Mid-America Air Museum: 100+ Aircraft, Home-Built to Military

Mid-America Air Museum: 100+ Aircraft, Home-Built to Military

The lightweight Beechcraft 35 Bonanza civilian airplane, produced post-World War II, was expensive compared to other personal aircraft. Because of the steep price, mostly professionals, like doctors and lawyers, could afford them. The tail, an unusual V shape, was designed to reduce both the weight and drag of the aluminum plane, helping to make it faster than most of its competitors. But unfortunately, the tail design was also attributed to an initial high accident rate. That early Bonanza became known as the “Doctor Killer.” The Beechcraft 35 Bonanza background was just one of many fascinating stories we learned as we wandered the Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas. Located on the former Liberal Army Air Field, the museum displays over 100 planes, ranging from small home-built aircraft to large military jets. Read more

Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Eastbound on historic Route 66 just east of Albuquerque, slow down to 45 miles per hour and drive through the rumble strips to hear the song “America the Beautiful” on the Singing Highway. We tried it, and it works! Hear it in our latest podcast. Read more

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Did you know that ninety-five percent of pumpkins for processing in the United States are grown in Illinois? Specifically, they’re grown in and near Morton, a town southeast of Peoria, home to a large Libby’s cannery. Every September, Morton celebrates its pumpkin industry with the Morton Pumpkin Festival. Read more

Exploring Byways and Trails

Exploring Byways and Trails

In this podcast, we chat about exploring byways and trails. If you’re a regular Midwest Wanderer reader, you know we do a lot of road trips. Some of our favorite trips are along scenic or historic byways. And then there are trails. What’s the difference? You’ll find out in this podcast. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

In this podcast, we wrap up our Great River Road adventure. We start in Dubuque, Iowa, and travel south through Fulton, Illinois, and Clinton, Iowa. Then we move on to our last stop, the Quad Cities. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

Listen to our adventures as we drove the Great River Road from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities. On days 5 through 8 explored the area from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Dubuque Iowa.  Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

Welcome to the inaugural Midwest Wanderer podcast! As we traveled the Great River Road from the Mississippi River headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities, we summed up our daily activities each night in a podcast. We turned the first two recordings into videos while we traveled and posted them on Facebook. But that required late nights, and after two nights of five or fewer hours of sleep, we decided to record and wait until we got home to publish them. So here we are, with the first four days of our Quad Cities adventures. Rather than videos, we’re presenting them in podcast format.   Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 13

Day 13: Quad Cities to home

The weather on the last day of our trip was rather gloomy. Since the skies looked like they could open at any time, we skipped traveling on the Channel Cat Water Taxi. Instead, we started out at the John Deere Pavilion, where we checked out John Deere equipment, both modern and from the past. Afterward we enjoyed an early dessert at Lagomarcino’s, a family-owned ice cream and candy shop that has been open since 1908. Then back to the Rock Island Arsenal, to see the veteran and Confederate cemeteries, followed by a tour of Colonel Davenport’s home. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 12

Day 12: Quad Cities, Illinois and Iowa

Day 12 was museum day for us. We started out at the German American Heritage Center and Museum in Davenport. We went there specifically to see the temporary Steam Circus exhibit, but found the rest of the museum interesting, as well. Afterward, we visited the new Bix Beiderbecke Museum. Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native, was a popular jazz cornet player in the Roaring 20s. We finished our museum day with the Figge Art Museum, the major art museum in the Quad Cities. Later we treated ourselves to a Maid Rite loose meat sandwich. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 11

Day 11: Fulton, Illinois, to Quad Cities

Following a breakfast treat at Krumpet’s Bakery in Fulton, we crossed back into Iowa to visit the Sawmill Museum in Clinton. The museum is much larger than we expected it to be, and it was both educational and entertaining. We continued then down to the Quad Cities, where our first stop was the Rock Island Arsenal Museum and the arsenal visitor’s center. After checking into our hotel at the Rhythm City Casino Resort, we headed to Woodmen Park in Davenport to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits take on the South Bend Cubs. Read more