Tag Archives: #Roadtrip

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 6

29 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 – 7/17/2021

Leaving Harrisburg this morning I headed northeast 35 miles on I-81 to visit the Golden Age Air Museum located in Bethel, PA.  This museum consists of three hangers and displays 14 beautifully restored, and flyable, antique airplanes dating from 1916 to 1990, plus a dozen more planes on static display.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

Now it was another 35 miles northeast on I-81 to where I visited the Mid-America Air Museum located adjacent to the Reading Regional Airport in Reading, PA.  This museum displays over 100 aircraft, many of which are flyable.  I was looking forward to visiting this museum as they are in the process of restoring a very rare Northrop P-61B (42-39445) Black Widow night fighter to flight status.  Since i attended Northrop University, the P-61 has been one of my favorite WWII airplanes.  I am hoping to see the miracle of one of these famous airplanes back in the air again in my lifetime, and it looks like MAAM is the outfit to make that happen.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

From the Reading Regional Airport, it was only a few miles to the Reading Area Firefighters Museum.  Located on the site of the original 1854 Reading fire house, this museum’s collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia dates from the early 1800s. 

Now I took US-222 out of Reading about 15 miles northeast to visit the Kutztown History Museum located in the 1892 school building in downtown Kutztown, PA.  This museum displays local artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Kutztown and the surrounding Berks County area dating from as early as 1799.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

From Kutztown I continued on US-222 another 30 miles northeast to visit the America on Wheels Museum located in Allentown, PA.  This museum is situated in a renovated 1887 building and is laid out with three main galleries where some 75 beautifully restored antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles are on display.  Their Hubcap Café (restored 1950s soda fountain) is part of the museum’s decor and open to the public for snacks and beverages.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Allentown, it was only a few blocks to where I could visit the RB Classic Car Collection.  This facility is owned and operated by brothers, Al and Alex Ruozzi, who have dedicated their lives to buying, restoring, selling, and servicing Classic Cars from every era.  Currently their inventory includes vehicles from the 1930s to 1960s,

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I had planned to visit the Mack Truck Historical Museum there in Allentown, and replace my worn-out ‘Mack’ baseball cap, but they were closed.  That was a Bummer!  So, I just headed north out of Allentown on I-475 about 75 miles to visit the Steamtown National Historic Site located in Scranton, PA.  This 62-acre site is the former Scranton railroad yards and displays restored steam & diesel driven trains in the 1902 Roundhouse and on the central turntable.  The History Museum displays other artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the Scranton Yards “Where the Great Roads Meet.”

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Sharing the parking lot with the Steamtown National Historic Site is the Electric City Trolley Museum, which is a collection of 20+ restored electric trolleys, used in the Scranton and the Lackawanna County  area, dating from 1899 to 1941.  The John Oliver model train set inside  the museum is amazing.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Scranton, I headed north 50 miles on I-81 with a stop, just over the border, at the Visitors Center in Kirkwood, NY.  The drive thru the Pocono Mountains was beautiful and you can see the remnants of those mountains in the background of the picture below.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Then it was another 50 miles north on I-81 to where I visited the Cortland NY Living Center located in Cortland, NY.  This complex includes the Brockway Truck Collection, the Homeville Museum, and the Tractors of Yesteryear collection.  The artifacts and memorabilia included in each of these collections is the history of Cortland County New York from Civil War days to the present.

Now I continued 35 miles north on I-81 to visit the Erie Canal Museum located in Syracuse, NY.  This museum is housed in the 1850 Syracuse Weighlock Building that served as the weighlock toll building for boats using the Erie Canal from 1850 to 1883 when boat tolls were no longer required.

Now it was time to find the motel there in Syracuse and get checked in.  After I got settled in my motel room, I went in search of something good to eat.  I ended up at the Basil Leaf Italian Ristorante, where I enjoyed their Baked Lasagna with warm Italian bread.  Delightful!

—–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 5B

22 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021 (Continued)

My next stop today was about 45 miles northeast on I-81 to visit the George Washington Office Museum located in Winchester, VA.  This small museum is situated in the 18thcentury log and stone building that Washington used as his office while performing survey work in the Frederick County area from September 1755 to December 1756.  This same office was used by Washington to command the Virginia Regiment during the French & Indian War (1754-1763).

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I was surprisingly to find that the Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum was just a few blocks away, there in Winchester.  This museum is located in the house built by William Fuller in 1854 and was used by General “Stonewall” Jackson as his Civil War headquarters during the winter of 1861 – 1862.    The museum displays many of Jackson’s personal items as well as other family artifacts and memorabilia.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

It was only 20 miles northeast on I-81, and across the border, to where I wanted to visit the Bunker Hill Train Club located on the outskirts of Bunker Hill, WV but they were closed.  That was a bummer as I was looking forward to seeing their model train layouts.  So, I kept going another 10 miles up I-81 to visit the Martinsburg Roundhouse, but they were also closed. Another Bummer for me. 

Photo credit: Bill Lites
Photo credit: Bill Lites

Continuing northeast another 25 miles on I-81 I crossed another border and visited the Hagerstown Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, MD.  This museum is situated in the former Fairchild Flight Test Hanger (built in 1943) and focuses mainly on the history of the Fairchild Aircraft Company, while displaying some 15+ restored rare and antique aircraft dating from 1928. 

Photo Credit: https://www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org/

While I was in Hagerstown, I also visited the Hagerstown Roundhouse & Railroad Museum located in the City Park Train Hub.  This museum displays a restored 1919 steam locomotive (#202) and rolling stock as well as other railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 25 miles on I-81, across the border, to visit The Old Jail Museum located in Chambersburg, PA.  This museum is housed in the original Franklin County jail which was built in 1818.  The jail served Franklin county for 152 years before being closed in 1970.  Many famous criminals, such as “Lewis the Robber” and “Captain John Cook,” among others, were housed in this jail over the years.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Chambersburg, it was only 15 miles northeast on US-11 to where I visited the Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum located at the Shippensburg Station in Shippensburg, PA.  This small museum is housed in a restored 1956 Penn Central boxcar, there at the station, and tells the history of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail (CVRT) and its influence on the local area, from its beginning, over the years.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I got back on I-81 for another 20 miles northeast to where I visited the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center located in Carlisle, PA.  This facility was designed to provide educational training and historical materials related to the history of the U.S. Army from its inception, during the Revolutionary War, to the present.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast another 25 miles on I-81 to visit the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum located in Harrisburg, PA.  This museum is located in the restored 1899 former Raily Hose Company No. 10 building and displays a unique collection of antique firefighting equipment including an 1804 Juniata hand-drawn engine, plus horse-drawn, and motorized fire engines and much more.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Pennsylvania-National-Fire-Museum-114611048582302/

By now it was time to find the motel there in Harrisburg.  After I got checked in and got settled in my room, I relaxed and warmed up my leftover El Cazador Chili Verde from last night.  Ymmmmm!

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–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 5A

15 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021

This morning I headed northeast, from Roanoke, on I-581 & I-81 toward Staunton, VA.  About 55 miles up the road I stopped to visit the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Museum located in Lexington, VA.  This museum and its 15,000-artifact collection are dedicated to the history of the first state sponsored military college (1839) and its alumni.  Founded in 1856 by then Superintendent Francis H. Smith, the museum now resides in the Jackson Memorial Hall there on the VMI campus.  I passed up a cadet guided tour as it didn’t start for another two hours.

Photo Credit: https://www.vmi.edu/

I continued north on I-81 another 35 miles to visit the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum located in Staunton, VA.  This museum is located in the Staunton Fire & Rescue Station #1 and has the distinction of displaying the oldest motorized Robinson Fire Engine (1911) in Virigina along with other firefighting artifacts and exhibits dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Staunton, it was only a few blocks to where I visited The Camera Heritage Museum.  This small museum displays a unique collection of antique cameras and camera equipment dating from the early 19th century to the present.  Many of the cameras were used by well-known personalities, which makes their history even more interesting.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast about 10 miles on US-11 to visit the Augusta Military Academy (AMA) Museum located in Fort Defiance, VA.  The museum is housed in the original 1869 home of Charles S. Roller and displays artifacts and representations of 1800s AMA cadet life as well as the accomplishments of many of the AMA alumni. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast another 10 miles on US-11 & I-81 to visit the Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum located in Harrisonburg, VA but neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the museum.  Not too far down the street I tried to visit the Virginia Quilt Museum, there in Harrisonburg, but it was closed.  It was too warm for a quilt today anyway.  Ha!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was leaving Harrisonburg this historical marker caught my eye and I had to stop for a photo.  After reading the marker, I was shocked and amazed at the story it told.  As it turns out, the barn of Mr. Henry Sipe, a prominent Rockingham County citizen, was burned down on February 28, 1878, and Charlotte Harris, a black woman, was accused of instigating the deed.  After being apprehended, Harris was given a preliminary hearing, before local magistrates, and was ordered taken to the county jail in Harrisonburg, 15 miles away, for trial. That night an angry mob of armed local citizens stormeded the building where Harris was being held, dragged her out of town and hanged her.  Not the kind of thing I would think a town would be proud of, much less prominently display on a historical marker there on Main street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued northeast another 20 miles on I-81, to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War located at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, VA.  This museum sits in the middle of what was the New Market battlefield and displays historical artifacts and assorted memorabilia related to that famous 1864 battle.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next on my list of places to visit in this area was the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory located another 10 miles northeast on US-11 in Mt. Jackson, VA.  I got a quick tour of the factory and was surprised to learn that they only got about 10 pounds of chips out of every 100 pounds of potatoes they processed.  The free sample I selected to munch on was their Onion & Chives flavored brand.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 4B

8 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021 (Continued)

Leaving Burlington, NC I headed north on US-87 toward Roanoke, VA.  On the way I crossed the border and stopped in Ridgeway, VA long enough to take a photo of the famous Martinsville Speedway.  Built in 1947, this ½ -mile oval track is home to the NASCAR Cup Series races and is referred to as “The Paper Clip” by many drivers.  I’ve watched a lot of NASCAR races that have taken place at that track, over the years, and wanted to at least be able to say I saw the track.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 10 miles north on US-220 I visited the Rucker’s Antique Emporium located in Martinsville, VA.  I wanted to check-out the Telephone & Telecommunications Museum which I was told was on the 2nd floor of the Emporium.  This museum uses antique artifacts displayed to allows visitors to walk thru the history of the telephone and other telecommunication devices dating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: https://didyouknowscience.com/top-technology-breakhroughs-in-the-1800s/  

Now it was another 50 miles north on US-220 to visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation located in Roanoke, VA.  This large museum is housed in the old 1918 Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot and displays many 1940s era steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum also has on display several restored 1800s antique cars, in addition to the Big Lick; a 1940s era passenger station replica and much more.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a few blocks away I visited the O. Winston Link Museum, there in Roanoke.  This small museum is located in the restored 1852 Norfolk & Western Railway passenger station and displays the photographic works of Winston Link, who is said to be considered the 20th century master railroad photographer.  His railroad themed photographs are nationally known and have appeared in many books and magazines over the years.

Photo Credit: https://hddsite1.com/

In another few blocks, there in downtown Roanoke, I visited the Virginian Station which is the old 1909 Roanoke Passenger Station.   Renovated after a fire in 2001, the station now displays historical exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia as they relate to the influence 

of the Virginian Railway Line on the early city of Roanoke and the surrounding Roanoke Valley area.  Passenger service from this station was terminated in 1956.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving downtown Roanoke I stopped to check-out the Roanoke Pinball Museum located at #1 Market Street, in the Market Center, on the 2nd floor of the Center in the Square building.  This museum has 60 fully playable pinball machines and other interactive displays dating from the 1930s to the present.  And yes, I remember spending a lot of time playing pinball machines as a teenager.  But Snooker was really my game of choice.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I was running out of daylight, and by now it was time to locate my motel, there in Roanoke, and get checked.  Once I got everything in my motel room, I ask the motel clerk for restaurant recommendations close by and he said he liked the El Cazador Mexican Restaurant down the street.  I had their Chili Verde plate with Spanish rice and refried beans.  It was wonderful, and I had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–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 4A

1 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021

I headed north out of Fayetteville on US-401 about 50 miles this morning for my first visit to the New Hope Valley Railway located in New Hill, NC.  As it turned out, this location is the terminal depot for the 5-mile steam train ride between New Hill and Bonsal, NC where the museum is located.  The museum features a collection of beautifully restored steam & diesel locomotives and antique rolling stock dating from 1869.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast about 20 miles on US-1 to visit the Legends of Harley Drag Racing Museum located in Raleigh, NC.  This museum is situated on the second level of the spacious Ray Price Harley Davidson dealership and displays exhibits and the history of world-famous drag racing champion Ray Price and others.

