Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leaving Ohio – Finally!

We’ve been in Ohio for nearly five months, and we’re finally getting ready to head South for warmer territory.  We’ve been staying at Wright-Patterson AFB, where AF Museum1 we started our full timing experience almost five years ago, visiting old friends and revisiting some of the places we enjoyed when we lived here.  One such place, not to be missed if you’re visiting the area, is the National Museum of the United States Air Force, a sprawling, exhibit-packed facility that’s one of the best bargains around – it’s free!  The main museum is located on the edge of the base and is open to the public, and while there you can sign up for a bus trip on base to visit the Presidential and Research hangers. AF Museum Mural Having visited before, we limited our visit to the areas we’ve enjoyed in the past, because if you visit every exhibit and read every storyboard, you’ll be here for more than a day.  Our first stop was to view the “First Flight” Mural.  At first glance, it looks like a large painting, but when you look close, you’ll see that it’s made up of small ceramic pictures of different views of the Wright Flyer – 163,000 of them! 

Bob Hope Vest Our next stop was at the “Fifty Years of Hope”, the Bob Hope exhibit.   For all of us military veterans, Bob Hope was a special kind of hero, and the exhibit does a great job of depicting his long history of entertaining the troops from WWII to Desert Storm. 


But the museum is really about airplanes – lots and lots of airplanes. And not just Air Force, there are Army, Navy, and even Russian aircraft on display.  We're always struck by the huge cold war bombers.  The B-36 pictured here is amazing; it’s huge wingspan and six radial and four jet engines dwarf the aircraft around it – what a great RV it would make!  Look close at the picture and you’ll see one of the original wheels that were changed in favor of a number of smaller ones.  Six of those would look really great on our coach….
XB-70 One area that we hadn’t seen was the relatively new Presidential and Research & Development hangers.  XB-70 NoseWe especially wanted to visit this area since it’s now the location of the XB-70, the amazingly beautiful and HUGE aircraft that incorporated then-unheard of technology to attain speeds in excess of three times the speed of sound (Mach 3).   And   remember this was 46 years ago!  Only two XB-70s were built, and the other aircraft was lost in a midair collision while testing.  You can read about it and see the amazing pictures here.  Unfortunately, it’s too large, and the hanger was too small, to adequately show more than about 1/3 of this beautiful aircraft.
AF1Next door was the Presidential Aircraft hanger, with aircraft ranging from the first, the C-54 “Sacred Cow” to the VC-137, with the famous tail number of AF 26000, used by Presidents from Kennedy to Clinton.  All of the aircraft are open to view, although the Plexiglas walls make it a little tight to maneuver through the cabin areas.   I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my personal “First Lady” as she exited the aircraft – kinda neat, being able to stand in the same spot as JFK, Reagan, and others. 
OSU vs Purdue Sign

We came across this sign while driving around; after all, this is Ohio State University  football country.  I’ve always considered OSU’s math education suspect (question – how many schools in the Big 10?   answer  - 11!)  Now I have to wonder  - was the sign made by an OSU graduate?  And what would this say about OSU’s  English program?    Or maybe OSU is playing the Perdue Chicken employees?

Finally, after five years and almost 200 campground stops, we’ve added a link to our new campground review site, where we rate parks as good, bad, or really ugly.  We’ll continue to add to it as we continue our explorations.  We’re planning on stopping at some interesting places on our trip back to Texas, so Y’all come back!

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