Thursday, October 18, 2012

East to Branchville, New Jersey

   A beautiful mauve tints the soft hazy blue sky. The sun, a huge red ball,  rises on the horizon as we head east on the long, grey ribbon of interstate highway in a new Winnebago motor home to be delivered this first week in October.  The neon colors of the leaves accent both the smooth harvested fields and the golden brown of the corn and beans standing in straight lines waiting for the combine.

    Counting the new green John Deere combines coming west on flatbed trucks. Watching the dust rise from the combines working in the fields.  Over the Mississippi River into Illinois.  Following I-80 through Indiana.  Brilliant red leaves accent the deep wine and different shades of green, orange and yellow.

     After a rainy night we continue across Ohio on I-80.  A yellow orange sun rises on the horizon ahead of us.  The Cuyahoga River cuts through the hills of northeastern Ohio.  We can see the fog rising from the valleys in the distance.
The colors of the leaves on the trees give depth to the forests.  In the summer it is one green wall, but now we can see individual trees.  

     Into Pennsylvania driving through the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.  Beautiful drive even without the sun to highlight the colors.  A soft, velvet, multicolor blanket lays over the hills as we curve along the valley on I-80.  A valley of green pasture and fields with neat farm buildings.  Lots of orange triangular signs, "Road Work Ahead."  Crossing the Susquehanna River, much history lived out along its banks.

    Crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey. In the past we have driven The Delaware Gap scenic area that follows the river north.  Beautiful hiking trails, water falls and mountains.

     Our last leg to dealership is a two-lane drive curving through small towns and countryside.  We are driving behind a large oversize load that is taking out limbs, hitting electric wires, and covering all lanes in a round-about in the middle of a town!!  Called dealership to explain the situation. They graciously  waited for us.  On our way back to Branchville to our motel we saw a black bear coming out of the woods beside the road!

      Piper Cub Museum

    Lock Haven, Pennsylvania has the Piper Cub Museum with an original aircraft hanging from the ceiling!   When Mr. Piper introduced the Piper Cub in 1937, he had a dream. He felt that everyone should fly. And he believed that Piper could provide everyone with that freedom.  It was interesting to see the ads that were put out by the company.  They offered a monthly payment plan for buyers, built it large enough to carry a spinet piano, encouraged ranchers to use for checking herds, farmers to use for spraying and sponsored long distance world record flights.  A map shows how Max Conrad, who made many record flights, flew across the US landing in each state!  

    The Cub was called the "Grasshopper" during the war.  It could take off in a short distance.  In 1943 the Navy LST (Landing Ship Tanker) was set up for Piper L-4 planes to take off and land on the land.

     Mr. Piper is called the "Henry Ford of Aviation."

     Their international sales started by shipping planes in crates by air freight, then shipped kits for a "build your own," and finally made agreements to build in other countries.

      The Flood of 1972 when the Susquehanna River rose 31 ft above normal  destroyed the plant and 252 airplanes.  The FAA would not let the company use any of the planes or parts.

     Jim remembers when a roller skating rink in our small town was used for converting Piper Cub airplanes for use in Alaska by bush pilots.  They would strip it down to the frame, sand blast it, and put on new fabric. A larger engine was installed and the wings lengthened.  In the 1950's the townspeople would see the airplanes taking off using the 2 block long Main Street as a runway!   The manager of the museum said that there were several places in the US at that time that was converting the Piper Cubs.  

   Check out the museum website for more articles about the early years of this airplane.  

McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

Scrapbook photo 3  We drive past the huge city cemetery in Canton, Ohio to the entrance to the McKinley National Memorial located on a rise with one hundred steps leading to the entrance.  At one time there was a reflecting pool at the base.  To the side of the memorial is the Presidential Library and Museum

  Because President McKinley was interested in education much of the building includes interactive exhibits.  
  • Discover World ( a science center)
  • Hoover-Price Planetarium
  • A Research Library
  • An Auditorium for presentations
  • Keller Gallery for changing exhibitions
  • Stark County Story--  exhibits chronicle the history of this county during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Some of the features are:
  1. A video of a canal lock in operation. The Ohio and Erie Canal and feeder canals were used to move products at 3 MPH which was faster than land transportation until the Railroads arrived on the scene.
  2. A giant Timken bearing ride demonstrates how the ball bearing provided more with less power.  The company was located in this area.
  3. Sit in a chair and turn on the Hoover vacuum.  The suction will raise you to new heights!!  Hoover was also located in the county.
  4. The first personal computer purchased in Stark County in 1980 from Radio Shack.  A TRS-80 priced at $4961.20 included a monitor and printer!
  5. A transitional piano--between the harpsichord and grand piano to the upright piano.  A harp-like structure with strings attached sat perpendicular to the keyboard.  It cost $1,000 in 1858.  Only a few were produced
  6. We hear of many tax incentives given to business to locate in certain areas, but the 1886 story of John C. Dueber is a classic!  A German immigrant making watches and cases in Massachusetts offered to move his business and its employees to the first  community to pay him $100,000.  Canton raised the amount in 3 months and added 20 Acres of land and a rail spur!   Deuber brought his company, his 1000 skilled workers and their families to the city.  He was known for the fine quality of watches that he produced.  He thought that wrist watches were a passing fancy and continued to make pocket watches.  In 1920 he sold the company which later went bankrupt.
  • Street of Shops give you a feel of life in the late 1800's. Photo 
The highlight for us was the model railroad depicting the historic sites of the Pennsylvania Railroad as it once traveled through Stark County.  All of the cars and the scenery are handmade to scale.  They were featuring a scale model of a "secret" train that ran from New York to Chicago in 1942 carrying the lab equipment for the top secret code named "Manhatten Project" to develope the Atomic Bomb.  It was being moved away from a possible German submarine attack by a specially engine built to run on three different systems. It was equipped with a third rail bar,  pantagraphs to convey current from overhead wires and a 22 cylinder diesel engine and generator!
  • McKinley Gallery with artifacts from President McKinley's life.     Some highlights of his life are:
  1. He was of Scottish/Irish ancestry.  Family lived above the country store his father owned.
  2. He served in the Civil War as a cook taking and serving meals on the front line to the soldiers earning him the nick-name of "coffee!"
  3. He always wore or gave away a red carnation. The red carnation was developed in Ohio and is the state flower.
  4. He and his wife had 2 daughters who both died at a very early age. The loss of their daughters cemented their relationship.
  5. He was known as a man of integrity as a lawyer and during his political life.  He was honest and friendly but formal with people.
  6. He campaigned from his front porch. People came from all over to hear him speak. You will see it in all the pictures.
  7. He was the first president to campaign by telephone.  Thanks a lot for starting robo calls, Mr. President!!
  8. He was greeting people at a public reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.  A little girl who had lost her parents came up to shake his hand and he gave her his red carnation.  Later an anarchist offered his bandaged hand which held a gun and shot him at point blank range.  The wounds did not appear life threatening, but because of the poor medical treatment in those days gangarene set in and he died.
 Across Indiana, Illinois and back to Iowa listening to the audio book, West with the Night, an autobiography by Beryl Markham.  She was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.  She included her adventures in Africa growing up with her father who was a horse breeder, adventurer and farmer.  Definately worth a read to see how she uses words to make pictures!

Thank-you for traveling with us!
Prairie Schooners









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