Hill Aerospace Museum

After leaving Bryce Canyon National Park, we headed up to Ogden, Utah with our friends Tom and Ellen.  They just stayed one night, and headed up to their summer work camping job in West Yellowstone, MT.  After looking at the weather in Grand Teton National Park, we opted to spend two nights in Ogden.

We enjoy going to museums, and Ogden has several interesting museums available.  It’s a planes, trains, cars, cowboys and guns paradise!  I though about doing one blog to cover all the museums, but I know people like to look at photos, so I will break this up into two posts, and just cover the planes today.  You can always double-click on the photos to enlarge them.

Hill Aerospace Museum, located on Hill Air Force Base (Utah’s largest employer) just south of Ogden, is an excellent place to spend a few hours looking at over 100 planes and exhibits from the Wright Brothers, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and current day battles.  They also have a STEM Education program, and the several dozen school children that we saw running around, seemed very excited to learn about aviation history.  The large planes are outdoors.

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Hill Aerospace Museum

Hill Air Force Base is tasked with maintenance and repair of planes.  In the exhibit on the Wright Brothers, they focus on the man tasked with helping the brothers maintain the plane.  Charles Edward Taylor is considered to be the world’s first aviation mechanic.  He built the first successful engine for the Wright Brothers, and taught them how to build engines.  He was the lead mechanic on the first transcontinental flight in 1911.  Below is a replica of the 1911 Burgess-Wright Model F Flyer.

In World War I, this Curtis JN-4D “Jenny” was used by the Signal Corp for training.

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The plane below, a North American B-25J “Mitchell” was used to attack Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Although the planes inflicted minimal damage, troop moral increased, and Japan had to bring their fleet back home to protect their country from direct attack.

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The museum is packed full of planes.  In the first main building, they do not have an area where you can look down on the planes.

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The Boeing B-17G “Flying Fortress” were used in WWII for their strategic bombing of targets in Germany.  This plane is painted in the colors of the 493rd bomb group.

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The museum has a display on the role women played during WWII.  The number of women employed during WWII increased by 57%, and many women were employed in areas traditionally employed by men.

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With their red and white shark paint scheme, these Curtis P-40N planes went into combat against Japan.

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Curtis P-40N “Warhawk”

On the way to the second indoor building, we noticed this plane outside in the courtyard, the Lockheed (V) C-140B “Jetstar.” It was used by President Lyndon Johnson.  We were unaware the Presidents had smaller jets at their disposal.  There was no access to view this plane up close.

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The second building had some stairs where you could look over the planes from a higher vantage point.

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The F-16 “Fighting Falcon” has been the backbone of the Air Force since the mid 1970’s.  At speeds over Mach 2, (about 1400 mph), they are quite impressive! The museum has several on display, and this plane is from the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing assigned to Hill Air Force Base.

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The newest addition to the museum, is the F-16A Thunderbird, received in 2017.

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The outdoor display is just as impressive as the two indoor buildings.

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The B-1B Lancer, put in service in 1986, can carry the largest payload of guided and unguided weapons.

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Boeing B-1B Lancer

The C-130 Hercules, not as “svelte” as the B-1B, has been in use since 1956 as a cargo plane for troops and supplies.

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They had the back landing door open, to view the interior of the C-130.

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B-47 Stratojet

These photos are just a fraction of the planes on display at the museum.  If you are in the Ogden, Utah area, we would highly recommend a visit to this museum (free, donations accepted).   Thank you to all the men and women that have served our country, and keep us safe.

 

Quote for the Day:  “Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it.” – President Franklin Roosevelt

Bryce Canyon National Park

After our short trip to Page with Tom and Ellen, we headed up into Utah, to re-visit one of our favorite National Parks, Bryce Canyon.  The park contains the largest concentration of hoodoos, which are irregular columns of rock.  The hoodoos are formed through erosion of the cliffs from the wind, rain and snow.   As some of the rock formations erode away, new ones are created.  The park is always changing.  As we arrived in the park on May 1, just in time for what seems to be our annual May snowfall!

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Left Yuma too soon??

Given the snow, and our limited time in the park (2 days), we were not able to do any hiking in the park.  We stayed at Ruby’s Inn campground, in their brand new pull-thru section.  It’s pricey, but very nice.  The family that owns Ruby’s Campground, owns the majority of the businesses in the area.  And they hire a lot of work campers for the season.

 

We were able to meet up with our friend Bob, that we worked with at Amazon a few years ago.  Bob decided to get his commercial drivers license, with a passenger endorsement.  This has opened up a lot of high-paying work camping opportunities for him.  In order to ease up on overcrowding, and the pollution that goes along with it, the National Park service is using shuttle buses in many of the parks.  Bryce Canyon has a free shuttle service taking visitors to most of the viewpoints in the park.  Bob was able to get a job as a shuttle bus driver.  For those interested, it pays $24/hour, with a discounted RV site.

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Bob, Dan, Ellen, Tom and Jonell

When we told Bob that we were coming, he booked us on a free shuttle tour of the park, as he wanted to check out the tour as well.  If you plan on visiting Bryce, I would highly recommend the free tour.  This is separate from the regular shuttle that just takes you to the overlooks. It is called the Rainbow Point tour, and lasts three hours.

This is the view from Rainbow Point, elevation 9115 feet.  The park borders Dixie National Forest, and off into the distance is Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

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This is the view at Agua Canyon, elevation 8800 feet.  Can you see the “face” in the rock formation on the left?

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The Natural Bridge is at elevation 8627 feet.

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The view at Bryce Point, elevation 8296 feet, is one of the prettiest in the park, containing many hoodoos.  You can hike down into the canyon to get a better view of the rock formations.

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More views at Bryce Point…

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There are over 60 miles of hiking trails in the park, and someday we will return to hike down into the canyon for a closer look at these amazing hoodoo formations.

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One thing I want to point out for anyone traveling to Bryce Canyon in an RV, they have two arches that you have to drive through to get to the park.  For whatever reason, they have signs stating 13 feet, 6 inches.  This would give pause to anyone driving an RV, particularly a fifth wheel.  The height of our 5th wheel is 13-3.  I’m not sure who did the measuring, but as you can see from Tom and Ellen’s fifth wheel going through the arch, there is plenty of room.

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If you are interested in Astronomy, they have special programs at the park in June; and in July, they have programs for those interested in Geology.  We plan on coming back to the park someday to hike down into the canyon.

Quote for the Day:  “Stepping out onto any lookout, you are invited to connect with an amazing example of some of the most unusual terrain on this planet, making you feel as though you are stepping foot on the edge of another world.” – Stefanie Payne

 

 

 

A quick trip to Page, Arizona

We had a one-day stop in Page, Arizona, with our friends Tom and Ellen, and certainly made the best of a rainy day, with a quick trip between storms to see Horseshoe Bend Overlook and tour Lower Antelope Canyon.  The scenery was spectacular, even if the weather was not co-operating.

HORSESHOE BEND OVERLOOK

Horseshoe Bend Overlook is where the Colorado River makes a 270 degree bend around the rocks in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  I’ve seen many photographs of this area, but never really knew where it was.  The orange rock is Navajo Sandstone.

After you park and walk up a small hill, you are greeted with this view.  If you look closely, you can see dozens of people in the middle right of the picture.

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All those people were looking at this:

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Horseshoe Bend Overlook

If you look really close at the above picture, down at the bottom of the middle, you may notice a couple of yellow kayaks.  Here is a zoomed in photo:

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Yes, there were people tent camping right on the bend.  And, there is even an outhouse down there (not sure who gets to clean that!).  I think this would be an amazing spot to kayak and tent camp overnight at.  Not sure if this requires a special permit or not.

Even though they charge $11.00 for parking, it is definitely worth a stop to see this overlook…even in the rain!

LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON TOUR

We were scheduled for a late afternoon tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, but it was cancelled due to the rain.  Flash flooding is a serious concern, and several people were killed a few years ago when the canyon flooded before they could get out.  This is why the only way to enter the canyon now, is with a guided tour.  Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the next morning.

Lower Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, made out of Navajo Sandstone.  The tour takes about one hour, and you will walk approximately one mile.  There are stairs leading down into the canyon, and back out of the canyon.  In between, you have many slots to pass through.  It’s not recommended for people who are claustrophobic, but the beauty of the canyon may keep your mind off the fact that you are in a small space.  My photos really do not do justice to the colors of the sandstone.

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Going down into the canyon

There are many narrow passages…

 

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Lots of different formations made over time by the wind and water coming through the canyon…

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The light shining down from above, creates different shades of color throughout the day…

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Canyon Arch

Before they added stairs, visitors would climb up the rocks using the gouges in the rocks shown below.

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We had a great time during our all too brief visit to Page.  There are many things to do in the area, and we are considering stopping back in the fall on our way back to Arizona.  But work beckons, so we had to keep going on our journey.  Stay tuned…

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Dan, Jonell, Ellen and Tom

Quote for the Day:  “All the lessons are in nature.  You look at the way rocks are formed – the wind and the water hitting them, shaping them, making them what they are.  Things take time, you know?” – Diane Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sedona: visiting a Chapel and a Castle

We have arrived in Moran, Wyoming for our summer work camping job at Luton’s Teton Cabins.  I still have to finish up on our posts about our drive up to the Tetons from Arizona.  Today’s post will finish up our brief trip to Sedona, Arizona, where we visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and Montezuma Castle.

CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS

The Chapel was inspired and funded by a local artist, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, and completed in 1956.  She wanted to build the Chapel as a monument to faith.  The view of the Chapel is impressive, approximately 250 feet tall.

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Chapel of the Holy Cross

St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Sedona runs the Chapel, and holds Taize Prayer services on Monday evening.  That is the only service that is held in the Chapel on a regular basis.  Weddings are permitted, but many restrictions apply.  A small parking lot is at the base of the Chapel, and there is a long, winding walkway up to the entrance.

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Walkway to Chapel entrance

The view of the area is stunning.

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Parking lot and surrounding scenery

The interior of the Chapel is small, and there is a gift shop in the basement.

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The Chapel is a stunning place to visit, say a prayer, and remember loved ones.  The plaque by this angel states “And He shall give his angel charge over you to keep you in all ways.”

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MONTEZUMA CASTLE

South of Sedona, in Camp Verde, is Montezuma Castle National Monument.  Between 1100 and 1300, Southern Sinagua farmers built a five-story dwelling into a cliff about 100 feet above the valley floor.  It is believed the building had a total of 45 rooms.   The Castle became a national monument in 1906, and up until the 1950’s,  visitors were able to climb up ladders to view the Castle up close.

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The bushes in front of the cliff are the Creosote Bush, among the oldest plants on Earth.  Creosote has been used to treat everything from toothaches to chicken pox.

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A 45-room “Castle”

They believe this area was chosen due to it’s close proximity to water, and native vegetation that they could live off of.  Beaver Creek is just a few hundred yards from the cliff.

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Beaver Creek

After the park service discontinued letting people climb up 100 foot tall ladders to view the Castle up close, they built this diorama so visitors could get a better idea of what life was like in the Castle.

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For the past several years, I have been getting “stamps” at all the places operated by the  National Park Service that we visit.  Our friend Ellen decided that was a great way to keep a record of the places that her and Tom visit, and she purchased her own National Parks Passport book.  Here is Ellen getting her very first stamp of Montezuma Castle!  This year they also have a 100th anniversary stamp of the death of Teddy Roosevelt, in addition to the regular stamps.

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Quote for the Day:  “Travel makes one modest.  You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

A quick trip to Sedona

After a relaxing week at Pueblo El Mirage RV and Golf resort in El Mirage, Arizona, we headed north to Camp Verde, Arizona, where we met up with our friends Tom, Ellen, Kathy and Steve.  They are on their way to the West Yellowstone, Montana area for their summer jobs.  We stayed at Distant Drums RV Resort, a very nice park, and conveniently located to everything we wanted to see.  There are so many things to see and do in northern Arizona, that we may have to consider a summer work camping job here just to see everything!  (it’s at a higher elevation, so the temperatures are not so hot in the summer).

We took a drive up to Sedona (about 15 miles north of Camp Verde) and did a short hike to view Cathedral Rock from Oak Creek Park.

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Steve, Kathy, Ellen, Tom, Dan and I

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Cathedral Rock in Sedona

 

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old pump house and water wheel

The trail winds around Oak Creek river, and many people have stopped to stack rocks, which is called cairns.

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Cairn rocks

We did attempt to watch a sunset over the rocks in Sedona.  The sunset itself was a bit of a dud that night, but the color changes on Thunder Mountain were nice.

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Thunder Mountain before sunset

 

As the sun was setting….

 

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Long shadows, followed by the rocks lighting up from the setting sun…

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Dan decided to photo bomb my sunset pictures!

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Stay tuned, more to come from Sedona

Quote for the day:  “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.” – Mattie Stepanek