Archive | Bill Lites A Slice of Life- Wednesday RSS feed for this section

Ford Trimotor Flight

21 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

 

 

“Did you hear that the EAA’s 1929 Ford Trimotor is going to be here to give rides next month?” my friend Dick asked me. “No” I said. “Want to go for a ride with me?” he asked. “Sure, where can I sign up?” I said. I was thrilled by the prospect of being able to fly in one of aviation’s early landmark aircraft, and was eager to hear more about it. Dick and I are volunteer tour guides at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Florida. We both love airplanes and enjoy telling guests to the museum all about the museum’s 35+ vintage airplanes. When we heard about the EAA’s 1929 Ford Trimotor coming to our museum, we could hardly wait.

 

 

Henry Ford had wanted to get into the commercial aircraft manufacturing business, to take advantage of the growing domestic commercial airline industry in the United States. So in 1923, Ford bought the Stout Metal Airplane Company, and William B. Stout became chief designer for the new Ford Aircraft Division.The Stout 3-AT Trimotor was the first all-metal commercial transport built in the U.S. much of which was based on early design and developments by the German designer Hugo Junkers. The implacable and underpowered aircraft was barely able to maintain altitude, and Henry Ford was furious. Tom Towle was put in charge of Ford’s aircraft engineering department, and along with Otto Koppen, John Lee and James McDonnell, refined the 3-AT into the 4-AT and eventually into what we now know as the 5-AT Ford Trimotor (commonly known as the “Tin Goose”),

 

 

 

 

These rugged aircraft were built to handle rough field operations and could also be fitted with floats or skis. The design of the Ford Trimotor represented a quantum leap over other airliners of its time, providing fast and efficient transportation for the airline industry. A total of 199 Ford Trimotors were built between 1926 and 1933. Well over 100 airlines, worldwide, would fly the Ford Trimotor from mid-1927 to late 1933, when more modern airliners began to appear to take their place. By the early 1930’s, the Ford Aircraft Division was reputedly seen as the “largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes in the world.”

 

 

The Ford Trimotor became known for its use on many record breaking flights. Commander Richard E. Byrd made the first flight above the geographic South Pole on November 27 and 28, 1929, in a Ford Trimotor named the Floyd Bennett.

 

 

A Ford Trimotor was even used for the flight of Elm Farm Ollie, the first cow to fly in an aircraft and to be milked in mid-flight. One of the most famous 5-AT Ford Trimotors was used for 65 years, by Scenic Airways, to fly visitors on sight-seeing flights over Arizona’s beautiful Grand Canyon.

 

 

The day arrived for our flight “To Experience the Golden Age of Aviation” in our 1929 5-AT Ford Trimotor. During our pre-flight briefing (seatbelt safety, etc.), we were told this airplane was very simple, and was mechanically flown by the pilot. Then he added that the pilot only had to remember one number. That number was “90 mph”- 90 mph to takeoff – 90 mph for cruise – and 90 mph for landing. We were the first two passengers in line, so we took the two bulkhead seats. This allowed us to talk to the pilot, through the opening to the cockpit, while the plane was loading, and to observe the starting of the two wing engines, out our windows.

 

 

The interior of the plane was beautifully restored with rich wood paneling and Art Deco style fixtures of the early 1920’s and 1930’s. The plane had large windows which gave the passengers great visibility during our flight. The seats were very modern and comfortable, with modern seat belts and life vests.  I’m sure they were much more comfortable than the Wicker seats (no seat belts) I’ve read about, that were furnished in the first commercial Ford Trimotor’s. I’m not sure I would feel very safe riding in an airplane in that configuration!

 

 

After take-off, we turned south and flew at approximately 1000 feet down U.S.#1. It was a beautiful clear day, and to the east we could see the Indian River and NASA’s Vertical Assembly Building (VAB), and to the west Port St. John, Cocoa and Rockledge. The vibration and noise levels made it hard to talk to my friend across the aisle, but were not as bad as I had expected. Now we turned back north toward TICO Airport, and we were able to view the scenery the passengers on the other side of the plane had been able to see on the way south. The guy at the pre-flight briefing had been right; I could tell little engine difference from takeoff to landing.

 

 

My friend, Dick, is a pilot, and after we landed, he had several questions for the pilot while the other passengers were disembarking. I have to admit it was an exciting adventure, and I am really glad we took the flight. And now I have another item I can check off of my “Life’s Bucket List.”

