Buenos Aires – June 2019 – Recoleta Cemetery Part 1

One of the cultures of Buenos Aires is one that celebrates in a grand way those who have died. The best example of this is the world renown Recoleta Cemetery.

If you search for ‘worlds most impressive cemeteries’ Recoleta Cemetery will always be included in any list. It is huge, historical, ornate, impressive and at times macabre. There are so many stunning scenes that it will be broken up into 3 postings, to keep the size reasonable.

Recoleta Cemetery – final resting place for the rich and famous of Argentina.















































Jersey City, NJ – May 2018 – Liberty State Park

Our day ended in Jersey City with a stop at Liberty State Park. As we entered we paid our respects at the 9-11 Memorial. With the late afternoon sun and lack of crowds it was a moving moment to see the names of those who lost their lives that day.

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Nearby is the iconic view of lower Manhattan.

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The former Jersey City rail station continue to be refurbished.

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There were numerous sailboats out in the harbor.

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Including a large sailboat for tourists.

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The last of the day’s Statue of Liberty cruises was returning.

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Later we were treated to a great full moon over Manhattan.

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Amarillo & Oklahoma City – National Parks Road Trip – Day 19

A cold, rainy , dark morning greeting us as we left Albuquerque for the long drive to Oklahoma City. Our route, I-40, parallels U.S. 66 the entire route, and most of the towns that have been bypassed try and entice you off the interstate with Route 66 kitsch. We finally succumbed to the allure at Tucumcari, New Mexico as we drove along Route 66. The town now seems vacant and most buildings are boarded up and dilapidated. We did see some Route 66 murals and signs of a once vibrant area.

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After passing through town, essentially non stop, we were back on the Interstate.Just before the Texas border we near Glenrio, New Mexico at Russell’s Traveland.  Here the owner has a private collection of cars and 1950’s memorabilia nicely displayed next to a 1950’s diner, novelty store and gas station.

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Next stop was Adrian, Texas, who has the appeal of being the midpoint of Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. It is exactly 1139 miles to each end of Route 66. The town had a few buildings, and a cafe. A historical marker noted the midway point while the exact midway point is also painted on the road.

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After a quick couple of photos, it was back onto I-40 headed to Amarillo, Texas for what I expected to be a highlight of a lap around America tour, Cadillac Ranch. It is raining as we drive down the freeway and we can see the back ends of the Cadillacs sticking out of the ground.

Parking behind other tourists making the trip through the mud to get a close up look at the Cadillacs, I schlepped through the mud to walk back to the cars. The Cadillacs were thick with inches of paint over every inch of surface inside and out of the cars. People who have visited from all over the world left their mark on these cars by spray painting bright colored graffiti and attaching items.

It was amusing as we watched other tourist trying to remove shoes caked in mud. The mud was so thick on their shoes that they had trouble walking. I foruntately had put on my ‘mudders’, so after a quick shoe change we were off again on I-40.

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On the south side of Amarillo, Texas is an RV museum, which is actually a personal collection at Jack Sizemore’s RV Traveland. The Sizemore’s began restoring and collecting unusual vintage RV’s over 25 years ago. They built a museum that houses many of the RV’s in their collection.

These include the Flexible Bus from the Movie RV and the first Itasca motor home ever built. The museum also had a great display of motorcycles that sat upon shelves on the wall, camping items, and 50’s and 70’s memorabilia strewn about relating to different campers and RV’s through the decades. All were open, so we wandered in and out of them for about an hour, including the retro RV driven by the Gornick’s in the movie.

We signed the guest book and pinned our town of Columbus, Ohio on the map at the exit. Two world maps were posted since so many people have come to see the museum and marked their homeland with a pin. Europe and the USA were jammed with pins but other countries around the world were pinned also.

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We arrived at Oklahoma City about late afternoon, and after checking into the Holiday Express in the old Bricktown section. As we walked through the city, we found the Chickasaw Brickyard Stadium, home for the Oklahoma AAA baseball team. It is a minor league team for the L A Dodgers. We sneaked a peek at batting practice before we were asked to leave. After dinner at the Bourbon Street Restaurant for dinner, we continued to tour downtown Oklahoma City.

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At the edge of downtown is the Oklahoma City National Memorial dedicated to the 168 killed in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and their families. Two gates tower at each end of the reflective pool. One gate marks the time one minute before the bombing and the other gate marks the time one minute after the bombing. The later time stands for the start of healing.

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A museum detailing the disaster stands on one side of the pool and black metal chairs placed in rows upon the lawn line the opposite side of the pool. The nine rows of chairs represent the nine floors of the building and each chair is the position of the floor for each victim.

The large chairs embody each adult victim and the small chairs symbolize each child victim within the building’s daycare who died. Five separate chairs signify those victims who perished outside the building at the time of the bombing.

As the sun set through the opening of the west gate, lights illuminated the chairs. Though the scene was a perfect photographic moment, the memorial posed a somber reflection for all.

 

Southwest Ohio – May 2015 – More Mounds in finding Utopia

The second Saturday in May found us southbound for a long day of finding unique places to see. Our first stop was in Chillicothe, at of all places, the VA Hospital.

The VA Memorial Stadium is located on the grounds of the hospital, with a seating capacity of 3000 in the brick main grandstands that is representative of the period it was built in the 1950s.

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Across the road from the VA Hospital is the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, where a collection of Native American earthworks known as Mound City are located. While we did not visit Mound City on this visit, we did stop by another unit of this park west of Chillicothe called Seip Mound.

This large earthwork complex contains a low embankment forming a small circle and an irregular circle and a square, all connected and enclosing about 121 acres. Within the enclosure is a large elliptical mound, three smaller conjoined mounds, several small mounds, and several structure outlines found through excavations. It is estimated that the large mound was originally 240 feet long, 160 feet wide, and 30 feet high. A reconstructed mound and a portion of reconstructed wall are visible

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Nearby Seip Mound is located near what was once a small village called Knockemstiff. This town was made famous by in 2008 by a local writer who used it for a location in a fictional book, which became a best seller. The book made the town so famous that someone has stolen the sign with the name of the town on it, so we had a difficult time locating it, finally realizing we were there, even though there was nothing left.

If you ever have the desire to see Knockemstiff, Ohio, don’t bother, just go out in the country, find a vacant, dilapidated house trailer in a field, take a photo and claim you were there, because in essence you were.

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Next on the agenda for the day was Serpent Mount, one of the most renown earthworks in the world. The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot, three-foot-high prehistoric effigy mound on a plateau of the ancient Serpent Mound crater in Adams County, Ohio.

The mound is maintained within a park that is administered by the Ohio Historical Society, and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

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Originally thought to be Adena in origin, it is now believed to have been built my the members of the Fort Ancient culture around 1070. Further research points to the potential of it being built even earlier, around 310 BC. It is the largest serpent effigy mound in the world.

The park is well maintained, with a visitor’s center/museum and picnic grounds. The museum gives a nice overview of what scientists believe it was used for, and how it was built, along with its relationship to the sun and moon. The observation tower gave us an excellent overview of the mound, while the trails around it let you see it up close.

Once we had finished our discovery of Serpent Mound, we continued south into the small town of Ripley on the Ohio River. Upon our arrival in Ripley we went on the hunt for something to eat. We parked on Front Street, along the river, and noticed a number of people going into Rockin’ Robins Soda Shop, so we followed. It turned out to be another of the 1950s style places that focused primarily on ice cream, but served food as well. It was amazing that we were only 100 miles south of Columbus and the accents sounded as though we had gone 500 miles south. After the standard fare of hamburgers and fries we continued on our way.

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Ripley was founded in 1812, and given it’s location on the Ohio River across from Kentucky became a destination for slaves escaping from slavery. Both black and white residents developed a network, making Ripley and early stop on the Underground Railroad.

One of the more famous abolitionists who lived in Ripley was John Rankin, who built a house on Liberty Hill  overlooking the town, river and Kentucky shore. From there they would signal escaping slaves with a lantern on a flagpole and provide them shelter once across. It was here that Margaret Garner, a slave who had escaped to Ripley in 1838, inspired the character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The house still exists high on the hill overlooking the Ohio River, with it’s famous ‘steps to Freedom’

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Just downriver from Ripley is the crossroads town. Utopia was one of a handful of “phalanxes” established in America in the mid-19th century, social communes a century ahead of their time. All of them failed but none as spectacularly as this one.

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The community was founded in 1844. Its original inhabitants were followers of French philosopher Charles Fourier, who believed that all work and profits should be shared equally. Its residents built a 30-room communal brick house and many private dwellings. But they left two years later because they weren’t making enough money to survive and, frankly, didn’t get along with each other.

Ohio erected a historical marker, designating this “Utopia,” in 2003. There’s an underground church across the street where the Wattles people would practice their rituals. John Wattles’ stone house is visible, supposedly haunted on rainy nights by dripping ghosts, as is the riverbank.

Finding no ghosts, just weeds, a country store and a couple of signs, and a large fence around the pit that apparently leads to the underground church, we continued on our way.

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Further downriver we came to another small village, Point Pleasant. In this town is the house that U.S. Grant was born in.  The one story cottage was later taken by barge on a tour across the country before being displayed in Columbus at the state fairgrounds. In 1936 it was returned to Point Pleasant in 1936, where it has been restored with period furniture and opened to tours.

The Ohio Historical Society operate the house as a museum. The house and surrounding buildings make up a nice little park, just up from the Ohio River.

Our trip downriver continued with a brief stop in New Richmond, where we wanted to see the Cardboard Boat Race Museum, but it was closed this day. Our visit will have to wait until another day.

Once we arrived in Cincinnati for the second time in less than a week, we jumped on I-275 to run over to Newport. Once in Newport we went to their downtown to check out the World Peace Bell, one of more than twenty Peace Bells around the world. It weighs 66,000 pounds 12 feet wide. From 2000 until 2006, it was the largest swinging bell in the world.

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For the first time in the U.S., the bell was rung by swinging on January 1, 2000, at midnight. Struck twelve times, its peal was heard for distances of about 25 miles. At present, the bell is swung on special occasions, as well as daily at five minutes before noon. The time difference in the daily ring is to avoid interference with the nearby courthouse bells, which ring exactly at noon.

The bell tower, the bridge linking the museum and the bell, and most of the other components of the Millennium Monument, were produced at companies local to the Newport, Kentucky, area

Our final brief stop was to check out another Futuro house in Covington. High on a hill, not far from the freeway you can spot this as you cross the bridge from Cincinnati.

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We had taken the Ohio River Scenic Highway runs along the north side of the Ohio River, which run nearly the length of it from East Liverpool to Cincinnati, over 400 miles. Much of this road is very industrial from East Liverpool past Steubenville, Marietta, Parkersburg, Huntington & Portsmouth. Once past Portsmouth it interestingly becomes truly a scenic road, with little industry. It isn’t until one nearly comes to Cincinnati does the industry return. This drive from Ripley to Cincinnati was one of the first times I have ever seen the Ohio River have enjoyable scenery for very long.

Marysville to Marion – April 2015 – Honda’s and Popcorn

This weekend’s adventures began at the Honda Heritage Center, across from the Marysville Honda Auto Factory.

In 1978 Honda began to produce motorcycles at a factory in Marysville, with an auto plant following in 1982. Because of this Ohio connection the company chose Marysville to built the company’s new Heritage Center, which will showcase its advances in automobiles, powersports, power equipment, aviation and robotics over the past 55 years.

The displays included a number of automobiles, motorcycles, engines and even a jet airplane. While the museum details the brand’s 55-year history in North America, its primary focus will be on Honda’s history in Ohio.

The day we visited it was very quiet as they hadn’t yet advertised their opening and we had the place to ourselves.

From Marysville we made the 30 mile trip to Marion, the adult home of Warren Harding. Marion in general is a run down town, and the Harding Home is in a nondescript east side neighborhood.

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The Harding Home, the residence of Warren G. and Florence Harding from 1891 to 1921, has been open continuously as a museum since 1926. The museum opened just three years after President Harding died from a heart attack in 1923. Mrs. Harding died just 15 months later from kidney disease, which had plagued her for many years. In her will, she made arrangements for the home and the bulk of the contents to go into the hands of the Harding Memorial Association.

The home was built for Harding and his then fiancé in 1891. When the principal contenders for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination deadlocked, party leaders picked Harding as the compromise candidate. During the campaign Harding spoke to thousands of people from the wide Colonial Revival front porch of his home. He was famous as an orator, with a powerful, expressive voice. So many people came to hear him that the family had to replace the front lawn with gravel.

The small white clapboard building behind the house served as press headquarters during the 1920 campaign. A portable tin voting booth used during the 1920 election is on the property as well.

Across town is the Harding Tomb. The structure was completed in 1927. It is designed in the style of a circular Greek temple with marble columns, built of Georgia white marble and are 28 feet high and 5 feet in diameter at the base. The structure is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet in height.

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At their deaths, the bodies of the Hardings were entombed in Marion Cemetery.  Once the Harding Memorial was completed in 1927, the bodies were re interred in the Memorial’s sarcophagus and it was sealed. Because Harding’s reputation was damaged by personal controversies and presidential scandals, the Harding Memorial was not officially dedicated until 1931 by President Herbert Hoover.

The Marion Union Station is still standing, and it serves as a clubhouse for the Marion Railfans. This station sits at a unique rail crossing where the tracks cross each other at 90 degree angles.

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The Old U.S. Post Office in Marion was built in 1910, it is currently used as the Heritage Hall museum by the Marion County Historical Society. Heritage Hall is also home of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, the “only museum in the world dedicated to popcorn and its associated memorabilia

Some of the notable items in the collections are: a large collection of political badges used during the 1920 Presidential campaign; an 1879 hand-pulled pumper used by the Marion Fire Department; memorabilia related to the 1938 Miss America reign of Marilyn Meseke, as well as Prince Imperial Norman horse born in France in 1865.

Under a colorful circus tent inside Heritage Hall is the largest, most impressive collection of popcorn wagons and peanut roasters in the United States. The perfect setting for the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. These priceless wagons date back as far as the turn of the century and have been restored to their original condition. Actor Paul Newman’s antique popcorn wagon, which sat in New York City’s Central Park, is also on display at the museum. All of the classic antique poppers are here – Cretors, Dunbar, Kingery, Holcomb & Hoke, Cracker Jack, Long-Eakin, Excel and more. Even a few homemade one-of-a-kind antiques. Wyandot museum craftsmen have done the restorations so well you will think they were built yesterday. Two are 100 years old.

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This museum center was nicely done, the docents were enthusiastic, and best yet, they gave us fresh popcorn at the end of our visit.

The Marion County Fairgrounds has a building that houses the Huber Manufacturing Museum. Edward Huber came to Marion to build his revolving hay rake. Besides the hay rake, you will see almost every model of early gas farm tractor and, a 1914 Steam Traction Engine, a corn shredder, several separator/threshers, and other farm machines. Some of the construction equipment include an original 5D grader and a Model 600 Huber Maintainer, a 3-wheel road roller, two two-wheeled transportable road rollers and a 1920 Model 21 Marion Steam Shovel.

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The building was open to wander, with a few of the machines open to climb on. The volunteers had first had knowledge of the equipment and gave great insight into the company, the equipment and their functions.