Tag Archives: Road trip

2022 Road Trip-Part 4B

21 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 Continued (5/19/2022)

As I checked out the old Sciple’s water mill, I noticed a hand-written sign that pointed to the Water Mill Opry House across the road, and I just had to take a photo of that old place.  It looked to be as old as the water mill and was all closed up.  I wouldn’t have believed it, but their website informs me that on Saturday nights its standing room only for folks who come from all over Mississippi to enjoy the country music of Ed Sciple’s band and participate in some of the wildest boot-scootin’ and hi-steppin’ dancing around these parts.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wild ride in the countryside, I continued north 60 miles on SR-39 & US-45 to where I visited the Tennessee Williams Home located in Columbus, MS.  I don’t believe I ever read any of Tennessee Williams’ books, but I have enjoyed the movies made from some of his books.  I was the only visitor at the time, and the curator took the time to show me thru the entire house, pointing out little details as we went thru the various rooms.  A framed quote by Tennessee Williams said, “I was composed of a little Welsh wildness, a lot of puritan English, and a big chunk of German sentiment.”  That pretty much said it of the man.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Tennessee Williams Home I visited the White Arches house there in Columbus.  This original “Columbus Eclectic” home was built by Jeptha V. Harris in 1857 and is on the list of homes shown on Columbus’ Annual Spring Pilgrimage.  The museum was closed when I was there, but the photo below shows the unique Greek Revival, Gothic, and Italianate design of the house with all its 19th century grandeur.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 35 miles on US-45 to visit the Aberdeen City Hall Museum located in Aberdeen, MS.  This 1912 building turned out not to be a museum, but the operating Aberdeen City Hall.  My mistake.  This was another case of me not reading all the words about a given museum or subject.  My wife, DiVoran, keeps telling me, “You have to read ALL the words Bill.”

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was driving around Aberdeen, I noticed an Aberdeen Mississippi Blues historical marker in front of a Blues Mural on the side of a building.  I stopped to get a photo and read all about the Mural.  Not being a big blues fan, I didn’t know about Booker ‘bukka’ White, Chester Aurthur ‘Howlfn’ Burnett, and Albert King being born in Aberdeen, and about the mural dedicated to the Aberdeen Mississippi Blues artists.  Now I’m a little more informed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued north 30 miles on US-45 to visit the Tupelo Automobile Museum located in Tupelo, MS.  I was expecting to get a look at their 175 beautifully restored cars.  But when I got there, the museum was closed, and from what I have heard, its permanent, and all their cars have been put up for sale.  What a bummer!  So, I headed over to check out the Tupelo National Battlefield located just on the outskirts of Tupelo.  This battlefield was the location of the July 1864 ‘Battle of Tupelo’ otherwise known as the ‘Battle of Harrisburg’ where the Union forces claimed a victory.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed over to visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace there in Tupelo.  Even though DiVoran and I were Elvis fans when we were teenagers, neither of us knew he was born and raised in Tupelo.  So, this was a new experience for me.  I learned that he sang in the local Assembly of God Church choir from an early age and got his first guitar at age ten.  In the years after his family moved to Memphis, TN in 1948, he and his cousins, Jerry Lee Louis, later known as ‘Mr. Rockabilly’ and Jimmy Swaggart, later known as ‘The Evangelist’ spent a good deal of their time hanging out with many of the early black Jazz and Blues performers who frequented the Beale Street clubs and restaurants.  This is where it is suggested that a lot of the Blues, Jazz, and Southern Gospel they heard seeped into their souls and into their music.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now, I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address of my motel there in Tupelo and she took me right to it.  After I got checked in and got my things into the room, I warmed up my leftover fried Catfish dinner from the Blue Crab Grill and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  Yummm!  Then I tried to watch some TV but there was nothing worth watching, so I recorded my days activities and went to bed.  What a long day this has been!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 4

14 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 (5/19/2022)