 

9

 

—–The End—–

 

If you are interested in enjoying one of these amazing flights go to eea.org

 

 

 

 

An International Hospital Experience

7 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

It was a beautiful clear January morning when DiVoran and I showed up at the Florida Hospital. I was there for Total Knee Replacement Surgery, and as you might guess, I was a little nervous. Our daughter and son had come to give us moral support and it was wonderful to have them there to keep DiVoran company during this procedure.

 

 

The first thing I had to do, once we got to the pre-op room, was to strip off everything down to my under shorts. They gave me this “Thermal Space Suit” to wear instead of the normal hospital gown. The nurse said it was designed. by my surgeon, to keep me warm during processing before they were ready for me in the operating room.

 

 

This was a first for me. During all my previous hospital visits the nurses had just piled blankets on me to keep me warm similar to the photo below. This is a marvelous light-weight invention that they said would also help keep my body temperature steady for the duration of the operation.

 

 

I no sooner finished dressing in my new fashionable space aged attire, when a flurry of nurses invaded my cubical, taking my vital signs and hooking me up to IVs and other noise producing machines. All of this while other assistants were in and out, asking me numerous questions, related to my general health since I was a child.

Right away I was impressed with this multicultural staff that was preparing me for surgery. I would love to have had the time to ask each of them all about how they ended up there in the trauma center, but they were coming and going so fast that I was lucky to get their names and generally where they were from. This started the quest, by me, to find out the staff members countries of origin.

A partial list of just those in the pre-op trauma center are as follows:

 

The nurse that brought me the thermal suit had a beautiful British accent, so I ask her where she was from. She said she was from Jamaica.

 

 

“Febby” told us she was from somewhere in the Indonesian area. No specifics.

 

 

“Naji” was from somewhere in the Middle East. No specifics.

 

 

“Tao” told us she was from Singapore.

 

 

“B…..” was from India. Here again, no specifics.

 

 

“Elyesse” said she was from somewhere in Florida.

 

 

However, one came in with his clipboard and introduced himself as “Duke.” DiVoran said, “Your name tag says Wellington. Why do people call you Duke?” He told her that he had been born and raised in Jamaica. Because of the island’s British influence, his mother named him after the Duke of Wellington, and the nickname stuck.

 

 

I have no idea where any of the operating room surgical staff hailed from, but I would not be surprised to learn that many of them are from foreign origins also. The above list does not include “Dr. Go” who was the hospital’s admitting physician and saw me as part of the hospital’s surgical release procedure. Dr. Go said he was from China. Here again, not specifics.

 

Finally, one of the anesthesiologists said he was going to give me a little something to calm me down. I don’t remember a lot after they gave me that “little something” until they rolled me into the hospital room on the seventh floor, where the International flavor associated with this hospital stay continued.

 

The male floor nurse the night after surgery was “Konrod” who was from Poland.

 

 

 

“Jeffie” brought me my breakfast the morning after surgery and she said she was  from Mississippi.

 

 

“Silpa” was the therapist who came in to visit me the morning after surgery, to see how well I could move my leg and knee, and I discovered she was from India.

 

 

We also discovered that this floor of the hospital had recently been totally renovated for surgical recovery patients, and had only opened for use the day before. So, here I was the first patient to use this beautiful new room with a wonderful view of Lake Estelle. DiVoran says she was also the first to use the bathroom in this new room. Where is Guinness, with their record book, when you need them?

 

 

You won’t believe this, but the International flavor associated with this knee surgery is continuing. When I showed up for my first day of out-patient therapy, my therapist was “Ehab” who is from Egypt, and knows the orthopedic surgeon (also from Egypt) who performed my first rotator cuff surgery back in 1996. It is my opinion that this world of ours is getting smaller every day.

—–The End—–

America’s North Country Trip~ Part 16

3 Jan

A Slice of Life
 Bill Lites

 

 

Day 16 (Saturday)

This morning’s activities centered on getting ready for my flight home. After a great complimentary hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage links, a biscuit & gravy and orange juice, there at the motel, I took my remaining snack items out of my cooler, and left it with a note for housekeeping that the cooler and everything in it were for them. I finished packing, checked out of the motel and headed for the Eppley International Airport, there in Omaha, to turn in my rental car.

 

 

The rental car return went like a breeze, and now I had 1½ hours to kill until my flight left. I ate a granola bar and my last banana before I headed for security. At security I discovered that I not only didn’t have to remove my shoes (over 75 years of age) but when I told them I had an electronic device wired to my back for pain ( a tens unit), I didn’t have to remove that either. They did an individual body scan and that made the process a lot quicker and much easier for me.

