Tag Archives: Museums

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5A

9 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27

I started the day with a visit to the Ojibwa Cultural Museum located, across the Mackinaw City Bridge (from what is called the Lower Michigan Peninsula to the Upper Michigan Peninsula) in Saint Ignace, MI.  This was a small museum, but it had some very interesting memorabilia and Ojibwa Indian cultural exhibits inside and outside the museum.

I found it interesting to learn that the native Indians in the Upper Peninsula had not always been friendly with each other.  A historical marker, outside the museum indicated that the Huron Indians had been displaced by the hostile Iroquois Indians, from their homes in Canada, to the St. Ignace area in around 1671.  These peace loving Huron Indians were ministered to by Father Marquette at his St. Ignace Mission until they joined Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac on his expedition to Detroit in 1701.

Next I picked up US-2 and headed 40+ miles west, to visit the Top-of-the-Lake Snowmobile Museum located in Naubinway, MI.  This is one of the most amazing museums I have visited.  The museum consists of over 185 unique, vintage, and classic snowmobiles of every type imaginable.   It was well worth the time to stop and see how inventive people have been to come up with ways to travel on the heavy snow in the frozen North Country.

After that interesting museum I headed west, another 30 miles on US-2, to try to find the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Gallagher, MI but to no avail.  I couldn’t find any road signs, and Greta (my Garmin) could not find the address either.  Another 15 miles west on US-2, it was the same thing when I tried to find the Bishop Baraga Shrine in Manistique, MI.  I even stopped and asked a local man on the street, but he had never heard of the Shrine.   So I continued to follow US-2 west, another 50 miles, until I reached Escanaba, MI to check out the Sand Point Lighthouse located on the shore of the Little Bay de Noc, at the entrance to Escanaba Harbor.  Built in 1867, this small lighthouse served to protect the shipping industry of Escanaba until 1966, when it was abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard, and converted into a museum that displays local maritime artifacts and memorabilia.


Next I visited the West Shore Fishing Museum located off SR-35, just west of Rochereau Point in the Kate A. Bailey Park.  Located a  few miles north of Menominee, MI, this museum is the restored home and fishery of Charles Bailey, who operated one of the area’s largest commercial fishing operations from 1893 to 1950.  The museum opened in 1997 with family owned commercial fishing artifacts and memorabilia from the family’s many years of fishing the Green Bay.  Mr. Bailey conducted a very creative fish exchange with Florida fish processors of the time, whereby they sold each other their fresh local fish.

—–Today’s activities will be continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

My Western Trip~Part 6

11 Jun

 A Slice of Life

By Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

Next, it was over to Simi Valley, CA for a tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. I was impressed with the 24 different galleries, which traced Reagan’s life from his early days as local hero, college standout, glamorous Hollywood actor, then as governor of California, and ultimately to the presidency of the United States. There was even a full-sized replica of the Oval Office in one of the galleries. But, of course the thing that impressed me the most was Air Force One (S/N 27000), also known as “The Flying Whitehouse” and the Marine One helicopter (S/N 150611), both of which Reagan used while President. I asked one of the Docents how they got the plane in the building, and she said, “They built three sides of the new building, took the wings and tail assembly off the plane, so they could bring it in through the fourth opening, and re-assembled the airplane inside. Then they finished the fourth all glass wall. For the full story of how the U.S. President’s airplane got its name, Google “Air Force One.” It’s a fascinating story I think you will enjoy knowing.

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Before leaving Simi Valley, I stopped at the Santa Susana Railroad Depot & Museum to get the history of an early California railroad depot and its operations. This was one of the most unusual and interesting small museums. The depot is an example of what the Southern Pacific Railroad called their Standard No. 22 Depot in 1903. The depot has been meticulously restored with many original furnishings and working equipment, that the Docent uses to explain to visitors how the depots operated in the early 20th century. Today, on what was the old Southern Pacific rails, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight trains head up and down the coast, and the daily Surfliner and Metrolink trains ferry commuters in and out of Los Angeles.

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Now, because of a time constraint, I headed west to Oxnard, CA where I quickly visited the small Mullin Automotive and Murphy Auto Museums. I also visited the Channel Island Maritime Museum, there in Oxnard, where I learned something very interesting about some of the early 17th century Dutch Maritime painters. It seems that some of them painted in such detail that (with a very strong magnifying glass) one can see that each of the distant subjects in the painting has been given details such as a pipe in the mouth, some with a mustache and all with a nose, ears and even eyebrows. The kind of details you might expect in a close-up portrait painting, but not in a battle scene at sea. And, then there were the fabulous model ships, many of them crafted by the Curator/Docent that took me on a tour of the museum. The model ship detail was outstanding! What a great tour.

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Then, to round out the day, I visited the CAF WWII Aviation Museum in Camarillo, CA. This museum is very similar in size and display aircraft to the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum here in Titusville, FL where I volunteer as a tour guide one day each week. They had an AT-6 and a two-place P-51 Mustang, both actively giving rides while I was there, and I got some really good close-up photos of both as they fired up their engines, taxied out with their passengers and took off. I always get a thrill when I hear the sound of a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine at full throttle passing overhead.

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—–To Be Continued—–

My Western Trip~Part 2

14 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

 

 

After I got checked in at the hotel, I walked a couple of blocks over to the Mob Museum which is set up as a history of the “Mafia” and organized crime during the early days in the U.S. and especially in Las Vegas. The Museum is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, built in 1933, and has restored the second floor courtroom where many of the Kefauver Committee hearings to expose organized crime were held in 1950 and 1951. They even have a portion of the garage wall from the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre that was relocated from its original location in Chicago’s North Side.

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Next I strolled a few blocks to the “Fremont Street Experience” which is a 5-block covered pedestrian mall known for years as “Glitter Gulch.”  It reminded me of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan, Italy, except for all the noise and flashing lights. It has open-air bars and shops, street barkers, male and female photo shops, all brightly lit with flashing colored lights and lots of loud music. The place was mobbed with people.

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The next day I drove out toward Bolder City and took the very interesting Hoover Dam tour. The dam was built during the Great Depression, with what today we would consider fairly primitive equipment. Construction began in 1931, and at times, with as many as 5000 workers laboring 24 hours a day, for almost 5 years, they completed the project, and productive dam operations began in 1936. Just think about that! That massive structure was completed two years ahead of the projected completion date and under budget. There is so much interesting information about the actual building of Hoover Dam that there is not room to share it all with you here. If you are interested in the details, I think you will find it fascinating to Google “Hoover Dam” and read all about this massive project.

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Hoover Dam spans the border between Nevada and Arizona at that point, so after the tour I drove across the “Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge” to the Arizona side of the river and then back across to Nevada side, just for fun. Then I headed Northeast into the Moapa River Indian Reservation to Overton, NV to visit The Lost City Museum. This unique museum traces the Anasazi Indians and their ancestors who have inhabited this area from as long ago as two millennia. Then in about 1150, evidence suggests that a severe drought hit the area and the Anasazi Indians disappeared, to be replaced by the Paiute Indians between then and about 1800. Evidence shows that the Paiute Indians then called this area home until around the1850s, when Anglo farmers moving west pushed them out of the area. The Lost City Museum was built in 1935, to house artifacts from the Pueblo Grande de Nevada, which was to be partially covered by the waters of Lake Mead as a result of building Hoover Dam. The museum now includes artifacts from many of the ancestral inhabitants of this area, the Mojave Desert and other archaeological sites in Southern Nevada.

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                                                            —–To Be Continued—–

Springtime in Wisconsin

12 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

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During a recent trip to the Oshkosh AirVenture Museum, and to visit other local Wisconsin museums and airshows, I was amazed to see the huge numbers of Canadian Geese in and around most of the areas, I traveled.

I didn’t pay much attention to this until on one occasion as I traveled down a four-lane city street, and had to stop for a family of geese crossing the road.  There was Mama leading the way with three tiny goslings trailing along behind 2her and Papa bringing up the rear.  What a sight!  All this rush-hour traffic brought to a halt by these tiny creatures.

The next day I went to visit a Railroad Museum in another city.  After viewing the information video in the main building, I started down the walkway to the Engine House, and was struck by the amount of what looked like dog poop on the sidewalk.  I thought, “These people need to tell the dog owners to pick up after their dogs, or at least the museum needs to wash down the sidewalks once i3n a while.”   Being careful where I stepped, I moved onto the grass to get a better view for a camera shot, and noticed that the grass was littered with the same “dog poop.”

Then it dawned on me that this was Canadian Geese droppings.  I should have realized what I was 4seeing sooner, because I had seen fields and ponds covered with Canadian Geese no matter where I had gone on this trip.

On one evening during this trip, I had dinner with my niece and her husband and I related my goose story to them.  He told me his company had to rig special anti-geese devices over their retention ponds to try to keep the geese from congregating.  In addition, they have contracted with a private company who brought 5their dogs to chase the geese off their property.  The Canadian Goose population has recently increased in many areas to the point that they are now considered a pest and a threat to airline traffic (Ref. US Airways flight 1549).

On another day, at the Old World Wisconsin historic site, in one of the sheep pins, I was thrilled to see 6four brand new baby lambs.  The guide told us that two of them had be born the day before and two (twins) had been born just that morning.  They were the cutest little things you could imagine.

I didn’t think much more about it until I was traveling back across the countryside toward the motel and saw a large open field with maybe one hundred sheep grazing and about the same number of small 7baby lambs staying close to their mothers.  What a sight!  I guessed it must truly be the lambing season there in central Wisconsin.

Then on another day, while driving to another museum, I spotted a small herd of Buffalo grazing in a field of yellow dandelions.  And, sure enough, there were a few new-born buffalo in the herd.  Now I thought the West was the only place where people were raising buffalo now a days.  I8 was glad to see even these small herds of them there in Wisconsin.    I guess they will prosper most anywhere they are not being hunted.  Ever had a Buffalo Burger?  I had one years ago and it was great!

I guess you would have to say I got a real close-up and personal view of what it’s like to live in Wisconsin in the Spring.  It was a wonderful experience, and the airplane museums were great too!

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