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Fishing With Ivan Part 3A

3 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Then there was the time I took my two week vacation from work to do a family trip with Ivan and Dora.  I had finished college by then and we had moved to Florida for me to work on the Apollo Moon Landing project.  As I remember it, DiVoran and I took the kids and flew to San Francisco to meet Ivan and Dora.  Ivan had heard that the Chinook salmon fishing on the Columbia River during spawning season was really great, and he wanted to try his luck at it.  We all loaded into their car, hooked Ivan’s boat up to the car and headed for Astoria, OR.  We were having a great time when, about halfway there, one of the boat trailer wheel bearings froze up and we had to stop and perform an emergency “Roadside Repair” on the thing.

We finally made it to Astoria and got settled in at a motel.  The stories Ivan had heard about the Oregon fishing reminded him of the time he had gone to Alaska and had a wonderful time catching lots of those big fresh Alaskan salmon.  That time he had his catches processed and canned at one of the local canneries, up there before returning, and I remember he had later shared some of that delicious salmon with us.  I’m sure that was the plan for this trip also.

So as you can see, he was planning on showing me how much fun it could be to do that again.  That was the main reason for this fishing trip.  Ivan had also heard that there were Dungeness crabs to be had in that area, so he had brought along some crab traps, so we could have some variety at meal time.  The other reason for our trip was that Ivan and Dora hadn’t seen their grandchildren since DiVoran and I had moved to Florida, and they were looking forward to spending some quality time with them.

Ivan had gone around and talked to some of the locals and some of the other visiting fishermen the night we got to Astoria, to find out where the boat ramp was, where the best fishing spots were, and what kind of bait we should use.  The next morning we got up and got the boat in the water early (not as early as the locals).  We set out a few crab traps on our way to the fishing spot Ivan had selected.  We dropped the anchor and baited our hooks as we anticipated a fun day of salmon fishing.  We were excited to see other fishermen pulling in some really nice Chinook salmon in boats not far from us. 

The time passed, and we didn’t get a single strike.  We tried various bait elevations, and we waited.  We changed bait and waited some more.  Nothing!  What was going on?  We knew the fish were down there because fisherman in boats all around us kept pulling them in and yet, neither one of us was getting a nibble.  At around 2:00 pm, and totally frustrated, we gave it up and headed for the boat dock.  

We stopped on the way in to check the crab traps, and to our surprise we collected more than a dozen legal sized Dungeness crabs.  Not to let a good thing go to waste, Ivan cooked up the crabs for our dinner that evening.  It was “All-you-can-eat” Dungeness crab and it was a wonderful taste treat!

—–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

Fishing With Ivan Part 2

24 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Northrop Institute of Technology (NIT) in Inglewood, California, was a small college when I first started my education with them. My mother and dad had saved money for me to go to college, and it was enough for me to get what was called a technology degree (which was the equivalent to an AA at most colleges). On the day of registration, the registrar urged me to change my study course from Aircraft Airframe & Engine Mechanic (18 months) to Aviation Mechanical Engineering Technology (36 months).  He said he could see that I had the makings of an engineer, and that the Los Angeles area was in an aviation boom.  As an engineer I would be able to “write my own ticket” as far as a job was concerned. 

I fell for that line and signed up for the engineering course.  The first two years were hard on both of us.  Divoran was working full-time as a hair stylist for the Magic Mirror Beauty Salon, there in Inglewood, to help pay for my schooling and get her Putting Hubby Thru (PHT) Degree.  I was going to school full-time and working at a part-time job.  By sometime in my third year I was offered a full-time engineering job with North American Aviation in Downey, CA.  We really needed the money, and besides that, my beloved DiVoran was getting a little broody, so I took the job.  I switched to night classes and we decided DiVoran would quit her full-time job and we would start our family.

Things settled down for us for a while.  Our daughter, Renie, came along first and two years later our son, Billy, was born.  During those years, we continued to visit Ivan and Dora in Livermore as often as we could.  I remember on one trip, while Dora and DiVoran were having fun with our young children, Ivan took me fishing, at his favorite spot, on the San Francisco Bay.  We fished the “riptide“ where the saltwater came in, and the freshwater met, and caught over 100 Striped Bass before we went home with only one “keeper.”   The legal length for Striped Bass, at that time of the season, was 16” and every one of those 100+ fish we caught was between 14” and 15” long. I didn’t care that we only took one fish home from that trip.  It had been non-stop “Catch & Release” as fast as we could reel one fish in and take it off the hook, throw it back, and re-bait the hook.  This went on for the whole time we were on the water, and it was the most fun I have ever had fishing. 

DiVoran says she remembers that she got to go fishing with her dad too, although she wasn’t sure at the time if she really wanted to.  She told me, “He took me out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and I was feeling sick from the motion of the boat.  I had to lie down on the bench seat in the boat to keep from throwing up. When he got the herring-shiner bait on my fishing hook, I got up and tossed the line over the side into the roiling water. I immediately felt a tug on the line and the pole bent over. Dad took over and hauled up a large gray silky looking fish, which turned out to be a small shark. I held onto the pole and stared at one emerald green eye.  While I was looking at that exquisite sight, Ivan took care of the shark.  Before I realized what was happening, Ivan had whipped out his knife, cut the shark’s throat, and dropped it back in the water.  I was so shocked by the speed at which everything had happened that I just stood there with my mouth open, gulping like a fish out of water.  That fishing trip didn’t last very long, and soon we set off for the marina.  We ended up getting home just in time for supper.”  

—–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

Fishing with Ivan Part 1

17 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “He is a man who loves to fish.”  Well, DiVoran’s father, Ivan, was “A man who lived to fish.”  He loved the mountains, trees, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.  Eventually, he got a chance to live near the ocean.  Strangely, as much as Ivan liked to fish, he never really liked to eat fish, so his hobby kept his friends and neighbors around him well supplied.  His family moved to Canon City, CO, in the mid-1920s when Ivan was six years old.  The Arkansas River runs right through town, and I’m sure, as a young boy, he had his favorite fishing hole on that river, and spent a lot of time getting good at catching the biggest fish.  Whatever other influences there may have been, by the time I met DiVoran, and married into his family Ivan had become an avid fisherman.  DiVoran and I visited Ivan and her mother Dora many times over the years, and almost every time, it was in a location close to a good fishing hole of some type.

While I was going to college at Northrop Institute of Technology (now Northrop University), DiVoran and I lived in Inglewood, CA.  She was working as a hair stylist for the Magic Mirror Beauty Salon, earning her Putting Hubby Thru (PHT) degree to help me with school expenses.  I had a part-time job, at the Los Angeles International Airport, servicing several different types of airplanes for four small west coast airlines.  With DiVoran working full-time and all the school work I had to deal with, it didn’t leave us a lot of time for much of anything else.  Ivan and Dora lived about 350 miles north of us in Livermore, CA, at the time, and we would try to visit them every chance we got. Of course, as newlyweds, we also had to alternate our trips to see my family in Albuquerque, NM to keep everyone happy.


During one of these visits, Ivan took me Sturgeon fishing on the Sacramento River.  That was the day I caught the biggest fish I ever caught.  My Sturgeon weighed in at 75 lbs. and Ivan’s was huge, at 110 lbs.  They were so big we couldn’t even get them in Ivan’s small fishing boat.  We looked kind of like “The Old Man and the Sea,” coming back toward the dock with a big fish tied up on either side of his small boat.  It was all the two of us could do to get them out of the water and into the back of Ivan’s pickup truck.  Of course, we had to stop by the local VFW on the way home to show off our catch to Ivan’s buddies.  They were all properly impressed.  I had DiVoran take a photo of me with that fish, so I could prove to my friends that I wasn’t telling another big fish story.

DiVoran reminded me that she learned that unlike any other kind of fish we know of, if you cut Sturgeon up and put it in the refrigerator, it has no fishy smell whatsoever.  Wikipedia informs me that one popular belief is that Sturgeon have been called a primitive fish, because their characteristics have remained relatively unchanged since the earliest fossil records.  It’s just warm enough in the San Francisco Bay area, and surrounding rivers, to allow them to thrive.  Several species of Sturgeon are harvested for their roe, which is then processed into the luxury food caviar.  That has led to the overexploitation of the fish, which, combined with the other conservation treats, has brought most of the species to the critically endangered status, and at the edge of extinction.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 16

10 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 16 Thursday 

9/24/2020  

This morning after breakfast I took one last shot at a visit to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, which was located only 6 miles from my motel there in Aurora.  Since it had been over two weeks since I started this road trip here, and some things had been opening up (COVID-19), I was in hopes they had opened the museum and their aircraft displays.  No such luck.  The base was still closed to non-military personnel. 