 

 

My 2-hour non-stop Southwest flight to Orlando was very restful, and here again the peanuts and pretzels were fresh. DiVoran picked me up at the airport, and we had dinner just north of the airport at Sonny’s BBQ, right there on SR-436.

 

 

Then we made the short trip home to Titusville. Boy did it feel good to pull into our driveway and know I was going to be sleeping in my own bed tonight. I love going on these trips, and getting to see all the different parts of our wonderful country, but it is always nice to get home where everything is familiar and I don’t have to live out of a suitcase.

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I have writing about it. I invite you to join me to read about my next trip to new and different places, and where I may even meet some new and exciting people.

 

“Take me on your next trip Daddy”

—–The End—–

One of the many sites I was looking forward to seeing were the large herds of Buffalo that I had seen portrayed on TV documentaries in recent years. As it turned out, after driving almost 4000 miles through these six states, I never saw the first live Buffalo. Not even when I visited the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, ND! I saw a lot of stuffed Buffalo in museums along the way, but not a single live one. What a bummer!

America’s North Country Trip~Part 15

27 Dec

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 15 (Friday)

 

Before leaving Lincoln this morning, I swung by the Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum but it wasn’t open. So, I just headed northeast on US-6 for the short trip it took me to find and visit the Greenwood Railroad Museum located at the Greenwood Village Park in Greenwood, NE. It was early when I got there and found that this small museum was only open by appointment.

 

 

Not to be deterred, I continued northeast on US-6 another 10 miles or so to visit the SAC & Aerospace Museum located just to the east of Ashland, NE. This is a very impressive museum, consisting of two large hangers where more than 40 nicely restored historic aircraft, missiles and space vehicles are displayed.

 

 

Next I made a side-trip to the southeast to visit the Brownville Historical Railroad Depot Museum, located in Brownville, NE. This museum turned out to be a small preserved 1875 depot, with local railroad artifacts related to the railroad’s influence on the surrounding area and a caboose.

 

 

There was not a lot to see there, so I went up the street to take a peek in the Sage Memorial Museum. This was a very small store-front museum highlighting Native American activity in southeast Nebraska, along with local artifacts and other memorabilia.

 

 

It appears, from an historical marker at the edge of town, that Brownville was first settled soon after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which permitted settlement of the territories west to the Missouri River. The city flourished until the railroad passed it by in the late 1860’s, and was soon thereafter almost completely abandoned. According to the 2010 census, only about 132 people now live in Brownville.

 

 

Now I headed north on I-29 to visit the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center located just southwest of Nebraska City, NE. This interpretive center focuses mainly on the natural and scientific discoveries recorded by the Lewis & Clark expedition of 1804-1806, which included some 122 new animals & 178 new plants.

 

 

Next I made the short trip back into town to visit the Kregel Windmill Factory located in downtown Nebraska City, NE. This turned out to be one of the most fascinating museums I’ve come across. According to an historical marker out front, it is said to be the last intact historical windmill factory in the U.S. it consists of the original work shop, with all its equipment, where George Kregel built Eli-brand windmills from 1902 until 1941. The tour guide said that all of the equipment still worked, and there were even racks of stock still there ready to be made into the next windmill order.

 

 

Now I made my way back to I-29 and headed north to visit the RailsWest Railroad Museum located in Council Bluffs, IA. This museum is housed in the 1899 Rock Island Depot, which replaced the original 1869 depot that was destroyed by a rail car explosion in 1881. The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the eight railroads that have served the Council Bluffs area until the mid-1980’s. Outside the museum are the Union Pacific locomotive #813 and the Burlington & Quincy locomotive #915, along with other pieces of restored rolling stock.

 

 

Before leaving Council Bluffs for the last time, I tried the CAF Museum located at the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport again, just on the chance that someone might be at the museum. Of course they were closed, so I just wondered around the ramp looking at the private airplanes that were tied down there. I said, “HI” to a young man heading for one of the planes there on the ramp. He would get into his plane and fly off to who-knows-where, and wished I could join him. Oh well, I would just have to wait until tomorrow for my airplane ride back to Florida.

 

 

So, now I headed west across the Missouri River to find my motel for the night in Omaha, NE. After I got checked in, I went looking for someplace to eat dinner. I settled on the “Twisted Fork Grill & Saloon” located in the Old Market District of Omaha. This restaurant’s claim-to-fame is that they say they serve American comfort food with a “Cowboy Twist.” I can highly recommend them if you are ever in Omaha.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

America’s North Country Trip~Part 14

20 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

 

Day 14 (Thursday)

 

Today I started off heading east on I-80 to visit the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles located in Lexington, NE. This museum has an amazing collection of over 100 beautifully restored military vehicles, of all types from all military services, housed in a huge hanger and outside.  There is also a large number of displays of weapons, uniforms, engines, and other military equipment.

