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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri

    Default 2023 Spring is in the Air

    Our spring trip from the beginning!

    DAY 1 - TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2023

    We aimed for a departure of 6 am, but only missed it by 5 minutes due to
    a forgotten item and to take the time to put the trash out for pick-up.

    Our route down to I-44 was very uneventful. It was daylight when we reached the freeway, 45 minutes after departure. We ran into two snags, one appeared to be an accident and we think the other one was construction, and traffic was slow-n-go in both snags.

    We did stop for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel at Sullivan exit, and then we found a nearby Sam’s for gasoline along I-255 in St Louis on the MO side. We'd taken I-270 south and then I-255 across the Mississippi River on the Jefferson Barracks Bridge. We stayed on that until we ran into I-55/I-70, and then they split later and we stayed on I-70. Traffic was very heavy on the 55/70 concurrent section, especially with tractor-trailer combos!

    Tooling along on I-70, we ran into a couple more construction issues, mostly slow-n-go or just slowing down to 50 mph. Around Indianapolis, we debated trying to find gasoline or just see how much of a range the Subaru has. The range won, because of the cost of fuel in both IL and IN (higher than MO or OH).

    We stopped at the IL, IN and OH information centers, but the only one to yield a new map was the Illinois center.

    Checking into the hotel was a nightmare. Evidently, it's either a problem with our "card on file" (that we NEVER use to pay with), or just trying to use a different card altogether.

    We first retraced our steps and tried to find some cheaper premium gas at Walmart’s Murphy USA, but the price was wrong in Gas Buddy – up at least 40c more a gallon. Needless to say, I corrected it in GB and we moved on. We found the Sam’s down on I-75, which was 9c cheaper than GB said it would be (cha-CHING!). There were SO many places to eat in that area that it was hard to decide whether to choose one or go with an earlier thought of the TX Roadhouse in Huber Heights. We finally did Olive Garden.

    Mileage today: 543 miles in 9-3/4 hours

    Photos from the day:

    Crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois on the Jefferson Barracks Bridge (I-255).


    The Mississippi River, as seen from the passenger side window.


    Giant Cross at Effingham, IL.


    View out the window of our motel room in Englewood, OH, near Dayton.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    DAY 2 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2023

    Our first stop this morning was over at Meijer’s (pronounced like Myers), to pick up some forgotten items. As we did some window shopping,
    we realized how expensive that store was!

    Then made our way down I-70 east and I-75 south to the Carillon Historical Park. We had brunch at Culp’s Cafe, which brought to mind the Plaza Inn at Disneyland. The CEO was a Disney fan, and designed the cafe that way on purpose, since the “turn of the century 1899-1900s” was the theme of Carillon.

    Once in the park itself, we headed for the National Park Service’s Orville and Wilbur Wright Museum. They had a replica of the bicycle shop where it all started, and then took you through the young men’s history. The highlight, for us, was the 1905 Wright Flyer III, which after a crash was pieced back together. There were school groups coming in to the museum, so we caught the docent’s presentation of how the Wright Flyer was piloted, in kid-speak.

    We looked around at some of the rest of the park, until it was time to meet up to caravan over to Orville’s mansion, Hawthorn Hill. That was a 2.5 mile drive in our private cars. Then we toured the house that Wilbur never lived in, though it was planned that he would, but others in the family did. (Unfortunately, Wilbur died before the house was completed.) Excellent tour, then we had to find our way back to the museum or to wherever you were going next. We went back to the museum.

    We had an early dinner/late lunch at the brewing company there. The Reuben was excellent, and hubby had brats. I had wine, he had some sort of a craft porter.

    Went back to the Carillon museum and went into the schoolhouse exhibit. Had a lovely conversation with the docent there.

    We debated, over the early dinner and then another porter for hubby later, whether to alter our plans in order to see more here in Dayton AND go up to Wapakoneta to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. That debate continued through our (cold) dip in the indoor pool at the Inn.

    Once back in the room, we managed to get reservations for Saturday night in Celina, OH, which is about 15 miles west of Wapakoneta. All the hotels in Wapak are fully booked, and a call up to the Best Western there told us why: some big event going on there at the HS that day. So our plans are to check out of the Dayton hotel on Saturday morning, head up to Wapak and spend the day doing the museum and seeing the field where Neil Armstrong learned to fly, then drive over to Celina to stay the night. On Sunday morning, our first 50 miles will be down a US highway to get to I-70 west.

    Photos from the day:thumbnail_IMG_5972
    Carillon Historical Park, where there is an included NPS facility for the Wright Bros.

    1905 Wright Flyer III, rebuilt after crashing it.

    1905 Wright Flyer III, different view showing how it's flown

    Carillon Historical Park, replica of an old tavern.

    Spinning wheel in another section of the tavern, where the tavern owner and his family lived.

    In the next post, I will include photos of Hawthorn Hill, Orville's mansion. If you want to see yet-more photos, click on one of the photo links which should take you to my public Flickr page.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri

    Default Photos from Hawthorn Hill

    DAY 2 Continued

    A highlight of the first day in Dayton was a tour we had scheduled from Carillon Historical Park up to Hawthorn Hill. Orville Wright made much money from a combination of patent rights, contracts with private and government entities to provide "flying machines", and more. Their bicycle shop did well enough, and kept all of them busy.

    First view of Hawthorn Hill. After Orville passed in 1948, it was sold. NCR (National Cash Register) owned it as a guest house for visiting company men. Now it is owned by the Wright Brothers Foundation, and they have tried to restore it back to the way it was when Orville owned it, as NCR made some changes in both decor AND structure.

    Trophy won by the Wright Bros. We thought it was more artsy than trophy!

    Orville didn't just build bikes and planes, or fly planes. He also loved to tinker! This is the "all-over shower" that even NCR didn't mess with.

    The back of the house.

    The house had a garage, and because of the number of people who lived there, it was a "three-car garage". The story was told how Orville loved to drive - so much, that he was considered Dayton's speed demon. "Hey, Orville, this is a CAR, not a plane!"

    Having dinner at the Carillon Brewing Company, after the tour. It is one of two places for food and beverage, in the Carillon Historical Park.

    The Carillons, for whom the park is named. They went off at least twice while we were at the park itself. Beautiful!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada


    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Our spring trip from the beginning!
    Nice road trip photos!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    DAY 3 - THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2023

    We started our morning around 10:30 at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in old downtown Dayton, first seeing the 30-minute movie (narrated by Martin Sheen, also from Dayton). We looked at the many exhibits, then took a ranger-led tour over at the Wright Cycle next door. After looking at more exhibits at the Interpretive Center, We walked around to see where the Wright home had been, on 7 Hawthorn Street. The area is fenced off (though you can walk in and read interpretive signage) but all that’s left is a porch, probably a reconstruction.

    By this time, it was lunch. We’d seen a sign for a Long John Silvers, so we followed the GPS to it and enjoyed lunch, including A & W Root Beer in frosted mugs! Our travel rule of thumb is that if we eat anywhere that's a chain, it has to be one we don't have near us. Well, in our currently situation, LJS is long gone, A&W as well.

    From there, we drove to the Woodland Cemetery. We tried to find the Wright Bros graves ourselves, finally going back to the Admin office and asking. We hadn’t been too far off on our first swing-through!

    Since there was still plenty of daytime left, our next stop was at the Huffman Field Interpretive Center, which had been closed when we had been to Huffman Field back in 2012. Then we got lost a little trying to find the field without the GPS. There was some good walking to be done there, though we didn’t walk the whole thing. THIS time we stopped at one area and discovered that the wooden structure was what was left of the trolley station! (The Wright Bros took the trolley all the way out to the end of the line, 10 miles from their home and shop, to fly their planes.)

    We could call this day “The Day of Chains”. Dinner was at Texas Roadhouse in Huber Heights.

    Photos from Day 3:
    Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center

    Right next to the Interpretive Center, was the location of the 4th Wright Cycle Shop. We had a tour of the shop, by an NPS ranger. Excellent! Evidently, the 5th shop got purchased by Henry Ford (of Ford Motor Company) and physically moved to Dearborn MI. Why? Because he could.

    Inside Wright Cycle Shop.

    What's left of the location of the original Wright Family Home, walking distance to the Cycle Shop. Once again, Henry Ford bought it and had it moved up to Dearborn, MI.

    My husband looks at the porch and the sign. We believe the front porch is a replica.
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-02-2023 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Correct picture with caption.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri

    Default Pictures from Day 3's Afternoon

    The Wright Family cemetery plot, in Woodland Cemetery Dayton.

    Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center, out by Wright-Patterson AFB. We were happy that we made time and effort to come out here on a nice day, because the next day was very rainy!

    The Memorial to the Wright Bros, Huffman Prairie. There's an error on it, and the NPS folks are aware of it.

    Replica of the Wright Bros early shed. You can walk in it. The later shed, for their larger 1910 plane, has not been re-made. You can also walk the entire field in the same path as they practiced flying and later ran a flying school.

    How to get a plane to fly with THRUST? Use a catapult!

    The Brothers needed a place to test out their invention, so they made a deal with farmer Huffman to borrow his field. Rule was, they needed to move the cows and horses before testing! This field was on the end of a 10-mile trolley path. The station was left here, but the tracks are long gone. On the other side of the chain link fence is a landing-field for Wright-Patterson AFB.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    DAY 4 - FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023

    We walked. We walked some more. When we were tired, we rested, then walked some more. My Fit-Bit registered 11,500+ steps when we returned to the motel before going out to dinner!

    Our goal today was to return to the National Museum of the US Air Force. We’d been there back in summer 2012, but we found out that they’d added another hanger which included exhibits for Presidential Aircraft, plus the Memphis Belle was back in the main museum after a long restoration (part of which we viewed 11 years ago, in the restoration Behind the Scenes Tour.)

    Despite the fact that we’d been to the museum then, and spent two days viewing it, we decided to make sure we visited every gallery – all 4 hangars. Thus, all the walking!

    Highlights? So many! Planes were all over, hanging from the ceiling and propped on the floor. We both enjoyed walking through the Air Force One planes for Presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. (President Reagan’s is in his Library in Simi Valley, CA, the first one we ever walked through back around 2009 or so.)

    The regular Valkyrie Cafe was closed for remodeling, but there was a small snack bar called the Launch Pad, located above the Missile gallery (between gallery 3 and the new gallery 4). We each had a ham and cheese packaged sandwich (meh) and a drink, and hubby added Cheetos to his mix. Once we snacked, we finished up the Missile Gallery and then did up the newest Hangar 4 before heading to the gift shop.
    This museum had no admission charge, so our only expenditures were for lunch and some souvenirs.

    Dinner was at Red Lobster in Dayton, not far from Sam’s and Olive Garden where we fueled on Wednesday. RL has gone way down hill, and the service was not great at all. So we can say that today’s food was dismal.

    Tomorrow, we move on to a last-minute plan: Armstrong Air & Space in Wapakoneta.

    Photos from the day:
    A map of the galleries. The place is HUGE!

    The Memphis Belle - she's done!

    The Presidential Air Force Ones, in order from FDR to Kennedy:
    Pres. F.D. Roosevelt's plane.

    FDR's AF1 cockpit.

    FDR's AF1 kitchen.

    Pres. Harry Truman's plane.

    Truman's AF1 cockpit.

    Truman's AF1 kitchen.
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-02-2023 at 04:39 PM. Reason: photo missing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri

    Default More photos from the NMUSAF

    President Eisenhower's plane.

    Ike's AF1 kitchen.

    Ike's plane's sleeper berth. (Sorry, no photo of his plane's cockpit, for some reason.)

    President Kennedy's plane.

    JFK's plane's kitchen.

    A rather sad sign. (No cockpit photos, here either.)

    The Hanoi Hauler, AKA a C-141. Hubby and I have actually ridden in one of these, thankfully with seats in them, for a six-hour ride from Anchorage out to a Naval base in the Aleutians (one that no longer exists).

    Our final look at the National Museum of the USAF, and the last stop in Dayton.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    DAY 5 - SATURDAY, APRIL 1st-and this is not an April Fool post.

    We checked out of the motel this morning, anxious to get up to Wapakoneta to tour the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum. First we went into Dayton a little, south on I-75, to get fuel and then stopped at a convenience store for ice and a couple of bottles of water. In Piqua, we went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and were there for a full hour since it was Saturday morning.

    As we drove into Wapakoneta, we could see that there was a lot of destruction. A motel had a major portion of a roof blown off, other things were in bad disarray, the lights weren’t working, the police had a road blocked off, but we continued on to find the museum. In the parking lot, as we were gathering our things, a man knocked on our car window - a docent explained that the museum was not open today – NO POWER, and they had been given no timeline as when it might come back on. They had been hit with a pretty bad storm in the wee hours of the morning, it was said. (More on this later.)

    We debated what to do about it, since we had motel reservations in Celina for that night. The decision then was to go and see about the motel and then either stay or go. Celina was about a 20 minute drive west, and the motel didn’t have a room ready for us and wouldn’t for several hours. The motel offered to cancel our reservation with no charge, under the circumstances. We decided then to head home, found US-127 and went south to I-70.

    So we drove. And we drove. We got fuel (Knightstown, IN) when it was the lowest we were going to find for a while for premium, then drove some more. Rest areas got used periodically since we’d gotten coffee at breakfast and also had our own in the commuter cups.

    Indiana was no picnic - we lost at least a half hour in a construction zone there. Another 10 minutes for another construction zone, and in Illinois, we lost another 10 minutes for a construction zone. All of them were two lanes zippering into 1 and there was a lot of traffic on the road.

    We crossed into Missouri on I-270, using it to go around downtown St Louis. We got a huge load of fuel in Wentzville at the Sam’s Club there, right on the freeway.

    Eye-fatigue was starting to set in as we made the US-54 interchange at Kingdom City, so we pulled into the Petro’s Iron Skillet just to get off the road and to get some food into us. It was the right thing to do, because it also gave the sun time to set so that it wouldn’t be right in our eyes or coming into the west side of the car as we headed south. Home was around an hour from there.

    It was good to be home. The big disappointment of the trip was today, and what we should have done instead.

    Later: it wasn't until Sunday that we found out that Wapakoneta had been hit by an EF-1 tornado. The Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum was only affected by power outage, no other damage reported. Mostly, the part of Wapak on the east side of I-75 was the worst hit.

    Leaving Ohio.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri

    Default More photos

    Crossing the Mississippi River on I-270, looking at the old US-66 Chain of Rocks Bridge. Fortunately for all concerned, that bridge no longer holds vehicular traffic, only pedestrians and cyclists.

    Mississippi River, looking the other direction.

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