Photo credit:Bill Lites

After learning all about the history of motorcycle drag racing, it was only a few blocks to where I visited the Raleigh Fire Museum.  This museum displays several beautifully restored pieces of fire-fighting equipment and other fire-fighting memorabilia dating from their 1905 American LaFrance Steamer.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

On my way to visit the Mordecai Historic Park there in Raleigh, I passed the Capital building and stopped long enough to take a photo of that grand edifice.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

At the Mordecai Historic Park, I learned that the Mordecai House is the oldest house (1785) in Raleigh.  The Andrew Jackson (17th U.S. President) Birthplace House was built in 1795, and is among seven other restored buildings, at the park, that are part of the original Mordecai Plantation complex, or have been moved there over the years. 

Photo credit: Bill Lites

I wanted to visit the Neuse River Valley Model Railroad Club there in Raleigh, but they were closed.  I was disappointed to miss a visit to this club because I’m always amazed at the detail that goes into the model railroad layouts at these model clubs.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northwest 25 miles on US-70 & I-85 to visit the Duke Homestead & Tobacco Factory Site located in Durham, NC.  The Duke Homestead was built in 1852 by Washington Duke who founded what evolved into the first, and largest, tobacco firm (the American Tobacco Company) in the early 20th century.

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC6rot_u8l8

It was only about another five miles west on I-85 to visit the Bennett Place Historic Site there in Durham.  This site is known as the 1789 home of James Bennett, where General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his Confederate army (last to surrender) to General William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865 effectively ending the Civil War.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 15 miles west on I-85 took me to the Orange County Historical Museum located in Hillsborough, NC.  This museum has the distinction of being the site of North Carolina’s 1788 Constitutional Convention and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to Hillsborough and the surrounding Orange County area from the pre-settlement period thru the 1950s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed west another 20 miles on I-40 to visit the Whistlestop Exhibit at Company Shops Station located at the Alamance County’s AMTRAK passenger station in Burlington, NC.  This exhibit includes models of the 1800s Company Shops with scenes of life in the 1900s with steam and diesel engines coming thru the engine house.

—–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

2021 Mid-eastern Road Trip Part 3

25 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 – 7/14/2021

This morning I headed northwest out of Mt. Pleasant on I-526/I-26 and US-52 some 50 miles to visit the Berkeley County Museum located In Moncks Corner, SC.  This museum is situated in the Old Santee Canal Park and displays exhibits and memorabilia related to the cultural and natural history of Berkeley County and the surrounding area dating from the Ice Age, and the Revolutionary “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion to the Civil War, semi-submersible torpedo boat CSS David on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing north on US-52 about 40 miles I visited the Williamsburg Historical Museum in Kingstree, SC.  This museum displays exhibits and artifacts which tell the history of Williamsburg County and the immediate area, including tours of the 1749 Thorntree Plantation House.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was just 15 miles north on US-52 to where I visited the Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park located in Lake City, SC.   Ronald McNair was one of the seven Astronauts who tragically lost their lives in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986.  The memorial honors the life and the many accomplishments of Dr. Ronald E. McNair who was a native of Lake City.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing north another 25 miles on US-52 I visited the War Between the States Museum located in Florence, SC.  This museum is housed in the 1923 home of former Confederate soldier R. Frank McKain and displays mostly Civil War artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1850 to 1900.  There is also a model of the Florence Stockade, which also served as a Prison Camp for some 400 captured Union soldiers during the Civil War.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Ten miles northwest of Florence, on US-52, I visited the Darlington Speedway Museum located at the Darlington Speedway in Darlington, SC.  Being a NASCAR enthusiast, I enjoyed reading about the history of how the speedway was built by Harold Brasington in 1950.  The 1.3 mile oval track is the home of the “Southern 500” and has become known as “The Track Too Tough to Tame” by many of the race drivers.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that exciting adventure, I headed northeast 50 miles on I-95 thru Mallory, Dillon, and across the border to visit the Robertson County History Museum located in Lumberton, NC but they were closed.  So, I got back on I-95 and drove another 35 miles north to visit the Fayetteville Transportation Museum located in Fayetteville, NC.  This museum is housed in the restored 1898 Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley RR Depot, and displays exhibits related to the history of the railroad in the area thru the early 20thcentury.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Fayetteville, I wanted to visit the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, but they were closed.  Bummer!  Then I tried to visit the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum located on Fort Bragg, but that museum is closed to the public without a special pass because of Covid-19.  Double Bummer!!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So I just headed for the motel there in Fayetteville.  Once I got checked in and got all my things into my room, I heated up my Melvin’s BBQ pork ribs dinner and enjoyed that wonderful meal again.  WOW that was good!

—–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

2021 Mid-eastern Road Trip Part 2

18 Aug

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 2 – 7/13/2021

Heading north out of Savannah, on US-17 this morning, I picked up I-95 in Hardeeville, and continued north thru Ridgeland, Coosawhatchie, and Yemassee to visit the Tuskegee Airman Memorial Park located at the Walterboro Army Airfield in Walterboro, SC.  This memorial park commemorates the valiant men who trained as pilots at this airfield during WWII.  The Tuskegee Airmen and the Doolittle Raiders are among the many pilots trained at this airfield during WWII.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I headed northeast about 15 miles on US-17 to visit Bee City located in Cottageville, SC but they were closed, so I continued another 20 miles to the Dorchester Museum located in Summerville, SC.  This small museum is housed in the old 1923 Police Station and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Summerville and the surrounding area from 1913 to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only about 15 miles to where I visited the North Charleston Fire Museum.  This museum displays over 20 completely restored fire- fighting equipment vehicles dating from the 1780s.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only seven miles east to the banks of the Cooper River where I planned to visit the Friends of the Hunley Museum.  I was looking forward to seeing the CSS Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink a warship (USS Housatonic) on February 17, 1864 during the Civil War.  See Wikipedia for the full story of the CSS Hunley.  Unfortunately, the museum was only open on the weekends, and I will have to visit this famous relic another time.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southwest just a few miles to visit the Charles Towne Landing Historic Site, located adjacent to the Ashley River, there in Charleston.  This site preserves the original 1670 site of the first permanent English settlement as a Carolina colony.  The 17th century sailing ship replica, Adventure, can be toured as part of the park’s offering to show visitors the method by which those early settlers traveled to America.

Next in drove several miles to visit the Old Slave Mart Museum located in historic downtown Charleston.  The building (built in 1859) was originally called Ryan’s Slave Mart (a private slave auction gallery), and houses the museum, which is said to be the location of the oldest, and last, antebellum slave auction gallery in South Carolina.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The next museum on today’s list was some 20 miles east, across the Ashley River and Cooper Rivers, to visit the Patriots Point Naval & Marine Museum located in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  This is an unusual museum in that it consists of retired U.S. Navy ships, each of which have been turned into a living museum of its own.  There is the USS Yorktown (CV-10) , the USS Laffey (DD-724) and the USS Clamagore (SS-343) which make up the main features of this attraction.  I not sure about parents, but I know young kids would enjoy camping overnight on the Yorktown.  What a story they would have to tell their friends. 

For the last museum on today’s list, I stopped by the Boone Hall Plantation there in Mt. Pleasant, but they were closed.  Wikipedia has a lot of historical information on the Plantation.  As the story goes, the 470 acres of land, which today is called the Boone Hall Plantation, was deeded by Theophilus Patey to his daughter, Elizabeth, as a wedding present when she married the Englishman Major John Boone in 1681.  John and Elizabeth began the development of the plantation which is one of the oldest operating plantations in America, having been continually producing agricultural crops for over 320 years.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before I checked in at my motel this evening, I stopped and had a great meal of Pork Spareribs with Baked Beans, Golden Onion Rings, and some of the best cornbread I’ve ever had anywhere, at Melvin’s BBQ there in Mt. Pleasant.  It was wonderful!! 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 16

10 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 16 Thursday 

9/24/2020  

This morning after breakfast I took one last shot at a visit to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, which was located only 6 miles from my motel there in Aurora.  Since it had been over two weeks since I started this road trip here, and some things had been opening up (COVID-19), I was in hopes they had opened the museum and their aircraft displays.  No such luck.  The base was still closed to non-military personnel. 

