Tag Archives: #Roadtrip

2022 Road Trip-Part 3B#

7 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 Continued (5/18/2022) 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

I asked about the two names for the museum and the curator of the museum told me all about the Three Notch Road that is part of the history of Andalusia.  Seems that in 1824 the US Army built a 230-mile road from Pensacola, FL to Fort Mitchell, AL part of which (90 miles) went thru Andalusia.  Legend has it that the surveyor, a Captain Daniel E. Burch, used three notches cut in trees along the route to guide the construction workers that followed, and the name stuck.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After that quick history lesson, I headed west another 55 miles US-84 to visit the Old Monroe County Courthouse located in Monroeville, AL.  This famous structure was built in 1903 and served as the Monroe County courthouse until 1963 when government offices were moved to a new building on the town square.  The town of Monroeville and the courthouse are famous as the location where, in 1962, Gregory Peck and Mary Badham stared in the Award-winning movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was filmed.  I also learned that the Pulitzer Prize Winning author of that book, Harper Lee, grew up in Monroeville, just a few blocks from the old courthouse, where the movie was filmed.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

Now it was another 35 miles northwest on US-84 to where I visited the Clarke County Museum located in Grove Hill, AL.  The museum is housed in the Alston-Cobb antebellum house that was built in 1854 and is nestled in the piney woods of southwest Alabama.  The museum houses artifacts and memorabilia from prehistoric, Native American, pioneer, antebellum, and Victorian periods about Clarke County’s history. 

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

Pioneer Day is an annual event on the grounds of the Clarke County Museum where local re-enactors, dressed in period costumes, demonstrate many early 1800s tasks the settlers had to perform, such as syrup making, shingle splitting, clothes washing, butter churning, flint knapping, cotton spinning, basket making, horse shoeing, corn shuck doll making, and games for the children.  Blue Herron, a Creek Indian, sets up an authentic replica of a Creek hunting village there on the grounds of the museum where visitors can experience some of that local native culture’s historic activities.

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/51650726950719578/  

After leaving Grove Hill, I continued west on US-84 another 20 miles, where I planned to stop at the 4-Gal’s Restaurant in Coffeeville, AL for a meal, but they were closed (Covid-19 I guess).  So, needing to get to my motel before all the rooms were taken, I just kept heading west on US-84 passing thru Silas, AL and across the border into Mississippi, and thru Waynesboro before finally arriving at my motel in Laurel, MS for the night.  After I got checked in, I asked the motel clerk if he could recommend a good place to eat.  He said, if I liked sea food, that the Blue Crab Grill was not too far, so I tried it.   I had their Fried Catfish platter, with a sweet potato, corn-on-the-cob, and a side of onion rings.  It was delicious!  I give the Blue Crab Grill a 5-star rating for their food!

Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com/Blue Crab Grill/Laurel,MS  

—–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

2022 Road-Trip Part 3A

31 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 (5/18/2022)

This morning, after breakfast, I headed west 25 miles on US-84 to visit the U.S. Army Aviation Museum located at Ft. Rucker, AL only to find that the museum was on the base and took a special pass to enter.  The visitor office didn’t open for an hour, and I didn’t have the time to wait around and deal with the paperwork, so I just headed west about 10 miles on SR-248 to check out the Boll Weevil Monument located in Enterprise, AL.  The monument turned out to be situated in the middle of town at the intersection of S. Main Street and W. College Street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I looked around the intersection, I noticed that there was a Boll Weevil Café on the corner, and a Boll Weevil mural on the side of a building.  Not being a true Southerner (I was born and raised in the southwest) I needed a little explanation for why a town would erect a prominent monument to such an insect.  Then I spied a historical marker.  “Herald of Prosperity?”  That inscription only increased my confusion.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The internet told me that the boll weevil was the most devastating insect to hit the southern cotton industry during the early 1900s.  The cotton industry tried everything they could think of to get rid of the boll weevil, but nothing worked.  Then in 1916 a local Enterprise seed broker named H.M. Sessions suggested alternate crops as a way to combat the boll weevil.  Peanuts and other crops, such as tobacco and potatoes, eventually turned the economic disaster around (Ref. George Washington Carver & the peanut).  However, it wasn’t until 1958, with the help from scientists with the USDA, that a synthetic blend of the boll weevil’s pheromone (chemicals produced by the glands in insects) was finally developed.  As it turned out, it was the boll weevil’s own pheromone that did them in.  This product is now used to lure boll weevils into traps where they can be sprayed with pesticides.

