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2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 6

29 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 – 7/17/2021

Leaving Harrisburg this morning I headed northeast 35 miles on I-81 to visit the Golden Age Air Museum located in Bethel, PA.  This museum consists of three hangers and displays 14 beautifully restored, and flyable, antique airplanes dating from 1916 to 1990, plus a dozen more planes on static display.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

Now it was another 35 miles northeast on I-81 to where I visited the Mid-America Air Museum located adjacent to the Reading Regional Airport in Reading, PA.  This museum displays over 100 aircraft, many of which are flyable.  I was looking forward to visiting this museum as they are in the process of restoring a very rare Northrop P-61B (42-39445) Black Widow night fighter to flight status.  Since i attended Northrop University, the P-61 has been one of my favorite WWII airplanes.  I am hoping to see the miracle of one of these famous airplanes back in the air again in my lifetime, and it looks like MAAM is the outfit to make that happen.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

From the Reading Regional Airport, it was only a few miles to the Reading Area Firefighters Museum.  Located on the site of the original 1854 Reading fire house, this museum’s collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia dates from the early 1800s. 

Now I took US-222 out of Reading about 15 miles northeast to visit the Kutztown History Museum located in the 1892 school building in downtown Kutztown, PA.  This museum displays local artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Kutztown and the surrounding Berks County area dating from as early as 1799.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

From Kutztown I continued on US-222 another 30 miles northeast to visit the America on Wheels Museum located in Allentown, PA.  This museum is situated in a renovated 1887 building and is laid out with three main galleries where some 75 beautifully restored antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles are on display.  Their Hubcap Café (restored 1950s soda fountain) is part of the museum’s decor and open to the public for snacks and beverages.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Allentown, it was only a few blocks to where I could visit the RB Classic Car Collection.  This facility is owned and operated by brothers, Al and Alex Ruozzi, who have dedicated their lives to buying, restoring, selling, and servicing Classic Cars from every era.  Currently their inventory includes vehicles from the 1930s to 1960s,

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I had planned to visit the Mack Truck Historical Museum there in Allentown, and replace my worn-out ‘Mack’ baseball cap, but they were closed.  That was a Bummer!  So, I just headed north out of Allentown on I-475 about 75 miles to visit the Steamtown National Historic Site located in Scranton, PA.  This 62-acre site is the former Scranton railroad yards and displays restored steam & diesel driven trains in the 1902 Roundhouse and on the central turntable.  The History Museum displays other artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the Scranton Yards “Where the Great Roads Meet.”

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Sharing the parking lot with the Steamtown National Historic Site is the Electric City Trolley Museum, which is a collection of 20+ restored electric trolleys, used in the Scranton and the Lackawanna County  area, dating from 1899 to 1941.  The John Oliver model train set inside  the museum is amazing.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Scranton, I headed north 50 miles on I-81 with a stop, just over the border, at the Visitors Center in Kirkwood, NY.  The drive thru the Pocono Mountains was beautiful and you can see the remnants of those mountains in the background of the picture below.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Then it was another 50 miles north on I-81 to where I visited the Cortland NY Living Center located in Cortland, NY.  This complex includes the Brockway Truck Collection, the Homeville Museum, and the Tractors of Yesteryear collection.  The artifacts and memorabilia included in each of these collections is the history of Cortland County New York from Civil War days to the present.

Now I continued 35 miles north on I-81 to visit the Erie Canal Museum located in Syracuse, NY.  This museum is housed in the 1850 Syracuse Weighlock Building that served as the weighlock toll building for boats using the Erie Canal from 1850 to 1883 when boat tolls were no longer required.

Now it was time to find the motel there in Syracuse and get checked in.  After I got settled in my motel room, I went in search of something good to eat.  I ended up at the Basil Leaf Italian Ristorante, where I enjoyed their Baked Lasagna with warm Italian bread.  Delightful!

