Tag Archives: R/C Airplanes

My Southwest Adventure Part~4

13 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

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The next day I was tooling along across West Texas when, all of a sudden, I found myself 1on a 2-lane road out in the middle of nowhere.  I had not studied the map too closely, but thought I remembered that all I had to do was to stay on U.S. 84 (4-lane road) until I picked up I-40 at Santa Rosa, NM.   In reality, U.S. 60 had split off from U.S. 84 at Fort. Sumner, NM and I didn’t realize I had missed the turn.   I had traveled several miles without seeing a road sign of any kind, and began to worry about my being stranded on this lonely road that looked like it never ended.2

 Have you ever prayed for a road sign?  Well, I did.  And, a few miles later, God provided a U.S. 60 road sign, and I knew I was on the wrong road.  I stopped and checked the map closely, discovering that if I just continued on U.S. 60 to U.S. 285, I could still connect with I-40 at Clines Corners, NM, without having to do any backtracking.  Whew! What a relief, especially since I would have enough gas to get me there.  Somewhere along that desolate stretch of highway, I went thru Muleshoe, TX and Texico, NM as I slipped across the border into “The Land of Enchantment”, and finally to I-40.

Back on Interstate I-40 heading West, my next stop was Albuquerque, NM to visit my 3childhood friend, Leon, who still lives in the same house he did when we were growing up together in the mid-1940s.  We had a great time recalling our younger days and he introduced me to his cat, Rusty, and gave me a tour of his model circus railroad project.  Later he went with me to the National Nuclear Museum and the Ernie Pyle Library.  We experienced one of New Mexico’s dust storms late that afternoon, and I remembered how the wind could almost knock you over, and the wind driven sand could blast the paint off the front of your car and pit your windshield, if you were foolish enough to drive into one of those storms.  And, there was no way you could get your house windows closed tight enough to keep that fine sand from filtering into the house, and getting all over things.

The next day, after breakfast at Leon’s favorite restaurant, we toured the Sunset Memorial Park where his and my parents were buried.  I had made arrangements with a couple for lunch that day, and we met and visited over a great Chef’s Salad at the famous Frontier Restaurant across the street from the University of New Mexico, where DiVoran and my sister Judy had attended.  Of course, Norm is an R/C model airplane enthusiast like me, and his wife, Pat, is the sister of our Chiropractor in Florida, so we had lots to talk about.  What a joy it was to meet and get to know them.

After lunch, I decided to take a trip down memory lane by driving the length of Central Ave. (which was the 2-lane U.S. Route 66 when I lived there).  East of town, many of the 4motels I used to throw papers to were still in business, and the Highland Theater where DiVoran worked selling tickets was still there.  Leon told me he was a ticket taker and usher at the Highland Theater about the same time that DiVoran was working there, but he didn’t remember ever meeting her there.  The Ice Arena had been turned into part of a shopping center, and Highland High School, where DiVoran and I met, all those many years ago, was now three times as big as it was when we attended.  Further down Central, our football rivals, Albuquerque High School had been closed and converted into condos (of all things), while the First Baptist Church, which my folks and I attended all the years we lived there, had moved and their buildings were now empty and up for sale.  What a shock that was!

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                                                                        —–To Be Continued—–

My Southwest Adventure~Part 2

30 Oct

A slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

 

 

1On Saturday morning, I made a quick stop at the Richardson R/C club’s Big Bird Flyin in Princeton, TX.  The weather was threatening, and there was not a large turnout, but the flyers put on a great show in the short time I was there.  Allen and the other club flyers were very cordial, and invited me to stay around for their BBQ dinner, but I needed to head South to maintain my travel schedule.

In Tyler, TX I visited the Historic Aviation Memorial, and then it was on to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, TX.  I had always thought it was the FBI 2who had tracked down and ambushed the famous bank robbers, Bonnie & Clyde, but I learned it was actually the Texas Rangers.   That evening, at the local Cracker Barrel in Killeen, TX, I had a wonderful catfish dinner, while being serenaded by some of the old time western singers, singing songs like “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey Good Looking” and many others.  When I came out of the Cracker Barrel, I happened to look down and there was the biggest acorn I had ever seen, laying in the grass.  My son Billy (The Environmental Consultant) tells me it’s really a “Willow Oak” acorn.  However, because of its size, “Texas Acorn” seems to me to fit perfectly into my “Texas Adventure” don’t you think.  Boy, by now, was there any question I was in Texas, where everyone seems friendly, and they grow everything “Super Size”?  It was taking me back to my roots, and I was loving every minute of it.

The next day I drove to Abilene, TX where I visited the CAF Big Country

3quadron hanger, the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, and the Abilene R/C Society field, where I enjoyed meeting several model flyers from that club.  Monday I headed West, stopping to checkout the National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater, TX.   I had always admired the service the women pilots provided during the war years, flying aircraft of all types from the many factories around the country, to the U.S. Army Air Corps bases where they were most needed.  After a great personal tour by Carol, I continued West to the Hanger 25 Air Museum in Big Spring, TX.

4Then on Tuesday I had another real treat when I visited the CAF American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, TX.  This was one of my planned major museum stops, as the AAHM has anywhere from 20 to 40 (mostly flyable) airplanes in their collection, at the museum at any one time, and I was eager to see as many of them as I could.  It was well worthwhile, and the museum staff went out of their way  to help me get many of the photos I wanted.

 While I was in Midland, I visited the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and Jim Hall’s Chaparral Racing Museum.  Jim and his brother Charles were our neighbors, for a while, in Albuquerque, when I was a teenager, and I had hoped to reconnect with them.  As it turned out, he had been there the week before, to test drive one of his museum cars, and I missed seeing him, but I got to see many of his fabulous Chaparral race car designs at his racing museum.

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

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