2019 Travels May thru December travel blog

Niagarar Falls Air Reserve Station

Jeff Baxter

NY "Grandkids"

NY "Grandkids"

Cousin Cindy & Pete

German Town (Columbus) Ohio

Kirtland, Ohio Temple

Kirtland, Ohio Temple

Pennsylvania Rest Stop

Arriving in Indiana

Passing Thru Illinios

Quality Inn Stop

Friends Steve & Maria

Maria's Special Dinner


We arrived at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base and were pleasantly surprised. My father spent a number of years in the Reserves and his units were usually given the “leftovers” of an active duty base. Not so with this one. They obviously have their own funding as seen by the numerous “new” buildings on base and how well cared for the grounds and buildings are. We arrived on Monday and most reservists work just on weekends, so the base seemed a bit empty. We saw a number of civilian workers and a few folks in uniform walking around, but many buildings were locked down.

The big surprise came to the quarters we had reserved. These rank in the top THREE of military quarters we had stayed in over the years. Nicely decorated, very clean with “roomy” rooms that had a microwave and decent sized small refrigerator. Of course the free coffee and hot chocolate, along with free washer and dryer was a huge plus. Very nice place.

We walked around the entire base the next day. The BX was closed on Monday and Tuesday (no customers?), but we plan to visit it on Wednesday. No commissary or gas station. NOTE: Did visit the BX the next day and I’m guessing at least 50% of what they sell is alcohol. Very small selection for other items.

I was interested in the mission of the base and found that currently, Air Refueling is #1. With the arrival of the KC-135R Strato Tanker in March of 1994, the 107th FG converted to its present mission as an air refueling wing known as the 107th ARW. The wing's primary task is to provide support for worldwide air refueling missions. Secondly, when called upon, the 107th ARW has the capability of using the KC-135R as a cargo and passenger hauler. Members of the 107th ARW have deployed and continue to deploy in support of world contingencies including Operations to include, but not limited to, Strong Resolve, Uphold Democracy, Deny Flight, Decisive Endeavor, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and the Northeast Tanker Task Force.

Today I received a FaceBook posting from an old friend from my Korea days in 1987-88. Jeff Baxter was the Administrative Staff for the Base Commander who spent a lot of his time keep me and others out of trouble. He was chastising me for being in his “backyard” (near Niagara Falls) and not letting him know that we were close by. Surprise, surprise – we were still here so we got to visit for a couple of hours over one (or two) drinks. Great visit.

Our last hurrah in the Niagara Falls area. First, our New York "grandkids" forced their parents to drive them from Rochester (three hour round trip) so we could all visit the Aquarium of the Niagara together. Had a great time there, but someone discovered that I had lost an ounce of two since they last saw me so decided it was time for another lunch. 𯘲 Love you guys!!𯘍𯘍

After an hour or so "rest" we then met a newly discovered 2nd cousin, the daughter of my favorite Kavanagh cousin who recently passed. Had a great visit with Cindy and her fiance, Pete. Looking forward to many more conversations and memory building with them. 𯘘

Today we left the falls area and headed for Columbus, Ohio – a one night stop. On the way we visited the original and very first Mormon Temple located in Kirtland, Ohio, which now belongs to the Community of Christ who still operate using the Book of Mormon (yeah, I’m a bit confused too). Evidently, Kirtland is as far as Joseph Smith led his flock before he headed out to Illinois where he was killed by a mob. Brigham Young took over the flock and when he wanted to continue to move west Smith's wife rebelled and stayed in Kirtland with her sons. This is at least one version of how the group started breaking apart and forming their own versions of the religion.

Some Temple history: The Kirtland Temple is a National Historic Landmark in Kirtland, Ohio, United States, on the eastern edge of the Cleveland metropolitan area. Owned and operated by the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), the house of worship was the first temple to be built by adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement. The design mixes the Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival architectural styles.

Beginning in 1831, members of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) under the direction of church founder and president Joseph Smith, began to gather in the Kirtland area. In December 1832 Smith reported to have received a revelation that called for the construction of a house of worship, education, and order. On May 6, 1833, Smith reported that he had received a revelation from God, directing members of the church to construct "a house ... wholly dedicated unto the Lord for the work of the presidency," "dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, according to the order of the priesthood." Directions were given to build a "lower court and a higher court," and a promise given that the Lord's "glory shall be there, and [his] presence shall be there." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants D&C 94:3–9 RLDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 91:3). This building which would have sat next to the Kirtland Temple was never started, nor the third building which was to be a house for the printing operations of the church. Instead the functions of this office building ended up in the attic of the Kirtland Temple. The date of this document is also in question as it makes reference to the Kirtland Temple which is described in the following section of the Doctrine Covenants and dated June 1, 1833.

Construction commenced soon thereafter, quarrying Berea sandstone from the base of Gildersleeve Mountain, and gathering lumber from the surrounding area, particularly from the gravel pits on the other side of Gildersleeve mountain along Hobart Road. Church members donated labor and building materials, including glass and pottery which was ground up into the stucco.

The Kirtland Temple was not originally white on the exterior as it is today. The original exterior was a bluish-gray according to Truman Coe, a local minister in the 1830s. The roof is believed to have been red, and the front doors olive green. Presently, only the doors are the original color. The first structure of its kind to be built by the Latter Day Saint movement, the Kirtland Temple is different in purpose from the Nauvoo temple built in the 1840s. It is different in both design and purpose from the temples built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) portion of the movement in latter years as they embraced and grew from Nauvoo temple theology.

The lower inner court is used primarily for various worship services. It has two sets of pulpits, one set on either end, and the pews featured an adjustable design which allowed the audience to face either end. The second floor was designed for education, and was to house a school for church leaders known as the "School of Mine Apostles" (See School of the Prophets). Use of the third floor alternated use between general academic classes during the day, Church quorum meetings in the evenings, the Kirtland Theological Institution, the School of the Elders (possibly an enlargement of the school of the prophets, and may have been destined to become the school of mine apostles), Church offices, including that of Smith, were also located on the third floor. At the time of construction, none of the ordinances associated with LDS temple worship, such as baptism by proxy, had been instituted.

After touring the temple with a guide we continued our travels and ended up in Columbus, Ohio around “German Village”, a historical site. Since we were in German Village and we were staying at the German Village Inn for the night, it just seemed “right” that we have a German dinner of Bratwursts, Pretzel buns and Wienerschnitzel along with German Potato Salad and Sauerkraut. Since my allergies won’t allow the drinking of beer, I was “forced” to enjoy an Absolute Vodka and Cranberry Juice (just for medicinal purposes, of course).

A highway bridge over Interstate 70 is all that separates the German Village Historic District from downtown Columbus, but as one looks east from the interstate, the difference between old and new is glaring. A 20+ story structure sits just north of the interstate bridge, and just south, in German Village, no structure is higher than three stories. Five blocks south, the spire of St. Mary Church stands 197’ off the sidewalk and towers over everything around it. Structures and sidewalks are orange masonry, and many streets (about half) are still brick pavers. German Village does not have a recreated sense of history or kitschy Bavarian feel ~ rather, it is a neighborhood with architecture dating from the 1840s-1890s that has been preserved, and its use as a shared residential and commercial neighborhood has been maintained. People walk to their destinations, park on the street due to the overwhelming absence of driveways, and live life at a very pedestrian level. The neighborhood is extremely dense ~ very often only inches separate neighboring structures, and many structures were built for multi-family use. German Village is notably different because its appearance has changed so little.

Last night we arrived in Carmel, Indiana for a one night stay and to visit with another cousin I hadn't met yet. He is the son of another Kavanagh cousin who passed a number of years ago. Interesting visit.

In my search for hotels/motels I try to keep it simple and inexpensive, but not too inexpensive --- because you will get what you pay for (ref our stay in Days Inn – NEVER AGAIN). I usually look for Three Stars and above, but those ratings aren’t always “correct” so I also look to comments from past customers on TripAdvisor; that usually works out fairly well. I also try to get something that is close to the interstate that we’ll be traveling the next day so I don’t have to drive through the middle of town when leaving.

Today the “winner” was a Holiday Inn Express, our first time in this chain because their rates are usually higher than others around them. But, like I said, you sometimes get what you pay for and in this case we were happy. A nice, large, clean room with a king bed, mini frig and microwave, pool and spa down the hall and a full breakfast (can only see half the room in our photo).

I think I mentioned earlier that if you want to know what “breakfast included” means in a motel’s ad, you really need to call them. Yesterday in the German Village Inn breakfast was juice (a combination of orange and apple; don’t know if they meant it to be that way, but that’s how it came out of the spicket), packaged pastries (not fresh), bagels, yogurt and coffee. Today’s breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express is coffee/tea, four different juices, bagels, bread (for toasting), yogurt, egg white-veggie omelets, cheese omelets, bacon, sausage, pancakes, various dry cereals and oatmeal and biscuits and gravy. All this makes the extra $30 we paid for this stay vs yesterday all worth it.

After another “healthy” breakfast this morning, we’re off to the St Louis, Missouri area to visit old friends and rest up for a few days.

We arrived at the Quality Inn of Florissant, Missouri with no problems. Julieann tries to take photos as we pass through another state, but she was sleeping on the job between Illinois and Missouri.

This was the first Quality Inn that we have stayed with and the price was almost half what I paid for the Holiday Inn Express, which gave me cause for some concern. I did not want to live through another Days Inn experience, but we were very pleasantly surprised. Although we're paying half the price for the room, it was almost as large as the Holiday Inn room and just as clean. I checked the breakfast area and it looks like we’ll be having a decent breakfast, not just bagels and coffee.

As it turned out, this morning we had an excellent breakfast, almost the same as the Holiday Inn Express. No complaints. Getting our money’s worth is a great feeling.

While in the area we visited dear friends (since the 1970’s), Steve & Maria, who are finally retired. My offer to take them out to dinner at a restaurant was shot down by Maria who INSISTED on cooking us a home cooked Italian dinner (she’s from Naples). Over the years I’ve learned not to argue (much) with the female gender so I allowed her to win the argument (and we won a fantastic meal). You can tell by the photos that she was trying very hard to impress me and she succeeded. Love these guys! But, before we left the area we did get a chance to repay them (a little) with a BBQ dinner. Julieann snuck away from the table and paid the tab.

Next stop Branson, Missouri

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