Tag Archives: America Travel Series

America’s North Country Trip~Part 7

1 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites




Day 7 (Thursday)


As I continued west on I-90 next I visited the Crazy Mountain Museum located in Big Timber, MT. This was a small museum in a lovely wooded location, and included a main building which displayed a 1/16th scale model of the town of Big Timber as it looked in 1907. Outside there was a restored one-room schoolhouse, a replica of a Norwegian Stabbur (storage building), and a restored sheep herder’s wagon (these could have been the first RV’s back in the day).



Continuing west on I-90 next I visited the Livingston Railroad Depot located in Livingston, MT. This museum is in the restored 1902 Northern Pacific Railroad train station and contains a large assortment of local railroad memorabilia. The waiting platform has been converted into a very nice patio café for visitors and locals alike.



On the way to my next museum there in Livingston, I drove past a Custom Car Restoration garage and decided to pop in to see what was in the works. As it turned out the owner was very friendly and showed me around his shop and some of his projects. He had several classic cars and trucks that were in various stages of restoration.



While I was in Livingston I also visited the Federation of Fly Fishers Museum just to see what it was all about. This turned out to be a small two-story building where both floors were filled (floor to ceiling) with every conceivable type of fishing fly. The museum owner’s wife was very nice and showed me a lot more than I would ever have wanted to know about fly fishing, tackle and the making of flies. She also introduced me to their National Fly Fishing Hall of Fame gallery which included famous Fly Fishing inventers and celebrities from all over the country.



Next on the list was the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, also there in Livingston. This museum consisted of a large 3-story building (plus a basement) filled with local memorabilia from the early western Montana area. The museum’s collection included restored wagons, buggies, fire wagons, a shepherd’s wagon, and of course, as with most museums in these Plaines States, a stuffed buffalo. Outside there was a one-room schoolhouse and lots of restored early farm equipment



Now I continued west on I-90 to visit the Museum of the Rockies, located in Bozeman, MT. This is a very large museum, and as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is known for its paleontological collections. It also claims to have the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the U.S. I was impressed with the number and size of their complete dinosaur displays.



It was getting late in the day, so I headed west to try to get to the Headwaters Heritage Museum located at the corner of Main & Cedar Streets in Three Forks, MT before they closed. This was a small museum, in a two-story downtown building (I think it was originally a bank), consisting mostly in local early American memorabilia. I was impressed with their display of over 750 different types of “bobbed wire” that has been used over the years. I didn’t spend much time in this museum as I was eager to get down the road to my ultimate destination for the day.



Now it was on west to visit the Jefferson Valley Museum located in Whitehall, MT. This was another frontier village type museum that depicts the early history and heritage of the local area, including Native American tribes, fur trappers, miners and homesteaders who raised horses, cattle and produce for the area’s mining camps and railroad workers. I opted not to walk through this museum village, and instead headed for my motel there in Whitehall.



On the way to the motel I spotted a KFC restaurant, and decided to have dinner with the Colonel again tonight. I really do like his chicken. I had their 3-piece chicken dinner again. This time I got cold slaw, mashed potatoes & gravy and I always get one of their homemade biscuits with butter and honey for dessert. What a great way to end a long day on the road.



—–To Be Continued—–

An Amazing Adventure~Part 12

11 Jan


Judy Wills


After stopping for supper at Estes Park, we drove on to Denver, staying at an Extended Stay Hotel. Unfortunately, the chain was working on renovating this particular hotel, so it wasn’t in the best shape for our stay. However, we knew we wouldn’t be there during the day, so we stayed anyway.

Our final day in Denver—and our trip. But Brian had packed in a bunch of stuff for us to do. We began with breakfast—but not at the hotel! They only had cold cereal and some muffins. Brian had noticed a “Rosie’s Diner” nearby by hotel, so we went there for breakfast. It is a classic diner, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal there. We learned (from Wikipedia) that Rosie’s was:   Humbly birthed in 1946 as the Silver Dollar Diner of Little Ferry, New Jersey. Rosie’s Diner earned national acclaim and took on its current name in 1971, when the Bounty paper towels “quicker picker upper” TV commercial made the diner and waitress Rosie (a.k.a. the late actress Nancy Walker) household icons.


We were also impressed to see, over the counter, a sign that read: We thank and pray for all who serve our country. We thanked the hostess for the sign, and she stated that three of her children were in the military.

