Virtual Travel – Arizona

Time to head to the sunshine of Arizona on our virtual tour of the country. Arizona has some of the most impressive geology and topography around, with the world’s greatest natural wonder – the Grand Canyon.

Our virtual tour also time travels back to 1952 for the oldest map in the collection. Ironically for a state that is mostly desert it features Canyon Lake. Located 50 miles east of Phoenix it is a result of the damming of the Salt River.

Government State Arizona 1952.jpg

 

 

 

The state was sparsely populated place in 1952 with less than 800,000 people in a state with almost 114,000 square miles. Phoenix, the capital, had barely 100,000 people.

Today the metro Phoenix area alone has almost 5 million people, with over 7 million living in the entire state.

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Our trip moves on to 1956, with the fairly boring subject of a rural intersection featured on the cover.

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The backside of the map features the state flag bird, flower, seal and tree. The calendar of events is interesting, again showing the changes in the last 65 years.

The February golf tournament in Phoenix had a purse of $15,000 (est $200,000 in 2020 dollars). Today that tournament has a purse of over $7 million.

Other events like the rodeo in Yuma are also still in existence.

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Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Arizona State Map was shaped like more like a book than a map. This map features the state flower, the bloom from the Saguaro Cactus. These massive cacti grow to heights of 40′ or more.

Government State Arizona 1967

 

 

 

1968 again features water in the desert. This time we are at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. While most of Glen Canyon is in Utah, it is dammed at Lake Powell, Arizona. The output from this dam heads down the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon.

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For 1970 we have the full view of the Saguaro. The backside of the map has a great collection of saguaros throughout the state.

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As we move a few years ahead we again have cacti on the cover.

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The backside of the 1977 map however has some great photographs of the highlights of Arizona.

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For my collection 1980 is the last year of the ‘book sized’ maps. With a fantastic canyon view (amazingly not named on the map – guessing a view of the Grand Canyon I have not seen), the backside features many of the National Monuments located in the state.

Government State Arizona 1980.jpg

 

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We have been fortunate enough to visit a number of these locations including Wupataki Ruins. These ruins are nearly 1000 years old – home to a town of 2,000.

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By the 2000s Arizona had ceased producing traditional road maps, rather they produce a ‘Visitor Map’ on glossy paper, much like any other tourist map. It is filled with advertising. The 2002 edition has an unidentified road, while the 2004 map on the right is the area around Sedona.

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In 2012 I passed through Sedona. An artist colony, it has amazing scenery as you make your way down Oak Creek Canyon.

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The 2005 edition has Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon on the cover. This 8 mile trail descends over 4000 feet. The 2010 map on the right features Brittlebush with their spring wildflowers in bloom near Bartlett Lake.

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It is hard to believe but it has been 15 years since we were last at the Grand Canyon. These photos are from the early days of digital – we need to go back.

We did spend 1 hour going down Bright Angel Trail, which equates to over 2 hours coming back up. Needless to say we did not reach the bottom. It was well worth the time, as soon as you get away from the crowds at the rim the views are so much better.

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The 2011 map on the left features ‘The Wave’ in Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area. This is one place that is high on my list to visit. The 2012 map on the right revisits Sedona.

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In 2012 they published two editions, the one below has Saguaro National Park featured. The 2014 map features Mogollon Rim near Payson.

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For 2015 the cover takes us to the countryside outside of Flagstaff. At over 7000 feet in elevation, the terrain around Flagstaff is very ‘un-Arizona’ like. It is near here that there are ski resorts.

Again in 2016 they visited Sedona.

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The final map in my collection has to be in of course…Sedona!

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But there is much more to Arizona than the natural scenery, as fantastic as it is.

In Arizona you can see the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

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Take a trip on Route 66 and see the wild burros in Oatman …

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Continue on Route 66 to the very kitschy little town of Seligman for some lunch at the Roadkill Cafe ...

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and ice cream at the famous Snow Cap…

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Catch the Grand Canyon Train in Williams….

