Tag Archives: #Roadtrip

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 7B

13 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 7 – Monday July 29 (Continued)

 Before leaving Baraboo I visited the Circus World Museum, located on the outskirts of town, adjacent to the Baraboo River.  The museum was founded in 1954 to preserve the history of the “Big Top” circus in America, and teach future generations about the traditions of this American art form of life.  I learned that this museum is situated on the original Ringling Bros. Circus Winter Quarters site.  The museum displays many original Ringling Bros. circus wagons, and other pieces of Ringling’s equipment, and includes a large variety of circus artifacts, and memorabilia.  The museum also offers many year-around special events and a business meeting center.

60 miles northwest on I-90 I visited the Tomah Area Museum located in Tomah, WI.  Much of this small museum is noted for its displays of newspaper stories, artifacts, and memorabilia related to the comic strip “Gasoline Alley” and the Menomonee tribal chief Tomah.

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The “Gasoline Alley” comic strip (for those of you who have never heard of it) was created by Frank King, who was a resident of Tomah.  First published in 1918, the cartoon went on to become one of America’s most popular comic strips of its day.  It is still found in newspapers across the nation today.  As it turns out, Tomah is also the boyhood home of John Sheridan, who became the illustrator for many of the Saturday Evening Post covers over the years.

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Chief Tomah was born in1752 and settled with his people in, what is now known as southern Wisconsin.  He is noted for declining to join the great native worrier, known as Tecumseh, in his battle against the early white settlers in this area.  He went on to befriend many of the early homesteaders, who named their settlement after Chief Tomah (1856) for his kindness to them over the years.  

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Today I drove thru some of the most beautiful rich, green, rolling hills and valleys, covered with corn crops, as far as the eye could see in every direction.  The temperature was a perfect 76 degrees, with blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds.  I could not have asked for a more perfect day to be on a road trip.  God filled my heart with His unspeakable joy today, and I reveled in it all day long.  By now however, it was time to call it a “Wonderful” day and get something to eat.

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I asked Greta to take me to the motel, there in Tomah, for the evening.  After this long travel day, I felt like rewarding myself with something special to eat tonight.  So, after checking in at the motel, I headed over to the BP Smokehouse BBQ Restaurant, there in town, for a full-rack of their delicious Baby Back Ribs, served with baked beans and cole slaw.  AHHH, how satisfying!  After this delightful meal, the only thing left for me to do, was to go back to the motel, record my day’s activities and get some sleep. 

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—–To 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 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6B

30 Oct

Day 6 – Sunday July 28 (Continued)

As I mentioned last week, when I was traveling south on I-41, I passed right by the RV parking area for the EAA Airshow, in Oshkosh, and it was jam-packed with RVs of every description.  The Military Veterans Museum, there in Oshkosh, was my next stop, and it was located just down the road from the EAA RV parking area.  This is a small museum displaying restored military vehicles, equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia from all branches of the American military services.

I continued another 20 miles south on I-41, around Lake Winnebago, to visit the Jim Baldauf Auto Collection located in Fond du Lac, WI.  This is a private car collection consisting of a showroom full of beautifully restored and modified cars.  I had called ahead for an appointment to view Jim’s collection.  I was especially excited about seeing his 1949 Olds 88 Convertible, which Jim says is, one of only five left in the U.S.  It is said that Jim has a very nice collection of vintage and classic cars, but he never did call me back, and I was disappointed to find this museum closed.

Now I headed another 35 miles south on I-41/SR-175/CR-P to visit the Wisconsin Automotive Museum located in Hartford, WI.   This is a very impressive museum that displays about 150 automobiles dating from the early 1900s to the present. Some cars are beautifully restored, while others are still in the condition they were in when discovered (in the barn or field) by the museum collectors.  There was also lots of early automobile displays, artifacts and memorabilia to examine.

Next I headed 40 miles southeast on I-41 to visit the Harley Davidson Museum located in Milwaukee, WI.  This was one of the most impressive collections of motorcycles I have ever seen. Beautifully restored Motorcycles dating from 1903 to the present are displayed on two levels of this large museum.  They had examples of each of the four Harley Davidson motorcycles that I had owned.  There was a 1943 (737cc) WWII US Army courier machine, a 1948 (125cc) Hummer, a 1954 (165cc) Hummer ST, and a 1955 (888cc) Sportster KH.  Boy-O-Boy did those motorcycles bring back a lot of memories from my riding days.

