Tag Archives: American Road Trip

Road Trip~ Denver, Colorado to Pagosa Springs, Colorado

11 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Day 9, September 15, 2017

We enjoyed our road trip to Denver, but this morning we were excited to begin the next segment of our journey, a week’s stay at a condo in Pagosa Springs! This trip began back in the spring during a conversation with our friend, Pam.She has a timeshare and occasionally she has points and no plan on where she would like to travel and it just so happened that we had a slight windfall of cash and wanted to take a road trip. I told her that if she had timeshare points to use, we had funds! After looking at several locations, Pagosa Springs was a good fit for both of us. She and our daughter could fly to Denver and hubby and I, not a fan of flying would drive our truck.

Hurricane Irma update: Before we left the hotel, our daughter checked to see if the power was back on in her home. It wasn’t, but there was hope that maybe by the end of the day.

We decided to avoid the interstate and once we were clear of Denver, began our journey south on US 285.  The ride was pleasant and as the scenery was new to us, the time flew. Pam’s daughter who mountain climbs with her husband had advised us to look for an outfitter store to purchase Acli-Mate for our daughter’s altitude sickness. Since she was still feeling queasy, we were on the look out for one.  I really wish I could remember the name of the small town where we stopped. It had a tiny outfitter’s store but it was filled with supplies. I think the name of the shop had the words Eagle Claw in them so if anyone is familiar with the area, I would love to know the name. We were in luck! The store had individual packets of Acli-Mate  upfront at the register. While Rebekah paid for them, I decided a bathroom break was a good idea. I was a little hesitant, though, wondering how clean the bathroom might be. To my surprise it was not only very clean but had the best reading material! One whole wall was shelved and held a magazine for any type of outdoor sport one could think of, all neatly laid out. I wish I had taken a picture, but it just seemed wrong.

Once we were back on the road, we began looking for a place to have our picnic lunch.  We found a park with picnic tables, but were irritated to read a sign requiring a daily use fee.  After grumbling, we decided to ignore the fee as we weren’t going to be using any other portion of the park. It was windy with a chill in the air so we chose a table in the sun.

 

 

Landscape

 

Our drive south took us through the Pike and San Isobel Forest, then the Rio Grande National Forest and they were beautiful.

 

By robert thigpen from diboll, texas (Stony Pass roadUploaded by PDTillman) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, we made it to our home for the week! Wyndham, Pagosa Springs.

 

Our Unit

 

Once we had unloaded the truck, the ladies headed out to Wal-Mart to pick up some grocery items for breakfast. By the time we returned it was dark and an unexpected visitor had surprised my husband as he glanced out the sliding glass door. I’m glad he was able to capture this picture.

 

Just checking out the new neighbors!

 

We made it an early night as we had big plans for the next day, here is a hint.

 

Minute Meditations~7

31 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

                                                

POSSESSIONS

What is your most prized possession?

Your car?

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Your house?

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An instrument you’ve scrimped and saved for, for so long you wondered whether or not you would ever be able to afford it?

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That big-screen TV?

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That stereo system? That computer? That ipad or iphone?

What about a pet? Is that considered a “possession” to you?

How did you feel after you acquired that prized possession? Did the possessing of it complete your life, like you thought it would? Or were you “let down” now that you had it in hand?

My brother, Bill, wrote about a woman who desired something – something she considered more than life itself:

4In acquiring those prized possessions, if we consider how that possession can be used to God’s glory, then we can use it – “give it back to God” – and know that we have fulfilled God’s desire for us in that instance. We can give God the opportunity to bless us with our use of the possession.

The “essence” of this thought is that, what God gives still belongs to Him – to be used for His glory.

I had never thought about my possessions in that light. God really DOES want to give us the best, and to bless us with it.

WOW!