 

 

Next on the list today as I continued east on I-80 was a visit to the Chevyland USA Museum located in the middle of a cornfield just south of Elm Creek, NE. This is a one-man classic car and motorcycle museum, collected, owned, and operated by Monte Hollertz. Monte says he started collecting his cars in 1972 after he read the book titled “60 Years of Chevys” and just kept on collecting. The problem is, he has collected some 100 cars and motorcycles, and parked them and that is all. They are mostly in the same condition they were when he parked them in his museum building. Also, the lighting is poor, which is not good for taking photos.

 

 

Just 15 miles east on US-30, I visited the Classic Car Collection located on the east side of Kearney, NE. WOW! What a difference over the last museum! This collection of over 200 beautifully restored and displayed classic cars, dating from the early 1900’s to the present, is one of the best of its type I’ve seen. The displays are well positioned and well lighted so the visitor has a chance to get good photos of the collection. It’s hard to leave a collection or museum that is so well presented.

 

 

While I was in Kearney, I decided to visit the Trails & Rails Railroad Museum located just to the west of SR-44, on the south edge of town. This museum is situated in the restored 1898 Shelton Union Pacific Railroad Depot, and consists of artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the great transportation routes that passed thru the local area over the years. The museum also has a restored 1903 Baldwin Steam Engine #481 with flat car and caboose.

 

 

Back on I-80, I headed east again to visit the Pioneer Village Museum located just north of Minden, NE at the intersection of US-34 & SR-10. This 20 acre museum complex consists of 28 buildings that display over 50,000 item dating from the 1830’s to the present. As part of the Village Complex, there are also restored frontier buildings, early automobiles, airplanes, tractors and a variety of other farm equipment, a motel and campground. Way too much to see all at one time.

 

 

I got back on I-80, heading east and got off at exit 312, and north on US-34/281 to visit the Stuhr Pioneer Village located in Grand Island, NE. This is another frontier village type museum, located on 207 acres, with several areas of interest. There is a pioneer settlement consisting of eight 1850’s log structures. There is also a Railroad Town where living historians. dressed in period costumes, tell you all about how it was to live and work there in 1897. There is also a 38-foot diameter replica of a 1830’s Pawnee earthen lodge showing where as many as 50 people would have lived. Here again, this was another case where there was just too much to see in such a spread out area, so this museum got a “hit and miss” visit from me today.

 

 

Next I stopped by to check out the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward, NE to see if they had any airplane displays, but they were closed. So, while I was there in Seward, even though it was getting late in the day, I looked up Whisler Aviation located at the Seward Municipal Airport, but their hanger was also closed.

 

 

I thought I would try the Lincoln Airport to see if I could catch a glimpse of at least one airplane today, before I headed for my motel for the night. The Lincoln Air National Guard Base shares the airport facilities, but Greta couldn’t find their address for me. However, God was good to me, allowing me to see one of the most unusual airplanes I would ever have expected. It was located at the entrance to the Lincoln Airport. I couldn’t believe my eyes! But there it was, perched on its pedestal, in all its simplistic beauty. I just had to stop and take a photo. I’m sure you can see why.

 

 

After getting checked into my motel for the evening, I sat back, relaxed and tried to watch TV while I enjoyed leftover El Paraiso Mexican food. Of course there was nothing on the TV worth watching, but the leftovers were a treat.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s North Country Trip~Part 13

13 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 13 (Wednesday)

 

This morning I headed east on I-80,across the border into Nebraska, to visit my first museum, the Mansion on the Hill Museum located in Ogallala, NE. This is the restored 1887 Victorian residence of former Opallala banker, H. L. Williams, and his family. The museum is beautifully furnished with original period furnishings, and includes a servant quarters. Other buildings on the premises include a 1902 one-room school house and an early 1900 homestead dwelling.

 

 

Just around the corner and up the street, I checked out the Boot Hill Cemetery there in Ogallala. Buried there are people from all walks of life, who found themselves in Ogallala, NE (Cowboy Capital) at the end of their life for whatever reason. RIP.

