Tag Archives: American Travel

America’s North Country Trip~Part 9

15 Nov

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites



Day 9 (Saturday)

This morning I had to do a little back tracking, as I headed south out of Missoula on I-90, back thru Butte, to pick up I-15 south toward Idaho Falls. The first stop was to visit the Beaverhead County Museum located in Dillon, MT. This was a small but very well kept museum situated in the Old Pacific Railroad train station. The station has been restored and now contains the Old Depot Museum, with local artifacts and memorabilia, the Old Depot Theater, and the Lewis & Clark Diorama Bird Display. Outside there was a restored one-room schoolhouse, a restored 1885 one-room log cabin and an early 1900’s Shepard’s wagon.



Now as I was leaving town, I happened to pass a curio shop with the sign that read “Bitterroot Trading Post” and I just had to stop and take a photo. For some reason, that sign just yelled out loud at me, “Come See the Pioneer West Here.”



At the suggestion of the tour guide at the Old Depot Museum, and just a few miles down the road, I visited the Bannack State Park located in Beaverhead County on Grasshopper Creek. The town of Bannack was founded in 1862 after a major gold strike was made in the area, and got its name from the local Bannock Indians. The town of Bannack grew so big that it served as the capital of the Montana Territory until the capital was moved to Virginia City. After the gold ran out and the last inhabitants left, the abandoned town, and its 60 buildings continued to decline, over the years, from wind and weather until finally becoming the ghost town that it is today.



As I continued south on I-15 I stopped at a rest stop to check out a sign for the Nez Perce War. As it turned out, the Nez Perce War was between the Nez Perce tribe and their allies the Palouse tribe and the U.S. Army in 1877. This conflict was motivated when the Indians (called “non-treaty Indians) refused to move to the Idaho Indian reservation. In fact it was a violation to the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla for the Army to force the Indians to leave their established ancestral lands. The Indians resisted, and the Army chased some of them all the way to Canada.



Next I visited the Pacific Fighter Restorations, located at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport in Idaho Falls, ID. This was a one-hanger warbird restoration facility that had several WWII aircraft in various stages of restoration. The folks were very friendly and allowed me to walk thru their shop and take photos of their various projects, while they watched the airshow going on from their hanger door.



During the planning of this trip, I had researched 2017 airshows to be held in the U.S. and discovered there was one in Idaho Fall on the weekend of July 22-23 at this airport. That worked into my scheduled route, and I had purchased an online advanced ticket for the 23. While I was at the airport today, I checked out the parking area with Greta so I could drive right to it in the morning.



Now I headed south on I-15 for a quick trip to visit the Idaho Potato Museum located in Blackfoot, ID. This museum is located in what was the original Union Pacific Railroad train depot there in Blackfoot, and displays all sorts of potato industry related artifacts and memorabilia. I found the “Timeline History” of potatoe consumption in the U.S. very informative, as well as the 1600 year old Peruvian-made vessels that are believed to be the first ever containers used to store potatoes.



As part of the museum, they have a small “Potatoe Station Café” where you can get potato-themed foods of all kinds. I’m sure DiVoran would have liked their chocolate dipped potatoe chips. And then of course there is the Spud Seller” gift shop. They had a series of catchy video advertisements that I thought were very creative. Try the link below to see what I mean.



Now it was time to head back to Idaho Falls to find my motel and look for a place to have dinner. On the way, I stopped in Shelley, ID to see if anyone was flying model airplanes at the Red Baron R/C Modelers field. Greta had a hard time finding the field since it was located within the North Bingham County Recreation Area. The club has a nice field, but no one was flying this afternoon.

At tonight’s motel, there in Idaho Falls, I ask the desk clerk if she could recommend a good restaurant. She said she liked Jalisco’s Mexican Restaurant located not far from the motel. That sounded good to me, so I gave Greta the address and we were on our way. I tried their “Casa Ranchero” and it was wonderful. Of course there was way too much for me to eat at one sitting, so I would have plenty left to enjoy again tomorrow night.


—–To Be Continued—–

Savannah’s Historic River Street

1 Nov

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

river-street-savannah-gaRiverfront Plaza

Historic River Street, paved with 200-year-old cobblestones, runs along the length of the Savannah River. Once lined with warehouses holding King Cotton, the neighborhood never fully recovered from the the yellow-fever epidemic and subsequent quarantine of 1818. Abandoned for over a century, it was rediscovered in the 1970s by local landowners and urban planners determined to revive the history and the glory of old River Street.
Savannah also boasts numerous other cobblestone streets such as Jones and Bay Street. All of these beautiful cobblestone streets have been around since the mid 1700’s. Once sandy or wooden, the cobble streets resulted from abundant sources of river cobble and quarried stone being easily available through shipping to the city’s port. Today’s the cobblestones are used for pavement and construction along River Street as well as around Savannah. You can see the beauty and magic of the cobblestones streets and buildings with many walking tours including the famous Cobblestone Tours that put an interesting touch on the city’s history.
In June of 1977, at a cost of $7 million, a new waterfront was unveiled for the city of Savannah. Some 80,000 square feet of empty abandoned warehouse space was transformed in to a colorful array of shops, restaurants and art galleries.
The urban-renewal project stabilized the downtown and revitalized the Historic District.  Since then, the area has developed into a popular destination for locals and tourists, alike. Today more than 70 businesses, shops and restaurants, call River Street home. Casual and upscale restaurants sit alongside quaint specialty shops and art galleries.
But there is more to do here than just shop and eat. Be sure to talk a leisurely stroll along the lovely landscaped river walk that runs between River Street and the Savannah River, where you’ll find Savannah’s Waving Girl and the Olympic Cauldron monument. Then explore the bluffs along the river on the old passageway of alleys, cobblestone walkways, and bridges known as Factors Walk.

The Crest

15 Feb


Judy Wills



Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I always took the mountains for granted. They were just part of the scene.


The Sandia Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountain chain, and are really majestic and beautiful, and I miss them, now that I live in flatland Florida. The mountains are quite wonderful all the time, but especially in the evening, when the sun is setting and they literally turn purple. Remember the line from “America the Beautiful” – you know:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

Well, they really do turn purple! Amazing!

The top of Sandia Crest tops out at 10,678 feet above sea level – the highest point in Albuquerque. And it’s COLD up there – and breezy! We took our daughters there in the summer before we went to Germany – and we forgot to take sweaters with us!. As you can see from the pictures – we were FREEZING!


For a bit of information, I gleaned this from Wikipedia: Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset. Also, when viewed from the west, the profile of the mountains is a long ridge, with a thin zone of green conifers near the top, suggesting the “rind” of the watermelon. However, as Robert Julyan notes, “the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash gourds growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo.” He also notes that the Sandia Pueblo Indians call the mountain Bien Mur, “big mountain”.

There are two ways to get to the crest – driving or by the tram.It is reported to be the longest tramway in the world!


While we’ve driven the roads many times, we’ve only been up the tramway once – and it was quite a thrill! If you’re ever in Albuquerque, give it a try. Something you’ll never experience anywhere else.


But Albuquerque and the crest are known for other things, as well. I know that many people have heard of the winter snow skiing in Taos, New Mexico. But the best-kept secret is that some of the very best skiing is right there in the mountains of Albuquerque!


On a website I checked out recently, it said that there was a 23″ base of snow, and so far this year they’ve had 55″ of new snow! That should delight any ski enthusiast! I never got into skiing – little too expensive for me, and I’m a bit of a chicken. But many people have discovered that pleasure and ski right outside of town.

That’s the Albuquerque I know and love.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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