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Old Jul 4, 11, 6:30 am   #1
 
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Chicago to USAF Museum, day trip - am I mad??

Early next year, I'll be heading over from the UK as I have a conference trip to Chicago and will have a free day before the meeting kicks off. As a fairly frequent visitor to the US Air Force museum in the UK, at RAF Duxford, the main USAF Museum at Dayton, OH will be tantalisingly close for a visit.

Is this possible, at not excessive cost, to do as a day trip?

I have looked in advance at flights from ORD-DAY and am getting returns of ca $700 for the day trip. Car hire looks impractical at about 5hrs each way. I also looked at a reward flight booking, but cannot see any availability for the day in question.

It's looking to me like this might not be doable, but does anyone have any alternative ideas as to how this might be practicable?
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Old Jul 4, 11, 6:37 am   #2
 
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Can you fly into CVG cheaper? Bigger airport and less than an hour from WPAFB.

The drive is probably more than a day trip as you will want a good bit of time at the museum.

When you get to the museum first thin heck out the bus schedule to the remote hangar it's got some good stuff in it.
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Old Jul 4, 11, 6:48 am   #3
 
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megabus

There is a commuter bus from Chicago to cities around the Midwest. I don't know if it goes to dayton but check website at megabus.com. There might be a train too. Journey is about 5-6 hours
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Old Jul 4, 11, 7:22 am   #4
 
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Thaks for the info.

Flying to CVG is no more cost effective, alas, plus requires car hire in/out. Megabus also doesnt do Dayton, but was certainly worth a look. As far as I can tell, Dayton also doesn't have a train station, or a bus link from the airport to town....... It's not looking promising so far!!
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Old Jul 5, 11, 5:42 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by drscoop View Post
Early next year, I'll be heading over from the UK as I have a conference trip to Chicago and will have a free day before the meeting kicks off. As a fairly frequent visitor to the US Air Force museum in the UK, at RAF Duxford, the main USAF Museum at Dayton, OH will be tantalisingly close for a visit.

Is this possible, at not excessive cost, to do as a day trip?

I have looked in advance at flights from ORD-DAY and am getting returns of ca $700 for the day trip. Car hire looks impractical at about 5hrs each way. I also looked at a reward flight booking, but cannot see any availability for the day in question.

It's looking to me like this might not be doable, but does anyone have any alternative ideas as to how this might be practicable?
Four thoughts:

1) I don't know how much time you'll have, but it really takes a couple of days to see the Wright-Pat museum. If you only have one day, some of the museums in Chicago, such as the Museum of Science and Industry would be a better choice.

2) It's much too soon to buy a ticket for next year and expect to get a good price -- for US domestic trips -- 6 to 8 weeks out or so is much better.

3) Consider using an alternate airport such as Columbus, Ohio or Indianapolis.

4) Unless you're going to stay in Chicago, you really need to hire a car to get around in the Midwest.

Bob H
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Old Jul 5, 11, 7:36 am   #6
 
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See if you can con the powers that be into at least one more day earlier for "research".
The museum is massive and dwarfs any other I've been to. I live within about a four hour drive and try to visit every couple of years. Each time I've seen things I missed on previous trips. You can go through the museum in a day but it'll be a full day.
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Old Jul 11, 11, 9:11 am   #7
 
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Zippypinhead; that was not a bad idea at all; I have managed to re-jig the flights so that a one-night stopover in Dayton en-route works out cheaper than flying direct to the meeting........ Also wondered if you can comment specifically upon how early I need to be there to get on the bus trips out to the other hangars; I assume these get pretty booked up? My trip there will be mid-week so I'm guessing it'll be a bit quieter?

More generally, I'll likely stay by Dayton airport and will need to get out to the Museum......any other helpful tips? Car hire for a day seems excessive; what are Taxi fares like and am I likely to get stuck in traffic if I leave the museum at 5pm to get back to the airport? Also wondering what the journey time to/from the museum to the airport is like?

Thanks again for the helpful input.

[Note added later: Have spotted that Dollar do cheap car hire out of Dayton at ca $40 all in, which I'm guessing is cheaper than taxis and more convenient. Any one know what the off-airport shuttle to/from Dollar is like?]

