Virtual Travel – New York

Welcome to the Empire State – New York. While there is some doubt as to where the nickname came from, most attribute it to a comment from a George Washington letter to New York City mayor James Duane where he referred to it as ‘The Seat of the Empire’.

While the state is dominated by New York City, the capital is Albany. The entire center of the city is known as the Empire State Plaza, and is surrounded by government buildings.

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Unique State Symbols

State Beverage – Milk. The state ranks 3rd in the amount of milk produced. (photos from statesymbols.org)

 

State Muffin – Yes, we have another state muffin, the Apple Muffin. As you may recall we featured the blueberry muffin of Minnesota, however I missed the Massachusetts state muffin – corn muffin.

New York also has a state snack – yogurt. The state is the leading producer of yogurt, likely as an offshoot of that dairy business.

 

While most states have a slogan – New York’s is ‘official’

2018: Summer of I LOVE NEW YORK | Empire State Development

 

 

Highlights of the State

1947     1975     2004     2005/2009/2011     2006

 

 

While all the maps on these postings have been road maps, transit in New York is much more. New York City has a long subway history that is celebrated at the Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn.

 

 

If you are lucky enough you can get a tour of the vacant, but fantastic City Hall Station in Manhattan. This was one of the original stations, but because the platform is curved when they introduced new, longer trains in the 1940s it became obsolete.

 

 

New York has a plethora of great bridges – including the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge (top row). Other bridge featured below include the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands Bridge, the South Grand Island Bridge near Buffalo, and of course the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

 

No trip to New York City can be complete without admiring, and photographing the great architecture.

 

 

Back upstate is the Watkins Glen Racetrack. This legendary track hosted the U.S. Grand Prix for 20 years, and has continued to host racing for over 60 years.

 

 

 

 

Beyond the City

1982     1987/2011 Boldt Castle     1989     2009 Fire Island Lighthouse     2013     2017 Whihteface Castle – Lake Placid

 

 

Long Island – Land of endless suburbs and massive estates, Long Island’s most famous residence is likely Sagamore Hill. This was President Theodore Roosevelt’s home.

But there are many more estates, thanks to the ultra rich looking to have country homes outside the city.

 

 

When most people refer to Long Island they think the area beyond Queens, but the reality is both Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island – making it one of the most populated islands in the world with over 7 million people.

 

 

Woodstock – Well technically it is nowhere close to the actual town of Woodstock, it is near Bethel since Woodstock. The festival, with 400,000 spectators, took place on Max Yasgurs farm in 1969. Today the site has an amphitheater, arts center and museum.

 

 

Back to Watkins Glen – only this time to the actual Glen. This picturesque park and gorge is just at the edge of town.

 

 

Niagara Falls and other great tourist attractions of the state.

1985     2016

 

 

Niagara Falls – One of the world’s greatest waterfalls.

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Buffalo – Just upriver from Niagara Falls. This once great industrial city has some great relics like the Buffalo Central Station (bottom photos).

 

 

Western New York is home to a number of Frank Lloyd Wright design structures. The Martin House is featured in the top photos, the boathouse on the left middle was from a FLW design. The gas station on the middle right is in Pierce Arrow Museum, and finally the lower house is Graycliff, located along the shores of Lake Erie south of the city.

 

 

New York City has a number of major tourist attractions. Featured here is Times Square, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, The High Line, Radio City and others.

 

 

Public Art abounds in the city. My favorite is the collection from Tom Otterness located in the 8th Avenue/14th Street subway station.

 

 

Public Art is scattered throughout the city. While we could go on for a long time on great sights of New York, we will end here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Kentucky

Today’s visit is to Kentucky, and the vast horse culture that exists there. But there is far more to Kentucky than horses.

The first map in our journey dates from 1942. Interestingly the state highway map  was contained in a booklet that gave tourist information based on the roads of the day.

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The most famous of these roads was the Dixie Highway. Originally part of the National Auto Trail system in the very early 1900, the Dixie Highway modeled itself after the Lincoln Highway in that private promoters lead the effort to build it.

When the federal government took over the route it was assign along U.S. 25 through most of Kentucky. The route was dotted with motels and restaurants for the travelers headed from the Midwest to Florida. When the interstates came along I-75 replaced it.

(photo from Pintrest)

336 Best Louisville, KY! My home! images in 2020 | Louisville ...

 

 

 

1947 – A Mountain Road.

Much of Eastern Kentucky is in the Appalachian Mountains. This is coal country, with winding roads going up and down the mountains.

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1960 – Another mountain overlook.

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The mountains make numerous appearances on the cover of the map. Left to right – 1997 – 1986 – 2015.

 

Today the vast majority of the roads are still twisty two lane routes.

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Appalachia has had tough times for decades now, with most of the population long ago heading north for jobs in factories. Today few coal mines still exist, most have closed leaving relics behind.

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Kentucky is horse country. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 jobs in Kentucky depend on horses. It is the number 1 producer of thoroughbreds in the nation.

This fact is celebrated on numerous map covers including this 1945 map.

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Horse Farms were also featured in 1968, 1988, 1989 and 2007.

