DAYTON, OH - JULY 05-07, 2008

I've wanted to visit the National Museum of the US Air Force for a very long time.  I decided to combine that visit with a group of National Park Passport Stamps at the Wright Brothers sites in Dayton, the William H. Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati, OH and the Hopewell Culture National Historic Site in Chillicothe, OH.  It turns out that a friend of a friend is also an avid "Stamp Collector", as well as a rider, and I sent word asking if he would like to go along.  I immediately heard back that he would certainly be interested, we set a date, and this is it.

We headed out early on the morning of July 5, 2008 and got back home on July 7, 2008 in the middle of the afternoon.  Door to door I rode 850 miles or so and had an absolute blast doing it.  The photos below are the best of the hundreds that I took.  the Air Force Museum photos are on their own page at This Link.

All of the images are links to larger photos.  Click the image to view the large photo.  The large image will open in a new window on most browsers.

Saturday - 07/05/2008
I met Steve just over the Kentucky border and after a quick breakfast we headed north toward Cincinnati.  The trip up was uneventful, just miles of interstate, but the scenery of the Kentucky horse country is fantastic.  One of the things I enjoy most about traveling by motorcycle is the closeness I feel with the surroundings.  I smell things I never would have noticed in a car, I see more detail than I ever would have noticed, and I just plain enjoy the trip itself.  When traveling by car I just want to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.

We made it to the William H. Taft NHS about 11:30 their time.  It's an interesting site although that type of history doesn't interest me that much.  Steve is an elementary school principal and a former history teacher so he really enjoys it.


William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

William H. Taft NHS

After visiting the Taft site we got our stamp and headed further north to Dayton, OH and the first of the Wright Brothers sites.  There are four Wright Brothers sites in Dayton and the first one we visited was the location of the Wright Flyer III.  It is located in a section of Carillon State Park which is a recreation of the early days of Dayton.  A great place in its own right and worth the visit.


Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Carillon State Park

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III
 

After we left Carillon State Park we headed for downtown Dayton and the Wright Cycle Shop.  The Cycle Shop in Carillon Park is a reproduction, although the airplane is not.  This cycle shop is not, it is the real thing and contains many of the original items and equipment that the Wright Brothers used to build bicycles and design their aircraft.

Across the parking lot is the Aviation Trail Interpretive Center.  This is a rather large facility containing many displays pertaining to Dayton Aviation.  A beautiful facility nd well worth the visit!


Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Wright Bicycle Shop

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center

Aviation Trail Interpretive Center
     

After we left the Wright Cycle Shop and Aviation Trail Interpretive Center we headed for the home of Paul Laurence Dunbar  I don't know why this young man is considered to be part of Dayton Aviation History, since he was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet.  As far as I know he had nothing to do with the Wright Brothers, but then what do I know?

Update - 08/10/2009 - I received an email today that explained the relationship between the Wright Brothers and Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  Paul Dunbar was a classmate and friend of Orville Wright, and when Orville and Wilbur Wright first went into business with their own printing press, they printed some of Paul's earliest writings, including leaflets and his African-American newspaper, in their print shop.  Thanks, Barb!  The information is much appreciated.

The site is the home in which he lived.  He died young at the age of 33 and his mother continued to live there for another 28 years before she died.  The home is full of original artifacts from his life and is in immaculate condition.

The lady in a couple of the photos is the director of the facility and knows the history of the Dunbar family intimately.  She is a walking encyclopedia on the life of Paul Laurence Dunbar.


Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home

Paul Laurence Dunbar Home
 

One more stop and we'll call this one a day.  We headed toward Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center.  Huffman Prairie has the distinction of being the first "Airport" in the world.  It was here that the Wright Brothers tested their aircraft (or "Flying Machines" in the vernacular of the day).  When they determined that they could not get enough wind to lift off they packed everything up and headed for Kitty Hawk, NC.

 


Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

Huffman Prairie Flying Field IC

That takes care of Saturday.  We left Huffman Prairie and checked into a motel a couple of miles from the USA Museum, grabbed a shower and some supper, and chatted for a while.  We hadn't ridden that far on Saturday, only about 350 miles for me and a bit less for Steve, but the day started at 4:00 when I got up and I was pretty beat.  We had collected 5 National Park Passport Stamps so far and seen some truly interesting sites so it was a great day.

I was looking forward to the museum the next day so I called it a day pretty early.  I never sleep well the first night away from home and this one was no exception.  I tossed and turned and got up and went back to bed a number of times.  Regardless I was up before damn on Sunday and ready to go again.  Sunday is going to be good!

Sunday - 07/06/2008
All of Sunday was set aside for the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  When I get around airplanes I sometimes don't know when to quit.  This is one of the most imposing collection of aircraft anywhere and they have virtually everything that has ever flown for the US Air Force on display.

I took a couple of hundred photographs at the museum alone, and I did not want to choke this page by putting all of them here.  All of the photographs and trip information are on a page to themselves at This Link.  I have included a few of my favorites from the museum below however.

 


Convair B-36 Peacemaker

McDonnell-Douglas RF-4C Phantom

Nose Art

RF-111 Raven

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A

Lockheed SR-71

Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit

We actually got out of the museum about 2:00pm.  I'm not sure about Steve but my feet were killing me.  My riding boots were never meant for walking that far!  Since it was still early we decided to head for the Hopewell Culture NHP and pick up our sixth National Park Passport stamp before heading in the general direction of home.

The Hopewell Culture National Historic Park in Chillicothe, OH is about 76 miles from the USA Museum so we had plenty of time for a break and the trip there.  The facility is the situated around a group of earthwork mounds that were the site of an ancient civilization, approximately 200BC to 500AD.  There are many relics on display and it is sobering to realize that they were made by people who lived over 2,000 years ago.  These are not crude artifacts either, they are beaten copper and pottery that are very well made.

 


Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP
I apologize for the photos below. Apparently my camera focused on the surface of the enclosures or something so that the artifacts are quite out of focus.  Perhaps you can make out enough to see how detailed they were though.  Most of them are made of copper.

 


Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP
 
More photos from around the facility ....

 


Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture NHP
 

We left the facility with the intention of heading back to the interstate and grabbing a hotel.  When we got to I-71 we were both in pretty good shape so we decided to head southwest for a while, and stop when we got tired.  We got south of Cincinnati to Ft. Mitchell, KY before calling it a day.  A shower, a fantastic dinner of barbequed ribs and Sunday was in our history books.

Monday - 07/07/2008
Monday dawned slightly cloudy.  Had we been astute enough to take notice of the clouds we might have had an inkling of what was in store for us.  Maybe not though since we were still near Cincinnati, OH.

We headed out about 6:30am and stopped about 50 miles down the interstate for breakfast.  One of the other customers in the restaurant mentioned that there were a few thunderstorms north of Louisville and we should keep an eye out for them.  Steve checked the weather radar on his Blackberry and sure enough there was a bubble of storms north of Louisville, KY.  Oh well, they should blow out by the time we get there.

On the way north Saturday Steve had noticed a sign indicating that there was a Lewis & Clark Expedition site in north Louisville, so we decided to see if we could find it.  Who knows, perhaps they have a Passport Stamp!

We found the site and it is named "Locust Grove".  Locust Grove is the burial site of General George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War General and the founder of Louisville, Ky.  He was also the younger brother of Meriwether Lewis who gained fame as half of the Lewis and Clark team.

Photos from the facility are below.


Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove

Locust Grove
   

We walked outside the Locust Grove Visitor Center about 11:00am to be greated by black, ominous clouds, the strike of lightning a few miles north, and the crash of thunder.  Uh oh, we may have cut this one a little bit thin.  We headed south on I-65 and the rain hit.  It started as a spattering of rain but soon after we got out of Louisville the bottom fell out.  It was raining buckets and naturally my rain gear was tucked away, nice and dry, in my tail bag behind me.  We finally had to stop for a while because lightning was blasting down.  I considered putting on my rain gear but since I was already soaked to the skin, and also because I was still convinced that the storms would move out, I chose not to.

We sat at a convenience store for about 30 minutes and then tried it again.  As soon as we hit the interstate and the wind hit me I started getting cold.  The farther we went the colder I got.  Luckily, or unluckily depending on your point of view, the rain got worse and we had to stop again about 15 miles down the road.  This time the rain gear came out!  Again we waited for about 30 minutes and gave it another try.  This attampt was better and we got about 80 miles closer to home before we had to stop again.  This was a planned stop though since it was where Steve and I were to part company.  I was heading on south for Nashville while he headed east for Portland.  When I got an email from him later that night he said he rode through extremely hard rain all the way home.  I got about 3 miles closer to Nashville and that was all I could do.  I stopped at the Tennessee Welcome Center just south of the state line and sat there for over an hour.  I was about 45 miles from home at this point and could see feel that warm shower that was waiting for me at home.  It finally let up a little bit and I headed out.  It rained buckets until I got about 10 miles from home and then it quit.  When I finally, and thankfully, pulled into my driveway I noticed that my grass was dead because it hadn't rained a drop at home!

What a trip!  840 miles door to door and it was great.  We got six National Passport Stamps, I got to see the US Air Force Museum that has been a dream for years, and had an absolutely great time.  Steve, thanks for everything buddy, I had a blast.  Any time you want to do it again you know where I'm at!



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