Photo Credit: sandiegouniontribune.com/boll-weevils-begone/

I only had to walk one block from the Boll Weevil Monument to the Enterprise Railroad Depot Museum.  This small museum is located in the original 1903 Alabama Midland Railway depot which serviced the growing Coffee County and surrounding south Alabama areas during its early years of growth.  The interior of the depot is unchanged from when passenger service was terminated in 1958 and is filled with local antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Heading west another 45 miles on US-84, I passed thru the small towns of Opp, Babble, and Sanford to visit the Andalusia Railroad Depot Museum (also called the Three Notch RR Museum) located in Andalusia, AL.  This small museum is located in the original restored 1899 Central of Georgia Railway depot and is filled, top to bottom, with local railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from the late 1800s.  The depot served Andalusia and the surrounding Covington County area until 1983 when the last train left the station.

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

2022 Road Trip

10 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Prelog 

This year’s driving road trip is really a substitute for the trip to the northwestern U.S. & western Canada trip that I have had planned, but have had to postpone, for two years now because of Covid.  I hope the Canadian tourist restrictions for Americans entering into their country will be lifted by next year so I can visit that part of northwest America and parts of western Canada.  The main motivations for this road trip were to visit friends in Lester, AL and to visit The Arch in St. Louis.  I missed a visit to The Arch last time I was in St. Louis because of Arch construction, and I really wanted to visit that Iconic structure.  The other motivation for this trip was a visit the Museum of Transportation, also in St. Louis, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN and The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY.  I have been told by many friends The Ark Encounter is a must-see attraction.  The map below will give you an idea of the approximate route I have laid out for myself during this road trip.

Image Credit: https://mountainhighmaps.com/products/usa-eastern

The idea was to travel mostly on rural roads rather than Interstates to enable me to see more of each state I was passing thru.  I had been in parts of most of the states I would be passing thru on this trip, during previous road trips, but this route would allow me to see new and different parts of the states I wanted to see.   As I was finishing up my packing, our cat, Thea, came in and checked out what I was doing.  Then she jumped into my suitcase and gave me a look that I took to say, “OK, I’m ready to go.  When do we leave?”  I told her she had to stay home and take care of DiVoran while I was gone, so she wouldn’t get lonely.  I guess she was okay with that, as she jumped out of the suitcase and went to search for DiVoran (or a treat that I didn’t have for her).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I’m driving my 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan again this year on the trip instead of renting a car, because it served me well on last year’s trip and is so much more comfortable.  Of course, after all these years, I fit the van, and I like sitting up a little higher for better traffic viewing.  I don’t get quite the milage in the van a new rental car would give me, but if the route weather is as cool as predicted I should be able to keep the A/C turned off for better milage than is usual here in Florida.

So, I’m looking forward to starting this road trip tomorrow, when I’ll beSee the source image‘On the Road Again’.5in x 4in Black Double Eighth Note Sticker   I will keep you up-to-date on the many and varied experiences I encounter along the way.

                  Image Credit: on the road again clipart – Bing images

—–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 17B

26 Jan

A Slice of LIfe

Bill LItes

Day 17 – 7/28/2021 (Continued)

In another 20 miles south on US-17 I visited the Barberville Pioneer Village located on the grounds of the Barberville Central Highschool in Barberville, FL.  This settlement is the culmination of years of work to move a number of restored historic buildings to this location, to help visitors visualize and understand the way pioneers, to this area, lived and worked.  Some of the 11 structures include an 1875 log cabin, an 1885 Post Office, an 1885 Depot, an 1890 church, and an early 1900s country store.