By now it was time to turn in my rental car, at Denver’s International Airport, and make my way to the Southwest Airlines counter to check in.  I took the time to eat my last banana and drink my last bottle of water before I headed for Security.  I got a good seat on my flight to Orlando and was ready to go.  When the flight attentant got us all in and seated, she thanked us for flying with them on their non-stop flight to Philadelphia and on to Orlando.  I said, “WHAT! I though this was a NON-STOP flight!.”  Then some wise guy behind me said, “This is non-stop; to Philadelphia.”  HA, HA.  

The flight attentant explained that the stop in Philadelphia would be just long enough to off-load and on-load passengers, and I didn’t even have to get off the plane if I didn’t want to.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I had booked this non-stop Denver to Orlando flight in July, but when COVID-19 restrictions were still keeping a lot of places closed, I had changed my reservation to September.  I had booked, what I thought was the same non-stop flight, and since nothing on my bording pass looked different, and no one at the check-in desk said anything about it, I just assumed it was the same non-stop flight I had originally booked. 

The flight from Denver to Philadelphia was smooth and uneventful. We were served fresh mini-pretsels and small cookies with ice water.  In Philadelphia I stayed on the plane so I wouldn’t loose my favorite seat.  I got to see how Southwest was going the extra mile to clean the plane between each flight.  They disenfected and wiped down each seat, arm rest, and tray table in the entire plane.  I was impressed.  The new passengers were boarded, and the flight to Orlando was a little bumpy as we were flying over the remains of Hurricane Sally part of the way.  I was hungry and asked for two bags of cookies and mini-pretsels this time.  I had to have two glasses of water to wash them down.

DiVoran picked me up at the Orlando International Airport and we headed north on SR-436 to the Panara Bread restaurant for dinner.  I had a “pic-two” of Frontega Chicken Panini & Broccli Cheese soup and DiVoran had the Fugi Apple Chicken Salad.  The food was exellant and we both left with full tummies.  The 45-minute drive from Panara’s to  our home in Titusville was relaxing, and I was really glad to be able to sleep in my own bed, after a different motel bed most every night for over two weeks.  

My next two planned road trips include time spent in parts of Canada, and right now I’m not sure American tourist are welcome there.  We’ll have to just wait and see if the restrictions of this COVID-19 pandemic are lifted in time for a summer trip that far north next year.  In the mean time, we pray that God will keep each of you safe and healthy.  Join me next  time for another exciting “Road Trip” to somewhere you haven’t been before.  It will be fun and something new and exciting every day.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 15

3 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 15 Wednesday 

9/23/2020  

After Breakfast this morning I headed northwest 15 miles on US-50 to visit the Rocky Ford Museum located in downtown Rocky Ford, CO.   This museum is located in the former 1908 Rocky Ford Library, and has two floors filled with artifacts and memoribilia related to Rocky Ford and the surrounding Arkansas Valley area, of southeastern Colorado, dating from 1878 to the present.  The museum also has the recorded history of the early Arkansas Valley Fair & Watermelon Day celebrations from 1878 to the present.

As I headed northwest out of Rocy Ford, I came across a detour that took me north 10 miles, out of my way, on CO-207.  At the junction of CO-207 and CO-96, and just south of Crowley, I was finally able to turn west again.  What a waste of time and gas that was!  However, when I mentioned that I had been thru Crowley, DiVoran reminded me that her family  had lived in Crowley for a while, when she was about 5-years old.  Her father had been the maintiance forman for a tomato factory there, and her mother had the job of feeding the factory workers lunch every day.  It was another 30 miles west on CO-96, thru Olney Springs and Boone, to where I could meet back up with west US-50 again.

US-50 intersected with I-25, 15 miles later, at the Fountain Creek Corridor, where I headed north toward Colorado Springs, CO.  I had seen an ad for The Airplane Restaurant in a tourist magazine and wanted to have lunch there on my way north.  Greta (my Garmin) took me right to the restaurant, located adjacent to the Colorado Springs Airport.  The restaurant has been built around the entire airplane in a very creative way.  The upper fuselage of this retired U.S. Air Force KC-97 Tanker (#30283) has been converted into a dining area with 2 & 4-person tables.  If one doesn’t want to climb the stairs to the upper deck, there are pleanty of tables and a bar downstairs.  My ‘Piper Cub’ (BLT) sandwich and French Onion soup was very good, and I loved being able to view the cockpit and the boom operators position from the upper level.  If you are ever in the Colorado Springs area, I can highly recommend this restaurant.  Check out their website for their menu of delicious ‘airborne’ goodies.

