Pittsburgh – August 2018 – Sights on a Saturday

In town for the Regatta, we were able to check out a number of other sites for sights during the day.

Throughout downtown there were ‘earths’ painted with messages of making the world a better place.

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Flags of the world on the relief of the countries.

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A very artistic earth.

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Market Square is always busy with something going on.

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Meanwhile on the North Shore a large artistic installation graces the riverfront.

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I believe that architecture is the most beautiful art form – and functional.

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Alcoa Headquarters building.

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After we left the Photo Antiquities Museum we came across a festival in a park where they were promotion the protection of animals, including many vegan food options.

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There were many artists as well.

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But most booths had various animal protection themes.

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He needs our help.

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The cat rescue group leader.

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Origami art

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A novel use for test tubes.

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I was tempted to bring home a beagle rescue – but we travel far too much – it wouldn’t be fair to the dog.

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Nearby is the Children’s Museum – formerly the Buhl Planetarium – with a nice carved relief.

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A series of tubes would occasionally created a fog cloud.

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Making our way to the river for the Regatta we passed by the baseball stadium, and the Willie Stargell statue.

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As well as Roberto Clemente, along with the bridge they renamed for him.

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As we made our way to our seat for the regatta fireworks nature provided one last shot for the day.

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Columbus – November 2015 – Dog Show

The Ohio State Fairgrounds has numerous events each year other than the fair, including the fall dog show. Personally I like the dog events where they are trained to run up and down ramps, through tunnels and other things that dogs seem to naturally do. The dog show to me was a strange mix with all of the pampering (massive areas of grooming) and then into isolation of their cages while they wait their turn.

Without a doubt the mocumentary Best In Show nailed it! But to each their own. So little commentary, just photos….

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Huntington, WV – July 2015 – Hot Dog Batman!

The following weekend found us in Huntington, West Virginia on a Saturday morning for the 11th annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. This is a charity event benefiting Huntington’s Children’s Hospital, and featured a 10K Run, entertainment from local artists throughout the day, Hot Dog Eating Contest, and Root Beer Chugging Contests. The best events however were the Pooch Parade, Dog Costume Contest, and especially Dachshund Dash.

Huntington had once been a center of locomotive construction, and their history is much celebrated throughout the city. Much like the cows in Chicago, guitars in Cleveland, and Brutus the Buckeyes in Columbus, Huntington has a number of decorated fiberglass locomotives throughout the downtown area. The most impressive one was dedicated in the memory of the Marshall University football team that died in a plane crash in the 1970.

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There was also a custom car show being held during the festival, the highlight being a Batmobile, complete with Batman and his female companion in bat shoes

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Eventually thought I got the first of the two things I was there for, a hot dog. My first came from a local legend, Stewarts, which earned me a photo with Stewie the Hot Dog.

After a really cool Pooch Parade, which featured about 100 dogs of all breeds it was time for the main event, the Dachshund Dash. They had 10 heats of 8 dogs each, followed by the championship. These little dogs can really move when motivated, and they are an absolute hoot to watch race.

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But you can only have so much fun, so we headed south to continue our day. Our route took us along the Big Sandy River, eventually leading us to the Tug Fork, running along the border between West Virginia and Kentucky. Coal built this area, and they celebrate it with the Coal House in Williamson, WV is a unique building built of coal. In 1933 the coal was quarried as blocks and dressed as stone using 65 tons of coal from the nearby Winifrede Seam, then varnished for weather-resistance. Located adjacent to the Mingo County Courthouse, it houses the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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Just south of Williamson is the infamous town of Matewan This towns has two claims to fame, neither particularly endearing. First, it is the center of the Hatfield–McCoy feud involved two families, the Hatfield’s of West Virginia, led by Devil Anse Hatfield, while the McCoys of Kentucky were under the leadership of Randolph McCoy. The feud has entered the American folklore as the most infamous bitterly feuding rival parties.

The area plays it up to the fullest, driving the tourist trade. While we were in Matewan we were walking along the flood wall heading for the very nice restored train station/museum when I asked an elderly man for directions. He gladly gave them to us, then proceeded to proudly less us he was a Hatfield.

