Tag Archives: Travel

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 16

12 Jan

A Slice of Life

DiVoran Lites

Day 16 – 7/27/2021

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

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

—To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 13

8 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 – 7/24/2021

After a good night’s sleep at Terry and Mary’s house, Terry insisted on taking me to breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel, there in Lester.  We talked about airplanes and my trip over breakfast, after which, we said our goodbyes.  Heading south 35 miles on SR-99/US-31, I passed thru Mt. Razell and Athens, where I visited the Old Decatur Depot located 

in Decatur, AL.  This small museum is situated in the restored 1905 Union Railway Passenger Depot and displays antique artifacts and memorabilia which tell the story of the rich railroad history of early Decatur and the surrounding Morgan County area.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued south 30 miles on US-31 to visit the Cullman Railroad Depot located in Cullman, AL.  This is another small railroad depot built in 1913 to replace the original 1870s depot there in Cullman.  The Depot was used until 1968 when passenger service was discontinued, and the building was renovated for the museum.  The museum displays railroad artifacts from the 1930s thru the 1960s.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

I picked up I-65 out of Cullman and proceeded south 50 miles to visit the Southern Museum of Flight located in Birmingham, AL.  This large inside museum has 25+ beautifully restored aircraft displayed in two galleries dating from the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer replica to the 1972 Rutan Variviggen.  The outside aircraft display of 20+ aircraft range from the 1948 Lockheed T-33 trainer to the 1968 Lockheed A-12 Blackbird.  I hate to see these wonderful examples of our country’s aviation history exposed to the elements like that.  Oh well, at least they are available for people to see, while they last.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I had several places to visit there in Birmingham, but I didn’t want to run out of time and miss the Barber Motorsports Museum, so I headed there next.  I had been to this museum once before on another road trip, but they rotate their exhibits from time to time and I knew their displays would be new.  This museum is housed in a modern 5-story building that shows off some 900 vintage motorcycles dating from 1903, and around 200, mostly Lotus, race cars.  Everything in this museum has been beautifully restored to running condition, and the tour guide I talked to said every one of the items could be running within an hour or so.   This museum was the highlight of this road trip!

After that great experience, I headed downtown to visit the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.  This site was closed, but their website informs me that the site serves as an interpretive museum for the steel industry and commemorates the pig-iron blast furnace plant that operated here in Birmingham from 1882 to 1971.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was just a few miles to where I stopped to check out the Golden Flake Factory.  This factory produces UTZ Potatoe Chips and several other snack foods.  I was hoping to get a tour of their facility, but they were closed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I headed toward Five Points South to visit the Vulcan Park & Museum where I wanted to get a photo of the 56-foot-tall statue of the Roman god Vulcan that overlooks the city.  I learned that it was designed in 1903 by Giuseppi Moretti, and was cast in 29 parts at Bethlehem Steel, for Birmingham’s entry at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis Missouri.  I must admit it is very impressive!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed off to look for the motel there in Birmingham.  Greta (My Garmin) found the motel without any problems.  I got checked in and recorded the day’s activities. Then I warmed up my leftover St. Louis Spareribs dinner, from last night, and enjoyed that wonderful meal again.  WOW!  Was that ever good.  Amazingly, I still had enough left over for another meal.  Nothing like enjoying a meal three times, if you can.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

West Berlin

5 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I am re-blogging this post, as it brings back so many wonderful memories of Germany…

We had some amazing experiences during our times in West Germany.  We saw so many wonderful sights while there.  So much history, as well.

One of our favorite cities to visit was West Berlin.  At the time we were there, The Wall (Der Maur) was still in place.  And, unfortunately, the Brandenberg Gate was in the Russian Zone, or East Berlin.  We were unable to get close to it. [1967-1970]

I later spoke to a German national who said she just couldn’t imagine living in such an “enclosed” place as West Berlin.  I tried to assure her that it didn’t FEEL enclosed.  The American Zone was quite open and free.  I don’t think I was very convincing.  She just had to experience it for herself.

As we walked around the city, we came upon a fascinating piece of old Germany – a very old hand-watering pump.  Apparently, anyone who knew about it, could bring their car/wagon/etc. there and get free water to wash whatever they had – as long as they were willing to hand-pump the water.  Not something you see around the U.S.

