We had a bit of a lie in this morning as we didn’t have a brilliant night’s sleep due to a truck which had parked quite close to us late yesterday evening running its engine all night with a big high-revving period of about 7 minutes in every 30. Never mind it was a cheap nights camping.
Not long after setting out for the museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base www.wpafb.af.mil/museum (GPS: N39.779137 W84.114305)we managed to overshoot the unmarked exit off the interstate and finished up lost in the suburbs of Dayton. Here we could see some of the damage caused by last night’s winds. There were trees and branches down, tiles ripped from roofs and power lines down. The Chef phoned the museum to get their postal address so that we could put it into the Satnav. Unfortunately the address they gave us was not accepted, so eventually I pulled up at a fire station and The Chef managed to get the location from a paramedic there. We were only about a mile from the museum at that point, but we had certainly gone the long way round to get that close. We eventually arrived late morning and decided to get stuck in to the exhibits, eating later in their cafeteria if necessary.
This museum is the largest of its kind in the world with exhibits ranging from one of the Wright brothers early aircraft to the command module of Apollo 15 and the B1 & B2 stealth bombers. The exhibits were not confined to American aircraft either. There were German WWII aircraft and rockets and British aircraft including a Tornado from the ‘Operation Desert Storm’ conflict with Iraq, though obviously not the one the Americans accidently shot down with a Patriot missile.
Among the most interesting exhibits of the day for me were ‘Bockscar’ the B29 aircraft which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, the stealth aircraft, the huge B52 bomber, master of many skirmishes from Vietnam, to giving Saddam Hussein a nasty case of Tinnitus in Iraq, and the Apollo 15 Command Module. There were also some of those lovely ICBM’s which were housed in concrete silo’s and pointed at Russia during the cold war and which provided the basic rocket to launch the first Americans in to space. All they did was take off the multiple warheads and replace them with a space capsule. I can’t at this juncture remember if it was astronauts like Alan Shepherd and John Glenn who blasted off in to space to see if it would be safe to send a chimp, or the other way round.
We were two of the last guests to leave the complex at 17:00, having obtained an address which we can pump into the Satnav tomorrow for our return visit. We want to go on the tour over to the main airfield where they have the presidential aircraft including ‘Air Force One’ the Boeing 707 which flew President John F. Kennedy’s body back from Dallas. After this museum visit we want to visit down the road where the Wright brothers practiced flying their new machines at Huffman’s Prairie Flying Field.
On the way back from the museum we popped in to a Kroger’s supermarket which had been recommended to us. We bought a few bits, and near the checkout I saw a local newspaper which had headlines saying that locally over 300,000 people were without power following winds greater than 70 mph last night due to Hurricane ‘Ike’ changing course. So that’s why I spilled my Bacardi & Coke! This evening is being spent back at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at Huber Heights.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Wal-Mart Super, 7680 Brandt Pike, Huber Heights, nr Dayton OH 45424 (GPS: N39.864293 W84.100564).