EAA Airshow..

EAA stands for Experimental Aircraft Association and they are located in OshKosh Wisconsin. Having married a northern Wisconsin girl over thirty years ago I have driven past their headquarters many many times.  They have an annual airshow at the end of July each year. The attendance for the week exceeds 600,000 people annually.  It is THE premiere event in the U.S. for those who love small aircraft. Thousands come and camp out on the grounds for the entire week!

I was determined to get to the show this year after passing by it for so many years. It was a very unique experience and kind of balanced out all the in-law visits that happened the rest of the week. 😉

Here is a small snippet of the total photos I took the day I was there. Click on any one of them to see a larger slideshow view along with some narrative…

Paperweights..

ISOA BannerI know the topic of paperweights sounds very boring.  A paperweight can be a rock or just about anything with enough weight to hold down a stack of paper. But when you see some of the glass paperweights from around the world  you have no idea of how beautiful they can be. That is what this post is going to try and do.

The Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah Wisconsin has one of the largest collections of paperweights in the world. Most people don’t realize that glass blown paperweights have been around for a thousand years or more. It is an art form with incredible beauty.

Here is a collection of pictures I took during a recent visit to Neenah.

As usual click on any image to bring up a larger slideshow view:

Waterford VA

ISOA Banner  Waterford Virginia is perhaps the most iconic town I have been through. It is located in Loudoun County about 50 miles from DC.  You won’t find any franchises or many other businesses for that matter. Nor will you find cars speeding by.

Here is a little about Waterford from Wikipedia:

After falling into disrepair in the early part of the 20th century, the Waterford Foundation was formed to help save and preserve Waterford and its history. In 1974, the Waterford Foundation helped create an innovative land preservation program in which the historic properties of Waterford are protected through open space and façade easements.

The town today is largely residential, although a number of businesses are based in the village. The Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company has been located in Waterford since 1849.

The village was listed as a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1969. Waterford and a significant portion of its surrounding countryside was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.  The designation was made in recognition of the town’s well-preserved 18th and 19th-century architecture and landscape. Significant buildings include the mill (circa 1750), Arch House Row (circa 1750), Camelot School (circa 1800), the Hague-Hough house, which is Waterford’s oldest house (circa 1740), and the 1882 Presbyterian church.

I’m sure you can see from the pictures below it is almost like you were somehow sent back 200 years when you tour the town.  I don’t remember exactly why we made the detour into the town during our history trip through Virginia six years ago.  But I am glad we did.

St. Lawrence Fisherman.

In my 20,000 photo database I have about 250 five-star pictures and the one above is in my top ten list.  Going beyond that level is difficult as they, like your children, are all special in one regard or another.  This particular photo has a unique story to go with it.

It was taken during our 2011 trip through eastern Canada. We started this three week venture east of Detroit MI in Windsor and ended up in Nova Scotia.  The first thing I want to mention is that Canada is much different than the US. There is practically no such thing as fast food places, especially outside the major metropolitan areas. About the only places to stay the night in the hinterland is in family owned places and they vary GREATLY from one to another.

Now, getting on to the picture. It was taken along the St. Lawrence Seaway south of Montreal. I don’t remember the exact location, my camera didn’t have GPS in those days. Since motels were far and few between we decided to stop in late afternoon. There was a small sign along the road with the motel’s name. It was basically a small house and what appeared to be a pretty long chicken coop.  The husband and wife owners at the small house office were friendly. We discovered that the “chicken coop” was basically about a dozen small rooms  for nightly rent.  The owner first told us not to drink the water.  He also said the shower was kind of intermittent depending on if someone else was using theirs at the same time. Since we were only going to stay that one night  and we didn’t know what was down the road we got a room.

The room was about ten foot square with a double bed, a nightstand and a chair.  After checking in we spent a couple of hours sitting along the river and eating the snacks we had on hand for supper.  As dusk was approaching we went to our room and discovered only one of the lightbulbs in the place worked and that the bed was basically a thin worn out mattress on some pretty hard bedsprings.  I settled in for what I thought was the night.  It ended up that I just couldn’t sleep with springs poking me in the back  so I spent a good deal of the night in the chair.

At the first glimmer of light I decided to watch the sunrise over the St. Lawrence and maybe get a good picture.  As it became lighter I discovered that I was not the only one who was up early. There was a fisherman with a very long pole sitting on a bucket about fifty yards away.  I very discretely took his picture and what you see here is the result.  I don’t know if he caught anything that morning but I know he never moved for the hour or so I was there….

Eventually my wife woke up, I don’t see how she managed to sleep through the night? We were on the road about an hour after sunrise but never to forgot our experience that night.

 

We Are A Country Better Than This!

2017 is proving to be a brutal year for the USA. The personal and very vicious attacks from the early morning Oval Office are so demeaning and what is happening in congress to take away healthcare from millions of us is almost evil. In spite of this I hold out the belief that we as a country are better than this and that the 45th president along with his congress will go down in history books as a temporary blip of insanity and poor voter judgement. It will quickly be forgotten when it finally ends.