 

 

Now I headed east on I-80 again, and was hoping that Greta could help me find the Buffalo Bill Ranch located on the west side of North Platte, NE. The original Second Empire style home was built in 1886, and resides on what is now the 25 acre Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (also known as Scout’s Rest Ranch) adjacent to Scout Creek. The house is furnished with period furnishings, and includes servant’s quarters, an ice house, and a large barn.

 

 

As I headed toward North Platte, I stopped to visit the Lincoln County Historical Museum & Village, located just south of the North Platte River. This was another frontier village type museum, located on 8-acres, with a main building displaying local central Nebraska historical artifacts and memorabilia. There is also a restored early 1800’s “Main Street” town with several period buildings including; general store, schoolhouse church, blacksmith shop, and barn.

 

 

While I was in the area, just south a couple of miles, I visited the Golden Spike Museum & Baily Yard. The museum was an unusually shaped 8-story structure that gave the visitor a grand view of the huge “Baily Yard” operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. I had seen many very long coal trains during this trip, and I asked the tour guide how long the trains were. He said, “From 125 to 145 cars. We have a length restriction of 8-miles.” I was stunned, and asked him why 8-miles and he said, “Because the sidings are only 9-miles long, and the train has to fit on the siding.” Then I asked him how much coal each car could carry, and said, “Each car can carry 100 tons of coal, and each coal car weighs 20 tons.”  I did the math. WOW! What a load!   What did you get? I guess that’s why there are two diesel engines pulling and two diesel engines pushing those long coal trains across the open plains.

 

 

 

Now I headed across the north part of North Platte to visit the Cody Park Railroad Museum located just north of the North Platte River. This is a small museum with local Union Pacific artifacts and memorabilia in the restored train depot, and the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive on public display. The museum also has several nicely restored items of rolling stock attached to the locomotive.

 

 

Greta took me on U.S.83 south thru the city, across the South Platte River back toward I-80 to visit the Fort Cody Trading Post. This looked to me like nothing more than a big tourist trap, so I took a couple of photos and was on my way east on I-80.

 

 

I had picked up a brochure for a Pony Express station museum somewhere along the way on this trip, and planned to stop and check it out now if time permitted. I took the #211 exit off I-80, turned north across the North Platte River, into the city of Gothenburg, NE. I found the Pony Express Station Museum on the south edge of Ehmen Park in the middle of town. The museum was a restored one-room log cabin that had originally been used as a fur trading post and ranch house before being used as a Pony Express Station in 1860 – 1861.

 

 

The curator gave me a lot of information about the Pony Express that I had never known. First of all, I had no idea that the Pony Express was only in operation for 19 months in 1860-1861. Started by three business men in 1860, it was initially called the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company, and provided “fast” (10 days) mail service between St. Joseph Missouri and Sacramento, California. The approximately 1900 mile route consisted of 120 riders, 157 Pony Express stations (spaced every 10 miles), 400 horses, and was manned by several hundred men. The express rider would stop at each station, change to a fresh horse, taking only the mail pouch called a mochila (Spanish for pouch) with him. The mochila was thrown over the saddle and held in place by the weight of the rider sitting on it.  The mochila could carry 20 lbs. of mail in four pockets (two on each side) that would be padlocked.

 

 

The initial price was $5.00 per ½ ounce to send mail by the Pony Express route. The transcontinental telegraph (Telegraph Act, authorized by congress in 1860) completed in 1861, put an end to the Pony Express, and it is said the investors lost over $200,000 (1860 dollars) during the short period of time their mail service system was in operation.

 

 

After that informative stop, I told Greta it was time to find my motel for the night, located down the road a ways in Cozad, NE. She did a good job, and before I knew it, I was there and checked in. The desk clerk informed me that there were very few restaurants in town that he could recommend, and directed me toward the ones he thought best. I looked them over and selected the El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant, where I had one of the best combination plates of chili relleno, enchilada and taco dinner I’ve had in a long time. Yummm!

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

America’s North Country Trip~Part 12

6 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 12 (Tuesday)

 

This morning I headed east on I-80 to visit the Wyoming Frontier Prison located in Rawlins, WY. Construction of this facility began in 1893 as a replacement for the old Wyoming Territorial Prison, in Laramie. Even though new, the first 104 cells (cell block “A”) had no electricity or running water, and very inadequate heating when first opened. Over the years, Cell blocks “B” and “C” were added to handle the ever growing number of inmates. The prison employed several different means of discipline, including a dungeon, solitary confinement and even a “Punishment Pole” where men were secured and whipped with a rubber hose. Just one more remnant of the grizzly past of the “Old AmericannWest.”

