I couldn’t commit to an opportunity for a cheap vacation trip Thursday, so instead I took half the day today to do a small staycation to visit a vintage aircraft and the local Harley-Davidson dealership.
When I read a WWII-era B-17 bomber called the Aluminum Overcast was visiting the Peoria International Airport, I knew it would be a great opportunity for the kids and I to check it out. There are only 11 B-17s left in flying condition, and they were offering both tours and flights of the aircraft. Tours were only $5 for anyone over the age of 8, but flights started at $430. D’oh.
I took several pictures, which I’ll have online soon. For now I’ll say the aircraft was smaller than I expected, but still an incredible and humbling sight. The restorers had it loaded up with all 13 machine guns and a set of bombs, and a friend of mine and our kids were all able to walk through the craft and look around. The tail was blocked off and we could see into but not enter the nose gunner position and the cockpit. The belly gunner’s turret was open and we were able to stick our heads in and look around.
One area vet of several B-17 missions visited the plane and took the tour. You can read his story at the Peoria Journal Star. You can also read a separate article about the Aluminum Overcast itself.
Walters Brothers Harley-Davidson is right around the corner from the airport, so we headed that way next. The next thing I’d have bought if I had the cash? This nice Road King we spotted on arrival:
Some day it shall be mine
I could take or leave the whitewalls and I’d prefer a smaller windshield, but otherwise she’s perfect. I dig the fender, the bags, and the skull on the air cleaner. Black and chrome beauty. The price tag? $17,500. Well out of reach for now. Sad Mike.
I browsed boots, though. The shifter on my Honda’s wearing a hole through the toe box of my hiking boots. Nothing my size in stock, so they’ll be calling me when they get their next shipment. Meanwhile I drooled on some of the H-D work shirts, tried on a jacket, and picked up a Walters Brothers t-shirt.
I have to say, I’m very impressed with the way the ladies at Walters Brothers treated my kids. I see little kids wandering through expensive bikes, I start getting nervous. Especially when they’re my kids. They instead talked to the kids, even helped keep them entertained a bit, and generally made them feel welcome rather than like little bundles of vandalism and destruction. For that alone I’m sure I’ll visit again.
It also helps that the kids came away with free swag:
Of course Cap rides a Harley!
I like my little Honda cruiser, Lenore. I really do. But man, I’m becoming more and more of a sucker for that Harley marketing. And that Road King is sweet.
I dunno. I guess I should finish Lie with the Dead, get rich, and buy all this cool stuff. (Yeah, just like that.)
Then we picked up my wife from work, bought some lemons, and mixed up some fresh lemon shake-ups. Excellent cap to the day’s staycation. It’s rare that we get to just hang out and chill with friends.
Tomorrow it’s back to the things that have been keeping me offline. No worries, almost through it. Stay tuned for Photo Friday with the bomber pics. Also, keep an eye out for news about a future novella.
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.