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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Pittsburgh – July 2018 – Miniature Railroad and Village

The Miniature Railroad and Village located at the Carnegie Science Center has origins dating back 100 years. In 1919 Charles Bowdish created a holiday train display in his home in the small town of Brookville, Pennsylvania.

In 1954 it was moved to Buhl Planetarium where it resided until that closed, and moved to it’s current located at the science center in 1992.

The display features life and times in Western Pennsylvania between the 1880s and 1930s.

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IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY! The famed groundhog of Punxsutawney and his home on Gobblers Knob. Will it be an early spring?

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A steel mill. This one is a replica of one in Sharon, PA. Amazingly there are numerous movements of cranes, lifts and other features throughout.

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The lights of the ovens in the mill are illuminated.

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The roundhouse supports the trains that are running throughout the exhibit.

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Everything in the 83′ x 30′ display is hand made by the volunteers and staff. It is based on the ‘O’ scale, 1/4 inch = 1 foot.

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My personal favorite is Forbes Field, the baseball stadium from 1909-1970. Each ‘person’ is a painted Q tip.

The detail even includes a runner going head first into second base.

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The model features hundreds of actual Western Pennsylvania buildings, but not in any geographic detail. While Forbes Field is exact, there was no train running by the stadium – it was sitting in the middle of a neighborhood.

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For locals they can spend hours searching out the places they knew or grew up near.

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The day we were there a very nice young lady named Nicole offered to show us the back room where they make all of the buildings and accessories.

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They have many completed buildings, just not enough room to display them. As noted previously everything is hand made – no kits here.

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Some spare rail cars.

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The hilly terrain of Western PA is well represented.

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A streetcar that became a diner.

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Rodgers Field, located near Oakmont, was Pittsburgh first municipal airport. It operated from 1925-1935.

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The famed Frank Lloyd Wright home Fallingwater. Fortunately the real one does not overlook a steel mill.

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A small ‘patch town’ – coal mine town.

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The roller coaster at Luna Park. Opened in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 1905, it was only around for a few years before closing.

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The trees and bushes are made from hydrangeas that are collected and dried. From there each one is hand made using a twisted copper wire for the trunk and limbs. Their goal is that no two trees are exactly alike.

After gluing they paint the tree for the 3 primary seasons, summer, fall and winter. Each tree can take up to 1 day to make, and there are hundreds of thousands of trees on display.

There are larger model train displays around, but this one is well worth the visit.

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Cincinnati – June 2018 – Hyde Park Blast

The Hyde Park Blast is a fundraiser for cancer research that has been held in this Cincinnati neighborhood for the last 17 years.

One of the highlights of the Blast is a day of bicycle racing.

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While the racing takes place all day we were able to watch two of the 45 minute long races – including the Intermediate Men’s race.

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The course was a mile loop up and down Erie Avenue, the main street in the neighborhood.

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At the far end they made a turn through a couple of the side streets.

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Hyde Park has always been one of the nicer areas of the city. Note in the background someone tore down one of the classic old houses to build a large modern house. While I love this type of architecture, there is a place and this clearly isn’t it – they must have thought they were in Seattle.

Still it makes a nice background for the racers.

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Coming down the small hill and making the turn back onto Erie Avenue.

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The racing was close throughout.

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The intensity is shown on the faces of the racers.

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And a final sprint to the finish.

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The second race we saw was a women’s race, including the Ohio State championship.

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One of the racers took off ahead of the pack and built a 20 second lead.

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Only to eventually be caught.

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This race too came down the the final sprint. The racer who had broken away only to be caught did manage to hang on and win.

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But the real reason I wanted to check out the Hyde Park Blast was the Chariot Racing!

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The ChariotsĀ  are pulled by two humans with one in the Chariot.

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Costumes were encouraged.

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There were two groups of Chariot Racers – social ones with better costumes, and serious runners who designed for maximum speed.

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Although the various running clubs still had some style to them.

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Clearly not one of the serious groups.

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Sharks might be fast in the water, but not on the streets of Cincinnati. Still the Chariot Races made a great finish to a good day of the Hyde Park Blast.

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Columbus – June 2018 – Hot Baseball

It’s literally 100 degrees (38c) and humid so what should we do, go to a baseball game. So some decisions are dumber than others, but we lasted about 2 hours and gave up (although we found seats in the shade).

It did provide enough time for some views of the game and the crowd.

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After some casual stretching.

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It was time to play.

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Dad is a great role model for theĀ  little ones – what most people consider an insensitive hat and a shirt asking for beer with the baby on his lap – sitting in the sun on this hot day. The kid of the left’s face says it all.

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Swing and a miss.

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The play was sketchy at times, there were 4 credited errors in the first 3 innings.

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Although there were some good plays too.

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An Indianapolis player launched a massive home run into the bleachers, which the guy in the pink shirt clearly does not want to catch.

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Nor do the stunned little kids (or anyone around them)

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Jake the Wonder dog brought drinks to the umpires.

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While the manager is trying to figure out how to get through to his pitcher.

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What brings the crowd to their feet – free t shirt toss!

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Why is it when a pitcher is doing so poorly he gets pulled, yet they always pat them on the butt?

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The players look at the fans taking cover from a foul ball wondering why.

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Finally the 4th inning was over and we gave up and went to the air conditioned car.

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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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Watkins Glen, NY – May 2018 – Let’s Go Racing

Watkins Glen International Raceway is one of the most famous race tracks in the world. Opened in 1956 it for many years hosted the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix, although they haven’t raced that series here for a couple of decades.

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We were in the area and I wanted to go by to see if I could get in to check out the track, only to have the pleasant surprise that they were racing – and I could get in for free!

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The people racing there are part of an organization called ChampCar – a low budget racing series that allows many who otherwise couldn’t afford to race the chance to get on the track.

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For this Friday afternoon they were practicing with the full compliment of course workers to keep things in order.

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The pits and garages were open.

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As noted pretty much any car with the correct safety gear can race – including what appeared to be an old surplus German police car.

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The Watkins Glen track is 3.4 miles long up and down the New York countryside hills.

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With 11 turns offering a variety of views.

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The air was filled with the buzzing of small engines cranking at max RPMs.

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Many cars did have sponsors to offset the costs.

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It was a nice afternoon of racing.

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