 

In 2019 we had the opportunity to visit Claiborne Farms near Paris, Kentucky. The horses are beautiful, and the grounds immaculate.

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Bridges

This 1949 map features Eggner’s Ferry Bridge. This bridge was completed in 1932, and decommissioned in 2016. A new 4 lane bride has replaced it.

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With the Ohio River bordering the entire northern side of Kentucky there are a number of impressive bridges linking the state to it’s neighbors.

The new cable stayed bridge at Owensboro was featured in 2003.

Government State Kentucky 2003

 

 

Louisville – Second Street Bridge, also known as the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge.

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Covington (to Cincinnati) – Roebling Bridge.

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Maysville. Simon Kenton Bridge – Completed in 1931.

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1955 – Kentucky Colonel.

More than just chicken, a Kentucky Colonel is an actual title of honor that the governor of the state can issue to individuals.

Prior to the 1930s very few people were made Kentucky Colonels, but the governor of the time greatly accelerated the number including one Harland Sanders – hence the name of the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

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To this day if you find yourself in Corbin, Kentucky you can stop by the original Sanders Cafe for some fried chicken. (photo from tripadvisor.com)

Birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, Kentucky ...

 

 

For the mid 1960s Kentucky still showed their southern side with a lawn jockey and a plantation house being featured.

 

 

 

1966 – Daniel Boone. Boone was born in Pennsylvania and spent a great deal of time in Virginia before arriving in Kentucky. It was here his actions became lore.

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The 1970s featured the Kentucky Parkways. The state was ahead of their times in building additional freeways to augment the interstates that were in the state. They did this in the form of toll roads.

Despite the names the Parkways do not prohibit truck traffic.

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Horse Race Trumpeter – 1973, 1974 & 1975

In the days before electronic amplification they had to have a way to notify the jockeys it was time to come to the starting gate, hence the trumpeter. The song they play is called ‘First Call’, a military march.

Santa Anita Trumpeter

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Churchill Downs Trumpeter

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1979 – Man o War

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When people make a list of the greatest race horses of all time there are really only two, Secretariat and Man o War. Secretariat is Man o War’s grandson.

How good was Secretariat. He still holds records 40 years later. The photo below from the legendary Belmont that he won by 31 lengths!

A Tremendous Machine: Secretariat in the Belmont | America's Best ...

 

Man o War was just as impressive. In 1920 he was co-athlete of the year with Babe Ruth

Article Image

 

Man o War has a statue at the Kentucky Horse Park

Man O' War Racehorse Statue in Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington ...

 

Seretariat’s statue is at Keeneland.

Secretariat Statue @The Racing Hall of Fame | Horses, Beautiful ...

 

Both are representative of the best of Kentucky Horse Racing. Along with the great thoroughbreds are great tracks.

The two best are Churchill Downs in Louisville and Keeneland in Lexington.

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Keeneland

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1982, 1983 and 1983 – State Parks. While they look very similar there are slight variations to the covers.

 

2013 and 2017 returned to the parks.

 

Kentucky has a number of nice state parks with lodges. This is Cumberland Falls Park Lodge.

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1992 – Kentucky Bicentennial

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1998 – Cumberland Gap & Tunnel

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The Cumberland Gap is a pass in the Appalachian Mountains, at the point where Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee come together.

It was the first primary route over the mountains for the early settlers. For millenia bison had used the pass to make their way back and forth for feeding. The folklore of Daniel Boone was enhanced by his effort to blaze a trail through the mountains.

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Today a twin tube tunnel makes the pass much easier to traverse. Each tunnel is 4600′ long.

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The Cumberland Gap National Park has some very scenic overlooks.

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2000 – Scenic Byways

 

There are 10 Scenic Byways in Kentucky.  These byways take you to the less traveled parts of the state for some unique sights like…

Nada Tunnel. That small hole in the bottom of the hill is indeed a tunnel for auto traffic.

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2004 – Paris Pike. This stretch of highway was a very dangerous 2 lane road. When the decision was made to expand to 4 lanes the Department of Transportation worked with many to come up with an aesthetically pleasing but functional road.

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The road leads from Lexington to Paris. The town of Paris is the center of the thoroughbred farms. It is a very picturesque town, complete with a mini Eiffel Tower.

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2005 – State Capitol

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The State Capitol is in the small town of Frankfort. The current Capitol was completed in 1909.

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The grounds are very well groomed and include a floral clock.

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The former capitol is down in the middle of town.

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Just outside of town are some bourbon distilleries that were built more than 100 years ago, shuttered, and recently re-opened. It makes for a very cool environment.

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Nearby is the city of Lexington, home of the University of Kentucky.

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The city is home to a vast array of murals, some of the best we have seen.

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2006 – Cumberland Falls

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2008 – Lincoln in Kentucky

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2009 & 2010 – Equestrian Games

 

 

2011 – Corvette Museum

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The Corvette Museum is in Bowling Green.

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2014 – Old Friends Retirement Home. While some race horses live a pampered life being set out to stud, many do not. In 2003 Boston Globe movie critic Michael Blowen lead an effort to open this farm for retired race horses.

