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I kept seeing the signs and kept telling myself I would get there.  I had been living in Idaho for not quite a year and I kept driving by a billboard for something called the Warhawk Air Museum.  I had to burn off some vacation time one overcast week in December and I decided on a series of day trips.  It was a weekday.  I drove to Nampa.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  After paying my 10-dollar admission I walked into a wonderland.

An uncle flew in World War Two.  The museum is filled with memorabilia from the conflict and wars that followed.  I had seen several Warhawks at the Glenn Curtiss Museum several years before.  The design came along almost a decade after the great inventor’s death.  These are easily the most recognizable planes from the Pacific Theater.  Even before Pearl Harbor, American volunteers were in the air to defend China from the invading Chinese.  Idaho’s Pappy Boyington flew the Warhawk as a volunteer with the Flying Tigers.  He didn’t like the machine!

Newer designs were coming along, but what still thrills us about the P-40 Warhawk is the artistry.  Pilots gave their planes distinct and fearsome looks.  My daughter had no interest in aviation history until she saw a personalized P-40 at the Curtiss Museum.  She had me take several pictures as she stood beside the plane.

The museum is also home to collections of old military jackets, Jeeps, cars, and some foreign aircraft.  I’m told the place has expanded since my last visit.  I’d like to go again before the summer wraps up.  If you want to come along, maybe we can even split the cost of gas.

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