2020 Road Trip Photos #24: Plentiful Planes Parked in Peru

Passionette Paulette!

Hollywood prop alert: Passionate Paulette here is a B-25J, one of eighteen used in the filming of Mike Nichols’ 1970 adaptation of Catch-22. B-25s have also appeared in Pearl Harbor, Sucker Punch, and other, better films.

Yes, yes, I know we were just showing you an airplane collection earlier, but these are totally different planes at a completely different museum on the opposite end of the state. Well, not the far end, but comparatively opposite.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.

Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.

In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…

DAY FOUR: Thursday, July 9th.

As with the gap between Day One and Day Two, we took a day off from road-tripping — partly to rest up from two days of driving, partly because Wednesdays are a traditional “break” in our weekly routines. Everyone retreats to separate corners and enjoys their own hobbies and interests for a day. In my case that translated into several episodes of Battlestar Galactica, a long, long-delayed binge now finished, made entirely possible by the Age of Coronavirus.

Then came Thursday and a return to the vacation at hand. After a fancy breakfast we’ll cover later, our itinerary took us some 70+ minutes north of Indianapolis to the town of Peru, Indiana. Or near Peru, anyway. We didn’t fit Peru proper into our schedule because we couldn’t find enough reasons to make Peru a multitasking stop. But officially we were Peru-bound.

Up near Peru is the former Bunker Hill Air Force Base, which on May 12, 1968, was renamed in honor of astronaut Gus Grissom; as of today they’re Grissom Air Reserve Base. Attentive MCC readers may recognize the name from that time we checked out an entire museum devoted to Grissom as well as a monument in his hometown. In addition to its military functions, the base is also home to the Grissom Air Museum, a public-facing fixture since 1981. For anyone who loves looking longingly at large machines, their collection of a century’s worth of airplanes is the place to be.

Blue Angels!

A blue angel, and a Grumman F-11A that flew with the acrobatic Blue Angels.

Boeing KC-97L!

A Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter refueling tanker.

Boeing B-47B!

This Boeing B-47B subsonic bomber was grounded after this one time it had an in-flight explosion.

Grumman C-1A!

This Grumman C-1A was a Cold War transport assigned to the USS Hancock during Vietnam.

Douglas C-47D!

A Douglas C-47D with a different paint job than the ones we saw in Vincennes and in New Orleans.

B-58A!

A Convair TB-58A nuclear bomber. Yeah, I get nervous whenever we pass an exhibit with the word “nuclear” in it, too.

F-100C supersonic!

A North American F-100C supersonic jet once flown by the Neil Armstrong before he achieved immortality.

UH-1H-BF helicopter!

This Bell UH-1H-BF helicopter logged over 1,100 combat hours in Vietnam.

Republic F-84F!

The Republic F-84F was the first post-WWII fighter plane to enter production, and is the model used by the Air Force’s own Thunderbirds.

Fairchild C-119G!

A Fairchild C-119G. Some of these were used in “recover[ing] spy satellite film cartridges in mid air” per the sign, which sounds like quite a stunt.

Convair B-58 rocket sled!

A “Texas Hustler” Rocket Sled, a scale model of the Convair B-58 for testing ejection systems.

Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk!

The Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk, used for training.

Cessna O-2A!

This Cessna O-2A spent a decade as a firefighting plane.

McDonnell F-4C!

This McDonnell F-4C performed duties in Vietnam and Thailand back in the day.

Fairchild Republic A-10A!

This Fairchild Republic A-10A flew with the “Hoosier Hogs” 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and is the owner of that Gatling gun in our lead photo. It was interesting to zoom in on some detailed parts like that. Also, I just now noticed the subliminal message.

Boeing EC-135L!

A Boeing EC-135L called Excaliber [sic], which fought in all the big early-’90s Middle East operations, the ones with their own names and headlines.

Excalibur tally!

Excalibur’s tally. And yes, despite the pun I would like to speak to the manager about the spelling.

buxom babe!

I lost track of which plane sported this buxom babe. In my defense, I didn’t take this photo. Okay, yes, I should take responsibility for posting it at all, but I mean NO MORE QUESTIONS.

Grumman F-14B!

On loan from Pensacola, the Grumman F-14B is an upgraded version of the Tomcat. The latter was famously featured in such films as the original Top Gun.

boar tail!

The previous caretakers of the F-14B clearly enjoyed adding flourishes.

World Famous Red Rippers!

I presume the Red Rippers were those caretakers.

Thanks for the Ride!

Same plane, different animal.

To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my faint signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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