After that trip down memory lane, I headed 20 miles west on I-94 to try and find the Wisconsin Wing of the Commemorative Air Force located in Waukesha, WI.  As it turned out, here again neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the airport hangers where the airplanes are stored.  The closest I could get was the small Waukesha Airport lobby, where the Waukesha Aviation Club had a few aviation related items on display.

Now I headed another 20 miles southwest on SR-164/I-43 to visit the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum located in East Troy, WI.  This museum displays many interesting exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia from the Electric Train era in the eastern Wisconsin area dating from the early 1900s. Restored electric trains and trolleys still run on a section of the original Milwaukee Electric Railway System track between the East Troy Railroad Museum and the Elegant Farmer station in Mukwonago.  Visitors can buy tickets at the museum for the 14 mile (roundtrip) electric train/trolley ride, or for other special events such as Family Picnic Train and Wisconsin Cheesemakers’ & Wine Train.  The Dinner Train Service ride is one train ride I would like to have had the time to take.  Maybe one of these days I can take DiVoran there and we can enjoy a romantic Dinner Train Service trip.

I asked Greta to take me to the motel, there in East Troy, for the night.  After getting checked in, I asked the desk clerk for his restaurant recommendations, and he suggested the Ale Station Food & Brew just across the square.  Since most of the restaurants in town were closed on Sunday evening, I walked over to the Ale Station and had a delicious Garibaldi Sandwich which was just right for the occasion.

—–To 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 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6A

23 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 – Sunday July 28

As I started south on US-41 this morning, I crossed the Menominee River again, thru Marinette, and on south another 10 miles, where I crossed the Peshtigo River just before  stopping to visit  the Fire Museum in Peshtigo, WI.  I was intrigued to discover that the museum’s main function is to honor those 2000+ men, women, and children who perished in the October 8, 1871 fire, that wiped out the entire town of Peshtigo.  The church building that houses the museum is the restored Congregational Church that was move to this site in 1927, and became the museum in 1963.  Ironically, this terrible disaster happened on the very same day as the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871).

I continued south another 45 miles on US-41/US-141 to visit The Automobile Gallery located in Green Bay, WI.  This museum displays some 80+ beautifully restored cars, of all makes and models, which have been selected by the owners of the museum for their artistic value to the automobile enthusiast. 

 The cars on display range from a 1912 Maxwell to a 2016 Shelby Hertz Edition Mustang.


While I was in the Green Bay area, I visited the National Railroad Museum just a few miles south, located in Ashwaubenon, WI.  This is a large museum, dedicated to preserving the nation’s railroad history from the 1820s.  The museum is filled with railroad displays, memorabilia, and artifacts dating from the 1920s.  The museum also has a huge collection of historic steam locomotives and other rare and vintage rolling stock.  Visitors can take a 25-minute ride around the property in a vintage train car (included in admission price), while the conductor describes the daily activities at the maintenance and restoration shops, and includes hobo cultural history.  Special tickets are also available to the various train ride events throughout the year. 

After this interesting visit, I headed southwest about 50 miles on I-41.  I had planned to visit the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, WI but had not realized that the week of July 22-28 was the week of their annual airshow this year.  I was not about to try to elbow my way thru thousands of people to see that museum.  Don’t get me wrong.  The EAA Museum is an outstanding museum, but I had visited their museum several years ago, and didn’t think I would be missing much by not going again today.   However, as luck would have it, just as I was passing the EAA Campground, the CAF’s Boeing B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” was taking off over the interstate right in front of me.  What a unexpected thrill that was, to see that aircraft flying that low!

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As a side note; I found out after I got home, that Tom Reilly had finished the 12-year restoration of his XP-82 Twin Mustang, and won the Grand Champion: Post WWII award at the 2019 EAA AirVenture airshow.  I was sorry I had missed seeing that wonderful warbird flying.  However, that magnificent flying machine is now on display at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, FL where I volunteer as a tour guide.  That allows me to see it up close any time I want.

