Friday, October 21, 2016

Troll at Kitty Hawk

In 1900, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright began researching locations to begin their flying experiments. Kitty Hawk, a tiny coastal fishing village on the Outer Banks of North Carolina met all of their needs - steady winds, high sand dunes from which to glide, few obstructions such as trees and buildings, and relative isolation to experiment with some secrecy.

On December 17, 1903, at 10:35am, with the motor running, Orville released the restraining wire holding back their flying machine. With Wilbur running alongside, the aircraft became airborne. Orville managed to keep it in the air at an altitude of 20 feet until it hit the sand about 120 feet away. Into the 27-mph headwind, the groundspeed had been 6.8 mph, for a total airspeed of 34 mph. The flight lasted only 12 seconds, but for the first time, a manned, heavier-than-air machine left the ground by its own power, moved forward under control without losing speed, and landed on a point as high as that from which it started.

Later that same day, Wilbur piloted the airplane for a flight of 59 seconds which covered 852 feet. The Wright brothers were then masters of the air and their accomplishment changed the world forever.

A few years after those historic flights, the land where those flights took place was acquired by the government as a national memorial site. In 1933, the Kill Devil Hills National Memorial Monument was turned over to the National Park Service. After World War II, the Park Service began building a museum/visitor center, adding exhibits, and making additional improvements such as clearing brush and upgrading roads. Today, the Wright Brothers National Memorial is recognized the world over as the site of the first successful human attempt at heavier-than-air, controlled, powered flight.

In 2015, Lil Dude Troll visited Kitty Hawk and the Kill Devil Hills memorial. He found it to be a very interesting excursion and highly recommends it for history lovers and especially for folks interested in aviation. He gives it 2 little troll thumbs up!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Popeye and Lil Dude Troll in Alma, Arkansas

Remember Popeye the Sailor Man? Alma, Arkansas does and it erected a statue of everyone's favorite sailor to prove it. If you're a big Popeye fan like Lil Dude Troll is, you can also check out the spinach can water tower that proclaims Alma the spinach capital of the world.

The first Popeye statue was built in 1987 out of paper mache and fiberglass. Tourists in cars and buses would stop by to see it, laugh and leave. Residents of Alma were embarrassed that people were laughing so they decided to either get rid of the statue or make it into something to be proud of. After much discussion, paper mache Popeye was retired in 2007 and replaced with the bronze statue and fountain now in Alma's town square. The original statue is in a store called Kustom Kaps right up the street.

Why all the Popeye love in Alma? Alma is the home of Allen's Canning Company, which cans spinach. They are also home to the annual Spinach Festival held the 3rd weekend each April.

To see Popeye for yourself like Lil Dude did, take exit 12 on I-40 and go south on US 71. Go through the traffic light, bear left, then turn right onto Fayetteville Ave./Hwy 162 into downtown. The Park is near the end of town, on the right.