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A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip~Part 7

15 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

 

Day 7 (Wednesday, Oct.5, 2016)
I took my time getting ready this morning because my first stop today was to visit the Grissom Air Museum (located only about 10 miles north of the motel) and just south of Peru, IN. Since they didn’t open until 10 o’clock, I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. The museum had a small memorabilia area with some cockpit simulators and a nice collection of static displayed aircraft outdoors.

 

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Next on the list was the Kersting World of Motorcycles Museum, located 4 miles south of North Judson in Winamac, IN. This museum turned out to be situated in the middle of cornfields on all sides, and Greta and I had a difficult time locating it. I was given a personal guided tour of the museum, by the 80-year old founder and owner, Jim Kersting. Jim told me that he built his first motorcycle at age 12, and that he called it the Simpletag (See the museum’s website for the fascinating story of how the motorcycle got its name).

 

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The first motorcycle of Jim’s collection was a 1931 Indian 4-cycinder, which he got at a farm auction, and his collection has been growing ever since. Jim told me the story behind many of his various 100+ machines in the museum, and was especially proud of the ones he raced at Daytona, Florida when he was younger. He had some great stories to tell of his adventures.

 

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Next, just up the road a ways, I had planned to visit the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum located in North Judson, IN. However, it turned out that the museum is only open on Saturdays, so the best I could do was to stop and take a picture of the station.

 

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My next stop turned out to be the farthest west I would go on this trip. The plan was to visit the Indiana Aviation Museum, located adjacent to the Porter County Regional Airport in Valparaiso, IN. When I couldn’t find the museum, I stopped at the airport and talked to a friendly young man. He informed me that the museum had evidently sold all their airplanes, and closed the museum a year or so ago. They still had an Internet website listing, so I was surprised to learn of the museum’s closing.

 

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Even after getting off to a slow start this morning, I was still running a little ahead of schedule by now, so I headed northeast a few miles to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum, located in Michigan City, IN. This was a very small lighthouse building that has been converted into a museum. The ground floor of the building is made up of mostly local lighthouse memorabilia, and I was offered the opportunity to view the yacht harbor from the top of the lighthouse structure. I declined this offer, as I’m sure my knees would have given out before I got to the top. The elderly museum curators understood completely.

 

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Next, I headed southeast to visit the La Porte Historical Society Museum, located in La Porte, IN. This was a fabulous multi-level museum, containing a huge collection of local historical memorabilia of all sorts. This part of the museum included fully furnished living room, dining room, and kitchen representations for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

 

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The Door Prairie Auto Museum, which once was a museum by itself, has now been incorporated into the La Porte Historical Society Museum, and takes up the entire second floor of the building. This automobile museum has some of the most unusual examples of the early American auto industry, and each automobile has been beautifully restored for museum display and public auto shows.

 

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By now it was time to head for the motel, for a marvelous meal of leftover Cracker Barrel grilled catfish with green greens, corn, and one of their famous hot buttery biscuits and honey for dessert. One of my favorite meals.

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip Part 3

18 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 3 (Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016)

I was surprised this morning to see partly cloudy skies and no rain. So, after I had shaved, showered and finished my breakfast I headed for the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow located adjacent to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. In spite of the rainy weather over the past few days, the turnout for the first day of the Airshow was amazingly well attended.

 

Dawn Patrol

 

Of the 20 Plus World War I replica aircraft entries, between 12 and 15 pilots braved the weather and flew their fragile aircraft here to participate in the first day’s activities. The number of antique cars was limited and there were no antique motorcycles this year. Also, I missed the re-enactment gun emplacements, field hospitals and memorabilia tables that were part of the displays during the 2009 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow I had attended. I even had to look hard to find people dressed in WWI costumes.

 

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The WWI R/C model airplanes (smallest of which was ¼ scale) flying at this event outnumbered the full-size replica aircraft at least 3 to 1. There were some really beautiful model airplanes, and they were also in the air more often than the full-size replica aircraft were. The bad weather over the past few days I’m sure had a major impact on this event.  However, I still had a great time.