—–To Be Continued—-

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 5B

22 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021 (Continued)

My next stop today was about 45 miles northeast on I-81 to visit the George Washington Office Museum located in Winchester, VA.  This small museum is situated in the 18thcentury log and stone building that Washington used as his office while performing survey work in the Frederick County area from September 1755 to December 1756.  This same office was used by Washington to command the Virginia Regiment during the French & Indian War (1754-1763).

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I was surprisingly to find that the Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum was just a few blocks away, there in Winchester.  This museum is located in the house built by William Fuller in 1854 and was used by General “Stonewall” Jackson as his Civil War headquarters during the winter of 1861 – 1862.    The museum displays many of Jackson’s personal items as well as other family artifacts and memorabilia.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

It was only 20 miles northeast on I-81, and across the border, to where I wanted to visit the Bunker Hill Train Club located on the outskirts of Bunker Hill, WV but they were closed.  That was a bummer as I was looking forward to seeing their model train layouts.  So, I kept going another 10 miles up I-81 to visit the Martinsburg Roundhouse, but they were also closed. Another Bummer for me. 

Photo credit: Bill Lites
Photo credit: Bill Lites

Continuing northeast another 25 miles on I-81 I crossed another border and visited the Hagerstown Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, MD.  This museum is situated in the former Fairchild Flight Test Hanger (built in 1943) and focuses mainly on the history of the Fairchild Aircraft Company, while displaying some 15+ restored rare and antique aircraft dating from 1928. 

Photo Credit: https://www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org/

While I was in Hagerstown, I also visited the Hagerstown Roundhouse & Railroad Museum located in the City Park Train Hub.  This museum displays a restored 1919 steam locomotive (#202) and rolling stock as well as other railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 25 miles on I-81, across the border, to visit The Old Jail Museum located in Chambersburg, PA.  This museum is housed in the original Franklin County jail which was built in 1818.  The jail served Franklin county for 152 years before being closed in 1970.  Many famous criminals, such as “Lewis the Robber” and “Captain John Cook,” among others, were housed in this jail over the years.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Chambersburg, it was only 15 miles northeast on US-11 to where I visited the Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum located at the Shippensburg Station in Shippensburg, PA.  This small museum is housed in a restored 1956 Penn Central boxcar, there at the station, and tells the history of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail (CVRT) and its influence on the local area, from its beginning, over the years.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I got back on I-81 for another 20 miles northeast to where I visited the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center located in Carlisle, PA.  This facility was designed to provide educational training and historical materials related to the history of the U.S. Army from its inception, during the Revolutionary War, to the present.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast another 25 miles on I-81 to visit the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum located in Harrisburg, PA.  This museum is located in the restored 1899 former Raily Hose Company No. 10 building and displays a unique collection of antique firefighting equipment including an 1804 Juniata hand-drawn engine, plus horse-drawn, and motorized fire engines and much more.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Pennsylvania-National-Fire-Museum-114611048582302/

By now it was time to find the motel there in Harrisburg.  After I got checked in and got settled in my room, I relaxed and warmed up my leftover El Cazador Chili Verde from last night.  Ymmmmm!

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 5A

15 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021

This morning I headed northeast, from Roanoke, on I-581 & I-81 toward Staunton, VA.  About 55 miles up the road I stopped to visit the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Museum located in Lexington, VA.  This museum and its 15,000-artifact collection are dedicated to the history of the first state sponsored military college (1839) and its alumni.  Founded in 1856 by then Superintendent Francis H. Smith, the museum now resides in the Jackson Memorial Hall there on the VMI campus.  I passed up a cadet guided tour as it didn’t start for another two hours.

Photo Credit: https://www.vmi.edu/

I continued north on I-81 another 35 miles to visit the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum located in Staunton, VA.  This museum is located in the Staunton Fire & Rescue Station #1 and has the distinction of displaying the oldest motorized Robinson Fire Engine (1911) in Virigina along with other firefighting artifacts and exhibits dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Staunton, it was only a few blocks to where I visited The Camera Heritage Museum.  This small museum displays a unique collection of antique cameras and camera equipment dating from the early 19th century to the present.  Many of the cameras were used by well-known personalities, which makes their history even more interesting.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast about 10 miles on US-11 to visit the Augusta Military Academy (AMA) Museum located in Fort Defiance, VA.  The museum is housed in the original 1869 home of Charles S. Roller and displays artifacts and representations of 1800s AMA cadet life as well as the accomplishments of many of the AMA alumni. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast another 10 miles on US-11 & I-81 to visit the Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum located in Harrisonburg, VA but neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the museum.  Not too far down the street I tried to visit the Virginia Quilt Museum, there in Harrisonburg, but it was closed.  It was too warm for a quilt today anyway.  Ha!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was leaving Harrisonburg this historical marker caught my eye and I had to stop for a photo.  After reading the marker, I was shocked and amazed at the story it told.  As it turns out, the barn of Mr. Henry Sipe, a prominent Rockingham County citizen, was burned down on February 28, 1878, and Charlotte Harris, a black woman, was accused of instigating the deed.  After being apprehended, Harris was given a preliminary hearing, before local magistrates, and was ordered taken to the county jail in Harrisonburg, 15 miles away, for trial. That night an angry mob of armed local citizens stormeded the building where Harris was being held, dragged her out of town and hanged her.  Not the kind of thing I would think a town would be proud of, much less prominently display on a historical marker there on Main street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued northeast another 20 miles on I-81, to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War located at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, VA.  This museum sits in the middle of what was the New Market battlefield and displays historical artifacts and assorted memorabilia related to that famous 1864 battle.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next on my list of places to visit in this area was the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory located another 10 miles northeast on US-11 in Mt. Jackson, VA.  I got a quick tour of the factory and was surprised to learn that they only got about 10 pounds of chips out of every 100 pounds of potatoes they processed.  The free sample I selected to munch on was their Onion & Chives flavored brand.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 4B

8 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021 (Continued)

Leaving Burlington, NC I headed north on US-87 toward Roanoke, VA.  On the way I crossed the border and stopped in Ridgeway, VA long enough to take a photo of the famous Martinsville Speedway.  Built in 1947, this ½ -mile oval track is home to the NASCAR Cup Series races and is referred to as “The Paper Clip” by many drivers.  I’ve watched a lot of NASCAR races that have taken place at that track, over the years, and wanted to at least be able to say I saw the track.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 10 miles north on US-220 I visited the Rucker’s Antique Emporium located in Martinsville, VA.  I wanted to check-out the Telephone & Telecommunications Museum which I was told was on the 2nd floor of the Emporium.  This museum uses antique artifacts displayed to allows visitors to walk thru the history of the telephone and other telecommunication devices dating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: https://didyouknowscience.com/top-technology-breakhroughs-in-the-1800s/  

Now it was another 50 miles north on US-220 to visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation located in Roanoke, VA.  This large museum is housed in the old 1918 Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot and displays many 1940s era steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum also has on display several restored 1800s antique cars, in addition to the Big Lick; a 1940s era passenger station replica and much more.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a few blocks away I visited the O. Winston Link Museum, there in Roanoke.  This small museum is located in the restored 1852 Norfolk & Western Railway passenger station and displays the photographic works of Winston Link, who is said to be considered the 20th century master railroad photographer.  His railroad themed photographs are nationally known and have appeared in many books and magazines over the years.

Photo Credit: https://hddsite1.com/

In another few blocks, there in downtown Roanoke, I visited the Virginian Station which is the old 1909 Roanoke Passenger Station.   Renovated after a fire in 2001, the station now displays historical exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia as they relate to the influence 

of the Virginian Railway Line on the early city of Roanoke and the surrounding Roanoke Valley area.  Passenger service from this station was terminated in 1956.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving downtown Roanoke I stopped to check-out the Roanoke Pinball Museum located at #1 Market Street, in the Market Center, on the 2nd floor of the Center in the Square building.  This museum has 60 fully playable pinball machines and other interactive displays dating from the 1930s to the present.  And yes, I remember spending a lot of time playing pinball machines as a teenager.  But Snooker was really my game of choice.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I was running out of daylight, and by now it was time to locate my motel, there in Roanoke, and get checked.  Once I got everything in my motel room, I ask the motel clerk for restaurant recommendations close by and he said he liked the El Cazador Mexican Restaurant down the street.  I had their Chili Verde plate with Spanish rice and refried beans.  It was wonderful, and I had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