Brian had wanted to tour the Denver Mint, but discovered that all the reservations for that day were filled. Shucks! Oh well, we had plenty of other stuff to see.

Our next stop was Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. I know some of you know about this place, but neither Fred nor I did. And we were blown away by it! We were impressed not only by the “red rocks” but the size of them!


But the amphitheatre was amazing!



Brian described how it was built. And we were also amazed to find that a LOT of Denverites use it as an exercise platform. We saw them jogging through the seating area. One little girl was learning early in life to exercise there.



But what amazed/impressed us the most, was a group of people who would stand on one bleacher, then JUMP to the next bleacher…UP! And then again. And then again. Really amazing!



Inside the building, we found a wall of mementoes to people and groups who had performed in the amphitheatre from years past. We found the group “311” had performed there every year since 2008. That may not mean anything to you—but one of our nephews is a member of that particular rock band.   Brian tells us that, with the younger-than-40 crowd, 311 is a VERY hot group! We are pleased to see they are doing so well.



We drove then through Genesee Park, hoping to see some bison—but there were none to see. Genesee is reported to be a Native American term for “shining valley.”   It is Denver’s largest mountain park. Bison and Elk were brought into the park in the 1920’s, to help the endangered animals to repopulate. Apparently, as you drive along the Interstate, you can frequently see the Bison. They just weren’t out for us that day.


~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~

My Colonial States~Trip Part 7

31 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Red Spot Plane

The reason it was late in the day when I arrived in Saratoga Springs was because when I left the Bellow Falls, “Greta” told me to head north 27 miles when I should have been heading south!  What was that all about?  Even though I had missed seeing a couple of museums, it had been a very delightful day’s journey, as the changing of the tree colors had been growing more beautiful as I traversed thru northern New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.


Even though it was late in the day, I hustled down to Glenville, NY to check out the Empire State Aerosciences Museum, but missed getting in to see their hangered collection by 30 minutes (they closed at 4:00 pm).  I was really hoping to visit this museum as I was looking forward to seeing their restoration hanger projects, which I understood was extensive.  I was however, able to get a few pictures of their outdoor static display aircraft, but had to shoot through the chain-link fence.    But, oh well, you can’t see them all.  Maybe next time.



I ended the day by taking a leisurely drive thru Schenectady, NY to Albany, NY where I had a wonderful meal of Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, and then it was just a matter of finding my motel for the night.

The next morning I headed south again thru Germantown, NY to be re-acquainted with some really old friends (aircraft) at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook, NY.  I had visited the Aerodrome back in 2011, during a trip to the up-state New York area, and wanted to check out any new aircraft they might have added to their collection.



 I also wanted to see their freshly restored 1917 Albatros D.Va replica.  This Albatros replica had been built in the 1970s by Aerodrome founder Cole Palen, and finished in the colors of WWI Bavarian fighter ace Eduard Ritter von Schleich of Jasta 21 in 1917.


The plane had been an Old Rhinebeck Airshow favorite for many years.  Part of the recent complete restoration included a new paint scheme depicting one of the aircraft flown by another well-known WWI Bavarian fighter ace in 1918, Lieutenant Walter Boning of Jasta 76b.


Two more of my favorite aircraft in the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome collection are the 1911 Curtiss Model D Pusher, and the 1909 Bleriot XI, which has the distinction of being the oldest flying aircraft in the United States.


      1911 Curtiss Model D Pusher


1909 Bleriot XI

It was hard to pull myself away from this museum, but I needed to keep moving if I was going to see all the places on my list for that day.  So, heading south a short distance, I skirted the Catskill Mountains on my way to visit the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston, NY.  This small museum wasn’t open until later in the day, but the lady saw me at the door and let me in any way.  That was nice as I had the entire museum and its rolling stock all to myself.  The museum operates a trolley line ride from Gallo Park to Kingston Point providing scenic views along the Hudson River.


As I was leaving the Trolley Museum I noticed that the surrounding area looked very familiar.  I had been so intent on finding the Trolley Museum that I had driven right past the Hudson River Maritime Museum, one of the museums I had visited during my Upstate New York trip back in 2011.  I stopped long enough to take a couple of photos of the “Mathilda” which is a 1898 steam tug boat, and then I was on my way again. 


—–To Be Continued—–

%d bloggers like this: