September 2018 – Auf Wiedersehen to the Audi

Over the last couple of years the cars have become frequent subjects in my photos. After 4 years of loyal service, and fantastic adventures, the Audi S5 was traded in.

This posting highlights the Audi’s trips it took us on.

First trip was to Western Ohio – and a giant fiberglass bull.

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Most of the time the birthplace of Presidents are honored locales, but not for Rutherford B Hayes – his is a BP station in Delaware, Ohio.

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A covered bridge in Fairfield County, Ohio – The car was not allowed to cross it, but we were.

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Utopia has been found (along the Ohio River).

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The settling of America – on the right is a famed S bridge of the original National Road. Overhead is US Route 40 – the main route west from the 1910s through the 1960s. A 1/2 mile to the left (not shown) is Interstate 70.

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A riverboat in Cincinnati.

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867 feet above the Audi the New River Gorge Bridge. They offer tours where they connect you to the beams underneath and you cross – I passed.

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Polo anyone. 3 horses in the field and 340 under the hood.

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After Utopia, come Paradise – in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. I find it ironic that somewhere that gets 200 inches of snow a year is considered Paradise…

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The Audi is not on a runway – it is an abandoned air force base in Michigan – with some random Jets parked around town.

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Welcome to Minnesota doncha ya know.

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Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area Montana/Wyoming.

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Yellowstone. That is not the radiator overheating 🙂

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One of the funniest moments in our travels was the day we ran into a cattle drive on a road in Idaho – this cow spent 5 minutes licking the bugs off the front of the Audi.

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We drove 9 miles out a dirt road at the Golden Spike National Historic Site (where the transcontinental railroad met in the 1800s). Wondering who was dumb enough take an Audi out this dirt road, until a Tesla pulled up.

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Devils Rocks Utah

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The hotel was filled with a Corvette Club and us.

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Bonjour from Paris – Texas

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We went down to the Crossroads….Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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We have seen Utopia and Paradise, and now the Center of the World

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The original Model T factory in Detroit. They let my German car go along with all the classic American cars on the Woodward Dream Cruise all the way through the city to the burbs where the other 100,000 cool cars were cruising.

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Plymouth, Massachusetts – National Monument to the Fore Fathers.

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The Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. A 600 car ferry and a 18 hour ride!

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Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

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The Audi and a large basket – but there are larger basket buildings in Ohio.

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The historic Cincinnati Observatory and the Audi.

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Watkins Glen Race Track. They were having club racing with little Mazdas, etc – if I had the safety equipment to go on the track I could’ve taken them – I think.

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Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

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The Auburn/Cord/Dusenberg Festival in Indiana. That car is sooo much cooler than mine.

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The final road trip for the Audi – Downtown Chicago with the El in the background. While the Audi is gone – the adventures continue…..

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Cassopolis, Michigan – September 2018 – Restored Gas Station Tour Continued

Cassopolis, Michigan – A Restored Sinclair Station

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Previous trips:

Two stations in the same small Ohio town of Bucyrus. First up is a Sinclair Station.

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This station is next door to a repair shop owned by Carl. We stopped by at 7 AM on a Saturday morning and Carl was just opening his business up for the morning, and invited us in. Carl has a large collection of auto related items – so much in fact that the TV show American Pickers once paid him a visit.

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Just outside of town is a small restored Marathon station called ‘Mom and Pops’. We saw someone walking out of the driveway as we drove up and asked him it if the station was his. He replied no – but yelled at ‘Bob’ who was outside the house next door if it was ok if we took some photos. Bob yelled back ‘ yep thats what it is there for’.

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In the early days the stations were tiny little buildings, unless they did service.

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This station was well restored.

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As our weekend continued we found ourselves back in Plymouth, Indiana for a stop for dinner. We have previously visited this Mobil station, but in the rain. This gave us a chance to get some photos in better weather.

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And the time warp gas station travel continued.

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On our way home from Pittsburgh we stopped in Steubenville at a auto repair shop that is actually a fully restored Sohio station.

When John Rockefeller had grown Standard Oil to be a monopoly the government forced them to break up – as a result there were a number of Standard Oil companies in different states (not a full list):

Standard Oil of New Jersey – Esso, which became Exxon

Standard Oil of New York – Socony, which became Mobil

Standard Oil of California – Socal, which became Chevron

Standard Oil of Indiana – Stanolind, which became Amoco

Standard Oil of Ohio – Sohio. In the 1980s BP bought Sohio and converted all the stations to BP.

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There are many people who are collectors of ‘petroliana’, old gas station items. Barry Robb must have been one of those people. According to their website Barry was an assistant manager of a former owner, and he took over the station in 1986, operating it as a BP station.

In 2011 their agreement with BP ran out. They restored the look of the original Sohio station, and continued in business as a repair shop only (as well as a museum).

As a side note Sunset and Wilshire looks nothing like the one in California, but still a nice neighborhood.

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Out front is a collection of pumps from various eras.

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While inside (it was closed this day – photos taken through the glass) is a collection of smaller items.

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Interestingly next door is a modern gas station/mini mart.

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After checking out my photos I realized that we have recently came across 3 fully restored stations, and all 3 times we had the same car with us.

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This spectacular Shell station is in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

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Today it serves as a tourist information center.

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Shaped like a giant scallop shell, it is the last of a handful that a local oil company owner had built in the 1930s.

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Another restored gas station – another shot with the GTI in it. This one is a Mobil station in Plymouth, Indiana.

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To add to their atmosphere they have a restored police car in the parking lot.

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Much like the Sohio station in Steubenville their interior has a collection of smalls for Mobil.

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They also have a restored tow truck.

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Elkhart, Indiana – September 2018 – Hall of Heroes

In a residential neighborhood in Elkhart, Indiana a backyard of a house has a building built to look like the Hall of Heroes from comic book fame. Inside is a collection of over 60,000 comic books, 10,000 toys, figure and props and over 100 pieces of original comic art pages, at the Hall of Heroes Museum.

We parked in the yard and entered, where we were greeted by Allen Stewart, the primary collector and current Director of the Museum.

Among the treasures are a Batman suit used by Adam West in the 1960s as he toured the country (above as the Featured Image) and the Captain America Shield used in the movie The First Avenger. The shield has been signed by many of the actors in the movie.

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After an introduction we set off to check out the collection. Among the thousands of collectibles are Wolverine and friends.

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Not being a huge action hero fan I can’t identify many of them, but the artwork is great.

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There were numerous Captain America’s throughout – small, and large.

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The display cases are nicely done. Allan has many rare comic books displayed throughout.

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More figures – Hulk and Captain America.

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A Wonder Woman.

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There were some life size masks.

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Not sure how Mighty Mouse made it in, but he looks good.

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The approach to females in action heroes has always been a bit sketchy.

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Another of the full size items.

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They had a small collection of lunch boxes.

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A full size Spiderman outfit.

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William Katt’s Greatest American Hero costume from a 1980s TV show.

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And finally the Cobra that Robert Downey landed on as Iron Man.

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Kendallville, Indiana – September 2018 – Windmill Museum

The Mid America Windmilll Museum located in Kendallville has about 50 water windmills from the last 100 years. These windmills were key to the development of farming in the midwest.

The museum has a barn with some of the windmill wheels showing how they function. The museum was originally built to showcase a local windmill manufacturer, but now has models from several different companies.

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While most are the tall thin metal type, they do have one example of an English post mill.

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The blades, or sails, have a variety of shapes.

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The tails help stabilize and turn the windmill into the wind at the most optimum angle.

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The tails also serve as advertising for the manufacturer.

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Each manufacturer had a variety of shapes and sizes of tails and blades.

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Some painted colorfully.

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More symmetry – this time from the windmill blades.

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The water windmill allowed farms with no electrical power to be able to pump water in the vast remote regions of the midwest.

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The gears in the wheel  assembly would turn the hub attached to the long pump rod inside of the pipe in the well.

This up and down motion pulls the water up.

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These simple, elegant machines were the lifeline of the country.

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A close up of the wheel mechanisms.

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A wheel made to look like a Native American head dress.

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An overview of the collection. Note the different manufacturers on the tails.

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The museum also featured a small covered bridge.

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The post mill stands out in the crowd.

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Ironically the fountain in the water uses a modern electric pump, not the windmills. And the outhouse is just for decoration.

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One final look at the collection of windmills at the Mid American Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Indiana.

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Fort Wayne – August 2018 – Tipcaps Baseball

Our day ended by watching a few innings of minor league baseball. The Fort Wayne Tincaps are a low minor leagues farm team for the San Diego Padres.

The name alludes to ‘Johnny Appleseed’, aka John Chapman. Born in Massachusetts Johnny Appleseed spent much of his life travelling the midwest planting orchards. The legend, perpetuated by a Disney movie, was that he wore a tin pot on his head for a cap.

Since he spent his last days in Fort Wayne, they adopted this look for their mascot.

The stadium itself, as with all stadiums in America, sold it’s naming rights to a local hospital and has commercialization throughout – including the Toyota Picnic area.

Since I like symmetry in photos, this was perfect (before the people arrived).

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Another baseball tradition that has been taken to extremes is the first pitch. Historically for important games a celebrity or politician would throw out the first pitch from the stands. Over the last 30 years it has become tradition to do it from the field.

Now instead of being a special event they do it every game, and end up with 8 ‘first pitches’ like this one.

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We were honored to be in the presence of Wonder Woman – at least that is what her shirt says.

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There actually was a game.

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But it was more fun checking out the crowd, including these two young ladies who managed to stand right next to the sign that says no standing.

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The crowd was fairly passive all game, despite some close plays.

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In the early years of baseball the stadiums were built into tight city lots, so they were asymmetrical. Starting in the 1950s they built them all the same with perfect symmetry, but after 1990 everyone wanted the ‘retro’ look and went back to quirky setups, even though they had the space to build a consistent field.

Baseball is the only sport where the playing field differs at each stadium (although obviously the infield is the same everywhere).

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Sunset , clouds and stadium lights – the ultimate in photo lighting.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – August 2018 – Random Sights Around Town

The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana is the 2nd largest in Indiana, behind Indianapolis. While not huge, it was large enough to have a few interesting things to see and do.

Easily the most architecturally interesting building is the Allen County Courthouse.

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The building had numerous carvings and reliefs.

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The carved tablet emphasizes the idea of justice for all.

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While Lady Justice looks over the setting.

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The Lincoln Tower was for 50 years the tallest building in town. There are a couple of ones taller now, but none more stylish.

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Directly across the street from the classic architecture of the courthouse and the Lincoln Tower is this modern mid rise.

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The main branch of the library.

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Fort Wayne was surprisingly (to me) nice. There is some recent development downtown, the neighborhoods were pleasant and overall it didn’t feel like an old industrial city.

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One of the more unusual local tourist attractions is the Hanson Quarry on the southeast side of town. Where else in the flat lands of Indiana can you find a giant 1000′ deep hole in the ground.

They have an observation deck built that is open during daylight hours where you can come check out the giant hole in the ground.

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The next morning we made our way to Lakeside Park and Rose Gardens.

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The gardens feature some sculptures.

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But their 2000 rose plants are the highlight.

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Late August heat has put stress on the roses.

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Lakeside Park in Fort Wayne is worth a visit.

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Auburn, Indiana – August 2018 – The Start of a Car Weekend

The small city of Auburn, Indiana was the home of early 1900s auto manufacturers including Cord and Dusenberg. Each Labor Day weekend the town holds a festival and auto auctions celebrating those cars, and others.

As part of the celebration they have a large custom car show on Friday around the courthouse square. With more than 800 cars on display it was an impressive sight.

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So come along – just enjoy it.

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In addition to the shows there are two very large classic car auctions during the weekend. A massive one is held by Sotheby’s at a grounds outside of town – with hundreds of cars sold.

Another smaller one was held at the historic National Automotive and Truck Museum. We arrived in time to check out the cars during the preview.

This classic 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Safari Wagon is a rare two door wagon.

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Among the vehicles was this 1940s car carrier. I guess if you buy enough cars, you need to bid on the carrier to take them home.

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Outside the building was this sweet Alpha Romeo.

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While back inside  we passed by a George Barris custom car. George is famous for designing cars for TV and the movies including the 1966 Batmobile, and the Munster’s car.

This car was originally a 1950 Mercury.  Designed by Leo Lyons, with assistance from George, it was displayed at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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After checking out the auction cars, we headed back to the courthouse square show where we found a brief preview of the Auburn’s we would see far more of on Saturday.

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This early 1960s Chevy El Camino had a great vintage bike in the back.

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Back in the day the idea of air conditioning was to pop open the windshield a bit.

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A vintage Chevy Pickup.

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With the arrival of the jet age, fins on cars mimicked the airplane look.

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Nearby was the Kruse Auto Museum. Located in a building that seems to being vacated, but they did have some movie cars including a Batmobile.

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A Carl Casper creation. Carl was another custom car creator like George Barris.

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Our day ended at the Kruse Museum in a collection of Indy Cars. While this was a nice day with some cool cars, we knew the best was yet to come.

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