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2016 – Mammoth Caves

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The longest cave system in the country, Mammoth Cave has more than 400 miles of surveyed passageways. Photo from tourist website as I am terrible with cave photography.

Mammoth Cave: An Underground Attraction That Sparked a War in ...

 

 

2018 – Culinary Trail. The most famous culinary trail in Kentucky is the Bourbon Trail.

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While we didn’t do the entire trail we did tour the Jim Beam Distillery.

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This storage facility burnt in a fire in 2019.

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San Isidro, Argentina – October 2019 – Racing Argentine Style

The San Isidro Hippodromo was opened in suburban Buenos Aires in 1935. In addition to horse racing, they often have concerts here.



Because it’s primary tracks are grass, it is known as the Casa de Turf.







Unlike most American tracks, the starting gates were far away from the finish, so the horses only passed the grandstands once.







On this day there the track was having an open house, with food trucks and entertainment in the infield.
















For the most part you could get up close to the horses and jockeys.










When we arrived the lady at the gate strongly encouraged us to take the free ‘bus tour’. This tour took us around the grounds.

It turned out we had a local model/tv ‘personality’ on our tour.




We stopped in the far back corner of the grounds at one of the starting gates where people were allowed to play on the starting gates before the horses arrived for the next race while our TV host did her story.




Our location allowed us a great close up of the start.




And they were off! It was a nice afternoon at the San Isidro Hippodromo.






Montreal – July 2019 – Random Views of the City

We end the visit to Montreal with the random views of the city starting with this stylish building – once a gas station designed by none other than famed architect Mies van der Rohe. Today it serves as a community center.



Montreal has an efficient subway system, built in the 1960s and 1970s. This station is on Ile Notre Dame.



This island, and one next to it (Saint Helen’s) were greatly expanded to be the grounds of Expo 67, a World’s Fair. Today it is the home to a very large Park Jean Drapeau as well as the Formula 1 race track.

The city has recently started tours of the island on electric carts. We opted for this tour where Sonya and Andre provided amusing and interesting information about the island, and Montreal in general. Unfortunately we didn’t get much over 20 MPH on the track.



Unlike most World’s Fairs, Montreal has retained many of the pavilions that were built. This one was the French and Quebec pavilions, and now serves as a casino.



This geodosic dome is known as the La Biosphère de Montréal. Today it serves as an environmental museum, but during the expo it was the U.S. pavilion.



From the island you have a nice view of downtown Montreal.



Montreal is the 2nd largest French speaking city in the world, and at times they like to take their cues from Paris – like this retro (but accurate) Metro sign.



We say adieu to Montreal with some random scenic views of the city.














Leeds, Alabama – May 2019 – Barber Motorsport Museum

The Barber Motorsports Museum is located in suburban Birmingham in the town of Leeds. It is hands down one of the very best Motorsports museums in the world.

With over 1600 motorcycles from over 200 manufacturers it is the preeminent collection. Over 900 are displayed in the 200,000+ square foot museum, along with 100 cars. Oh yeah, a world class road course race track is on the grounds as well that Porsche uses for their racing school.

Please note with that many options for photos this posting is quite long, with over 40 photos. But words don’t do the venue justice so the photos will speak for themselves.















































































Watkins Glen, NY – May 2018 – Let’s Go Racing

Watkins Glen International Raceway is one of the most famous race tracks in the world. Opened in 1956 it for many years hosted the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix, although they haven’t raced that series here for a couple of decades.

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We were in the area and I wanted to go by to see if I could get in to check out the track, only to have the pleasant surprise that they were racing – and I could get in for free!

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The people racing there are part of an organization called ChampCar – a low budget racing series that allows many who otherwise couldn’t afford to race the chance to get on the track.

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For this Friday afternoon they were practicing with the full compliment of course workers to keep things in order.

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The pits and garages were open.

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As noted pretty much any car with the correct safety gear can race – including what appeared to be an old surplus German police car.

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The Watkins Glen track is 3.4 miles long up and down the New York countryside hills.

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With 11 turns offering a variety of views.

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The air was filled with the buzzing of small engines cranking at max RPMs.

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Many cars did have sponsors to offset the costs.

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It was a nice afternoon of racing.

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Columbus – April 2018 – SCCA Tech Day

For more than 70 years the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has lead the effort for grass roots road racing across the country. While it does promote professional racing, it is best known for making racing somewhat affordable to all who want to race.

The Alliance Autosport team is based on the west side of Columbus in a nondescript industrial park building (on the outside – inside it is great). On this cold Saturday they were holding a ‘Tech Day’ to get ready for the upcoming season and hold an open house to encourage others to check out racing.

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Alliance Autosport offers ‘Arrive and Drive’, the ability to rent race cars, thus avoiding the high cost of ownership. Their collection of cars were neatly stacked on pallet racks

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Most of the cars they have run Spec Racer Ford Generation 3 engines. The theory behind these engines, and the car setup in general is that by prohibiting modifications it makes all the cars equal, as well as keeps the cost down.

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A couple of the cars were down on the floor with their covers off for closer inspection…

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While the racked ones gave an interesting perspective. Everyone at the event were passionate about racing and very welcoming for a couple of people wandering in to check it out. It’s time to go racing!

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