Man on the Moon

Trip Start Jul 20, 2002
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Trip End Sep 05, 2002


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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Thursday, July 25, 2002

It sometimes sends shivers up my spine when I have to explain to people who Neil Armstrong is. I'm not going to do that here. I'd read many times before about the Neil Armstrong space museum and boyhood home in Ohio, usually because it was part of some article mentioning the fact that they have Neil Armstrong feces on display, among other things. So if you have ever wanted to marvel at first man on the moon scat, this is the place.
 
We loaded up on a stormy morning with our host Handsome Dan to make the drive down to the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum, yet another in a long line of testaments to Ohio's tumultuous relationship with space and aviation. It seems like they're always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Oh sure, the Wright Brothers were born here, but they didn't actually fly here, though that doesn't stop Ohio from cleverly claiming to be the "birthplace of aviation." And Neil Armstrong may hail from Ohio, but they never got to launch any rockets from here. But such is life. If nothing else, they have the Dayton Air Fair, which is a pretty boss event. I went back when I was a wee one and got to pal around with the Thunderbirds pilots.
 
The Museum, which opened in 1972, starts off promising enough with a huge spherical building and the requisite Apollo style space capsule for you to sit in. The rest of the museum doesn't disappoint, as you get to tour the history of space flight, with an obvious focus on the Apollo program and life in space. There's a space shuttle landing simulator which is there primarily to prove that I should not be attempting to land the space shuttle. Lots of space suits, in-spacecraft artifacts and food, and more than a few actual spacecrafts from NASA's greatest hits (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo). One of the big attractions is the moon rock exhibit, where you get to marvel at dull grey chunks of stone brought back from the Sea of Tranquility.
 
And of course, all roads lead to the gift shop, where we bought replica "Man Walks on Moon!" newspapers and, obviously, some Astronaut Ice Cream that everyone took one bite of before casually dropping it in the trash. I have taken a bite out of astronaut ice cream dozens of time sover dozens of years, and it is always unpleasant. Yet I keep on doing it. Because that is the can-do pioneering attitude that lands a man on the moon.

Later in the day, we headed up Toledo way to hit the drive-in movie theater. no road trip is complete without one. In between nachos and soda, we watched Austin Powers: Goldmember and Eight-Legged Freaks. All I can say is, Eight-Legged Freaks sure is lucky I saw it in a good mood while high on astronaut ice cream (Neopolitan flavor!), because when a movie is so lame that even a drive-in can't make it seem cool, you know you are in trouble.
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