My Colonial States Trip~Part 21

8 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

After that educational tour, I headed for the rental car office to turn in my car and get a ride to the Providence Train Station for my trip to the T.F. Green Airport. All went well until I arrived at the train station and my train #807 showed no gate assignment. There were four tracks, and I didn’t want to miss my train (12:27) because the next train after that (2:54) to the airport would cause me to miss my flight to Orlando. As I bought my ticket, I asked the clerk which track train #807 would leave from and she said, “That information will be posted on the schedule board about 15 minutes before the train arrives.” So, I broke out my CD player and settled in to wait. At 12:15 the schedule board had not changed and I asked the clerk about the gate number again. This time she rolled her eyes and said, “Sometimes they don’t post that information until 5 minutes before the train arrives.” I thanked her and sat back down to watch the schedule board. By now (12:23) I was about to panic, and go holler at someone, when the schedule board changed showing “Train #807 Arriving On Track 4” and I breathed a sigh of relief.

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I got to the T.F. Green Airport Station at 12:43 and figured I now had a little over 2 hours to wait for my flight leaving at 3:30. But, when I went to check my bag for the flight, I was told that the plane had had mechanical problems and they would have to bring another plane to Providence, and the new departure time for my flight was 4:50. What a bummer! All that anxiety over missing the train was for nothing. So, what else could I do, but call DiVoran to tell her my flight was delayed, and that would make it too late arriving for us to go to dinner there in Orlando, as we had planned. She said, “No problem, I’ll just whip us up an omelet when we get home.” Well, that was fine with me, so, I broke out my CD player again and settled in for a little longer wait this time. As it turned out, it was almost 9:00 before we got home and that ham/cheese/mushroom omelet was just what the doctor ordered.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love going on these trips, to see different parts of our wonderful country, visit interesting places and museums and meet my American neighbors no matter where they live. But, it is always good to get home to the company of my lovely wife DiVoran and sleep in my own bed. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I have enjoyed re-living it in these blogs. I’m sure I have left out some important details of the trip, but if I remember them I’ll just have to include them as some kind of a “Post Script” or “Addendum” to My Colonial States Trip at some later date. In the meantime, keep smiling because GOD loves YOU and has a wonderful plan for your life.      

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           —–The End—–

My Colonial States Trip~Part 17

11 Mar

A Slice of Life
 Bill Lites

My friends from Boston and New York had advised me not to use the George Washington Bridge if I could help it, but that’s the way “Greta” took me on my way back to the west to visit the Aviation Hall of Fame in Teterboro, NJ. So, it was across the Throgs Neck Bridge, thru the Bronx, over the Hudson River on the G.W. Bridge to the museum. As it turned out, it must have been my lucky day for that crossing, because that trip was pretty much of a breeze and I made it to the museum in good time. This museum, located at the Teterboro Airport, displays historic aircraft and spacecraft equipment, artifacts and photographs along with a model aircraft collection, honoring the many New Jersey men and women who have helped make the aviation industry what it is today. There is a room filled with medallions honoring the over 160 inductees to date.

I woke up to rain the next morning. Up until now the weather had been perfect and I had just assumed it would be the same for the whole trip. Silly me. What was I thinking? Well, it rained that entire day as I sloshed my way toward Connecticut. I figured “Greta” would have routed me back across the G.W. Bridge and up I-95 to Bridgeport, CT before turning north. But I wasn’t ready to try my luck getting across the G.W. Bridge again, especially during the morning rush-hour traffic in the rain. So, I decided to take the northern route, using the Garden State Parkway, and then crossing the Hudson River at the Tappenzee Bridge. Well, wouldn’t you know, I missed the exit for the bridge. I stopped at a service center and asked how to get back to the bridge exit and the guy said, “Just take the next exit and do a “U” turn.” Right! It was 20 miles to the next exit and it ended up taking me 30 minutes and another 30 miles back to the bridge exit (all this in the pouring down rain).

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I finally made it to the right exit, across the Tappenzee Bridge, then thru Danbury and Hartford, CT to the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. That ended up taking 1-½ hours longer than I had planned. What a waste of time that was! The museum displays over 60 beautifully restored aircraft and related artifacts/equipment in three hangers. As I followed a group into the B-29 hanger, I overheard someone say that the small group was honoring their 95 year old uncle who had been a navigator in B-29s during WWII. The elderly gentleman was overwhelmed by the occasion and the size of the aircraft. I heard him say, “I don’t remember it being so big!” What a nice thing for a family to do for their uncle. While I was in the area, I had planned to visit the American Museum of Aviation in Stafford Springs, CT but I discovered that visiting the museum was by appointment only. I was behind schedule anyway, so I just headed south to my next stop, at the New London Customhouse in New London, CT which is operated by the New England Maritime Association. This turned out to be a very small museum, so I didn’t spend much time there.

