Located on the grounds of Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the Wright Brothers rode the interurban trolley Monday through Saturday during the 1904 and 1905 flying season to this cow pasture and worked on perfecting their flying machine. Although the original airplane hangar is not here, the Simms Station Platform for the trolley stop is here along with many informational kiosks, photos, an Ohio Historical Marker, and grassland. The trolley made it possible for the Wright Brothers to haul tools, materials and parts for their flying machines. I talked to an elderly man back in 1918 who told me his uncle drove the trolley and would pick the Wright Brothers up at Simms Station in the evening. The is the third site of six total sites that make up this National Historic Park.
This UH-19B Sikorsky Chickasaw Helicopter, built in 1962, served in the Korean War as a rescue and medical evacuation helicopter and is haunted by the pilot who died on the last mission. The helicopter has a 400-pound hoist above the door and an external sling that can hold 2,000 pounds. Claims include seeing the pilot in the pilot’s seat, bloodstains on the seat, and flickering lights inside of this Vietnam era helicopter. The ghost pilot appears late at night reliving the last moments of his last mission over and over again.
This is no April Fool’s joke. Built in 1966, this CH-3E Sikorsky is haunted claims numerous AF Museum night janitors and security guards. This transport helicopter flew many high level, classified secret missions and daring rescue missions. The Sikorsky was armor sides, two machine guns, rescue hoist and ability to refuel in mid-air. Cruising speed was 154 mph. Claims include hearing voices and moans from the soldiers that died in the helicopter during missions. This was confirmed by a volunteer who was stationed near the helicopter. There were still bullet holes in the sides of the helicopter that verified its combat activity.
This 5K running race was a Memorial Day morning tradition for Rosie and me. Beginning at the University of Dayton Arena parking lot, we ran across the Stewart Street Bridge over the Great Miami River, down Patterson Blvd, around Carillon Bells and through Carillon Park. We then ran back out onto Patterson and back around to Welcome Stadium where we ran one quarter mile lap on the outdoor track to the finish line. Usually about 500 runners participated. We ran this race nine different years.
This was the only time I ran faster than my wife in a 5K race. I ran a 21 minute 10 second 5K. Rosie was an elite runner and always finished in the top five women overall in every race or first or second in her age group. So today was divine intervention, or perhaps it was the pint of Jack Daniels I drank before the race. She went out extremely fast with a 6 minute 30 second first mile and was a little tuckered out by that last mile. On a downhill road about a half mile from the finish line I smacked her on the rear end as I passed her up. I had great energy and kept up my speed to beat her by about 50 yards. Lucky for me a friend who wasn’t running that day took photos of me before and during the race to document this incredible upset victory.
I am proud to say that I lured this organization to hold their 36-mile bike ride at Wax Park in Moraine. The ride began at the shelter house at the park, proceeded southwest on roads to Germantown Metroparks dam and on west to Farmersville and back. It was a nice day and Rosie, me, and Kevin Thomas took our time and enjoyed the ride while Larry Sabin and Mike Wuebben biked ahead. The Main Street bike path hill in Moraine and the ascent up to the Germantown dam were challenging but the country roads provided relaxing scenery. Over 80 bike riders participated in the event.
We ran this race several times, the last time with three other couples that we played racquetball with. Sponsored by the Cincinnati Reds, we began the race outside of the baseball stadium. We ran through the downtown streets of Cincinnati, entered the stadium from right field and ran a half lap around the ballfield to the finish line. That was cool finishing and looking up into the stands. About 1,500 runners participated. Each runner received a free ticket to the Reds baseball game which started about two hours after the race. The downside was that it was a hot day, and we were quite sweaty and sticky sitting in our seats throughout the game. Still a great experience.
Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Holly Miller, Jacque Kelly
Date: 2013, 2014, 2015
This 100-foot-tall white sandstone obelisk completed in 1960 was America’s first National Historic Landmark. The monument honors Sgt. Charles Floyd, a member & quartermaster of the Lewis & Clark Expedition who died at age 22 on the upstream voyage in 1804. He was buried here. The expedition explored the Louisiana Purchase. The monument overlooks the Missouri River valley on a bluff. Just north along the river and interstate is the Sgt. Floyd River Museum. The drydocked 138-foot-long riverboat was built in 1932 and also serves as a welcome center. Son Matt was a pre-season football NAIA All-American Team selection who played defensive end at nearby Briar Cliff University. In-between cancer treatments, we attended his home college football games at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, South Dakota. We often stopped by the Sioux City obelisk and museum.
Sitting around the campfire reminded me of this popular, hilarious western United States urban legend – the legend of the Jackalope. This urban legend always makes me laugh. It reminds me of when camping, I would send my kids out at night with a flashlight and small paper bag for them to go snipe hunting to catch the non-existent snipe.
For those unfamiliar with the jackalope legend, the fake hybrid is said to have first ‘come to life’ in 1932 when Douglas Herrick and his brother conceived of the creature while tinkering in their hobby of taxidermy. Their curious creation became something of a sensation, and over the years, countless versions of the antlered animal were crafted by various artisans. Basically, the jackalope is half jack rabbit and half antelope. How this small animal and large animal could mate is beyond me. In time, all manner of tall tales became attached to the jackalope, which has been depicted as something of a vicious trickster that lured unsuspecting cowboys to their doom by mimicking a human voice and then, upon drawing its victims close, swiftly attacking them with the tiny antlers atop its head. Cowboys were told not to be fooled by its diminutive size and adorable appearance and to “Fear the Jackalope.”
According to folklore, the jackalope was not above being fooled itself as it is said that the creature could be captured if one left a glass of whiskey beside a fire. What cracks me up is that the jackalope supposedly can imitate a human voice. Cowboys singing to their herds at night have been startled to hear their lonesome melodies repeated from a hillside by a jackalope. Jackalopes only sing on dark nights before a thunderstorm. So, this legend is ridiculously silly but a great story to tell when sitting around the campfire. I included a few photos of the kids and me a long time ago riding a giant jackalope at Wall, South Dakota.
The Towpath Trail runs 20 miles through the national park following the original 308 mile Ohio & Erie Canal which was built between 1825 to 1832. The canal ran from Lake Erie near Cleveland south to Portsmouth on the Ohio River. We began bicycling north from the Boston Mill Visitor Center past Lock 32, one of many well-maintained locks with wayside exhibits. The canal is actually full of water in many areas and two of the locks are used to demonstrate to visitors how they rise and lower water. At one point along the bike trail we had the canal on the east and the fast-moving Cuyahoga River. We biked north past the Frazee House to the Canal Exploration Center and turned around after eight miles. We headed back south passing the Boston Mill Visitor Center to the Peninsula Depot where the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train stops to pick up passengers. The railroad tracks paralleled some of the Towpath Trail as we biked south. We reached the historical Hunt House Park Farm and Beaver Marsh about 9.4 miles south of Boston Mill. We relaxed at the wetland habitat overlooking a lily covered pond looking for fish, beaver, and turtles.
We biked north a half mile and turned left onto Everett Road where we biked a half mile to the haunted Everett Covered Bridge. I conducted a paranormal investigation there which is a separate adventure which you can find under the Paranormal Category. We eventually biked back to the Towpath Trail and biked nine miles back to the Boston Mill Visitor Center. Overall, we bicycled about 35 miles north and south on the Towpath Trail.