After that delicious lunch experience, I continued north on I-25, thru Larkspur and Castle Rock (and miles of road construction), around Denver, all the way to Globeville, CO.  Then I went west on I-70 to Arvada, wheree I wanted to see if, by chance, the Cussler Museum was open today.  It was still closed, so I headed back east, skirting Denver on I-70, to visit the Aurora History Museum located in Aurora, CO.  This museum has a large number of historic displays and antique artifacts related to the history of Aurora, Arapahoe county, and the central Colorado area.  The main attraction among their artifacts is a restored 1913 Colfax Ave. Trolley (# 610).

It was that time that comes at the end of all of my road trips; time to give up the hunt for another museum before the day ends.  So, I called it a day and head for my motel located there in Aurora.  After I got checked in and got my things in the room, I heated up last night’s left-over Chili Rellenos from the El Azteca Mexican Restaurant.  The meal was wonderful.  Yummm!  Then with a full tummy, I recorded today’s activities and tried to watch some TV.  But of course, that only put me to sleep.  So I turned it off and slipped under the covers for a good night’s sleep.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 14B

27 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 14 Tuesday – Continued 

9/22/2020  

Continuing north another 25 miles on KS-25 I next visited the Kearny County Museum located in Lakin, KS.  This museum consists of the main museum building filled with artifacts and memorabilai related to the history of Lakin and the southern High Plains area of Kansas from as early as the late 18th century.

Outside there is an annex which has an 1831 Conestoga wagon, as part of their Stnta Fe Trail exhibit.  Also outdoors you will find the original Great White House built in 1875 by Alonzo Boylan, and filled with period fernishings.  Another outdoor exhibit is a restored old 1882 Santa Fe Railroad Depot that served Lakin for 100 years.  There is also an 1893 one-room school house, a 1909 12-sided (round) barn, and the 1923 Deerfield Texaco Service Station, all of which have been moved to this location over the years.  The separate Machinery Building  houses examples of early farm equipment, a vintage fire truck, a grain wagon, and several antique tractors.

After that informative experience, I headed west 75 miles on US-50, across the border into Colorado, to visit the Big Timbers Museum located in Lamar, CO.  This small museum is housed in the old 1929 AT&T equipment building, and  is loaded with local artifacts and memorabilia about Lamar and the southeastern area of Colorado from the mid-1800s.

Now, continuing west another 55 miles on US-50, and skirting the Arkansas River, I stopped to visit the Koshare Indian Museum & Kiva, located on the Otero Junior College campus in La Junta, CO.  The museum was closed, but their website tells me that the museum tells the history of the Native American culture, with artifacts from early southwestern Colorado.  Guests can visit the Koshare Kiva that is a representation of the kivas used by Native American Indians, over the centuries, for many of their ancient spirtual rituals. 

After missing that unique experience, I headed the short drive out CO-194, northeast of downtown La Junta, to check out Bent’s Old Fort. The fort was built in 1833 by William & Charles Bent amd served as a trading post for fur traders and the southern Cheyenne & Arapaho Plains  Indian tribes.  The museum displays many artifacts and memorabila related to the early pioneer days in the High Plains area of eastern Colorado.  It served as one of the many  stopping  points, between Missouri and New Mexico, for Army and pioneer travelers heading west on the Santa Fe Trail.

I was ready to head for the motel, there in La Junta and get something to eat.  After I got checked in I ask the motel clerk for his restaurant recommdations in town.  He said he liked the El Azteca Mexican Restaurant just down the street a few blocks.  I had their Chili Rellieno Plate with Pinto beans and Spanish rice.  The meal was exellent and I had enough left over for my evening meal tomorrow.  Back at the motel I recorded the day’s activities, watched a little TV, and headed for the “Land of Nod.”

