August 4, 2011 Dayton, OH

John: Today is planned as a total immersion aviation day. But first, some tennis. We go back to the courts we found yesterday, glad that they are dry. They are, however, in pretty tough shape. We choose the one court that doesn’t have tufts of weed grass poking up into the playing surface. Many creative bounces, to put it kindly.

Mary: As usual, the bounces are kindlier to John. Or so it seems. I will never get to the point where I can be competitive. And I am nothing if not competitive.

John: On to aviation, more stops on the Dayton Aviation Trail.

Mary: I wish I were more enthusiastic about seeing airplanes again today.

John: First we visit the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center and Wright Brothers Memorial, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We see a film about Dayton’s contribution to aeronautical engineering and examine some exhibits about the various technologies developed by the Wright Brothers and others. Clark and Lewis charm the park rangers with stories of our trip. We take the obligatory set of pictures and head off in search of lunch.

Clark and Lewis charm the Park Ranger

John: After lunch, we head to the National Museum of the Air Force and Aviation Hall of Fame on the grounds of Wright-Patterson AFB.

Mary: One word about lunch – after telling the server no cheese, no croutons, no dressing on the salad and no mayo on the half turkey sandwich, she bring us a half sandwich where the bread has been dipped in some sort of grease and grilled on the flattop. I am exhausted with trying to get people not to add extra fat.

John: The museum, thankfully indoors, houses about 400 military planes from pre-WWI through today. It is amazing to see just how small the early fighters were compared to today’s versions, which seem even bigger than some WWII bombers! (I seek out full-size versions of all the plastic models of aircraft I built as a kid. I was an aviation junkie then; I confess I still am.)

Mary: I am getting really tired. I am seeking out videos where I can sit. The museum is three giant hangar type structures with add-ons.

Mary in front of some WWII airplane

John: A sobering moment comes when we reach the display of the B-29 Superfortress nicknamed “Bockscar”. This was the WWII plane that dropped the second atomic bomb, the one on Nagasaki, three days after its sister ship, the “Enola Gay” dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima. As we approach the 66th anniversary of these events, we can only hope that humanity never again makes use of this destructive power.

Plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki
F-16 fighter

John: Mary and I, along with our little buddies Clark and Lewis, are full of aviation facts and tired feet. We take off for our hotel.

Later, we find a McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner and have a wonderful meal. Yum, scallops.

Mary: Double yum, scallops!

John: We’ve enjoyed our stay in Dayton. Tomorrow, we start our journey to DC and Maryland Eastern Shore!

Mary: I am so looking forward to seeing my sister, Peggy, and her husband, Ted. Big birthday celebration for Peg next week! And thanks again to John for writing most of the blog tonight. Going out to dinner, watching SYTYCD, and writing the Adventures of Clark and Lewis left me scant time tonight to get everything done.

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