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And watch Spring Training in Phoenix! Arizona is easily one of my favorite states.

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Virtual Travel – Alaska

Our virtual travels take us north to Alaska. Being so large, and so remote there are few roads. As a result the Alaska road maps feature far more facts about the outdoors than the other states.

My collection of Alaska maps is small, but our memories of the state are huge. The oldest in the collection is from 1973. This map pre-dates the famed Alaska Pipeline by a couple of years, and features a Native American Totem Pole Owl.

One unusual note on most of the Alaska maps is they were published by Rand McNally, and not the state government.

Government State Alaska 1973.jpg

 

 

In 1973 Alaska is still a remote frontier, reached by land only via the Alaska Highway through the Yukon in Canada. This closeup of the map shows Yukon on the right in yellow, and Alaska in white on the left. Note that the Alaska Highway in the Yukon was still gravel (indicated by the alternate white and red line).

The 1500 mile long Alaska Highway was build during World War II to connect the contiguous U.S. to Alaska. It was legendary for years as being a rough, challenging multi-day drive. The drive itself goes from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks.

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The back of most Alaska maps have features of the vast array of wildlife found in the state.

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The follow year’s map features a boat! While this might not make much sense for a road map, it does in Alaska. In addition to the Alaska Highway the other surface route to reach the state is via the Alaska Marine Highway – an 1850 mile route of waterways from Seattle to Alaska. You can rent a cabin on the boat, or as many do – pitch a tent on the deck.

Government State Alaska 1974.jpg

 

 

 

For 1977 a dogsled huskie make an appearance on the cover, along with the state flag.

Government State Alaska 1977.jpg

 

 

 

As we jump ahead to 2002 the theme continues with wildlife and natural scenery being the focus.

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The final two maps in the collection have the same theme, campers in the wilderness, along a lonely highway. These maps dare from 2006 and 2007.

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As with most Alaska maps there is also the view from the Marine Highway Ferry.

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The inside of the map shows the development over the past 40 years, but still nothing like the lower 48 states. The entire route of the Alaska Highway has been paved, but is still a real adventure to drive the distance.

Also note the road going due north from Fairbanks – the Dalton Highway. Built in the 1970s as a supply road for the pipeline, the 414 mile road is still an adventure, punctuated by the couple hundred trucks blasting along. There are only two tiny towns the entire route.

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Our one and only visit so far to Alaska was a very memorable one. We flew from Seattle to Juneau to start a 1 week ‘small boat’ cruise (30 cabins and 50 people).

The landing alone was amazing, coming through the clouds to see the water, trees and the Mendenhall Glacier!

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As soon as we got our rental car we headed out to the glacier.

2017 09 15 34 Juneau AK Mendenhall Glacier.jpg

 

 

The waterfall next to it was equally impressive.

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The next day we set off on our 7 day sail, seeing an amazing collection of natural scenery and wildlife.

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Upon our return to Juneau we had a chance to explore the mountains above town waiting for our night flights back to Seattle, Chicago and Columbus.

We look forward to returning to Alaska some day and exploring the interior of the state.

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Virtual Travel – Alabama

I was born with ‘that travelling bone’, and since I was very small I wanted to see every place in the world. Since my family rarely went very far from home, I did most of my travel via maps and charts. Since that time I have always enjoyed maps and charts, eventually amassing a fairly large collection.

Now that we are all hanging around our respective homes it seems like a good time to check out the maps, and do some virtual travelling.

Each state in the U.S. has a Department of Transportation, who has traditionally published a new road map every year or two. While this is waning, the maps that they created often were works of art – promoting tourism and commerce in their state.

This posting series will features those maps, one posting for each state, along with some highlights of my photographs of travels to those states. Since there is no good way to prioritize them, we will go alphabetically starting with… Alabama.

 

 

The oldest map from Alabama in my collection is from 1946. The cover of this map features the State Capitol. Dating from 1850 this building has some infamous history – serving as the location for the swearing in of Jefferson Davis when the southern states seceded from the union in 1861.

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The rear cover is more innocuous – an unnamed waterfalls.

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The map itself is reflective of the times; a network of national and state highways. The interstates system was still 12 years from starting, so if you were making a trip through Alabama (or any state) it was a slow trip punctuated by numerous little towns.

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Contrasting that with the newest Alabama map in my collection from 2018. Between the interstates, and numerous 4 lane roads and bypasses, the trips are much faster.

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A look at the Alabama State Highway Maps over the years.

We jump ahead almost three decades to 1974. In an unusual move the cover is actually just part of the overall backside of the road map, so the state name is truncated. The family’s outfits however make this map classic – nothing like plaid to say ‘1974’.

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The late 1970s were fairly boring for the artwork. The state seal was on the 1977-1978 map, and just photo and text graced the 1979-1980 map. This map is the only one I have out of thousands that has just text for the cover. The rear is even more plain – HELP written across it in 40 point font.

IMG_5797.jpg        IMG_5796

 

 

By the 1980s the State Capitol has made a return to the map.

IMG_5795.jpg

 

 

Alabama is unusual in that most of the maps issued covered two years. The one below for 1985-1986 features the State of Alabama Highway Department building in Montgomery. It is also unusual in that the maps orientation is horizontal, a theme they continue on the next map as well.

IMG_5794 

 

 

The Mobile Bay I-10 Bridge is featured on the 1993-1994 map.

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The following year the map returns to the traditional vertical orientation. It also features a new governor (Fob James) and transportation director. The 1995-1996 map (left) features Lookout Mountain Parkway in DeSoto State Park near Fort Payne. The next map in the series from 1997-1998 (right) has the U.S. 431 Bridge over Guntersville Lake on the cover.

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Another governor, another style. Governor Don Siegelman was elected in 1999 and served one term. The first map we have from his administration is also from 1999 and features two happy couples hanging out on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. The second, and last in my collection from this era features a golf course.

Alabama has for many years done heavy advertising for their ‘Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’. Jones was famous for his golf course designs, having completed over 500 in his lifetime. The ‘Golf Trail’ in Alabama covers 468 holes at 11 locations, with the theory being you spent however much time you need golfing them all to come up with a cumulative score.

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The next administration of Bob Riley covers 4 maps in the collection. All features happy people in happy places starting with Cheaha State Park on the 2003 map. This park contains the highest point in Alabama, the 2413 foot high Cheaha Mountain.

In 2004 the Alabama Renaissance Festival was featured. This festival takes place each year in Florence, Alabama.

IMG_5810.jpg     IMG_5786

 

 

In 2005 they went back to the biennial approach, with the map covering 2005-2006. This map continues the happy people approach with the family at Orange Beach in Gulf Shores. The 2007-2008 featured a non identified park full of wildflowers with a couple of bicycle riders.

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We jump ahead a few years to the 2011-2012 map. This map ironically is back at Orange Beach on the Gulf Coast. The following map for 2013-2014 features a place called Gorham’s Bluff. Located on top of Sand Mountain in far northeast Alabama, it is the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains. Both maps feature the ‘dual Adirondack Chairs’ look that is most famous throughout Canada.

This map is also the first to use ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, from the famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song of the same name.

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The last two Alabama State Highway maps in my collection feature yet another Gulf Coast park for the 2015-2016 edition. The newest (for now) returns to the historic buildings, this time with the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham. This church was home to Dr Rev Martin Luther King from 1954-1960.

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I have only been in Alabama a few times, but the most recent one was easily the best. During the summer 2019 road trip we passed through Huntsville and Birmingham.

Highlights of this trip include Cathedral Caverns….

2019 05 14 235 Grant AL Cathedral Caverns.jpg

 

 

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center and NASA Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville….2019 05 15 162 Huntsville AL US Space and Rocket Center.jpg

 

 

And my favorite, the Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham.

Alabama – our first virtual visit.

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Buenos Aires – March 2020 – Characters of Argentina

As I continued checking out the great collection of photos from the Argentina experience I found a number of real characters. A few might have made it into other postings but now the best of Argentina characters are here in one place!

 

We start with the slasher of Recoleta Cemetery. Why was this young lady running through the cemetery with a knife in her prom dress? No clue – but she had a photographer with her (other than me).

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My Spanish is so bad I couldn’t even understand these two characters talking with the young lady. The Argentina version of Bill Nye the Science Guy I think.

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A guy on stilts with his food truck – what else do you need?

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I made all the guys at work jealous getting to know a local TV reporter.

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Christmas in summer = elfs on roller blades.

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Some of the many street performers.

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Parilla Argentina – the name says it all! I will miss the steaks.

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Every weekend on Avenida de Mayo there seem to be an event…

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The gaucho festival was one of the highlights. They were the real thing…

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Which apparently meant when you were done you hung out having a cold beer. Not sure a Texas cowboy goes without socks, but most of these guys were amazingly skilled  horsemen.

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The cook at my favorite Buenos Aires empanada restaurant.

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Superheros of the Mate Festival.

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Mate men.

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Marino Santa Maria – a great artist and cooler person.

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About 95% of the T shirts I saw in Argentina had writing in English – sometimes a bit inaccurate – such as ‘New York Area 51’.

Also note in this photo the window. Some of the Subte cars are old and don’t have air conditioning so you open the windows. The sticker says ‘don’t stick your head or arms out the car window’ – seems like it shouldn’t need to be said.

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E Line Elvis. There are 6 subway lines in the city, all with letters, as this line is ‘E’. I saw this guy a few times doing his bit on the train – with the delivery and the sideburns I gave him the name!

It is very common to see people roll onto the train with their portable speaker and serenade the passengers. They always get applause, even if they don’t always get money.

2019 12 06 9 Buenos Aires.JPG

 

 

Not a setup – we walked into a record store one day and there was a guy dressed in a full Spiderman outfit that just reeked of beer. We did not stick around to see his musical taste – but I bet he went for that Mafalda CD just above him.

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Wandering the Palermo neighborhood we ran into a drag queen contest.

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These 3 ladies were at the festival. Still not sure why she has a sticker on her chest.

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The guards indicated that it was ok for us to take photos of them at the Presidential Palace, but there was no rule that said they couldn’t sneer.

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The dad of a good friend. He was a hoot, and we couldn’t even really talk to each other. Characters know characters.

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Christmas Morning – about 10 AM. All he wanted from Santa Claus was a bottle of champagne and  some sort of meat. Seems he got his wish.

The picture was clear – he is blurry.

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Same morning – not sure who asked for 6 big plastic bubbles, but they are getting it.

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Rio De Lata Plata troubadour.

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Ceffi the glacier hike guide and his assistant. True characters that kept people from falling into giant crevices.

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Roci the petrified forest guide. Cool and smart.

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Another day on the Rio De La Plata.

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This is Grace and her friend Sol. Grace is a tour guide but on this day I was giving her a tour of the subway’s H Line artwork so she could come up with a new tour offering.

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Carnaval a week late….

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Sometimes in Buenos Aires they blow their own horns! There was a lot to enjoy about our time there, but the people were the best part.

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Buenos Aires – March 2020 – Cool and Funky Vehicles of Argentina

While we have returned to the USA to ride out this challenging time, there are some interesting topics that have yet to be covered on our time in Argentina. One of those are the funky vehicles of the country.

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Lets start with the city buses. Unlike most cities in the US, the buses in Buenos Aires are privately owned, and are known as Colectivos. They are very colorful, and run what seems like illogical routes.

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Note this line’s name – Nueva Chicago. Based in the south end of the city, the neighborhood was home to the stockyards. These stockyard came after the famed Chicago stockyards, so of course the neighborhood became known as ‘New Chicago’. Today the neighborhood is more commonly known as Matadoros, but the bus line retains the original name.

