A Week in Ohio – Sept 2015

Needing to bring our Airstream in for service at the Airstream “mother ship” in Jackson Center, OH and pulling into the Terraport (campsites at the factory), who greets me but friends Terry, Annie and Joe! We open a cold beer, set up Thor – Cauldron of Death for a campfire, and relax.

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Joe, Terry and Annie

And, we met new friends and rock stars Hunter and Terry, who in addition to their day jobs are South Carolina Airstreamers.

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Terry and Hunter

I took the Airstream factory tour, which is a great activity! Airstream is cranking out 60+ brand new Airstream trailers each week, and expect in the near future to increase capacity even further. While there are very few opportunities for taking pictures inside the factory, the process of building an Airstream is pretty cool.

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Airstream factory – Jackson Center, OH

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Factory line

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History of the curve

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Our unit in for service – mid process

Being in the area several days, I visited the Bicycle Museum of America in nearby New Bremen, OH. Wow, what an absolutely great exhibit! Starting with the first bicycle built in 1816 and going through all the various iterations in materials, design and drivetrains, this is an activity well worth the time.

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Also sitting in New Bremen is a bit of what is left of the 250 mile long Miami and Erie Canal, a canal that was built in the early/mid 1800’s and enabled cargo to be transported on barges from Toledo (Lake Erie) to Cincinnati (Ohio River). The canal was subsequently made irrelevant when railroads were built and competed with the canal on access, speed and reach.

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Locks in New Bremen

A few miles up the road in Wapakoneta, OH is the home of Neil Armstrong (first man to step on the moon) and the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. This is a small museum, but pretty cool – brings back lots of memories from the space race and subsequent explorations, including landing on the moon. One small step for man…

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Armstrong Air & Space Museum

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John Glenn, 3rd from left

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Not far away in Dayton is the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park. What peaked my interest in seeing this park was recently reading the book, The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough (a GREAT book, by the way), and then seeing the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. When you think about the aeronautical advances that were created between Orville and Wilbur’s first heavier than air flight in 1903 and landing Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969, it is just incredible.

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Wright Brothers bicycle shop, which funded their efforts in flight exploration

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New Wright Brothers bicycles would sell for up to $100 – a lot of money at the time

Since it was about lunchtime, I drove around Dayton without a plan or a clue; I found some pretty sketch areas, but then I ended up in what is called the Oregon District. It turns out this is about a 40 square block area with some interesting history, gorgeous architecture (you feel like you could be in Back Bay in Boston), and at least one kick ass pub/restaurant called Lucky’s. While this is clearly a pub, the food was superb! I ordered a BLT, although it was made with Avocado, Goat cheese, thickly cut Applewood bacon and tomato, all in between two delicious slices of fresh baked bread. Booyeah.

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Like you haven’t heard enough of aerospace or me yet, I took time to visit the National Museum for the United States Air Force. This place is huge! There must be several hundred aircraft of all sizes, shapes and age, housed within 4-5 enormous hangers, and largely organized by era – World War II, Korea, southeast Asia… There was undoubtedly much that went clear over my head (no pun intended), but if you have any interest in military aircraft this is a must-see exhibit.

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WW II vintage

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Army glider

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SR 71 (recon)

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B2 bomber

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Drone

Wanda (our Airstream) is in her last day of repairs. I am pretty sure that by end of day I will stimulate the mid Ohio economy by some substantial value. This was a great trip, even though I traveled solo; looking forward to getting home and seeing my bride!

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