Tag Archives: Road trip

America’s North Country Trip~Part 2

13 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 2 (Saturday)

After a nice hot complimentary breakfast of orange juice, scrambled eggs, sausage links, biscuit & gravy at the motel, I headed north on I-29 to visit the Sergeant Floyd River Museum which is surrounded by Larson Park and located in Sioux City, IA. This dry-docked towboat was built in 1932 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage the nation’s inland waterways, and is now a museum exhibiting historical artifacts about its use over the years on the Missouri River.

 

Sergeant Floyd Museum Boat

 

Next there in Sioux City was a quick visit to the Mid-America Museum of Aviation and Transportation. This was a small museum with a few nicely restored aircraft, buggies, automobiles, trucks and a 1981 Moni-Motor glider built by Monett Experimental Aircraft Co. hanging from the ceiling.

 

 

Another place I wanted to visit there in Sioux City was the Sioux City Railroad Museum near the Riverside area. As it happened, a film crew was there making a documentary about the Museum, and they had several young women dressed in period costumes being used as models. It was interesting to watch them bustling around trying to get the gals to pose just the way they wanted, and in just the right light, for their photos. What a bunch of prima donnas!

 

 

As I was leaving Sioux City I, stopped by the Chief War Eagle Monument to take a photo and learn a little more about this Yankton Sioux Chief. History records him as “Friend of the White Man” and a scout for the U.S. Government, as well as a mediator with the native tribes during the war of 1812. He was one of the tribal leaders selected to go to Washington D.C. to negotiate peace treaties, and was awarded the Silver Peace Metal by President Martin Van Buren in 1837.

 

 

Now I headed north on I-29 stopping by the South Dakota ANG, located adjacent to the Sioux Falls Reginal Airport, to see if they had a museum. They didn’t, so I had to be satisfied with photos of their static display aircraft from outside the fence.

 

 

Next on my list was a visit to the Battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57) Memorial located there in Sioux Falls, SD. This was an unusual memorial in that it had displayed many individual pieces of the ship (a 16” gun barrel, a 40mm gun mount, ship’s anchor, etc.) around the grounds. Inside there were many artifacts and memorabilia displays of this historical ship and its crews.

 

 

On my way through town, I stopped to take a photo of the Sioux Falls Old Minnehaha Courthouse Museum. It was a majestic structure, but I didn’t take the time to go in as I expected it would display mostly city historical items, and I was sure my knees wouldn’t appreciate all those stairs.

 

 

After checking into the motel for the night there in Sioux Falls, I went looking for someplace to eat. As luck would have it, I saw a Panera Bread restaurant and stopped in for a delicious Pick-2 Meal of a Chipotle Chicken sandwich and a cup of their great Broccoli-Cheese soup. One of their oversized chocolate chip cookies topped off my meal for dessert. What a wonderful way to end a day on the road!

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ouch!

2 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

 Recently, Fred and I took a driving trip – something we hadn’t done in many years. When Fred mentioned it, I asked him if he was sure – I tend to fall asleep in the car! However, he was sure. Most of the places we go to visit are far enough away that we like to fly to them, rather than drive. But this trip was prompted by a situation we hadn’t heard of before.

 

 

Our son-in-law, Brian, found a really good “deal” here in Orlando – or Central Florida, to be exact. Seems that there are just too many rental cars in the Orlando/Central Florida area between Christmas and Spring Break. So the car companies were making a really good offer – rent one of our cars for $4.95 per day (you read that right – $4.95 per day) and you can drive it for a minimum of one day and up to 30 days – as long as you drop the car somewhere outside Florida! And most of the companies let the renters have the car with unlimited driving miles! And since I call my husband “my tight-fisted Scot” (said with a Scottish accent!) – it was an offer he couldn’t refuse!

So we signed up for a 16-day trip. Fred also said he would like for me to be able to see some of the girlfriends I had made along the way of our life, but hadn’t seen in many years. So we began planning our trip.

 

 

But before I begin our trip – I must tell you that, even though we hadn’t seen these people in many, many years – we had kept up with them, either via Christmas cards, or letters. We had not lost touch with them.

And so, when the time to start driving arrived, we picked up the car and started out. We drove from Orlando to Pensacola the first day – and that’s a long trip!

The next day we drove over to Pascagoula/Moss Point, MS, to visit a friend we hadn’t seen in over 50 years. She and her husband married the November before Fred and I married in June – 56 years ago! And we hadn’t seen them since. Her birthday is one day after mine, so we called ourselves “twins.” We had a nice lunch with them, then visited in their home for a few hours, then started on our trip north. We stopped in Meridian, MS that night, before heading up to Tuscumbia, AL the next day. There we visited for several days with my best and dearest friend in all this world. And just a side note – did you know that Helen Keller is from Tuscumbia? I didn’t know that until we visited there.

 

Credit Google Search and Bio.com Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan

 

Four days following, we drove to Shreveport, LA for an overnight, before heading to Gladewater, TX the next day. There we visited a good friend I had worked with while Fred was in Seminary, in Fort Worth, TX, over 50 years ago. We hadn’t seen her and her family since 1974 when we moved to Panama City, FL from San Antonio, TX. After visiting with them for a few hours, we drove on to Fort Worth, TX. We spent a couple of days there, just re-visiting some of the places we had lived, worked and visited during the four years we lived there. In that time, we visited with the couple we had met on our Viking River Cruise in Europe (please see my post of February 21, 2016 – The Cruise of a Lifetime – Part 4). It was so good to see them again. We found we had a lot in common with this couple, and thoroughly enjoy their company.

~~~~~~~~~~Ouch! will be revealed next week~~~~~~~~~~

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 11

28 Jan

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites

Bill Red Spot Plane

Somehow I missed the turn (or maybe I wasn’t paying attention) outside of Harrisburg and ended up on I-81 (south) instead of following US #15 (south). This caused me to miss getting to visit the Gettysburg Train Museum and the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum, both of which I’m sure I would have enjoyed. It wasn’t until I came upon the Maryland Welcome Station that I realized what had happened, and by then it was too late in the day to go back, so I just kept on trucking. Just down the road I stopped to check out the Hagerstown Air Museum in Hagerstown, MD where I learned that several of the WW II USAAF training and transport aircraft were built by Fairchild Aircraft in 1some of the hangers where the museum’s aircraft are now housed. Among notable aircraft built by Fairchild during and shortly after WWII included the PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 Cornell trainers, the AT-21 Gunner twin-engine trainer, the C-61 Argus (For the RAF), and the C-82 Packet, C-119 Flying Boxcar and the C-123 Provider cargo planes. The museum wasn’t officially open, but one of the guys working at the airport hangar (where “Greta” delivered me) agreed to show me the museum’s aircraft collection and tell me a little about Fairchild’s roll in wartime Hagerstown.

Next I headed southeast to visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederic, MD which was a disturbing and visually graphic education of primitive methods of 2medical treatment used on the fighting men during the Civil War. It is surprising to me that as many men as did, survived their treatments, surgeries and amputations during that war. I guess the main reason for their survival rate was that they were young and healthy when they went into the war. It makes one appreciate modern medical practices such as the advances in cleanliness, antiseptics, surgical applications and especially prosthetics technology.

When I first arrived at the museum, I couldn’t see any place to park, as there were businesses on both sides of the street and signs were posted as “Commercial Loading Zones.” There were cars parked in those loading zones, on both sides of the street, so I stopped in 3front of the museum just long enough to go in and ask where to park. I couldn’t have been in the museum more than 3 or 4 minutes, but when I came out to move my car I had a parking ticket and the writer of that ticket was nowhere to be seen. He/she must have been lurking in some doorway, close by, just waiting for me to walk away from my car, because the ticket was a computer print-out with a “lot” of automobile information that had to have been observed and entered into their hand-held device. Man, was that fast! Needless to say, that was a costly museum visit.

Next on my list, as I continued east, was The Firehouse Museum in Ellicott, MD which was closed that day. As you can see from the photo below, the museum is very small and is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is located in the very first Ellicott volunteer firehouse, which was built in 1889, and served as the town meeting hall, among other things, over the years. Then it was on east to Laurel, MD for dinner and the motel for the night.

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—–To Be Continued—–

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—–

My Western Trip Part~9

2 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

The next morning I visited the Joe Martin Miniature Engineering Museum in Carlsbad, CA.   I had received emails about the detailed aluminum model aircraft that Young Park had built. Maybe you have seen pictures of them. When I researched his planes, I discovered he had donated a couple of his masterpieces to the Joe Martin Museum, and I wanted to see them up close. They are unbelievably detailed!

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Well, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the many museum models! There were miniatures of just about everything mechanical you can think of. They were all scratch built, and all work just as the full sized item would. It’s hard for me to grasp the idea that people have the skill and patience to build these working miniatures. There were several examples of model steam engines (operated by air pressure), and a demonstration of a model V-8 auto engine, that had the coolest sound. If you can imagine a soprano Vroom-Vroom!!!

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And, then there was the model “external” combustion engine demonstration, which included the answer to one of my life long questions. In the early days of the railroad, how did they keep the water tanks you see being used (in the movies) to replenish the steam engines, filled with water? Answer; External Combustion Engines (not usually seen) used to pump water from a well near the tank. Also not seen, is the job of the train’s engineer, who would stoke the pump’s external engine fire source when he finished filling his train’s water tank. I find these engine pumps fascinating. There are some really cool examples of model “external combustion engines” on YouTube. If you Google “External Combustion Engine” some of the schematics are even animated, giving you a good idea of how the engine and its pump works. Check them out for yourself, it’s really interesting.

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Needless to say, I spent a lot more time at the Joe Martin Museum than I had planned. But, once I was able to tear myself away from all those fabulous models, I headed for San Diego. I made stops on the way at the Antique Car & Steam Engine Museum, the Mission San Luis Ray and the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. The next morning I went to Balboa Park to visit the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Auto Museum and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. I had been to the Air & Space Museum and the Auto Museum (Google; Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car & Old Plank Road) two years ago, but I had missed the Model Railroad Museum. Supported by at least four local model railroad clubs, this is one of the largest (27,000 sq. ft.) model train layouts in the country. They must have had 15 or 20 tracks coming into the rail yard and turntable area from all directions. I wished my friend Leon, who works with Model Circus Train clubs in Albuquerque, NM, could have been with me to see this fabulous layout.

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

 

 

Another Road Trip- El Paso

29 Aug

A Slice of Life

    Bill Lites

I was 17 and I was in love.  At least  I thought I was in love.  I had been going steady with Barbara for many months and we spent every minute we could  together.  We just knew we were a perfect match because our parents approved of our choices; we enjoyed each other’s company and liked the same things.  Then the worst thing we could imagine happened.  Her father’s job transferred him to El Paso, Texas and we were separated.  What were we going to do?  We had to think of something.  But what?

 

Barbara and I talked it over during many phone calls and then I got the bright idea.  With our parent’s approval, I’d ride my 1955 Harley Davidson motorcycle down there and see her.  I’d stay at their house and they would show me the sights.  It was only a 265-mile trip and I figured I could make that in about 4 or 5 hours.  So, why not, I asked my mother?  I’d been safely riding motorcycles since I was 14 and was still in one piece.  This was another one of those teenage trips that I somehow talked my parents into.

When all the details had been worked out, I headed South that Friday morning, on what was then US-85 by way of the southern New Mexico desert.  The trip took me thru the small towns of Los Lunas, Socorro, Truth or Concequences, Hatch, and Las Cruces.  After stopping for lunch and bathroom breaks, it took me longer than I had planned, but I finally made into the big city of El Paso, Texas.

It took me a while, but I finally found Barbara’s house and was welcomed  in by her whole family.  After dinner, Barbara and I took a walk around the neighborhood and she told me what she and parents had planned for the weekend.  Saturday they showed me the many sights of El Paso and then they took me across the border to Juarez, Mexico for a visit to the “Old Mexico” way of life and tourism.  That’s where they put Barbara and me in their “Old Jail” for our picture.

Sunday we all went to their church and then back to their home for a great lunch.  Then it was time for me to head for home.  After we said our good-bys, I reluctantly headed back North on US-85.  With all the excitement of the weekend and the big lunch, I began to get sleepy after a couple of hours.  The constant drumming of the motorcycle engine and whistling of the wind in my ears didn’t help matters.  I did everything I could think of to stay awake, talked to myself, sang to myself, stopped at rest areas to splash cold water on my face, all to no avail.

The next thing I knew, I woke up, on the wrong side of the road, headed for the ditch at 60 mph.  It’s a good thing it was Sunday and traffic was almost non-existent on that stretch of road or I might have ended up as road kill that day.  After I recovered, the incident had pumped enough adrenaline into me to keep me awake for the rest of the trip.  I had a hard time thanking God and my guardian angel enough for saving me from a really bad day.

Psalm 16:8

One Perfect Snapshot In Time

14 Mar

I can’t believe I have never visited Charleston, SC. I have always wanted to, why did I never make time? Last weekend we made a crazy 1200-mile road trip for a family reunion.  So of course, it just made sense to throw in a visit to Charleston. In defense of this whacky decision, Rebekah traveled with us and suggested we break up our trip with an overnight at her best friend’s home outside Charleston.

It turned out to be an idyllic weekend. I needed a trip into the past to re-focus my energy. I don’t think we take ourselves quite so seriously when we see how small we are in the realm of time. We ate at Poogan’s Porch, an old home turned restaurant. The floors were original wood, the walls a rough plaster broken up by large windows. Our meal was pure southern comfort and as I sat there with my family, for one perfect snapshot of time, all was right in my world. I don’t have an explanation except that God’s timing is perfect.

Rebekah Lyn is posting her own impressions of Charleston. I bet she has the same food pictures. Stop by and check it out.

http://rebekahlynskitchen.wordpress.com/

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