 

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1/2 Scale Sopwith Camel (B6313)

 

The wind came up about 12:30, with a 45° crosswind to the active grass runway, which made it very dangerous for the full-size replica aircraft to take off and land. So, since the flying portion of the air show was going to be delayed for today, (with no time estimate for resumption of full scale aircraft flying), I opted to leave the air show and check out a couple other museums in the area.

 

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The first museum I visited this afternoon was the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum located some 30 miles north of Dayton in Bradford, Ohio. This turned out to be a very small museum, consisting of mostly Pennsylvania Railroad memorabilia.

 

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Strange as it may seem, the museum is housed in what used to be a small bank, and one of the lingering features of the museum structure, that they could not hide, is a huge bank vault on the ground floor at the back of the one-room museum. There was no rolling stock associated with this museum, but the curator informed me that they hope to eventually add some Bradford Ohio Railroad rolling stock adjacent to their museum when funds allow. This was another one of the Ohio railroad depots that witnessed the Lincoln Funeral Train as it passed through the city of Bradford on April 30, 1865.

 

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Next I headed north again, to visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum located in Wapakoneta, Ohio which is the hometown of Neil Armstrong. This is a very nicely organized museum, honoring and displaying memorabilia from the military and NASA life of Neil Armstrong.  The museum also honors the Ohioans, who are noted for having defied gravity, with exhibits that detail the feats of the Wright Brothers and John Glen

 

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Now it was time to head back to the motel for tonight, which was located in Franklin, Ohio. Dinner this evening was a delicious meal of leftover Outback Pork Porterhouse with garlic potatos and some of their dark bread. And as I had hoped, it was double yummy!

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

Treasures From Germany~Part 4

13 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

There were several things that interested us while we were in Germany. All those years before that we lived in Wiesbaden (1967-1970) , we had never heard of the Kaiser company (founded 1872..became Kaiser in 1928) that produced porcelain figurines. But when we arrived in Heidelberg (1980-1983), that was the rage – to have some figurines by Kaiser. We found several that we liked and purchased them for ourselves. And some we purchased for our family. For instance, my Aunt Jessie loved dogs, and especially poodles. So we purchased this poodle for her. Following her death, I reclaimed it.

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And this little Scottie just took my fancy – he’s got such a happy expression, don’t you think?

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These dolphins reached out to me, so I purchased them. Kaiser had several different versions of the dolphins. I liked the two set best. Some were glazed (shiny) but I liked the unglazed better.

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I think this squirrel is quite the cutie.

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But this little bunny rabbit looks so much like Thumper from the Disney movie Bambi®, that I had to have him in my collection! He’s adorable!!

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We have a couple of nudies that appealed to us, and here they are.

 

I don’t have pictures of them, but my Aunt Jessie had several Kaiser figurines of gymnasts. Our Janet has them now, as she was quite interested in being a gymnast herself. They are quite delicate and beautiful.

Our Karen has a Mother and Child figurine, and a running horse with her colt – all made by Kaiser. Here they are in a picture of them on her fireplace mantle.

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As you can see, all of those Kaiser figurines are white bisque. While we saw many of the same figurines that had been painted, for some reason, I liked the plain white much better. However, there was one figurine that we purchased that couldn’t be anything but painted. It is so delicate and beautiful, and we treasure it.

 

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Another type of figurine that caught our attention was those made by Lladro (Spanish pronunciation – yah’ – drow). Many of their “human” figurines are rather grotesquely elongated – definitely not proportioned, and did not appeal to us at all. However, the figurines they made of animals were something that did appeal to us. My family purchased them for me and gave them to me as Christmas presents two different years. I enjoy them so much, and am thankful to have them. They were rather expensive, even in Germany.

One other figurine type we purchased while we were in Wiesbaden, and have enjoyed them all these years. They are Dresden “musical angels,” with each one having a different musical instrument. Two seem to be the same, but after looking closely, you will see that one is praying for her sister instrumentalists (far right – hands closer together), while the other one is directing the music (far left – hands more apart). I have treasured these figurines for over 40 years.

 

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~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 12

21 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 (Wednesday)

 

I got on the road from Huntsville by 8:30 am, and arrived at my friends, Terry and Mary Simmons, house at 9:30 am. Their house is located just a few miles northwest of Lester, AL on the Alabama/Tennessee border. The plan was for Terry and me to drive over to the local R/C model airplane field and watch the members fly their models. As it turned out, by the time we had breakfast and got to the airfield, all the members had finished their flying for the day and were gone. So we headed back to his house for some lunch.

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Terry was telling me about the owner of the property, and how he had built his own grass landing strip next to his farm house. When he mentioned the owners name I was surprised! The man’s name was Epps, and the reason for my surprise was that we have a replica of a 1907 Epps ultralight aircraft on display at our VAC Museum in Titusville, Florida. I’m wondering if the man in Alabama might be related to the man who built and flew the original 1907 Epps aircraft in Georgia. That, by the way, was the first airplane recorded to have been flown in the state of Georgia. Terry is going to find out his full name so I can Google him to see if he might be related.

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After a delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a short nap, Terry and I looked at airplane books and he related many stories of aviation enthusiasts and historical events. Mary cooked us a wonderful Milk Can supper. I had never heard of that, and when I asked her about the name of the dish, she related the history of the Milk Can supper to me.

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Mary used her Chef’s Oven to cook our small Milk Can supper, but I understand that people still use the traditional milk cans when cooking for large 40-50 person gatherings. I also discovered there are lots of Milk Can recipes on the internet, and even some “How-To” YouTube videos on the subject. After supper, Terry and I talked airplanes until past my bedtime. I finally called it a night, and settled down to a nice quiet (no traffic sounds) night’s sleep. He and I had made plans to visit aviation museums and car museums together tomorrow in Birmingham, Alabama, as my trip took me in that direction.

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 10

7 Sep

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 10 (Monday)

 

What a beautiful day to take a drive through the Kentucky and Tennessee Hill Country. My first stop today was to visit the Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum located in Elizabethtown, KY. This really was a “cars of MY yesteryear” museum. It was filled with beautifully restored 1900s to 1960s cars, many of which brought back the memories of my teenage years. They had a Hudson Hornet that DiVoran told me she drove when she was a teenager. They also had a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, similar to the one that my high school best friend’s sister had. She would drive us around town when we asked her to, so we could feel like we were high class teenagers.

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The next stop on my list for today was the Historic Rail Park & Train Museum in Bowling Green, KY. This was a good sized museum located in the original Bowling Green train station. They had memorabilia and model trains inside and some nicely restored Pullman train cars outside.

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As I was leaving Bowling Green, heading back to I-65, I came across Art’s Corvette/Art’s Auto Mart, just around the corner from the National Corvette Museum, located on the outskirts of town. It looked like they could have had as many as 100 different Corvettes and other cars displayed in those two facilities. However not being a Corvette fan, and not needing to buy a car, I elected not to pay the entrance fee and go through the museum. Besides, these two museums were not on my list and I needed to make tracks for Nashville.

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I stopped at the Tennessee Welcome Station for a short break and to pick up a Tennessee road map. They were playing country music on their speaker system for their visitors. After I used the restroom, I picked up a map and headed for my car. I saw a lady on the sidewalk, who looked like she was waiting for someone, and she was moving to the music. By the time I got to my car she had started heading toward her car, but she really wasn’t walking, she was line-dancing down the sidewalk to the music from the welcome station. It was the coolest thing. She had no idea anyone was watching and I don’t think she really cared. I wished I had thought in time to take a video, but I didn’t.

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My first stop in Nashville was to visit the Lane Motor Museum, located on the east side of town, just after I crossed over the Cumberland River. This museum was unbelievable! One man, Jeff Lane, has collected approximately 450 different kinds of motor vehicles and motorcycles from all over the world under one roof. What was so amazing for me was that almost all of the vehicles in this collection run, and many are shown at various car shows. A sign in front of the museum reads “Unique Cars from A to Z.” I had no idea that so many different types of vehicles have been manufactured throughout the world in days gone by.

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I tried to visit the Music Valley Wax Museum there in Nashville but discovered that it had been closed, due to a flood in the area in 2010. However, within walking distance of the wax museum building, I was able to walk through The Nashville Music Palace (The home of traditional country music) and The Willie Nelson & Friends Museum. Both were filled with memorabilia of various country music stars from over the years.

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My plan was to visit the Grand Ole Opry, but I was told the only way that was going to happen was if I bought a tour ticket, that included the Opry House and a stage performance. I probably would only see an empty Ryman Auditorium stage and I didn’t have the time to wait around for an evening show. So, I opted to do the whole Grand Ole Opry tour another time.

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Last on the list for today was to visit Nashville’s Centennial Part and take in the full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Original replica was built in 1897 as the center piece for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.   Later, during the 1913 & 1914 Spring Pageants, it was referred to as the “Athens of the South.” The structure was left standing for the next 20 some years, until weather and deterioration required its removal. It was permanently rebuilt, on the same foundation, between 1920 and 1931.

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The Nashville Parthenon now operates as an art museum, with a 41-foot high reproduction of Athena Parthenos (Greek goddess Athena) as its focus. It’s beyond me why anyone would want to keep something like that in their city. I guess it makes for a good tourist attraction. It got my attention didn’t it!

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When checking into the motel, I asked the desk clerk about a good place to eat, and he referred me to Jack’s BBQ Restaurant a couple miles down the road. Jack’s was a small place, but the aroma in and around the place made my mouth water and my stomach growl. I had some of the tenderest and most delicious St. Louis Ribs I have ever had. They came with collard greens, corn-on-the-cob, and cold slaw. I enjoyed a slice of their homemade cornbread and Grape jam for desert. Luckily, there was enough of everything, left over, for me to enjoy it all again tomorrow night.

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—–To Be Continued—–

The Cruise of a Lifetime~Part 12

8 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 

After breakfast, we began a partial bus-and-walking tour of Vienna, Austria. There’s just so much to see. It seems strange to have an ultra-new building with the old buildings, but they seem to fit together rather well. For the entire six years we lived in Germany, I hounded Fred about taking me/us to Vienna. Never happened! So this trip finally put us in that beautiful city.

 

I’m not a terribly good historian, but I have heard of the Hapsburg Dynasty. Austria was the home for that dynasty. The ship’s info sheet stated: The rise and fall of the House of Hapsburg began along the Danube’s banks in 1276. With Austria firmly in their grasp, the family gained new territories by marriage until their serial nuptials put most of Europe under their power. As their wealth and territory grew, few royal families remained to help them acquire more kingdoms. Their solution to this problem may have also been their undoing. While the dynasty actually had its beginning in 1020, it wasn’t until 1273 when it moved to Austria.

The info sheet also said: The Hapsburgs sought to retain their massive power through intermarriage between cousins or uncle and niece. “The best spouse for a Hapsburg is another Hapsburg,” went the proverb. The last of the Spanish line, Charles 2, was disabled from birth, perhaps from a genetic disorder typical in children born from siblings, and died. It’s likely that the Austrian Hapsburg line ended for the same reasons.

While there are still living relatives of the Hapsburgs, for all intents and purposes, the dynasty died out in 1918, at the close of World War 1.

We walked through Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, which has a really dark interior. I was unable to get any good pictures there.

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But the outside is remarkable. There is even a bronze model of the cathedral outside, that is to scale.

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We then walked through some of their Christmas Market. It was still rather early in the season for the Christmas Market to be up and running, but there were a few booths set up already, and we enjoyed seeing them.

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At 12:45 we met under the clock on the square and headed back to the bus and into the ship for lunch, which we had with Richard, Judy and Lucy.

At 2:00 p.m. we took a tour of the Schönbrunn Palace. It’s very opulent, but beautiful.

On our way into the Palace, there was a man on the sidewalk, covered in gold. He was standing on a box, and was singing some Mozart – advertising a concert. I just thought it was cute. I gave him a short curtsy, and he replied with a small bow.

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We had an early dinner (6:00 p.m.) with Richard, Judy and Lucy. At 7:00 p.m. some of the group left for a Mozart and Strauss Concert, that was free to all who wanted to attend, since we had to change ships again. Fred and I decided to stay onboard and pack. Then we read some, and then were in bed and asleep by 9:30 p.m.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

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