2021 Mid-eastern Road Trip Part 4A

1 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021

I headed north out of Fayetteville on US-401 about 50 miles this morning for my first visit to the New Hope Valley Railway located in New Hill, NC.  As it turned out, this location is the terminal depot for the 5-mile steam train ride between New Hill and Bonsal, NC where the museum is located.  The museum features a collection of beautifully restored steam & diesel locomotives and antique rolling stock dating from 1869.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast about 20 miles on US-1 to visit the Legends of Harley Drag Racing Museum located in Raleigh, NC.  This museum is situated on the second level of the spacious Ray Price Harley Davidson dealership and displays exhibits and the history of world-famous drag racing champion Ray Price and others.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

After learning all about the history of motorcycle drag racing, it was only a few blocks to where I visited the Raleigh Fire Museum.  This museum displays several beautifully restored pieces of fire-fighting equipment and other fire-fighting memorabilia dating from their 1905 American LaFrance Steamer.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

On my way to visit the Mordecai Historic Park there in Raleigh, I passed the Capital building and stopped long enough to take a photo of that grand edifice.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

At the Mordecai Historic Park, I learned that the Mordecai House is the oldest house (1785) in Raleigh.  The Andrew Jackson (17th U.S. President) Birthplace House was built in 1795, and is among seven other restored buildings, at the park, that are part of the original Mordecai Plantation complex, or have been moved there over the years. 

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I wanted to visit the Neuse River Valley Model Railroad Club there in Raleigh, but they were closed.  I was disappointed to miss a visit to this club because I’m always amazed at the detail that goes into the model railroad layouts at these model clubs.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northwest 25 miles on US-70 & I-85 to visit the Duke Homestead & Tobacco Factory Site located in Durham, NC.  The Duke Homestead was built in 1852 by Washington Duke who founded what evolved into the first, and largest, tobacco firm (the American Tobacco Company) in the early 20th century.

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC6rot_u8l8

It was only about another five miles west on I-85 to visit the Bennett Place Historic Site there in Durham.  This site is known as the 1789 home of James Bennett, where General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his Confederate army (last to surrender) to General William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865 effectively ending the Civil War.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 15 miles west on I-85 took me to the Orange County Historical Museum located in Hillsborough, NC.  This museum has the distinction of being the site of North Carolina’s 1788 Constitutional Convention and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to Hillsborough and the surrounding Orange County area from the pre-settlement period thru the 1950s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed west another 20 miles on I-40 to visit the Whistlestop Exhibit at Company Shops Station located at the Alamance County’s AMTRAK passenger station in Burlington, NC.  This exhibit includes models of the 1800s Company Shops with scenes of life in the 1900s with steam and diesel engines coming thru the engine house.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

