2016 Tour of Tuskegee Airmen Museum

On Saturday, February 20, under overcast but rain-free skies, we met at the Pike Road Town Hall parking lot on Vaughn Road.  The destination for this month’s road trip was the historic Tuskegee Airmen Museum. Temperatures were in the low 60s as we began our ride and climbed to the low 70s for our trip back home. We motored up Old Pike Road onto US 80E for half an hour, then through downtown Tuskegee to our destination.  I hope this stretch of US 80 is on the short list for resurfacing, but it did provide ample opportunities to practice our poorly patched pothole avoidance maneuvers.  As we arrived in downtown Tuskegee, we followed the circuitous route around the courthouse square and through town via  AL 81N, then on to the museum.

Our tour was scheduled for 10:00AM.  When we arrived, we joined several bus loads of uniformed Air Force personnel already on their tour.  So, what I had assumed from their Webpage was a guided tour, turned out to be self-guided.  It took us a while to figure this out. Someone told us about a second hangar with more exhibits. 

The base admin offices were frozen in time with all of the period correct furnishings.  Several of the trainer aircraft and a flight simulator were on display including the famed Rolls-Royce powered P-51D Mustang with the squadron’s signature “Red Tail”.  A 30-minute video incorporating interviews with the surviving Tuskegee airmen as well as a few re-enacted scenes, gave some insight into the struggles that had to be overcome by the first black airmen to become pilots, their fight in opening up the segregated officers’ clubs, and the humiliation they faced when they returned home after the war.

At the end of our tour, we headed up AL 199 to Elmer’s Restaurant (at the intersection of AL 199 & AL 14) featuring home style cooking for a meat & three lunch buffet.  The entrees included a choice of fried chicken, chicken tenders, pork chops, and hamburger steak to go with the rice & gravy, black-eye peas, butter beans, green beans, fried okra, choice of rolls or cornbread, drinks and dessert – all for about $8.00.

Joining us on the ride were the MGA Guru, Barney Gaylord and his son, Elliot, in their ’59 MGA.  For the past couple of years, Barney has traveled across America looking for British cars to tune-up or get running.  If your Little British Car has “Lucas-itis”, the “SU Flu”, or otherwise isn’t feeling well, contact Barney at barneymg@mgaguru.com and he’ll work you in.  He’s not above back-tracking a few hundred miles.  A link to his blog is on the BMC homepage sidebar.  [Please note that Barney does NOT accept money for his services.  He only expects the owner to pay for replacement parts and will accept meals and lodging if he spends the better part of a day on your car.]  See his February 20, 2016 entry in his blog about his ride with us.  Barney’s next stop was in Opelika to help BMC member, Dave Ketchen with his Austin Healey 3000 Mk III’s fuel gauge problem.

It was a well-spent Saturday morning with nice weather, a little history, good roads, good friends, and good eats.


 Full screen Slideshow  https://picasaweb.google.com/117234100184516689743/2016TuskegeeAirmenMuseum?authkey=Gv1sRgCP3Av8_vhqXNWQ#slideshow/6253779236241052738