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My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 9B (Continued)

11 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 – Wednesday July 31

Next I was hoping to visit the Golden Wings Flying Museum, located a few miles north in Blaine, MN.  This is a private collection, and I needed an appointment to visit the hanger where the collection is stored.  I had called earlier that morning to make an appointment to see the collection, but no one answered.  I had left a message, but I had never received a response to my call.  Since I knew the museum was closed, I headed to downtown Minneapolis to visit the Foshay Observation Deck and the Wells Fargo Museum.

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Street construction and heavy traffic made it next to impossible to get around in downtown Minneapolis.  With all that confusion, Greta (my Garmin) was still able to find the Foshay Tower.  This 32-story art deco styled tower was built as an office building in 1929, and claimed the honor as being the tallest structure in Minneapolis until 1972.  The 30th floor Foshay Observation Deck has been a major tourist attraction over the years, where visitors can get a 360 degree view of the city of Minneapolis.   In 2006 the tower was converted to the 230-room”W Hotel” (part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide), but the 30th floor Foshay Observation Deck is still open to the public with its all-around great view.  

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And just around the corner from the Foshay Tower is the Wells Fargo Museum.  In this museum visitors can take an audio-guided tour describing the history of Wells Fargo (originally the Bank of North America-1781) from the late 1700s.  As an added feature, they can sit in a 1860s stagecoach, while imagining they are on a rough and dusty ride somewhere in frontier America.

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For some reason I had always thought the Pony Express was associated with the Wells Fargo Express Company.  However, my recent research has informed me that they were two separate transportation companies operating about the same time in the history of our early American territorial expansion.  The Wells Fargo Company mostly carried people and merchandise in stagecoaches and wagons, while the Pony Express Company riders carried mail and important messages on horseback.  I guess I will have to someday research the facts better, and write a separate blog about each of these famous companies.

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Now I asked Greta to take me to the Minnesota Streetcar Museum which is located adjacent to Lake Harriet in the Lyndale Park area.  This museum actually operates two streetcar lines; the Como–Harriet Line between Lake Harriet and Lake Cohen, and the Excelsior Line which operates between the restored Excelsior Railway Station and Lake Minnetonka.  The Como-Harriet Streetcar stop is located just a couple of blocks from the Lake Harriet Recreation Area.  I was able to get a few photos of the restored Linden Hills Station as well as one photo of the vintage electric streetcar as it made its stop at the station.

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After this pleasant stop, l asked Greta to take me back to the Brooklyn Center area and the motel.  I decided to try some Chinese food this evening, and chose the Rose Garden Asian Bistro located there in a small Brooklyn Center strip mall.  I had a Sweet & Sour Pork dish, served with rice and an egg roll on the side.  A pot of hot Chinese tea topped off the meal.  That was a delightful meal, and my tummy was pleasantly full by the time I was finished.  Now it was time for me to head back to the motel, where I recorded today’s events and then it was off to bed for this tired puppy.  Tomorrow I will concentrate on visiting museums on the outskirts of Minneapolis.   

Description: Image result for sweet and sour pork

—–To Be Continued—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 9A

4 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 – Wednesday July 31

My plan was to stay in Minneapolis two days to see the many museums in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  So to start today, I headed back southeast about 15 miles on I-694/I-35W, in morning traffic, to visit the Minnesota Transportation Museum located in St. Paul, MN.  This is a fabulous museum that is housed in a portion of the restored 1907 Jackson Street Roundhouse maintenance and repair facility.   The museum is beautifully laid out to represent the original Great Northern Railroad steam engine roundhouse, where various types of restored vintage train cars are displayed for visitors to walk thru.  Many other railroad artifacts and memorabilia fill the museum.  Additional restored unique and vintage rolling stock are displayed outside the museum building.  

Now I made my way south, to visit the Commemorative Air Force-Minnesota Wing, located adjacent to the Fleming Field Airport, just a few miles south of downtown St. Paul.  This was a very active hanger, filled with 5 or 6 aircraft of various types, all being worked on by at least two or three people.  Their largest plane was a B-25J named “Miss Mitchell.”  Everyone in the hanger, while busy, was very friendly, and informed me that all of the airplanes being worked on there were in flying condition.  After that quick visit, Greta (my Garmin) and I tried to find the Science Museum of Minnesota and the New Brighton History Center, but to no avail.  We finally gave up and headed for the Historic Fort Snelling.

