October, 2014

This trip to the final AMA flat track races of the year in Pomona, California was meant to be by motorcycle.  But, that didn't work out (new tires were not available in time).  No matter; this was a good opportunity to stop at a few places that I otherwise might not.

New Mexico

Just east of Moriarty, New Mexico is the Southwest Soaring Museum.  It might seem poor planning that this large building is not located on an airport, but there you go.  Sailplanes, of course, are often trailered, so this isn't the disadvantage that it would be for powered airplanes.

This is a relatively new museum, but they already have an impressive collection.

The Unser Racing Museum is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  There have been four generations of Unsers in various forms of American auto racing with, probably, Al and Bobbie being the more famous of all of them.


For decades the Unser name has been associated with the annual Pike's Peak Hill Climb.





The New Mexico Mining Museum is in Grants, New Mexico.  While all types of mining are discussed, the real focus of the museum is Uranium mining--which was once a big part of the local economy (but, no longer).



They've done a nice job of recreating a Uranium mine below the museum.  Our guide was an ex-miner who  knew every detail of the mine operations (he finished his career as a mine superintendent)



Sunset while driving towards Flagstaff.

Walnut Canyon National Monument is just east of Flagstaff.  For many hundreds of years people lived in dwellings built into the steep sides of this canyon.


Fair warning that there are 240 steps on the trail.





Williams, Arizona.

Kingman, Arizona.

The Kingman Route 66 Museum is in their old powerhouse building.  There are a number of similar museums all along Route 66.



Havasu Museum of History is in Havasu City.  The city is perhaps most famous for being the site of the old London Bridge, and the museum presents quite a bit on that effort to dismantle the bridge and rebuild it in the desert.


The bill-of-sale for the bridge is hand written (and, no; nobody thought they were really buying the Tower Bridge).


It won't be long before these post-war B17s are dismantled and fed into the smelter.

It's a remarkable thing.  The Colorado River was once navigable from the Gulf of California to ports even north of Havasu.  Today, of course, river water rarely reaches the ocean, let alone being deep enough to float a paddleboat.


I used the Havasu Ferry to cross the lake to the California side.  There's a casino over there, but I don't know that I'd recommend the trip for that reason alone.


The interior of the London Bridge is modern structural steel.  It won't be falling down.  I was told that one of the approach arches remains in London.



The General Patton Museum is south of Joshua Tree National Monument and is at the location for the old command center of the World War 2 training grounds (which were vast).



The steel frame (below) was mounted on a jeep and then covered in fabric to simulate a tank.



The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is just outside Palm Springs.  It's an impressively high tramway that actually rotates as it climbs up the mountain.



When it's hot in the valley, it will always be cool up here.


The Pomona fairgrounds track and grandstand is the site for the season-ending AMA flat track race.  The track is just over 1/2 mile long.





1st - Bryan Smith (2nd in championship points)
2nd - Jake Johnson (3rd in championship points)
3rd - Brad Baker
4th - Jared Mees (1st in championship points)
5th - Henry Wiles

The Yanks Air Museum is on the Chino airport (not far south of Pomona).  There are two large aviation museums within a mile of each other.  It's not clear to me if they even acknowledge each other.  The Yanks museum has civilian aircraft in addition to military, while the Planes-of-Fame museum is predominately military (with racing, as well).  Both are tremendous museums, and both are worth visiting.












Planes of Fame Air Museum - Chino, California











There's a second facility at the Planes of Fame Air Museum - Valle, Arizona.  I wonder how many people make the drive from one to the other?

A Sperry bombsight (B-24) on the left and a Norden bombsight (B-17) on the right.








  Sunset Crater National Monument is just north of Flagstaff.  About 900 years ago, this crater erupted and caused enormous devastation to the surrounding communities and agricultural land.  One of the reasons people may have moved into the canyon seen earlier was because of this eruption.


Hiking to the top of the crater is prohibited.  Too much erosion has been caused by too many people.  The park service has taken steps to erase the damage.

Good races; good trip.


last edit: 10/15/2014