By now it was time to turn in my rental car, at Denver’s International Airport, and make my way to the Southwest Airlines counter to check in.  I took the time to eat my last banana and drink my last bottle of water before I headed for Security.  I got a good seat on my flight to Orlando and was ready to go.  When the flight attentant got us all in and seated, she thanked us for flying with them on their non-stop flight to Philadelphia and on to Orlando.  I said, “WHAT! I though this was a NON-STOP flight!.”  Then some wise guy behind me said, “This is non-stop; to Philadelphia.”  HA, HA.  

The flight attentant explained that the stop in Philadelphia would be just long enough to off-load and on-load passengers, and I didn’t even have to get off the plane if I didn’t want to.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I had booked this non-stop Denver to Orlando flight in July, but when COVID-19 restrictions were still keeping a lot of places closed, I had changed my reservation to September.  I had booked, what I thought was the same non-stop flight, and since nothing on my bording pass looked different, and no one at the check-in desk said anything about it, I just assumed it was the same non-stop flight I had originally booked. 

The flight from Denver to Philadelphia was smooth and uneventful. We were served fresh mini-pretsels and small cookies with ice water.  In Philadelphia I stayed on the plane so I wouldn’t loose my favorite seat.  I got to see how Southwest was going the extra mile to clean the plane between each flight.  They disenfected and wiped down each seat, arm rest, and tray table in the entire plane.  I was impressed.  The new passengers were boarded, and the flight to Orlando was a little bumpy as we were flying over the remains of Hurricane Sally part of the way.  I was hungry and asked for two bags of cookies and mini-pretsels this time.  I had to have two glasses of water to wash them down.

DiVoran picked me up at the Orlando International Airport and we headed north on SR-436 to the Panara Bread restaurant for dinner.  I had a “pic-two” of Frontega Chicken Panini & Broccli Cheese soup and DiVoran had the Fugi Apple Chicken Salad.  The food was exellant and we both left with full tummies.  The 45-minute drive from Panara’s to  our home in Titusville was relaxing, and I was really glad to be able to sleep in my own bed, after a different motel bed most every night for over two weeks.  

My next two planned road trips include time spent in parts of Canada, and right now I’m not sure American tourist are welcome there.  We’ll have to just wait and see if the restrictions of this COVID-19 pandemic are lifted in time for a summer trip that far north next year.  In the mean time, we pray that God will keep each of you safe and healthy.  Join me next  time for another exciting “Road Trip” to somewhere you haven’t been before.  It will be fun and something new and exciting every day.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 15

3 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 15 Wednesday 

9/23/2020  

After Breakfast this morning I headed northwest 15 miles on US-50 to visit the Rocky Ford Museum located in downtown Rocky Ford, CO.   This museum is located in the former 1908 Rocky Ford Library, and has two floors filled with artifacts and memoribilia related to Rocky Ford and the surrounding Arkansas Valley area, of southeastern Colorado, dating from 1878 to the present.  The museum also has the recorded history of the early Arkansas Valley Fair & Watermelon Day celebrations from 1878 to the present.

As I headed northwest out of Rocy Ford, I came across a detour that took me north 10 miles, out of my way, on CO-207.  At the junction of CO-207 and CO-96, and just south of Crowley, I was finally able to turn west again.  What a waste of time and gas that was!  However, when I mentioned that I had been thru Crowley, DiVoran reminded me that her family  had lived in Crowley for a while, when she was about 5-years old.  Her father had been the maintiance forman for a tomato factory there, and her mother had the job of feeding the factory workers lunch every day.  It was another 30 miles west on CO-96, thru Olney Springs and Boone, to where I could meet back up with west US-50 again.

