Columbus – December 2018 – Ohio’s Attic

The Ohio History Center in Columbus is sort of Ohio’s attic, if an attic is a brutalist style concrete building with a number of galleries with extremely diverse displays.

Still, a good way to spend a few hours on a cold, rainy Saturday.

First up – African American Art

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A long time Columbus TV legend, Flippo (or more appropriately Flippo’s outfit)

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A small engine.

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Silver Bracelet from the 1800s.

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Ohio has always been known for it’s many glass makers.

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A display on World War I had a gas mask. Interestingly the precursor to the gas mask was invented by Garrett Morgan in Cleveland. An African American, Garrett had a long and distinguished life as an inventor.

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An exhibit on Ohio artists. This display honors Paul Henri Bourguignon, a Belgian born artist who settled in Columbus in 1950 after his wife joined the faculty of Ohio State University.

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Flywheel for a steam engine. I just like the symmetry and color.

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Early fire engine.

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Horse drawn streetcar.

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Model Train set.

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Miss America 1953’s gown and portrait.

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Etch a Sketch – from ‘Ohio Art’

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A 1957 Chevy and an Airstream Trailer. The camper has been built in Ohio for a long time.

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The Soap Box derby is synonymous with Ohio.

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Lustron Homes were prefabricated, metal houses made in the 1940s and 1950s.

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This display is all set for Christmas 1955.

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Native American pipe.

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And effigy.

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A display of Civil War era Ohio Companies flags.

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Dinosaur skull.

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Taxidermy of animals that once, or still, are present in Ohio.

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An airplane, because we need an airplane.

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And cars. We need cars to. And the state has long produced both.

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An early tire mold from Firestone.

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Finally we are hungry, so we stopped by White Castle (at least the exhibit – we found better food for lunch afterwards).

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 12 Lanai

Day 12 had us spending time near and on the island of Lanai. It is currently mostly owned by a software billionaire, but 2% remain in the hands of the local people.

We were parked for the day in the Mauele Bay.




Before we started our day we had a private tour of the ships engine room with the engineer. For most people on a cruise in Hawaii this wouldn’t be high on the list, but it was for me – very cool.




Twin 700 HP diesel engines (only one seen in this photo).




It was a relaxing day for all.




All of the crew of the ship have multiple jobs, including the captain – here explaining to the kayakers how to push off the boat and get started.




Which they all successfully did!




I opted for the skiff tour of the local geology. Note the mist coming out of the hole at the bottom center. There are numerous blowholes around Hawaii, basically small caves that the water is forced into where it runs out of space and come blowing back out.




While one of the smaller ones we saw, it did creates rainbows.




Our tour continued along the cliffs where there was clear evidence of the volcanic activity and subsequent abrupt movements of the earth that sheared off with dramatic results.




The most famed geologic point was Sweetheart Rock. At one point there would’ve been a large arch here but that came down long ago.

As with many other locations like this, local lore has it that one person had forbidden love and threw themselves to their death, hence Sweetheart Rock.




A local seabird (not sure what kind) coming in for a landing. It took him/her 4 tries!




Eventually the kayakers returned.




And everyone went for a swim. Most went off the back of the boat, but some of the more daring jumped off the 2nd deck, including this elderly woman from Mississippi!




Our afternoon was spent at a cat sanctuary (enough on that for a separate post), and some time in Lanai City.

Lanai was a pineapple plantation before rich people bought the entire island. Our driver (Neal) had grown up on the island and worked the plantation before working in the motor pool.

He eventually started his own shuttle business and now has a fleet of 14 vans. Oh – he also plays music and showed us photos of him with Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood!




After a tour of the town we returned to the beach for a sunset walk up to view Sweetheart Rock.






Another Hawaii day – another Hawaii sunset.





Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 5 Volcano National Park

Having arrived after dark the night before, once the sun came up in the morning we found ourselves facing Kilauea. Showing my ignorance at some things in nature I always thought that a volcano was the huge cylindrical cone where everything came shooting out the top.

On this day I learned that they can be very different. For Mauna Loa, there have been numerous cauldrons/craters that have erupted over time. Even the most recent this spring, didn’t erupt in the cauldron, rather the lava lake that was in Kilauea disappeared as the lava exited lava tubes miles away, leaving this cauldron empty, except for the steam vents.

To me it looked like an abandoned strip mine with steam.




Our visit continued with a drive down Chain of Craters Road, so named as it passes numerous craters from previous eruptions over the last 100 years.

Each crater has a different look depending on age.






We stopped along the way and took a great 3 mile round trip hike across lava fields to Pu’u Huluhulu.




The amount of vegetation that grows in what seems like impossible conditions is amazing, and beautiful. We found these berries growing everywhere.




Through every available crack.




Also interesting were the different surfaces, some were smooth, some with swirls, and this one with thousands of little indentations.




Having completed our hike, we continued our drive towards the sea.




Once we reached the ocean you could again see how volcanic activity forms all of Hawaii.




The Holei Sea Arch is a 90′ high natural arch formed from the erosion of the lava cliffs from the pounding of the surf.




Returning to the main part of the park (and people), we went for a walk along the steam vents. Unlike Yellowstone where there is a strong sulfur smell, these just felt and smelled like you are standing outside of a house in the winter where the drying vent is running – only much more so.




The steam vents were all over the place.




Many had offerings to the volcano gods to ask them to behave themselves.






As with most of our days in Hawaii, it ended with a great sunset.






Sierra Nevada Mountains, California – Spring 2016 Road Trip – Day 4 – Sherman Pass & The Eastern Sierras

Our 4th day started out by heading back into the Central Valley, where we once again stopped at a farm market, this time for fresh picked cherries, strawberries and apples for snacks while we drove through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Immediately after leaving Porterville we started back up into the mountains, spending the 40 miles winding our way along California 190 until we came to the junction for Sherman Pass, where the highway crosses the Kern River.

There was a parking lot for people to go fishing, so we stopped for a break, asking one of the locals if they knew if the pass was open (it is normally closed all winter). Assured that it was we decided to go through the pass, as opposed the much longer route around the southern end of the mountains.

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As soon as we turned onto this road we had to dodge boulders in the middle of the road, but that was short lived and our drive continued up the mountain. Eventually we peaked out at 9200 feet in elevation, the highest point of the pass, where the temperature had dropped from the 70oF in Fresno to 36oF, cold enough to retain much of the winter snow, giving me an opportunity to throw some late May snowballs.

The route across the pass and subsequent mountains is 137 miles, and after dropping down into the valley for the Eastern Sierra’s the temperature was back up to 77o F.

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Heading up the valley on U.S. 395 we soon arrived at Fossil Falls; a unique geological feature located in the Coso Range of California where volcanic activity in the mountain range, along with meltwater from glaciers in the nearby Sierra Nevada, played a role in the creation of the ‘falls’.

Walking along the path to Fossil Falls was across extremely uneven footing from the basaltic flows was challenging, but eventually we arrived at a sheer 50′ drop off into a ravine filled with similar rocks.

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The flows occurred between 400,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago. There are large, perfectly circular penetrations in the basalt that are erosional features called potholes. The black polished rock looked odd scattered over acres of desert but we climbed over rocks to stand along the edge and peer down into the deep ravine.

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Lone Pine was our next stop, going up into Alabama Hills to see the movie trail where TV and movie scenes were filmed. The desert and western scenes for films like Django, Gunga Din, Rawhide and How the West Was Won were all shot here, with a movie trail looped us through the specific sites for each. Also of interest is a natural stone arch that was situated directly on the movie trail.

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Further up the valley is Manzanar, California, now a National Historic Site, but was initially built in 1942 as an internment camp; where the United States government ordered more than 110,000 of men, women, and children who had been forced to leave their homes were detained them in remote, military-style camps. While a few were Japanese immigrants, most of the men, women and children were US citizens.

The Historic Site had a number of building from the 1940s, including the Block House, a building that provided living quarters for a family. The Block House had one coal heater, and a mattress which meant that the family had to fend for themselves if they wanted other items. We also saw the Barracks, originally a cluster of fifteen buildings. The barracks (shacks) were built of only pine planking covered with tarpaper, on concrete footings, with about two feet of open space between the floorboards and the ground. Knotholes gaped in the uncovered floor.

Despite the injustice of it all, and the poor conditions, these people made toys, furniture, and household items from leftover crates and trash left from supplies brought into the camp, as well as creating gardens for food and beauty.

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The camp required the Japanese ethnic detainees to hold jobs.  They served in jobs to help their captors, the US military, during WWII at the camp and sometimes the detained were sent out of camp to help alleviate the labor shortage, for instance, picking vegetables elsewhere.

In addition to the barracks and block house, our tour of the grounds showed us rubble of a Catholic church, and sites where a Buddhist temple, school, hospital and post office once stood.

At the back of the camp was a cemetery, with a tall white monument engraved in Japanese writing standing in the center of a fenced area. The fence was decorated with multi-colored paper chains that looked like lotus flowers.

We walked among the graves but we could only feel ashamed of how our country treated its own citizens.


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We left Manzanar and drove along the highway seeing rain in the distance with storm clouds that hung at the top of the mountains. The Sierra Nevada Mountains flanked the highway to our left with peaks between 11,000 and 14,000 feet in elevation.  We saw Mt. Whitney from a far with a snow blanketed peak. Mt. Whitney is the highest point in California at 14,494 feet.

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Our day ended at Bishop, California to stay the night. After dinner at a Japanese restaurant, we returned back to our hotel, the Creekside Inn.

The hotel served freshly made cookies as we walked in so we had some for our dessert while watching Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, where the Penguins tied the series at 3 games each; so final game seven will be played in Pittsburgh. During our entire trip we were able to either watch the game, or in a few instances, listen to it on the satellite radio that the Chrysler 300 Rental Car had.

While watching the hockey game, we were able to look out our hotel window to see a rainbow wedged between two mountain peaks. It was an unusual sight in the way it was situated between the peaks.

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