Tag Archives: Travel Series

2022 Road Trip-Part 14B

25 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 (5/29/2022) 

Since I couldn’t find anyone to talk to at the Planet Chopper, I just continued southeast another 25 miles on US-52, across the border, to visit the Thunder Road Museum located on the west side of Mount Airy, NC but it was closed.  I was disappointed as I remembered the 1958 movie “Thunder Road” with Robert Mitchum, about the running  of bootleg moonshine in the Tennessee & Kentucky hills during the 1950s, and I was looking forward to seeing the museum’s car collection.  Bummer!  But, it was only a few miles east to where I visited the Andy Griffith Museum there in Mt. Airy.  This attraction includes the Andy Griffith Playhouse, as well as the Museum which displays a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the life and times of Andy Griffith, who was born and raised in Mt. Airy. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

Now I headed southeast 35 miles on US-52 to visit The Winston Cup Museum located in Winston-Salem, NC.  This museum displays a marvelous collection of NASCAR Winston Cup winning cars. Visitors can walk thru the history of NASCAR racing with the very cars that won those races dating from the inception of the Winston Cup Series of races.  What an impressive collection of racecars! 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

After that exciting trip down memory lane, I drove over to the ‘Old Salem’ part of town to see and learn about some of the old Salem home and building restorations.   Wikipedia informs me Salem was originally settled by a Moravian community in 1766, and the area has now been restored into a living history museum that tells the story of how that small community lived and worked in the 16th and 17thcenturies. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

Before leaving the Old Salem area, I stopped to get a photo of Mickey’s World’s Largest Coffee Pot, which has become an Old Salem landmark.  

This 7-foot, 3-inch-tall coffee pot was originally designed and built in 1858 by two Moravian tinsmith brothers Julius & Samuel Mickey to advertise their coffee shop and has been an item of legend in the Old Salem area over the years. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites 

It wasn’t far from Old Salem to where I stopped to take a photo of the last Shell Oil clam-shell Service Station in America.  I had never seen one of these stations, but maybe that is because they only lived in North Carolina before I was born.  The story goes that local distributors, Joe Glenn and Bert Bennett built six of these clam-shell shaped stations in Winston-Salem during the early 1930s to help boost their businesses.  After the stations closed in the 1950s, the ones that remained standing were used for various types of small business shops until the 1980s when they all but this last one disappeared.  I believe this one is still standing only because it is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Photo Credit: /www.bing.com/images/search/oldshellstation/  

Now it was time to head for the motel there in Winston-Salem for the night.  On the way to the motel, I saw a Chick-fil-A and stopped to have an order of their Grilled Chicken Nuggets with Bar-B-Q sauce and a big cup of iced tea.  It was quick and delicious. 

   https://www.bing.com/chick+fil+a+grilled tenders  

Then it was on to find the motel, which Greta (My Garmin) did expertly.  I got checked in and got my things into the room, after which I took the time to record the day’s activities and fell asleep trying to watch TV.  ZZZZZZ. 

—–To be Continued—– 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 14A

18 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 14 (5/29/2022)

This morning after breakfast, I headed southeast out of Charleston, WV 60 miles on I-64 to visit The Veterans Museum located in Beckley, WV.  This is a small ‘All Wars’ Museum that displays military artifacts following the history of U.S. Military involvement in wars from the Revolutionary War to the present conflict in the middle east.  They also have a scale model of the Battleship West Virginia (BB-48) on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