It was only another 5 miles to the Lake George State Forestry Station located on US-17 at the edge of the Lake George Forest.  At one time in his young life our son, Billy, had wanted to be a Forest Ranger and he was lucky enough to climb one of the Ranger Station towers with a Ranger during a tour of their facility.  After that experience, forestry stations had always interested my too.  I really didn’t want to interrupt the folks at the station, so I just stopped long enough to give my back a rest and to take this photo.  Then I continued south.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My next stop was just down the road on US-17, to visit one of my favorite family campgrounds, now known as DeLeon Springs State Park located in DeLeon Springs, FL.  From the early 1970s to around 2000 our family fell in love with camping.  Most of our camping took place up and down the central part of Florida at the many fresh-water springs.  One of our favorites was DeLeon Springs campgrounds, with its 1930s Old Sugar Mill Restaurant.  In the 1970s the property was privately owned, and we got to know the owners quite well.  Now every time I pass thru DeLeon Springs, a family camping memory pops into my head.  Oh, what fun we all had camping at the springs!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 10 miles south on US-17 & east on US-92 to where I visited the Deland Naval Air Station (DNAS) Museum located on the southern end of the Deland Municipal Airport.  This small museum is housed in the former Chief Master-at-Arms house and is dedicated to the honor of the men and women who have served our country in U.S. Naval Aviation.  The museum displays U.S. Naval military training artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1942, when the Naval Station was in operation.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove around to the north end of the Deland Municipal Airport, where I was hoping to visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum (Florida Wing) and get photos of their restored (flying) AT-6 Texan and restored (flying) T-34 Mentor, and talk airplanes with CAF members that might be there.  However, that part of the airport was closed off and Greta (my Garmin) couldn’t find the hanger.  I had to be satisfied with the photo below.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I got back on US-17 and drove 20 miles south to visit the last museum on this road trip.  This last stop was to visit the Florida Postal Museum located in Orange City, FL.  This small museum is housed in the old restored 1876 Heritage Inn, which just happens to be the very same building where the first Orange City Post Office was established in 1876.  Yep, the post office was moved several times over the years, but the museum ended up in the very same building where it had all started.  The museum has a variety of postal artifacts, along with a collection of framed envelopes, lining both sides of a long hallway, with dates from the inception of the U.S. Postal Service to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was finally time to head southeast the last 50 miles on I-4 & SR-46 to my home in Titusville, FL.   I had called DiVoran to let her know about what time I thought I would be home, and she had a great ‘Welcome Home’ meal ready for me when I got to the house.  It was great to eat a home-cooked meal for a change and sleep in my own bed.  As much fun as these road trips are, I always look forward to getting home and relaxing in familiar surroundings with someone I 

love and appreciate.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures on this road trip as much as I have writing about them.  Putting these museum visits and traveling experiences into words always brings back visions of all the amazing things I have seen during this trip.  Thank you for riding along with me on this road trip, and I hope you will join me on the next trip for some more new and exciting museum adventures.  Be safe out there!

Photo Credit: https://www.clipartmax.com/cartoon-driver-waving/

—–The End—–

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 17 A

19 Jan

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 17 – 7/28/2021

After breakfast this morning, I headed south, out of Jacksonville, 20 miles on I-295 & US-17 to visit the Military Museum of North Florida located in the Reynolds Industrial Park, adjacent to the former US Naval Air Station, in Green Cove Springs, FL.  This museum has a large collection of military jeeps, trucks, and amphibious landing craft, as well as military artifacts, weapons, and equipment honoring all U.S Military personnel from WWI to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

To my surprise, the North Florida Railway Museum is also located in the Reynolds Industrial Park, there in Green Cove Springs, so I just checked out that museum while I was there.  The museum displays railroad exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia telling the history of the railroad’s influence on northern Florida dating from the mid-1800s.  They have several pieces of rolling stock which they are restoring, including a GE 44 Tonner locomotive.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing south 25 miles on US-17, I was absently heading for the David Browning Railroad Museum in Palatka, FL when suddenly Greta (My Garmin) said, “In ¼-mile turn right.”  I said out loud, “What?”  

