New York City – August 2019 – Circling Manhattan

With a trip for work to New York City I had little time for sightseeing, but my wife didn’t! This is her photo blog of a 4 hour New York Architectural Society (almost) circumnavigation of Manhattan. I say almost, since there was a bridge on the Harlem River in a down position so they had to backtrack back around.

They set sail from a pier in Chelsea.



And headed for the harbor…





Passing by Jersey City…



The trip was actually offered for college credit, so there was an instructor on board whom reportedly spoke ‘constantly’. The trip took them past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which I wouldn’t think would need any dialog to explain.





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It was time to head up the East River…



This carousel in a park in Brooklyn came from a defunct amusement park in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.



Nearby was a jet ski school!



As you make you way up the East River you go past many areas that are undergoing gentrification.



An interesting view of Roosevelt Island, and the 59th Street (Queensboro) Bridge.



The United Nations Building



Roosevelt Island was once home to a Tuberculosis Hospital, but now is home to thousands in new apartment buildings.



A great view of the bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tram.



A series of bridges on the far end of the East River, where they ended up turning around.



If you have plenty of money ($850 one way for a 30 minute plane ride) you can get from Manhattan to the Hamptons in a hurry on a seaplane.



Or a helicopter…



The cruise continued back down the East River




The late afternoon sun made a interesting view of the Staten Island Ferry with the statue in the background.



The World Trade Center from the Hudson River



One of the many New York Waterway ferries.



Finally some interesting new architecture along the Hudson.

I think you will agree her photos were great – I am so jealous I had to work, it looks like it was a great cruise 🙂





Across America – May 2019 – Random Scenes Part 1

The following are interesting scenes that didn’t fit any of the other postings.

Lajitas, Texas – The only place to stay was a golf resort, but it had a great sunset.




Texas border area – We saw a few instances of the border patrol in action, including going through 2 checkpoints along the highway. Strangely the checkpoints were at least 40 miles from the border.





Marfa, Texas – This town is an artist enclave for New York artists. How and why a bunch of New York artists decided to go to a small west Texas town is far too long for this blog.




Fort Davis, Texas is a historic town with a former frontier fort. Today it has a couple of cool re purposed buildings.





Pecos, Texas – For about 100 miles in any direction from Pecos were new fracking oil wells. The landscape was filled with these towers burning off natural gas, as well as truck traffic jams and RVs parked in the desert for the workers. The high pay also caused our most expensive hotel night in Carlsbad, New Mexico as the demand for housing far exceeds supply.









Roswell, New Mexico – While I have a posting for the UFO industry of Roswell, there was also a very cool airplane ‘boneyard’.







Portales, New Mexico – When we were driving into town the billboard for Burger King said ‘next to the airplane’. They weren’t kidding.



Hereford, Texas – Beef capital of the world. I think they are correct.





Canyon, Texas – A Giant Cowboy



Amarillo, Texas – Much cleaner energy source.



Canadian, Texas – Lonesome train blues.



Near Shattuck, Oklahoma – Folk Art along the Highway.





Fairview, Oklahoma – We were looking for some Good Eats, but needed to find somewhere else.



Jet, Oklahoma – One of our disappointments was being unable to check out the Salt Plains National Refuge – where you can dig around for crystals in the salt flats. Much of Oklahoma was flooded, and it flooded the salt flats.

The cows however were making the most of their new beach.





Somewhere in Oklahoma – The Perfect Farm Photo

Part 2 in a second posting.






Tullahoma, Tennessee – May 2019 – Beechcraft Aircraft Heritage Museum

The small city of Tullahoma, Tennessee has had a long association with flight, as it is located next to Arnold Air Force Base – where many engineers evaluate aircraft and other military apparatus for flight.

As a result of their passion for flight, they have a museum dedicated to Beechcraft Aircraft, despite the fact the planes themselves are built in Wichita, Kansas.

The lighting of the walkway to the museum is made to look like runway lights.



Inside you find 36 aircraft in a number of hangars. The most famed early Beechcraft airplanes are known as staggerwings – as their biplane wings are slightly offset from each other.



These airplanes are quite rare, but the museum has a nice collection of them.



This airplane is known as Serial Number 1 – Travel Air Mystery Ship.



The next hangar have some Twin Beechs in addition to the biplanes.



The final hangar was the largest, with a great collection of single engine aircraft.



Also included in the collection is a cutaway to show the frame of the aircraft.



They are beautiful little airplanes.



The final stop on our tour of their museum was an all composite Beechcraft Model 2000A Starship. This unusually shaped airplane was one of the first carbon fiber frames, as well as rear facing engines and propellers.

The Beechcraft Heritage Museum is a nice stop for any aviation enthusiasts.




Washington DC – May 2019 – Going Postal

The National Postal Museum was established through a joint agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution in 1993.

Located in the former main post office for Washington, it has a great collection of philatelic items.




In the mid 1800s the United States Postal Service was just starting up, and they had competition from private postal services – in a way they have come full circle losing much of the market to Fedex and UPS.




The museum had a nice collection of the various improvements in delivery, as well as a couple of the more unusual. This mailbox was stuck inside a cruise missle and fired on June 8th, 1959. It did reach it’s target, but was done only once because of the immense cost.




The museum has an amazing collection of stamps and letters. The one below is one of the earliest known U.S. Postal stamps from 1847.




A couple of survivors. This letter survived the Hindenburg fire and crash.




This is one of the few letters sent from the Titanic. The writer, George Graham of Canada wrote this brief letter and mailed it before reaching Cherbourg, the last stop before going trans-atlantic. The letter reached it’s destination – unfortunately George did not, dying in the accident.




An actual Pony Express delivered letter. Despite all of the publicity over the last 150 years, the Pony Express operated for about a year and a half.




There are a number of other small items including letter carrier badges from around the country.




One section detailed what goes into the design of a stamp.




The Postal Service has always celebrated famous Americans, including musicians.





Throughout the museum were various mailbox displays.




A number of the displays highlighted foreign mailboxes.







The 6 story atrium featured a number of aircraft that were used in the early days of air mail.







Also on display is a full size mail rail car. Imagine sorting the mail bumping along at 60 MPH.




Benjamin Franklin was, among other things, the First Postmaster General. He was well qualified as he was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia by the British Crown Post in 1737, as newspaper publishers often were appointed postmasters.

The Postal Museum is a great place to spend a few hours – well worth the time. And as most Smithsonian Museums, it has free admission.







Cleveland – March 2019 – People, Art & Machines

Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.

Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.

As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.




As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.




A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.




This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.




The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.




For some the audience made a good match for the car.




A Zombie car – because why not.




The Zombie car’s door art.





Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.





Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.




This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.




An aptly named 1957 Chevy.





A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.





While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.




There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!




As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.




Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.




There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.




I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.




Mixing classic art and hot rods.




Many had names.




Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.





Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.





Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.




All obviously have very steady hands.




The detail is amazing.




His shirt says it all.




It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.




This guy had great pedal cars.




Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.




Ready for St Patricks Day.




The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.

Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.







Dayton – December 2018 – Cool and Quirky Airplanes

With family in town that has a strong interest in aviation, a day long visit to the Air Force Museum in Dayton was called for. For this visit I focused on the cool and quirky aircraft (and spacecraft).

We start with the horizontal stabilizer of Douglas VC-54C Skymaster with the name of ‘Sacred Cow’. It was the first presidential plane, serving FDR.

The Lockheed VC-140B JetStar was the first business jet produced in quantity for the civilian market.

Because of it’s smaller size it was sometimes referred to as Air Force One Half.

A view from the outside of the cockpit of the Independence.

Another look at the Sacred Cow. While it was state of the art, from this angle it looks like there were 100 pieces of aluminum cobbled together.

Not alien, just not useful.

Early Stealth – the Northrup Tacit Blue. While it was stealthy, it apparently was aerodynamically unstable.

Much of the day was spent checking out the quirky noses on many of the planes.

North American X-15A-2. One bad airplane – Built to fly high and fast it made 199 flights starting in 1959, and it speeds of 4520 MPH!

It was the world’s first piloted aircraft to reach hypersonic speeds, and allow the pilots to earn astronaut wings flying as high as 67 miles above the earth.

But then – they made spacecraft! A Gemini and Apollo.

Back to the quirky noses.

We always go through the museum ‘backwards’ – going straight to Hangar 4 for the Presidential aircraft and working our way to the front for the early flight.

Nothing better than a piston engine aircraft.

Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 15 – Best 30 Minute Flight in the World

We left the ship in the morning and spent a bit of time in the town of Kaunakakai at a farmers market, while we waiting for our flight’s scheduled time.

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Eventually it was time to go – in our 9 passenger Mokulele Airlines flight to Maui. As we boarded the plane I asked the pilot if we were taking the north route to Maui, and with a smile she said ‘yes’!

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We took off over the only flat land on Molokai.

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The north route takes you over the famed Sea Cliffs. Known as the highest sea cliffs in the world, some are over 4000′ high. Now you know why the pilot was smiling.

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A family owned airline, they are known for their island hopping routes.

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The best views in the world out the windows of our little 9 passenger plane on a regularly scheduled route..

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One of the saddest policies in Hawaiian history was the sequestering of leprosy patients. One of the most famous of these is on Molokai, where over a 100 year period over 8,000 people were sent to spend the rest of their lives in isolation.

Today it is a National Historic Park accessible only by mules down the 1,600′ high cliffs, or by plane.

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More of the steep valleys along Molokai’s north shore.

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There are numerous waterfalls coming off of the cliffs.

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Two of the 8 highest waterfalls in the world are along these cliffs. I ‘think’ we are looking at Olo’upena Falls and ‘Pu’uka’oku Falls, both nearly 3000’ high.

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Amazing cliffs and waterfalls.

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Our last view of Molokai was of the Halawa Valley, where we spent the day before with Pops and his family learning of Hawaiian culture.

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After crossing the 20 mile channel we were over Maui,

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While rugged, the mountains are not as abrupt as Molokai. They do however have a great little road running through them (more on that tomorrow).

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More canyons as we approach the airport.

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Maui is basically one massive mountain on east end, with other tall mountains on the west end, with a flat valley in the middle. All of a sudden it looks like Southern California!

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The water in the ocean just off shore had great color though.

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Making a couple of quick turns to land and we were in Maui. What a spectacular flight!

The traffic and congestion will quickly make you wish you were back in Molokai.

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We did make a quick trip up to Iao Valley before the sun set though.

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The ‘needle’, a 1200′ high (from the valley floor). It is really a ridge, as it continues beyond sight.

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As we walked to dinner along the coast we saw this great turtle hanging out in the lava rocks.

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