Last edited by drscoop; Jul 12, 11 at 6:50 am.. Reason: Update.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 7:25 pm   #8
 
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"...Have spotted that Dollar do cheap car hire out of Dayton at ca $40 all in, which I'm guessing is cheaper than taxis and more convenient. Any one know what the off-airport shuttle to/from Dollar is like?"

I've never rented a car in Dayton but it's not a very large airport so I would expect the shuttle service to be not too much drama.
On the other hand, as you're driving around the colonies remember this mantra, "Ditch on the right. Look to the left."
I had the opportunity to drive around your lovely country for a few days a couple of years ago. I did quite well with traffic around. The problems came up when I was all alone in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out which lane to use after a turn....
Enjoy your day at the museum.

Edit: Mid week you shouldn't have any problems with the bus trips unless there's a bunch of school kids there that day. Me? I would take the first opportunity of seeing the outlying hangers and come back to the main museum at your own pace.

Edited again to add: Since you're an aviation buff, you might have some interest in how I spent an afternoon a few weeks ago.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has a restored 1929 Ford Trimotor they lend out to local chapters to use as a fund raiser. $60 for a 15-20 minute hop. I got really lucky with my flight as there was no more passengers that day. I had coughed up an extra $40 to sit in the right front seat and basically got a half hour of dual instruction on a multi-engine antique aircraft. What a thrill! And, what a beautiful flying old hunk of tin!
Any time you can fly an aircraft with yer arm hangin out the window is an outstanding day. Extra points for being multi-engined. And, extra bonus points for being radial engines to boot!

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Last edited by zippypinhead; Jul 14, 11 at 7:44 pm..
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Old Jul 15, 11, 3:58 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by zippypinhead View Post
I had the opportunity to drive around your lovely country for a few days a couple of years ago. I did quite well with traffic around. The problems came up when I was all alone in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out which lane to use after a turn....
Hehehe....I've done exactly that when driving on your side of the pond......driving ot junctions chanting the mantra of "keeprightkeeprightkeeprightkeepright"!

Thanks again for the extra info; the trip is some time off yet but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't starting to get a little excited at the prospects.....

Looks like you had an excellent afternoon; every so often one of those opportunities comes up and you have to seize the moment. That's a proper plane! An old friend of mine now restores Spitfires for a living and the same site houses three of the (now rather rare) two-seater variants. One day, one day......
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Old Aug 17, 11, 1:17 pm   #10
 
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I stumbled on this thread and couldn't help but reply.
I live in Dayton, so hopefully I can help you with your planning.
You will need to rent a car. Taxi service from the airport to the museum will likely be $20-30 each way.
you can rent a car for about $30 a day from the airport. try priceline and hotwire as well.

Are you getting a car right after you arrive? then no problem with any of the shuttles to the rental car places. there are phones near the exit and they are generally there in about 15 minutes. Some rentals are available a short walk from the terminal.
I am not sure about airport hotel shuttles to the car rental, or vice versa. I would call the one you plan to stay at. Even the downtown dayton hotels have airport shuttles - and the taxi ride would be much cheaper to the museum if you choose to go that route.
It will take you about 45 minutes to get to the museum from the airport.

Traffic should not be a problem but depending on construction projects it could get nasty during rush hour.
Leaving the museum at 5pm could be a little more busy because it is near the AF base and everyone leaves work at 5pm.

You will like having a car because you will have more choices to eat. The museum cafeteria has a very nice view but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. I think it is kind of neat to eat there - but just for a snack - not a meal.

The restricted galleries operate of a first come first served sign-up basis. There is a shuttle that runs to those galleries. Bus departs museum at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. seven days a week.
Participants must attend a briefing 15 minutes before their bus departs the museum. If you are not a US citizen you have to show your passport. They are also VERY strict about cell phone use and camera use on the shuttle.

Enjoy your trip. I grew up going to the museum. Just imagine, once upon a time you could touch everything (no barricades around the planes) and drive your car on the runways to the now 'restricted' areas.
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Old Aug 24, 11, 6:04 am   #11
 
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Hi Kethry,

Thanks for your message; this is really helpful. I've booked a car from the terminal and am staying just off-airport. I'll try and avoid the traffic around the base at 5pm, but a little traffic shouldn't be a problem with having a car; now I don't have to get a taxi back to the hotel, collect bags and head to the airport I have a bit more flexibility in terms of timing.

