

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Next was the National Military History Center, located in the same building. This museum has a great display of military vehicles, equipment, and memorabilia to help present future generations with a better understand of the unique role of the U.S. Military Armed Services.

 

8

 

Located there in the same Museum Complex, was the Gallery 326 Antique Mall which was closed the day I was there. However, it appears from their web site, that this is an auction center which boasts of over 100 dealers of high-quality collectibles including vintage automobiles.

 

9
Next I visited the Early Ford V-8 Foundation Museum, also located there in the Museum Complex. This small museum consists of the history of the Ford Motor Company vehicles produced from 1903 to the present, with emphasis on the 1932-1953 Ford cars, utilizing the flathead V-8 engine and its many variants.

 

10

 

 

Next I visited the Hoosier Air Museum, located a short distance from the Auburn Museum Complex. This was a very small museum, with about a dozen aircraft in one hanger. The tour guide was, I believe, the curator and part owner of the museum, and had lots of details about each of the museums aircraft.

 

11

 

By now I was getting pretty tired and decided to head for tonight’s motel, located on the outskirts of Montpelier, Ohio. After checking in, I asked the desk clerk for recommendations about a good restaurant in the area and he said, “Try the Four Seasons Restaurant next door, they have good food.”  Well, the restaurant next door looked to me like a pretty small Mom-&-Pop type place, so I drove down the highway into Montpelier and found no restaurants. I turned around and drove the other way down the highway for a ways, and found no restaurants. So, I gave up and went back to the Four Seasons Restaurant, and had one of the best Lasagna dinners I’ve ever had. I should have known. Right?

 

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I had saved half of my Shoofly Pie from last night, and had that for dessert again tonight back in the motel. That really went well while I watched TV. Yuuum!

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Trip Part 8

22 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane

 

Day 8 (Thursday, Oct.6, 2016)

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

 

1

 

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

 

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

 

3

 

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

 

4

 

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

 

5

 

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

 

6

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 7

15 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

 

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

 

1

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

4

 

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

 

5

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

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