2021 Mid-eastern Road Trip Part 3

25 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 – 7/14/2021

This morning I headed northwest out of Mt. Pleasant on I-526/I-26 and US-52 some 50 miles to visit the Berkeley County Museum located In Moncks Corner, SC.  This museum is situated in the Old Santee Canal Park and displays exhibits and memorabilia related to the cultural and natural history of Berkeley County and the surrounding area dating from the Ice Age, and the Revolutionary “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion to the Civil War, semi-submersible torpedo boat CSS David on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing north on US-52 about 40 miles I visited the Williamsburg Historical Museum in Kingstree, SC.  This museum displays exhibits and artifacts which tell the history of Williamsburg County and the immediate area, including tours of the 1749 Thorntree Plantation House.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was just 15 miles north on US-52 to where I visited the Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park located in Lake City, SC.   Ronald McNair was one of the seven Astronauts who tragically lost their lives in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986.  The memorial honors the life and the many accomplishments of Dr. Ronald E. McNair who was a native of Lake City.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing north another 25 miles on US-52 I visited the War Between the States Museum located in Florence, SC.  This museum is housed in the 1923 home of former Confederate soldier R. Frank McKain and displays mostly Civil War artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1850 to 1900.  There is also a model of the Florence Stockade, which also served as a Prison Camp for some 400 captured Union soldiers during the Civil War.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Ten miles northwest of Florence, on US-52, I visited the Darlington Speedway Museum located at the Darlington Speedway in Darlington, SC.  Being a NASCAR enthusiast, I enjoyed reading about the history of how the speedway was built by Harold Brasington in 1950.  The 1.3 mile oval track is the home of the “Southern 500” and has become known as “The Track Too Tough to Tame” by many of the race drivers.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that exciting adventure, I headed northeast 50 miles on I-95 thru Mallory, Dillon, and across the border to visit the Robertson County History Museum located in Lumberton, NC but they were closed.  So, I got back on I-95 and drove another 35 miles north to visit the Fayetteville Transportation Museum located in Fayetteville, NC.  This museum is housed in the restored 1898 Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley RR Depot, and displays exhibits related to the history of the railroad in the area thru the early 20thcentury.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Fayetteville, I wanted to visit the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, but they were closed.  Bummer!  Then I tried to visit the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum located on Fort Bragg, but that museum is closed to the public without a special pass because of Covid-19.  Double Bummer!!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So I just headed for the motel there in Fayetteville.  Once I got checked in and got all my things into my room, I heated up my Melvin’s BBQ pork ribs dinner and enjoyed that wonderful meal again.  WOW that was good!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

2021 Mid-eastern Road Trip Part 2

18 Aug

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 2 – 7/13/2021

Heading north out of Savannah, on US-17 this morning, I picked up I-95 in Hardeeville, and continued north thru Ridgeland, Coosawhatchie, and Yemassee to visit the Tuskegee Airman Memorial Park located at the Walterboro Army Airfield in Walterboro, SC.  This memorial park commemorates the valiant men who trained as pilots at this airfield during WWII.  The Tuskegee Airmen and the Doolittle Raiders are among the many pilots trained at this airfield during WWII.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I headed northeast about 15 miles on US-17 to visit Bee City located in Cottageville, SC but they were closed, so I continued another 20 miles to the Dorchester Museum located in Summerville, SC.  This small museum is housed in the old 1923 Police Station and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Summerville and the surrounding area from 1913 to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only about 15 miles to where I visited the North Charleston Fire Museum.  This museum displays over 20 completely restored fire- fighting equipment vehicles dating from the 1780s.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only seven miles east to the banks of the Cooper River where I planned to visit the Friends of the Hunley Museum.  I was looking forward to seeing the CSS Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink a warship (USS Housatonic) on February 17, 1864 during the Civil War.  See Wikipedia for the full story of the CSS Hunley.  Unfortunately, the museum was only open on the weekends, and I will have to visit this famous relic another time.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southwest just a few miles to visit the Charles Towne Landing Historic Site, located adjacent to the Ashley River, there in Charleston.  This site preserves the original 1670 site of the first permanent English settlement as a Carolina colony.  The 17th century sailing ship replica, Adventure, can be toured as part of the park’s offering to show visitors the method by which those early settlers traveled to America.

Next in drove several miles to visit the Old Slave Mart Museum located in historic downtown Charleston.  The building (built in 1859) was originally called Ryan’s Slave Mart (a private slave auction gallery), and houses the museum, which is said to be the location of the oldest, and last, antebellum slave auction gallery in South Carolina.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The next museum on today’s list was some 20 miles east, across the Ashley River and Cooper Rivers, to visit the Patriots Point Naval & Marine Museum located in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  This is an unusual museum in that it consists of retired U.S. Navy ships, each of which have been turned into a living museum of its own.  There is the USS Yorktown (CV-10) , the USS Laffey (DD-724) and the USS Clamagore (SS-343) which make up the main features of this attraction.  I not sure about parents, but I know young kids would enjoy camping overnight on the Yorktown.  What a story they would have to tell their friends. 