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 14

20 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 Tuesday 

9/22/2020  

This morning I headed southwest 30 miles on US-56 to visit the Stauth Memorial Museum located in Montezuma, KS.  This museum tells the story of the world travels of Claude & Donnie Stauth with photos, videos, and artifacts.  The museum also houses the extensive Ralph Fry Wildlife Collection of North American & exotic game animals, and the Howard Wall Western Bronze Collection consisting of Frederic Remington and other famous western bronze artists’ reproductions.

Now I headed south 30 miles on KS-23 to visit the Dalton Gang Hideout and Museum located in Meade, KS.  This house and property, owned by then store owner John Whipple and his wife Eva, sister of the Dalton brothers, is reported to be where the Dalton Gang were hidden from the law in 1890.  There is also a tunnel under the house, said to have been used by the Daulton Gang, if they needed to escape into the woods to elude persuers in case of an emergency. 

After that informative experience, I headed southwest on US-160 & US-54 to visit the Mid-America Air Museum located adjacent to the Liberal Regional Airport in Liberal, KS.  This large museum  displays 100+ beautifully restored static aircraft, of all types, dating  from 1913 to the present.  I found it interesting to learn that the airport served as the Liberal Army Air Field, a B-24 Liberator training base, during WW II.

Next I headed northwest some 60 miles on KS-51 & KS-25, thru Moscow and Hickok, to visit the Historic Adobe Museum located in Ulysses, KS.  This small museum was built intirely of adobe blocks in the 1930s and tells the story of early life on the High Plains reagion of southwestern Kansas with a riverside Indian incampment scene, a sod house scene, and gold rush town scene and artifacts.  I found the story the tour guide told me, about the original town of Ulysses, to be as interesting as the museum displays.

Named for General Ulysses S. Grant, the High Plains town of Ulysses was originally founded in 1873, mostly by the efforts of George W. Earp (first cousin to Wyatt Earp).  By 1888 the  town was booming and it boasted a population of 2000.  But then the gold in the area began to run out.  Then came the crop failures, drought, and the financial crisis of the 1890s, and most of the residents began to leave for richer areas.  Finally, by 1909 only 40 people were left in town.  Due to increased county property taxes, over the years, and the lack of business in the area, the remaining families were about to be evicted from their homes and businesses.  So, they came up with an original idea.  They moved the entire town three miles (out of their local tax area) to its present location!  Problem solved.  How about that for American ingenuity?

      The Edwards Hotel was cut into (3) sections and moved on skids

—–To Be Coninued—–

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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 13

13 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 Monday 

9/21/2020 

This morning, after breakfast, I headed south 30 miles on NE-44 and US-34 to visit the Nebraska Paririe Museum located just north of Holdrege, NE.  This museum has indoor and outside displays that tell the stories of the lives and times of many of those who have been a part of the early development of Heldrege and the surrounding area, including the POW camp that was established near Holdrere during WWII. 

Now I headed 50 miles south on US-183, across the border into Kansas,  to visit the Fort Bissill Museum located in Phillipsburg, KS.  This museum was closed, but their website informs me that the old stockade fort was built to represent the 1872 fort used to protect early settlers.  It was not ever used by the military.  Artifacts are displayed inside the walls of the fort and include an 1872 log cabin, an 1887 one-room schoolhouse, and an 1885 general store, all of which were moved to the museum location over the years.

I continued south another 25 miles on US-183 to visit the Walter-Coolbaugh 20th Century House located in downtown Stockton, KS but it was closed.  So, I just took a photo to this beautiful mansion and headed on down the road to the next museum.

That took me another 40 miles south on US-183 to The Sternberg Museum of Natural History located just east of Hays, KS.  This large museum has two–floors filled with natural history displays that tell the stories  of the evelution of the Oceans of Kansas and the Central Great Plains area.  I was impressed with their live Rattlesnake collection which represents all 22 different species of Rattlesnakes found in the US.  The museum also conducts annual Science Camps for elementry, middle school, & high school students.

As I continued south about 25 miles on US-183 I came upon the Rush  County Historical Museum located in the Grass Park area of LaCrosse, KS.  This small museum is located in the old 1887 Santa Fe Railroad Depot and has on display artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of LaCross and Rush County from the late 1800s.  In the same small complex there is the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum that tells the history of barbed with the display of 2000+ examples. There is also a restored 1907 one-room school house and a restored 1916 bank, both of which were moved to this location.

