50 States... Or Less

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Castle Air Museum

Step one in our quest to see as many airplanes on this trip as possible
SR-71 Blackbird The fastest plane in the world at castle air museum

Next to the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater CA is the Castle Air Museum, an incredible collection of 53 restored military aircraft. The collection ranges from an SR-71, the worlds fastest plane, to the epically huge B-52 with its 185 foot wing span, to a British Vulcan on loan from the RAF.

The SR-71 is a real treat as you can basically just walk up to it and see it from any angle. There are only about 19 of these left kicking around so it is a pretty rare plane (though amazingly we actually saw 2 more a few days later at the Palmdale Airpark where they were made).

The tour is self guided, they give you a booklet that covers all of the aircraft and their histories, and then you wander through the labyrinth of planes all restored to their original livery. Back in the gift shop they sell an awesome selection of testers model airplanes, of many of the planes from the collection.

This is one of several stops more or less along Highway 99 which is an excellent alternate route to the super-boring I5. 99 has a lot of great sites to see ranging from the air museum, the Forestiere’s Underground Gardens (which were sadly closed when we went through) and the bulldozer building.