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—–To Be Continued—–

My Colonial States Trip~Part 16

4 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

I saw the Dolly Todd (Madison) house, Edgar Allen Poe’s house, the Fireman’s Hall Museum, the Pine Street Presbyterian Church and the Mechanic’s National Bank. I had trouble finding the Seaport Museum, home of the USS Olympia, and when I did find it they wanted $15.00 to park and $10.00 admission, and this was another case of not feeling like I would have enough time to see the museum and the ship to justify the cost.

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So, I headed back across the Delaware River to Camden, NJ to try to see the USS New Jersey before they closed, but didn’t make it. So, I just went on back to Gloucester City, where I had another fabulous rib dinner at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant before going back to the motel for the night.

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The next day I passed up visiting the Simeone Auto museum and the Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum, as I saw so many things in Philadelphia that I ran out of time, and had to push on toward that day’s list of places to visit.

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First on the list was the Air Victory Museum in Lumberton, NJ which was closed that day. When I was researching the drive from Lumberton to my next stop in Garden City, NY I was pleased to see that “Google Maps” routed me south, around New York City, on I-278 to miss the city traffic. So now, after inputting the Cradle of Aviation Museum address into “Greta”, I sat back to enjoy the ride. The first indication that something was not quite right was when I was directed to enter the Lincoln Tunnel. The next thing I knew I was stopped at a light at the corner of East 42nd Street and Madison Avenue.

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What in the world was going on? “Greta” had done it to me again! All I could do at this point was follow her directions, as I had no idea how to get to Garden City by myself. She took me thru the Queens Midtown Tunnel onto the Long Island Expressway (I think) and somehow delivered me to the correct museum address in Garden City. Needless to say, it took a lot longer than I had planned to get there. When I finally pulled up in front of the Cradle of Aviation Museum, I was expecting to be thrilled with lots of beautifully restored aircraft in that magnificent facility. What greeted me, as I entered the front door was a huge mess of canvas tarps on the floor, with tables, buckets, and women everywhere, making preparations for a local flower show, of all things. As it turned out, the museum had a surprisingly small number of aircraft for the size of their facility. I guess the main reason for that was their emphasis is on education rather than strictly on aviation. In one area, on the ground floor, I came across the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center. What a surprise that was!

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Next I continued about 15 miles east on Long Island to the American Airpower Museum located in Farmingdale, NY which is about the size of our Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville, Florida. Most of their WWII aircraft housed in their large hanger are in flying condition, while their later era (more modern) planes, make up an impressive static display collection outside.

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—–To Be Continued—–

My Colonial States Trip~Part 14

18 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

The “Declaration Chamber” in Independence Hall has been beautifully restored and arranged to represent the way it looked during the years between 1775 and 1783 when the Second Continental Congress used this chamber to meet, debate and eventually adopt our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

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The “Supreme Court Chamber” has also been beautifully restored with ochre-painted walls and the coat of arms for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania above the bench. This is the room where the Philadelphia Supreme Court conducted trials, and the state legislature conducted business in the early years of our nation. There are records that indicate the U.S. Supreme Court held proceedings in this chamber in 1791 and again in 1796. The judge’s bench and jury’s box overlooked the accused, who stood in the prisoner’s dock for the duration of his trial, giving rise to the expression “Stand Trial.”

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Next I went to view the Liberty Bell and discovered that the bell was originally cast in London, England in 1752. The bell was installed in the State House and intended to be used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens of public meetings and proclamations, but it cracked the first time it was rung after arriving in Philadelphia. There isn’t actually any evidence that the bell was rung on July 4, 1776 to announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A story (fable) was written in 1847 about an elderly bell ringer who claimed he ran the bell on that date. People liked that story so much that it was adopted as fact, and has been perpetuated down through the years. It wasn’t until the 1830s that the bell was dubbed, by several abolitionist societies, as the “Liberty Bell” and used as a symbol of freedom by them during the 1830s and 1940s.

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Then I boarded a city tour bus for a 90-minute guided tour of the city of Philadelphia with all its many historical places. Most people today don’t realize that Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States, or how many important events, which helped shape our country, took place in this city. I was amazed at how many famous people in our country’s early history lived and worked in this city, helping form the foundation of our nation as we now know it.

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I saw the Betsy Ross house where it’s said that Betsy fashioned and made the first American flag in 1776, and later presented it to General George Washington (who by then had been appointed Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army).

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I saw Ben Franklin’s print shop, where he became famous for printing The Pennsylvania Gazette; the President’s House site where George Washington
and John Adams created the Office of the President of the United States; the Christ Church Cemetery where Ben Franklin is buried, along with many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and other famous leaders. I found it interesting as a side note, that it is said, Christ Church in Philadelphia is also where Colonial America made its initial break with the Church of England.

 

—–To Be Continued—–

My Colonial States Trip~Part 13

11 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

The U. S. Naval Academy Museum didn’t take long, and I was on my way east to check out the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, DE which had a great collection of both hangered and outdoor static aircraft. They had two C-141s on static display and I recorded the tail numbers so I could ask my friend Dick, when I got back home, if he had flown either one of them during his time in the U.S. Air Force. As it turned out, he had flown one of them.

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Next I headed north again to visit the Massey Air Museum in Massey, MD which turned out to be a very small museum with a C-47 sitting in front of one of the hangers and a F4U Corsair mounted on a pedestal next to the rotating beacon tower. The hanger doors were not open and the museum was closed up for the day, (closed at 4:00 pm) so, after a couple photos, I kept moving north.

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I had planned to visit the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum & Library in Wilmington, DE but “Greta” had a hard time recognizing the address, since it was on a rural road, with nothing but a guard station blocking the entrance to the driveway. By the time I finally found the proper address, it was after 5:00 pm and the guard said they were closed. I believe DiVoran would have liked to visit this museum as the estate is used as the location for lectures by famous decorating, clothing and jewelry designers who have contributed to the making of movie and TV series projects such as Mrs. Henderson Presents, The Young Victoria and Downton Abbey. What do you think DiVoran?   After a long day of driving, I stopped and had dinner at the “Metro Diner” in Brooklawn, NJ before heading to the motel in Gloucester City, NJ for the evening.

           

The next morning I left early, driving thru Camden, NJ and across the Delaware River, in time to arrive at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia, PA for a day of touring that historic city. My first problem was finding the underground parking garage. I had to circle several blocks a couple of times before I spotted the garage entrance, and found my way up the elevator to the information center. I picked up a map of the area and got directions to where I could obtain my free ticket for a tour of Independence Hall. As I was heading across the park for the Hall, I realized I had left my camera lying on the counter at the visitor’s center. I rushed back to the counter and asked if anyone had seen my camera, but they said, “No.” I was really upset, but what could I do? Evidently, someone had picked it up and walked off with it, and there went my camera and some 400-500 photos of my trip so far, never to be seen again. It was hard, but I thanked God for the camera loss and asked Him to help me give the whole thing up to Him.

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The Independence Hall Tour was very interesting and educational from beginning to end. We were reminded that Independence Hall (originally the Philadelphia State House) was completed in 1753 and is primarily known as the building where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and finally adopted by the colonial representatives. As a side note, the Liberty Bell had its first home in the steeple of the Philadelphia State House.

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My Colonial States Trip~Part 9

14 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

After looking over the P-61 restoration project and talking to one of the museum’s volunteers, I decided not to try to visit the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel, PA or Jerry’s Classic Cars in Pottsville, PA since I needed to be heading south and not north. So, my next stop was to visit the Choo Choo Barn model train museum in Strasburg, PA which has a large model train display that features over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains. This display includes miniature replicas of such Lancaster county places as The Willows Restaurant, the Dutch Wonderland amusement park, and the Strasburg Railroad.

