Banff National Park – September 2017 – Canada’s First National Park

Established in 1885 Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest. Set in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the park itself it a natural wonder surrounding the town of Banff.

The town itself is nice, filled with the typical tourist shops, but kept nicer than most. A visit to Banff is highly recommended.

 

Views from Tunnel Mountain

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The famed Fairmount Hotel

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The waters are turquoise due to mineral content.

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There were a few hoodoos.

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Lake Minnewanka provided the setting for a boat tour.

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An eagle kept an eye over the boat tour.

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Chicago – June 2017 – 360 Chicago

The John Hancock observation deck has been renamed ‘360 Chicago’. With a sunny day it was a good time to check it out.

South view – Most of downtown including the Sears/Willis Tower.

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East view – Navy Pier and Lake Michigan

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North along the Gold Coast towards Lincoln Park.

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Wrigley Field in the distance

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North Avenue Beach and the faux ship/bar.

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The former Carbide and Carbon Building – now a Hard Rock Hotel.

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Straight down

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TILT – for an extra fee you can be scared @#$%less. I passed. It tilts out to about a 45 degree angle so you are looking straight down 1000′.

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Chicago – June 2017 – Tourist Scenes of The City

With a few days in Chicago there was time to be a tourist wandering around downtown and beyond.

Some of the highlights;

The merchandisers/retailers hall of fame. Woolworth, Penney and more.

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The Chicago River

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Water Taxi and the impressive Merchandise Mart

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Harold Washington Library

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A mix of old and new

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Tourist boat going past the touristy Navy Pier

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Chicago Cultural Center

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Adler Planetarium

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Harbor

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Maxwell Street Market – not on Maxwell Street anymore

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Chess Records – 2120 South Michigan Avenue (also a great song)

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For fans of the movie The Blues Brothers – The East 95th Street Bridge – where they jump the Bluesmobile.

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Cleveland – May 2017 – Harbor Views

Cleveland is a major port on Lake Erie, with most of the large commercial ore boats traversing the narrow, crooked Cuyahoga River. There is however a port at the entrance to the river, as well as an old Art Deco Coast Guard station, all with great views of the river, lake and city.

A marina on Whiskey Island (actually a peninsula) is home to the tug boat fleet, as well as some pleasure boats.

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The vacant coast guard station is a beautiful art deco building that the city is now restoring.

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The harbor lighthouse leads out from the safe waters behind the breakwater to the often turbulent water of Lake Erie.

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The mix of huge ore boats and small sailboats is interesting.

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An amazing collection of bridges cross the Cuyahoga, some are small lift bridges (the foreground is a lift bridge for the railroad), as well as high level bridges.

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The harbor crane with a background of a downtown skyscraper.

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Grosse Pointe, MI – May 2017 – Great Lakes Boating Festival

Grosse Pointe, Michigan is an interest place. Situated along Lake St Clair about 10 miles from downtown Detroit, it is clearly old money with numerous mansions located along Lake Shore Drive, while just a mile or so away is the desolation that impacted much of the city of Detroit.

Grosse Pointe is actually 5 different towns, GP Park, GP Farms, GP Shores, GP Woods and the town of Grosse Pointe. The center piece of the area is the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, and it’s 187 foot high steeple.

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Each year the GP Yacht Club hosts the Great Lakes Boating Festival. It was billed to have vintage boats (there were 3 that I could find), a couple of classic cars, music (a bad Jimmy Buffet cover guy), and other activities, we found only a few booths of people peddling insurance, a couple home improvements, and a few nautical vendors.

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The Yacht Club’s dock area however was much better. There appeared to be a couple of hundred boats docked there, and this was where the best views were.

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A cadet ship, the Pride of Michigan, was docked to offer tours.

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The cadets all appeared to be high school age, or younger.

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There were numerous large yachts throughout the marina.

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Almost every dock had a view of the steeple.

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The sailing events were well attended.

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Just down Lakeshore was a learn to sail event that from the shore looked like they were dodging the large Great Lakes ore boats.

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Grosse Pointe, MI – May 2017 – Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

Edsel Ford was the only child of Henry Ford, and as such had plenty of money to build his mansion however he pleased. He and his wife Eleanor chose the vernacular architecture of the Cotswolds, in England. This included sandstone walls, slate roof with reducing sized shingles, and an amazing collection of old materials collected and brought over from England, including paneling, flooring and windows.

The home is located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a small community about 10 miles from downtown Detroit.

The house is filled with art, much of which is now reproductions that represent the originals that once hung in the home, but are now in the Detroit Museum of Art, donated by the Ford’s.

As you arrive at the gatehouse you can’t help but notice the massive doors.

 

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The house is 32,000 square feet, but with the various roof lines and wings to the building, it does not feel oppressive.

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Situated along Lake St Clair, on this day it was home to what felt like 1000 Canadian Geese, which is appropriate since Canada is just across the lake.

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A large lawn faces east from the home to the lake.

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The grounds cover 87 acres, much of which is nicely landscaped, although not overdone.

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The pool and pool house are detached from the main house by a couple of hundred yards.

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The gardens are minimalist, but well kept, as noted by the persistent groundskeepers who kept getting in the photos.

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