Travels with Charley

The cool camping blog. Trying to find gear, supplies, adventure and activities for the 21st century camper.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Activities - Transportation Museums

Many camping trips are built around historic locales. Mount Vernon, Washington DC, Mt Rushmore, the Alamo, and so on are popular vacation destinations every year. You could fill a whole website with all of the historical destinations possible in the United States, and I don’t intend to cover them all. Instead, I’d like to focus on a slice of history in America: Transportation.

Perhaps it’s America’s obsession with moving around this country, or the need for speed or whatever, but no other industry is as well represented by historical museums than transportation. And not just transportation, but individual modes for transport. Just do a google search on car museums.

Here’s a couple of cool ones in no particular order:

Planes
The granddaddy of them all, the Smithsonian Air & Space. They have the Wright flyer and Apollo 11, V2 rockets and they even had a Star Trek Enterprise model they used on the show. This place has the best of the pick of museum pieces in America. If you can only go to one, make it this one. Best part, this place is free.

Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. They have old bombers and a SR-71 Blackbird. While you’re in Ohio, be sure to check out the Neil Armstrong Museum, too.

For you West Coasters, there’s the San Diego Air Museum.

Trains
The National Parks System has a pretty cool historic site called Steamtown. This place is filled with a lot of old locomotives and rolling stock, many in working order. They even run the steam locomotives occasionally.

Out west, if trains are your thing, then you have to go to the California Railway Museum, where they have acres of old trains, many that were used in movies, like Back to the Future 3, and even Petticoat Junction!

Automobiles
Well, the must see when it comes to cars, and trains for that matter, is the Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI. Hundreds of old cars, including the limo that Kennedy was in when he was shot, and a Challenger locomotive, bigger than my house. Tons of really old Model T's, and even some of Henry Ford's original engines. This is the place to go for gear heads.

In Tacoma, WA, there's the LeMay Museum, that I have not been too, but looks to be fabulously filled with cars.

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