Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bang, Zoom, Straight to the Moon!

The National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force base was awesome.

It was a 4 hour drive to get there on a clear and cool morning. Ten minutes into our drive, we saw four people pulled over in a cluster on the highway. Bug drove at or just under the speed limit even before seeing the troopers, but seeing cops stationed or people pulled over every 30 minutes reinforced driving lawfully over the entire trip to and from Wright-Patterson. Bug has matured from the zooming down the highway stage.

We witnessed at least 20 people pulled over to the side. One of the drivers who was pulled over actually drove behind us in an SUV. We noticed the patrol car inch forward as we passed it. The driver behind us moved to the passing lane and zipped past us. Several seconds later, the trooper drove past us without alarm and followed the SUV driver for a couple of seconds. The driver then moved back over into our lane, 3 cars ahead. At that point, the siren went off and the SUV was pulled over at a conveniently situated rest stop on-ramp.

Driving past the front of the museum, I joked whether or not we were at the right place, with 3 connected hangars and 1 IMAX theater, that read on the backside of the theater, in bold, black lettering, each at least 4 feet tall on a silver background:


The museum covered the first years of flight through WW II planes in one hangar, Southeast Asia and Korean jets in a second hangar, and Cold War to current jets in the third hangar. There are offshoot areas for space and missiles, National Aviation Hall of Fame, and an IMAX theater.

When we got there, we found out about the presidential and R&D gallery tour that is on a first come, first served basis. It was already filled for the day at 11:30 a.m. Maybe next time we'll get there earlier.

We spent 4 hours there, keeping a brisk pace, and didn't see every wall display there. We could have spent another hour there or more if we read everything, much longer if we viewed the presidential and R&D galleries (PDF file brochure of the museum). It was a lot larger than we expected.

The displays were artfully done with great sets, sound, and lighting, but not overdone as to appear gaudy. There were taped programs at each major area. There were also wall displays that were beautifully done. I was amazed at how well done everything was. Clean bathrooms everywhere, and logically laid out so that you're lead from one area to another.

Being able to walk inside a C-125C was really cool. We happened to walk in with someone who was stationed in Hawaii and serviced them. He told Bug and I about how he used to service them while they were in flight.

What I came away with was a perspective and an appreciation for the pilots and engineers. Some of the WWII planes were so tiny and seemed so flimsy, in particular the Zero. It almost seems like just a generation ago, people were from Lilliput to have fit in the machine gun turrets. On the flip side, there were planes that were so enormous that 2-3 jets were displayed under each wing!

I was awed being able to stand inches away from jets that were my personal favorites while I was a schoolgirl. I walked around the SR-71 and the F117 several times!

On the way home, through our fearless navigation...and a wee bit of help from our little hand-held GPS...we went to Easton Town Center to our favorite Japanese restaurant in Ohio, Hama, for dinner. Their ramen is a good rendition of ramen served in Japan. Unfortunately but to be expected, the prices at dinner are a few dollars more than their lunch menu.

Since Bug cooks an excellent batch of curry rice, I felt no need to order it. Hama also has a Korean menu, so I chose their Bulgogi teishoku ($17). Teishoku is about variety, but this was a little much for me. Everything was delicious, however, and I appreciated the color and texture variety.

In the first section:
shibazuke (purple pickled cucumbers)
seaweed salad
ika (squid) salad
finely shredded daikon and carrot salad

Second section:
6 pieces of California sushi

Third section:
spring rolls with ginger dressing

Main sections:
good-sized portion of bulgogi

Center section:
Japanese-inspired potato salad
- off center, a dollop of wasabi

The bulgogi was pretty good, it actually had slivers of fresh shiitake which was quite different and something to remember when we next make bulgogi! My meal also came with a house salad in onion dressing, as well as a bowl of white miso soup.

Bug ordered what he always orders, ramen ($10). It comes with boiled egg, char siu, and green onions, with tempura on the side (2 ebi, 1 broccoli, 1 potato, 1 mushroom; $5). The broth was excellent, as usual, but the noodles were a touch past done for my taste.

We ordered sushi to start. When I go there, I don't order traditional nigirizushi, but makizushi that is unique to the chef. I ordered their carpaccio roll (beef carpaccio, cucumber, avocado, special sauce; $8) and Miki roll (deep fried salmon, asparagus, crab, tempura flakes, spicy mayo; $13). The Miki roll was too big. I should have known better to think that it would fit in my mouth in one bite.

What totally ruined Bug's experience there was the service order. The sushi came after we were 1/4 through our meal. We asked for it as an appetizer. Bug also received his tempura several minutes before being served his ramen.

The service order really needs to be looked at - it's quite unprofessional. Bug was quite upset, but didn't say anything to the staff.

We didn't once have the GPS sigh, "Recalculating." Yay!

- Cassaendra

Restaurant Hama
3945 Easton Station
Columbus, OH 43219
614 478-9543

0 deep thoughts:

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP