Central Ohio Transportation History Through Historical Markers – July 2020

As you travel around Ohio you will often see historical markers – there are 1700 of them scattered throughout the state. Using sound caution during these challenging times I spent a couple of hours running around the area finding markers that highlight the history of transportation in Central Ohio. This allowed me to start again the photo efforts, as well as history research, while avoiding people.

 

The National Road

Ohio was still wilderness in the late 1700s, inhabited by only Native Americans. When the Europeans arrived and started to push west from the eastern seaboard the state was one of the first destinations. The primary route for many of these settlers was the National Road.

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In Ohio the National Road started on the western end of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River. (this historic marker is from West Virginia)

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Initially it was just a trail through the countryside. This non paved alley in a small Ohio town is the exact location of the trail.

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The National Road had mile markers indicating how far you were from Cumberland, Maryland, the eastern terminus.

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A number of the famed ‘S’ bridges were along the route. This one dates from the early days of the automobile.

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This S Bridge dates from the pre-automotive days.

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Of course as soon as you have people and transportation someone is going to go off course.

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Canals

Not long after the National Road was first completed the canals started to be built. This transportation mode was the primary driver that lead Ohio to become the the 3rd most populated state by 1840, a position it would hold until Illinois passed it in 1900.

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The canals opened up the interior of the state with connections to the Great Lakes and the Ohio River.

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In addition to the main canals, there were ‘feeder canals’ branching off to spur industrial development.

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The little village of Lockville has 3 locks in a short distance, as well as a vintage covered bridge that would’ve once crossed it.

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The city of Groveport has restored their lock.

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The town of Lockbourne is proud of their canal and lock heritage, although their one lock could us a bit of attention.

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Trains

The canals had their heyday until the trains became prevalent in the 1850s.

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While the mainline trains carried commerce and passengers across the state and beyond, Ohio became a center for the ‘Interurban’.

The Interurban served as a local transportation option between cities closely aligned, essentially the same as today’s commuter rail systems.

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The map below shows how extensive the interurban network was in the state.

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As one of the larger cities in the state, Columbus was a hub for the interurban transportation.

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The line going south out of the city was known as the Scioto Valley Interurban.

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Amazingly it had a third rail in the countryside (providing the power from a rail in the ground, not overhead wires).  You would think that a number of cows became instant steaks by stepping on these…

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The rails are still part of a street in the town of Groveport.

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Canal Winchester has restored their Interurban station as a community center.

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While nearby the town had a mainline train station.

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Airports

While the Wright Brothers were the first developers of the airplane in nearby Dayton in the first decade of the 1900s, it took until 1923 for Columbus to have it’s first permanent air field.

It was named Norton Field, and as the historical marker indicates, was named after a Columbus native and World War I casualty John Norton. The opening was attended by Eddie Rickenbacker (more below on Eddie).

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The field was located east of the city, just south of the current airport.

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It was used primarily by the military, and was shut down as suburbia reached the area in the 1950s. Today the only reminder of it’s history (other than the marker) is the park in the neighborhood.

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Just north of Norton Field is John Glenn Columbus International Airport, whose airport code is CMH – Columbus Metropolitan Hangar – the original name for the field.

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The airport location was selected by Charles Lindbergh as the eastern terminus of the Transcontinental Air Transport. This unique design had passengers travel to Columbus from New York on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

From Columbus the passengers could fly to a town called Waynoka, Oklhoma, where they would again get on a train – this time to Clovis, New Mexico.

In Clovis they would again get on an airplane and fly on to Los Angeles.

The photo below clearly shows how close the train was to the airport. Note the T-A-T airplanes in the foreground – they later merged with Western Air Express to become TWA.

The entire concept was a disaster. In 18 months they lost $2.7m, was involved in the first plane crash on a regular commercial route, and eventually became involved in a scandal known as the Air Mail scandal.