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As it turned out, and since I was in the middle of Dutch country, Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches restaurant was right next door to the Choo Choo Barn, so I stopped in and had one of their hot Reuben sandwiches for lunch. Yumm, was that ever good!

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Then I slid over to the Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, PA where I discovered a small living history village, depicting the early 1740s German culture in that part of Pennsylvania. There was a large Mennonite cemetery adjacent to the village and I wasn’t sure if it was associated with the museum or not.

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Next it was over to take a look at the Haines Shoe House located in Hallam, PA that sits all by itself, out in the middle of a field, just off Shoe House Road. Built by shoe salesman, Mahlon Haines in 1948 as a form of advertisement, Haines gave the architect a boot and said, “Build me a house like this.” And he did. Mahlon claimed that his boots were all-inclusive, or what he called from “Hoof-to-Hoof” because the company did all of the boot making process starting with the raising of the cattle to the finished product.

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Then another few miles down the road I visited the Golden Plough Tavern in York, PA, but it was closed, so I worked my way back to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. As I walked up to the museum from the parking lot, there was a guy sitting under a tree, all by himself, playing a clarinet.   The museum’s exhibition covers the period from 1850 to 1876, with the major focus being on the Civil War years of 1861-1865. The collection has over 24,000 artifacts, photographs, documents and manuscripts related to those historic years in our history. When I exited the museum to look out over the scenic Susquehanna River valley, not far from where the 1863 Sporting Hill skirmish took place during the Gettysburg campaign, the guy was still playing. His music was enchanting and very restful and it really set the stage for the view from the top of the Prospect Hill where the museum is located.

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—–To Be Continued—–

An Amazing Adventure~Part 12

11 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 8

7 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

As I headed south again, I passed thru Poughkeepsie, NY, Morristown, NJ and on across the border to the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, PA which is a museum of all types of “Over the Road Transportation” vehicles that have been beautifully restored and displayed.

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While I was in Allentown, I visited the Zion’s United Church of Christ (formerly the Zion’s Reformed Church) which houses the Liberty Bell Museumand a replica of the original Liberty Bell. The museum contains exhibits relating to the Liberty Bell (which was hidden, along with other bells, in the church during the Revolutionary War from September 1777 to June 1778) and other interesting memorabilia pertaining to liberty, freedom, patriotism and local history.

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As I walking back to my car, I came across a Mennonite Choir singing hymns on a street corner. It was a beautiful day, and their music echoed off the adjacent buildings and was a delight to hear. They were passing out gospel tracts and giving away CDs of their choir music. I had wanted to visit these museums in Allentown because my route the next day took me south again, so I did a little back-tracking a short distance to Easton, PA for dinner and the motel that night.

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The next day my first stop was to visit the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles in Boyertown, PA but they were closed that day. Fortunately, the front door was unlocked and I just walked in and was surprised when a lady behind the counter said, “Since your here, I’ll turn on the lights and you can go ahead and have a look around.” I took her up on that deal, and was amazed at their wonderful collection of vintage vehicles and equipment, which included a 1920s Sun Oil Company gas station and wrecker truck and the old 1930s Reading Diner.

 

Only about 15 miles down the road was the Daniel Boone homestead in Birdsboro, Pa which was also closed that day, but I stopped and got as close as I could to take a couple photos. The homestead is located in the beautiful rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania just north of the French Creek State Park.

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Then it was on over to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum located at the Carl A Spaatz Field in Reading, PA where many of their over 50 aircraft are on display. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I saw a beaver scurry down and embankment and into a drain pipe. What a surprise that was! The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is in the process of restoring a Northrop P-61B Black Widow fighter to complete flight configuration, which will make it the only flying P-61 in the world. The P-61 has always been one of my favorite WWII aircraft, ever since I attended Northrop University where I went to school to receive my BS degree in Mechanical Engineering along with an Airframe & Power Plant license. Of course, the P-61 was used as an example in many of the classroom courses of study, such as sheet metal, electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics.

—–To Be Continued—–

 

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