Jillian & Bob

European adventures 2017

Homeward bound

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05 October – Moscow was not in a particularly good mood weather wise and with both of us nursing colds we only ventured out in the cold and wet to get fed and did not do any more exploring of this great city.

06-10 October – Our taxi arrived right on time and our anticipated journey out to the airport was just a little over 30 minutes not the 90 that we were expecting.  We had plenty of time for breakfast before boarding our flight to Oslo arriving 2 1/2 hours later.  The Flytoget fast train whizzed us all the way to Drammen in under an hour (Oh to have this form of transport in NZ!!) where our friend Roald met us for the final leg back up the hill to his house.

We had a few days of R&R with Roald with a little local tripping around – including a great visit to the Kon Tiki and Viking ship museums.  The Viking Ship had on display three viking ships which had been retrieved from burial mounds along with all the possessions that had been buried along with them.  One of the ships in particular was extremely well-preserved.

The Oseberg ship could be both sailed and rowed. There are 15 oar holes on each side so fully manned, the ship would have had 30 oarsmen. In addition, there was a helmsman at the steering oar and a lookout who stood in the bow. The oars are made of pine, and some of them show traces of painted decorations. The oars show no signs of wear, so perhaps they were made especially for the burial. The ship was built in southwestern Norway around the year 820, and is made of oak. Each of the strakes overlaps the one below and they are fixed with iron rivets. The side of the ship consists of 12 strakes. Below the waterline, they are only 2‒ 3 cm thick, while the two upper strakes are a little thicker. The deck is made of loose pine planks. The mast is also pine and was between 10 and 13 metres high.

This cart is one of the artifacts buried in the boat, composed of parts made of different types of wood. It can be dismantled for transport, for example by ship. The frame of the cart is of oak and the cart has two shafts made of ash joined by a short iron chain. The cart has probably been pulled by two horses, one on each side of the shafts.

11/12 October – All too soon we said our farewells to Roald with the hope that he might come back to NZ for a visit.  The Flytoget had us back at the airport in good time for our flight to the USA – unfortunately via Munich which added about 4 unnecessary hours on to our flight time.  A nighttime arrival in Washington DC wasn’t the best for trying to find our way to the hotel, so we were rather tired by the time we got settled in.  The location was good though for our visit the following morning to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.  Housed in a huge hangar was a nicely laid out selection of old and new planes as well including a the Enola Gay, a Blackbird,  and the space shuttle Discovery.

Enola Gay at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Space Shuttle DiscoveryBoeing Aviation Hangar

A good few hours later we set off for Severna Park near Annapolis for our visit with friends Scott and Donna who kindly put us up in their lovely cottage apartment.

13 October – Scott and Donna had suggested prior our arrival that we might like to visit the Harley Davidson museum up in York, Pennsylvania and had pre-booked for us all the Steel Toe tour.  A pretty hour’s drive north to York and the HD factory – the tour was interesting as were taken right through the assembly process and able to get up close and personal with all that was happening.  We were very impressed with the quality testing that is performed throughout the process.

14 October – Scott and Donna took us for a visit to a property their son had recently bought which requires renovation.  Built in the 1950’s, it was never properly finished and despite being lived in, fell into disrepair, but on a beautiful waterfront site in a tidal inlet off Chesapeake Bay. Quite a project for them to get their teeth into, so must go back again in a couple of years to see the finished job!  We followed this with a visit to an Amish market and wow what a store – it was divided into different sections – bakery, meat, cheeses, preserves, prepared meals, fruit and vege and was so busy.  The market is only open 3 days a week – the Amish travel in from a few hours away – getting up in the wee small hours to bring in all the produce but the majority of the cooking was done on site – so the smells were very tempting.

In the afternoon Scott took us all in their boat for a trip up and down the Severn river right up to the Naval Academy in Annapolis.  The houses that back on to this river are magnificent – on large tracts of land with equally large houses.

15-28 october – On the road again we had a good drive up to Michigan over the next few days, getting to Harpers Ferry in an hour and half; enjoyed the historic ambience there and did some walking up the old C&O Canal towpath for a while after lunch.  Took the old National Pike Hwy 40 up to Uniontown, Pa. in just over a couple of hours for the night.

We put away the GPS and used the map book to follow scenic and interesting byways through some of small town America.  Surprised at the number of Amish in West Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.  Stopped for lunch at the only cafe in a little place called Liberty Centre in Ohio and found the owner to be an ex P51 pilot active in the Korean War who said the Australian/NZ pilots there taught him so much about combat flying!!  What an interesting man, who was delighted with a couple of foreign banknotes we gave him to brag to his friend.  He responded by saying the lunch was on him and wouldn’t take any payment!!  It’s so much more fun on the back roads than always driving the interstate.  Finally made our way up to Stockbridge just north of Ann Arbor, MI for a visit to old friend Suzi who has been president of the US Norton Owners Club for many years, and for Bob to catch up with an old biker friend Joe in Lansing.

There was a big deceased estate motorcycle parts and books auction there last week, so Bob got to have a private viewing of the lots one day while I helped out Suzi at the local market.  That sounds like a fair division of opportunity doesn’t it?  Still haven’t heard what Bob bought at the auction after giving Joe his top prices!

Had an easy run on back roads from Stockbridge over to Plainwell to stay with Dave and Dixie in their luxurious RV, who we met three years ago in Arizona – very pleasant scenery and little traffic, without having to go through any large towns.  Visited the Gilmore motor museum at Hickory Corners with them the following day, we visited here last time we passed through but the displays are always changing so a lot of new vehicles were on display, plus a few more buildings had been built.  Lunch at the little diner on site kept us fortified for the rest of the day’s viewing.
Next we carried on south towards Lafayette, stopping at Auburn, Indiana to inspect the Auburn/Duesenburg Museum for a couple of hours; very interesting with good information and examples through the ages of Indiana built vehicles.  A surprise was several other museums all in the same town – auto/trucks, V8 Fords, airplanes, carriages, local history, etc.  You could stay a couple of days in Auburn to do them all justice!
Got to Lafayette in good time and went to the Speedway museum at Indianapolis with Judi and Colin who we met a couple of years ago at Mullins in LA.  The tour included a circuit of the track, by coach unfortunately, but did get to ‘kiss the bricks’.  The spectator stands at this complex seat over 370,000 people!
Quite a good collection of past race winners in their museum, but not much on all the drivers except AJ Foyt for whom there was a special display.  It is clear that kiwi Scott Dixon is held in very high regard, one guide telling me that he thought Scott was the best driver around by far!  When you see film of the crash he had recently and survived almost uninjured, it is a credit to the current rules and safety measures.
Colin has built an eight cylinder engine from two Suzuki motors which he is putting into a 1935 Bugatti Type 35 kit-car!  An ambitious project which we need to go back and inspect once the first test run is organised!
The following day was quite a long drive to end at Maquoketa north of Davenport, Iowa, but it put us in a good position to reach the National Motorcycle Museum at Anamosa the next morning.  Rumour had it that after the recent death of the founder it was likely to close up, but we were assured that the benefactors were intending to keep it in operation for the foreseeable future.
This museum is really good, not as big as Barber or Maggie Valley but with lots of diversity of machines, memorabilia, mannequins in period gear, toys, models, posters, tools and workshop equipment from the post WW2 period.  Perhaps a little light on earlier models except for Harley-Davidson, Indian and Flying Merkel, but well laid out and we rate it overall one of the best in the country, if not in the world.
Then it was on to Madison in Wisconsin to put us in a good position to get to the Harley Museum in Milwaukee the following morning which was another great experience, although Bob isn’t yet convinced that he needs one, then on to O’Hare for our flight to Seattle Saturday.
Fortunately the traffic on the way out of town in the morning was a little more user friendly than that on the way there the previous afternoon.  We decided to drop off the rental that evening rather than having to mess around early the next morning.  It was a good move apart from having to wait in the really chilly evening air for the shuttle back to the hotel.
28 October – Very cold start to our day as we shuttled back to Chicago O’Hare which wasn’t too busy for our flight to Seattle – with our TSA precheck it meant that we didn’t have the tedium of queuing through security and divesting ourselves of shoes, belts etc.  American Airlines was on time leaving – a very full flight and very scenic as we neared Seattle going over the ranges with a slight dusting of snow and alongside Mt St Helens and Mt Rainer.  Arrived in Seattle to be greeted with a lovely clear sunny day, picked up our rental to head north to our friends Joan and Eric.



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