Hagerstown, Indiana – July 2018 – Wilbur Wright Fly In

The small eastern Indiana town of Hagerstown is the home of an annual small airplane ‘fly-in’. Home to one of the longest, nicest grass runways in America, it is the perfect stopping off point for the planes headed to the large show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

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As we arrived and parked we passed by a number of vendor booths including this one manned by Bob, an elderly man who makes whirligig airplanes out of soda cans.

He is very skilled, and his touch includes having a picture on a can, if available to be the pilot.

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When I was there he was making one out of Pepsi cans featuring Ray Charles – it was cool enough it now is proudly hanging in my garage!

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But it was time to move on to the main display area. All of the planes were accessible to all who attended.

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Many had open cockpits.

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The pilots were on hand to answer questions about their planes.

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All were magnificently restored.

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It attracted photographers young and old.

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The grass runway resembled a fairway on a golf course – bordered by the Indiana cornfields.

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A sleek nose cone for the propeller.

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They came in a variety of shapes and sizes.

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The two bi-plane rides stayed busy throughout the afternoon.

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With many excited and happy customers.

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The weather was perfect, just a few puffy clouds far above where anyone was flying.

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Some had creative designs.

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While others looked like racing airplanes.

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But eventually it was time to fly out of there. If you are an airplane fan, and can’t make it to Oshkosh, this is a good alternative much closer to home.

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Zionsville, Indiana – July 2018 – A Big Fan of Fans

As you wander through the streets of an industrial park in suburban Indianapolis the last thing you would expect to find is one of the largest fan collections in the world.

So what you think – well look and be amazed at how stylish and functional these antiques are.

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Housed in the headquarters of a fan company called Fanimation, the museum has over 2000 desk and ceiling fan from more than 140 manufacturers (according to their website)

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Most are from the first few decades of the 20th century, and show that classic 20s and 30s style.

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When we arrived we asked if we could see the collection. The receptionist told us we were more than welcome to check them out, and lead us to the display room. She also indicated she would get Kim to tell us about them.

Kim is a retired Indianapolis firefighter who has been collecting fans for a long time. He is an excellent restorer of fans, having refurbished many of those in the collection.

The fan below however is in it’s original condition, after more than 80 years.

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The fans are owned by various members of the Antique Fan Collectors Association (of which Kim is a member with many of the fans in the collection being his personal ones).

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The oldest electric fans in the museum are from the 1890s, while they have non electric ones (steam and water powered ones) from the 1880s.

The Dayton fan company, represented below, is still in business today.

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They have numerous fans of different shapes.

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Fanimation was founded by Tom Frampton in Pasadena, California in the 1980s. They relocated to Indiana in the mid 1990s, opening this facility in 2003.

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Most have extensive use of brass, which adds a classic beauty to practical use of the fan.

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Numerous specialty designs are represented, such as this airplane fan – a cool way to stay cool.

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More of the collection.

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One of the non electric fans

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As a fan manufacturer their lobby fans are stylish as well.

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Even the replica terracotta soldier in the lobby has a fan! If you ever find yourself in Indianapolis, skip the art museum (although it is nice too) – check out the fan museum – ask for Kim!

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Chicago – July 2018 – Weekend in the City

With a chance to spend a couple of nights in Chicago, we went without any specific plans. Once we arrived in town late Saturday afternoon we headed out for a walk.

Our first stop was the beautiful marquee for the Chicago Theater on State Street.

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While Chicago is known for the El trains there are a couple that are underground downtown, including the Red Line.

The entrance to the subway station has a great art deco look to it – backed up by a mural of Muddy Waters!

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State Street had a number of public art features – this one backed by the former Marshall Field Department store clock.

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As we made our way to Millennium Park we heard music.

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And were pleasantly surprised to find a symphony playing music from Lerner and Loewe movies.

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On our walk back we had the fortuitous timing to be crossing the Michigan Avenue bridge just as fireworks started from the Navy Pier.

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The view down the river framed the fireworks with the buildings.

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The next morning we took a 4 mile walk up through River North and Rush Street.

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Stopping at North Avenue Beach.

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Our walk continued through Lincoln Park, where they have made good use of dead trees.

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As we approached the zoo we saw a very large group of people – playing Pokemon!

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Eventually we made it out of the Pokemon crowd to a more serene part of the park, near Fullerton Street.

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Chicago even has skyscraper bird houses.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon back downtown at Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago.

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They had cooking competitions. This one is a Puerto Rico – Chicago specialty – the Jibarito.

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We finished the day walking along the river.

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Often when I photograph Marina City I shoot up – totally forgetting that there is actually a marina in Marina City.

As always we had a great time in Chicago.

