Washington DC – June 2018 – Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum opened in downtown DC in 1946. Today it houses some of the most important aircraft and spacecraft in history.

One of the first artifacts we saw was the first satellite, Telstar.

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A recent addition is the actual model from the Star Trek TV series.

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Apollo 11 capsule

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Saturn 5 engine.

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A collection of space rockets.

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The original Wright flyer.

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Military aircraft.

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There is a nice ‘Pioneers of Aviation’ section.

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Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis.

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A tribute to Amelia Earhart.

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The plan that first flew across Antarctica. This museum is truly one of the best in the world for aircraft.

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Cleveland – March 2018 – A Revisit to the Piston Powered Show

Since we have ran out of things to do in Ohio, we are now revisiting some of the better events, including the Piston Powered Show in Cleveland.

Held at the million square foot IX Center, this event features ‘anything with a piston’ including cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, snowmobiles and others.

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A custom bike

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Surf’s up on Lake Erie!

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A chopped Beetle.

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As noted, the place is huge – with the airplane being dwarfed by the indoor ferris wheel.

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Some artists were customizing on the spot.

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Lanterns on an antique fire truck.

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The Cleveland Corvette Club.

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Customized 1950s Ford pickup truck.

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Clearly a winner.

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Hey Scoobie…

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Dayton – January 2018 – Airplanes as Abstract Art

With another exceptionally cold day greeting us, but wanting to keep up with the goal of 13,000 steps per day it was decided to make the hour trip back to Dayton to the US Air Force Museum. It is huge, it is inside and heated, and it is free.

Having been there a couple of times recently and taken photos, with a blog posting, I decided to focus on different views, which ended up what I am calling ‘Airplanes as Abstract Art’.

Rather than try to come up with profiles of each plane, I tried to combine angles, views and perspectives to come up with different views. With the very dark lighting throughout  it made it challenging, but also added an interesting effect.

First up, a Fairchild C119J Right Propeller and the vertical stabilizer for the Space Shuttle mock up (for some reason the USAF Museum did not get one of the original shuttles).

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A North American Twin Mustang ‘Betty Jo’ and a collection of other tails and wings in the ‘Cold War’ section.

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A General Dynamics F111 Aardvark nose backed by an Lockheed AC130A transport plane.

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A Lockheed F117A Nighthawk ‘stealth’

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Douglas C124C Globemaster cargo plane with the cargo loading door open, coupled with the very symmetric ceiling of the hangar. The cold kept most people away, this is one of very few photos from the day that ended up with people in them (barely visible in the interior of the plane).

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Douglas B18 Bolo

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Fokker DR1 Triplane from the early days of flight. This one is hanging upside down from the ceiling.

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A Hawker XV6A.

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Finally a Lockheed XR71 Blakbird. For many years it held records as the fastest airplane (well over 2000 miles per hour) and altitude, at over 80,000 feet. With our walking steps goal complete we headed back out into the cold.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was the perfect choice for another exceptionally cold December day.  Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Shore of Chicago, it is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.  It became the Museum of Science and Industry during the 1933 Century of Progress Worlds Fair.

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The famed ‘Christmas Around the World’ tree greets you as you arrive during the holiday season, standing 45′ tall with 30,000 lights and ‘snow’ falling twice an hour.

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My main purpose for the visit to what is essentially a children’s museum was to see the ‘Great Train Story’, a 3500 square foot HO model railroad display.

This model leads you from a large Chicago model along a 2200 mile journey to Seattle. It is located in the transportation hall, underneath a Boeing 727.

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The downtown Chicago model has many details including the El.

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When you reach Seattle it is complete with the Space Needle.

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The other exhibit I wanted to check out was the lego ‘Brick by Brick’ display. Interestingly despite all the interesting architecture in Chicago from Frank Lloyd Wright they chose to use Fallingwater, located near Pittsburgh (although it is the best architectural home in America)

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The Pyramids were represented, including a cutaway to show the interior.

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Same as with the Roman Colosseum. While the exhibits were nice, we have seen better exhibits for both the Lego’s and model railroad displays (Cincinnati History Center comes to mind, as well as Entertrainment Junction). Still it beat being outside in -2 Ft (-15 C) weather.

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Everett, Washington – September 2017 – Boeing Factory Tour

Boeing Airplanes are built (among other places) in Everett, Washington in what is billed as the World’s Largest Building by volume.

We took a tour in which they did not permit any camera’s at all inside, however someone on the internet obviously violated this rule so to give an idea of what it looks like I borrowed theirs!

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There are 6 large bays, 3 for the assembly of the 747 and 767, the other 3 for the 777 and 787. The doors are immense.

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The 787 has parts flown into Everett on modified 747s.

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Planes with their green vinyl wrappers awaiting paint jobs.

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The visitor center included the ‘Future of Flight’ museum.

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Even the hotel is in the airplane theme, with an old wing and part of a fuselage for a canopy.

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Victoria, BC – September 2017 – Views of the City

A day and night in Victoria, British Columbia.

BC Parliament Building

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Totem Poles at the BC Museum

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Yachts and water taxis in Victoria Harbor

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The coastline along the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

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A cricket game in Beacon Hill Park

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More Canadian palm trees in the same park.

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More harbor action.

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On our way to Port Angeles, Washington and Olympic National Park – which we could easily see from Victoria almost 50 miles away.

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A perfect ending to a week in Canada.

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Great Falls, Montana – September 2017 – Unusual Sights in Montana

A road trip to Montana has provided some unique photo ops, starting with the Great Falls Airport’s Model Airplane collection. It turns out a Great Falls resident was an avid collector of die cast model airplanes, accumulating what is thought of as the largest collection in the world. When he passed away the family provided them to the airport for display.

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One of two display cases stuffed with the model planes.

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Just outside the terminal are a number of retired Air Force jets displayed on stands.

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Easily the highlight, and worth a trip to Great Falls is the Sip n Dip Lounge, a 1960s style Tiki Lounge with Mermaids and Piano Pat, an 85 year old piano player.

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North of town we came across the Espresso Teepee, on the Blackfeet Reservation.

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