Home Is Where We Park It: Harvest Host, Stafford Air and Space Museum, Weatherford, OK
September 4, 2019
So long, farewell, it’s been nice but now it’s time to go. We’re back on the road today heading toward Deming, NM. We’ll take it in three hops of about 3 to 4 hours travel time each. Today is the first leg of the trip.
When we awoke this morning it was already starting to warm up. At 8 am we were already at 74 degrees. We were in no rush knowing that we didn’t want to get to Weatherford much before 1:30 or 2 pm. We had our breakfast, a couple of cups of coffee then we disconnected from the mother ship and were on the road at 10 am.
I really didn’t know what to expect this trip in terms of traffic, road quality and construction. Several people had told me the last couple of days to expect the worse on Route 40 when going through Oklahoma City. Time would tell.
So what happened? No traffic the whole way. Not even going through the city. Some construction just before we got into the heart of the city. The kind of construction that gives me the willies. They bring the concrete barriers right up to the white line on either side leaving little margin for error. That’s OK I take my share out of the middle and move over only when someone wants to pass me. Road quality overall was excellent. Finally a state that has decent roads. I know three states that can take a lesson from them.
First and only stop was for gas. No surprises this time. Plenty of room to get in and out and back on the Interstate.
As planned we arrived in at The Stafford Air and Space Museum at 1:30 pm.
They have four large lanes for RV’s since they are part of Harvest Host. We’re in one and there is another rig behind us. The lot is level, the jacks are down on this side only because we have the slide out; we have the generator running, and the AC going so even though it is 92 degrees outside we are comfortable within. Tomorrow morning we’ll be able to swing right out and get on our way.
Yes, I toured the Museum and it is absolutely fantastic. More about what’s inside in a future blog. Here are some of the planes that are outside and on display.
This is a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. Nicknamed the T Bird it was the first operational jet fighter trainer. It’s development was critical for the training of military pilots to the higher performance and unique handling characteristics of jet fighters that came into service during WW II. First flown in 1948 it would become the primary jet trainer for the USAF and the U.S Navy during the 50’s and 60’s until new trainers like the T-37 and T-38 came on line.
This is the Fairchild – Republic A 10 Thunderbold. Because of its toughness and its ability to survive just about anything its pilots and crews nicknamed it the The Warthog or just simply the Hog.
It was the only aircraft whose airframe was totally designed around a gun. But it wasn’t just any gun. It was a General Electric 30 mm cannon that made it so famous and so lethal.
How big was it? Take a look.
The ammunition it fired was equally impressive. The size of beer bottles! 200 rounds per minute, 70 of them per second! Can penetrate 3 inches of battle armor! I sure would not want to be on the receiving end. If that was not enough it could also carry 16,000 lbs of hard ordinance under its wings and fuselage.
Next one on display was the F 104 Starfighter. First flown in 1956 it was a revolutionary supersonic tactical strike fighter that would go on to break all previous speed and altitude records. It was the first production fighter to exceed twice the speed of sound in level flight and the first to fly higher than 100,000 feet altitude. It’s performance was achieved in two ways: by using the smallest possible fuselage for the engine used; and, by using the shortest and thinnest wing ever used on an aircraft. In fact, crews had to be careful around the wings to keep from getting cut. The wings also made it challenging to fly, sensitive to control and totally unforgiving of even the smallest pilot error.
Finally we have Boiler Plat #1210. A full sized Apollo Command Module that was no more than a test vehicle. It was an economical way to evaluate designs when an actual aircraft or module was not required. This one was used for landing and naval recovery training.
That’s it for now. More to come in future blogs.
That was our day on The Road of Retirement. Overall, an easy day with no surprises and a great Museum waiting at the end of the journey. We’ll take it.
Thanks again for joining us today. We always appreciate your company and your comments. Catch you tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road!