Cars, Cars, and More Cars…

No I am not talking about the Los Angeles freeway, I am talking about the GoodGuys Car show in Des Moines Iowa I recently attended. I think you know by now that I am a car guy. The shelves of the study are lined with 1/32 scale models of them. When I’m too lazy to do anything else I am usually watching a car show on the Motor Trend channel. I am a car guy.

I have been to numerous local area car shows but never to one at the national level. So, in planning this years uRV trips last winter the Des Moines show was added to the list.

A quick summary here, to ease the pain of all you non-car folks, it was almost overwhelming. They say there were 7,000 cars on display there the Saturday I attended. I walked 7 miles that day and still didn’t see half of them! I think in the future I will just stick to the local events of a couple hundred cars at a time.

Here is a sampling of what I saw. As you can probably tell I am particularly attuned to rat rods. 🙂

In Search Of America – The Great Lakes Freighters

I had the privilege of touring a Great Lakes Freighter a few weeks ago. It is permanently docked at the National Museum of the Great Lakes near Toledo Ohio. I think I saw my first one in the late 1960s. Since that was when steel and autos were king of that region. There were hundreds of them on the Great Lakes bringing ore from Minnesota to the mills on Lake Michigan and Erie. They are still around but just not in the numbers they once were.

It’s hard to give you the magnitude of these ships with photos. The Col. James M. Schoonmaker is about 600 feet long and via a self-guided tour I had free reign to almost every area of the ship. I spend a lot of time in the engine room and the crew’s quarters above them. Of course the Captain’s and VIP’s quarters were in the front. 🙂

It was interesting to see the status that the head cook had in the hierarchy of the crew. He and his sous chef, so to speak, had their own quarters while the crew was four to a room. Being that I worked my way through college in a dormitory cafeteria and then many years later spent eleven years volunteering in a local soup kitchen, that area of the ship also got a lot of my attention.

The County Fair

What could be more American than the small rural county fair?  I have had the pleasure of living in one of the smallest population wise counties in Indiana for almost two decades now.  While I don’t go to all the annual county fairs I enjoy the ones I have attended.  The pictures here are from our first visit in 2002.  So, all the kids in these pictures are now high school graduates. 😋

Greenfield Village Re-visited…

I wanted to visit Greenfield Village once more before we close out another year. This visit is a gallery that shows no evidence of the 21st century.  That is one thing I truly enjoy about Mackinac Island, no cars allowed). Nantucket is a great place to visit but it is kinda ruined by all the cars that have flooded the island. 

Anyway, here is my version of Greenfield of the 20th century:

Cleveland – A Different View

Last Saturday’s “Artsy” post gave you a snapshot of our trip to Cleveland earlier this year.  This post will put some flesh on those bones. 🙂

Our first extended visit to Cleveland was in 2013. We were visiting a couple of my high school classmates of fifty years ago. We took in the downtown area and most of the usual tourist places during that trip. The trip this Spring was a two-day pass-through one and I was determined to see a different view of the city. As mentioned Saturday, we stayed at the Aloft Hotel on the Cuyahoga River a short distance from Lake Erie.  It was a very different place than we usually stay and that is exactly what I was hoping for. Since I didn’t get any internal shots of the hotel I took some from their website, I’m sure they won’t mind the free advertising.  (Oh, by the way, click on any of these groups of pictures to see larger and captioned versions.)

The backside of the hotel where our room was was literally abutted up to the commuter train tracks. The views were amazing. This is a slideshow of my pictures.

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As you likely know, I am a planner so I had checked out the Westside Market as the place to go for the next day which was a Tuesday.  We got to the market plenty early so there wouldn’t be too many people but found out they are closed on Tuesday! We did eat at the local cafe attached to the market and had a humongous breakfast.  Finally here are some pictures of that.

 

It was an enjoyable experience, even if we were disappointed about the market. From Cleveland, we went to Punxsutawney PA to see Phil. More on that in a future Tuesday post.

 

Coastal Taco – Cleveland

Coastal Taco - Cleveland

For the first “Artsy Saturday” post at the reformatted RJsCorner, I chose the Coastal Taco in downtown Cleveland Ohio.  The picture was taken just after sunset from our room at the very eclectic Aloft Hotel. As you can see the restaurant was under a very large bridge going across the Cuyahoga River near Lake Erie.  The food was pretty good and the inside atmosphere was delicious. 🙂

The Fallacy of Consumer Driven Capitalism

The two major things that drive the US economy are personal consumption and military spending. With this post, I will try to convince you that is a basic problem for us as a country. It thwarts happiness and is a wasteful way to live a life. But the biggest problem is that for too many of us it is the ONLY thing driving our lives. More money, more stuff.

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Ironically this is true throughout the economic ladder from the richest of us to the poorest. We think that if we can just get a few more dollars to buy more stuff everything will be better. Most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated into consumer driving capitalism. For many of us, contrary to what the philosophers say, money can buy happiness, at least temporarily. Or so we believe…

For those on the lower end of the economic spectrum it is another flat screen TV; for those on the upper end, it is a new $50,000 car to replace the two-year-old one we currently have.

Believe it or not, there are other parts of the world that take a very different approach to capitalism. They don’t depend on all of their citizens spending more and more year after year. Instead, much of the profits of their version of capitalism is used for the overall good of the country and its citizens. Those countries have an infinitely better infrastructure.  Potholes and failing bridges are not the norms for them.  Even more importantly they provide health care for all their citizens and security for their senior citizens.  Every statistic taken shows that they are much happier than we are even if they don’t have multiple storage lockers filled with junk.

How do we as a country get out of the “more and more” mentality and into something that makes us happier?  That is the question of the day for me.