Tag Archives: Aircraft Museum Tour

My 2016 Mid-West Trip~ Part 1

6 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane


Day 1 (Saturday)

Because of a couple severe health issues, it’s been almost a year since my last “Museum Discovery Trip” (as I call them), and I was looking forward to this trip with great anticipation. However, after today, I’ve decided I will never fly on the weekend again. The lines were extra-long everywhere I needed to go. It took 1½ hours from the time DiVoran dropped me off at the Southwest curbside check-in, then through security, and finally to the departure gate. Now I know why the airlines suggest you arrived at the airport two hours before your flight; so you can hurry up and wait!


Once we got in the air, it only took 20 minutes longer to fly from Orlando to New Orleans then it took me to get from curbside check-in to the departure gate. I have to admit it was a very nice flight, and the peanuts were fresh. I thought the over-water final approach to the New Orleans International Airport was going to end up with us having to swim the last mile or so. We kept getting lower and closer to the water! It reminded me of a similar feeling I have had; that of the long over-water final approach, over San Francisco Bay, to the San Francisco airport.


Once I retrieved my suitcase, it was a very long walk from baggage claim to the rental car facility. At the Thrifty Rental Car counter I discovered my reservation had been made for a “Special Rate” (what was that?). When I got to the pickup area, the agent took one look at my reservation slip and pointed to three SUV’s and said, “Take your pick.” That was a new experience for me. I had my choice of a Jeep Renegade, a Jeep Compass or a Jeep Patriot. After a quick call to my son-in-law (a Jeep owner) for his recommendation, I chose the top-of-the-line Patriot.


After checking out the New Orleans street map and getting Greta (my Garmin) set up and running, my first stop was to visit The National World War II Museum there in New Orleans. There was a huge amount of construction going on around the museum and it took me some time to find a parking place. I was surprised to see that the museum was made up of three large buildings (called pavilions), and the construction was for their new fourth pavilion).


I discovered that each pavilion was filled with a variety of authentic memorabilia from each of the U.S. military services that took part in that conflict. I realized I was not going to be able to see everything in detail in the time I had left before they closed. I asked about their reduced price “Day After” ticket, but it was only good for one week, and I wouldn’t be back for two weeks. So, I hurried through each level of each pavilion. It would take hours, if not days, for a person to read all of the information displayed and viewed all of the many short movies on each level of each pavilion. I was familiar with much of the information presented in two of the three pavilions.


The third pavilion was the one I was looking for; it had the museum’s aircraft displayed. There was a German Me-109 hanging from the ceiling of the foyer and six other nicely restored aircraft, all hanging from the ceiling of that third pavilion. There was a P-51 Mustang, a TBM Avenger, a SBD Dauntless dive bomber, a F4U Corsair, a B-25 Mitchell bomber and a B-17 Flying Fortress. I could hardly believe the strength that pavilion’s roof structure must have, to keep all six of those airplanes suspended from its ceiling.


As it happened, just across the street from where I parked was Louisiana’s Civil War Museum. Since I’m not a Civil War Buff, and it was raining by the time I got back to my car, I elected not to take the time to go through this museum.


My next stop was to visit the Cars of Yesteryears Museum in Metairie. I had to drive through several blocks of heavily flooded streets, and when I got to the museum it was closed for the weekend. Since it looked like it was going to continue to rain the rest of the afternoon, I decided to go on over to the motel in La Place, LA and try to dry out there.


After I got checked in at the motel and dried out, I got dining recommendations from the desk clerk, and headed for supper at The Pier 51 Seafood Restaurant just down the road from the motel.  I had Cajun style crawfish, jumbo shrimp, and a house salad with ranch dressing. Boy was that an experience!  I had always wanted to try Cajun prepared crawfish. A local sitting next to me at the bar, with a huge tray of crayfish, graciously instructed me on how to properly peel and eat the crayfish. In my opinion, its more trouble than it’s worth. Also, the Cajun boil they use is a little too spicy for me.



With a full tummy and a good night’s sleep tonight, I’ll be on my way to Houston, Texas first thing tomorrow morning.

—–To Be Continued—–

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