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This photo transitions us from the buses to the quirky trucks that haul all sorts of stuff around the city.

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I didn’t get enough of these trucks as they would just appear randomly.

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A stop of the Subte….  Buenos Aires has 6 different subway lines and it seems each has it’s own style car, including two lines that have cars with no air conditioning so the windows open.

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A trip to the country gives a good example of the number of huge old Mercedes Benz trucks that troll the roads of Argentina.

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Also in this area was this – an Argentina El Camino perhaps. So much with this scene, a funky truck/car, a gaucho and the drivers door open with no driver to be seen, and they were parked nowhere close to anything else.

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A jeep with some interesting replacement bodywork.

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A few beer trucks…Always very cool.

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A 1970s Ford LTD as a taxi way down in Patagonia.

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This guys mom must not have told him never to play in traffic. In reality we saw numerous street performers doing their act in traffic stopped at lights.

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To me it appears Buenos Aires has more motorcycles and scooters than any city in the Western Hemisphere.

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There are also a stunning number of nicely restored VW Buses.

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But in the end the cars are the best..

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The red streamer hanging off the back is supposed to bring you good luck and keep you safe.

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With the strong Italian culture in Buenos Aires you must have a cool old Fiat.

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A ubiquitous Buenos Aires taxi – low fares, a strange collection of vehicles all painted the same color scheme, and drivers who are even more interesting. I read horror stories of the taxi’s but we took them all the time with no problems. My favorite taxi ride was to go to a commuter train station, but the street to get us next to the station was one way the wrong way – no problem, pull onto the street one block up and BACK DOWN the block to get us there. At least we were pointed in the correct direction the entire time!

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And we end this posting with this stylish Cadillac that belonged to the one and only Juan and Eva Peron.

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Buenos Aires – March 2020 – Presidential Museum

The Argentina Presidential Palace known as Casa Rosada is currently located almost a kilometer from the edge of the Rio De La Plata. It wasn’t always this way, when the first structure that was built on the property was completed it included a pier into the river, as this painting below illustrates.




This structure was the Fort Buenos Aires, completed in the early 1800s. Today portions of the walls of this fort are still used in the recently completed Museo Casa Rosada.

The museum features over 10,000 historical items, many belonging to the various presidents of the country.




The original arches of the fort frame many of the exhibit areas, while overlooking the main hall. Within the floors of the main hall are some of the original foundations.




Currently an exhibit of railways of the country are on exhibit.




The museum features several works of art, including this portrait of Juan Peron, and his wife Eva (Evita). According to legend this is the only official portrait of Juan where he is smiling. It was completed in 1948 by the French painter Numa Ayrinhac.




Or perhaps he was smiling because his very stylish 1952 Cadillac is nearby.




Other transportation include 1800s Presidential carriages.




The Presidential Guards man the museum.




Presidential sashes are very important in Argentina history.




A historic Presidential desk.




Symbolic keys given to presidents.




General President Agustin Justo’s hat.




There were a number of sets of china on display., this belonged to President Nicolas Avellaneda in the nineteenth century.




The reform era from 1890 until 1916.




More sashes.




Items associated with President Bartolome Mitre. in the 1920s.




The museum does a very nice job of combining old with new, history with the present. All countries have their good history and bad, and Argentina has more than their share – however they deal with their entire history in a sensitive, well thought out approach at this museum.






Tigre, Argentina – February 2020 – Prowling Around Town

A Saturday in Tigre…

Murals of the town.
















An old car that is not a Ford Falcon (a rarity in Argentina). A classic Peugeot.





The bamboo store.






You can’t spend any time in Tigre without being along a river.





The tourists are coming back from a night on the islands.





A small market of local crafts.









The river is lined with restaurants in the park.






Jet airplanes in the yard? It is the Argentina Naval Museum.










We looked for, but did not find, the Mate Museum – but did see a giant teapot.





And with that it is time to go back to the stylish train station and head out of town.