Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dayton Aviation Heritage Trail

Dayton, Ohio is the birthplace of aviation. 
They even have an "Aviation Trail" of 15 locations you can visit and each one has a significant contribution to flight.
We started at the national park service visitor center.
They start with a timeline of the Wright brothers and other contributions leading up to Kitty Hawk. (When we were at that site in North Carolina we heard a little about what lead up to the moment when the first flight took place, but this definitely expanded on what we'd learned!)
Right outside the visitor center is an original Wright brothers cycle shop. This was their 4th shop, but it still stands in its original location made of the original materials - a building where Wilbur and Orville experimented and invented. So fun!
A contemporary of the brothers was an African American poet/author named Paul Dunbar. He was the first African American to make a living solely off his writing and we just learned in Little Rock that the high school for the colored students (some of whom ultimately became the Little Rock Nine) was named after him.
Well, the library at Wright State University is also named after him. And in that library, they have a ton of original historic documents about all the aviation happenings from Dayton's history. The librarian enjoyed telling us all about their collections available online and showing us much memorabilia that the Wright family continues to donate - like the gold medals in this case. They are originals, while the Smithsonian in DC has replicas.

Our next stop was the field where the Wright brothers picked up their testing after their initial successes in North Carolina. The visitor center here picks up the flight story after Kitty Hawk and takes us through their successful controlled flights and attempts to share their invention with various governments. 

Next, we visited the Air Force's National Museum. We thought the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, FL was incredible and this one is of equal quality!
It was so great, it got its own post (see next).
After the museum, we finished up our exploration of aviation with a visit to the Wright family gravesite and then headed back to the first visitor center.
This display of the Wright boys when they were young playing with a flying toy was more meaningful after the movie that showed this toy sparking their interest in flight.
We also got to go inside their bike shop which was closed the first day we came by. 

National Air Force Museum

From the beginnings of flight to current uses, this museum is amazing!
It starts with the Wright brothers
And their studies with wind tunnels and finally getting the military to understand the use of their invention. 
This museum has THE plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki - which wasn't actually the initial chosen target. (The first choice target, Kokura, was not able to be used because the pilot was required to have a visual of the location and it was too cloudy, so he proceeded to the 2nd option, Nagasaki.)
Next to the plane is a fat man bomb.
And nearby is a demilitarized Little Boy that was an active weapon in 1945.
Throughout the museum, we were pleased to recognize and know the stories behind what we saw. 
From the atomic bombs from Los Alamos
To the Tuskeegee airmen.
To the WASPs who served (that we've read about in a biography of missionary Betty Greene).
To the Doolittle Raiders (that we've read about in a biography of missionary to Japan, Jacob Deshazer). 
Scott got to attempt to connect to the Hubble telescope.
We revisited the Vietnam war, here known as the Southeast Asia war.
We saw a variety of minute man missiles (among others).
New additions to this museum include a model of a shuttle with flight simulators.
And the previous 4 Air Force one planes, which you can walk through!
We could have spent 2-3 days at this museum, and more of we didn't already know the stories behind much of what we saw. We were bummed to only give it one afternoon. This is another place we'd love to revisit someday. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

More Columbus and another Williams family

Since Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy this park name is fun.
After the Capitol, we explored a little, and then got some lunch.
This spaghetti warehouse was just like the spaghetti factory back home. They even had a trolley car inside. 
While we were eating, grandpa texted us that we were right next to Grubb Street. This has been one of the interesting uses of technology while we are on our trip. Scott's parents and Scott and I all share our locations with each other. So we can see where they are (all over the world) and they can see where we are. At the beginning of the trip, their (what I lovingly call) "stalking us" was a little disconcerting, but it has turned out to be really fun. Mom would text, "I see you're at the Hoover dam right now." And then she would ask us questions or prompt us to go look at something that she had seen when she had been there before. 
So today, grandpa's text prompted us to go take this picture.
Grandma found this one up the street where the RV couldn't go. 
Toward the end of the day, grandma headed to West Virginia to see if she could find some sites where her grandparents first lived. And we headed to meet some friends from our past life. 
Scott & Frances Williams lived in SoCal many years ago. We had a blast catching up with them and sharing stories of life since we last saw each other over 10 years ago!
We were going it try a new Ohio place to eat, but their dining room was closed for renovations. The Five Guys across the street worked out great and we were thankful to spend an evening together. 
Camping on the West Virginia border was eventful as there was a crazy storm going on outside. It kept us up most of the night. I was wondering how people lived with such feelings of peril as I felt that night, but in the morning, I found out that storms that bad only happen once or twice a year. Guess we're just lucky! (:

Columbus, OH - Capitol #44

The Ohio Capitol has many unique features that we had not seen other places. 
This map of the counties is inlaid in the floor and is the starting location of an hour long tour. 
At this point, we were underground. 
They have a small museum here primarily to teach youth about government. 
Ohio has a full time legislature. 
Upstairs we headed into the senate chamber. Senators can serve 2 consecutive 4-yr terms then if they serve elsewhere or take time off, they can come back as there is no lifetime limit to serving. (In fact, the current president of the senate has formerly served in both houses.)
33 senators meet here and, uniquely, the gallery (where the public watches from) is on the same level as the senators themselves. 
99 representatives meet here and they can also serve for 8 years (in four 2-yr terms) before having to take a break and then they are able to return as well. The house gallery was up a level, as we've found in most other capitols. 

On this special day 152 years ago, President Lincoln's body passed through here on its way to be buried. And today, a soldier stands at attention accompanying the casket on display in the rotunda as period-dressed onlookers mourn. 

In a separate building connected by an atrium, senators have their offices. This was originally built to house the Supreme Court. 

The state seal in stained glass. 

Outside, Lincoln-period costumes and cannons were all over the front lawn.