Modesto Road Trip – Day Three: Castle Air Museum and Meux Home Museum

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August 18, 2022

Castle Air Museum and Meux Home Museum

Floor mat outside of Castle Air Museum

On our last day in Modesto during our mini road trip in February 2022, we decided to partake in the free breakfast our hotel offered, and I’m glad we did.  It was pretty good breakfast with fluffy scrambled eggs and waffles available.  We had two stops to make on our way home Castle Air Museum in Atwater and the Meux Home Museum in Fresno. 

When we arrived at the Castle Air Museum we purchased admission tickets and tickets to tour the Douglas VC-9C which had been used as Air Force One, but primarily flew as Air Force Two, from the Ford to George W. Bush administrations.  The tours didn’t start for an hour or so from when we arrived, so we explored the exhibits located in the vast field behind the main building.  There are so many planes and jets to see. You can up close to most of them including stepping under one to see inside the compartment which held its bombs.  There was an space where Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet was displayed. LOL. If you look closely you can see that the chains are suspended holding the plane down.

We finally made it back inside to see if we could take our Air Force One tour.  They weren’t quite ready for us so I walked around the gift shop and purchased a couple of patches, pins, and used the machine to press some pennies.  After paying for my souvenirs, we met up with a docent to get briefed on some of the history of the plane as well as being reminded no photography is permitted in the plane.  Once we were briefed, we were escorted to the plane to begin the actual tour.  It was only myself and my partner in the group which I feel is the right size so you can see and hear everything.  It can get stuffy inside the plane even though they have the main and rear doors open.  We were there in February, and I can’t imagine how hot it could get inside the plane during the summer.  It was great listening to the history and seeing how the plane is laid out and decorated.  The communications room was interesting, too, because it’s about a third of the size of the cockpit making it more like a tiny closet.  It had many of the dials and buttons removed from its console for security reasons.  We exited the plane via the rear door which is located past the galley.  Apparently, this was Nancy Reagan’s favorite plane to use during her time in the White House. 

Once we were outside, I asked if I could take photos and video of the outside which I was told it was fine, and I could even go back up to the front door and do a Presidential wave pose for photos.  I was absolutely into doing that, but I had to wait as the next tour group was arriving and walking up the steps and taking photos.

Next to the Air Force One is the museum’s SR171 Blackbird.  It’s a beautiful machine and I took quite a lot of pictures of it. None of which captured its scale or magnificence.  We decided to leave the museum and head to the Meux Home Museum in Fresno before it closed for the day.

We arrived at the Meux Home Museum about forty minutes before it closed.  The home itself is Victorian, but not as large as some other Victorian homes I’ve been in.  Most of the furnishings are not original to the house, except a piano in foyer I believe.  I did see some interesting objects, mostly in the kitchen.  They had an authentic glass fire extinguisher commonly referred to as glass fire grenades.  The idea is that if there was a fire, usually in the kitchen, you would throw the fire grenade at the fire and the liquid inside would put out the fire.  They also had a Hoosier cabinet on display.  I feel that Hoosier cabinets need to make a comeback for those tiny apartment kitchens I’ve had over the years.

We left the Meux Home Museum shortly after they officially closed for the day.  We decided to stop for a quick bite and a restroom break before heading home.  We made another unscheduled stop about an hour later at Bravo Farms in Traver, because I wanted to check it out after seeing all of the signs on the way to Modesto on Friday.  While we were in Modesto I had done a quick internet search and found that Josh from California Through My Lens had written a post about it on his website.  When we saw the signs we decided to stop and check it out for ourselves.  We walked around for a bit and thought about eating at the restaurant located there, but it was going to be a bit of a wait, so we bought snacks from the market including these flavored milks from Rosa Brothers Milk Company instead.  I got the Orange Cream flavor and John got the Root Beer flavor.  He said his was “interesting” as it tastes like Root Beer, but it’s milk so his brain wasn’t sure what to think about it.  My Orange Cream milk was fantastic, and I wish I had bought another to take home. There are several locations you can visit, and I hope to visit at least one other sometime soon.

Cost Breakdown:

Budgeted Total: $220

Fuel: $40

Breakfast: $30 for two

Castle Air Museum: $20 per adult plus $20 per person for Air Force One Tour plus $50 for souvenirs

Meux Home Museum: $10 per adult

Actual Spent Total: $195

Fuel: $30 to top off

Breakfast: Free at hotel

Castle Air Museum: $40 each for admission and tour, $30 for souvenirs not including pressing pennies

Meux Home Museum: $10 each

Fast Food Lunch: $15 for two

Bravo Farms: Under $20 for snacks and milk for two