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—–This day’s activities will be continued next week—–

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 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 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip-Part 4

2 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – Friday July 26

My first museum this morning was to visit the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum located in Bay City, MI. This museum is housed in the destroyer USS Edson (DD-946) which is tied up alongside the Saginaw River near Essexville, MI.  Since I served on a WWII destroyer (Gearing-class) while in the U.S. Navy, and I have visited many ship museums, I opted to just get a photo and move on to the next museum.

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I headed north on I-75 to visit the Standish Historical Depot located in Standish, MI.  The first Standish depot was built in 1871 by the Michigan Central Rail Road (MCRR), but was replaced by a new depot (1877-1889). This small depot museum has been restored, and retains many of its original beautiful hardwood fixtures.

Now I headed northeast on US-23 to visit the Wurtsmith Air Museum located in Oscoda, MI.  This turned out to be a fairly large museum with three hangers of aircraft, equipment and memorabilia, designed to preserve the history of nearby Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which was operational from 1923 to 1993.

I decided to take US-23 north along the coast to Mackinaw City, MI where I visited the Colonial Michilimackinac.  This Mackinac State Park is a work in process.  The reconstructed 1715 Colonial Fort Mackinac and fur trading village consists of 16 buildings furnished with early 18thcentury furnishings, and guides dressed in period costumes, to tell you all about their building. Reenactments are performed daily to help the visitor appreciate the life and times of the period, including Fort Mackinac’s participation in the War of 1812 with the British.

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While in Mackinaw City, I visited the Mackinaw City Bridge Museum, located on the second floor of MaMa Mia’s Pizzeria.  This small museum relates the history of the building of the “Mighty Mac” and honors the thousands of workers who participated in the bridge’s construction. The museum is filled with artifacts, photographs, and all types of memorabilia. 

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Local business and investment concerns showed interest in a bridge from Ignace to Mackinaw City as early as 1884, however the Michigan state government was not ready to tackle such a project.   Increased tourist traffic in the area during the early 1900s finally saw the implementation of an automobile ferry service in 1923 between the two cities.  As the traffic flow increased, and with the ferry service in full swing, carrying as many as 9000 cars a day, traffic backups waiting for passage began to increase and were sometimes known to stretch for miles. In 1928 the Governor of Michigan called for the Michigan State Highway Department to perform a bridge evaluation.  In 1934 the Michigan Legislature created the Meckinac Straits Bridge Authority to study the concept, however financing during the Great Depression was non-existent.  Serious plans for the bridge began as early as 1936 , but was delayed by WWII.   Construction finally began on the bridge in 1954.  Approximately 11, 350 workers, from all over the country, completed the $70+ Million Icon in 1957.  At the time of its completion, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 26,372 feet (5 miles).

My restaurant choice this evening turned out to be at Scallywags White Fish & Chips, located on East Central Avenue, just down the street from the Mackinaw City Bridge Museum.  I had their White Fish Tacos that were some of the best I have ever eaten.  Their chips were also excellent.  I struck up a conversation with the guy at the next table, and discovered he was also an ex-navy man, and he had been to some of the museums, in Canada, that I plan to visit next summer.   He said he had some photos of some of Canada’s rarest airplanes, and would email them to me, if he could find them.

Description: Image result for scalawags whitefish & chips mackinaw city mi

After that great meal and interesting conversation, I was ready for Greta to take me to tonight’s motel, where I could relax from the long day’s drive.  I recorded my day’s events, and before I knew it, I was falling asleep at the desk.  I decided it was finally time to call it a day, hit the sack, and hopefully dream of exciting things I had planned to see tomorrow.

—–To 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

2018 Florida Road Trip (Prelude)

14 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Prelude:  Because of the influence of NASA and the U.S. Air Force, east central Florida is the home to many historic, space, and aviation related museums.  Living in this area for many years, I have visited many of these museums more than once. Because they are all within a “Day Trip” distance, or less, from where I live, they will not be counted as part of this current road trip.  However, I will start off by giving you a brief account of each of them so you will know what is available in the area.