I thought I would never see the end of US-183, but I finally turned off at Kinsley, KS where I visited the Carnival Heritage Center. This museum is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts and memorabilia related to the traveling carnival companies that have made Kinsley their home from as early as 1907 to the 1980s.

Now I headed southwest 35 miles on US-50 to visit the Boot Hill  Museum, said to be, located on the original site of the old Boot Hill Cemetery in Dodge City, KS.  This is a great museum!  It is filled with literly thousands of old west artifacts and all kinds of memorabilia depicting the infamous Dodge City gold rush days of the 1800s.  

I had visited this museum, on another road trip several years ago, but things have changed since then.  They have added a new ticket and gift shop building, and have consolidated the original row of museum stores (each staffed with tour guides dressed in period costumes) into a single self-guided walk-thru type museum.

I was a tired and thirsty cowpoke today, but when I entered the Long Branch Saloon, there was no one to offer me a Sarsaparilla, or to play ragtime music on the ancient upright piano.  That was a real bumer, as I had been looking forward the that experience all day.  I was also disappointed that the museum was not conducting the Main Street Shootout dimenstration the day I was there.

Just across the street from the Boot Hill Cemetery was the Gun Fighters Wax Museum.  This small museum consists of full-size wax figures of the well known old west personalities such as Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, and many others, that roamed this part of Kansas during the gold rush days of the 1800s.   

By now I was ready to head for the motel and get something to eat.  I settled for another quick and easy ‘Heat & Serve’ meal of Beef Tips & Grave in my motel room.  Yummm!  Then I recorded my days activities and hit the hay.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 12

6 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 Sunday 

9/20/2020 

This morning I headed 30 miles south on US-83 to Vivian, SD where I took 1-90 west 25 miles to visit the Pioneer Auto Museum located in Murdo, SD.  This museum consists of some 185 beautifully restored antique and classic cars dating from 1902 to 2005.  Wow!  What a great collection!  There are also around 15 cars and trucks of all types and conditions for sale.

Now I headed south 25 miles on US-83, thru White River and  55 miles east on SD-44 to visit the Tripp County Historical Museum located in Winner, SD.  You might think you had entered a diner when you first walk into this small museum, but it goes along with the  Main Street displays and other exbitits showing the life of 1900s southeastern SD pioneers to the present.  The museum also has a steam engine tractor collection in another building.

I continued south 20 miles on US-18 to Colome, SD where I picked up US-183, south, another 60 miles to visit the Sellers Barton Museum located in Ainsworth, NE.  This museum resides in an historic log building and consists mainly of artifacts and memorabilia related to life in the north central Nebraska area during the 1800s & 1900s. 

I wanted to visit the Boneyard Creation Museum located in Broken Bow, NE but they were closed today, and besides that it would have taken me around 50 miles (roudtrip) out of my way.  So I just headed south on US-183, thru Basset and Westerville, a long and boring 160 miles to Kearney, NE where I visited the Classic Car Collection located at the intersection of US-30 & NE-10.  The long drive was worth it!  This is a fabulas collection of some 200+ beautifully restored 1930s to 1970s classic cars.  The collection includes rare and historic family cars, touring cars, sports cars, and mussle cars.  There is also a recreated 1950s service station and an origineal drive-in movie ticket booth.  I loved the videos projected on car hoods.

A few miles south I visited the Nebraska Firefighters Museum located adjacent to I-80 there in Kearney.  This museum is deticated to honoring the history and heritage of firefighters from all parts of the state of Nebraska, and has a large collection of firefighting equipment dating from the early 1800s.

From the Firefighters Museum I could look east and see the Archway spanning I-80.  This Historical Monument was built in 2000 and has a museum that chronicles the development of the Great Platte River Road, a throughfare thru this area dating from the mid-1800s (Fort Kearney).  Generational displays help visitors grasp the great western movement of american pioneer travelers to the west.

Now I heeaded into town to visited the Rails & Trails Museum located just off of NE-44.  This museum tells the story of the western migration thru southern Nebraska over the centuries with local artifacts and memorabilia.  The museum also has several pieces of restored rolling stock representing how the railroad helped expand Platte River Valley area over the years.

I couldn’t believe how tired I was.  After only 360 miles.  Come on Bill. What are you, some kind of a whimp?  I headed for the motel there in Kearney.  After I got checked in, I broke out one of my Heat-&-Serve dinners and heated it up in the micrrwave.  Then I enjoyed a great  Chicken Marsala meal while I relaxed with some TV.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 10

30 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 Friday 

9/18/2020 

Today I lett Rapid City and headed north on I-90/SD-34 toward Newell, SD.  My route took me thru Sturgis, SD where I stopped to visit the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum located in downtown Sturgis.  This museum has two floors with some 100+ beautifully restored rare and antique motorcycles dating from 1905.  The museum also has been intrumental in supporting the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (similar to Bike Week in Daytoa, FL). 

Just a couple of miles east of Sturgis on SD-34 I visited the Fort Meade Museum located on the Old Fort Meade, SD site.  Established in 1878 the fort was designed to protect the early settelers and prospectors from the Sioux Indians after the Black Hills Treaty of 1877 was broken.  This museum is located in the old Army Headquarters building and has three floors diplaying artifacts and memorabilia discribing the life of the early Army personnel and their families stationed at the fort over its lifetime. In the parade ground, across from the museum is an historical marker which tells the story of our National Anthem.

As I headed north on SD-79 from Old Fort Meade, I saw a sign for the Ride-N-Rest Motorcyclee Motel just off the hiway and had to stop for a photo.  i didn’t see anyone around to ask about the motel or an office where a person would check-in/register.

But the acommidations (if that’s what they are) were very unusual.  There was a row of individual small buildings (cabins?) that looked as though they might be big enough for two people (one bed) and a motorcycle (not sure about a 3-wheeler).  Each building (cabin?) had its own name.  There was the General Store, Bank, Doctor, Saloon, US Marshal, Fire House, Barber Shop and etc.  What a “Hoot” that was!

Another 25 miles north on SD-79 I visited the Newell Museum located in Newell, SD.  This small museum is located in the same building as the City Hall (which once was the Newell Garage), and displays many artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the early settelers and businesses in the Newell and Butte county. SD area dating from the mid-1800s.

Now I headed west 15 miles on US-212 to visit the Tri-State Museum located just south of the Belle Fourche River in Belle Fourche, SD.  This museum has artifact collections related to the early natives, settelers, prospectors, ranchers, and cowboys, who have built the surrounding region dating from the 1800s.

I headed south on US-85 to visit the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery located adjacent to the Rainbow Trout Pond in Spearfish, SD.  On the way, I passed thru Jolly Dump, SD (I get a kick out of the varied creativity of some people when naming towns).  This attraction has an amazing history.  As part of the Spearfish Hatcheries Complex, the hatchery was one of 70 opened in 1896 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide Rainbow Trout to the rivers of SD and Wyoming.  The system continues to breed and release 20-30 thousand Rainbow Trout to those rivers each year.

Now I headed another 15 miles southeast on US-85 to visit the Adams Museum located in the former 1892 Franklin house in Deadwood, SD.  This museum was founded by W. E. Adams, who bought the Franklin house in 1920, and is furnished with original Adams family Queen-Ann furniture.  The Museum’s collection include artifacts and memorabilis dating from Deadwood’s Wild West history including those of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane to name just a few.

One of the things that Deadwood is famous for is the place where Wild Bill Hickok was killed by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876.  I walk a few blocks to the Saloon No. 10 on Main Street, where a daily Main Street shootout reinactment was to take place.  I met another tourist and we sat on a bench across the street from Saloon No. 10 talking about our travels while awaiting the activities.  The 2:00 Shootout time came and passed, and  I was wondering when they were going to block off the street.  About 2:15 a man came out of the saloon and said the shootout had been cancled for that day.  Bummer!

I walked back to my car and drove up Main Street a mile or so to visit the Days of ’76 Museum, located there in Deadwood, adjacent to Whitewood Creek.  This amazing museum features 50+ old west horse drawn wagons of all types, from carriges to stagecoachs.  All these in honor of, and to represent, the efforts of the many early prospectors, settelers, miners, and muleskinners who came to the Black Hills area during the 1876 gold rush years.

Now I headed back toward Rapid City and my motel.  By the time I got to the motel I was really hungry.  I warmed up my leftover Mexican Pizza from last night and enjoyed that delicious taste treat again.  Then I recorded my day’s activities and tried to watch a little TV.  But 

I couldn’t stay awake, so I gave it up and piled into bed for a good night’s sleep.

—–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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