Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday June 21, 2009-Grand Lake St. Marys

We woke this morning to cool (by Texas standards) temperatures of about 65 degrees. I went down to the shower house to clean up to get ready to go to the Air Force Museum in Dayton. On my way to shower, I ran into Ted who told me that his nephew had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Terrible news.....

After showering, I came back to the trailer and ate breakfast. Rick and Brenda were at church, but as soon as they got back we left for Dayton and the Wright Patterson Air Force Base there where the Air Force Museum, also known now as The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located. Wright Patterson Air Force base is the "birthplace, home and future of aerospace" and one of the largest bases in the world. The museum is the largest in the world and reputedly has a display of every aircraft that the USAF has had in it's inventory since World War I. I can certainly believe it!

I drove over to Dayton using my GPS for directions. I had never been to the base, so had no idea of how to get there. As it turned out, we should have used a map. We found a much quicker route back home. It took us a little over an hour to get here. We arrived about 10:30 and still had to park about three blocks from the entrance.

The air force base is huge!! And the museum is made up of three huge hangars, not including the one used to house the Presidential aircraft. There are 0ver 400 aircraft and missiles displayed, mostly under a roof. They had everything from the Wright Bros. first biplane to the latest B-1 bomber. They had everything from the biggest airplanes I have ever seen to helicopters that looked like gnats. They had aircraft suspended from the ceiling and had some very realistic sets complete with sound effects. It was probably the most impressive museum that I have ever gone to.

We were told to get a pass for the Presidential aircraft portion of the museum, so as soon as we got here we went and secured our armbands that were necessary to go to the exhibit. We had to show a photo ID to get the armbands, but did so without a problem.

The hangars are separated into the early years, World War II and the Cold War years. The early year planes are very interesting in that they were so rudimentary and fragile looking it makes me wonder how anyone in their right mind would board and fly in one of these things. I have always thought of myself as being pretty brave. Many times I have met and dealt with evil people and never backed down, but I wonder how these brave souls were able to put aside their fears and fly something that was untried and untested. Wow!

The World War II planes were very interesting to me. They brought back a lot of my boyhood memories. When I was a lad, I built a lot of plastic model airplanes and now I was seeing many of the actual planes that I had built.

The Presidential planes were also very interesting. The most historic and interesting was one called SAM 26000. This airplane was used by eight presidents and was in service for 36 years. It is the airplane that John F. Kennedy took to Dallas when he was murdered, and later was the site of Lyndon Johnson being sworn in after Kennedy was shot. The last President to use this plane was Clinton, and we all know what may have gone on in the plane when he was aboard.

I could go on and on about this museum, but you must really see this thing to believe it.

Today was also Brenda's birthday as well as Father's Day. When we returned from the museum, she was given the choice of where we would go out to eat. She chose the Pullman's Restaurant in Celina. It turned out to be a good choice. We all enjoyed our meal and returned to the park very full.

We played another game of Pegs and Jokers but this time we included our neighbors Larry and Dot. We played boys against girls and of course, being the gentlemen that we are, we let the girls win.

All three girls called me today for Father's Day, so my day was complete. I think I surprised Jennifer when I was up at 11:00, but this is the new me, staying up late now.

So long.

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