 

 

Because we live on Florida’s east coast near the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), one of my favorite places to visit is the KSC Visitors Center.  This is one of the most frequently visited attractions in Florida, next to Disney World in Orlando.  The visitor center is one of the best ways for NASA to advertise their launch operations business that has been on-going within the 144,000 acre Kennedy Space Center over the last 60+ years.  The KSC Visitor Center complex displays a variety of artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits related to the history and future of America’s manned space flight programs.  The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is also located within the NASA Visitor Center Complex. There is a rocket garden and several space related attractions, as well as bus tours. The bus tour gives visitors a close-up look at the KSC and provides educational information about the many past and current projects as well as those planned for the future from this location.

 

 

Located southeast of the KSC, across the Banana River, on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station you will find the Air Force Space & Missile Museum.  This small museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia related to the early days of America’s space programs.  The museum also has a Rocket Garden which includes the restored launch complex 26, from where the first successful American satellite was placed in earth orbit, and launch complexes 5/6 which were used to place America’s first Astronauts in earth orbit.

 

 

While in Cape Canaveral anyone who has an interest in lighthouses will want to visit the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, located on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and operated by the U.S. Air Force Space Wing.  The lighthouse has a very interesting history beginning with the first lighthouse placed at this location in 1838.  Other lighthouses have been built and moved to this location over the years, to warn mariners of the dangerous Southeast Shoals located just off the Florida coast.  Free tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse can be scheduled for Wednesdays & Thursdays (only) thru the Patrick AFB Public Affairs office.

 

 

Just a few miles west of Cape Canaveral, across the Banana River, you will find the 82 acre Brevard Veterans Memorial Park located just south of SR-520 at the south end of the Sykes Creek Parkway.  Within this beautifully laid out park you will find the Veterans Memorial Library, the Veterans Memorial Plaza and the Veterans Memorial Museum.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to all branches of the U.S. Military Services dating from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terror.

 

 

On your way back towards Orlando from either of the afore mentioned museums you will find the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum located just off SR-405 on the east side of the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, FL.  This is a large three-hanger museum that displays 40+ beautifully restored aircraft from WWI to the present.  As with most aircraft museums, there are always aircraft in various stages of restoration by the excellent staff of volunteer mechanics. Several of the aircraft in this museum’s collection are in flying condition and for those who wish the thrill of flying in a vintage warbird, and have the money, this can be arranged at the gift shop.

 

 

Another local space related museum is The American Space Museum located in downtown Titusville, FL. This museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of America’s manned space exploration from its earliest days.  The museum also has examples of launch control consoles from the blockhouse of launch complex 36, from which NASA and the U.S Air Force launched various payloads on Atlas rockets from 1962 to 2005.

 

 

The outdoor Space View Park, located on the Indian River, just two blocks east of the museum, is the site of the Space Walk of Fame and is an integral part of the American Space Museum. The monuments and brick engravings honor the Astronauts and many of the workers who made the U.S. Manned Space Programs possible.  The Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle monuments and engravings displayed in the park also help keep alive the memory of the people and programs and what they have accomplished in their generation.

 

           Additional Brevard County area museums will be discussed next week.

—–To 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

Memory Lane Road Trip Part 17

24 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 17 – Wednesday 5/3/2018 

 

Because my flight didn’t leave until 4:00 this afternoon, and because I was hoping the crowds of tourists would not be so bad this early, I had planned to visit downtown New Orleans this morning.  Well, I was half right.  I was able to find a parking spot close to Jackson Square, but the crowds of tourists had already started to build by the time I got there.  According to Wikipedia, Jackson Park was called “Plaza D Armas” from 1782 -1803, and was the site where Louisiana became a U.S. Territory as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.

 

 

I checked the Café Du Monde first, in hopes I could get a table, but it was filled to over flowing, with a waiting line.  So I walked thru Jackson Square (1803), and got a photo of the statue of General Andrew Jackson on his trusty steed, “Duke.”  The square is a good place to get a photo of the oldest church in New Orleans.   The building of the St. Louis Cathedral was begun in 1718, the same year New Orleans was founded.  Bet you didn’t know that little bit of trivia.

 

 

I walked around the outside of the square to check out the local artists and their paintings.  Then I walked down to Bourbon Street, just to say I had been there and see what it looked like.  By now the crowds were getting overwhelming, so I headed south, out of town, to visit the Southern Seaplane Base located in Belle Chasse, LA. This charter company flies hunters and fishermen to out- of- the-way locations and tourists on sight-seeing flights around the New Orleans area.  There were three buss-loads of tourist arriving as I was leaving, and I ask one of the pilots how that worked and he said, “We have to take them up in shifts.”

 

 

 

It was getting close to lunch time, so I headed for the airport to turn my rental car in.  On the way I spotted a “Chick-fil-a” restaurant and decided to have lunch with the “Chicks.”   With a full tummy, Greta took me to the airport where I turned my car in and took my time walking from the rental car building to the air terminal (luckily it wasn’t raining today).  There had been bad weather in Chicago earlier, and our flight to Orlando was delayed about 2½ hours.  Our plane finally got there, and when we were ready to push back from the gate, a last minute couple arrived to discover there was only one seat left, and she wouldn’t leave without him.  This caused the airline to have to recalculate the weight and balance/fuel loads.  That caused us another half-hour delay before we could get going.  Once we got in the air, the flight to Orlando was quicker than usual, very smooth, and we got an extra bag of their always fresh peanuts for our trouble.

 

 

 

DiVoran had her own set of problems when she came to pick me up at the Orlando airport.  First of all, she had to drive thru a terrific thunderstorm on SR-528 after leaving Titusville, and traffic was slowed to a crawl.  Then when she got to the airport, there was construction inside the airport loop, and traffic was really backed up.  It took her 30 minutes to get from the entrance to the “Arrivals” pickup ramp to where I was waiting to be picked up.  Then it took us another 15 minutes to get to the on-ramp for SR-528 East heading for home.  I want to tell you, it sure was good to get home and relax from the stresses of this day. I loved taking this trip.  I especially enjoyed getting to see my cousins, and all the different places and things I saw.  However, all of that just makes me appreciate my beautiful restful home and my lovely wife even more.

 

 

I hope have enjoyed reading about this road trip as much as I have enjoyed remembering and writing about it. I hope you will join me when next I take to the open road somewhere in this beautiful country of ours, to visit new and different people, places, and things.

 

—–The End—–

 

 

 

 

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

Edisto Get Away Part 1

18 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

October 4th, my husband and I began a shortish road trip. I had made the decision to leave my laptop at home and it was odd, but refreshing to not travel with my computer. My fellow bloggers had submitted their post in advance so the only posts missing were mine! I was ok with that.

Our first stop was outside Raleigh, NC to visit with family. Most of the extended family had chosen the same week to vacation so, I missed seeing a lot of them, but enjoyed the ones there. We had plenty of good old southern food to eat. I am pretty certain that eastern North Carolina has the best cooks in the country.

 

 

Our next stop was Edisto Island, South Carolina. I know technically it is an island but I’ve seen  longer bridges on the St. John’s River in Florida.

 

 

The wooded drive along back roads to Edisto was pleasant and I enjoyed catching glimpses of unique stained glass windows in even the smallest of churches. I could imagine horse-drawn wagons hauling their crops along a rutted road.

Our plan was to meet our friend Pam and daughter, Rebekah at the resort. They drove up from Florida. Our timing was perfect and they Pam was already in the check in process when we arrived. We were relieved to discover that our home away from home for the next three days had a working elevator. We were on the third floor and not looking forward to hauling our “stuff” up the stairs. I say stuff because we can’t see, to travel with just luggage. There’s a snack bag, bags to hold things I forgot to put in the luggage… you get the idea.

Restaurant choices on the island are limited and we were tired so we opted for rotisserie chicken from the deli and salad. Easy clean up meal then coffee and conversation on the porch until bedtime.

The next morning after a quick breakfast we headed to our first place on our to do list, Wadmalaw Island and the Charleston Tea Plantation. It wasn’t far tp Wadmalaw Island, as the crow flies, but since we couldn’t fly over the marshes, it took a little over an hour. From their website:

 

This is the home of Charleston Tea Plantation teas – nine very special flavors of tea, including our original American Classic Tea.  This is the only brand of tea in the world that is made exclusively with 100% tea grown in America.  The Plantation sits right off Maybank Highway. Driving down Maybank is like taking a step back in time. Wadmalaw has not and cannot be commercially developed, therefore much of the land remains untouched.

 

 

On the porch of the gift shop Waddy the Frog sits with his cup of tea, available for any single ladies who haven’t met their quota of kissing frogs before they find a prince.

