2020 Road Trip Photos #25: Fight and Flight Responses

BA53 thermonuclear bomb.

Someone set us up the BA53 thermonuclear bomb. Presumably all the fissile materials were removed after these were retired in the 1990s.

Up near the town of Peru, Indiana, Grissom Air Museum on the grounds of Grissom Air Reserve Base had an impressive collection of airplanes representing numerous eras in American aviation. Other artifacts and scenes around the grounds provided an in-depth look into our nation’s history, as well as telling glimpses of our present that will one day tell a story of their own.

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…

Grissom Air Museum!

That unassuming museum with nearly two dozen planes outside.

distanced benches!

It’s a bit of a walk to see all the planes. Signs remind guests to relax, but don’t get too relaxed because it’s still 2020.

quiet sitting place!

Or there’s a more removed sitting place off the plane-perusing path.

observation tower!

A five-story observation tower might have been peaceful up top, but it was closed to prevent human contamination.

Veterans Walkway of Honor!

Shout-out to the veterans.

COVID signs!

More exhibits awaited us inside. Naturally masks were required. The two young, cheerful ladies on duty complied and welcomed us graciously.

What Is It Like Being a Woman in Military!

First sight inside the door is the mandatory What Is It Like Being a Woman in Military exhibit.

Thunderbirds cockpit!

One of a few life-size training cockpits on display.

helicopter dashboard!

A training dashboard for a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter. Skilled pilots know what every single one of these gizmos and doodads do. For me it’s a good day if I can discern all the buttons on my car radio.

F-4 Phantom cockpit!

The cockpit of an F-4 Phantom, much like the one we saw in Vincennes minus most of the plane.

f-4 jazz hands!

Anne atop the Phantom cockpit, game to do her part to keep our jazz hands tradition alive in the face of a zero-convention year.

Greased Lightning nose!

No one was allowed to climb this one.

NASA control board!

A NASA control board out of Houston.

POW-MIA honor chair.

POW/MIA honor chair.

Buy War Bonds!

Rosie the Riveter and other patriots in WWII war bond ads, posted in a time when a nation agreed to come together as one for the sake of saving human lives.

model planes!

Model plane collection for fans of handheld versions of the aircraft outside.


A bulletin board covered with all manner of military patches.

smashed penny machine!

The Grissom Museum in Mitchell also had a smashed penny machine, but to Anne’s delight the one in Peru actually worked.


In a moment of beauteous serendipity, as we left the museum a real, working Air Force plane came in from the northeast, over the grounds for a landing at the Air Reserve Base across the street.

plane landing!

Props to Anne for nailing this shot, landing gear and all.

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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