In terms of food, the museum cafe is likely to be my main option; I arrive late the night before and will grab free breakfast at the hotel, head for the museum (via the Wright bicycle shop for a drive-past and photo op) and then head to the airport, grabbing food after check-in. I'll be in Dayton for just under 24 hours!
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Old Sep 5, 11, 12:37 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by drscoop View Post
Hi Kethry,

Thanks for your message; this is really helpful. I've booked a car from the terminal and am staying just off-airport. I'll try and avoid the traffic around the base at 5pm, but a little traffic shouldn't be a problem with having a car; now I don't have to get a taxi back to the hotel, collect bags and head to the airport I have a bit more flexibility in terms of timing.

In terms of food, the museum cafe is likely to be my main option; I arrive late the night before and will grab free breakfast at the hotel, head for the museum (via the Wright bicycle shop for a drive-past and photo op) and then head to the airport, grabbing food after check-in. I'll be in Dayton for just under 24 hours!
Another Dayton native here. I grew up three blocks from the Wright Brothers' house - aviation is everywhere around the city.

I really don't have much of substance to add, just hope you enjoy your visit! Don't judge our food by the offerings at the museum and I hope the snow treats you nicely! (since you said you'd be there early next year).
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Old Sep 14, 11, 3:16 pm   #13
 
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I really don't have much of substance to add, just hope you enjoy your visit! Don't judge our food by the offerings at the museum and I hope the snow treats you nicely! (since you said you'd be there early next year).
Hadn't even thought of the weather. I'll be there late March/early April; what sort of weather should I expect?

I'll not have too much time to sample the local food but will certainly not judge the locale by the cafe food at the museum. I'm led to believe that Cassano's is a local institution and I'll not be too far from the Miller Lane outlet. Should I make a point of giving this a try or are there better local eateries to try after once I get to the hotel?
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Old Sep 14, 11, 4:14 pm   #14
 
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Hadn't even thought of the weather. I'll be there late March/early April; what sort of weather should I expect?

I
It'll be cold, but by then the heavy snow is usually well in the past -- though one of the worst storms I was ever in was on St Paddies day. Roughly two feet of the white stuff - -but that's rare.

Bring some warm clothes, but don't worry.

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Old Sep 14, 11, 6:36 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by drscoop View Post
Hadn't even thought of the weather. I'll be there late March/early April; what sort of weather should I expect?

I'll not have too much time to sample the local food but will certainly not judge the locale by the cafe food at the museum. I'm led to believe that Cassano's is a local institution and I'll not be too far from the Miller Lane outlet. Should I make a point of giving this a try or are there better local eateries to try after once I get to the hotel?
March/April can be hard to predict. There will be days of sun and 70 degrees, a few days of snow in early March, and some with rain and 60 degrees. Average high in March/April is 50/60 degrees F respectively. Expect anything from 50 to 70.

As far as food, it depends on your taste of course. Cassano's (in my opinion) is only well known because of it's long presence versus any great food. The best restaurants in Dayton (again, in my opinion) are closer to downtown and south of Dayton. North Dayton is, for the most part, a modern expansion of stripmalls and suburban sprawl. It's not to say it's bad, it's just nothing special.

I think the most unique and interesting restaurants in Dayton are:

Thai Nine (Thai food, very interesting interior, central Dayton - 15-20 from the musueum and around 30 from the airport)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/thai-nine-dayton

Pine Club (great though expensive steaks and cash only - also central Dayton)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/pine-club-dayton

Jay's (seafood - very classic Midwest American interior, also central Dayton, very close to Thai 9)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/jays-seafood...en-door-dayton

If you don't want to go into the city your options by the airport are mostly modern. There is nothing much near the airport itself since it is in a smaller suburban part of the metro. The closest collection of restaurants is on Miller Lane as you mentioned. It doesn't offer much in terms of ambiance (highway stripmall sprawl) but the restaurants are fine, mostly chains.

You can see what is there here: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_loc=...&sortby=rating
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