Next I traveled some 10 miles west, across the Mississippi River, to visit the Fort Snelling Veteran’s Memorial Chapel located in the Fort Snelling State Park.  Access to this State Park from the direction I was coming was a nightmare, and took me three tries to finally make it to the chapel.  This is a beautiful park and the 1927 Chapel is dedicated to the many U.S. veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our country.  The Chapel also honors Colonel Josiah Snelling, who served as the fort’s commandant from 1820 to 1824, and for whom the fort was named.

Now I headed a few miles north to visit the Minnesota ANG Museum located at the north end of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.  It turns out that the museum is on the National Guard base, and when Greta took me to a guard gate,  the guard said the museum was no longer open to the public without the proper background check pass.  Rats!  This is another case of a museum internet site not providing a person all the information needed for directions, hours, access requirements  and etc.

 I made a “U” turn and was heading for the intersection, when I spotted an unused driveway off to the side.  I pulled in to inter the address for Greta to take me to the next museum.  I couldn’t have been there more than 2 or 3 minutes, but when I looked up from concentrating on the address, there stood two Military Police outside my window.   They were dressed in their camos, wearing every accessory known to the Military Police.  With their hands on the butts of their weapons, they politely asked me what I was doing.

I explained that I was just using the unused driveway (outside the fenced area) to look up a museum address.  They informed me that I couldn’t park on “Military Property.”  I thanked them (for not shooting me) and got on my way, under their watchful eyes.  After this incident, I moved on north a few more miles, to visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum located in the Bandana Square area of Saint Paul.  This museum began in1834 as the St. Paul Craftsman Club, and over the years, has grown to display a world-class model panorama of the Twin Cities railroads of the 1930s-1950s.  The museum also displays several different gage-size model railroad layouts and other railroad artifacts.

—–(This day’s activities will be continued next week)—–

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 8B

27 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8 – Tuesday July 30 (Continued)

I continued north on SR-35/SR-37 about 60 miles, to visit the Chippewa Valley Museum located in the Carson Park area, just to the west of downtown Eau Claire, WI.  This is a very interesting museum that displays artifacts and memorabilia dating from the late 1800s, that tells the history of the early Scandinavian pioneers to the Chippewa Valley area.  The museum hosts local field trips to the off-site Schiegelmitch House that teach the participants about Chippewa Valley history and culture as far back as the 1650s. The museum also hosts several special events throughout the year.

Now I headed north another 15 miles on US-53 to visit the Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology located in downtown Chippewa Falls, WI.  This museum is situated in the Cray, Inc. building and displays computer models, artifacts and scientific memorabilia; including some of the hand written notes of Seymour Cray who was born and raised in Chippewa Falls.  Cray is known in the computer world as “The Father of Supercomputing” and is noted for his creation of the early high-speed computers, and the founder of Control Data Corporation (CDC).   The efforts of Cray, along with others, led directly to the development of what we call “Supercomputers” today.  As a point of interest, the first advanced Cray-1 Supercomputer system was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory facility in Los Alamos, NM in 1976.

I headed west on County Road “N” about 20 miles to visit the Colfax Railroad Museum located in Colfax, WI.  This is a small museum, located in the third depot building to be built on this site over the years.  The museum consists of railroad artifacts dating from the 1850s and a large collection of railroad paper weights. Several pieces of original rolling stock are on display outside the museum.  A museum volunteer happened to be available to give me a tour of the museum’s rolling stock and a brief history of the Old Colfax Depot and the museum.

To get to the last museum for today I drove west on I-94, about 75 miles, across the Mississippi River again, back into Minnesota, where I visited the Bell Museum located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus in Saint Paul, MN.   This museum has been Minnesota’s official Natural History Museum since 1872.  The museum is now housed in a new building which includes wildlife dioramas, high tech exhibits, an on-line searchable interface that integrates data from the museum on birds, mammals, fish, plants, and fungi.  The museum also has a 120 seat digital planetarium, where visitors can explore interesting films of our own Earth and other planets with new “seamless” technology presentations such as “Habitat Earth” and “Out of This World” or “The Hunt for Dark Matter.”

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By now it was getting late and I asked Greta to take me to the motel for the night, located in the Brooklyn Center area, just a few miles north of downtown Minneapolis.  After I got checked in, I warmed up my leftover BP Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs, baked beans and some coleslaw.  Yummm!  I love BBQ anything, and anytime!

Description: Image result for baby back ribs with baked beans and cole slaw

—–To Be Continued—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 8A

20 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8 – Tuesday July 30

I headed west 20 miles on I-90 this morning, to visit the Deke Slaton Museum located in Sparta, WI.  This small museum is situated on the second floor of the Sparta Public Library, and was conducting a Space Camp meeting today. 