 

 

While I was in Rawlings, i decided to check out the Carbon County Museum. This was a small museum, very nicely displaying historical artifacts and memorabilia associated with the surrounding southwestern Wyoming area.

 

 

Now I headed east on I-80 again to visit the Laramie Railroad Museum in Laramie, WY. This museum turned out to be located in the old Union Pacific train station (designated “The Overland Route”) of the Union Pacific System. Unfortunately the museum was closed today. So, I took a stroll around the small Railroad Heritage Park adjacent to the museum, where I took a photo of the restored Union Pacific locomotive # 535 pushing a snow plow and pulling a 6-man crew-bunk car and a caboose.

 

 

As I passed thru downtown Laramie, I pass the St. Matthews Episcopal Cathedral and just had to stop and take a photo of that majestic old structure. Built in 1892, it somehow reminded me of the Laramie city historical marker, I had just seen, that informed me that Laramie was founded in 1866, and was named after the fur trader Jacques LaRamie. Interesting how civilization and architecture had a way of pushing its way west, even in those early days of territorial life.

 

 

Next I visited the Wyoming Territorial Prison located west of the city on the Laramie River. Built in 1872, the prison was problem riddled with fires and jail breaks from the beginning. Of the 44 prisoners accepted in the first two years of operation, 11 escaped. Butch Cassidy was a prisoner there from 1894 to 1896. Prisoners were transferred to the new Wyoming State Prison located Rawlins, WY in 1901, the prison was closed, and in 1903 and the University of Wyoming used the facility to conduct experiments in livestock breeding until 1989. The facility was opened to the public in 1991 as the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historical Site. If this prison was opened 11 years before the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Rawlings, I can just imagine what horrible things the prisoners had to endure in this prison.

 

 

Leaving Laramie I headed east on I-80 again to visit the old Cheyenne Depot Museum (AKA: Wyoming Transportation Museum) located in downtown Cheyenne, WY. This museum was located inside the reconditioned Union Pacific Railroad terminal which was built in 1886. The Union Pacific Railroad serviced its last passenger from this terminal in 1971, after which it was closed. The terminal was subsequently re-opened (after much renovation) to the public as a museum in 1990. The two-story museum displays exhibits related to the history of the Union Pacific Railroad, and its role in the development of the city of Cheyenne.

 

 

Across the street from the depot, is the Cheyenne Depot Plaza where you will see a number of 8’ tall painted cowboy boots. These boots are each painted to show a different part of the history of Cheyenne. You can take a cell-phone audio tour (looking for other Big Boots), that guides you to 19 different locations of interest in the city. Pretty cool idea, if you have the time and want to see the city.

 

 

Just a few blocks from the park, I visited the Nelson Museum of the West. This was a small museum, beautifully displaying artifacts and memorabilia from the surrounding Wyoming plains area, dating from the early frontier days to the present.

 

 

On my way to my next museum, I passed the Wyoming State Capital building and stopped to take a photo of that beautiful structure.

 

 

I hadn’t gone far before I saw another beautiful structure. This turned out to be the St. Mary’s Cathedral. I am always impressed with the architectural beauty of the various churches, cathedrals, and government buildings I see on my trips in different parts of this country of ours.

 

 

A little ways north of town, I decided to visit the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum located there in Cheyenne. This is a frontier town type museum, with restored buildings set up to represent “Main Street” in the early 1800 days in the Cheyenne area. The buildings are occupied with tour guides dressed in period clothes ready to tell you all about what it was like “back in the 1890’s old west days.” I just happened to be in Cheyenne the week of the “World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo & Western Celebration.” This is a huge annual event in Cheyenne that had a big part of the city’s streets blocked off, and I was unable to visit the CDF Museum located close to the Frontier Park & Arena because of that.

 

 

Now I headed for a quick check to see if Greta could find the Big Boy No. 4004 steam locomotive located in the Holiday Park there in Cheyenne. It was one of the world’s largest steam locomotives ever built. Big Boy No. 4004 was one of 25 Big Boy locomotives built between 1941 & 1944 for the Union Pacific Railroad. It went into service in 1941; measures 132’ long, weighs 1.208,750 lbs. & carries 25,000 gal. of water. The Big Boy locomotives were so long that their frames had to be “hinged” or articulated to allow them to negotiate curves.

 

 

I headed for the motel there in Cheyenne, and after getting checked in I relaxed and enjoyed my leftover Baby Back Ribs from last night at the Open Range Restaurant.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

%d bloggers like this: