Summer 2017, Day 30: Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton Aviation History NHP

This morning we spotted this moth hiding on the pavement next to the RV:

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We blew on it to get it to open its wings:

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Our first stop today was the National Museum of the United States Air Force:

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The museum houses one of the largest collections of aircraft in the world.  We didn’t have time to see it all:

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An old wind tunnel for testing wing designs:

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There’s a temporary holocaust exhibit in a hall that connects two aircraft galleries:

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The goblet set used for the annual toast of the Doolittle Raiders:

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The Kettering model aircraft collecton:

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The business end of a XB-70 Valkyrie:

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The Apollo 15 command module:

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A training mock-up of the Space Shuttle:

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The museum houses a number of presidential aircrafts, used by presidents Roosevelt through Kennedy:

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The rocket gallery:

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The Cold War gallery:

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The only B-2 Spirit viewable by the public:

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The Korean War gallery:

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It was a great museum, and I’d love to spend more time there next time we’re through town.

Our next stop was the Huffman Prairie unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park:

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Huffman Field is the location where the Wright Brothers continued their flight tests and design improvements after their initial successes at Kitty Hawk.  The visitor center was interesting:

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Across from the visitor center was a Wright Brothers memorial:

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After finishing our visit we continued east into Pennsylvania, overnighting at the Walmart of Clearfield.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 29: Kentucky Derby Museum, Taft NHS

This morning we visited Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby:

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We toured the Kentucky Derby Museum:

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Museum admission included a walking tour of Churchill Downs:

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The museum showed a film about the Derby on a 360 degree wrap-around screen:

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Former race horses are buried here.  Well, not the entire horse.  When horses are buried, only the head, heart, and hooves are buried:

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We visited with Transpired, who ran in the 2011 Kentucky Derby:

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Fun in the gift shop:

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The museum was interesting, we learned a lot about horse racing!

We continued north and crossed into Ohio at Cincinnati:

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We worked our way into a surprisingly urban area to visit William Howard Taft National Historic Site:

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The site preserves president Taft’s childhood home:

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Like other presidential homes we’ve visited on this trip (Truman and Grant), the focus of the site is a tour of the home.  Since we did not go on the tour, all we got out of our visit was a few displays in the room where tour tickets are sold.

Trish has finished the doily she has been crocheting for the past few days:

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We continued on to overnight at the Cabella’s of Centerville, Ohio.  We did a bit of browsing in the store:

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See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 28: Mammoth Cave NP, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP

This morning we drove north, crossing briefly into and out of Tennessee back into Kentucky:

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Our first stop was Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest in the world.  The cave’s subterranean passages are shown on the map in yellow:

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The visitor center was more crowded than usual with post-eclipse traffic.  After touring the visitor center, we descended into the cave:

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Unlike caves we’ve visited in the past, like Carlsbad Cavern, Mammoth Cave is a dry cave, so there aren’t many Stalactites or other cave features here:

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When the cave was first discovered, it was mined for saltpeter.  Some evidence of the mining remains:

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The kids also handed in the Eclipse Explorer books we picked up at another NPS site last week:

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Our next stop was Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.  The primary feature of the park is this building, built in 1911, in which the childhood cabin of Abraham Lincoln is housed:

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…Except it’s not really Abraham Lincoln’s house.  This cabin was built from logs that made up a tourist cabin claimed to be made from logs from a cabin found on the site that used to house Lincoln’s cabin.  Recently, tree ring analysis has shown that the logs are from trees younger than Lincoln, and therefore could not have been from his cabin.  Nonetheless, it’s the thought that counts, I suppose:

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The memorial building:

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We continued north to overnight at the Walmart of Shepherdsville, Kentucky.  See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 26: Truman NHS, Grant NHS

On Shabbos day, after a nice davening, the shul had lunch together in honor of the one-year anniversary of a member couple. Shabbos in Leawood reminded me of how strong and special small out-of-town communities can be. After Shabbos, our RV neighbors from Brooklyn decided to drive over to a local Walmart and sleep there just to have the experience.

Today we left Leawood and continued East, crossing into Missouri. In the morning we visited Harry Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri.  We parked a few blocks away and walked over.  Interesting street names:

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We learned about America’s 33rd president, who fought his own State Department to have the US vote for recognition of the fledgling State of Israel in the United Nations.  Trish posed with the president:

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Our next stop was SubTropolis, a business complex built into a spent out limestone mine.  Unfortunately, access is closed on the weekends:

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Our next stop was the town of Liberty, Missouri:

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At this bank in 1866, Jesse James and his gang committed the first daylight bank robbery in US history.  We came here because a relative of mine was shot and killed during that robbery:

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The museum was closed, but we were able to peek through the window:

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We continued east to visit Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri.  The visitor center:

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I found this quote amusing considering that, that as a Civil War General, Grant issued General Order 11 which expelled all Jews from portions of Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The order was revoked by President Lincoln three weeks later.

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The Grant home:

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We had been watching weather forecasts throughout the day, and with only 18 hours to go until the eclipse, it looked like the St. Louis area had a good chance of cloudy weather, so we decided towards sunset to reposition to the Kentucky-Tennessee border, where the forecast looked much more promising.  We saw the St. Louis arch in the distance as we continued east:

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250 miles later, we arrived in Oak Grove, Kentucky towards midnight and overnighted, naturally, at the Walmart here:

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See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.