For the last museum on today’s list, I stopped by the Boone Hall Plantation there in Mt. Pleasant, but they were closed.  Wikipedia has a lot of historical information on the Plantation.  As the story goes, the 470 acres of land, which today is called the Boone Hall Plantation, was deeded by Theophilus Patey to his daughter, Elizabeth, as a wedding present when she married the Englishman Major John Boone in 1681.  John and Elizabeth began the development of the plantation which is one of the oldest operating plantations in America, having been continually producing agricultural crops for over 320 years.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before I checked in at my motel this evening, I stopped and had a great meal of Pork Spareribs with Baked Beans, Golden Onion Rings, and some of the best cornbread I’ve ever had anywhere, at Melvin’s BBQ there in Mt. Pleasant.  It was wonderful!! 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 1

11 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Preface:  Because I love to travel, and because the Covid-19 scare has restricted much of the travel within our nation for the last eighteen months, I was determined to get at least one two-week road trip under my belt in 2021.  The main motivation for this road trip was that, even though I had visited the entire eastern seaboard in the past, I had not visited much of the northeastern portions of the U.S.  Since the planned route would take me as far north as Lake Ontario, I needed to plan the road trip before it began getting cold in that area.  With all this in mind, I loaded up my van and set out to see as much of the stated region as I could in the time available.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Day 1 – 7/12/2021

This morning I headed north on I-95 toward my first objective, the Daytona 500 Museum and Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in Daytona Beach, FL.  I had tried to visit this museum once before, but the museum was closed for remodeling.  I was hoping for better luck this time.  The museum’s exhibits focus mainly on the NASCAR and motorcycle racing histories at Daytona Beach, from its beginning in 1936, to the present. 

Photo credit: Bill Lites

As I headed north on I-95 I was looking forward to visiting the Classic Car Museum located in St. Augustine, FL.  This museum displays some 80 beautifully restored vintage cars dating from 1895 to the 1980s.  

Photo Credit: https://www./ classic-car-museum-st-augustine 

I by-passed Jacksonville, FL as I continued north on I-95, since I would visit the Jacksonville museums at the end of this road trip.  I had also visited the St. Mary’s Submarine Museum on a previous road trip, so headed for the Mary Ross Park, located in Brunswick, GA.  This Park is a tribute to the 99 ‘Liberty Ships’ that were built, as a part of the war effort, by the Brunswick Shipyards during WWII.  

Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com/Mary_Ross_Waterfront_Park-Brunswick, Ga

I diverted a few miles northwest on US-17 to stop at the Geechee Kunda Culture Museum in Riceboro, GA but they were closed.  We have always been interested in the history of the Geechee islanders and their influence on the early Georgian culture.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only another 5 miles north on US-17 to where I visited the Midway Museum located in Midway, GA.  This museum is housed in a replica of an 18th century ‘Coastal Cottage’ and displays exhibits and materials dating from that era.  The Midway Historic District also includes the Midway Church which was built in 1792 to replace the original Midway Church built in 1736.

Heading northeast another 30 miles I visited the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum located in Savannah, GA.  This museum is housed in the William Scarbrough house (President of the Savannah Steamship Company) and exhibits model ships, paintings, and maritime antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was just a few blocks to the Georgia State Railroad Museum there in Savannah, located in the Tricentennial Park area and is a part of the historic Central of Georgia Railway complex which was constructed in 1853.   This museum includes parts of the Central of Georgia Railway, Savannah Shops, Roundhouse, and Terminal Facilities.  The museum displays restored steam locomotives and passenger cars from the 19th and 20thcenturies, as well as steam locomotive train rides.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My next stop was to visit the Old Fort Jackson located on the banks of the Savannah River, just one mile east of historic downtown Savannah.  The fort was built between 1808-1812 to protect Savannah from attack by sea.  The fully restored fort offers daily cannon firings (which I missed) performed by Confederate reenactors, and also houses the Fort Jackson Maritime Museum.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After this productive day of travel, I treated myself to a Steamed Shrimp Dinner at Fiddler’s Crab House & Oyster Bar, located on River Street in historic downtown Savannah, overlooking the Savannah River.  Yummm!

