Editor’s note: Chuck Woodbury, one of the nation’s leading RV consumer bloggers and owner/operator of the popular RVTravel.com website, share his experiences at The Ford Museum in the weekly column he delivers to RVtravel.com e-newsletter subscribers. To view the entire newsletter click here.
For anyone interested in automotive history — and American industrial history — a visit to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., is a must. I can’t begin to tell you all that is there. But I will tell you about a few of the vehicles that I found especially interesting.
My hero when I was young and dreaming of becoming an “on the road reporter” was the late Charles Kuralt, the legendary CBS newsman who traveled America by motorhome from 1967 to 1994 (he called his motorhome a “bus,” I suspect to avoid being labeled an RVer, which was not so cool back then). Kuralt and his crew of two would set out each trip “to meet people, listen to yarns, and feel the seasons change,” then report what they found to millions of TV viewers. Kuralt’s 30-foot FMC motorhome, the last of several the crew used through the years, would be featured prominently. Seeing it roll down a scenic back road would fuel my desire to travel by motorhome, earning my living, too, as a roving reporter. Standing before it at the museum was a thrill.
Another interesting and historic vehicle is the 1935 Stagecoach travel trailer Henry Ford gave to his friend and aviation hero Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne. The couple traveled with the 23-foot RV and used it as a spare room at home. Charles wrote parts of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Spirit of St. Louis” in the trailer. You can’t go inside or even see inside, which is too bad. But for anyone who grew up in the early to mid-20th century, it’s a thrill to simply see the trailer, and to imagine “Lindy” inside, writing or doing what people do in their RVs.
On a sadder note, the limousine in which President Kennedy was assassinated is displayed. I had always assumed it was retired after the tragedy, but no, it was used after modifications that included adding a roof, by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. I stared into the back seat, where Kennedy sat on that fateful day in Dallas in 1963, and felt very sad. The 8 mm Zapruder film of the actual assassination played in my mind.
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