Tag Archives: #Roadtrip

Planning a Road Trip

6 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

This week has been exciting. I love road trips and we have begun planning and plotting a long trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Technically it will be a forty-nine and one half anniversary if one wants to quibble.

We will be traveling from our home in North Carolina to Montana, then spend a week exploring the Canadian Rockies before moving west.

Since the first time I watched the movie O’Canada at EPCOT, I have longed to visit Victoria, British Columbia. We have made two trips to the Canadian Rockies but always ran out of time and money before we could get there. We won’t have a lot of time to spend there this trip, (I’m sure I could spends days there exploring all the small islands) but I am going to be joyful and thankful for the time we have!

Speaking of being joyful and thankful, I wouldn’t be able to see Victoria on this trip without the generosity of a precious friend sharing her vacation treasures, time share and hotel points. To make it even better she and our daughter will fly in to join us for part of the trip. We are so blessed.

I love camping. On our first trip to the Canadian Rockies with the family we tent camped. It was quite an adventure. Our second trip we transitioned to an RV. I felt nostalgic for the tent experience but my husband’s back simply wasn’t compatible with a bed on the floor of a tent.

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay 

As I began searching VRBO for places to stay, I came across a 22 foot 5th wheel trailer in a campground for rent. It is beautiful and has two bedrooms! I am already savoring a campfire.

To make this trip more delightful, the timeshare home in the Canadian Rockies is located in a campground! I get my camping fix and husband gets a comfortable bed. Win-Win.

I haven’t mapped our route west to Montana or the return but I will definitely be looking for camping opportunities! I am trying hard to not create a road trip snowball. As my husband gently reminded me, you have to draw a line, we can’t see everything!

If you have tips on places you recommend please share! I found that AAA TripTiks allow me to customize the suggested route by dragging the line. I look forward to dragging a lot!

<!– /wp:paragraph 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. My 2019 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.–>

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.

My 2019 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 14B

5 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 – Monday August 5 (Continued)

To continue this day’s activities, and as I mentioned last week, at the Chicago Maritime Museum, I was interested to read, as part of the museum’s information, the story of the two 1900s paddle-wheel passenger steamers that the U.S. Navy converted to the aircraft carriers “USS Sable” and “USS Wolverine” during WWII.  These two carriers were stationed in Lake Michigan and Chicago was their home port.  The two aircraft carriers were used to train U.S. Navy carrier pilots.  Navy records indicate that many aircraft were lost in the lake, due to multiple causes, and the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Florida, where I now volunteer as a tour guide, has one of the restored F4F Wildcat airplanes that was recovered from the lake 1993.  However, that fascinating story is for another time and another blog.  Look for that blog coming soon.

As I was leaving the maritime museum, I ran over something and damaged a tire on my rental car.  I had made plans to have dinner with my niece, Karen, and her husband, Brian, that evening, so I called to tell them I might be late.  Brian is a great communicator, and he set about to locate the closest Avis agency for me.  He found one within 3-miles of where I was stranded.  This car did not have a spare tire (only an Emergency Repair Kit), so we called the Avis Roadside Assistance people for a tow.

The Avis Roadside Assistance wanted to tow my car 20+ miles to trade cars with me.  Brian said, “In Chicago’s rush-hour traffic that will take hours!”  So, we ended up using my personal Roadside Assistance people, who said they would take me to the closest Avis agency.  They said they could have a tow-truck to my location within one hour.  That was great.  But then about 45 minutes later, they called to tell me that the driver had been given the wrong address, and it would be another hour before he could get to my location.  It was a total of three hours before the tow-truck finally dropped me off at the local Avis lot.   The agent said they didn’t have another car of the type I was driving, or even a tire to exchange, and anyway they were getting ready to close.  Did all this upset me?  Nahh!  

Just to show you how good God is.  There just happened to be a Goodyear Tire shop right next door to Avis.  Now is that a coincidence or what?  So I thanked Him for the tire shop, bit the bullet and took the car to Goodyear for a new tire.  They were swamped with work, but were kind enough to work me into their schedule before quitting time.  I considered myself lucky that it only took them another hour to get the tire replaced.