03 TAT - Transcontinental Air Transport Ford Tri-Motors at Port Columbus, Ohio Airport, 8 July 1929, Opening of Eastern Air Link of TAT's First Rail-Air, NY to CA

 

 

But the airport survived. This photo looking southwest shows the field.

Norton Field is in the upper left grassy area, and on the center right is the construction of Curtiss-Wright Airplane factory. This factory built military aircraft until the 1988.

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The original terminal sits unused in a distant corner of the airport.

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A sign of the times are a number of currently mothballed aircraft – waiting for travel to return after COVID.

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Eddie Rickenbacker grew up in this modest house on the east side of Columbus. From this start Eddie lead a most eventful life. He was a World War I fighter pilot – race car driver – automobile designer – and pioneer in air transportation, leading Pan Am Airlines.

2018 06 10 86 Columbus Old Oaks Neighborhood House & Garden Tour

 

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Eddie’s name graces the former air force base turned freight airport – Rickenbacker International Airport.

 

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Central Ohio has had a long history of transportation – perhaps a Hyperloop is next…

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Virtual Travel – New Jersey

Welcome to New Jersey – my usual first views of the state are landing at Newark airport, for better or worse.

 

At the other end you can take a ferry from Delaware.

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Overview

1955     2000     2002/2003/2004

 

 

The New Jersey State Capitol is in Trenton. (Photo from Flickr)

 

The unusual state symbols of the day include:

State Colors – Jersey Blue and Buff. This dates from the Revolutionary War when Washington assigned the colors to the regiments of the New Jersey Continental Line. It is thought he chose these because New Jersey (as well as New York) were settled by the Dutch, and those colors are the Netherlands colors.

 

 

State Tall Ship – A.J. Meerwald. This ship, built in 1928, is featured on maps below. It is a Oyster Schooner.

 

 

Officially known as the New Jersey State House, the building was completed in the 1790s, behind the capitols in Maryland and Virginia.

New Jersey State Capital | State capitals, Capitol building, Building

 

 

 

Let’s visit some other cities in the state starting with Atlantic City. It’s main business since being started in the 1850s has been tourism. It was marketed to the crowded city folks in New York and Philadelphia as a healthy resort on the ocean.

By the 1870s more than 500,000 people a day made their way to Atlantic City. By the early 1900s it had large hotels lining the coast, along those streets whose names have been made famous by the board game Monopoly, as well as the notoriety from the Miss America Pagent.

The mayor of the time quoted during Prohibition ‘we have whiskey, wine, women, song and slot machines. I won’t deny it and I won’t apologize for it.’

 

 

By the 1970s it had fallen on hard times, so they introduced legalized gambling. These photos show the rebirth in the 1980s, but the convention hall still being the showpiece.

 

Today it is similar, only with so many cities introducing gambling, the city has one again fallen on hard times. (photo from NJ public radio)

What do you think of when you think of Atlantic City?

 

Much of the Jersey Shore (not beach or coast) has some cool/kitschy features, but the best is easily Lucy the Elephant in Margate. This 140 year old elephant still brings in the tourists.

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Jersey City – The second largest city in New Jersey has the good fortune of being located just across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan. While the city has had it’s ups and downs, peaking out at 316,000 people in 1930, it dropped down to a low of 223,000 by 1980. This reflected the exodus of people from New York City as well, as everyone was headed to the suburbs.

Since then though, with significant renewal of the waterfront area the population has gone back up to 265,000, and continues to grow.

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Just upriver Hoboken is experiencing a similar rebirth, but retains the fabulous Hoboken Terminal for New Jersey Transit Trains, and ferries to Manhattan.

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Statue of Liberty

1983     1986

 

It is interesting that New Jersey has featured the Statue of Liberty on the cover of some of the maps, as technically it is in New York. The island that the statue sits on is in New Jersey water, but is a federally owned island that belongs to Manhattan.