Now let me tell you how it is with Greta.  She normally takes me on the shortest route to my destination.  Sometimes that is not always the best route.  More than once, she has taken me thru back streets or thru residential neighborhoods, finally delivering me to my destination.  Well, this time it was onto a dirt road.  “Why?”  Was my question, but I kept on going.  Then she had me turn onto a well-rutted dirt road.  The next turn was onto a barely visible rutted muddy dirt road.  I said, “Come on Greta, where are you taking me?”  There was nothing around me but a deep pine forest and a muddy dirt track with potholes.  It had been raining and the potholes were full of water.  I was afraid I was going to get stuck!  The next time she said, “Turn left.”   I said, “NO!”  And kept going straight.  I finally came out of that mess onto US-17 (the hiway I had been on before turning off onto the first dirt road) and eventually made it to the museum there in Palatka.  Whooo!  That was not a fun experience.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

At the museum I discovered that it was situated in the old 1908 Florida Coast Line (FCL) Union Depot and displays antique railroad exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia about the history of the railroad in Palatka and the surrounding Putnum county area dating from the early 1800s to the present.  The museum also houses a large model railroad layout depicting the city of Palatka in its early railroad days.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only a few blocks to where I checked out the Mariner’s Museum located on the banks of the St. Johns River there in Palatka.  This large museum was closed, so I took a stroll over to the Riverfront Park to take a short break and watch the river traffic.   The center piece of the park is an impressive 40-foot-high Millennium Clock Tower.  What a relaxing few minute that was. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After my short rest, I continued south, across the St. Johns River, 10 miles on US-17 to check out the Georgia Boys Fish Camp located on the banks of Dunns Creek in Satsuma, FL.  I discovered the camp was off US-17 (their sign didn’t say how many miles), so I decided since I didn’t have time to do any fishing, I’d just be on my way.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I went 15-miles out of my way to visit the Welaka Maritime Museum located in Welaka, FL.  Greta (my Garmin) took me to the correct internet address, but either the museum was in a boat repair shop at that address (that was closed), or it no longer existed, as there was nothing there but the boat shop.  That turned out to be a big waste of time and gas!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So, I found my way back to US-17 and headed another 25 miles south to visit the Barberville Pioneer Settlement.  A few miles down the road the internet had told me there was a Biker Bar in Crescent City, and I had planned to stop for a photo.  When I got to the address, I found that the business had changed hands, and was now The Farmhouse Bar & Grill.  Good thing I wasn’t hungry, as the place was closed.

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 16

12 Jan

A Slice of Life

DiVoran Lites

Day 16 – 7/27/2021

Leaving Douglas this morning, I headed southeast on SR-158 about 35 miles to visit the Okefenokee Heritage Center, located on the northern edge of the 700-square-mile Okefenokee Swamp, in Waycross, GA.  This center provides and preserves the historical cultures that make up the diverse area around the Okefenokee, with exhibits and artifacts dating from 350 BC.  The museum also gives tours of the restored area buildings, train station, and 1912 Baldwin steam locomotive (‘Ol No. 9).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southeast 35 miles on US-23 to visit The Folkston Funnel located in Folkston, GA.  It’s not a train depot as I originally thought but is a raised platform for visitors to watch the dozens of CXS trains traveling into and out of Florida thru the nearby “Folkston Funnel” switching station.  The city provided platform has chairs, tables, lighting, ceiling fans, and a scanner that allows train fans to listen to radio traffic between trains passing thru the area.  I didn’t read a sign thoroughly, located close to the platform, that advertised ice cream and cold drinks down the street.  I thought the ice cream shop was in the caboose.  Silly me!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I picked up US-301 out of Folkston and headed southeast 15 miles, crossing the St. Marys River (the border), where I visited the Corner’s  A-Maize-Ing Acres located in Hillard, FL.  As it turned out, this is a 125-acres privately owned farm that caters to people who are looking for a variety of farm-fresh vegetables and/or a beautiful setting for a family picnic or special photo shoot.  I didn’t need vegetables (I had no idea what was in season) or a family photo, so I just made a quick stop to rest my back, and was on my way.

I continued 10 miles southeast on US-301 to where I visited the West Nassau Museum of History located in Callahan, FL.  I found this small museum situated in the old restored 1881Callahan Train Depot, and it displays railroad exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia about the history of Callahan and the surrounding Nassau County area dating from the early 1800s.

Now it was only 20 miles southeast on US-17 to visit the Ritz Theater & Museum located in the LaVilla area of Jacksonville, FL.  The 426-seat theater was built in 1929 and was the focal point of LaVilla (considered the mecca for African American culture and heritage) from the 1920s to the 1960s and was known as “The Harlem of the South.”  The LaVilla Museum is located off the lobby of the theater and displays a variety of exhibits related to the LaVilla area dating from the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was a short drive to downtown where I visited the Jacksonville Fire Museum.   This museum is housed in the restored 1886 Station No. 3 building and displays firefighting equipment, artifacts, and a diorama of the Great Fire of 1901, which distroyed over 2000 buildings in a 146-block area of what was then the city of Jacksonville.  The museum also has a restored 1902 LaFrance horse-drawn fire engine and a 1926 American LaFrance fire engine on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed for the Southbank Riverwalk district of town to visit the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) there in Jacksonville.  Originally chartered in 1941, this three-story museum has a large Florida Natural History Center and many Florida scientific and historical exhibits on display for visitors.  The museum is home to the beautiful 200-seat Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was still raining, and I needed to find the motel there in Jacksonville and get something to eat.  As it turned out, the motel was in the Orange Park area off, south I-295, and it took me a while to get there.  After I got checked in and got my stuff settled in my room, I recorded my activities for the day.  Then I warmed up my leftover Enchiladas, refried beans and yellow rice, from the El 1800 Mexican Restaurant last night, and enjoyed that great tasting meal again.  What a delight!

—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 15B

5 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 15 – 7/26/2021 (Continued)

Now I headed east 20 miles on US-82 to visit the Old Engine No. 100 Museum located at Jeffords Park in Sylvester, GA.  This small museum is situated in the old restored 1895 Georgia-Ashburn-Sylvester-Camilla (GASC) Railroad line depot that serviced Worth County from 1895 to 1972.  Old 100 is a 1930 Baldwin Mikado 2-8-2 Steam Locomotive that was one of the many that were used to service the GASC line, which included Sylvester (first called ‘Isabella Station’ in 1893), during that time period.

Continuing another 20 miles southeast on US-82, I visited the Tifton Terminal Railway Museum located in Tifton, GA.  This museum is housed in the old 1910 Atlantic Coast Line station and displays railroad artifacts and other exhibits related to the history of the railroad’s influence on the city of Tifton and the surrounding Tift County area in the early 1900s.  The original depot served passengers on the CSX line from 1910 until 1986 when passenger service to this area was discontinued.

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed east on US-319 out of Tifton and traveled east 20 miles to Ocilla, where I picked up SR-32.  It was another 25 miles on SR-32 to where I visited the Heritage Station Museum located in Douglas, GA.  This small museum is situated in the old renovated 1905 Georgia and Florida Railroad Depot and has on display artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Douglas and Coffee County dating from 1905.  The depot stopped serving passengers in 1949 and operated only as a freight office until 1985 when it was closed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was just a few blocks to where I wanted to visit the WWII Flight Training Museum located adjacent to the Douglas Municipal Airport there in Douglas.  The museum was closed, but their website informs me that the Training Base was built in 1941 by the USAAF as a primary flight training school to teach young cadets how to fly.  Thirteen of the original buildings have been renovated to show visitors how cadets lived and worked during their basic flight training at the base.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in the vicinity of the Douglas Municipal Airport I stopped to visit my friend Tom Reilly at his restoration facility there at the airport.  Tom was good enough to take time from his busy schedule to give me a tour of his current projects.  Tom has restored many aircraft to flying condition over the years, but he is best known for recently finishing the 12-year restoration of the only flying XP-82 Twin Mustang in the world.  By the way, the airplane is For Sale, so if you are in the market for a superb one-of-a-kind warbird, give Tom a call and he will be glad to tell you all about the airplane.

Tom and his crew are currently restoring a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to flight configuration for one customer, while at the same time they are restoring the wings of another B-17 for another customer’s current restoration project.  Tom loves his work and gives his customers the very best product for their money.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that amazing tour with Tom, I told Greta (My Garmin) to take me to my motel for the night there in Douglas.  On the way to the motel, I noticed a sign for the ‘El 1800 Mexican Restaurant’ just across US-441 from the WWII Flight Training Base and decided to give them a try.  I ordered their Enchiladas Plate, which came with refried beans and yellow rice.  It was delicious and there was enough for two dinners, so I’ll get to enjoy it again tomorrow.

—–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 15A

29 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 15 – 7/26/2021

After a nice breakfast at the motel this morning, I headed southeast out of Columbus, 50 miles on US-280 to visit the Plains Train Depot Museum located in Plains, GA.  This small depot was built in 1888 and served the Plains, GA community from 1888 to 1951 when passenger service to the town was discontinued.  The depot was restored in 1975 and used as the headquarters for the 1976 Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign there in Plains.  The museum displays photos and artifacts focusing on the activities held in the building during that time period.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A few blocks down the road I stopped to take a photo of Billy Carter’s Service Station Museum.  I learned that Billy Carter gave up managing the family peanut business in 1972, and bought this service station, where many of the 1976 Jimmy Carter presidential campaign celebrations were held.  Billy continued to run the station until 2008, when the station was renovated for use as a museum.  The museum displays artifacts and family memorabilia covering mostly the life and times of Billy Carter.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued east 10 miles on US-280 to visit the Windsor Hotel located in Americus, GA.  This hotel should be a museum, as it is one of the most lavish hotels I’ve seen.  Built in 1892, it was designed for many of the same reasons the Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine Florida, to attract rich northern winter visitors.  This 100-room Victorian masterpiece served the community until it closed in 1972.  It was renovated in 1991 and modernized in 2010 to its present grander when it became part of the Best Western Group.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove over to the Jimmy Carter Regional Airport, there in Americus, Georga, to see where Charles Lindbergh made his first solo-flight in 1923, at age 21.  As the story goes, Lindbergh rode his blue Harley Davidson motorcycle to Southern Field in Americus to purchase a surplus WWI Curtis JN-4 ‘Jenny’ airplane for his barnstorming career.  He was able to purchase a new ‘Jenny’ (still crated in its shipping container), from a Mr. Wyche for $500.  

That price included the cost of mechanics time to assemble the plane there in one of the hangers at the field.  When the plane was ready to fly, and after several hours of instruction by Glenn Messer, Lindbergh took his first solo-flight in that airplane there at the field.  As you might remember, that young man went on to world fame, by being the first to fly non-stopped (solo) from New York to Paris in his ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ airplane and winning the coveted Orteig Prize ($25,000), in May of 1927.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued southeast 15 miles on US-280 to visit the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum located in Leslie, GA.  This museum is housed in an old 1920s cotton warehouse, across the street from the Citizen’s Telephone Company, and displays antique artifacts, photos, exhibits, and memorabilia explaining the history and advancement of telecommunications from 1878 thru the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing south 30 miles on US-195 I visited the Thronateeska Heritage Center located at the Heritage Plaza in Albany, GA.  This center, situated in the old restored 1913 Union Station, is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Southwest Georgia, and displays photos, exhibits, and artifacts related to the development of the southwest Georgia area dating from the 16th century.