This morning after breakfast I drove over to check out Landrum’s Homestead & Village located there in Laurel, MS.  It was early and this living history museum was closed, but their website informs me that the museum is a replica of an 1800s southern Mississippi settlement with historically accurate buildings, such as a general store, smokehouse, trading post, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, chapel, and Indian village.  The museum also hosts several family-based events throughout the year to celebrate several holidays.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Landrum’s Homestead Village I visited the Veterans Memorial Museum located in downtown Laurel.  This museum is home to a huge assortment of military artifacts and memorabilia, dating from the Civil War, that reflect the stories, deeds, and sacrifices of our courageous men and women from all branches of U.S. military service.  The museum also hosts special events, throughout the year, such as the recent “Rolling Thunder 3” (June 11, 2022) which honored those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Then I headed north 55 miles on I-59 to visit the Key Brothers Aviation Exhibit located in the Meridian Regional Airport terminal at Key Field in Meridian, MS.  Key Field takes its name from Al & Fred Key who broke the standing flight endurance record of 23 days.  From June 4 to July 1, 1935 the Key brothers flew over Meridian for a total of 27 days (using some of the earliest refueling methods known at the time-bucket and hose) to help put Meridian on the map during the Great Depression. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove into downtown Meridian where I wanted to visit the Jimmie Rogers Museum, but it was closed.  I was disappointed to miss that museum as Jimmie Rogers, known as “The King of Western Music” has been one of my favorite western singers ever since I was a teenager.  Bummer!  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A few blocks away, I visited the Meridian Railroad Museum.  This museum is located in the old restored 1906 Union Station depot and displays many antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.  The museum also has a model railroad layout depicting early Meridian, as well as several pieces of rolling stock, which includes a 1917 Baldwin Steam locomotive in the process of being restored.  Amtrak still uses a portion of the station on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

One of the Railroad Museum curators had told me how Mr. George W. Soule (1849-1922), an entrepreneur and inventor, had built the Soule Foundry & Museum across the street and that I should check it out.  The museum was closed but many indications around the area said that she was right.  I saw this historical marker in the Depot Park near the Soule Museum.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My last stop there In Meridian was to visit the Antique Dentzel Carousel located in the Highland Park area.  This original carousel building is the centerpiece of the park which opened in 1906.  The carousel was built by Gustov Dentzel of Philadelphia, PA in 1896 for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, and was later sold to the city of Meridian.  The carousel figures were hand-carved from poplar and basswood, and hand-painted with oils to match the carousel’s canopy and surrounding building walls.  An amazingly beautiful piece of machinery.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I continued north on SR-39 about 30 miles to visit the Sciple’s Water Mill located in De Kalb, MS.  It wasn’t easy to fine the place in that rural part of Kemper County Mississippi, but Greta (My Garmin) finally found it.  I wasn’t sure if the building was going to continue to stand long enough for me to take a photo.  Built in the early 1800s by the Sciple family, this water mill has been in continuous operation all these years and still provides ground corn meal and whole-wheat flower for local residents.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 2

24 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 (5/17/2022)

This morning, after breakfast, I headed northwest on US-98 thru another 60 miles or so with not much to see.  I passed thru Andrews, Fanning Springs, Cross City, and Salem, on my way to check out the Iron Horse Mud Ranch located just south of Perry, FL.  The main gate was open, but down the road a way another gate was closed, so I took this photo and was on my way. No mud-bogging today.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

On the outskirts of Perry, FL I saw a roadside sign for the Forest Capital Museum State Park and stopped to see what it was all about.  It turns out to be a museum dedicated to the Florida longleaf pine tree and the 5,000 products manufactured from those trees.  There are relocated and restored ‘Florida Cracker’ houses and buildings on this 35-acre park, depicting the early 1800s Florida forestry industry and how the early settlers lived and worked in that fledgling industry.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

The drive thru Perry was quick, and it was another 30 miles northwest on US-19, seeing nothing much of anything.  I turned north on US-19 at Capps, FL (wide place in the road) and then it was another 20 miles to Montecillo, Fl where I was informed the city was filled with everything historic.  Well, I didn’t see anything even worth taking a photo of other than the County Courthouse, and I’ve visited many` more historic courthouses on past road trips.  So, I continued north on US-19, across the border, looking for Hubs & Hops in Thomasville, Ga.  I was looking for a bicycle museum, but it turned out to be a restaurant and taproom that collected bicycles of all types.  I didn’t spend much time there.

Photo Credit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hubs&Hops-ThomasvilleGA

Heading west on US-84 about 15 miles I visited the Cairo Antique Auto Museum located in Cairo, GA.  This museum consists of three buildings filled with a huge collection of antique cars dating from 1920s, trucks & fire engines dating from 1900s, as well as antique motorcycles and bicycles dating from the early 1800s.  You never know where a gem of a museum will turn up.  Who would have ever guessed, in Cairo, GA?

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

It was another 25 miles west on US-84 to Bainbridge, GA where I had planned to visit the Decatur County Historical Museum, but it was closed.  So, I kept going northwest another 60 miles on US-84, across the Chattahoochee River (border) into Alabama, where I stopped to check out the Landmark Park & Farm located on the outskirts of Dothan, AL.  This park is a 150-acre living farm that provides visitors with a historical representation of an 1890s farm, in this south part of the Alabama region, with restored homes, buildings, a store, and a church, all decorated with period furnishings. 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

It was only a short drive to where I visited The Waddell House there in Dothan.  Built 1898 by Bud Bush, the house was purchased by Leska H. Waddell in 1906 and remained in the Waddell family until 1978 when it was donated to the Dothan Landmarks Foundation.  The Waddell home was the first structure to be relocated to the Landmark Park & Farm property and restored as part of that 19th century attraction.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

That pretty well wrapped up my travel experiences for the day, so I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address of the motel there in Dothan.  She had no trouble finding the motel.  After getting checked in and moving my things into my room, I warmed up my leftover Liver & Onions from the 19/98 Grill last night and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  What a treat that was!  I did enjoy one of the pictures in the motel tonight.  It was a collage of license plates in the form of the United States.  I think I will adopt that photo as my visual slogan for my travels.  Since there wasn’t much of anything I wanted to watch on TV, I recorded my day’s activities and went to bed early.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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.

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

2022 Road Trip-Part 1

17 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 1 (5/16/2022)

Leaving my home in Titusville, FL this morning, I headed west 15 miles on SR-50 to visit the Fort Christmas Historical Park located on the west side of CR-420 in Christmas, FL. The fort is a full-scale replica of the original fort, one of 200 forts built (between 1835 and 1847), during the Second Seminole War, to protect settlers in the central Florida area during the 1820s, 1830s, and 1840s.  The fixed garrison originally consisted of 2000 U.S. Army Alabama Volunteers.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A historical museum is located within the walls of the fort and display Seminole Indian and pioneer artifacts dating from the Seminole War period.  Some of the items included are Indian and pioneer weapons, clothing, tools, household goods and other items dating from the early 1800a.  The park has been in the process, over the years, of relocating many early 1800s structures around their 25-acre park, and restoring them to their original conditions.  The houses are furnished with period household items and are open for viewing.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Heading west another 40 miles on US-50, I took SR-408 to by-pass the downtown Orlando traffic, to visit the Central Florida Railroad Museum located in Winter Garden, FL.  This museum is located in the former 1913 Tavares & Gulf Railroad depot, that replaced the original 1899 T&G depot.  The museum is loaded with antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.  The T&G railroad changed names a couple of times over the years and the depot served the Winter Garden area until 1978, when service on this portion of the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) track was terminated.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed west another 15 miles on SR-50 to checkout the Citrus Tower in Clermont, FL.  This famous Florida landmark was opened in 1956, and at the time, claimed to be the highest point in Florida (543 feet above sea level).  The view from the observation deck allows a person to see 35 miles to the horizon (on a clear day) which includes 8 Florida counties and 2000 sq. miles of surrounding land.  Back in that day all a person could see was orange groves, but today several winter freezes and Florida growth have turned most of that land into homes and businesses.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northwest on US-27 about 25 miles to where I visited the Paquette’s Historical Tractor Museum located in Leesburg, FL.  This museum is situated on 50-acres, which includes three buildings displaying some 150+ beautifully restored International Harvester and Farmall tractors and farming equipment, and retro memorabilia dating from 1923.  I was glad to be able to view this amazing collection before the museum closes in July.  I am always sorry to hear about a museum of any kind closing, and this is especially true of the Paquette Tractor Museum.  It will be sad for “Stew” to see his many beautifully restored antiques go on the auction block later this year.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

To the next museum I used SR-44 and I-75 northwest 25 miles to visit the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing located just south of Ocala, FL.  I had visited this museum once before on another road trip, but just wanted to get another look at some of the fastest dragsters to run on a drag racing strip.  The museum gives the history of drag racing icon “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and the many machines he used over the many years of his amazing career.  There are over 175 dragsters of all types and sizes in one building, plus almost 100 antique cars in another building, in Don’s Antique Car Collection dating from 1909.  Wow, what a car buff’s dream museum that is!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was leaving the museum, I snapped a photo of the A-7 Corsair II Gate Guard.  I know you can’t read it in the photo below, but the name of the pilot printed under the canopy is Captain “Lites” Leenhouts.  I was surprised to see the “call sign” for this pilot.  I found it interesting that the “call sign” was “Lites” and not “Lee” or “Hoot” and that it was spelled “Lites” and not “Lights” as is usually the case.  It’s becoming a smaller world out there, and you never know what form of personal association you might run into, with another person, in your travels.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wonderful experience at the “Big Daddy” Drag Racing Museum, there wasn’t a lot to see for the next 60 miles, as I traveled northwest skirting west of Ocala on I-75, and passed thru the towns of Friendship, Williston, and Bronson on US-27 before arriving at the Levy County Quilt Museum located just outside Chiefland, FL.  The museum was closed, but their website informs me that it was originally known as the Log Cabin Quilters and was formed by 8-local ladies in 1983 to show and sell their handywork.

Photo Credit: https://www.scenicpathways.com/quilt-museum

I gave Greta (my Garmin) the motel address there in Chiefland and she took me right to it.  After I got checked, and got my things moved into the room, I ask the desk clerk for restaurant recommedations, and he told me he liked the food at the  “19/98 Grill” so I tried it.  I ordered Liver & Onions (one of my favorites) and they served me a huge plate of some of the best Liver & Onions I have ever eaten.  Yummm!  i had enough left over for dinner tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: www.yelp.com/biz/19-98-grill-and-country-store

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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.

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

Our Trip to Spain-Part 12

15 Jun

A Slice of Life

  

Day 9 (Continued)

In the heart of the Alhambra is the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions) which is the centerpiece of the Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions).  This part of the fortress was built during the reign of Muhammed V in the 14th century and is amazingly beautiful.  The workmanship and the artwork are breathtaking.

Photo Credit: https://makespain.com/listing/courtoflions/alhambra/granada/

The views of the city of Granada, with the mountains in the background, from the various locations in the Alhambra were amazing and gave a feeling of grandiosity to the viewer.  You can get an example of what I mean from the picture below, taken from a postcard I picked up during the tour.  

Photo Credit: https://www.alhambra.org/en/

We were told that the flag of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella was first raised over the Torro de la Vela (watch tower), there in the Alhambra, in early 1492 AD as a symbol of the Spanish conquest of Granada.  This significant time in history was the turning point for the Islamic world, as the expulsion of all Moors by the Catholic Monarchs from what had become Spanish territory, from that date forth, marked the end of the Islamic rule.

Photo Credit: https://granadainfo.com/torrodelaveka/alhambra/

After that delightful tour of the Alhambra, as we were on our way to the restaurant for lunch, our attention was drawn to the Zambra María la Canastera, which is located in the picturesque Sacromonte District of Granada.  This famously unique hideaway has long featured traditional flamenco dancing and music performed in a tiny cavern adorned with memorabilia.  When I looked them up on the internet – Surprise!  They all look older.  How can that be? I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we were there, and the picture was taken for this postcard. 

Photo Credit: https://zambramaríalacanastera.com

We stopped for lunch at a very nice ‘approved’ café there in Granada, that served us a wonderful traditional Spanish meal, while we were entertained by some local musicians playing soft guitar music in the background.  That was very pleasant.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After lunch our tour continued as the tour bus took us around the city of Granada with our Program Director explaining various points of interest, such as Mirador de Los Carvajales, Albayzin, Sacromonte, Paseo de los Tristes, and Mirador de San Nicolas.

Photo Credit: https://www.odysseytraveller.com/articles/granada-spain/

Our bus trip took us on a different route for our return trip back to Torremolinos.  This allowed us to view another interesting section of the Andalusia countryside while the many points of interest were explained to us by our Program Director.  Some names of the more interesting towns we passed thru were Churriana de la Vega, Parque de las Ciencias, Ogijares, and Velez de Benauadalla.  As before there were luxury hotel complexes and the beautiful Villa Loma Linda.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As the hiway turned west along the shore of the Mediterranean, our Program Director had us stop near the town of Nerja for a quick tour of the caves of Nerja (Fundación Cueva de Nerja).  The caverns are said to have been re-discovered in 1959 and have become a major tourist attraction.  We were told that concerts are regularly held in one of the many chambers, which forms a natural amphitheater.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Some of the caverns stretch to the sea and the view of the Mediterranean from inside the caverns can be breathtaking.  I don’t remember if we had to pay this young boy to pose for this photo, but I think it made for a great picture, don’t you. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that amazing tour of the Caves of Nerja we passed thru Torrox with its Faro Torrox (lighthouse), Benagalbon with its 16th century church, and Malaga with its famous bullring, before finally arriving in Torremolinos and the Bajondillo in time for a short rest before it was time for dinner.  DiVoran was still feeling poorly, and I brought her a bowl of chicken soup in hopes it would make her feel better.

Photo Credit: https://notaboutthemiles.com/malaga-spain/

—– To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip-Part 8

27 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8 – 7/19/2021

Leaving South Buffalo this morning, I headed southwest on I-90 some 60 miles, skirting along the Lake Erie shoreline, to visit the Barcelona Lighthouse located in Westfield, NY. This lighthouse was built in 1828 and served the Portland Harbor area until 1859 when the lighthouse was deactivated. However, now privately owned, the lighthouse is in working order and still burns to this day. 

Photo Credit Bill Lites

Now I took US-20 southwest 20 miles along the Lake Erie shoreline, across the border, to visit the Lake Shore Railway Museum located in North East, PA.  This museum is housed in the 1899 NYC Railroad Passenger Depot, and displays railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1890s.  The museum also has several restored pieces of rolling stock and diesel-electric locomotives dating from 1910.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 15 miles southwest on US-20 to where I visited the Firefighters Historical Museum located in Erie, Pa.  This museum is situated in the 1903 Engine Company No.4 station (which replaced the original 1873 Eagle Hose Company station that used only hand-pulled firefighting apparatus) and displays many firefighting artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Erie, I swung by the Eriez Speedway just to see what it was all about.  Nothing was going on, but I discovered this 3/8-mile dirt track is the home of the” World of Outlaws Morton Building Late Model Series” races that are scheduled year-around.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I continued southwest 30 miles on US-20, along the Lake Erie shoreline and across another border, to visit the Conneaut Railroad Museum located in Conneaut, OH but it was closed.  However, their website informs me that this museum is housed in the former LS&MS Passenger Depot (built in 1900) and displays many railroad artifacts and exhibits dating from the 1800s.  Their centerpiece is the restored 1944 Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 steam locomotive #755.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only 20 miles southwest on US-20 to where I visited the Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum located in Ashtabula, OH. The Museum is housed in the former home of William & Katherine Hubbard.  Built in 1841, this house served as the northern end of the ‘Underground Railroad’ that supported escaping slaves from the antebellum South during the pre-Civil War years.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a few blocks away I tried to visit the Ashtabula Maritime Museum, but it was closed.  So, I turned south 50 miles on SR-11 & SR-45 to my next stop to visit the National Packard Museum located in Warren, OH.  This museum is housed in the original 1917 Packard Dealership building and has on display 35 beautifully restored Packard automobiles dating from 1901 to 1956.  WOW!  What beautiful cars!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 20 miles south on US-422/62 I tried to visit the Lanterman’s Mill (grist mill) located in the picturesque Mill Creek Park area in Youngstown, OH but it was closed.  Their website has informed me that the mill was built in 1846, providing residents with grains from local grown corn, wheat, and buckwheat until the late 1800s.  In 1892 the Mill Creek Park purchased the mill and restored it to its original condition, and it operates today as it did in the mid-1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next on the list there in Youngstown was a visit to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor.  This center is dedicated to the history and the people who worked in the local steel industry that dominated Youngstown during the 20th century. Steel industry exhibits, artifacts and photographs tell the engrossing story.   

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 10 miles south on SR-7 to where tonight’s motel was located in North Lima, OH.  When I checked in, I asked the desk clerk for good restaurants in the area, and he said Steamer’s was close.  I ordered their Baked Penne & Sausage plate.  The room was cold, so I left my iced tea, sunglasses, and a museum brochure on the table while I went to the van for my long-sleeved shirt.  When I returned to my table, it had been cleared and my stuff was gone.  “What is going on here?” Evidently another server had cleared the table.  I don’t know what she was thinking, but now they had to scurry around to find my sunglasses and brochure and bring more iced tea.   My meal finally came, and it was excellent.

Photo Credit: https://steamersbakedsusagepenne.com/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 7

20 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 7 – 7/18/2021

This morning I headed north out of Syracuse on SR-370 about 5 miles to visit the Salt Museum located on the Onondaga Lake in Liverpool, NY.  Salt: that common ingredient that flavors our world, and that most of us can’t do without.  It all started in 1788 when Asa Danforth and Comfort Tayler came to Onondaga County New York, and with the help of the Native Onondagas, erected the first salt works.   The museum has an assortment of exhibits and artifacts used in the early 1800s to mine and process salt.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next it was north 30 miles on I-81 to visit the H. Lee White Maritime Museum located at the Oswego Historic Maritime District in Oswego, NY.  The museum is situated in the 1925 former grain elevator freight house and has a variety of rare marine artifacts dating from the 16th century.  The museum also includes the WWII Tugboat LT-5 and the 1927 Darrick Boat #8.  This museum also maintains the old Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse built in 1934, to replace the original 1880 light.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Oswego, it was only a short drive to checkout the Oswego Speedway.  Known as the “Steel Palace” this track is the “Home of the Supermodifieds” open-wheel racecars.  There was nothing going on at the speedway, so I just found SR-104 and headed west.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was some 30 miles west on SR-104 to where I had planned to visit the Chimney Bluffs State Park in Wolcott, NY.  Time was against me, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see all the places on my list today, so I skipped this park.  I continued west on SR-104 another 35 miles to where I tried to visit the Schutt’s Apple Mill in Webster, NY but they were closed.  So, it was just 15 miles west to Rochester, NY where I visited the George Eastman Museum.  This museum is located in the 1905 George Eastman House (I’d call 35,000 sq. ft. a mansion) and is said to be the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography open to the public.    

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I passed up the Charlotte Genesse Lighthouse and continued west another 45 miles on SR-31/31A to visit the Medina Railroad Museum located in the 1905 NYCRR Freight Depot in Medina, NY.  The museum displays antique railroad artifacts and restored rolling stock, and normally provides steam train tours throughout the year.  The museum also has a large model train layout for all to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 35 miles west on SR-31 to where I had planned to visit the Niagara Falls Wax Museum and the Observation Tower.  But arriving in Niagara Falls, I found the entire area absolutely mobbed with tourists.  I gave up any idea of trying to visiting the museum and tower (that was a real disappointment) and headed for the Niagara Aerospace Museum a few miles east.  This museum located adjacent to the Niagara Falls International Airport has a small collection of rare historic aircraft and replicas dating from the 1950s.  Most of these exhibits and memorabilia represent the historical influence of the Bell Aircraft Company and the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corporation on this area dating from the 1920s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only a few miles south on SR-265, along the Niagara River, to where I visited the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum located in North Tonawanda, NY.  This museum is housed in the original 1910 factory complex and displays wood carrousels and other rare artifacts representing the many products this company manufactured from 1833 to 1955.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving the North Tonawanda area I drove a few blocks south to check out the National Railway Historical Museum.  This small museum is the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the NRHS and is located in the original 1922 Eire Railroad Freight Depot.  The museum displays railroad artifacts dating from early 1900s and several pieces of restored rolling stock.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed south 20 miles on I-195, along the Niagara River to visit The Steel Plant Museum of Western NY located on Lake Erie in the Heritage Discovery Center in Buffalo, NY (known as one of the “Rust Belt Cities”).   The museum was closed, but their website informs me the museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the western New York steel industry dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only a short drive south on US-62 to find my motel for the night in South Buffalo.  After I got checked in and carried my things into my room, I warmed up my leftover Baked Lasagna, from the Basil Leaf Italian Ristorante and enjoyed that great meal again.  Yummmm!  

Photo Credit: https://www.thebasilleafrestaurant.com/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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.

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

Covid Impressions from our Road Trip

19 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

September 24th my husband and I set off on a three-week road trip. Due to my husband’s health challenges we chose to do a fairly short trip in miles,  over an extended time period.

 I will be writing about the places in we visited in future blogs. Today is just about Covid and it’s effects on travel. 

We began our trip in Western North Carolina and our first overnight was in neighboring Alabama. According to news reports Alabama had a low vaccination rate and high Covid numbers. Our small town was enduring a rise in Covid numbers and although not mandatory many were wearing masks when out in the community. To my surprise only a handful of the Alabamians that we saw seemed to feel masks were needed. We chose to take our meals in local restaurants when possible, and they seemed to have adequate and cheerful staff.

After Alabama we moved on to northern Mississippi, very close to Memphis, Tennessee. Once again, low mask use but unlike Alabama, finding restaurants that were staffed well was a challenge. One evening we tried two national chain restaurants. One had an hour wait due to lack of staff, the other wasn’t allowed to seat diners unless the hostess cleared all of the tables first. No one was busing tables. Kind of gross actually. We said no thanks and moved on. Another restaurant was drive through only. After three tries we found a local restaurant that was open, staffed, clean and the smoked beef brisket was delicious. Most disturbing, in the chain restaurants, I sensed a feeling of dark heaviness.

We traveled further west to Arkansas. We like to stop at McDonalds on road trips as they usually have clean restrooms but several of them were drive through only, although their bathrooms were open.( Travel tip-chainstore pharmacies tend to have adequate restrooms as well)   Once we arrived at our VRBO in Arkansas we set out to explore the town. We found an excellent BBQ restaurant where one orders at the counter and the food is brought to your table in disposable  containers. When finished, the diner throws containers, cups etc into the garbage. The food was good and the atmosphere was cheerful. Masks were worn but not in great numbers. We drove through a high tourist area and there were a lot of people exploring historic sites and checking out shops.

Our next destination was in north central Arkansas. When we arrived at our rented time-share the road was blocked due to the communitie’s October Fest. We spent a week exploring the area and except for one crafter, no one seemed concerned about Covid. Shops and restaurants were open. Staffing was not optimal but it was adequate.

The first legs of our road trip were fairly short due to my husband being the driver and tiring easily. A week into the journey our daughter and a friend flew into Arkansas to share our trip. Fortunately our daughter was able to help my husband with the driving as we traveled to Franklin, Tennessee to tour an historic home from the Civil War era.

Masks were not required. After leaving the historic home we had planned to indulge in Krispy Kreme( Husband’s vice) doughnuts and coffee. Sadly the indoor seating was closed and a limited variety was available in the drive through. We made the best of it by finding a shady place to park and enjoy our treat. Then it was on to Kentucky, our final leg of the trip.

During our McDonald’s stops we found it interesting that most that allowed inside dining had disabled the self ordering kiosks to prevent the spread of Covid. Imagine our surprise when a McDonald’s in Kentucky asked customers to use the kiosks to prevent spread. We visited The Ark Encounter and The Creation Museum and masks were worn by around 25% of the people. The Ark philosophy was for guests to respect individual decisions.  We found restaurants open and staffed.

Now that I have talked about masks and restaurants, I want to mention hotels. Consistently the hotels appeared to be understaffed with the front desk clerk working on folding towels and managing the breakfast room. I’m not sure how they didn’t lose their minds. More than once we saw housekeeping trying to clean rooms with a small child in tow. 

If you are pondering a road trip, I would encourage you to do it. Life has to go on. Take the precautions that will make you feel secure and safe. We wiped down our rooms with alcohol  wipes and used hand sanitizer obsessively.

Take your spirit of adventure. Some places will delight but others may be different, but isn’t different part of the adventure?  We usually opt for free outdoor activities over crowded  indoor ones. That made it easier to manage our expectations.  Find joy in being with people you love. Build memories to savor.

I Love to Travel Part 2

4 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

So now, this is an example of how I plan one of my road trips.   I select a specific Aviation Museum (the target museum), from the Guide Book to visit.  I preferably like it to be in an area of the country where I haven’t been before.  Using the guide book, I research the other Aviation Museums in the states surrounding the target museum.  Then I use Wikipedia (“Museums in Colorado”) to find all the different types of museums in the target state and the states surrounding the target state, that interest me.  I locate the museums, using MapQuest, to establish a route, in those states, and that becomes my itinerary.  I find a major city, nearest my route, with the best airline rates, and my itinerary starts there.  I usually fly Southwest Airlines because I can fly free with my Reward Miles with them.

Photo: https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/08/19/southwest-airlines-says-it-wont-take-coronavirus-g/

My direction of travel does not depend on moving clockwise or counterclockwise, as long as the big two-week itinerary circle brings me back to the same airport.  That way I can pick-up and return my rental car at the same location without any additional drop-off charges.  The rental car costs, gas, food, and the museum admissions are usually my only our-of-pocket expenses I have (unless there are tour fees or special tickets. etc.) for one of these two-week trips.  I have my own Accident Insurance, but I’m not always sure if my Auto Insurance will cover everything on the rental car, so I usually purchase Travel Insurance that covers anything that could happen to me or the rental car during the trip.

Photo: https://aloharents.com/

I figure a day’s travel miles (as close as possible) where my itinerary will place me at a location where I can get good motel rates (larger cities generally have more motels to choose from, and their rates are usually lower).  I make advanced motel reservations (usually free with credit card points), so I don’t have to do that on the road.  All of this planning can sometimes take me weeks to arrange, but once it’s all arranged, and I have conformations for everything, I’m ready to go.  

Photo: https://www.qualityinnsarasotafl.com/

I like to print out a copy of all my conformation notices for airline, rental car, and motels.  Then I Google each museum and make a copy of the description of it, which includes name, address, phone number and days & hours of operation.  I arrange the museum sheets in the order I have decided on for my itinerary, so I will have them at hand in the car as I go.  That way, all I have to do is plug-in the address on my Garmin (Greta), and off I go.  This also gives me a record of everything I might need in case Greta or I get lost, or any other type of problem I might run into.  Sometimes Greta, will take me to the wrong address, or not be able to locate the address.  If that happens, I can refer to the information sheet, for the place I’m heading, and call to ask for directions.  Those sorts of things have happened more than once on my trips in the past.

Photo: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/garmin-drive-52-5-gps-black

At the end of each day’s travels, while relaxing at the motel, I record the hi-lights of the day’s activities on my cell phone and email it to my computer at home.  When I get home I use the emails, and the internet, to thoroughly research each museum for any special or historical data I can find.  It’s amazing how much more interesting my blogs can become with that expanded information.  I arrange the museum’s information in sequence, for that day, and that becomes a short blog (500-700 words).  Then I post one blog per week on the “Old Things R New” website.  This allows others to enjoy my trips (vicariously) if they like that sort of thing, and maybe learn a little something new at the same time.  Writing up these blogs also allows me to re-live the fun memories of the trip again.

Image: https://www.kissclipart.com/computer-working-png-clipart-computer-web-browser-4tl976/

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at the reason “I Love to Travel” and how I go about choosing, researching, arranging, and reporting a two-week “Bucket List” road trip.  These trips are so relaxing, enjoyable and freeing for me.  I can really recommend travel.  Just getting away from the every-day mundane things of life, and hitting the road to somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be a BIG trip.  Just get out and go.

  We have a big country out there, and there is a large variety of very interesting and beautiful places and things to see.  So enjoy it.  If you are ever interested in some of the places and things I’ve encountered on my past trips, you can find my travel blogs at www.oldthingsrnew.com.  Enter the Title & Part # (if any) of the blog you would like to read in the search box, at the top of the opening screen.  Press “Search” and that should take you to the blog you are looking for (by Bill Lites).  I wish each and every one of you Happy Traveling and enjoyable reading.

Image: https://www.pinclipart.com/pindetail/ibJbmim_ltv-driver-jobs-in-pakistansrc-https-cartoons-driving/

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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.

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

Fishing with Ivan Part 4 C

31 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The next day we crossed the Mohave Desert on our way to visit DiVoran’s brother, David, & his family in Bonita, CA.  David’s house was less than 10 miles from the Mexican border, and he regaled us with stories of illegals coming thru his property at night, on their way north.  We learned that David’s house keeper, Angelica, was the only daughter of a Mexican lawyer and could speak very little English.  She had come from Mexico City with her boyfriend, and was later abandon by him. She didn’t know very much about housekeeping, but boy could she cook!  I remember she cooked up the most delicious authentic Mexican style Chili Rellenos dinner for us that I have ever had.

Photo by Bill Lites

When we said goodbyes to David and his family, we headed north to visit our good friends Terry & Mary in Diamond Bar, CA.  I had worked with Terry on the Apollo Moon Landing program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, before they had moved back to California for his work.  Terry and Mary were also in our Bible Study group, there in Titusville, for many years.  I remember when they took us to one of their favorite restaurants, Pinnacle Peak Stakehouse, for dinner that Terry warned me that the restaurant had a ‘No-Tie Policy’ and the servers would cut the necktie off any first-time customer, without any notice.  When we walked into the restaurant, I was stunned to see the ceiling was absolutely covered with neckties.  The service was great and the steaks were wonderful!

Photo Credit Yelp

After a great visit with Terry and Mary, we continued north, up the California coast on U.S. 101 & CA-1, to visit Hearst Castle (La Cuesta Encantada) located near San Simeon, CA.   William Randolph Hearst built the 42 bedroom, 61 bathroom, 19 sitting room castle (1919-1947) which is surrounded by 125 acres of gardens.  There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, a zoo and a private airfield.  Hearst lived in the castle during most of the years of its construction, and until his death in 1951.  ‘The Big House’ was opened to the public in 1958, as a museum, operated by the California State Park System.  That was an amazing tour!  The tour lasted over an hour and a half, and even then we only saw a small portion of that huge edifice (68,500 sq. ft.).  We learned that much of the castle’s beautiful artwork and building materials were obtained from, as far away as, England and Spain and shipped all the way to the west coast of California. 

Photo: https://www.travelawaits.com/2477527/touring-hearst-castle

Continuing north on CA-1, along the picturesque California coast, we next stopped to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium located in Monterey, CA.  This is a very unusual and spectacular attraction!  In addition to the amazing indoor tank (320,000 gallons), the aquarium also has a unique ‘Open Sea’ outdoor pool (1 million gallons), both of which have large viewing windows and are fed by filtered sea water from Monterey Bay.  From the observation deck, surrounding the Open Sea pool, we had a wonderful view of the Sea Otters eating and playing in the pool.

We stayed long enough to watch a diver, thru the glass wall of the large indoor pool, feed the fish.  I was surprise to see that the fish didn’t swarm around him all at once.  They came up to him, a few at a time, to grab a piece of food, and then they would casually swim back into the dark swaying kelp forest.  They must keep them well fed, as none of the different types of fish, jelly fish, or sharks seemed to be in a hurry to eat.  It all seemed quite casual, more like a dance routine. (I’m sure they had fed the sharks first).

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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.

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

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