Henry has ended up in some funny places sleeping. Tonight, he was under the dinner table. Had to circle him around that pole to get him to bed.

Dayton provided an entry point for the final leg of our 12 month journey.  Kelly sister and her family live in Dayton, and it was 3.5 hours from her parents, so it made sense to us to stop there after our late afternoon departure.

I like pulling into a Wal Mart at midnight. Choice of spots, no cars to maneuver around and we can get into the lot with the van still hooked up without hitting anything. That allows me to arrive, separate the van, park both vehicles and hit the hay while everyone remains sleeping. Possibly add in a quick email check and bowl of ice cream- you get the idea. It’s also been interesting to see how I do predicting traffic for the next day- will there be cars buzzing our window at 6am? Employees blocking us in at 7? In the path of the street sweeper that comes to every parking lot we’ve been in around 3am (here, YES). Turns out this was a good spot, and we’ll stay here another night.

But first, our visit to Dayton. Amber (that’s Kellys sister) and her family agreed to have us over at 9am, and we made it nearly on time. Jason (Kellys sister Ambers husband) laughed that Amber gave him a hard time that they couldn’t get 4 people up and ready (they have 2 kids) before we made it there with 9. Then I laughed, because we haven’t been on time for much for our entire relationship- this was just a fluke.

We headed out to our favorite attraction: a free one- which turned out to be the biggest air museum anywhere- the United States Air Force Museum.  I read somewhere “If it flew- we have it”, and no kidding! We added in an IMAX movie (best priced IMAX I’ve ever seen) to make this stop a great day.

This sweet little helicopter was produced to be portable, and weighed just 300 pounds- and could be reassembled in about 2-3 hours. It didn't make it out of experimental because it was so noisy (air jets at the rotor tips)

BOB HOPE was well recognized for his bountiful support of the troops during times of war. This ID card reveals his actual name - and you thought we wouldn't be teaching anything valuable on this blog.

Yet another slice of history, standing so close to the actual aircraft that ended WWII when it dropped the FAT MAN (atomic bomb) on Nagasaki, Japan.

The Air Force One that carried JFK during his presidency, and in his casket under the watchful eye of his wife. The same aircraft that Lyndon B Johnson was sworn into the Presidency. The same aircraft that held the eyes of the world was for a few minutes- all ours. If you go to the museum, be sure to sign up for the Presidential hangar tour: free, reservations required, and space limited.

Stopped back at their house for a couple of hours to chat and play, and departed again- having seen them for the past 3 weekends in some way (parents house visit, Kelly & girls went there for Sophia’s recital, and now this). We headed back to the bus to hang out and prepare for our trip to Joplin MO the next morning. It feels like there’s a lot to figure out before we go there, so this will be a good time to research before moving that way.

Speculating about UFO's may come to an end. I would suggest that if you watched this US fabricated craft over your house, you would 'call it in'. Our government creates and flies things like this one (the flat black unmanned craft over Ethans head)

Just like always, I had the chance to meet some nice local folks and chat in the parking lot for about 2 hours total this evening: James was a manager at the Staples store (in front of our parking spot) and shared his plans for his near future and we talked about what a trip like this might look like for him! He’s engaged, and it won’t be his decision alone soon. He was a nice guy. Ed, a 25+ year retired Dayton firefighter also stopped- and ended up sharing some travel exploits of his own that cracked me up about riding horses and traveling the country in hotels for several weeks on the cheap. He flashed me forward to the day when I’ll be telling these stories about ‘the year my family took a trip’, and how awesome it was. Hopefully with the same twinkle in my eye as Ed.

We moved on the next morning, after Jason and Amber dropped by the bus with the kids- like having company at OUR house!

Lauren's creativity creeps into our lives all the time. Here's a quick look for you, our surprise one morning- like the banana fairies stopped by.

Our objective driving today was a liquor store at the other side of Illinois- about 300 miles away. That is, a liquor store with a FIRE BREATHING DRAGON across the street.