 When I asked for a brochure about the museum, the curator said she would have to check upstairs for one.  When I happened to mention that I had worked on the rocket that sent Deke Slaton into orbit, I became an instant celebrity, and she couldn’t do enough for me.  She said if we were very quiet, she would take me upstairs to the museum.  She showed me some of Deke’s space related artifacts and memorabilia, including one of the spacesuits worn during his Murcury-7 training, and two home-built airplanes that he owned.  Deke worked as chief of the American Astronaut Corp who selected astronauts for the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions.  Deke flew on the 5-day Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in 1975, which turned out to be the last Apollo mission. 

While I was in Sparta, I tried to find the Little Falls Railroad Museum, where I expected to see the largest collection of railroad art in the US, and the not so interesting, Madame Alexander’s doll collection.  The address I gave Greta (my Garmin) took me to a section of railroad tracks, at the dead-end of some street, but there was nothing that looked like a railroad museum in the area.  I later discovered that, even though the museum had a Sparta address, it was actually located 13 miles north of the city of Sparta.   No wonder Greta and I were so confused!  But, Oh well, I also found out this museum was not open on Tuesdays.   

Since the Railroad Museum was nowhere to be found, I headed southwest another 20 miles on I-90 to La Crosse, WI to visit the Dahl Auto Museum.  This museum is situated in one of the local Dahl Ford dealership showrooms, and displays a collection of 20+ beautifully restored vintage and classic cars dating from 1905 to the present.  There is also an impressive collection of vintage hood ornaments on display as part of the museum.  The museum shows a film history of the automobile’s development over the years, as well as sponsoring many special events throughout the year.

Now I headed northwest roughly 40 miles on I-90, across the Mississippi River (border between Wisconsin and Minnesota), and then north on US-14 to Winona, MN.  That’s where I picked up SR-54 and went back across the border  into Wisconsin.  Then I followed SR-35 north to visit Elmer’s Auto Museum located in Fountain City, WI.  I was looking forward to seeing Elmer’s collection of 100+ antique and classic cars, dating from 1910, plus motorcycles and bicycles.  However, upon arriving at the museum, I was informed the museum was closed because Elmer had passed away just the day before.  The museum volunteer I talked to was very kind, and even invited me to Elmer’s funeral, if I was going to be in the area until Friday.  I thought that was very courteous, of him.  I thanked him and headed for my next museum. 

—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 7B

13 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 7 – Monday July 29 (Continued)

 Before leaving Baraboo I visited the Circus World Museum, located on the outskirts of town, adjacent to the Baraboo River.  The museum was founded in 1954 to preserve the history of the “Big Top” circus in America, and teach future generations about the traditions of this American art form of life.  I learned that this museum is situated on the original Ringling Bros. Circus Winter Quarters site.  The museum displays many original Ringling Bros. circus wagons, and other pieces of Ringling’s equipment, and includes a large variety of circus artifacts, and memorabilia.  The museum also offers many year-around special events and a business meeting center.

60 miles northwest on I-90 I visited the Tomah Area Museum located in Tomah, WI.  Much of this small museum is noted for its displays of newspaper stories, artifacts, and memorabilia related to the comic strip “Gasoline Alley” and the Menomonee tribal chief Tomah.

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The “Gasoline Alley” comic strip (for those of you who have never heard of it) was created by Frank King, who was a resident of Tomah.  First published in 1918, the cartoon went on to become one of America’s most popular comic strips of its day.  It is still found in newspapers across the nation today.  As it turns out, Tomah is also the boyhood home of John Sheridan, who became the illustrator for many of the Saturday Evening Post covers over the years.

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Chief Tomah was born in1752 and settled with his people in, what is now known as southern Wisconsin.  He is noted for declining to join the great native worrier, known as Tecumseh, in his battle against the early white settlers in this area.  He went on to befriend many of the early homesteaders, who named their settlement after Chief Tomah (1856) for his kindness to them over the years.  

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Today I drove thru some of the most beautiful rich, green, rolling hills and valleys, covered with corn crops, as far as the eye could see in every direction.  The temperature was a perfect 76 degrees, with blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds.  I could not have asked for a more perfect day to be on a road trip.  God filled my heart with His unspeakable joy today, and I reveled in it all day long.  By now however, it was time to call it a “Wonderful” day and get something to eat.

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I asked Greta to take me to the motel, there in Tomah, for the evening.  After this long travel day, I felt like rewarding myself with something special to eat tonight.  So, after checking in at the motel, I headed over to the BP Smokehouse BBQ Restaurant, there in town, for a full-rack of their delicious Baby Back Ribs, served with baked beans and cole slaw.  AHHH, how satisfying!  After this delightful meal, the only thing left for me to do, was to go back to the motel, record my day’s activities and get some sleep. 

Description: Image result for baby back ribs with baked beans and cole slaw

—–To Be Continued—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 7A

6 Nov

Day 7 – Monday July 29

I had planned to head southwest on I-43 this morning to visit the Brodhead Depot Museum located in Brodhead, WI.  But Greta (my Garmin) was unable to find the address I gave her.  So, I decided to pass up that museum, since it was going to cause me to drive an extra 40 miles out of my way, and I discovered the museum was also not open on Mondays.  This allowed me to head west on US-12/I-30 to visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum located in Madison, WI. This museum has two large galleries that display personal items and rare photos as well as exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia honoring the Wisconsin men and women who have served in the US Military Services dating from the Civil War to the present.

Just on the other side of the Capital Square, I located the Wisconsin Historical Museum, there in Madison.  This large multi-story museum contains information related to the history of the state of Wisconsin, and the city of Madison.  Displays include rare photographs, artifacts, full-scale dioramas & interactive multimedia programs.  The museum’s local Native American history is recorded, in part, by Charles Van Schaick’s photos of the Ho-Chuck people who inhabited this area in the early to mid-1800’s.  I also learned that Wisconsin is known as the birthplace of the “Malted Milk Shake” and the museum tells that story with a separate exhibit.

 As I headed for my next stop, I passed the Wisconsin State Capital there in Madison, and stopped long enough to take a photo of that beautiful structure.  Wikipedia tells me that this Wisconsin Capital Building is the 5th and largest Capital Building to be built and used by the Wisconsin State Government since the first Territorial Legislature convened in Belmont,  Wisconsin Territory in 1836.

Some 12 miles northeast of Madison, on US-151, I tried to visit the Angell Park Speedway located in Sun Prairie, WI but it was closed.  I was not so much interested in seeing their 1/3rd mile dirt track, that has been holding races since 1903, as I was in visiting the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame pavilion that is located on the racetrack property.  

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Now I headed north about 40 miles on I-39 to visit the World War II History Museum in Portage, WI.  This small store-front museum displays souvenirs, artifacts, and memorability honoring the brave men and women who served in all of the US Military Services during WWII.  There is also information related to such heroes as the Sullivan Brothers, Audie Murphy,and many others.  The museum also honors American movie stars, war correspondents, and foreign dignitaries who contributed to the war effort.

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Next I headed west 15 miles on US-33 to visit the International Clown Hall of Fame Museum located in Baraboo, WI.  This was an even smaller museum than the WWII Museum and is located on the ground floor of The Business Center building in downtown Baraboo.  The museum preserves and displays clown art, artifacts, and memorabilia to help keep the history of clown performers (past and present) alive for future generations.  To date some 67+ famous clowns (past & present), from all over the world, have been inducted into the museum’s growing list of entertainers and laugh makers.

—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6B

30 Oct

Day 6 – Sunday July 28 (Continued)

As I mentioned last week, when I was traveling south on I-41, I passed right by the RV parking area for the EAA Airshow, in Oshkosh, and it was jam-packed with RVs of every description.  The Military Veterans Museum, there in Oshkosh, was my next stop, and it was located just down the road from the EAA RV parking area.  This is a small museum displaying restored military vehicles, equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia from all branches of the American military services.

I continued another 20 miles south on I-41, around Lake Winnebago, to visit the Jim Baldauf Auto Collection located in Fond du Lac, WI.  This is a private car collection consisting of a showroom full of beautifully restored and modified cars.  I had called ahead for an appointment to view Jim’s collection.  I was especially excited about seeing his 1949 Olds 88 Convertible, which Jim says is, one of only five left in the U.S.  It is said that Jim has a very nice collection of vintage and classic cars, but he never did call me back, and I was disappointed to find this museum closed.

Now I headed another 35 miles south on I-41/SR-175/CR-P to visit the Wisconsin Automotive Museum located in Hartford, WI.   This is a very impressive museum that displays about 150 automobiles dating from the early 1900s to the present. Some cars are beautifully restored, while others are still in the condition they were in when discovered (in the barn or field) by the museum collectors.  There was also lots of early automobile displays, artifacts and memorabilia to examine.

Next I headed 40 miles southeast on I-41 to visit the Harley Davidson Museum located in Milwaukee, WI.  This was one of the most impressive collections of motorcycles I have ever seen. Beautifully restored Motorcycles dating from 1903 to the present are displayed on two levels of this large museum.  They had examples of each of the four Harley Davidson motorcycles that I had owned.  There was a 1943 (737cc) WWII US Army courier machine, a 1948 (125cc) Hummer, a 1954 (165cc) Hummer ST, and a 1955 (888cc) Sportster KH.  Boy-O-Boy did those motorcycles bring back a lot of memories from my riding days.

After that trip down memory lane, I headed 20 miles west on I-94 to try and find the Wisconsin Wing of the Commemorative Air Force located in Waukesha, WI.  As it turned out, here again neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the airport hangers where the airplanes are stored.  The closest I could get was the small Waukesha Airport lobby, where the Waukesha Aviation Club had a few aviation related items on display.

Now I headed another 20 miles southwest on SR-164/I-43 to visit the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum located in East Troy, WI.  This museum displays many interesting exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia from the Electric Train era in the eastern Wisconsin area dating from the early 1900s. Restored electric trains and trolleys still run on a section of the original Milwaukee Electric Railway System track between the East Troy Railroad Museum and the Elegant Farmer station in Mukwonago.  Visitors can buy tickets at the museum for the 14 mile (roundtrip) electric train/trolley ride, or for other special events such as Family Picnic Train and Wisconsin Cheesemakers’ & Wine Train.  The Dinner Train Service ride is one train ride I would like to have had the time to take.  Maybe one of these days I can take DiVoran there and we can enjoy a romantic Dinner Train Service trip.

I asked Greta to take me to the motel, there in East Troy, for the night.  After getting checked in, I asked the desk clerk for his restaurant recommendations, and he suggested the Ale Station Food & Brew just across the square.  Since most of the restaurants in town were closed on Sunday evening, I walked over to the Ale Station and had a delicious Garibaldi Sandwich which was just right for the occasion.

—–To Be Continued—–

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

Bill  

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6A

23 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 – Sunday July 28

As I started south on US-41 this morning, I crossed the Menominee River again, thru Marinette, and on south another 10 miles, where I crossed the Peshtigo River just before  stopping to visit  the Fire Museum in Peshtigo, WI.  I was intrigued to discover that the museum’s main function is to honor those 2000+ men, women, and children who perished in the October 8, 1871 fire, that wiped out the entire town of Peshtigo.  The church building that houses the museum is the restored Congregational Church that was move to this site in 1927, and became the museum in 1963.  Ironically, this terrible disaster happened on the very same day as the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871).

I continued south another 45 miles on US-41/US-141 to visit The Automobile Gallery located in Green Bay, WI.  This museum displays some 80+ beautifully restored cars, of all makes and models, which have been selected by the owners of the museum for their artistic value to the automobile enthusiast. 

 The cars on display range from a 1912 Maxwell to a 2016 Shelby Hertz Edition Mustang.


While I was in the Green Bay area, I visited the National Railroad Museum just a few miles south, located in Ashwaubenon, WI.  This is a large museum, dedicated to preserving the nation’s railroad history from the 1820s.  The museum is filled with railroad displays, memorabilia, and artifacts dating from the 1920s.  The museum also has a huge collection of historic steam locomotives and other rare and vintage rolling stock.  Visitors can take a 25-minute ride around the property in a vintage train car (included in admission price), while the conductor describes the daily activities at the maintenance and restoration shops, and includes hobo cultural history.  Special tickets are also available to the various train ride events throughout the year. 

After this interesting visit, I headed southwest about 50 miles on I-41.  I had planned to visit the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, WI but had not realized that the week of July 22-28 was the week of their annual airshow this year.  I was not about to try to elbow my way thru thousands of people to see that museum.  Don’t get me wrong.  The EAA Museum is an outstanding museum, but I had visited their museum several years ago, and didn’t think I would be missing much by not going again today.   However, as luck would have it, just as I was passing the EAA Campground, the CAF’s Boeing B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” was taking off over the interstate right in front of me.  What a unexpected thrill that was, to see that aircraft flying that low!

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As a side note; I found out after I got home, that Tom Reilly had finished the 12-year restoration of his XP-82 Twin Mustang, and won the Grand Champion: Post WWII award at the 2019 EAA AirVenture airshow.  I was sorry I had missed seeing that wonderful warbird flying.  However, that magnificent flying machine is now on display at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, FL where I volunteer as a tour guide.  That allows me to see it up close any time I want.

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—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5B

16 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27 (Continued)

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

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

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

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

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—–To Be Continued—–

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

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5A

9 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27

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

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

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

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


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

—–Today’s activities will be continued—–

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

Bill

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

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