Photo Credit: savannah-ga/mip/fiddlers-crab-house-2867404

 

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

I Love to Travel Part 2

4 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

So now, this is an example of how I plan one of my road trips.   I select a specific Aviation Museum (the target museum), from the Guide Book to visit.  I preferably like it to be in an area of the country where I haven’t been before.  Using the guide book, I research the other Aviation Museums in the states surrounding the target museum.  Then I use Wikipedia (“Museums in Colorado”) to find all the different types of museums in the target state and the states surrounding the target state, that interest me.  I locate the museums, using MapQuest, to establish a route, in those states, and that becomes my itinerary.  I find a major city, nearest my route, with the best airline rates, and my itinerary starts there.  I usually fly Southwest Airlines because I can fly free with my Reward Miles with them.

Photo: https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/08/19/southwest-airlines-says-it-wont-take-coronavirus-g/

My direction of travel does not depend on moving clockwise or counterclockwise, as long as the big two-week itinerary circle brings me back to the same airport.  That way I can pick-up and return my rental car at the same location without any additional drop-off charges.  The rental car costs, gas, food, and the museum admissions are usually my only our-of-pocket expenses I have (unless there are tour fees or special tickets. etc.) for one of these two-week trips.  I have my own Accident Insurance, but I’m not always sure if my Auto Insurance will cover everything on the rental car, so I usually purchase Travel Insurance that covers anything that could happen to me or the rental car during the trip.

Photo: https://aloharents.com/

I figure a day’s travel miles (as close as possible) where my itinerary will place me at a location where I can get good motel rates (larger cities generally have more motels to choose from, and their rates are usually lower).  I make advanced motel reservations (usually free with credit card points), so I don’t have to do that on the road.  All of this planning can sometimes take me weeks to arrange, but once it’s all arranged, and I have conformations for everything, I’m ready to go.  

Photo: https://www.qualityinnsarasotafl.com/

I like to print out a copy of all my conformation notices for airline, rental car, and motels.  Then I Google each museum and make a copy of the description of it, which includes name, address, phone number and days & hours of operation.  I arrange the museum sheets in the order I have decided on for my itinerary, so I will have them at hand in the car as I go.  That way, all I have to do is plug-in the address on my Garmin (Greta), and off I go.  This also gives me a record of everything I might need in case Greta or I get lost, or any other type of problem I might run into.  Sometimes Greta, will take me to the wrong address, or not be able to locate the address.  If that happens, I can refer to the information sheet, for the place I’m heading, and call to ask for directions.  Those sorts of things have happened more than once on my trips in the past.

Photo: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/garmin-drive-52-5-gps-black

At the end of each day’s travels, while relaxing at the motel, I record the hi-lights of the day’s activities on my cell phone and email it to my computer at home.  When I get home I use the emails, and the internet, to thoroughly research each museum for any special or historical data I can find.  It’s amazing how much more interesting my blogs can become with that expanded information.  I arrange the museum’s information in sequence, for that day, and that becomes a short blog (500-700 words).  Then I post one blog per week on the “Old Things R New” website.  This allows others to enjoy my trips (vicariously) if they like that sort of thing, and maybe learn a little something new at the same time.  Writing up these blogs also allows me to re-live the fun memories of the trip again.

Image: https://www.kissclipart.com/computer-working-png-clipart-computer-web-browser-4tl976/

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at the reason “I Love to Travel” and how I go about choosing, researching, arranging, and reporting a two-week “Bucket List” road trip.  These trips are so relaxing, enjoyable and freeing for me.  I can really recommend travel.  Just getting away from the every-day mundane things of life, and hitting the road to somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be a BIG trip.  Just get out and go.