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 14

22 Dec

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 14 – 7/25/2021

Leaving Birmingham this morning, I headed south 30 miles on I-65 to visit the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum located in Calera, AL.  This museum actually utilizes two restored railroad depots as part of their displays.  One served the Southern Railway line and the other served the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad, both of which were moved to this location over the years.   The museum has restored steam locomotives, and other rolling stock, that are used to take visitors on short excursions, during the year, letting them experience real 1900s train travel.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Both of the ‘Heart of Dixie’ museum’s depots display antique railroad artifacts, photos, and memorabilia relating the history of the railroad’s influence on the Shelby County area dating from 1890 to 2005.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 60 miles south on I-65 I wanted to visit the Maxwell AFB Air Park located in Montgomery, AL but the park was on the base and was closed to the public without a special pass.  So, I headed downtown to visit several places on my list.  The first was the Old Alabama Town, which is a collection of 50 restored 19th and 20th century structures that show how the early pioneers of central Alabama lived and worked.  This is an amazing attraction!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next was the Hank Williams Museum, where this small store-front museum displays original artifacts and memorabilia from the singer’s short life.  The centerpiece of the museum’s displays is Hank’s 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac convertible.  The car is surrounded by many of his guitars, costumes, and photos as visitors are serenaded by some of his famous songs.  Brings back a lot of memories for me. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It wasn’t far to where I stopped to check out the Riverfront Park there in Montgomery.  As it turns out, this is a wonderful city owned and operated recreation compound that provides an amphitheater for musical and other events, a baseball stadium, a riverboat for rides on the Alabama River, and the restored Union Train Station shed.  This compound is a great place for locals as well as visitors to enjoy a day at the park. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I drove past the Capital Building on my way to visit The First White House of the Confederacy.  It is said that President Jefferson Davis and his family lived in this house during the time Mongomery was the capital of the Confederate States of America (1861).  The capital of the Confederacy was moved to Richmond, VA later that year.  The house was built in 1835 and moved to its present location in 1921, where it was restored for use as a museum, and has been furnished with many original mid-1800s period Jefferson family pieces.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just down the street I ran across ‘The Alley’ and stopped to take a photo of that unusual entrance.  It appears that some creative folks have renovated the buildings on either side of this alley and now have all types of upscale boutiques, stores, restaurants, and bars for people to enjoy during their leisure time.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I wanted to visit the Hyundai manufacturing plant there in Montgomery but they had discontinued their tours because of Covid-19, so I headed east 40 miles on I-85 to visit the Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site located at the Morton Field in Tuskegee, AL.  This site honors the African American pilots who fought in the air for their country during WWII.  Morton Field was the home of the Tuskegee Airman Museum I visited on a previous road trip, but it has moved or closed, as I couldn’t find it at the field on this trip.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing east 45 miles on I-85, across the border, I stopped to visit the National Civil War Naval Museum located in the Rotary Park area of Columbus, GA.  This large museum has the remains of two Civil War ships, the CSS Jackson Ironclad, built in 1864, and the USS Hartford, built in 1858, plus a large selection of scale model Civil War ships and ironclads.  The museum also displays a large variety of original Civil War uniforms, weapons, and a host of other artifacts, and memorabilia.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

By now it was time to find my motel there in Columbus.  I entered the motel address into Greta (my Garmin) and she took me right to the motel.  After getting checked in, I recorded my day’s activities.  Then I heated up my leftover St. Louis Spareribs and enjoyed them for the third time.  That’s what I call stretching a good thing as far as you can.

—–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 12

1 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – 7/23/2021

Leaving Knoxville this morning, I headed southeast 30 miles on I-40 and SR-66 to visit the Tennessee Museum of Aviation located at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, TN.  This museum has several beautifully restored WWII aircraft, in flying condition, and has other aviation artifacts and memorabilia, dating as far back as the Wright Brothers glider replica on display.  Flight demonstrations, put on by this museum’s aircraft, are a frequent occurrence, but that didn’t happen while I was there.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/TN.Museum.of.Aviation/

It was only a few miles to where I visited the Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum there in Sevierville.  This museum has 90+ perfectly restored muscle cars dating from the classic ’50s, ’60s, & ’70s and some of the more recent 2000s – 2010s.  To say this museum is filled with some of the most delicious looking ‘Eye Candy’ is an understatement.  That little tour took me back to my high school hot-rodding days.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wonderful trip down ‘Memory Lane’ I headed southwest 25 miles on US-441 to visit the Cades Cove Museum located in Mayville, TN.  This small museum can be found in the restored 1790 Thompson- Brown log cabin adjacent to the Cades Cove Visitor’s Center.  The museum displays many family relics and family heirlooms from the generations who lived in this area prior to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1934).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed 20 miles west on US-321, thru Ainwick & Friendsville to visit the Lenoir City Museum & Cotton Mill located in Lenoir City, TN.  The small museum relates the history of Lenoir City, and that of Major William B. Lenoir, who moved to North Carolina in 1810 and settled on land granted to his father.  The Mill was one of several mills built in 1821 by Lenoir to produce cotton yarns and battings.  It survived the Civil War and was converted to a flower mill in the late 1800s.  The mill continued to operate, producing flower until the 1950.  Only ruins of the mill remain, as it was burned by arsonists in 1991 and was not restored.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I headed southwest 30 miles on US-11 to visit the Sweetwater Depot located in Sweetwater, TN.  The restored 1852 Sweetwater railroad depot uses photographs and antique railroad artifacts, to tell the story of the development of the city of Sweetwater and the surrounding Monroe County area from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

It was another 35 miles southwest on US-411, thru Etowah, Delano, and Wetmore where I stopped to check out the Chilhowee Gliderport located in Benton, TN but there was nothing going on at the airfield.  So, I continued southwest about 10 miles to Ocoee, where I picked up I-75 and another 35 miles southwest to visit the Tennessee Valley RR Museum located in Chattanooga, TN.  This museum is situated in the reconstructed 1920s East Chattanooga Depot and displays restored steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum has antique railroad artifacts dating from the early 1800s and offers daily short excursions, and other special offerings, on their restored 1950s era steam-driven trains.

Photo Credit: http://have-kids-will-travel.com/index.php/2018/11/01/tennessee-valley-railroad-museum-

Now I headed northwest 80 miles on I-24, across the Tennessee River, to visit Beechcraft Heritage Museum located adjacent to the Tullahoma Regional Airport in Tullahoma, TN.  This Museum displays 35+ beautifully restored civilian aircraft, including the very first 1924 Beechcraft Travel Air ‘Mystery Ship’ and many others in the Walter Beech Hanger.  My favorite is their 1932 Beechcraft Staggerwing.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After that thrilling tour thru aviation history, I headed southwest 75 miles on US-64 to visit my friends Terry and Mary, who have a beautiful home in the boonies, just across the border, near Lester, AL.  Greta (my Garmin) took me on a few back roads to get me there, but I finally made it to their house.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Terry told me I was just in time to go with him to Jim ’N & Nick’s BBQ for dinner.  I ordered their St. Louis Spare Ribs plate with baked beans, cold slaw, and a cornbread muffin.  That was a great meal!  And, I had enough left over for tomorrow night’s dinner.  It was dark by the time we got back to their house, and we spent the rest of that evening reminiscing about old times, when our kids were growing up together in Titusville, FL.

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

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