This is a result of a dispute dating (amazingly) from 1664, that stated the New Jersey borders did not extend to the middle of the river, or bay. In 1834 the US Congress did set the boundary in the middle of the waterways, however specifically exempted Liberty Island, stating it would remain in New York. This was held up in 1908 by the Supreme Court, and again in 1987 when New Jersey sued to take control of the island. Clearly these maps from 1983 and 1984 were when Jersey was confident the island would once again be theirs.

 

Ellis Island however is much simpler, it is in New Jersey. So all those ancestors of ours who were so proud to step of the boat onto New York, really set foot in New Jersey.

Interestingly it is connected to New Jersey by a bridge that is not open to the public, just park service personnel.

Those immigrants – unless you were headed to New England, you were herded onto barges and sent to the train stations in Jersey City and Hoboken, having never set foot in New York.

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Liberty State Park in Jersey City is along the mainland near both islands. The park is on an area that was once large rail yards, with the centerpiece being the Jersey City Terminal of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. This building dates from 1889, and is currently undergoing renovations (for years).

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Outdoors in New Jersey

1988     1990     1992     2007  Holgate    2009     2012/2014/2015  AJ Meerwald

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Sandy Hook is a spit at the far northern end of the Jersey Shore, sticking out into New York Harbor. It is home to a vacant military facility, but is now a vast park, including large areas of natural settings with views across the harbor to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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New Jersey Palisades.  This geological feature along the Hudson River just north of New York City has been protected since 1900, as the industry of the times were blasting it away for crushed stone. (all photos in this section fromonlyinyourstate.com)

The Palisades: a National Natural Landmark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Illinois

Today’s stop – Illinois

1959 – With the Interstate’s recently been started, Illinois was proud to show one of  their’s on the cover. At this time the only freeways in the state were in the Chicago area.

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The Tri-State Tollway was one of the first completed. It was one of the first to built service plaza over the traffic lanes.

 

 

Hinsdale Oasis today

 

 

1961 – Cook County (Chicago) Motor Vehicle Office. From 1900 until 1960 Cook County had the largest population of any county in the United States. It has since been passed by Los Angeles, County, but remains 2nd most populated to this day.

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By 1961 freeways had been built through Chicago to downtown from every direction. This view is the Northwest/AKA – Kennedy Expressway. Amazingly there are reversible express lanes in the middle.

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This view from 2012 looks much the same.

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1968 – Celebrating Illinois’ Sesquicentennial, 150 years of statehood. Who better than Abraham Lincoln for the cover.

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1970 – View of the loop downtown Chicago.

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Jane Byrne Interchange Project, Chicago - Verdict Traffic

 

 

 

1973, 1975 & 1978 – They must have fired the photographer.

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1976 – A tribute to the Native Americans and pioneers. The first European explorers in the region were Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, which explains the number of French names for towns.

The Native American tribes included the Miami, Winnebago, Fox, Sacs, and of course – the Illinois.

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Cahokia Mounds State Histori Site is the location of a pre-Columbian Native American city that they estimate once had 40,000 residents in the year 1100.

They were, as most tribes in this area, mound builders.

Cahokia Mounds | Enjoy Illinois

 

 

 

1979 – Transportation in Illinois. While Chicago was a center of the early automotive manufacturing by the 1920s much had gone out of business and moved to Detroit.

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Today there are 3 automobile manufacturing facilities in Illinois. The most important is the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant.

This factory is the oldest continually operated factory for Ford.

Ford Chicago Plant Info, Production, Contact, Wiki

 

 

 

 

 

1983 – Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Frank Lloyd Wright had a studio in Oak Park, and design a plethora of fantastic homes and buildings throughout Chicago, and the world.

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1985 – People’s of the Past.

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1987 – Festivals. Chicago has some of the country’s best festivals.

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Chicago Festival

Chicago Summer Music Festivals For Rock, Country and More

 

 

 

1989 – Another year, another Lincoln map.

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World’s largest Lincoln statue. 72′ high, hanging out in a campground.

World's Tallest Abraham Lincoln Statue in Ashmore, Illinois

 

 

1989 – The hill country of Southern Illinois

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1991 – Illinois & Michigan Canal. This canal linked the Illinois River to Lake Michigan, thus providing the first interior route from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

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When it was in use mules or horses pulled the barges along the canal. (Photo – Chicago Public Library)

 

Today you can rent a longboat and spend a vacation on the canal. (photo – iandmcanal,org)

Water Activities – I & M Canal National Heritage Area

 

 

 

 

1993 – Celebrating Craftmaking.

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1995 – History of Illinois Roads. When the first European settlers began to arrive in larger numbers they made their way inland via ‘traces’. These roads generally followed the Native American paths that had been used for hundreds of years.

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1995 – Showing the Regions of Illinois.

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1997 – Another Lincoln Statue. There are over 200 Lincoln statues in the United States.

This one is in New Salem, Illinois.

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New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstructed town that Lincoln lived in from 1831 to 1837. It was from here he was first elected to public office. (Photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

Once again in the late 90s and early 2000s a state has chosen to have nondescript scenes on their maps.

 

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2005 – War Memorials throughout Illinois.

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2007 & 2011 – Again celebrating the regions of Illinois.

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Chicago is easily the most visited part of the state. The architecture here is second to none.

Some highlights

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2009 – Lincoln Presidential Library      2015 – Lincoln (again)

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Located in Springfield it is an impressive building in a state full of Lincoln tributes.

 

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2013 – Modes of Transportation

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O’Hare Airport in Chicago in 1956 (photo from Airways Magazine). For you airport code trivia fans, most have seen baggage routing tags with ORD for this airport.

It was originally a small airport for a factory known as Orchard Place, and gained that code then. ORchardD.

 

Today

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2015 – Mississippi River Bridge. It can easily be forgotten that there the Mississippi River runs the entire western boundary of Illinois. This bridge connects St Louis with southern Illinois.

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2017 – Our last stop is at a Lincoln Cabin made out of …. Lincoln Logs.

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Buenos Aires – January 2020 – The Costa Norte

Back on the Rio De La Plata for a late afternoon cruise – this time towards the city of Buenos Aires. The city and suburbs runs for about 40 miles along the coast of the river, mostly lined with mid rise apartment buildings.

The shore itself has a number of parks and other features that add to the scenery. The highlights include the soccer stadium for River Plate, and the airport Jorge Newberry.


























































































Southern Argentina – December 2019 – The Flight Home

There are about 10 flights a day from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. During the Christmas holiday it is packed with Porteno’s from the city headed to the mountains. A flight back on Christmas eve – not so much – Our 737 had 12 passengers and 5 crew.







With nobody on the plane, and fairly clear skies for much of the trip, I took the opportunity to get some shots from up high. The late afternoon sun gave some challenges to lighting, but the terrain below was very interesting.




































































We arrived to a nearly empty terminal




When we were checking in at the terminal in Bariloche they insisted on weighing our carry on bags, then pronounced them overweight so we had to check them (despite the fact we could have 10 overhead bins to ourselves).

When we arrived in BA they were easy to find, since they were the only 2 bags! Because there were only 12 people on the plane, and everybody including the crew wanted to get home we left as soon as the arriving passengers deplaned – leaving 45 minutes before scheduled time and arriving about an hour before our scheduled time!






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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Seattle – May 2014 – Downtown for the Day

An employment opportunity took me to Seattle where I had an entire day to explore downtown. My connection out took me through Detroit, which had replaced the decrepit old terminal since the last time I was there. The new one has the shuttle running above the concourse, with a tunnel under the taxiway using LED lighting to really make a really interesting walk.

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Arriving in Seattle by 9 AM, I had the remainder of the day to wander.

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