But, will that really happen? I can only dream that on this very patriotic 4th of July.

We have been and will again be a country better than this.

 

Nauvoo IL – Mormon Settlement

ISOA Banner   Nauvoo Village was one of several settlements established and then all but abandoned by Mormons due to battles with their neighbors.  The first was in Ohio, the second in Missouri, and then came Nauvoo in Illinois. This was the site that it’s founder Joseph Smith was killed and Brigham Young took over the leadership.

Mauvoo has recently been been called the “Williamsburg of the Midwest” and to some degree they deserve that title but in others they fall short. Many of the building have been restored to the 1840s but many are still in private hands. Unlike Williamsburg there are obvious places that the 21st century invades including cars parked throughout the village.

I think most, if not all the employees are of the Mormon faith so some don’t take criticisms lightly.   All being said however, I found all the people in the village to be very friendly and more than willing to accommodate my deafness.

Before I close I want to get in my “having my say” mode and talk a little about religion and Mormons particularly.  During the 1800 years or so between the beginning of Christianity and  the settlement of Nauvoo there were thousands of different version of Christianity invented. Many happened after Luther started the Protestant Reformation.  And of course there have been about 20,000 or more different version since that time.   I kind of find it ironic that there was as much ambivalence toward Mormons that there has been.  Why were they driven out of so many settlement locations before they finally reached Salt Lake City? Are they that threatening to other Christians?

I have become a “live and let live” believer in Jesus Christ.  That is I just don’t believe that any of the 35,000 version of this religion have a lock on what to believe. They are all just one person’s view of religion starting with St. Paul who had never seen Jesus and spoke little of the lessons of Jesus during his lifelong ministry. One great thing about America it that we, at least figuratively, believe in freedom of religion. Believe what you want as long as you don’t try to force your beliefs on others.

Finally getting back to Nauvoo, this village is well worth it if you find yourself in the area.

Here are some pictures from my visit.  As usual click on any one to see a larger slideshow view.

 

 

Caterpillar Tractors..

ISOA Banner   Caterpillar Tractors and such are very much a part of my search of America.  So, when I was near Peoria Illinois recently I had to stop in at their museum at the headquarters building.  What I found amazed me.  I never realized the size of much of their equipment.

Peoria is a wonderful city to tour and this exhibit is one of the prime destinations. If you are ever in the area stop by the city and this museum.

Quincy Illinois – Villa Kathrine

ISOA Banner  I will admit up front here that I didn’t spend as much time in Quincy IL as I planned. There are about a thousand historical homes in this small town but I will only feature one of them in this post.  Quincy is one of many towns along the mighty Mississippi River and of course that mean it is steeped in history. Villa Kathrine, which is the subject of today is perhaps the most unusual one.

As the sign below states it was built around 1900 and is of a Moorish/Islamic style which is just not that popular in the USA, especially now 🙂 The layout and furniture didn’t make a lot of sense to me and the central space, which I guess is essential to Islamic homes, seemed like a big waste of space.  But it did have some fantastic views of the Mississippi from several windows.

This Is In Indiana???

It is hard for many to believe that the pictures below and above were taken in Indiana. I don’t really know the history of why Indiana got the southern most tip of Lake Michigan within its boundries but it is one unique place.

I visited there years ago but these pics were from a recent uRV trip there this Spring.  From the info found at the site the prominent building in the pics used to be a very popular hotel. Notice all the car parked there in the 1930s.  It still a beautiful place worth the visit just to show you that Indiana is not all cornfields and Notre Dame football.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view

Religion In America – Bishop Hill

This week’s Religion in America post will be about Bishop Hill in central Illinois.  Like last week’s post it is about a group who escaped a State sanctioned Lutheran system of belief in the mid 1800s. This time it is from Sweden but pretty much mirrors that of Zoar Village story from Germany.

This group settled into a communal colony where everything was held in common. But unlike most religious colonies escaping to America. Bishop Hill was more intense/fundamental than the one that they escaped from and were often in bitter opposition to many other versions of Lutheranism in America.

Here is a little about what Wikipedia says of Bishop Hill’s founder:

The village was founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants affiliated with the Pietist movement, led by Erik Jansson. Prior to founding the Bishop Hill Colony, Jansson preached to his followers in Sweden about what he considered to be the abominations of the Lutheran Church and emphasized the doctrine that the faithful were without sin.

This story is common to many religious groups established in America. It was primarily founded around a strong and charismatic leader who chose a few particular verses in one version or another holy document to concentrate on.  But this same thing was also typical of other world religions. Lutheranism, which was founded by Martin Luther who started the Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago when he became fixated on “works” not being important to God and uttering words of faith being the primary purpose of religion.  Some say this was due to an overwhelming inferiority complex by Luther. When he found the words from St. Paul (not Jesus) “you are saved by faith, not works” it became by far the most important aspect of his version of religion.

Getting back to the story at hand in 1854 when Jansson was assassinated by a former member and six years later the communal contract ended due to mismanagement.  There are some common historic buildings left at the site but most of the dwellings in the village are now privately owned.