 

 

We purchased tickets for a trolley tour of the plantation and it was informative and fun with a guide who knew his history and how to add humor to his spiel.  The tea plants looked like ordinary shrubs and I would never have identified them as tea plants if I saw  them in a garden. The leaves are not harvested by hand as this is a small operation and would require many hands to pick it. Instead, they have a specially built harvester that is set to pick a defined depth.  They kind of look like someone used a gas hedge trimmer on them.

 

The most surprising fact I learned is that the whole process, once the leaves arrive at the processing center, is automated. The production staff has only 4 members. The gift shop has more staff!

After the tour, we shopped in the gift shop and took pictures. I loved the large oak tree by the entrance. It reminded me of Orlando, Florida in the 60’s before Disney World.

 

The weather was threatening rain but we decided to continue to historic Charleston. Hurricane Michael was stirring up the weather and we were not sure the next day would bring good weather. I will write about that next time. Meanwhile, here is a picture that we found interesting. This homeowner isn’t taking any chances on the surrounding marshes flooding.

 

 

 

I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

Memory Lane Road Trip~Part 15

10 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



Day 15 – Tuesday 5/1/2018

I headed south on I-40 this morning to visit the Flying Tigers Heritage Park located just outside Alexandria, LA.  This is a park situated just outside the entrance to, what was until 1992, the England Air Force Base.  Now known as England Airpark & Community, it is a thriving residential neighborhood and the air base has been transformed to serve as the Alexandria International Airport.  I was only interested in getting photos of their static displayed airplanes, and then I was on my way.

I continued south on I-40, and then took a short side trip down U.S.-167/SR-13 to visit the Cajun Music Hall of Fame located in Eunice, LA.  All along U.S.-167 and SR-13 I kept seeing these large, flooded fields with some kind of a device evenly spaced over the entire field.  I had no idea what I was seeing until I arrived at the museum, and asked the curator.  

She said they were crawfish traps, and showed me one she had there in the museum.  I asked her what they used for bait, and she said, “Any kind of meat scraps will do, but most farmers use processed crawfish bait which is made up of concentrated fish parts.” When I mentioned how shallow the water looked, she informed me that they plant rice in those fields, and then after the rice crop is harvested, they flood the fields, seed the crawfish, and put out their crawfish traps.  Check YouTube for “Crawfish Trap Videos” to see how they do it.

I learn some of the most interesting things on these trips!  The museum is located in a small building and displays some Cajun Music memorabilia, but is filled mostly with early 1800s Louisiana artifacts from the surrounding area. 

Next door was the equally small Eunice Depot Museum, which was closed, so I headed east on U.S.-190 to pick up I-40 and head south again towards Layfette, LA.  Friends had told me that if I was ever in the Layfette area, I needed to stop at “Prejeans Cajun Restaurant” located on I-40 just north of Layfette for a meal.  Well, it was lunch time wasn’t it?  So of course I stopped in to give them a try.  

Everything on the menu looked great, but I settled on a bowl of Seafood Gumbo to start.  Then it was their “Blackened Shrimp Skillet Creole” with red beans and rice.  Yummm! It was all pretty spicy, to my taste, and I needed two glasses of ice tea to keep my mouth cooled down!

After that delicious meal, I was ready to head south on I-40 again to visit the Acadian Village located a few miles southwest of Lafayette.  This is a 1800s living Cajun village, with relocated and restored authentic buildings, including houses, a church, a meeting house, and a blacksmith shop. The village is set around a small bayou and the dwellings are easily accessible from a paved walkway.

A few miles east of the Acadian Village I visited the Vermillionville Historic Village located on 23 acres adjacent to the Bayou Vermillion.  This living history museum and folk-life park is another frontier village type attraction, with some of their buildings dating from the late 1700s.  The seven relocated buildings have been restored, filled with period furnishings, and hosted by tour guides dressed in period costumes who will answer all your questions.

Now it was time to head for the motel and get settled in, so I could relax and enjoy my leftover Blackened Shrimp with red beans and rice from Prejeans.  Yummm again!  Of course I didn’t have the ice tea to cool down my mouth this time, so I had to be satisfied with a can of Mountain Dew from the motel’s drink machine.

                                           —–To 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

Memory Lane Road Trip~Part 14

3 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 – Monday 4/30/2018 

My original plan was to head north this morning to visit a couple of smaller museums, and then turn around and head south to meet another of my cousins in Many, LA for lunch. However, I was getting off to a late start, and there was a good chance the museums wouldn’t be open, and I didn’t want to be late for our meeting.  So after breakfast I packed up and headed south on US-171 to visit the Fort Jesup Historic Site located about six miles northeast of Many.

The site was closed, but Wikipedia tells me the fort was built in1822 to protect the U.S. border with New Spain, and to return order to the Neutral Strip (1806-1821).  The fort was active until after the Mexican war, in 1846, when it was closed.  The only building that remains of the fort now, is the Enlisted Barracks 4, which was restored and is currently being maintained by a private organization in Many.

Now I continued about six miles southwest on SR-6, from Fort Jesup into Many.  My cousin Jimmy had said he couldn’t meet my other cousin Alfice and me for lunch.  I thought maybe I’d drive over and see where his office was anyway.  It was only 10 o’clock, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the next two hours.

Just as I was pulling into town my cousin James Alfice called me to let me know he had to come to town early to run some errands.  What a serendipity!  We met at the local Burger King and as he got out of his car he said, “You must be Billy.”  I shook his hand and said, “And you must be Alfice.”  I got in his car and we started what turned out to be the very best four hour family history tour I have ever had.  Alfice is four years older than me, and has lived a very active life there in the Many area.  He and his family grew up and lived there, as has my family.  At one time he was the police Chief of Many for several years, and later he was Sherriff of Sabine County, Louisiana for a number of years.

He knew everything there was to know about our family background, as well as, everything there was to know about what had gone on in Many and Sabine county over the years. He drove me around every part of Many, pointing out which of my relatives had lived in, or still lived in this or that house.  He would point out which criminal had lived in some house, or the very spot in the woods where he and his deputies had turned the dogs loose on another criminal. Then he took me to the Mount Zion Baptist Church.  According to Alfice, his grandfather and my grandfather were both instrumental in starting that church sometime around the late 1800s or early 1900s.  That is the church my family attended those times we visited my relatives when I was a youngster.  Most of my relatives who live in the Many area still attend there.

Next to the church is the Mount Zion Cemetery, where many of Alfice and my relatives are buried.  This is a beautiful cemetery that dates back to the early 1800s, and has been kept up by the church families over the years. I found the grave of my grandfather (T.J. Lites) and grandmother (Mattie Lites) who started populating the area in and around Many with their 13 children.

We stopped for lunch at Alfice’s favorite restaurant, Fisherman’s Galley, located on the banks of Toledo Bend Lake.  I had a plate of their Grilled Catfish with Sweet Potatoe Fries.  The food was really great, and lots of it.  While I was eating, I had this picture in my mind of two little black kids, sitting on a pier, fishing in the lake for catfish for the restaurant.  As soon as they hooked one, they would run it up to the restaurant cook, and the next thing you know, there it was on my plate, fresh out of the lake.  The catfish was that good!

Alfice continued the tour for a while after lunch, but then he told me he had to get his car back for his wife.  We exchanged contact information and said our goodbyes, with promises to stay in touch. Then I went looking for my cousin Jimmy’s asphalt business, so I could take a photo of their sign. Jimmy had told me he was starting a new job in another town that day, and I assumed his whole crew would be on that job with him.   As luck would have it, the gate was open, so I drove in to see who might be there.  I was surprised when the mechanic told me that two of my cousins, Danny and Tracy, were in the office.  They came out and we had a great impromptu visit.

After I said my goodbyes to cousins Danny and Tracy, I drove back into Many to check out The Robert Gentry Museum, there on San Antonio Avenue.  I had seen this museum as I first drove into Many, and hoped I had time now to visit before they closed.  But I found out the museum had closed and all that was left in the building was a pawn shop.

Now it was time for Greta to take me to tonight’s motel in Natchitoches, LA which was about 30 miles east of Many.  After I checked in, I warmed up my delicious leftover catfish, for another delightful supper.  As usual, there was nothing worth watching on the TV, so I recorded my notes for the day and then it was early to bed for me.

—–To 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

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