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July 31, 2017

Dayton - Urban hike and bike

We’re in Kettering just a block from Oakwood, and the contrasts can be seen whether hiking or biking between the two.  There is a sidewalk in front of the Kettering house (that’s Rufus between the trees by the house), but not one on the adjoining street nor are there always curb cuts when both streets have sidewalks.  All of Oakwood has sidewalks and curb cuts.
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Our typical route starts out on the sidewalk, thru the wet grass and then walk on the street a block into Oakwood.  A few blocks of residential Oakwood leads to an area known as Hills and Dales.  A great place to walk with tree lined streets.
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Dirt paths are short cuts between streets while paved bike paths connect to neighborhoods.
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Our walk takes us past gardens and parks.
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Eventually leading to Hawthorn Hill, the final home of the world’s first aviator.  The Wright mansion is open for tours on Tuesday and Saturday with advance registration required. 
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The return walk takes us past the Oakwood park where Fran and her brother play tennis.  The basketball court gets more use than the tennis courts, but the waterworks look like the most fun.  Even the sandbox has a water fall.
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But Kettering has parks too.  Nice large grass area with traditional equipment where the kids can be creative with their games.  This loop is just under 5 miles with a few hills and dales.
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There is a contrast in urban biking as well.  The Kettering bike route K-19 can be picked up at the other end of the street.  The Kettering bike route will join the Oakwood bike path to the University of Dayton about 1.5 miles from the house.
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Coming out at the UD ball fields.  This day future Flyers are having soccer practice.  The main campus is past the parking lot.
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The Dorthy Lane Market in Oakwood has a salad bar with prime salads that rotate daily.  On Friday this would be seafood selections of salmon, crab and tuna.
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Our grocery has a sald bar too, but it’s always the same.
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But our grocery has wine tasting!
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Today’s fun fact: in 1909 a Dayton built Stoddard won the the first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an average speed of 57.3 mph.


July 27, 2017

Huffman Prairie - America’s First Airport

The Wright brothers made their first powered flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk North Carolina, allowing North Carolina to declare themselves “First in Flight”.  On the Outer Banks there was consistent wind and the slope of Kill Devil hill to allow the brothers to launch basically a powered glider.  My blog on our visit there can be found HERE.

The Wright brothers returned to Dayton to continue their experiments in flight.  They knew the ability to turn and take off would be required for a successful aircraft.  It was at Huffman Prairie where through trial-and-error and careful experiments that controlled power flight was accomplished.

In 1910 the Wright School of Flying was established on Huffman Prairie creating the nations first airport and flight school.
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After the 1913 flood that inundated Dayton a series of dams was built to prevent it from ever happening again.  The Huffman Dam is one of those built.  Since Huffman Prairie can be flooded when the dam retains water it has never been developed.  Although lacking horses and cows it looks much as it did when the Wright brothers were here.
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The prairie is on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (enter via gate 16-A).  And enjoy a long drive through a tree tunnel.
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The parking area is at the old Simmons Trolley stop.  The trolley allowed for an easy 8 mile commute.
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Entrance to the flying field is over a short bridge crossing a seasonal creek/swamp.
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The sign warns of chiggers, groundhogs and ticks – I’ll add mosquitoes!
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Despite the warnings we choose to walk the field to a replica of the 1905 hanger that housed the worlds first viable aircraft.
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Their father, Reverend Milton Wright, only flew once.  That was with Orville here at Huffman Prairie.
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The prairie has always had a variety of wild flowers.  The 9th grade science class was brought here to study the botany of the area.  The flowers peak in late June thru mid July.  It’s a great time to visit.
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Aircraft have come a long way since 1905.  I did mention the prairie is on the Wright-Pat AFB.
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Today's interesting fact - Dayton is home to the world's first soapbox derby.