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Matewan’s second notoriety comes from the days when local co-workers were trying to unionize to improve their horrid working conditions. In 1920 local miners who were supporting the union were being kicked out of their company owned housing by the mine owners, by hiring private detectives.

When the detectives arrived, Matewan chief of police Sid Hatfield intervened on behalf of the evicted families. After carrying out several evictions, the detectives ate dinner at the Urias Hotel then walked to the depot to catch the five o’clock train back to Bluefield, Virginia. They were intercepted by Hatfield, who claimed to have arrest warrants from the county sheriff. Detective Albert Felts produced a warrant for Hatfield’s arrest. The detectives didn’t know they had been surrounded by armed miners, who watched intently from windows and doorways along Mate Street and, while Felts, Hatfield, and Testerman, faced off, a shot rang out. The ensuing gun battle left 7 detectives and 4 townspeople dead

In 1987 a movie about the incident, called Matewan, was released to critical acclaim, making the small town even more famous. A small museum memorializes the battle, and the plight of the workers. All in all the small town of Matewan does a nice job of telling their history.

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As we reached Beckley we stopped at Tamarac, a tourist destination featuring the best of West Virginia, located above the Beckley service area of the West Virginia Turnpike. It features a red peaked roof and landscaped grounds that draw over 500,000 visitors annually. This large arts and crafts facility is run as an economic development project of the West Virginia Parkways Authority and sells West Virginia craft products, such as wood, glass, textiles, pottery, metal, jewelry, as well as specialty food items, fine art, and West Virginia books and recordings. There are five resident artisan studios and most weekends from Spring through Fall there are also craft demonstrations, including the day we were there.

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After watching a fabric craftsman, we went to the other side of the building where they house the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. With our long day coming to an end, we finished with that traditional West Virginia food, an Outback Steakhouse.

Southern Ohio – May 2014 – The Dog Blues

Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peach Ranch in Meigs County, Ohio hosts weekend workshops for guitarists, with the highlight being a Saturday night concert. Among the distinguished staff members are Larry Campbell, Warren Haynes, and the day we were there, David Lindley. Jorma was a guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. David has played on hundreds of albums for artists including Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt.

The concert was on Memorial Day weekend, so the weather was nice and we took the opportunity to make a weekend of it. We left Akron and headed down I-71, but because of the holiday there were far too many highway patrol so I exited south of Mansfield and took two lane roads the rest of the way, through Mount Vernon, Newark, Somerset and finally stopping in the Hocking Hills for some hiking.


Our hike was in Cantwell Cliffs, one of the lesser visited areas of the Hocking Hills The erosion caused by Buck Run accounts for the deep valley, steep cliffs and rock shelter under the cliff. Approaching the rock shelter, the trail winds its way through narrow passageways caused by large slump blocks that have fallen away from the main cliff. The most narrow passage has been sarcastically named Fat Woman’s Squeeze.

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After a short visit with some relatives who have a farm in Meigs County we wandered the gravel back roads of Meigs County to the Fur Peace Ranch. Essentially you drive up someone’s driveway and park in a field, and immediately notice the cabins and a few buildings. Outside one of these buildings an older guy was playing a dobro and electric guitar, jamming to some blues.

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We checked out the store and small museum, before settling in for the conert. The hall seats less than 100 people, so we were fortunate to get tickets, and it was well worth it as the show was great.

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We had hotel reservations at the Blennerhassett in Parkersburg, a historic hotel opened in 1889 but was restored in 1986. It is said to be haunted, but we didn’t see anything. The hotel is beautiful, and the staff very attentive, we highly recommend it to anyone that needs to spend a night in Parkersburg.

Sunday morning we headed up the Ohio River on West Virginia Route 2, all the way to Wheeling. Once there, we visited Oglebay Park.

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After spending an hour wandering the park we headed across town for a few races at the Wheeling Island Dog Track. It was my first time at a dog track, and it seemed so strange as it was just like a horse racing track, only in miniature. It was sad to see the dogs muzzled, and I am always torn when I attend horse races and now dog races that not all of the owners treat these great animal-athletes as they should.

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