Tag Archives: #Travel series

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 4

26 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 4 Monday 10/22/2018

 

After breakfast this morning I headed north on U.S.-41 & I-75 to visit the Sarasota Classic Car Museum located just south of the Sarasota International Airport.  I had been to this museum several years ago, but wanted to see what kind of new additions they had in their collection. This is a very large museum with 100+ beautifully restored antique and classic cars dating from 1885 to the present. The docent informed me that this is the second oldest continuously operating antique auto museum in the country.

 

 

Just down the street from the Car Museum is the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ca d’ Zan Ringling home, and the Ringling Circus Museum, all of which are part of what is now the rambling 66-acre Ringling museum complex.  John Ringling came to the Sarasota area in 1911 and purchased 20 acres of Sarasota Bay waterfront property.  John built his magnificent new 32 room palatial summer home (Ca d’ Zan-Venetian for “House of John”) in 1926, and he and Mable moved into the house in 1927.  (Google “Ringling Home-Sarasota” for some interesting details of this mansion, whose design inspiration was taken from the Ringling’s love of the palazzos of Venice, their favorite vacation city).

 

 

DiVoran and I had visited the Ca d’ Zan Ringling home and Art Museum some years ago, and I didn’t have the time to visit all of the museums again today.  So I took a photo of the entrance, and headed for the Ringling Circus Museum, which is what I was really interested in seeing on this trip.

 

 

After John and Mable moved to Sarasota in 1927, John proceeded to buy more land, around his original 20 acres, in order to have all the necessary space to move the winter quarters of his Ringling Bros. Circus to Sarasota.  As a natural process, and with the inspiration of Ringling’s first Director, Mr. A. Everett Austin Jr. the Ringling Circus Museum was originally established in 1948 as the Ringling Museum of American Circus.  Over the years the museum has grown and now displays artifacts (such as performers’ wardrobes & performing props), lots of memorabilia (such as 19thcentury circus posters & rare circus handbills), and exhibits (such as carved parade wagons & a human cannon) related to the history of the circus in America, specifically the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.

 

 

In 2006 the Tibbals Learning Center was added to the museum, which displays the marvelous 3,800 sq. ft. (44,000-piece) miniature model that is a re-creation of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus combined shows from 1919-1938.  Absolutely Amazing!

 

 

Next I headed north on U.S.- 41 & SR-684 to visit the Florida Maritime Museum located in the historic fishing village of Cortez, just south of the Palma Solo Bay.  This small museum is housed in the restored 1912 Cortez Schoolhouse, which is now a part of the Cortez Nature Preserve.  The museum displays artifacts, model boats, and memorabilia, relating to the growth of the local and Gulf Coast fishing industry from the city’s founding in the 1880s.

 

 

 

—–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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 3

12 Dec

A Slice of Life 

 Bill Lites

 

Day 3 Sunday 10/21/2018

 

After a full complimentary hot breakfast at the motel this morning, I headed about five miles west to visit the Gold Coast Railroad Museum located just north of the Miami Metro Zoo. This is a relatively new museum (founded in 1956) and displays historical railroad artifacts and memorabilia to educate the public about railroad history.  Along with 40+ pieces of rolling stock, the museum has 3-miles of track on which visitors can take short rides in a restored vintage Florida East Coast steam engine, a Western Pacific Silver Crescent Passenger car, or their Western Pacific caboose.  The museum also displays several model railroad layouts of various scales.

 

 

Now it was just a few miles northwest to where I visited the Wings Over Miami Air Museum located adjacent to the Tamiami Executive Airport.  This small one-hanger museum displays 8-10 beautifully restored aircraft, most of which are in flying condition. I was told the museum’s goal, with the restoration of vintage aircraft, is to be a tribute to those aviators and veterans who pioneered civilian and military aviation in our country.

 

 

It was time to head west across the Florida Everglades to Naples.  I had planned to take the Tamiami Trail (U.S.-41) but one of the guides at the Wings Over Miami Museum warned,“That two-lane road could be a problem if there was an accident anywhere along the route.”  So, I elected to head north, a few more miles, to where I could pick up I-75 (Alligator Alley) and use it to transition the “Glades.”  Boy, those 95 miles were the longest and most boring I have ever traveled! Not a thing to see but swamp grass, in all directions, the whole way.  I stopped at two rest stops, to stretch my legs and get the kinks out of my back, but that didn’t help much.

 

 

I finally got to Naples and visited Naples Motorsports, Inc. which was located just south of I-75. This turned out to be a top-of-the-line exotic and high performance car dealership. I have never seen so many expensive sports cars in one place except at museums.  There were Ferrari Spiders & LaFerraris, Lamborghini  Aventadors & Gallardo Spyders,  Maserati Grand Turismo Sports & Stradales, McLaren P1 & 675LT Spiders, and Porsche 911 Targa 4S & 918 Spyders.  All the big names were there.  It was all too rich for my blood!  When I Googled their website, it listed some 80+ automobiles, from all over the world for sale.  Wow! What and inventory!

 

 

While I was in Naples I visited the Naples Railway Depot Museum.  This small depot museum is located in the restored 1926 Seaboard Air Line Railway Station building.  This museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related the railroad development and use in the city of Naples and Collier County in the early 1920s.  The museum was closed, so I just took a photo and was on my way to check out the next museum on my list.

 

 

—–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

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 2

5 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 2 Saturday 10/20/2018

 

First thing this morning I heated up my leftover IHOP Colorado Omelette, and had a delicious breakfast there in my motel room.  What a wonderful way to start the day!  After breakfast, I headed south to visit my first museum, the Palm Beach Maritime Museum located in the Northwood Village area on the Indian River.  I was expecting a museum exhibiting displays and artifacts related to the early maritime history of the Palm Beach area.  So I was surprised to find the museum closed, and the remnants of last night’s local homeless community packing up their things. Since there was no one around to ask about the status of the museum, I just took a photo and was on my way.

 

 

While I was in West Palm Beach, next I visited the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in downtown West Palm Beach.  This museum is located in the Mandel Public Library, and is a visual arts organization that displays various forms of photographic artwork.  The museum is noted for organizing the city’s annual FotoFusion photography festival.

 

 

Another museum there in West Palm Beach I wanted to visit was the Ragtops Antique Automobile Museum. This museum is known for its beautifully restored classic cars of all type and models dating from the 1930s to the 1960s muscle cars.  And the biggest surprise is that all of these cars are For Sale!  Just bring lots of cash.

 

 

Now it was on south another 30 miles to visit the Boca Express Train Museum located in Boca Raton. This museum is housed in the restored 1930s Florida East Coast Railroad depot, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the early development of the Boca Raton area aided by the railroad. The museum also has several restored pieces of rolling stock, including a 1930s Baldwin steam engine, a 1947 Seaboard Air Line streamlined rail car, dining & lounge car, and a 1946 Atlantic Coast Line caboose.

 

 

Next I headed just a few miles south on U.S.-1 to visit the South Florida Railway Museum located in Deerfield Beach.  This small museum is situated in the 1926 Seaboard Air Line Railway Station and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the railroad with respect to the early Deerfield Beach area.  The museum was a little hard to find, as it is located on the south end of the restored, and still active, Deerfield Beach Amtrak passenger terminal.

 

 

Another 20 miles south on U.S.-1 I visited the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum located in the Poinciana Park area of Fort Lauderdale.  This museum was created by Mr. Arthur Stone, and is his personal and loving collection of Packard Motor Cars from 1900 to 1958.  The museum also displays a vast array of automobile and oil company artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.

 

 

While I was in Fort Lauderdale, I wanted to visit the World Jet, Inc. facility to see what they were all about.  As it turned out, World Jet is a full-service Fixed Base Operator (FBO) located adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale Executive airport.  They specialize in the maintenance and servicing of all types of private jet aircraft.  There wasn’t much to see going on this morning.

 

 

As part of my research for this trip I had planned to visit my friend, Lucas, there in Fort Lauderdale, for lunch.  He had grown up in Titusville, and his family still lives there.  I found his apartment, which had a beautiful view of the Middle River and many of its more expensive homes and yachts.  He took me to the Tom Jenkins BBQ restaurant where I had some delicious Smoked BBQ Sausage with baked beans and cole slaw.  We had a great visit and he gave me a ride in his new Mini Cooper.  I was surprised at how much room there was in that small car. And the 40+ m/gal impressed me too!

 

 

Next I visited the Naval Air Station Museum located next to the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. This small museum displays artifacts and memorabilia mainly related to U.S. Naval Aviation during WWII.  The museum has a section dedicated to Flight 19 that flew out of NAS Fort Lauderdale on December 5, 1945 and vanished into the Bermuda Triangle.  Flight 19 is one of the Navy’s most perplexing unsolved mysteries to date (Google U.S. Navy Flight 19 Mystery for many interesting details).  The museum also honors NAS Fort Lauderdale as the base where future President, then Ensign, George H. W. Bush trained to become a torpedo bomber pilot.

 

 

By now it was time to head for the motel for tonight.  I told Greta (My Garmin) to take me south toward to the motel, located in the Richmond Heights area of south Miami.   Traffic was pretty heavy, but we finally got to the motel.  After getting checked in, I heated up my leftover Smoked BBQ Sausage and enjoyed that great meal again.

 

 

 

—–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

Edisto Get Away Part 2

25 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

AFTERNOON DAY 1

After we left the tea plantation we needed some lunch. We had decided to head to Charleston’s historic district so I checked out restaurants along the route. I found a sandwich place, The Southern General Restaurant on John’s Island, with “don’t miss this” reviews and it was a hit. It was small, maybe seating for 20. The menus were book like, with wooden boards for the covers. The menu was diverse and the food freshly cooked and delicious. The only sad part is that my husband and I are eating low carb and we would see each order stacked with home-made fries leave the kitchen!

After lunch we headed into the historic district and looked for parking. It needed to be close to where we would be exploring as our party are not great walkers.  We ended up at a church parking lot that explained if we were late returning to the lot they would boot our car! That kind of took the sparkle off my excitement.

We headed for the market area where vendors and crafters offer their wares. It was a warm day and I was happy to stroll through it in air-conditioned comfort. After we left the market, our daughter found this courtyard and we sat awhile to rest and cool off.

 

 

We still had some time remaining on our parking ticket so Rebekah led us down to Waterfront Park. The wind was brisk near the water and I loved it. I’m weird that way.

 

Photo credit Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash

 

In the distance we could see Fort Sumter but it was too late in the day for us to tour it.

 

 

Waterfront Park is also home to a famous pineapple fountain:

 

The history of the pineapple explains the popularity of one of the most iconic, photographed spots in town. Visit the Pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park while sightseeing, or after a lovely dinner, as it’s a treat to see any time of day. If you visit the park during daylight hours you can snap a picture of the Charleston harbor behind the fountain, and as soon as the sun sets you can behold the pineapple lit up and glowing against a gorgeous starlight sky. The fountain is a landmark for many visiting the Charleston peninsula, and is a must-see experience.

According to Hidden Charleston dot com  pineapples are the symbol of southern hospitality. I would enjoy seeing it at night with the lights glowing.

 

I could feel the time ticking down on our parking place so we didn’t linger long. I didn’t want us to have to rush our walk. We made it back to the car with time to spare. We had planned to return the next day but Hurricane Michael changed our plans.;

 

I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

Memory Lane Road Trip Part 16

17 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 16 – Wednesday 5/2/2018 

 

Because of my word dyslexia, I don’t really like to read, so to satisfy my literary needs, I listen to audio books on CDs in my car.  One of my favorite authors is James Lee Burke, many of whose books are read by Will Patton.  One of Burke’s series revolves around a detective, Dave Robicheaux, whose duties take place in and around the south Louisiana town of New Iberia, and Will Patton makes Burke’s characters come alive for me.  Since my route today was taking me south, on U.S.- 90 from Lafayette, my first stop was in New Iberia, to visit the Bayou Teche Museum.  Who knows, I might even meet James Lee Burke, somewhere on Main Street, on my way to the museum.

 

 

This is a small museum that displays memorabilia and artifacts related to the people, history, culture, and industry of New Iberia and the surrounding area.  In addition to being the hometown for Burke’s detective, Dave Robicheaux, (who I didn’t see at the museum or in town) it was at one time the hometown of Blue Dog artist George Rodrigues.

 

 

I continued southeast on U.S.- 90 to visit the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum located in Patterson, LA.  This is a good-sized museum filled with artifacts and memorabilia related to the Golden Age of Aviation.  The museum also has nine beautifully restored Golden Age Racer airplanes that flew in air races all over the country during the 1920s and 1930s.  I have read about these very airplanes for years, but it’s something else to see them in person, and so well taken care of.  The Wedell-Williams Air Service was formed in 1928, and became Louisiana’s first commercial airline, providing passenger and mail service between New Orleans and Houston.

 

 

The museum building actually is home to two museums, the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum and the Cypress Sawmill Museum.  I had no idea that Jimmie Wedell’s partner, Harry P. Williams was associated with the Cypress lumber business.  As it turns out Harry P. Williams was the son of Frank B. Williams, who is credited with starting the Cypress Milling Industry in Louisiana, and was also known as “The King of the Cypress Industry.”  This museum displays memorabilia, artifacts, and machinery related to the harvesting and milling of Cypress lumber in south Louisiana dating from the late 1800s.  I was amazed at the size of some of the Cypress logs (cross section) and the machinery needed to handle those huge logs.

 

 

Heading east a few miles on U.S.- 90 I visited the International Petroleum Museum located in Morgan City, LA.  This museum consists of a full-sized ocean oil drilling rig and barge, on which is displayed the associated equipment to support ocean oil drilling operations. If you have ever seen photos of an ocean oil drilling rig, then you can understand why I didn’t want to climb up to the base of the rig.  I’m sure my bad knees wouldn’t have survived the climb to where the museum’s artifacts and memorabilia are located.  The photo below will just have to suffice.

Continuing east on U.S.- 90 I visited the Regional Military Museum located in Houma, LA.  I was surprised to find a museum of this size out in the middle of what I call bayou country.  This is a fairly large museum that displays artifacts and memorabilia from all branches of the U.S. military services.  They have one tank, one howitzer, one helicopter, one air force airplane, one navy airplane, two jeeps, a motorcycle with sidecar, and a cruise missile. It didn’t take me long to go thru this museum.

During my 2016 Midwest America trip, a couple of museums, not far from New Orleans, had been closed and I thought I would try them again today.  So I headed northeast on U.S.- 90 until I picked up I-310/I-10 around New Orleans, and headed east to visit the Busted Wrench Garage Museum located in Gulfport, MS. I was looking forward to getting some photos of the 50+ restored automobiles of all makes and models.  As luck would have it, the museum had closed to the public sometime in February of this year.  Phooey!

 

 

 

And to top it off, the Model Railroad Depot Museum located in Bay St. Louis, MS was closed when I got there.  Not to be deterred I stopped, on the way back to New Orleans, at the Slidell Municipal Airport to see if anyone was sky diving on this beautiful afternoon. The answer was NO.  They are only open on the weekends.  The Skydive Nawlins hanger was closed, but I got a big kick out of their sign on the door that read, “SKYDIVENAWLINS.COM,”

 

 

So I gave up for today and asked Greta to take me to my motel for tonight.  After I got checked in, I asked the desk clerk about a good place to eat and he said he liked Don Jose’s Mexican Grill not too far down the road. I had Don Jose’s Chili Relleno filled with shrimp and cheese.  It was delicious and was a new taste treat for me.  As usual, there was nothing worth watching on TV, so it was early to bed for me again tonight.

 

 

 

—–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

Memory Lane Road Trip~Part 11

12 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 11 – Friday 4/27/2018

 

After a great complimentary breakfast at the motel this morning, I headed east on I-40 to visit the Fire Museum of Memphis located just as I crossed the Mississippi River in west Memphis, TN.  This museum is located in the 1910 Fire House No.1, where they display several beautifully restored early 1900s fire engines.  Other fire station artifacts and memorabilia displayed in the museum, tell the story of the Memphis Fire Department as far back as the late 1800s.

 

 

As I headed for my next museum, I passed a Historical Marker relating the story of the Memphis slave trade. I parked so I could get out to read about the history and get some photos.  I was not aware that Memphis was, in around 1855, considered a regional hub for the slave trade.  This turned out to be the exact corner where Nathan Forrest established his slave auction block (circle) in 1854.

 

 

He continued his lucrative business there (owner of some 3000 slaves himself) until 1860 when he moved his auction center one block north.  When Tennessee seceded from the Union in June of 1861, Forrest joined the Confederate Army.  Distinguishing himself during the Civil War, General Forrest left the Army at the end of the war in 1865.  Wikipedia states that in 1866 Forrest joined the KKK, and was later voted the first “Grand Wizard” of the KKK in 1867.

 

Now I headed a few blocks south to visit the Cotton Museum located in the Cotton Exchange building, at #65 Union Avenue there in Memphis.  This museum tells the story of how the cotton industry influenced the lives and economic growth of the area in and around Memphis from the mid-1800s.

 

 

The Memphis Cotton Exchange was founded in1874 to handle the growing cotton market in the area.  Once established, the Memphis Cotton Exchange was connected with the New York and New Orleans Cotton Exchanges to regulate standards for the buying and pricing of cotton in the Memphis area and the mid-south.

 

 

It was only another few blocks south to visit the Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum.  I never did find that museum in the maze of “Jazz Joints” there on Beale Street.  They all advertised to be the original source, location, and very best of Memphis “Jazz”/”Blues”/”Soul” music.

 

 

Then there was the “Orpheum Theater”, that advertised to have the very best entertainment in town.   They had listings for all kinds of modern day performers that I had never heard of.   And of course, Elvis is still a big name anywhere you go in Memphis.

 

 

The Orpheum Theater was built on this corner in 1928, to replace the original “Grand Opera House” of 1890.  That structure had burned down in 1923.  They had their own “Walk of Fame” on their sidewalks, around the theater, that included some of the big names in the entertainment business down thru the years.

 

 

About three miles south of Beale Street I visited the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, there in Memphis.  I didn’t know until I got home and Googled the Stax Museum, that the building is actually a “replica” of the old Capital Theater, which Stax Records (1957-1976) used as their recording studio.  Known as one of America’s original promoters of Southern Soul music, this is where many early artists cut their famous record albums.  Stax also released many gospel, jazz, and blues recordings from this studio over the years.

 

 

Now I headed north, back toward downtown, to visit the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum.  This museum is housed in a small 1849 clapboard house built by Jacob Burkle, who was at the time, a well-known livestock trader.   The museum is filled with exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the system known as the “underground railroad” in this part of Tennessee during the mid-1850s.

 

 

Next I headed east a few miles to visit the “Pink Palace Museum” located adjacent to the Memphis Lake and Chickasaw Garden Park. This turned out to be a huge “Family of Museums” that included a museum, displaying artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the Memphis area, a Giant CTI 3-D theater, and the Sharpe Planetarium.  Since I wanted to get to my next museum before they closed, I opted not to spend the time in this “Museum.”

 

 

Now I headed for the Elvis Presley Auto Museum (at least that’s where I thought I was going) located in the Bluebird Estates area of Memphis.  The Internet listing indicated the Auto Museum was a separate museum.  Having never been to Graceland, I thought I could view Elvis’s cars and airplanes separately.  Silly me!  Of course all the collections are together, and everyone just HAS to go thru his mansion. So I ended up paying for the whole works, when I only wanted to see the autos and airplanes.  What a scam!

 

 

His 30+ cars, motorcycles, boats, and off-road vehicle collection is impressive, but really not worth the price I had to pay for admission (including getting to see his famous pink Cadillac).  And I had often wondered where all the Convair 990 aircraft ended up.  I have to admit the Elvis mansion is beautiful, and his family lived in opulent splendor.  But here again, what do you expect of people who have more money than they know what to do with?

 

After I finished with that impressive attraction, I ask Greta to take me to the motel, there in Memphis, so I could relax and enjoy my leftover Mexican Dinner from Papito’s Mexican Grill.  Yummm!

 

—–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

Memory Lane Road Trip~Part 10

5 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 10 – Thursday 4/26/2018

 

This morning I headed north on I-40 to visit the Arkansas Air & Military Museum, located at Drake Field just south of Fayetteville, AR.  This is a good size museum, filled with aviation and military artifacts and memorabilia.  Their nicely restored aircraft date from the Golden Age of Aviation to the jet age.   They have several aircraft displayed outside that could use a little TLC.  The museum also has military artifacts and memorabilia from WW2 thru current conflicts and restored military equipment of all types.

 

 

Now I headed southeast on SR-23 & I-40 to visit the Museum of Automobiles located in Morrilton, AR. Once I got off I-40 and headed south to find the museum, I thought Greta had lost her satellite contact.  The roads got smaller and the forest around me got denser and darker, and I just knew we were lost.  Then as I rounded a bend in the road, Greta announced, “Arriving at your destination on the right.”  Well, what do you know; she knew where she was all the time.

 

 

This turned out to be an amazing museum, out in the middle of nowhere.  The museum has around 50+ beautifully restored automobiles dating from 1904 to 1967, six motorcycles dating from 1913 and a large license plate collection. There were also antique arcade machines, antique player pianos, and an antique gun collection, all beautifully restored and in working condition.

 

 

We really did get lost as we tried to find our way back to civilization.  Greta was so confused that I had to turn her off, and stop to ask directions, once I came across a small general store.  Then we were on our way southeast, on I-40 again, to visit the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum located in North Littlerock, AR.  This “museum” turned out to be a WW2 tugboat, the Hoga (YT-146), and a WW2 submarine, the USS Razorback (SS-394), which gives visitors an idea of what it would be like to live and work on a submarine during WW2.

 

 

There were also two memorials to submariners: one for the USS Snook (SS-279) and one for the USS Scorpion (SSN-589).  This is all outdoors and situated at the North Shore Riverwalk Park there on the Arkansas River.

 

 

While visiting my cousin Milton in Arlington, he had mentioned another relative contact in Little Rock.  I gave him a call while I was there in the Little Rock area.  He told me one of his sons was into genealogy, and had a lot of information on the Lites family tree.  He couldn’t meet me today, but I made arrangements to contact him again after he had had a chance to talk to his son.  I was thrilled to come across another relative (no matter how distant) who might help me track down our roots.

 

 

Now I headed northeast a few miles, on US-167, to visit the Arkansas Military History Museum located in Jacksonville, AR.  This is a small museum with displays and exhibits that include memorabilia and artifacts related to the military influence, in and around the Jacksonville, Arkansas area from Civil War days up to the present time.

 

 

Next I wanted to check out the Little Rock Air Force Base Museum, which was just a few miles north of the Jacksonville Museum of Military History, but was informed at the gate that their museum was not open to the public.  So I took a couple photos of their C-130 Gate Guard and headed for the motel there in Jacksonville.

 

 

After I got checked in at the motel, I ask the clerk for restaurant recommendations and she said her favorite was Papito’s Mexican Grill.  That sounded good to me, so I gave Greta the address and said, “Go Girl.”  I had a Papito’s Special Dinner, which included one each: Chalupa, Taco, Tamale, Enchilada, and Chili Relleno with rice and beans.  Of course you’re right!  I couldn’t eat all of that at one sitting, but I had planned to take half back to the motel for tomorrow’s dinner.

 

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

Memory Lane Trip~Part 7 (Continued)

15 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 7 – Monday 4/23/2018

 

As you might have guessed by now, this was turning out to be a really busy day.  Next on my list, there in Dallas, was a visit to the Frontier of Flight Museum a few miles north of downtown Dallas, located at the Dallas Love Field Airport.  This is the best aviation museum I have visited on this trip so far.  This is a large museum with two large display areas and 30+ beautifully restored airplanes.

 

 

One of the museum’s most unique displays is their complete Boeing 737 airliner. The nose section of the airplane is inside the building and the passenger section is outside the building.  Visitors can access the airplane from inside the building and examine the entire complete interior at their leisure.

 

 

One of my favorite TV series of late, is “Fast N’ Loud” which follows the exploits of hot rod hunter, Richard Rawlings, and his Gas Monkey Garage crew, located there in northwest Dallas.  I’m constantly amazed by the crew’s talents, as they transform “barn finds” or a “basket case” car into some of the most beautiful and unusual road machines ever. Since I was in Dallas, I decided to stop in at the Gas Monkey Garage and see what was happening.

 

 

Surprise!!  The episodes of the TV series I have seen are mostly confined to the garage area, as seen in the photo above, with Richard’s office cubical in the back of the garage.  So imagine my surprise to find that Richard has expanded his Gas Monkey complex to include Corporate Offices, and the “Merch” store, which is an apparel store feathering “Trending Threads” and Gas Monkey souvenirs.

 

 

As luck would have it, the Discovery film crew was working on another episode, and access to the garage area was restricted.  I was disappointed not to be able to meet any of the “Monkeys” to tell them how much I enjoy the series and the wonderful work they do.

 

 

One of Richard’s ventures, since the series started, was the opening of the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, located just a few miles north of the Garage, on I-35E.  I stopped by to check out this beautiful restaurant, but things were very quiet, as the dinner crowd had not started showing up, so I headed west on I-30 to meet my cousins in Arlington, TX.

 

 

I had made arrangements to meet three of my first cousins in Arlington for dinner and some reminiscing. These cousins were from my father’s side of the family, and I hadn’t seen any of them in almost 20 years.  Our family had made several visits to see them, in central Louisiana, when I was 6 or 8 years old.  Milton is my age, so we ran around with each other during those visits.  Gerry and Delois were Milton’s older sisters, and as you can imagine, we had lots to talk about.  Well, as luck would have it, we had a communications breakdown, and we missed each other at the restaurant.  After driving around a while trying to connect with them, I finally gave up and stopped to enjoy some really delicious St. Louis Ribs with baked beans and cold slaw at Jambo’s BBQ Shack there in Arlington.

 

 

With the help of my cousin, Gerry, I had made reservations, before I started this trip, for a room at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center, where Gerry and her husband George live. This was a great arrangement for the two nights I planned to stay in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as it included three meals each day if I so elected.  And, I would be right there in the same building with two of my cousins.  Later, when we finally did find each other, there at the center, we had a wonderful time going over some of our family history. Gerry’s sister, Delois, also lives in the Masonic Retirement Center, and she joined us in Gerry’s apartment for the festivities.

—–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

Memory Lane Trip~Part 5

18 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 5 – Saturday 4/21/2018

 

After a very nice complimentary breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast and orange juice, I gave Greta the address to take me to visit the Texas Air Museum located adjacent to the Stinson Municipal Airport there in San Antonio.  This is a large one hanger museum that is filled with memorabilia and artifacts, covering aviation from its inception to the present time.  The museum’s outdoor static display aircraft were in bad need of some TLC.

 

           

Next I ask Greta to take me to the Aero Accessories Inc. facility located just a few miles south of the Transportation Museum there in San Antonia.  This turned out to be your basic aircraft small accessories overhaul and repair station.  This business was operating in what I would call “primitive conditions” with respect to the modern equipment they were working on.  There was really nothing much to see, so I moved on.

 

 

Now I headed for a try at getting into the Fort Sam Houston base, there in San Antonio, to visit the Army Medical Museum.  I had given up trying to visit the USAF Airman’s Museum yesterday, after being turned away from three different gates.  I wish if military establishments (bases) are going to advertise their museums as being open to the public, that they would provide instructions for how the public is to gain access to those museums.  Today I called the museum first, and that was a big help.  I asked them which gate I should approach first in order to get a pass onto the base to visit their museum.  This worked out fairly well, as I was able to get a pass, and I was impressed with the museum’s large number of displays and memorabilia. They had a 1917 U.S. Army ambulance similar to the one my father, as a corps man, drove during WWI.

 

           

Next I had Greta take me to the Alamo Plaza located in the Historic District of downtown San Antonio. After getting some pictures of the Alamo, I took a one-hour trolley ride around the city, stopping at the Marketplace Plaza.

 

           

The Marketplace Plaza was brightly decorated and crowded with people.  As I strolled through the Plaza, the crowd was entertained with live music and breakdancing, as the smell of freshly cooked foods of all types attacked our nostrils.  At one point I came across a tiny Hispanic woman (someone said she was 83 years old) jiving away on the walk-way to boom box music.  She was moving like a saucy senorita. She wore a long, hot-pink tiered skirt that fell just above her ankles and exposed her sturdy white shoes. A lace shawl and a feisty pink hat decorated with flowers completed her ensemble.  I Hope I can move that well when I’m that old. Wait a minute.  I am ALMOST that old, and I can’t move near that well now!

 

           

A rain squall came up about that time, so I put off my track along the famous River Walk.  I’m not sure how much I really missed. Maybe next time I’m in San Antonio it won’t be raining.  I called my friends Ken & Debbi, who live there in the San Antonia area, but they were in Florida on vacation.          

 

 

By now I had been bumped, pushed, and jostled enough for one afternoon, and asked Greta to take me back to the motel, where I could relax and enjoy my delicious leftover Chili Relleno dinner.

 

 

           

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 58 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 Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, writing blogs 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 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’s favorite Scripture is: Philippians 1:6

America’s North Country Trip~Part 13

13 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 13 (Wednesday)

 

This morning I headed east on I-80,across the border into Nebraska, to visit my first museum, the Mansion on the Hill Museum located in Ogallala, NE. This is the restored 1887 Victorian residence of former Opallala banker, H. L. Williams, and his family. The museum is beautifully furnished with original period furnishings, and includes a servant quarters. Other buildings on the premises include a 1902 one-room school house and an early 1900 homestead dwelling.

 

 

Just around the corner and up the street, I checked out the Boot Hill Cemetery there in Ogallala. Buried there are people from all walks of life, who found themselves in Ogallala, NE (Cowboy Capital) at the end of their life for whatever reason. RIP.

 

 

Now I headed east on I-80 again, and was hoping that Greta could help me find the Buffalo Bill Ranch located on the west side of North Platte, NE. The original Second Empire style home was built in 1886, and resides on what is now the 25 acre Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (also known as Scout’s Rest Ranch) adjacent to Scout Creek. The house is furnished with period furnishings, and includes servant’s quarters, an ice house, and a large barn.

 

 

As I headed toward North Platte, I stopped to visit the Lincoln County Historical Museum & Village, located just south of the North Platte River. This was another frontier village type museum, located on 8-acres, with a main building displaying local central Nebraska historical artifacts and memorabilia. There is also a restored early 1800’s “Main Street” town with several period buildings including; general store, schoolhouse church, blacksmith shop, and barn.

 

 

While I was in the area, just south a couple of miles, I visited the Golden Spike Museum & Baily Yard. The museum was an unusually shaped 8-story structure that gave the visitor a grand view of the huge “Baily Yard” operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. I had seen many very long coal trains during this trip, and I asked the tour guide how long the trains were. He said, “From 125 to 145 cars. We have a length restriction of 8-miles.” I was stunned, and asked him why 8-miles and he said, “Because the sidings are only 9-miles long, and the train has to fit on the siding.” Then I asked him how much coal each car could carry, and said, “Each car can carry 100 tons of coal, and each coal car weighs 20 tons.”  I did the math. WOW! What a load!   What did you get? I guess that’s why there are two diesel engines pulling and two diesel engines pushing those long coal trains across the open plains.

 

 

 

Now I headed across the north part of North Platte to visit the Cody Park Railroad Museum located just north of the North Platte River. This is a small museum with local Union Pacific artifacts and memorabilia in the restored train depot, and the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive on public display. The museum also has several nicely restored items of rolling stock attached to the locomotive.

 

 

Greta took me on U.S.83 south thru the city, across the South Platte River back toward I-80 to visit the Fort Cody Trading Post. This looked to me like nothing more than a big tourist trap, so I took a couple of photos and was on my way east on I-80.

 

 

I had picked up a brochure for a Pony Express station museum somewhere along the way on this trip, and planned to stop and check it out now if time permitted. I took the #211 exit off I-80, turned north across the North Platte River, into the city of Gothenburg, NE. I found the Pony Express Station Museum on the south edge of Ehmen Park in the middle of town. The museum was a restored one-room log cabin that had originally been used as a fur trading post and ranch house before being used as a Pony Express Station in 1860 – 1861.

 

 

The curator gave me a lot of information about the Pony Express that I had never known. First of all, I had no idea that the Pony Express was only in operation for 19 months in 1860-1861. Started by three business men in 1860, it was initially called the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company, and provided “fast” (10 days) mail service between St. Joseph Missouri and Sacramento, California. The approximately 1900 mile route consisted of 120 riders, 157 Pony Express stations (spaced every 10 miles), 400 horses, and was manned by several hundred men. The express rider would stop at each station, change to a fresh horse, taking only the mail pouch called a mochila (Spanish for pouch) with him. The mochila was thrown over the saddle and held in place by the weight of the rider sitting on it.  The mochila could carry 20 lbs. of mail in four pockets (two on each side) that would be padlocked.

 

 

The initial price was $5.00 per ½ ounce to send mail by the Pony Express route. The transcontinental telegraph (Telegraph Act, authorized by congress in 1860) completed in 1861, put an end to the Pony Express, and it is said the investors lost over $200,000 (1860 dollars) during the short period of time their mail service system was in operation.

 

 

After that informative stop, I told Greta it was time to find my motel for the night, located down the road a ways in Cozad, NE. She did a good job, and before I knew it, I was there and checked in. The desk clerk informed me that there were very few restaurants in town that he could recommend, and directed me toward the ones he thought best. I looked them over and selected the El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant, where I had one of the best combination plates of chili relleno, enchilada and taco dinner I’ve had in a long time. Yummm!

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

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