My Mother had come to Germany to visit us that year (May 1969) and we delighted in taking her places that I know she only dreamed of ever seeing.  We happened to be in West Berlin during the celebration of the 20thanniversary of the Berlin Airlift.    The German people had erected a monument to that occasion, and the celebration took place in front of the hotel where we stayed.  The monument is three-pronged, representing the American, British, and French efforts to keep the free German people from starving and out of Russian/Communist hands.  It was a tremendous success.  

Another site that impacted me greatly was in the heart of downtown West Berlin, along the Kurfurstendam, affectionately known by the locals as the Kudam, which is the main shopping street in downtown West Berlin.  After the colossal disaster of World War 2, the German people decided to leave a reminder to themselves of the cost of pride and war.  They left standing the bombed-out shell tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm church.  And built right next to it a beautiful and modern new church and church tower.  While the new structure is impressive, it cannot be fully appreciated until one is inside.  The all-glass bricks are a cobalt blue, and with the sun shining through those bricks – well, all I can say is, it’s breath-taking.  And peaceful. And amazing.  And I’ve run out of adjectives already.  

~~~~~~~~~~To be continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

2021 Road Tripping to Arkansas-Rattlesnake Saloon

19 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Tuscumbia Alabama

The day’s adventure beginning with Little River Canon Preserve had taken longer than planned. We arrived at our hotel in Tuscumbia feeling tired even though I had eliminated an anticipated stop. Hotel check in was disconcerting as the lobby was very small making maintaining distance a challenge. Once it was our turn, the front desk worker was rather abrupt, almost rude. A rarity as we have been fortunate with this chain hotel. I don’t know if she was feeling stressed or if she was just not a happy person.

Our room was equally disappointing. It definitely did not reflect the bright, cheery pictures online. When I noticed the mildew, maybe mold in the top window frame I was almost ready to leave, but we were just too tired. I barely remember that we ate supper at a Cracker Barrel.

We did sleep well that night. A plus for starting off a new day. The hotel’s breakfast was a grab and go bag, which we can’t eat and after the previous morning’s smoking mini griddle event I wasn’t eager to try that again. Fortunately there was a Waffle House, or maybe a Huddle House in walking distance. ( I get confused about which one as they are very similar.)After a short wait we were seated with nice, hot coffee delivered in record time. The day was looking good. Back at the hotel, the front desk was staffed with a very helpful and kind man.

A totally different experience from the night before and a good start to the day’s adventure, lunch at the Rattlesnake Saloon. A cousin who loves to travel backroads told us about this fascinating restaurant built in a cave than once was used as a pig pen! It sounded so unique, we had to visit it.

Their daughter, Theresa, spent 6 months road tripping and sleeping in her car and visited there a couple of weeks ago. She created this video for her You Tube channel and gave me permission to share it.

The saloon is unique in every way. Transportation down to the saloon cave is in the back of a customized pick up truck. Of course, one could walk down to the saloon but at our age, we will choose the ride!

The menu consisted of sandwich baskets. My husband ordered pulled pork and he said it was good, not exceptional, but good. I was surprised to learn that all of the food was prepared on site. The day we were there they even had live music!

Here is an excerpt from their webpage:

“The Saloon took just 49 days to construct before opening on Labor Day weekend in 2009. Since its opening, it has been featured in magazines, music videos, and tv shows and has become one of the top attractions in the area. So far our guestbooks show visitors from all 50 states and over 30 other countries have stopped at the Saloon.”

In due course a trip to the facilities was in order. I entered with some trepidation. Would it be clean? The interior walls were covered in rough wood but the back wall was one of a kind… the cave! And yes the facilities were clean.

Looking back, I wish we had visited the gift shop. Even if I didn’t purchase a thing, I have a feeling their souvenirs would be as creative as the saloon.

We rode the truck back to the parking lot which we now noticed was filled with horse trailers being unloaded. There were some beautiful horses! Along with the saloon the property has extensive trails for horseback riding and ATVs plus a campground with full hookups. The following weekend they would be hosting a mule event with people coming from across the country to show their mules. THAT I would have liked to see.

Then it was back on the road to our next night’s stop, Olive Branch, Mississippi. A town just across the border from Memphis, Tennessee and the Elvis Presley estate.

I'm a winner

After 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  

My 2021 goal is continue to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 10

17 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 10 – 7/21/2021

Leaving Charleston, WV this morning I headed west 15 miles on US-60, along the Kanawha River, to visit the C&O Depot Museum located in St. Albans, WV.  This small museum is housed in the 1906 Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Depot, and displays rare railroad exhibits and artifacts related to the influence the railroad had on the city of St. Albans and the surrounding Kanawha County area, from the early 1900s until 1963 when railroad service to the depot was discontinued.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only a few miles west on SR-25, across the Kanawha River, where I visited the Nitro War Museum located in Nitro, WV.  I learned a very interesting story at this museum.  The building that houses the museum was the focus of a 1917 U.S. Government project to build “Explosives Plant C” and a town for 24,000 to support its operations.  From 1917 to 1919, the plant manufactured 350 tons of gunpowder per day until the end of WWI.  Nitro is short for “Nitrocellulose.”

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I took SR-25 north out of Nitro to pickup I-64 and headed 20 miles west, across the Kanawha River again, to visit the Blenko Glass Company located in Milton, WV.  The Company is known for its artistic hand-blown glass among other types of colorful glassware products.   The story goes that William J. Blenko (1853-1933) emigrated to America in 1893 to start a stained-glass business.  However, after three failed attempts he formed the Blenko Glass Company which has grown over the years to an internationally known and respected company.  It is said that even the White House has a collection of Blenko tableware (circa 1930s) which is used periodically.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued west 20 miles on I-64 to visit the Huntington Railroad Museum located in Huntington, WV.  This museum is situated in the Ritter Park Area and displays Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad artifacts and memorabilia, including one of the last Class 1 steam locomotives (#1308) built in 1949. The museum also has other restored rolling stock that was used mainly by the coal industry, some of which date from the early 1800s, until retired in 1956.

Photo Credit: https://visithuntingtonwv.org/company/railroad-museum

I jumped back on I-64 and drove approximately 65 miles west, across the Big Sandy River (Border), to visit the Rowan County Veterans Museum in the Freedom Park area of Morehead, KY.  This small museum displays military artifacts honoring the men and women who have served in all five branches of U.S. military services dating from WWI to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing west another 45 miles on I-64, I stopped to visit the Bluegrass Heritage Museum located in Winchester, KY but they were closed.  However, their website informs me that the museum is housed in the former home of Dr. John Ishmael, built in 1895, which displays exhibits and artifacts and the history of the Bluegrass area (not music) from the early Eskippakithikl (‘blue licks place’) Indian settlements (circa early 1700s), thru the Civil War era, and to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 25 miles west on US-60, around the city of Lexington, to where I visited the Aviation Museum of Kentucky located adjacent to the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, KY.  This museum displays several restored aircraft dating from 1908, aircraft engines, as well as other aviation artifacts.  The museum also has a restoration and repair shop and is the home of the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was time to find my motel there in Lexington and get something to eat.  On my way to the motel, I noticed a Cracker Barrel restaurant and decided to stop for dinner.  Their special was a new item called Sweet & Smoky Glazed Chicken Tenders, served with green beans and fries.  I was impressed, and I’ll be trying that meal again soon.

Photo Credit: https://togo.crackerbarrel.com

With a full tummy, Greta (my Garmin) found the motel for me, where I got checked in, recorded my day’s activities, and proceeded to try to  watch some TV.  Of course, there was nothing worth watching, so I just went to bed in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2021  Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 9A

3 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 9 – 7/20/2021

This morning I headed south out of North Lima 9 miles on US-62 to visit the War Vet Museum located in Canfield, OH.  The museum is housed in the restored original home of Comfort S. Mygatt, built in 1809, and is the American Legion Post 177.  It displays historical military artifacts and memorabilia dating from the Civil War period.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed south 10 miles on SR-46 to visit the Log House Museum located in Columbiana, OH.  This museum is housed in a log cabin that sits on the site of the first U.S. Post Office in Columbiana, which was established in 1809.  The log cabin was built by Jacob Nessly in 1820 and moved to this location in 1975.  This small museum features 1800s quilts as well as pioneer, Civil War, WWI, and WWII artifacts.

It was another 25 miles south on SR-11 to where I tried to visit the Museum of Ceramics located in East Liverpool, OH but they were closed.  So, I found SR-7 and continued 20 miles south, along the Ohio River, to the Historic Fort Steuben located in Steubenville, OH.  This reconstruction of the 1787 Fort Steuben (built to protect early land surveyors from hostile Indians attacks) is situated on the original site of Fort Steuben, was built in 1987. Visitors can tour the eight buildings that make up the original fort, and get an idea of how the men lived and worked in the wilds of the new Ohio Country (Northwest Territory) during the 18th century.

I got a big surprise when I happened to see a historical marker that said Steubenville was the birthplace of the American singer, actor, and entertainer Dean Martin.  I grew up listening to his songs on the radio, watching him in movies, and laughed at him and Jerry Lewis on his TV show over the years.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I was really looking forward to visiting the Wheels Gone By automobile collection and the Welsh Classic Car Museum, there in Steubenville, but (Greta my Garmin) couldn’t find either one of them.  That turned out to be a real Bummer!  So, I just headed another 20 miles south on SR-7, skirting the Ohio River, to visit the Sedgwick House Museum located in Martins Ferry, OH.  This museum is housed in what was the Sedgwick family home (built in 1870) and displays rare antiques and artifacts related to the history of Martins Ferry and the surrounding area from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

It was only about 5 miles south on SR-7 to where I crossed the Ohio River, and drove into Wheeling, WV to visit the Kruger Street Toy and Model Train Museum.  The museum is housed in the original 1906 Elm Street Elementary School building, and has an amazing collection of dolls, toys, games, and model train layouts that will amaze young and old alike.

As I was leaving Wheeling, I stopped at the WV Independence Hall and discovered that Wheeling is considered the Birthplace of West Virginia and also served as the Civil War Capital of Virginia.   The museum is housed in the original building that was built in 1859 as a Customs House and served many other functions during and after the Civil War. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed south about 10 miles on SR-7 to visit the West Virginia Penitentiary located in Moundsville, WV.  This prison structure was constructed in 1866 and served as a men’s and women’s prison until 1995.  In the later years of its operation the prison was listed as one of the Top Ten Most Violent Correctional Facilities by the United States Department of Justice.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 7

20 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 7 – 7/18/2021

This morning I headed north out of Syracuse on SR-370 about 5 miles to visit the Salt Museum located on the Onondaga Lake in Liverpool, NY.  Salt: that common ingredient that flavors our world, and that most of us can’t do without.  It all started in 1788 when Asa Danforth and Comfort Tayler came to Onondaga County New York, and with the help of the Native Onondagas, erected the first salt works.   The museum has an assortment of exhibits and artifacts used in the early 1800s to mine and process salt.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next it was north 30 miles on I-81 to visit the H. Lee White Maritime Museum located at the Oswego Historic Maritime District in Oswego, NY.  The museum is situated in the 1925 former grain elevator freight house and has a variety of rare marine artifacts dating from the 16th century.  The museum also includes the WWII Tugboat LT-5 and the 1927 Darrick Boat #8.  This museum also maintains the old Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse built in 1934, to replace the original 1880 light.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Oswego, it was only a short drive to checkout the Oswego Speedway.  Known as the “Steel Palace” this track is the “Home of the Supermodifieds” open-wheel racecars.  There was nothing going on at the speedway, so I just found SR-104 and headed west.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was some 30 miles west on SR-104 to where I had planned to visit the Chimney Bluffs State Park in Wolcott, NY.  Time was against me, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see all the places on my list today, so I skipped this park.  I continued west on SR-104 another 35 miles to where I tried to visit the Schutt’s Apple Mill in Webster, NY but they were closed.  So, it was just 15 miles west to Rochester, NY where I visited the George Eastman Museum.  This museum is located in the 1905 George Eastman House (I’d call 35,000 sq. ft. a mansion) and is said to be the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography open to the public.    

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I passed up the Charlotte Genesse Lighthouse and continued west another 45 miles on SR-31/31A to visit the Medina Railroad Museum located in the 1905 NYCRR Freight Depot in Medina, NY.  The museum displays antique railroad artifacts and restored rolling stock, and normally provides steam train tours throughout the year.  The museum also has a large model train layout for all to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 35 miles west on SR-31 to where I had planned to visit the Niagara Falls Wax Museum and the Observation Tower.  But arriving in Niagara Falls, I found the entire area absolutely mobbed with tourists.  I gave up any idea of trying to visiting the museum and tower (that was a real disappointment) and headed for the Niagara Aerospace Museum a few miles east.  This museum located adjacent to the Niagara Falls International Airport has a small collection of rare historic aircraft and replicas dating from the 1950s.  Most of these exhibits and memorabilia represent the historical influence of the Bell Aircraft Company and the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corporation on this area dating from the 1920s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was only a few miles south on SR-265, along the Niagara River, to where I visited the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum located in North Tonawanda, NY.  This museum is housed in the original 1910 factory complex and displays wood carrousels and other rare artifacts representing the many products this company manufactured from 1833 to 1955.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving the North Tonawanda area I drove a few blocks south to check out the National Railway Historical Museum.  This small museum is the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the NRHS and is located in the original 1922 Eire Railroad Freight Depot.  The museum displays railroad artifacts dating from early 1900s and several pieces of restored rolling stock.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed south 20 miles on I-195, along the Niagara River to visit The Steel Plant Museum of Western NY located on Lake Erie in the Heritage Discovery Center in Buffalo, NY (known as one of the “Rust Belt Cities”).   The museum was closed, but their website informs me the museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the western New York steel industry dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only a short drive south on US-62 to find my motel for the night in South Buffalo.  After I got checked in and carried my things into my room, I warmed up my leftover Baked Lasagna, from the Basil Leaf Italian Ristorante and enjoyed that great meal again.  Yummmm!  

Photo Credit: https://www.thebasilleafrestaurant.com/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 5A

15 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021

This morning I headed northeast, from Roanoke, on I-581 & I-81 toward Staunton, VA.  About 55 miles up the road I stopped to visit the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Museum located in Lexington, VA.  This museum and its 15,000-artifact collection are dedicated to the history of the first state sponsored military college (1839) and its alumni.  Founded in 1856 by then Superintendent Francis H. Smith, the museum now resides in the Jackson Memorial Hall there on the VMI campus.  I passed up a cadet guided tour as it didn’t start for another two hours.

Photo Credit: https://www.vmi.edu/

I continued north on I-81 another 35 miles to visit the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum located in Staunton, VA.  This museum is located in the Staunton Fire & Rescue Station #1 and has the distinction of displaying the oldest motorized Robinson Fire Engine (1911) in Virigina along with other firefighting artifacts and exhibits dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Staunton, it was only a few blocks to where I visited The Camera Heritage Museum.  This small museum displays a unique collection of antique cameras and camera equipment dating from the early 19th century to the present.  Many of the cameras were used by well-known personalities, which makes their history even more interesting.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast about 10 miles on US-11 to visit the Augusta Military Academy (AMA) Museum located in Fort Defiance, VA.  The museum is housed in the original 1869 home of Charles S. Roller and displays artifacts and representations of 1800s AMA cadet life as well as the accomplishments of many of the AMA alumni. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast another 10 miles on US-11 & I-81 to visit the Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum located in Harrisonburg, VA but neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the museum.  Not too far down the street I tried to visit the Virginia Quilt Museum, there in Harrisonburg, but it was closed.  It was too warm for a quilt today anyway.  Ha!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was leaving Harrisonburg this historical marker caught my eye and I had to stop for a photo.  After reading the marker, I was shocked and amazed at the story it told.  As it turns out, the barn of Mr. Henry Sipe, a prominent Rockingham County citizen, was burned down on February 28, 1878, and Charlotte Harris, a black woman, was accused of instigating the deed.  After being apprehended, Harris was given a preliminary hearing, before local magistrates, and was ordered taken to the county jail in Harrisonburg, 15 miles away, for trial. That night an angry mob of armed local citizens stormeded the building where Harris was being held, dragged her out of town and hanged her.  Not the kind of thing I would think a town would be proud of, much less prominently display on a historical marker there on Main street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued northeast another 20 miles on I-81, to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War located at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, VA.  This museum sits in the middle of what was the New Market battlefield and displays historical artifacts and assorted memorabilia related to that famous 1864 battle.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next on my list of places to visit in this area was the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory located another 10 miles northeast on US-11 in Mt. Jackson, VA.  I got a quick tour of the factory and was surprised to learn that they only got about 10 pounds of chips out of every 100 pounds of potatoes they processed.  The free sample I selected to munch on was their Onion & Chives flavored brand.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

Random Memories of Germany-Trips to Italy Part 5 B

12 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Still thinking about our trips to Pisa, Italy…

We still concentrated our visit to Pisa on the Cathedral and it’s Leaning Tower.

The Cathedral with the Leaning Tower (bell tower) Picture by Fred Wills

I’ve mentioned previously that we stopped in a shop in Pisa that specialized in marble, alabaster, and “composition” figurines.  Here are pictures from a brochure from that very shop.

Last time I presented pictures of the marble lampstands we purchased,

as well as the composition tumbling angels, 

and the composition figures of Moses and the discus thrower.  

Here is a picture of some alabaster “fruit” they had. 

We have enjoyed all these things, ever since 1968.

I noticed in the brochure that they had marble stands that look very much like the one I inherited from my Aunt Jessie.  However, I KNOW she never went to Italy, and am not sure where she acquired hers.  She had it a long time – as here is a picture of her in 1949 standing by it in her house in San Antonio, Texas, 

and another of her living room in Albuquerque in 1954.

And here it is in our living room, in Orlando, Florida.

Wikipedia also states that there are several medieval palaces in Pisa.  Wow did we miss a lot!  I don’t remember visiting any palaces in Pisa!  

Also from Wikipedia:   Pisa was the birthplace of the important early physicist Galileo Galilei. It is still the seat of an archbishopric. Besides its educational institutions, it has become a light industrial centre and a railway hub. It suffered repeated destruction during World War II.

Since the early 1950s, the US Army has maintained Camp Darby just outside Pisa, which is used by many US military personnel as a base for vacations in the area.

I believe we stayed on Camp Darby when we visited Pisa.  It was a nice place to “base” our explorations of the area.

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 4B

8 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021 (Continued)

Leaving Burlington, NC I headed north on US-87 toward Roanoke, VA.  On the way I crossed the border and stopped in Ridgeway, VA long enough to take a photo of the famous Martinsville Speedway.  Built in 1947, this ½ -mile oval track is home to the NASCAR Cup Series races and is referred to as “The Paper Clip” by many drivers.  I’ve watched a lot of NASCAR races that have taken place at that track, over the years, and wanted to at least be able to say I saw the track.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 10 miles north on US-220 I visited the Rucker’s Antique Emporium located in Martinsville, VA.  I wanted to check-out the Telephone & Telecommunications Museum which I was told was on the 2nd floor of the Emporium.  This museum uses antique artifacts displayed to allows visitors to walk thru the history of the telephone and other telecommunication devices dating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: https://didyouknowscience.com/top-technology-breakhroughs-in-the-1800s/  

Now it was another 50 miles north on US-220 to visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation located in Roanoke, VA.  This large museum is housed in the old 1918 Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot and displays many 1940s era steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum also has on display several restored 1800s antique cars, in addition to the Big Lick; a 1940s era passenger station replica and much more.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a few blocks away I visited the O. Winston Link Museum, there in Roanoke.  This small museum is located in the restored 1852 Norfolk & Western Railway passenger station and displays the photographic works of Winston Link, who is said to be considered the 20th century master railroad photographer.  His railroad themed photographs are nationally known and have appeared in many books and magazines over the years.

Photo Credit: https://hddsite1.com/

In another few blocks, there in downtown Roanoke, I visited the Virginian Station which is the old 1909 Roanoke Passenger Station.   Renovated after a fire in 2001, the station now displays historical exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia as they relate to the influence 

of the Virginian Railway Line on the early city of Roanoke and the surrounding Roanoke Valley area.  Passenger service from this station was terminated in 1956.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving downtown Roanoke I stopped to check-out the Roanoke Pinball Museum located at #1 Market Street, in the Market Center, on the 2nd floor of the Center in the Square building.  This museum has 60 fully playable pinball machines and other interactive displays dating from the 1930s to the present.  And yes, I remember spending a lot of time playing pinball machines as a teenager.  But Snooker was really my game of choice.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I was running out of daylight, and by now it was time to locate my motel, there in Roanoke, and get checked.  Once I got everything in my motel room, I ask the motel clerk for restaurant recommendations close by and he said he liked the El Cazador Mexican Restaurant down the street.  I had their Chili Verde plate with Spanish rice and refried beans.  It was wonderful, and I had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

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