I chalked up the flat tire fiasco and missing the other Chicago area museums on my list today to some kind of Divine Intervention that I would never figure out.  I  headed north about 60 miles on I-90/I-94 to Lake Villa, IL where I hoped my relatives had not gone to bed.  As luck would have it, they were still up and even had some left-over dinner that they warmed-up for me.  After a short visit, I was more than ready to take a relaxing shower and sleep easy tonight in their guest room.

—–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 14A

29 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 – Monday August 5

First thing this morning I headed 25 miles east on I-80 to visit the Grundy County Historical Museum located in Morris, IL. This is a small museum that collects and preserves artifacts, documents, and memorabilia related to the history of Grundy County.  This includes items of a cultural, social, geological and anthropological nature.

Heading northeast on I-80 some 20 miles I visited the Old Joliet Prison located in Joliet, IL.  This Illinois State Penitentiary was opened in 1858 to replace the first, and then aging, 1831 Illinois State Penitentiary located in Alton, IL.   Housing nearly 2000 inmates at its peak of operation, the inmate population continued to grow, and this prison was replaced by a new Illinois State Penitentiary in Crest Hill, IL in 2002.  Now just called the Old Joliet Prison, the museum gives tours of a portion of the site which provides visitors with a historical picture of 19th century prison conditions and methods of incarceration.  This was another one of those “You will have to wait for the next tour, and then the tour takes 1-½ hours.”  I opted to go on to the next museum.

Just a few miles south of the Old Joliet Prison I had planned to visit the Stradale Team, located within the Autobahn Country Club complex.  I had hoped to get to see some radical sports cars in action at their road-racing track.  As it turned out, entry into the shops and track was blocked by a sign on the electric gate that informed me that access to the complex was “For Members Only.”  Rats!!

So, I gave Greta (my Garmin) the address for the Illinois Aviation Museum located about 20 miles north, and we headed out.  The next thing I knew, I was caught up in a huge industrial warehousing complex, with literally hundreds of 16-weelers, of all types, heading in every direction.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, but a lot of them seemed to be heading down the same 2-lane road that Greta had me on, and the backup must have been a mile long.  It took forever to get to the “T” in the road where I thought we could finally make some time.  WRONG!  That 2-lane “T” road was also backed up as bad as the one I just turned off of, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS!  It took me a full hour to finally get to a decent 4-lane road where I could pass some of those trucks and make some time.  Whew!  That was frustrating.

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I finally arrived at the Illinois Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Bolingbrook International Airport in Bolingbrook, IL expecting a large museum with lots of beautifully restored airplanes.  What I found was an F-80 Shooting Star, a Huey helicopter, and several smaller airplanes, all jammed in one small hanger.  There was no one around, even after I called out “Hello” a couple of times.  So, I strolled onto the hanger, took a few photos of the airplanes, and told Greta, Let’s tray the next museum.

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Now I headed northeast about 25 miles on I-55 to visit the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the southern part of Chicago.  This large museum houses exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of maritime activities on Lake Michigan, with special interest surrounding the port of Chicago in particular.

As a side note, this museum mentions the two Lake Michigan side-wheeler passenger steam ships that the U.S. Navy converted into aircraft carriers (USS Sable & USS Wolverine) and used to train U.S. Navy carrier pilots during WWII.  As it happens, the museum in Florida, where I volunteer as a tour guide, has on display one of the airplanes that was used to train those pilots on those ships during that time period.

—–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 13B

22 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 – Sunday August 4 (Continued)

Continuing today’s activities at the Johnson-Sauk Trails State Park, I discovered Ryan’s Round Barn was built in 1910 and is one of the largest round barns in the country.  The barn is 80+ feet high and 85 feet in diameter, with a full-size 16-foot wide silo inside.  This restored wooden round barn actually consists of a lot more, on the inside, than a person might think (check the plaque below).  Back in the day it is said, religious groups in the area built their barns round because they “left no corners for the devil to hide.”  What a hoot that is!

Now I headed east another 25 miles, on I-80, to visit the Lovejoy Homestead located in Princeton, IL.  This 1835 home, that Owen Lovejoy lived in, was another of the many stations of the “underground railroad” used by fugitive slaves, in their flight north to freedom in Canada.  The Rev. Owen Lovejoy was a local Congregational minister and outspoken abolitionist, who preached anti-slavery from his pulpit, and later on the floor of the United States Congress.  The Lovejoy house is decorated in period furnishings, and visitors can view the secret space, in the attic, where the fugitive slaves were hidden.

Another 20 miles east on I-80 I visited the Westclox Museum located in Peru, IL.  This museum is housed in the original building where Westclox (United Clock Company/Western Clock Company/General Time Corporation) manufacturing began in 1885.  The museum displays all types of clocks, watches, and other time related items from all over the world.   It also tells the historical story of the Westclox business and family adventures.  From the story of this company, it is likely that most everyone in this country has, or will, own a Westclox product at one time or another in their lifetime.

Just a couple miles east of Peru, I was heading to visit the Illinois & Michigan Canal (I & M) dock located in LaSalle, IL when I saw a small train depot off the side of the road.  I stopped to take a photo, and discovered it was the old 1900 Peru-LaSalle Rock Island Railroad passenger depot, which was the original eastern terminus of the Rock Island Line at that time.

Description: Image result for peru-lasalle rock island railroad passenger depot.

Across the railroad tracks I stopped at The Illinois & Michigan (I & M) Canal Boat Passage dock there in La Salle.  The I & M Canal was built to connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River.  The 96 mile Illinois portion of the canal was built in 1846, and connected the Chicago River (Chicago) and the Illinois River (La Salle).  The canal used 17 locks to take care of the 140’ water height difference between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River.  Even though the canal improved productivity in central Illinois; traffic on the canal consisted of only slow mule-drawn barges until America’s western advancing railroad system replaced it in 1933.  Today visitors can take a leisurely ride in a restored mule-drawn canal boat on a one- mile portion of what is left of the original I & M Canal.

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Now I headed east some 15 miles on US-6 to visit the Ottawa Scouting Museum located in Ottawa, IL.  This small museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of youth scouting (American & English) over the past 100 years.  William D.  Boyce was one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, and he lived in Ottawa and is buried there.  Ottawa was one of the many canal cities that evolved from the introduction of The I & M Canal in the 1800s.  The museum also displays historical items related to the growth of the city of Ottawa. 

Just outside the city of Ottawa I visited the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center located on the Illinois River.  The Illinois Waterway is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is over 300 miles long, and includes portions of the Illinois, Des Plaines, Chicago, and Calumet Rivers.  The Visitors Center is located at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam site, and gives visitors an in-depth view of the Waterway’s history and operations.  Surrounded by the Starved Rock State Park, on both sides of the Illinois River, this area’s beautiful woodlands are a favorite for camping, hiking, and bird watching. 

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Now I ask Greta (my Garmin) to take me to tonight’s motel there in Ottawa.  Once I got checked in and unpacked my necessities, I heated up my leftover Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack delicious St. Louis Ribs, with baked beans and cole slaw from last night, and enjoyed that great meal again.  Too bad I can’t take Jimmy Jack and his famous ribs with me on the rest of this trip.

Description: Image result for jimmy jacks rib shack in iowa city ia

—–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 13A

15 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 – Sunday August 4

This morning after breakfast, I headed east some 55 miles, on I-80, to visit the Palmer Chiropractic Museum located in Davenport, IA.  Called the founder of Chiropractic, Dr. Daniel D. Palmer is said to have performed the very first Chiropractic adjustment on Harvey Lillard in 1895 there in Davenport.  Dr. Palmer and his family went on, over several generations, to create what is now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic Academic Health Center with facilities in Iowa, Florida, and California.

Description: Image result for d.d.palmer in davenport, ia

This Museum is a part of the Palmer College campus there in Davenport, and resides on two floors of the Vickie Anne Palmer Hall.  The museum showcases the evolution of Chiropractic and its impact on overall health that is said to have helped start a revolution in health care in the early 1900s.  Over the years the Palmer family has been avid collectors of Chiropractic artifacts, and the museum displays many of these artifacts and memorabilia from around the world.

While I was looking for the Bix Beiderbecke Museum, also located in Davenport, I passed an Irish Memorial and stopped to take a photo.  This outdoor memorial was erected by the local St. Patrick Society and honors the many brave men, women, and children who, in the 19th century, left their homes in Ireland and traveled to America to start a new life.

The Bix Beiderbecke Museum resides on the first floor of the River Music Experience Building where exhibits, artifacts and musical scores of this legendary jazz musician/composer are displayed.  A re-creation of the Hudson Lake Casino stage, where Bix performed with his cornet, shows Bix in his prime and the museum will appeal to many jazz lovers and enthusiasts. 

Now I headed northeast on US-67, following the western bank of the Mississippi River, to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead located in Princeton, IA.  Located just north of Le Claire, on the Mississippi River, this original boyhood home of Buffalo Bill was built by his parents Isaac & Mary Cody in 1847.  The house is furnished with period furniture and artifacts, that tell the story of the young Bill and his brother Samuel, growing up fishing and swimming in the nearby Mississippi River. Interestingly, I saw more live Buffalo here at the homestead than I did last year on my road trip thru the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming.

I had to backtrack a few miles south, on US-67, to find the I-80 bridge across the Mississippi River.  As I was passing thru Le Claire, IA on my way to I-80, I happened to spot the Buffalo Bill (Regional History) Museum and stopped to check it out.  This small museum is located right on the Mississippi River, and consists of artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia related to the history of famous people from Le Claire, such as Buffalo Bill Cody (showman), James Ryan (inventor), and James B. Eads (engineer).  The 1869 steam-powered paddlewheel towboat “Lone Star” is part of the museum, and is located adjacent to the museum in a special pier. 

After crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois, I headed southeast, another 20 miles or so on I-80, to visit the Geneseo Historical Museum located in Geneseo, IL.  The museum is housed in the family home George Richards built in 1855, shortly after the railroad came to Geneseo.  The museum is appointed with period furnishings, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of Geneseo and the surrounding area.  It has been rumored that this house was one of the many stations on the “Underground Railroad” used by run-a-way slaves, on their way to Canada, during the Civil War.

Next I headed east on I-80 and south on SR-78 to visit the Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park located just south of Annawan, IL.  The reason for this small side trip was to check out the unusual barn structure that I saw when I was researching this area of my trip.

This park is located on 1365 acres in the north-central Illinois area, formerly referred to as the Great Willow Swamp.  The area is a favorite for camping, fishing, hiking, and nature enthusiasts.  It was initially part of the Great Northwest Territory, claimed by the French, until after the French and Indian War.  In 1765 the land was ceded to Great Britain, where it became part of the Northwest Territory, and finally the Illinois Territory, until Illinois gained it’s statehood in 1818.

—–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 12B

8 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – Saturday August 3 (Continued)

Now I headed some 85 miles southeast on SR-163/US-63 to visit the Airpower Museum located in Ottumwa, IA.  I found that the Airpower Museum is actually several miles west of Ottumwa, at the Antique Airfield which is near Blakesburg, IA.  The museum is housed in a small building with aviation displays, artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.  There is also a single small hanger adjacent to the museum building that contains several airplanes in various stages of repair or restoration.

For some of you mini-series buffs, Ottumwa happens to be the hometown of the TV series “M*A*S*H” character “Radar.”  This loveable character played the part of MASH 4077’s company clerk, and pretty much ran the outfit, until he was shipped home and replaced by another MASH character “Max Klinger.”  I was one of millions of Americans who laughed their way thru 11 fun-filled seasons with all of the MASH 4077 characters.

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Photo credit Fanpop.com

Next I headed northeast on US-63/SR-92/22 to visit the Old Capital Museum located in Iowa City, IA. This museum is housed in what originally was the Iowa’s second Territorial Capital building.  The first Iowa Territorial Capital was actually established in Detroit, MI as part of the Wisconsin Territory (1834-1838).  The first Iowa Capital Building was in Burlington, IA (1839-1841), the second was Iowa City (1841-1849), and the third was Des Moines (1849-present).  When the capital of Iowa was moved to Des Moines, the Old Capital Building became the first permanent building of the University of Iowa.  The university has expanded over the years, and the museum now sits on a hill in the middle of a four-block park-like area (the Pentacrest) of the University of Iowa campus.  The museum displays many exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of the capital building, the university, and the state of Iowa from as far back as the mid-1800s. 

Since I was going to spend the night there in Iowa City, I just had to take the time to check out the site of what is said to be the World’s Largest Wooden Nickel.  Measuring 12’ across and tipping the scale at 4000 pounds, this unique wooden monument is said to have been erected in 2006 as a protest against Johnson county officials’ decision to raise speed limits in the area.  The half-dollar size wooden nickel I have at home is a joke, but this roadside Icon seems like a good example of a non-violent protest to me.

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Photo Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light

Now it was time for Greta (my Garmin) to take me to the motel there in Iowa City.  After I got checked in at the motel, I headed over to Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack for a plate of their delicious (falling-off-the-bone tender) St. Louis Ribs with baked beans, cole slaw, and a slice of their homemade honey-butter cornbread.  Boy was that YUMMMY!  This was a meal to remember, and the best thing about it is, I will be remembering it again tomorrow evening.

Photo Credit jimmy jacks rib shack in iowa city

—–To Be Continued—–

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 12A

1 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – Saturday August 3

My first museum this morning was the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum there in Waterloo, IA.  This is a large museum filled with tractors, all kinds of farm equipment, and engines of all types and sizes dating from the mid-1800s.  Starting with his first steel farm plow design in 1837, John Deere improved his plow and farm equipment designs, and expanded his company, to include farm tractors beginning in 1907.  The company has continued to grow and expand its product line, over the years, to include all types of farming and harvesting equipment.  In 2019 the company was listed as being ranked the 87th American company in the Fortune 500 list.

Before leaving Waterloo, I swung by the Grout Museum to see what it was all about.  This small museum honors the military service and sacrifice of all Iowa veterans from the Civil War to the present.  The museum has an impressive display honoring the five Sullivan brothers, who hailed from Waterloo, and who were all sailors on the USS Juneau (CL-52) during WWII.  Unfortunately their ship was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in November of 1942 with the loss of 687 crew members, including all five Sullivan brothers.

The story goes that at the time, a standing naval policy was in effect restricting siblings from serving in the same unit.  However, the Sullivan brothers had refused to serve (I don’t know how they got away with that) unless they were all assigned to the same ship, and the policy was overlooked by their commanders.  Following this family tragedy, the U.S. Navy was mandated to strictly inforce the policy for all siblings.  

Now I headed southwest on U.S. 63/30/65 to visit the State of Iowa Historical Museum located in Des Moines, IA.  This museum’s Historical Collection of over 80,000 items includes artifacts, memorabilia, and displays, related to the state of Iowa dating from the early 1900s.  These items are housed in the large State of Iowa Historical Building, along with the State Historical Library Collection and the State Historical Archives Collection.  Way too much for me to see in one visit.

As I was passing thru Des Moines, on my way to the next museum, I drove by the Iowa State Capital Building and decided to stop for a photo of this beautiful edifice.  I’ve learned that the building’s location in Des Moines was the third location considered for the Iowa State Capital after Iowa City and Monroe City.   The building was constructed between 1871 & 1886, and is the only 5-domed capital building in the U.S.  The building houses offices for Iowa’s Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor, as well as the State Senate and State House of Representatives.

—–(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 9B (Continued)

11 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 – Wednesday July 31

Next I was hoping to visit the Golden Wings Flying Museum, located a few miles north in Blaine, MN.  This is a private collection, and I needed an appointment to visit the hanger where the collection is stored.  I had called earlier that morning to make an appointment to see the collection, but no one answered.  I had left a message, but I had never received a response to my call.  Since I knew the museum was closed, I headed to downtown Minneapolis to visit the Foshay Observation Deck and the Wells Fargo Museum.

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Street construction and heavy traffic made it next to impossible to get around in downtown Minneapolis.  With all that confusion, Greta (my Garmin) was still able to find the Foshay Tower.  This 32-story art deco styled tower was built as an office building in 1929, and claimed the honor as being the tallest structure in Minneapolis until 1972.  The 30th floor Foshay Observation Deck has been a major tourist attraction over the years, where visitors can get a 360 degree view of the city of Minneapolis.   In 2006 the tower was converted to the 230-room”W Hotel” (part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide), but the 30th floor Foshay Observation Deck is still open to the public with its all-around great view.  

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And just around the corner from the Foshay Tower is the Wells Fargo Museum.  In this museum visitors can take an audio-guided tour describing the history of Wells Fargo (originally the Bank of North America-1781) from the late 1700s.  As an added feature, they can sit in a 1860s stagecoach, while imagining they are on a rough and dusty ride somewhere in frontier America.

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For some reason I had always thought the Pony Express was associated with the Wells Fargo Express Company.  However, my recent research has informed me that they were two separate transportation companies operating about the same time in the history of our early American territorial expansion.  The Wells Fargo Company mostly carried people and merchandise in stagecoaches and wagons, while the Pony Express Company riders carried mail and important messages on horseback.  I guess I will have to someday research the facts better, and write a separate blog about each of these famous companies.

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Now I asked Greta to take me to the Minnesota Streetcar Museum which is located adjacent to Lake Harriet in the Lyndale Park area.  This museum actually operates two streetcar lines; the Como–Harriet Line between Lake Harriet and Lake Cohen, and the Excelsior Line which operates between the restored Excelsior Railway Station and Lake Minnetonka.  The Como-Harriet Streetcar stop is located just a couple of blocks from the Lake Harriet Recreation Area.  I was able to get a few photos of the restored Linden Hills Station as well as one photo of the vintage electric streetcar as it made its stop at the station.

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After this pleasant stop, l asked Greta to take me back to the Brooklyn Center area and the motel.  I decided to try some Chinese food this evening, and chose the Rose Garden Asian Bistro located there in a small Brooklyn Center strip mall.  I had a Sweet & Sour Pork dish, served with rice and an egg roll on the side.  A pot of hot Chinese tea topped off the meal.  That was a delightful meal, and my tummy was pleasantly full by the time I was finished.  Now it was time for me to head back to the motel, where I recorded today’s events and then it was off to bed for this tired puppy.  Tomorrow I will concentrate on visiting museums on the outskirts of Minneapolis.   

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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 8B

27 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 8 – Tuesday July 30 (Continued)

I continued north on SR-35/SR-37 about 60 miles, to visit the Chippewa Valley Museum located in the Carson Park area, just to the west of downtown Eau Claire, WI.  This is a very interesting museum that displays artifacts and memorabilia dating from the late 1800s, that tells the history of the early Scandinavian pioneers to the Chippewa Valley area.  The museum hosts local field trips to the off-site Schiegelmitch House that teach the participants about Chippewa Valley history and culture as far back as the 1650s. The museum also hosts several special events throughout the year.

Now I headed north another 15 miles on US-53 to visit the Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology located in downtown Chippewa Falls, WI.  This museum is situated in the Cray, Inc. building and displays computer models, artifacts and scientific memorabilia; including some of the hand written notes of Seymour Cray who was born and raised in Chippewa Falls.  Cray is known in the computer world as “The Father of Supercomputing” and is noted for his creation of the early high-speed computers, and the founder of Control Data Corporation (CDC).   The efforts of Cray, along with others, led directly to the development of what we call “Supercomputers” today.  As a point of interest, the first advanced Cray-1 Supercomputer system was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory facility in Los Alamos, NM in 1976.

I headed west on County Road “N” about 20 miles to visit the Colfax Railroad Museum located in Colfax, WI.  This is a small museum, located in the third depot building to be built on this site over the years.  The museum consists of railroad artifacts dating from the 1850s and a large collection of railroad paper weights. Several pieces of original rolling stock are on display outside the museum.  A museum volunteer happened to be available to give me a tour of the museum’s rolling stock and a brief history of the Old Colfax Depot and the museum.

To get to the last museum for today I drove west on I-94, about 75 miles, across the Mississippi River again, back into Minnesota, where I visited the Bell Museum located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus in Saint Paul, MN.   This museum has been Minnesota’s official Natural History Museum since 1872.  The museum is now housed in a new building which includes wildlife dioramas, high tech exhibits, an on-line searchable interface that integrates data from the museum on birds, mammals, fish, plants, and fungi.  The museum also has a 120 seat digital planetarium, where visitors can explore interesting films of our own Earth and other planets with new “seamless” technology presentations such as “Habitat Earth” and “Out of This World” or “The Hunt for Dark Matter.”

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By now it was getting late and I asked Greta to take me to the motel for the night, located in the Brooklyn Center area, just a few miles north of downtown Minneapolis.  After I got checked in, I warmed up my leftover BP Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs, baked beans and some coleslaw.  Yummm!  I love BBQ anything, and anytime!

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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 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

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