September 2018 – Auf Wiedersehen to the Audi

Over the last couple of years the cars have become frequent subjects in my photos. After 4 years of loyal service, and fantastic adventures, the Audi S5 was traded in.

This posting highlights the Audi’s trips it took us on.

First trip was to Western Ohio – and a giant fiberglass bull.

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Most of the time the birthplace of Presidents are honored locales, but not for Rutherford B Hayes – his is a BP station in Delaware, Ohio.

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A covered bridge in Fairfield County, Ohio – The car was not allowed to cross it, but we were.

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Utopia has been found (along the Ohio River).

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The settling of America – on the right is a famed S bridge of the original National Road. Overhead is US Route 40 – the main route west from the 1910s through the 1960s. A 1/2 mile to the left (not shown) is Interstate 70.

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A riverboat in Cincinnati.

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867 feet above the Audi the New River Gorge Bridge. They offer tours where they connect you to the beams underneath and you cross – I passed.

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Polo anyone. 3 horses in the field and 340 under the hood.

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After Utopia, come Paradise – in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. I find it ironic that somewhere that gets 200 inches of snow a year is considered Paradise…

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The Audi is not on a runway – it is an abandoned air force base in Michigan – with some random Jets parked around town.

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Welcome to Minnesota doncha ya know.

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Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area Montana/Wyoming.

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Yellowstone. That is not the radiator overheating 🙂

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One of the funniest moments in our travels was the day we ran into a cattle drive on a road in Idaho – this cow spent 5 minutes licking the bugs off the front of the Audi.

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We drove 9 miles out a dirt road at the Golden Spike National Historic Site (where the transcontinental railroad met in the 1800s). Wondering who was dumb enough take an Audi out this dirt road, until a Tesla pulled up.

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Devils Rocks Utah

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The hotel was filled with a Corvette Club and us.

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Bonjour from Paris – Texas

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We went down to the Crossroads….Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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We have seen Utopia and Paradise, and now the Center of the World

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The original Model T factory in Detroit. They let my German car go along with all the classic American cars on the Woodward Dream Cruise all the way through the city to the burbs where the other 100,000 cool cars were cruising.

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Plymouth, Massachusetts – National Monument to the Fore Fathers.

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The Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. A 600 car ferry and a 18 hour ride!

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Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

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The Audi and a large basket – but there are larger basket buildings in Ohio.

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The historic Cincinnati Observatory and the Audi.

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Watkins Glen Race Track. They were having club racing with little Mazdas, etc – if I had the safety equipment to go on the track I could’ve taken them – I think.

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Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

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The Auburn/Cord/Dusenberg Festival in Indiana. That car is sooo much cooler than mine.

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The final road trip for the Audi – Downtown Chicago with the El in the background. While the Audi is gone – the adventures continue…..

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Fort Wayne – August 2018 – Tipcaps Baseball

Our day ended by watching a few innings of minor league baseball. The Fort Wayne Tincaps are a low minor leagues farm team for the San Diego Padres.

The name alludes to ‘Johnny Appleseed’, aka John Chapman. Born in Massachusetts Johnny Appleseed spent much of his life travelling the midwest planting orchards. The legend, perpetuated by a Disney movie, was that he wore a tin pot on his head for a cap.

Since he spent his last days in Fort Wayne, they adopted this look for their mascot.

The stadium itself, as with all stadiums in America, sold it’s naming rights to a local hospital and has commercialization throughout – including the Toyota Picnic area.

Since I like symmetry in photos, this was perfect (before the people arrived).

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Another baseball tradition that has been taken to extremes is the first pitch. Historically for important games a celebrity or politician would throw out the first pitch from the stands. Over the last 30 years it has become tradition to do it from the field.

Now instead of being a special event they do it every game, and end up with 8 ‘first pitches’ like this one.

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We were honored to be in the presence of Wonder Woman – at least that is what her shirt says.

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There actually was a game.

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But it was more fun checking out the crowd, including these two young ladies who managed to stand right next to the sign that says no standing.

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The crowd was fairly passive all game, despite some close plays.

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In the early years of baseball the stadiums were built into tight city lots, so they were asymmetrical. Starting in the 1950s they built them all the same with perfect symmetry, but after 1990 everyone wanted the ‘retro’ look and went back to quirky setups, even though they had the space to build a consistent field.

Baseball is the only sport where the playing field differs at each stadium (although obviously the infield is the same everywhere).

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Sunset , clouds and stadium lights – the ultimate in photo lighting.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Classic Cars in a Historic Setting

Fort Hayes was a military post first built in Columbus at the start of the Civil War in 1862. At the time it was located just north of town, now it is at the edge of downtown.

One of the highlights of the remaining buildings is the former ‘shot tower’, used to make bullets in the 1800s. Today it serves as an art gallery and visual arts center.

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On this day they were having a car show on the grounds.

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While I always enjoy checking out classic cars, we wanted to use the opportunity to roam the grounds and check out the buildings.

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Many of the original buildings are still standing. A number of them, like the ones below, have been restored. Others on campus are in poor condition, or have been torn down.

Not shown on this posting is a high school that has been built in the last 30 years.

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We returned to the main yard where the cars were located and found a band was playing. She was clearly getting into it.

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While the guitarist kept his cool on this hot humid day.

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But the cars were the stars – a great VW bus.

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Hats and tails were in order (just not the formal black tie kind).

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Another great VW.

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There weren’t many cars on display, but it was a relaxed show with some shade so it was worth a quick visit.

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It was small enough all the car owners were on hand and happy to tell people about their rides.

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While the judges kept score. The show was small, but the setting was interesting and we left having enjoyed our brief visit.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Belt Sander Racing

While surfing the internet a couple of weeks ago I came across an ad for ‘Belt Sander Racing’. Intrigued I checked it out – finding that a place in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus called the Idea Factor was indeed having Belt Sander Racing, so I signed up.

The Idea Foundry’s motto is to create a place where anyone can explore their urge to make things. It is huge, 60,000 square feet of workshops and offices.

When we arrived we found they were having an open house showcasing all the great things that the artists and craftsmen do there. Outside they had a number of games set up an including over sized Battleship.

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Inside the artists were creating new pieces. This young lady was sawing a wine bottle in half with a wet saw.

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The artist below specializes in burning wood to make art pieces. The baseball bats with lighting were fantastic.

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A chess board on a restore table.

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Another example of the fine craftsmanship.

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There was a good mix of art and functional.

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But enough of that, we are here for —- Belt Sander Racing!

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For those movie fans I took inspiration from the 1964 political satire black comedy Dr Strangelove. Given our current political climate I thought the idea of a nut case in charge of a country seemed appropriate.

The specific scene I took was the last scene where Slim Pickens is riding the bomb down to the ground. (for those who are not familiar with the movie it is making a strong case for peace in the world by satirizing the cold war)

 

My version – a Captain America doll strapped to a piece of ducting – christened Dr Strangetrump.

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There were 11 entries in all.

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A Zombie train.

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Rabbit Go Vroom Vroom

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Finally it was time to race.

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The track was laid out with 3 channels – one for each racer and the other for the cords. It was amazing how fast they went.

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Some went better than others – as with the actual team, the Cleveland Browns helmet did poorly.

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After the first round they had a dog race while they set up for the second round. It wasn’t actually a dog race, a couple of people just set their pooches up on the track and they sort of wandered their way down.

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The finals were very close for all 3 heats. Even though I was able to get my racer to run straight and true, I lost in the first round. No matter – it was a blast to do, and I got a cool T shirt!

Wait ’til next year – I will get a faster belt sander.

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Pittsburgh – August 2018 – Ya Gotta Regatta

For Decades now Pittsburgh has celebrated their position on the rivers with an annual Regatta. More than just boat races, the Regatta features all sort of events – on the water, on the land and in the air.

First up – The Red Bull Paratroopers.

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They came down fast, dropping into the valley from above.

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Before pulling up just before they….

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Hit the water!

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The XPogo crew were on hand for some amazing acrobatics.

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They have amazing skills on a pogo stick.

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Doing backflips while dismounting their stick.

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Flipping the pogo stick between their legs in mid air.

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These guys were crazy – but very skilled.

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Next up – the Anything That Floats competition. When we would come to the regatta back in the 1990s there were 20 or more contestants.

While fewer this year, those that were here were enthusiastic.

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A nice water touch.

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The boat was misnamed.

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The Isaly’s Ice Cream Shop boat wasnt fast, but it was steady.

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Not sure if the beer cans were empty or not.

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Sharks and Pirates together.

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As they made their way down the river they met up with one of the Tiki Hut floating bars.

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Which left them at the finish to sail into the sunset.

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The water jet guy came out to wow the crowd.

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Followed by the jet ski’s, who all were adapt at doing flips.

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They seemed to be upside down as much as upright.

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A perfect shot – an upside down jet ski with the Point Fountain, Ft Pitt Bridge and Mt Washington in the background.

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But it was time for boat racing – the officials surveyed the river.

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The crews were ready for the start.

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Some less intense than others.

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And it was time to race – first up were smaller boats that made a turn before the Ft Duquesne Bridge.

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They were quick down the straights.

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The larger boats finally took over the course.

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The south turn was right at the point where the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers meet.

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Another nice view of the Point Fountain.

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It is amazing how fast the boats separate – just a few laps and they were all over the course with little grouping together.

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Downtown Pittsburgh offers great backdrops for the racing.

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After the races, we headed over to Point Park where they had other activities. One was an amazing sand sculpture dedicated to the historic (and defunct) Pennsylvania Railroad.

This entire sculpture is sand.

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The detail was fantastic.

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The train.

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Detail of the train wheels.

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After dinner we headed back to the North Side for…..

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FIREWORKS!

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A great ending to a great day.

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Cleveland – July 2018 – A Day in Town

Having come to Cleveland for the Fuel Cleveland event, we had enough time to check out a few other sights.

I had recently read they had a velodrome in the Slavic Village neighborhood, so on the way into town we went to check it out – only to find that the freeway was closed due to construction.

Never fear – we eventually made it there.

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Amazingly there are only 28 velodromes in all of America.

When we arrived late morning there were a few people practicing.

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The track had a steel structural frame with what appeared to be layers of plywood for the track.

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I was surprised at how steep the banking is.

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We watched them run a few laps and headed out.

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After the motorcycle event, we headed over to Edgewater Park and Wendy Park, where the restoration of a classic old coast guard house continues.

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With a warm July day watercraft of all sizes were out.

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Many seemed content just to park and hang out.

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The railroad lift bridge was down for an extended time, causing a backup of boats – but the trains over-rule pleasure boats every time.

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A sailboat with the high rise apartments in Lakewood in the background.

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An interesting mix of old an new – the newer apartments and Lakefront Rapid (light rail) framed by the old Shoreway Bridge and some of the older buildings that have been restored.

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A mix of skyscrapers downtown.

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Look familiar? It is the light house on this blog’s home page – just not covered in frozen mist.

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I am always amazed that the kayaks will get in the same water as the massive ore boats. Note a view of a portion of the Cleveland Browns Stadium on the right.

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The top of a Cleveland landmark – the Terminal Tower.

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A lift bridge and a skyscraper.

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From upper Edgewater the view across the harbor shows just how busy it was on the water.

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While on land some artwork makes for an interesting setting for hanging out.

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While we were there 4 different wedding parties came along for their photo opportunity. Running of the Brides Cleveland version.

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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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