Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fort Wayne

To start with we are camped at Johnny Appleseed Park in downtown Fort Wayne, this is a little park, about 25-30 water and electric sites w/honey wagon, in the corner of the park. It's a little hard to find but if you plan on doing anything in Fort Wayne this is the place to camp, you are within minutes of any place in the city.

Fort Wayne has a ton of things to do, one of the nations largest genealogy centers, Botanical gardens, Zoo, over 20 miles of paved bike trails that follow the St. Joseph, Maumee and St Marys Rivers, and every type restaurant you could thing of. If you get bored here it's your own fault.

There is a beautiful new minor league baseball park downtown where the Tin Caps play, we didn't get a chance to go to a game as they were on the road this entire week. The name Tin Caps comes from the fact that Johnny Appleseed used to wear is tin pot as a hat while he was wandering the country side, hence the Tin Caps, we did see a sign that said “ It's the Tin Caps not the Pot Heads”.

I dropped Cathy off at the genealogy center for the day then I drove about 15 miles north to Auburn to do the museums, there are about eight museums in this area. I parked the car and the Auburn-Dusenberg Museum was to my right and the National Automotive and Truck Museum was to my left, time for a decision, I went left the the automotive and truck museum, this seemed more like the kind of place an old street racer would like.

But my favorite section was the muscle cars from the late 60's and early 70's, a 429 Ford Torino, 426 hemi Dodge Charger, 440 dual quads Plymouth GTX, 440 six pack Dodge Cuda, 396 Chevy Z-28.

I swear, I closed my eyes and it was a hot humid August night in 1969 and we were cruising Woodward Ave, looking for something that would give our midnight green 440 Charger (just like the one the bad guys drove in the movie Bullet) a challenge. We spot a 396 Chevelle at the light, pull up next to him, both drivers give a little nod, the light turns green and it's nothing but screaming engines roaring exhaust and smoking tires for the next ten seconds. Our ten inch slicks gave us a big jump off the line and he never stood a chance after that, a couple of quick turns through the side streets just in case any cops were around (which I ended up being one for 25 years in Detroit) and then to the nearest Drive-in so the loser could buy Cokes.

I'm sorry, was that out loud?

Mean while back at the museum, I enjoyed it a lot more then I thought that I would, I then got in my 4 cylinder PT Cruiser and all the way home I was looking for a Corvair to race.

Cathy decided to take a break from research today so we thought that we would take a look at the zoo, and a look is all we did, there were at least 20 school buses there so it was time for plan B. Plan B is drive back to Auburn and go through the World War II Victory Museum, Half of the building is the Victory Museum. This part of the museum is so large and covers so much information that you just have to come here yourself and wander around for a couple of hours so I'm just going to post some pictures and try to explain it that way.

Show us your WAR FACE!

This is a 25 foot long model of a ship that was used in the "Winds of War" series.

General Patton

The red Ball Express, they even made a move about them.

Click on this picture to read all the fine print, it's pretty interesting.

These are the war plans that would have been used in case the Atom bomb didn't work

When you exit this area you come into the Baseball section which has a few displays about the different ball players from this area and about the Womens Baseball League, from some reason they had a lot of Tiger stuff.

In the center there is a room about the history of the television, there were a bunch of old TV's and displays from the old time television shows, one of the displays was about the Lone Ranger and his faithful companion Tonto.

OK, I'm going to regress a little here back to about 1957 or so.

Growing up in Detroit, which is the home town of the Lone Ranger TV show, he was pretty much every kids hero. The kid two doors down from me was having a birthday party and we were all down the basement celebrating, they had just got us seated for the ice cream and cake, when we heard a familiar voice yell “Whoaaaa Silver, stay right there”. Our eyes were the size of silver dollars as we all watched the Lone Ranger and Tonto came down the stairs, they stayed for about a half hour, had ice cream and cake with us and then were on their way, the screen door slammed and all we heard was “HI-HO Silver Away”. Of course they made sure that we all stayed in the basement so we wouldn't see them get into the car and drive off down the street. The kid whose birthday it was, was the son of the producer of the Lone Ranger Show and that's how he happened to show up. Fifty plus years later and every time I see some thing about the Lone Ranger that's the first thought in my mind.

Now let's pop back outside of my mind, because Cathy sez that, that's a scary place to be and get back to the museum.

Across the lobby is the Kruse Automotive & Carriage Museum, from what I gathered Kruse makes a lot of the cars for Hollywood, he also does custom cars for auto shows and collects notable Carriages.

With the carriages they have pictures of what they looked like when he found them along with the display, and it is unbelievable the work they did to make them look probably better then they did new. They had President Grant's carriage , one from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, but our favorite was the Coronation coach for King Ernest Augustus of Hanover, son of King George III of England.

The next set of displays were of the custom cars that he has made, then the Hollywood stuff which everyone will recognize and then a lot of race cars that he built or sponsored. What we thought was going to be about an hour turned into four hours.

Some of his custom work.

Indy cars


Driving around on a few of the back roads and side streets of Fort Wayne we came across this neighbor park , which was huge, it had a nice size lake with a fountain, a big rose garden (we're about a week early for the blooms) and a reflecting pool, this is really a great area to visit.

Drive down a little side street that's blocked by a school bus and see all the kids coming out of a little park between two house's and you just have to park the car and see for yourself, see what, well I guess we'll find out.

The burial site of Meshekinnoquah, or as his friends called him Chief Little Turtle, he rose to be the Chief of the Miami Nation. He led the Indians in the defeat of Colonel LaBalme in 1780, then defeated General Harmar at the Battle of Kekionga in 1790. In 1791 at Fort Recovery, Ohio he defeated General St. Clair in America's worst defeat by Indians with over 1000 killed. He was stopped with the entire Indian Confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, he was a signer of the Treaty of Greenville, met with three US Presidents; Washington, Adams and Jefferson and when he died in 1821 he was laid to rest in the Miami burial grounds with full U.S. Military honors.

Since we're doing genealogy and graves when we got back to camp we took a short walk through the woods to visit another grave, Johnny Appleseed, he's buried on a knoll in the middle of the park.

It's Memorial Day weekend so all the weekend campers are out and have the park filled with smoke from their campfires (we call them smokes because they never seem to get any flames going, just smoke) so we're on lock down in the motor home with the windows close and the air on so we can breath while we watch our FIRST PLACE TIGERS play ball. I know that I'm forgetting a lot of things since there is so much here, but this is getting a little long and I have to make a pizza for lunch and then maybe another for dinner, after all it is a holiday.

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