Circle Of Life…

We went to Disney World in the Spring of 2016 for our 30th wedding anniversary. At least for me, it was a very memorable experience.  My wife took the idea that Disney World was for kids and was therefore determined to not have a good time.  Unfortunately, for the most part, she accomplished that. But that is another story I guess.
We spent five days at a Disney resort and visited all the parks, or at least I did. One of the most memorable events I went to was “Lion King”. The production was way beyond anything I had imagined.  Being deaf the songs didn’t come through but the atmosphere was almost overwhelming even without the music and words.
It was not until almost a year later that I came across the premiere song “Circle of Life”. Here is a portion of the lyrics:
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the Sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
The song was written by Elton John and has become very famous. The Broadway play is now entering its twentieth year and has generated more revenue than all the Star Wars movies combined.  I particularly like the words “You should never take more than you give”.  That should be a guiding principle in all our lives.
My brain no longer recognizes the sound of musical instruments and most songs I remember are mainly just words and cadence but that is enough to have an impact on my life. I still cling to the folk songs of my youth, or at least the words and memories.
To close out this post I want to give you a gallery of some of the pictures I took of the Disney World version of Lion King.
As usual click on any image to see a larger slideshow view. 

Rendezvous…

I have certainly had some fun visiting the rendezvous in the last few years.  They are becoming my favorite venue for my micro-RV trips. With temperatures in the 60s today and much of November, it doesn’t feel like winter (thank goodness) but I am still in the mode of looking back with my picture portfolio. So, I have gathers some pics to celebrate rendezvous.  Someday, if I live long enough I just may try to join some of these folks.

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

 

As you can see, my favorite flavor of rendezvous are those celebrating our heritage and settlement history.  I am just not a believer in celebrating war, it should be mourned not celebrated, so I don’t usually attend the civil war versions and such.

Madison Indiana

In Search Of America — My InSearchOfAmerica has taken me to Madison Indiana on several occasions.  The most recent trip was in August of 2016 when I snapped the following gallery of pictures.  With so many small towns  that are dead or dying  it is nice to see some flourishing. Madison Indiana is on the Ohio River and once gained its livelihood from barge traffic.

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

I think I need to explain all the hog butts in one of these pictures.  I got to town a couple of days after a major event based around pork BBQ.  They were gathering up all the decorated plastic pigs that adorned the main street for that event.

Green Bay Railroad Museum – Part 2

ISOA Banner    Last week I showed you some of the amazing art at the Green Bay Railroad Museum. This week I will focus on the mighty engines and such.  Here are the pics for your browsing pleasure.

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

Hinterland Beauty

ISOA Banner   For this artsy Saturday I wanted to give you a simple picture that I took about ten years ago while traveling through the middle of our country. I don’t really recall exactly where it was taken; it could be almost anywhere.  But I think it shows the beauty of the country. The general saying is that 50% of the people live within 50 miles of a coastline. While the oceans are beautiful, those folks are missing another type of beauty if they don’t visit the hinterland once in a while.

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Le Clair – Antique Archeology

ISOA Banner   We visited the Memphis Antique Archeology store in 2016 and a couple of months ago we managed to get to the original store in Le Clair Iowa. Having a DVR we watch this show when we are eating dinner.  It has become a tradition here in the Walters homestead.

The Le Clair store is much smaller than I imagined it to be and of course none of the stars of the show were there but it was worth the visit.  We stayed the night at a hotel facing the Mississippi River and thoroughly enjoyed the small town. It has some very unique places to eat.

Here are some pictures of the store, another post will come soon to give you more details of the town itself.

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

Eerie Place..

On my recent road trip I came across an eerie place.  I try to avoid Interstate highways whenever possible so that means that I come across the “bones” of America so to speak. By that I mean towns and other places that have been left to the ravages of time.  I will admit that sometimes I get depressed by taking this route across America. To see towns that are now not more than a couple of occupied houses surrounded by abandoned buildings. If I understand it right that is where most of Mr. Trump’s supporters come from.  But that is a different story…

When I drove by the site just outside a small town in northern Illinois I took a double take. Up near the road was what appeared to be a hundred year old abandoned mansion. That is somewhat unusual for an area like that but what really got my attention is that it was surrounded by razor coiled wire. I hit the brakes and did a U-turn to investigate. It turns out that I had discovered the Dwight Illinois Correctional Center.

Here is what Wikipedia says about that:

Dwight Correctional Center was an Illinois Department of Corrections maximum security prison for adult females. It is located at 23813 E. 3200 North Road in Nevada Township, unincorporated Livingston County, Illinois, near Dwight. Prior to the 2011 abolition of the state death penalty,  Dwight Correctional Center housed the State of Illinois female death row…

The prison was originally opened on November 24, 1930 as the Oakdale Reformatory for Women. It sits on 100 acres of land. The facility was closed at the end of March 2013.

In the last four years time is starting to take over that abandoned facility. Weeds are growing everywhere and tree limbs are scattered on the ground. Well that is enough of a description. Let’s get on to the pictures…

Click on any picture to see an enlarged slideshow view

Old Time Hardware Store..

Believe it or not the pictures below were not taken fifty years or more ago but just six months or so ago. I am old enough to remember visiting a few hardware stores like this one when I was a kid in the 1950s. I think that is where I inherited my fascination with nut & bolts and such.

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I don’t know how long this store can survive but I hope it lasts forever.  It doesn’t hurt that it is in a pretty rural area of Indiana. 🙂

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Elwood Indiana Glass Festival

OnTheRoad.png This past weekend I traveled to Elwood Indiana for a visit to the Elwood Glass Festival. While there were some bright points to the trip it was generally disappointing in that the “Glass” part of the festival has been for the most part forgotten.  In 1886 the Ball brothers were looking to build a factory for their Mason Jars and they chose Indiana. Most of you rural folks like me who can some of their garden produce use Mason jars which were originally produced in or near Elwood/Muncie. The Ball Corporation was a big deal to Elwood and the surrounding area for until the 1990s when it moved it headquarters to Colorado and sold off what little remained of its glass canning business. Here is a little about its hay days from Wikipedia:

Despite the economic panic of 1893, the company was able to produce 22 million fruit jars for the year beginning in September 1894, and 37 million jars by 1897. …

The company’s F. C. Ball machine, patented in 1898, introduced mass production into its glass-blowing process and gave it a competitive market advantage. By 1905 the company was producing 60 million canning jars per year and had acquired other glass manufacturers, expanding its operations to include seven factories in addition to its main facilities at Muncie

Now back to my recent visit. The only glass related events at the festival were a couple of small glass blowing shops that were open for viewing. I did buy a couple of glass paperweights from them. There is little left of any evidence of its Ball history.  The festival itself was pretty typical of most around today. It was made up of vendors mostly selling trinkets and such. Of course it did have a midway and the usual food vendors but nothing really to do with glass.

In some ways Elwood continues to be associated with canning in that the Red Gold Tomatoes are produced there. That is a privately owned family business that was started in 1913 which was during the Ball Corporation apex. I may be prejudice but I think their tomatoes are the best around.

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It ended up that my highlight of the weekend was the Vintage Rollers Car Club’s annual event.  Here are some pictures of that gathering. Being a “car guy” it was a natural for me.

Click on any picture to see a larger slideshow

 

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.

 

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.