US-50 intersected with I-25, 15 miles later, at the Fountain Creek Corridor, where I headed north toward Colorado Springs, CO.  I had seen an ad for The Airplane Restaurant in a tourist magazine and wanted to have lunch there on my way north.  Greta (my Garmin) took me right to the restaurant, located adjacent to the Colorado Springs Airport.  The restaurant has been built around the entire airplane in a very creative way.  The upper fuselage of this retired U.S. Air Force KC-97 Tanker (#30283) has been converted into a dining area with 2 & 4-person tables.  If one doesn’t want to climb the stairs to the upper deck, there are pleanty of tables and a bar downstairs.  My ‘Piper Cub’ (BLT) sandwich and French Onion soup was very good, and I loved being able to view the cockpit and the boom operators position from the upper level.  If you are ever in the Colorado Springs area, I can highly recommend this restaurant.  Check out their website for their menu of delicious ‘airborne’ goodies.

After that delicious lunch experience, I continued north on I-25, thru Larkspur and Castle Rock (and miles of road construction), around Denver, all the way to Globeville, CO.  Then I went west on I-70 to Arvada, wheree I wanted to see if, by chance, the Cussler Museum was open today.  It was still closed, so I headed back east, skirting Denver on I-70, to visit the Aurora History Museum located in Aurora, CO.  This museum has a large number of historic displays and antique artifacts related to the history of Aurora, Arapahoe county, and the central Colorado area.  The main attraction among their artifacts is a restored 1913 Colfax Ave. Trolley (# 610).

It was that time that comes at the end of all of my road trips; time to give up the hunt for another museum before the day ends.  So, I called it a day and head for my motel located there in Aurora.  After I got checked in and got my things in the room, I heated up last night’s left-over Chili Rellenos from the El Azteca Mexican Restaurant.  The meal was wonderful.  Yummm!  Then with a full tummy, I recorded today’s activities and tried to watch some TV.  But of course, that only put me to sleep.  So I turned it off and slipped under the covers for a good night’s sleep.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 14B

27 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 14 Tuesday – Continued 

9/22/2020  

Continuing north another 25 miles on KS-25 I next visited the Kearny County Museum located in Lakin, KS.  This museum consists of the main museum building filled with artifacts and memorabilai related to the history of Lakin and the southern High Plains area of Kansas from as early as the late 18th century.

Outside there is an annex which has an 1831 Conestoga wagon, as part of their Stnta Fe Trail exhibit.  Also outdoors you will find the original Great White House built in 1875 by Alonzo Boylan, and filled with period fernishings.  Another outdoor exhibit is a restored old 1882 Santa Fe Railroad Depot that served Lakin for 100 years.  There is also an 1893 one-room school house, a 1909 12-sided (round) barn, and the 1923 Deerfield Texaco Service Station, all of which have been moved to this location over the years.  The separate Machinery Building  houses examples of early farm equipment, a vintage fire truck, a grain wagon, and several antique tractors.

After that informative experience, I headed west 75 miles on US-50, across the border into Colorado, to visit the Big Timbers Museum located in Lamar, CO.  This small museum is housed in the old 1929 AT&T equipment building, and  is loaded with local artifacts and memorabilia about Lamar and the southeastern area of Colorado from the mid-1800s.

Now, continuing west another 55 miles on US-50, and skirting the Arkansas River, I stopped to visit the Koshare Indian Museum & Kiva, located on the Otero Junior College campus in La Junta, CO.  The museum was closed, but their website tells me that the museum tells the history of the Native American culture, with artifacts from early southwestern Colorado.  Guests can visit the Koshare Kiva that is a representation of the kivas used by Native American Indians, over the centuries, for many of their ancient spirtual rituals. 

After missing that unique experience, I headed the short drive out CO-194, northeast of downtown La Junta, to check out Bent’s Old Fort. The fort was built in 1833 by William & Charles Bent amd served as a trading post for fur traders and the southern Cheyenne & Arapaho Plains  Indian tribes.  The museum displays many artifacts and memorabila related to the early pioneer days in the High Plains area of eastern Colorado.  It served as one of the many  stopping  points, between Missouri and New Mexico, for Army and pioneer travelers heading west on the Santa Fe Trail.

I was ready to head for the motel, there in La Junta and get something to eat.  After I got checked in I ask the motel clerk for his restaurant recommdations in town.  He said he liked the El Azteca Mexican Restaurant just down the street a few blocks.  I had their Chili Rellieno Plate with Pinto beans and Spanish rice.  The meal was exellent and I had enough left over for my evening meal tomorrow.  Back at the motel I recorded the day’s activities, watched a little TV, and headed for the “Land of Nod.”

—–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

%d bloggers like this: