Tag Archives: #Roadtrip

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.

Description: Image result for world's largest wooden nickel
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.   

Description: Image result for sweet and sour pork

—–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!

Description: Image result for baby back ribs with baked beans and cole slaw

—–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. 

Description: Image result for baby back ribs with baked beans and cole slaw

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6B

30 Oct

Day 6 – Sunday July 28 (Continued)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.  

Bill  

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 6A

23 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 6 – Sunday July 28

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

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

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 5A

9 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – Saturday July 27

I started the day with a visit to the Ojibwa Cultural Museum located, across the Mackinaw City Bridge (from what is called the Lower Michigan Peninsula to the Upper Michigan Peninsula) in Saint Ignace, MI.  This was a small museum, but it had some very interesting memorabilia and Ojibwa Indian cultural exhibits inside and outside the museum.

I found it interesting to learn that the native Indians in the Upper Peninsula had not always been friendly with each other.  A historical marker, outside the museum indicated that the Huron Indians had been displaced by the hostile Iroquois Indians, from their homes in Canada, to the St. Ignace area in around 1671.  These peace loving Huron Indians were ministered to by Father Marquette at his St. Ignace Mission until they joined Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac on his expedition to Detroit in 1701.

Next I picked up US-2 and headed 40+ miles west, to visit the Top-of-the-Lake Snowmobile Museum located in Naubinway, MI.  This is one of the most amazing museums I have visited.  The museum consists of over 185 unique, vintage, and classic snowmobiles of every type imaginable.   It was well worth the time to stop and see how inventive people have been to come up with ways to travel on the heavy snow in the frozen North Country.

After that interesting museum I headed west, another 30 miles on US-2, to try to find the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Gallagher, MI but to no avail.  I couldn’t find any road signs, and Greta (my Garmin) could not find the address either.  Another 15 miles west on US-2, it was the same thing when I tried to find the Bishop Baraga Shrine in Manistique, MI.  I even stopped and asked a local man on the street, but he had never heard of the Shrine.   So I continued to follow US-2 west, another 50 miles, until I reached Escanaba, MI to check out the Sand Point Lighthouse located on the shore of the Little Bay de Noc, at the entrance to Escanaba Harbor.  Built in 1867, this small lighthouse served to protect the shipping industry of Escanaba until 1966, when it was abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard, and converted into a museum that displays local maritime artifacts and memorabilia.


Next I visited the West Shore Fishing Museum located off SR-35, just west of Rochereau Point in the Kate A. Bailey Park.  Located a  few miles north of Menominee, MI, this museum is the restored home and fishery of Charles Bailey, who operated one of the area’s largest commercial fishing operations from 1893 to 1950.  The museum opened in 1997 with family owned commercial fishing artifacts and memorabilia from the family’s many years of fishing the Green Bay.  Mr. Bailey conducted a very creative fish exchange with Florida fish processors of the time, whereby they sold each other their fresh local fish.

—–Today’s activities will be continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

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

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