Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dayton, OH - Day 1 thru 3

After two long 400+ mile days, I made it to Dayton Ohio.  The drive out of New England is getting rote and boring because I’ve done it so many times.  I left in the rain and had a fairly uneventful drive down across CT, around NY on the outer thruway and over into PA.  My destination on Day one was Carlisle, PA.  It was a good spot to catch the PA Turnpike to get across the state.  My EZ-Pass continued to work great on all the toll roads in NY and PA.

 I spent the night at a Pilot  truck stop.  It was my first freebie boon docking experience.  Most Pilot / Flying J truck stops let RV’s park overnight for free.  In many of the facilities they have a few special parking spots for RV’s that are away from all the semi’s.  The facility at Carlisle is a big truck stop.  Its actually called a travel center.  There had to be over 200 truck parked out back.  The travel center had a huge store for truck and RV supplies along with a Denny‘s restaurant.  They had special gas fill up lanes for RV’s, sold propane, and had a dump station ($5 fee).  The also had 15 showers ($) which were kept spotless.  I backed in next to a couple other RV’s and was able to run my generator for a couple of hours.  It was relatively quiet during the night since I was away from all the semi’s.  It’s my plan to stay at more of these truck stops when traveling near the highways and just need an overnight stop to sleep.

The drive across lower Pennsylvania had lots of ups, downs, big climbs, long down hills, tunnels, twists and turns.  There are few straight and flat sections on the PA Turnpike.  The Turnpike runs north of the Penn Dutch area.  There were however plenty of farms along the road.  They all seemed to have their crops in with the corn shoots up about 6 inches.  Some were also taking the first cuttings of hay.  As I crossed into Ohio things started to transition to gentle rolling hills.  By the time I got near Dayton it was all flat farm land.  I’m only starting to see a thin slice of it, but its pretty amazing how much of our country is still farm land.

I spent my second night boon docking at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Springfield, OH.  I had a great meal and they let me spend the night in their parking lot in some spaces reserved for RV’s.  I was the only RV in the parking lot but it was nice and quiet and I got a pretty good nights sleep.

Day three was spent visiting the USAF National Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton.  What a cool place! Its open 7 days / week, admission is free, and it’s as large and nice and the Navel Air Museum  in Pensacola.  It has over 300 planes on display.  It is loaded with history panels and displays, more so than the Pensacola Naval Air Museum.  I spent about 2 ½ hours walking thru the three large hangers of airplanes.  I would highly recommend it if you’re passing thru or near Dayton, OH.

For me the highlights were seeing some of the planes that I had read about our seen in movies.  These included
  • B-25B Bomber that was used in the Doolittle raid on Japan.  I was surprise how small it was compared to other bombers.
  • B-17G Flying Fortress used in the bombing over Germany and depicted in the movie "Twelve O'Clock High".
  • B24D Bomber that Louie Zamperini was shot down in and described in the book "Unbroken".
  • B-52D Bomber that Slim Pickens piloted (and road the bomb down) in "Dr. Strangelove".  Of the 31 B-52's that crashed in the Vietnam war, 16 were shot down by enemy ground fire.  None were shot down by enemy aircraft.
  • F-15A Supersonic Fighter.  An advance version of what Tom Cruise flew in "Top Gun".
  • SR-71A Blackbird supersonic reconnaissance plane.  Fastest plane ever built with top speeds over 2,000 mph
  • F-117A Stealth Fighter.  The first stealth plane designed by Lockheed's "skunk works" group.
  • B-2 Stealth Bomber.  It has a huge wing span.
  • B-1B Bomber. Overall huge.
  • AC-130A Gunship.  Basically a C-130 outfitted with canons, machine guns, and missiles.  A destruction machine.
  • F-22A Raptor.  Supersonic stealth fighter.  The top fighter plane in our military.
Here's some pictures of some of the planes.

B-25B Bomber

B-17G Flying Fortress

F-117A Stealth Fighter

P-51D Mustang

F-22A Raptor
B-52D Bomber

F-14A Fighter

One of the things that struck me as I viewed all of these planes was the immense level of engineering and manufacturing that has gone into making these planes.  Basically every part (e.g. nut, bolt, rivet, sheet metal, engine part, etc), had to be drawn, designed, engineered, manufactured, and assembled uniquely for each different plane model. There’s no off the shelf parts or assembly line.  I think of all the labor and brain power that went into making these me machines and it’s just amazes me.

Day three was also spent at another truck stop near Indianapolis.  I’m liking this freebie camping.


  1. I'm glad you took the time to visit and enjoy the USAF museum. It's a must see for anyone in the Dayton area.