From Beckley I headed south 40 miles on I-77 to visit the Mercer County War Museum located in Princeton, WV.  This museum is housed on three floors of the old renovated 1928 Princeton Municipal Building. The museum is another of ‘Those Who Served’ museums that displays local artifacts honoring southern West Virginia, Mercer County, and local Princeton members of all U.S. military services who served in wars dating from the Civil War to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Princeton, it wasn’t far to where I visited the Princeton Railroad Museum located in the old restored early 1900s Princeton Depot.  Known as the “Richest Little Railroad in the World,” the depot served as one of the stops on the Virginian Railway’s Hampton Roads to Deepwater route from 1909 to 1959.  This museum has two floors filled with local railroad artifacts related to the development of the railroad from the early 1900s.  The restored 1949 Virginian Railway caboose No. 308 is displayed outside the museum for visitors to go thru.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Princeton, I headed south another 40 miles on I-77, across the border to visit the Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum located in tiny Wytheville, VA.  This turned out to be a small museum situated in an old restored 1926 gas station.  This small one-room museum displays antique gas station artifacts and tells the story of the early highway (US-21) that was used to connect the states of Ohio and Florida during the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Wytheville, I drove downtown to check out Edith Bolling Wilson birthplace.  This museum is situated on the second floor of the old restored 1860s Wilson home and is filled with antique artifacts of the life of Edith, from her birth in 1872 to her death in 1961.  As I’m not an American History scholar, I had no idea what an influential person Mrs. Wilson was in her later years.  It turns out she not only was First Lady to Woodrow Wilson, our 24th President, but it is said that she was also a descendant of Pocahontas, and was somehow related to Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee.  What a lady!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Wytheville, it was less than 10 miles east on I-81 to where I planned to visit the Mansion at Fort Criswell, VA but the address Greta (My Garmin) took me to was nothing but a sign pointing which way to go on a rutted wagon trail that was closed off with a barbed wire fence.  Their website describes the place as an elegant mansion filled with mid-1800s furnishings, but that trail didn’t work for me.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So, I picked up I-77 and headed south 20 miles to check out the Planet Chopper (?) located at the intersection of Woodlawn Road and Coulson Church Road in Woodlawn, VA.  I pictured a motorcycle museum or shop, but what I found was a three-story travelers bunkhouse, store, and motorcycle repair shop, all closed with no one in sight.  It appears to be a motorcycle B&B and support organization to help riders enjoy touring the surrounding area on their bikes or on rentals.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 13 B

11 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 Continued (5/28/2022)

After that interesting adventure at the Ark Encounter, I headed south 30 miles on I-75 to visit the Toyota Manufacturing Plant located in Georgetown, KY.  I had hoped to get a tour of the plant.  However, the plant had suspended their tours because of Covid-19, and I was disappointed.  So, I just continued south another 25 miles on I-75 to visit the Aviation Museum of Kentucky located at the Blue Grass Regional Airport in Lexington, KY.  This museum displays a collection of 15+ beautifully restored military and civilian aircraft, a repair facility, and an aviation history library.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was about 30 miles southeast on I-64 to where I visited the Bluegrass Heritage Museum located in Winchester, KY.  This museum is not about music.  It displays ancient Eskippakithiki Indian artifacts, and early pioneer to present day memorabilia related to the history of the local ‘Bluegrass Region.’  An Eskippakithiki Indian village replica helps visitors see how the Native Americans lived and worked during the early 18th century time period.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed east about 100 miles on I-64, and across the border, to visit the Museum of Radio & Technology located in Huntington, WV.  This museum has many artifacts and lots of memorabilia on display that tell the story of the evolution of the radio and a number of other technologically associated devices that have changed our way of communicating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Huntington, it was just a short drive to where I visited the Callis P. Huntington Railroad Museum.  This is really two museums.  The one I visited is their outdoor museum which displays the 1949 Baldwin steam locomotive (# 1308) and several other restored static pieces of rolling stock representing the C & O railroad activities dating from the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a short distance from the Huntington Railroad Museum, I swung by the Taylor Auto Collection, there in Huntington, long enough to take a photo.   I was told the museum was closed because Jimmie Taylor had passed away.  That was such a shame, because Jimmie had a very nice collection of beautifully restored early 1900s cars in his museum.  What was strange to me, was that this is the second time during one of my road trips that I have arrived at a museum that was closed because the founder had recently passed away.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Leaving Huntington, I headed east 20 miles on I-64 to visit the Blenko Glass Museum located in Milton, WV.  I had tried to visit this museum during another road trip a couple of years ago, but they were closed that day and I missed seeing their beautiful collection of blown glass objects.  Well, today they were open and what a fabulous display they have for sale in their museum and showroom.   I would have bought DiVoran one of their lovely glass pieces, except she has several glass pieces from our trip to Italy, and is always trying to reduce the clutter of other glass objects she has.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was another 20 miles east on I-64, across the Kanawha River, to where I wanted to visit the Nitro Museum located in Nitro, WV.  This is another one of those museums I missed getting to visit on that other road trip a couple years ago, and now I missed it again.  I hope to one day be able to get inside this museum, as I am interested in all things that explode, and I think this museum would be fun.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was less than 10 miles southeast on SR-25, and back across the Kanawha River, to visit the C & O Depot Museum located in St. Albans, WV.  This museum is situated in the old restored 1896 C & O train station and displays antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia related to the Kanawha River Valley area and its growth, from the early 1900s, mostly due to the C & O railroad activities.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southeast about 15 miles on US-60 to visit the Clay Center located in Charleston, WV but it was closed by the time I got there.  This huge Arts & Sciences Center would have been interesting, but I just didn’t have the time today, so I just took a photo and headed for my motel there in Charleston.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I gave Greta (My Garmin) the motel address and she took me right to it.  I got checked in and as soon as I got settled into my room, I heated up my leftover Colorado Omelette from IHOP and enjoyed the delicious meal again (just half of what you see in the photo below).  Yummm!  What a treat.   Then I recorded my day’s activities and tried to find something on TV to watch, but to no avail.  So, I just went to bed since it had been a very long day and I really was tired.

Photo Credit: ihop colorado omelette – Bing images

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 13 A

4 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 (5/28/2022)

After a quick breakfast this morning, I headed southwest 30 miles on I-75 skirting Cincinnati, OH, where I picked up I-71.  I had wanted to visit the Creation Museum, but it was too far out of my travel route so, I just continued south another 30 miles on I-75/I-71 to where I visited the Ark Encounter located in Williamstown, KY.  I had hoped to beat the crowd, if possible, but there were lots of people already waiting in line to buy tickets by the time I arrived at the attraction. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The wait to purchase a ticket was short, and the agent gave me a ‘Double’ discount for being a Veteran and over 65 years old.  I was pleased with that start of the day.  However, the wait for the bus to the Ark entrance was another story.  It was like being at Disney.  The lines went back and forth forever, it seemed.  Once we arrived at the Ark, I was blown away by the size of the thing.  At 510 feet long, 85 feet tall, and 51 feet wide; it is huge!  They told us it took 3.3 million board feet of lumber, 1000 workers, and six years to build.  This photo doesn’t begin to show the size of the Ark, as it is far behind me.  Just try to see the people down near the right end of the Ark.  You can hardly see them for how tiny they are by comparison!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was a pretty good walk from where this picture was taken, where the bus dropped us off, to where we actually entered the Ark.  There was a sloping ramp for wheelchairs on the outside, and elevators for those who needed them at the main entrance.  Then it was one long ramp after another to reach the first level.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The Arc was divided into three levels.  The first, or lower level, was specifically designed for, and held, models of large caged animals.  I never did see where they would have kept the really big animals, like the elephants and giraffes.  The cages for these animals emitted very realistic sound effects of the various types of animals.  Food storage bags for these various animals were arranged, floor to ceiling, on the other side for easy access.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Tons of animal food storage bags gave the impression that it took a hugh amount of food to keep all those animals fed.  It was amazing at how organized the animal cages and food storage bags were.  I guess it needed to be that way in order to be able to take care of that many animals for a long period of time.

The second, or middle level, held the smaller animals, reptiles, and birds.  There were also sound effects of the many various types of birds.  Food storage containers for the many types of small animals and birds lined the walls from floor to ceiling on this level also.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The top level was set aside for living quarters, food preparation area, and workshops for Noah and his family.  There was a large amount of food containers and clay oil jars lining the walls.  Many of these items were located close to the food preparation area for ease of access.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I would have thought that food preparation for Noah and his family was the least of their problems.  My guess would be that feeding and caring for all those animals would have taken up most of their time every day.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The Bible doesn’t mention that God told Noah how long he would be in the Ark.  Noah must have planned for a long voyage, or, he was used to a very comfortable living, as the family living quarters were quite luxurious for the ‘zoo boat’ they were in.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

And of course, Noah needed to preserve as much history as he could for future generations, so there was a library, or study, of sorts.  This room was filled with scrolls, charts and writing materials for Noah to record the past history, his experiences in the Ark, and the New World he and his family would find at the end of their voyage.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

And, of course, there would always be the need for a workshop, to make repairs to any part of the Ark as the need arose.  You know, like broken animal pens, leaks on the boat’s hull, and other such mundane  tasks.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

There was a lot to see and read on each level.  I didn’t read everything and only spent two hours going thru the Ark.  A person could easily spend the whole day in the Ark and the other things that are a part of the Ark Encounter attraction, such as the Ararat Ridge Zoo and even a camel ride if you dare. 

Photo Credit: https://arkencounter/ararat-ridge-zoo

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 12 B

28 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 Continued (5/27/2022)

So, after missing out on a visit to the Gasoline Alley Museum there in St. Marys, I just headed east 15 miles on US-33 to visit the Armstrong Air & Space Museum located in Wapakoneta, OH.  I had visited this museum once before on another road trip, but since I had worked on the Apollo-Saturn V launch vehicle (at KSC) that put Neil Armstrong, and the other eleven American astronauts on the Moon, this museum held a special interest for me.   The museum is housed in a specially designed 17,291 sq. ft. building and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the military and space life achievements of Neil Armstrong and what led to man’s first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969.  There is now doubt that he was an amazing person. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that great trip down memory lane, I headed south 30 miles on I-75 & SR-273 to visit The Bicycle Museum of America located in New Bremen, OH.  This 2-story museum is absolutely jam-packed with 150+ bicycles of every size and configuration dating from 1816.  The curator told me the museum is a part of the private collection of one man, Jim Dicke II, and consists of some 750 cycles (600+ in storage).  I even got a chance to try my luck on their 1870 ‘Big Wheel’ cycle (fixed in place).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was less than 10 miles south on SR-66 to where I visited the Wilderness Trail Museum located in Fort Loramie, OH.  This museum is situated in the old renovated 1852 two-story brick building that was originally a hotel used by Miami-Erie Canal travelers to the area.  The museum is arranged to represent a mid-1800s hotel and displays antique artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Fort Loramie and the surrounding Shelby County area from the late 1700s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was another 15 miles south on SR-66 to where I visited the Johnson Farm & Indian Agency located in Piqua, OH.  The Johnson Farm is a 200-acre site where General Anthony Wayne built the Fort Piqua in 1811.  After the military withdrew from the fort around 1858, John Johnson extablished a traiding post and Federal Indian Agency at the site.  The farm includes the Johnson home (circ 1815), restored portions of the old Fort Piqua, and a one-mile restored section of the Miami-Erie Canal.  Visitors to the Johnston Farm can also take a ride in a replica of the 70-foot mule-drawn ‘General Harrison’ canal boat (circ 1845).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only about 10 miles south on SR-25A to where I planned to visit The Museum of Troy History located in Troy, OH but they were closed.  So, while I was in Troy, it was only a short drive to visit the WACO Aviation Museum located there in Troy.  This museum has a restored 1856 barn that was relocated from Lorain, OH and two other large hangers, filled with a beautiful collection of restored WACO biplanes dating from 1921.  WACO built some of my favorite “Golden Age” aircraft, and I love seeing them up close and flying (Not today).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

The original 1820s building in which the Overfield Tavern Museum, is housed is also located there in Troy, and was in the process of being renovated when I stopped by for a visit.  So, all I got for my troubles was a photo and then was on my way to the next museum on my list.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 10 miles south on I-75 to Vandalia, OH where I wanted to visit the Sunwatch Indian Village, but they were closed.  So, I just continued south another 50 miles on I-75 to Sharonville, OH where I planned to stop for the night.  I found an IHOP Restaurant in the Oakley Center and ordered one of their ‘Colorado Omelettes’ and enjoyed that delicious meal.  Yummm!  It was hugh, and I even had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: ihop colorado omelette – Bing images

After that great meal, I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address for the motel there in Sharonville, and she took me right to it.  I got checked in, got my stuff into the room, and recorded the day’s activities.  Then it was to bed for this tired puppy.  No TV again tonight.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 11B

14 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11 Continued (5/26/2022)

The inside portion of the Grissom Air Museum displays various military aviation and space related artifacts and memorabilia.  These include photos of Gus Grissom and the Mercury Redstone 4 (Liberty Bell 7), in which he was the 2nd American astronaut to orbit the earth.   Grissom was the 2nd American astronaut to fly twice in space in the Gemini 3 (Molly Brown) space capsule with John Young.  I also checked out the cockpit of the museum’s restored F-4 Phantom while I was there.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Almost next door to the Grissom Air Museum, I stopped to see what they had going at the American Huey Museum, but it was closed.  So, before I left Peru, I drove over the check out the Peru Historical Circus Winter Quarters.  Since it wasn’t WINTER the area and buildings all seemed deserted, with just a few circus wagons scattered around the grounds.  I took a photo of their sign and was on my way to the next museum on my list.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast 15 miles on Alternate US-24 to visit the Wabash County Historical Museum located in Wabash, IN.  This museum is filled with local artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the city of Wabash and the surrounding Wabash County area dating from the time of the Native Miami Indians and French fur traders of the early 1700s to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed northeast 20 miles on US-24 to visit the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park located along the Wabash River in Huntington, IN.  This village park museum is set on the site of the signing of the historic Treaty at the Forks, in 1838, that allowed the extension of the Erie Canal into the Wabash Valley.  There are restored original and replicas of 1800s cabins, buildings, and a church, with period furnishings, on the site to help educate visitors about the life and times of the early settlers to this area.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Huntington, I checked out the Veterans Memorial located next to the city’s Memorial Park.  This memorial honors veterans from all branches of U.S. military services.  The Memorial 

is used to celebrate several military events each year, and historical markers around the Memorial honor past Huntington citizens who have contributed their lives and talents to our nation’s history.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

 It was only a short drive to where I visited the Corn Coast Comics, which turned out to be a computer games and all things ‘geek’ store and was closed.  So, for my last museum today, I drove over to check out the Sheets Wildlife Museum there in Huntington.  This museum is a collection of animals, fish, and bird taxidermy displays of hunter, Sumner B. Sheets, which he has taken during his many hunts all over the world.  A unique example is the 2nd largest polar bear ever known to have been taken.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address for tonight’s motel, there in Huntington, and she took me right to it.  After I got checked in, I asked the desk clerk for good restaurants there in Huntington, and he rattled off a list of restaurants close by.  I selected the Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant, where I had their Chili Relleno plate which came with yellow rice and refried beans.  That was indeed a delightful meal. Back at the motel, I recorded my day’s activities and went to bed.  No TV tonight.

Photo Credit: https://www.nomascantina.com/items/chili-relleno

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 11A

7 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 11 (5/26/2022)

This morning, after a good breakfast, I went looking for the Frasca Air Museum which is located adjacent to the Frasca Field there in Urbana, IL.  I found the hanger where the museum is, but it was closed.  So, I headed east 30 miles on I-74 to visit the Vermillion County War Museum located in Danville, IL.  This museum is situated in the old 1904 Carnegie Library building and contains over 25,000 military photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia dating from the Revolutionary War to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was just a few miles north of Danville to where I wanted to visit the ILLINI Glider Club located at the Vermillion Regional Airport.  I had been given a wonderful glider ride with  a friend a few years ago, and since it was a good morning for glider flying, I thought I might get to see a few flying.  But there were no gliders on the field and none in the sky.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So, I just headed east 50 miles on I-74, across the border, to visit the Linden Railroad Museum located in Linden, IN.  This small museum is situated in the original old restored 1852 Albany & Salem Railroad Depot that was move to this location in 1881.  The depot served the Nickle Plate Railroad and the CI&L Railroad until 1973.  The museum has a very nice display of antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

This museum also has several pieces of restored rolling stock, which includes a very old 1837 Norris 4-2-0 Steam Engine, coal car, and open passenger car.  In another building there are model railroad layouts.  A very impressive museum to visit!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 15 miles on US-231 to visit the Tippecanoe County Courthouse located in Lafayette, IN.  This magnificent structure was the third Tippecanoe County Courthouse built in 1884 to replace the second 1845 courthouse which replaced the first 1829 courthouse.  It has served Tippecanoe County for going on 138 years and looks as though it could last for another 100 years at least.  There was no museum located in the courthouse, as I had expected to see, so, I took this photo and was on my way.

Next it was northeast 40 miles on SR-25 to check out the Dentzel Carousel located in Logansport, IN.  This is another of the beautiful Dentzel Carousels that grace our country and provide entertainment for young and old alike.  This particular carousel was built in the late 1800s by the famous carousel maker, Gustav A. Dentzel, and was brought to Logansport in 1949.  It is located adjacent to the Riverside Park there in Logansport and hosts many event days throughout the year, including Carousel Fun Day.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed east 15 miles on US-24 to visit the Grissom Air Museum located in Peru, IN.  I visited this museum on one of my past road trips and it is one of my favorite aviation museums.  The museum has an impressive outdoor static display of 27 restored aircraft dating from WWII to the present. The indoor portion of the museum displays many artifacts and memorabilia covering the life and achievements of Gus Grissom.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 10B

30 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 Continued (5/25/2022)

While I was in Lincoln, I wanted to take a look at the World’s Largest Railsplitter Covered Wagon.  This tribute to Abraham Lincoln, and the historic western movement, was built in 2001 by David Bentley and was displayed on Historic Route 66, in Divernon, IL until 2009 when it was moved to this location, for all to see and appreciate.  I have to agree this IS the largest covered wagon I have ever seen.  I think it is much more impressive in some of the other photos I have seen, with the canvas cover in place.  The photo below will give you some perspective as to its actual size.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only about four miles from the World’s Largest Covered Wagon to the Lincoln County Airport where I wanted to visit the Heritage In- Flight Museum, but they were closed.  So, I headed northeast another 10 miles on I-55 to visit the J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum located in Atlanta, IL.  This is a fully restored, and operating, 1903 wooden grain elevator (amazing) that was used to store locally harvested grains until the Illinois & Midland Railroad could load and transport it to places like Terre Haute, Indiana and other destinations on their early 1900’s rail route.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in Atlanta, IL I wanted to visit the 19-foot-tall ‘Paul Bunyan’ holding a giant hot dog statue (one of the many Old Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues) that was supposed to be located on SW Arch Street.  Greta (my Garmin) took me to the correct address, but the Paul Bunyan statue had been replaced by a large Golden Eagle Statue.  I took a photo of the eagle thinking I could read the wording on the plaque later, but the words came out blurred, so I’m not sure what the eagle is supposed to represent.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast 20 miles on I-55 to visit the Prairie Aviation Museum located adjacent to the Central Illinois Reginal Airport in Bloomington, IL.  This museum is filled with model aircraft, photos, and aviation memorabilia, while their outside airpark has a collection of several restored civilian and military aircraft on static display dating from 1945.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I travelled 50 miles southeast on I-74 to visit the Illinois Terminal located at the Event and Meeting Center Plaza in Champaign, IL.  This famous MTD terminal was originally built in 1896 by the Terminal Railroad Co. to serve the railroad needs of the city of Champaign and the surrounding Champaign County during the late 1880s.  The old Terminal and Meeting Center have been renovated several times over the years to their present status as the Illinois Terminal.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was time to head for my motel for the night.  I gave Greta (My Garmin) the motel address and it only took her a few minutes to get us to the Urbana, IL location, which was only a couple miles east, on the outskirts of Champaign.  I got checked in, got my things into the room, heated up my leftover Riblets Dinner from Applebee’s, and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  YUMMMM!

Photo Credit: https://yahoo.com/applebees+riblets+plate

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 10A

23 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 (5/25/2022)

This morning after breakfast, I headed east 15 miles on and I-55 to see what The Largest Catsup Bottle, located in Collinsville, IL was all about.  It turns out it is this huge 170-foot-high Collinsville water tower (100,000 gallons).  Built in 1949, in the shape of a catsup bottle, it has the name ‘Brooks’ painted on it, to honor the Brooks Catsup Company, that was in business there from 1907s to 1959, when the company merged with the P. J. Ritter Co.  The Suppiger Bottling Company moved its operations to Illinois in the early 1960s, and their name also appears on the water tower. Collinsville is also the self-proclaimed Horseradish Capital of the World, and hosts the annual Horseradish Festival held there in the city.

Note: Collinsville, IL was originally founded in 1837 as Unionville, IL. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was northeast 45 miles on I-55 to visit the Litchfield Museum located in downtown Litchfield, IL.  This small museum is the Official Route 66 museum in the area, as Old US-66 ran thru Litchfield, but was bypassed by I-55.  The museum has a large displays of early Route 66 artifacts, memorabilia, and curios.  The curator and I had a nice time remembering the Route 66 days of our youth.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

North 40 miles on I-55 I visited the Chatham Railroad Museum located just off Main Street in Chatham, IL.  This small museum is situated in the old restored 1902 C A & M station, that replaced the original 1852 C & M Railway Depot, and displays local railroad artifacts, memorabilia and photos associated with the railroad’s influence on the growth of the city of Chatham and the surrounding Sangamon County area from the mid-1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only another 10 miles northeast on SR-3 to where I visited the Air Combat Museum located at the Lincoln Capital Airport outside Springfield, IL.  This museum consists of the private collection of Mick George and has 18 beautifully restored aircraft, most of which are in flying condition.  Their latest project is the restoration of a WWII P-40N Warhawk, which is being restored to flying condition.  The crew were very friendly, showing me around their restoration hanger, and I invited them to visit our Valiant Air Command Museum in Titusville the next time they were in our area.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next it was only a couple of miles over to visit the Lincoln Memorial Tomb Site located within the 180-acre Oak Ridge Cemetery there in Springfield.  Wikipedia tells me that the National Lincoln Monument Association was formed by citizens of Springfield on April 15, 1865 (the day Lincoln died) and has maintained Lincoln’s tomb ever since.  It is a magnificent mausoleum to our 16th President.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After touring the rest of the beautiful Oak Ridge Cemetery, I headed east another 30 miles on I-55 to visit the Postville Courthouse Historic Site located in Lincoln, IL.  This is the site of the 1839 Postville Courthouse that served Logan County until 1848.  As a member of the Traveling Bar of the 8th Illinois Judicial Circuit, young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, attended court here twice each year until the county seat was moved to Mount Pulaski, IL in 1848.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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 9B

16 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 Continued (5/24/2022)

Next on the list was The National Museum of Transportation located in the Twin Oaks area of St. Louis.  This museum is laid out over a huge 42-acre rolling hills park that could really be called a four-museums-in-one arrangement.  There is the Lobby Area with its antique streetcars, the Miniature Train Station, the Automobile Collection, the Train Yard, and the Roberts Pavilion.  This museum has gone a long way to protect and interoperate North American’s Transportation Heritage.  There is something for everyone, including a miniature train ride around the park perimeter.  A family could easily spend a whole day here, and sill not see everything.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

In the main lobby area, I was impressed with the 1870s Bellefontaine Railway ‘mule car’ and the 1880s Boston & Providence Railroad coach.  There was also a selection of framed model history scenes depicting the evolution of transportation in America, as well as the McDonnell Tribute Exhibit.  For the antique car collector, there was a 1924 Ford Model ‘T’ there in the lobby being showcased as a give-a-way (Sweepstakes).  A real prize for someone!

Photo credit: Bill Lites

Within walking distance of the lobby, I checked out The Carl G. Lindburg Automobile Center, which displays some 60+ beautifully restored cars and trucks dating from the early 1900s.  Two of the most unusual cars in this collection are Bobby Darin’s Dream Car (Designed and built by fashion designer Andy Di Dia) and a 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car (only 55 produced).  And yes, Jay Leno has one that runs (#34) that he bought from Chrysler.

Photo credit: Bill Lites        Bobby Darin’s Dream Car

Photo credit: Bill Lites        1963 Chrysler Turbine Car

A little farther up the hill was the museum’s huge historic Train Yard.  This collection of 45+ pieces of restored rolling stock, includes the 1939 General Pershing Zephyr streamlined ‘Silver Challenger’ and the Union Pacific #4006 ‘Big Boy’ steam locomotive, considered to be the world’s largest (successful) steam locomotive

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was walking back down to my van, I passed the Miniature Train Station, filled with excited young passengers waiting for their turn to ride in the museum’s Miniature Train. The train travels around the perimeter of the park and gives visitors an opportunity to see where all the exhibits are located.  Everyone loves that train ride!  This is truly a family attraction.

Photo credit: https://www.ksnt.com/news/miniture-park-train/

After that informative visit, I headed over to visit the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room located in the Boeing/St. Louis Headquarters building adjacent to the St. Louis Lambert International Airport.  This prologue room displays full-size Mercury and Gemini capsules as well as hundreds of models, dioramas, photographs, and videos that tell the story of the milestone events that the original McDonnell Aircraft Company was instrumental in, that helped shape America’s early manned space programs.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was time to get something to eat and head back to the motel for the night.  I stopped at an Applebee’s in the St. Johns area for a plate of their Rib-Lets with French fries and coleslaw.  I had enough left over to enjoy that delicious meal again tomorrow night.  Greta (My Garmin) acted like she knew the way to the motel, having been there before,

and took me right to it.  I recorded today’s adventures and went to bed.  I didn’t even turn on the TV.  I was a tired puppy.

Photo Credit: https://yahoo.com/applebees+riblets+plate

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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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