  We have a big country out there, and there is a large variety of very interesting and beautiful places and things to see.  So enjoy it.  If you are ever interested in some of the places and things I’ve encountered on my past trips, you can find my travel blogs at www.oldthingsrnew.com.  Enter the Title & Part # (if any) of the blog you would like to read in the search box, at the top of the opening screen.  Press “Search” and that should take you to the blog you are looking for (by Bill Lites).  I wish each and every one of you Happy Traveling and enjoyable reading.

Image: https://www.pinclipart.com/pindetail/ibJbmim_ltv-driver-jobs-in-pakistansrc-https-cartoons-driving/

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

I Love to Travel Part 1

28 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I guess I must have gotten my “Travel Genes” from my father as he was on the road a lot, for his work, when I was growing up.  Then as a teenager I worried my parents when I made several long trips on my motorcycle.  When I joined the U.S. Navy they took me all over the world, and by the time I got out, I was hooked on travel.  After my wife, DiVoran, and I were married, and I was going to college in California, it didn’t bother me a bit to travel across the “Great American Desert” to visit my parents living in Albuquerque, NM or to drive to northern California to visit DiVoran’s parents in Livermore, CA.

After I finished college we moved to Florida for my work on the Apollo Manned Space program.  Over the years I ended up working for several of the major aerospace companies and traveled quite a lot for those jobs.  I had been shuffled around various areas of the country during all that time and I was ready for a change.  I was working for Lockheed (LSOC), in Florida, when NASA decided to change their Space Shuttle processing contractor.  I was going to have to change who I was working for again, and that was the last straw for me.  I retired from the Manned Space program in 1996, after 35-years, as what I called myself, “An Aerospace Nomad.”   I was just 58 years-old when I retired, and  I felt like the “Aerospace Hassle” had made an old man of me before my time.  I was ready for a rest from the fast pace and constant pressure from the NASA schedulers.

Image: https://favpng.com/png_view/design-cartoon-computer-download-png/Wr40rMyb

I’m sure my first year of retirement was like a lot of men; wondering if I could adjust to all that time with nothing in particular to do.  I also wondered if I would be called back to the job like many men I knew had been.  If that happened, what would I do?  I would just have to wait and see how I felt about that, if and when I was called back.  As it turned out, I was able to adjust fairly well.  It took a while to take care of all the repairs around the house (Honey Do’s), but I managed.  A couple of years later I started volunteering, one morning a week, to help at the Car Care Ministry at our church.

Image: https://www.pinclipart.com/pindetail/iTmRm_clip-royalty-free-download-car-repair-shop-clipart/

A year or so after that, a friend talked me into volunteering, as a Tour Guide, at the Warbird Air Museum here in Titusville one morning a week (that wasn’t hard).  I am interested in all kinds of airplanes, and this allows me to keep up with the warbird community as well as the on-going evolution of the aviation industry.  I love the time and the comradery I get to spent with the friends, I have made over the years, at both of these weekly volunteer occasions.

Photo: Bill Lites

Then in 2012, in addition to the volunteer work, I took up a new hobby – Travel (one of my favorite things to do) and blog writing.  While browsing thru the gift shop at our Warbird Air Museum, one volunteer day, I happened upon a book titled “GUIDE TO OVER 900 AIRCRAFT MUSEUMS.”  This guide book covers museums in the U.S. and Canada.  I thought, “WOW!  This is just what I need to help me find aviation museums to visit.”  As you might have guessed, I have developed a love of going to museums.  All kinds of museums.  Airplane Museums, Auto Museum, Train Museums, Maritime Museums, or any other kinds of museums I happen to come across.

Photo: http://www.aircraftmuseums.com/28book/pasteditions.htm

Using that guide book, I have established a method for my travel plans.  I usually try to make one (two week) trip in the spring and one (two week) trip in the fall of each year.  My 2020 and 2021 trips have been interrupted by a hernia surgery and a shoulder replacement surgery and Covid-19.  I have had to postpone one of this year’s trips, because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, but I am determined to get at least one two-week trip in before the end of the year, in spite of the ridiculous, ongoing national phrase of….

—– To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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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