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Sandusky, Ohio – July 2018 – Festival of Sail

Over the years we have had the opportunity to see a few ‘Tall Ships’ festivals, which is an event we always look forward to. This year they had a stop in Sandusky.

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Sandusky is the home of Cedar Point amusement park, as well as a departure point to the Lake Erie Islands.

One of this years event was the ‘World’s Largest Duck’, which dwarfed the island ferry boat.

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This festival had 5 ships: U.S Brig Niagara, Schooner Madeline, Appledore IV, S/V Denis Sullivan and the Nettie G. Howard.

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The Niagara is the largest, with an impressive main mast and crows nest.

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While all of the ships had professional pilots, much of the staff were high school students on a 4-5 week learning adventure.

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These ships always have an amazing number of ropes.

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The device below is not a table, it is basically used for leverage pulling heavy sails up and down.

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We had purchased a 90 minute ‘sailing’ on the Nettie Howard.

As we waited to board we were amused as one of the trainee crew members struggled to grab one of the ropes.

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Just before we left we were serenaded by an acapella group.

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Once on board the crew pulled up a couple of the sails.

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While others neatly stacked the ropes.

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Our exit from the dock gave a great view of the Niagara.

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The sails were impressive from the bottom.

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One of the professional crew had started out a few years ago as a volunteer, and liked it so much he has made it a career.

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Constant training occurred during our sail.

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Our 90 minute sailing was slow, we never even made it out of Sandusky Bay, but did have a nice view of Cedar Point.

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Before you knew it we were nearing the dock and the sails came down.

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And they threw the ropes to the dock hands to tie us up.

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Pittsburgh – July 2018 – Robot Hall of Fame

The Carnegie Science Center has a section called Roboworld, with a number of exhibits on robotics.

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Much of the exhibit is hands on, so you can control the robots to do things – including displaying dollar signs in their eyes.

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The highlight of the exhibit is the Robot Hall of Fame. It includes fictional robots over the years.

The robot Maria appeared in a movie called Metropolis, produced in Germany in 1927. Maria stands apart in that she is a female robot.

Her art deco form is symbolic of the times she was created.

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Gort is from the 1951 movie classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. As an eight foot tall robot, Gort can vaporize anything he wants with his laser like vision.

The movie stands today as one of the all time sci fi classics, with Gort being the star.

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Robby The Robot was featured in the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet. With his smug superiority towards human, Robby makes the movie (along with a young Leslie Nielsen as an astronaut chasing after the female lead Anne Francis).

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The Iron Giant is supposed to be 50′ tall – he is a genial behemoth as a result of damage to his head.  He is the star of an animated movie of the same name made in 1999 who befriends a 9 year old boy after landing on earth. Of course the U.S. government wants to destroy it.

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Danger, Will Robinson! Everyone I know knew this robot and his famed line, however I never knew his name was B-9. He, like Robby, has human emotions.

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C-3PO and R2D2. Probably the most famous robots in film history.

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Columbus – June 2018 – Annual Arts Fair

After our morning and early afternoon in Amish Country we returned to the city to attend the annual Arts Festival.

Our first stop was one of the music venues, where all the spectators were off to the sides to sit in the shade on this hot day (including us).

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There are hundreds of artist and vendor tents, with an expected 3 day crowd of over 400,000 people.

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The young lady playing the violin was very skilled – much to the amusement of the old man.

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An artist who specialized in what appeared to be high end comic art had decoration on top of their tent.

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A demonstration of pottery making.

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Our plans were to check out a baseball game in the evening, but the weather did not cooperate. It was however a spectacular thunderstorm.

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Washington DC – June 2018 – Museum of American History

Our final stop was the Museum of American History, also known as America’s attic. There is so much to see starting with – Children’s TV icons…

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A shirtless George Washington?

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A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

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Early computers.

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Early money.

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Commercial advertising standards.

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Batman’s ride.

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A collection of model ships.

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Washington DC streetcar.

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In the transportation hall they had a couple of displays of life in the 1950s.

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And a feature of the growth of the suburbs.

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Julia Child’s kitchen.

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And her awards.

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Early telegraph.

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The random eagle.

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A section about Latino’s in America included this cool Statue of Liberty only featuring a Latino woman holding tomatoes.

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There was a section about democracy in America, including a stunning presentation on voting in America, and how often people have tried to control who can vote so they can stay in power – it sadly continues to this day.

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Presidential election tchotchkes.

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A 1940s voting machine.

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A collection of protest signs.

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Another room housed mechanical items – an early sweeper.

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Finally in the presidential section was a collection of street signs named after presidents. The Museum of American History is a sensory overload – in my opinion it is second to Air & Space for museums in DC.

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