Before our trip to Colonia I had read often that there were a number of old cars running around town. I went with the expectation it was a ‘mini Havana’, in reality there were few old cars and trucks, and most of those were parked in front of restaurants as advertising.
Still those that were there, including a number of VW Beetles, coupled with the street scenes, provided good photo ops.
We start however with one of the ‘fast ferries’ from Buenos Aires. These ferries can go up to 60 MPH.
With the tourist industry there were numerous places that rented golf carts and scooters, though most were not as cool as this one.
And with that we are headed on the ferry back to Buenos Aires – with the buildings of the city visible in the distance from 30 miles away.
Late October means it is time for Open House Chicago – our 3rd straight year! As always there were hundreds of volunteers making sure your visit to over 250 buildings went well.
This year ended up having an emphasis on theaters and churches. We started with the Goodman Theater.
Just around the corner is the Nederlander Theater. Built in 1926 and operated for nearly 100 years as the Oriental Theater, it was recently renamed for James Nederlander, the founder of Broadway in Chicago.
It is the most ornate theater I have ever seen.
Our morning of theaters ended with the Lyric Opera Theater.
Chicago was for many years the mail order center of the world, and as such had a massive main post office, located next to Union Station. Today it is being redeveloped into condos.
The Monroe Building is located along South Michigan Avenue. Built in 1912 it has one of the largest collections of Rookwood Pottery tiles in the world.
The Seventeenth Church of Christ is a modern style church located amongst the skyscrapers of Wacker Drive. Completed in 1968, it has a unique look for a church.
For something totally different we made a visit to the Prairie Concrete Company. It is the largest volume concrete dealer in the country, with the capability of creating enough concrete for a 2 car garage every 90 seconds!
This is their only pink cement truck.
The hundred year old Motley School was closed and refurbished into apartments.
Our final stops were churches in Ukranian Village.
One of the places on my list for a long time to visit was the Mack Truck Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Since we were making the long drive from New York City back to Ohio, and passing Allentown we decided to stop for a brief visit – which turned out to be a total fail.
It is required to go on a guided tour, and our tour guide literally took more than an hour to go down this short hall! He covered in detail everything from the entire family tree of the founding family to what Sarah Palin means to Alaska (not kidding). I kept thinking we will move into the museum part just down the hall, but nope – we continued with our painfully slow walk down this hallway (and this photo shows the entire hallway).
Eventually we made it to the museum part, which we were immediately told to stay with the group and not wander around to take photos. With that I gave up, took a few photos of the display, and headed out.
Epic fail – with a few cool photos of garbage trucks, which seemed fitting.
Scottsboro, Alabama – Did you ever lose your luggage on an airplane and never get it back. It likely ended up here, as they buy all of the unclaimed luggage from the airlines and sell it in essentially a thrift store.
Bartlesville, Oklahoma – Phillips 66 Petroleum Company Headquarters
Vinita, Oklahoma – Will Rogers Rodeo
Eastern Oklahoma – Pensacola Dam. A mile long and releasing a lot of water because of the recent rains.
Joplin, Missouri – America’s 2nd largest truck stop.
Southern Missouri – Presumed dead armadillo
Somewhere else in Southern Missouri – Coke Machine Graveyard
Scenes around Cairo, Illinois – At the confluence of the Ohio River and Mississippi River – with flooding.
Evansville, Indiana – Restored Greyhound Bus Station, now a hipster hamburger place. Manhattan prices in small town Indiana.
The interior looked nothing like a bus station.
Evansville, Indiana – County Courthouse
Scenes around Louisville, Kentucky
And after 3 weeks of running around the country – back in Ohio (in Cincinnati). Only 2 hours to home.
As the song goes Route 66 went from Chicago to L.A., going through Missouri along the way. While much of it is gone, replaced by freeways, there are still portions that are intact.
Many unique places remain along these portions of the Mother Road. One such place is just west of Springfield, Missouri. It is a restored Sinclair Gas Station full of cool, quirky things, including numerous ‘vintage’ vehicles.
A very nice lady named Barbara is the current owner of the property, having taken over for her father after he passed away. Barbara enthusiastically welcome all visitors, and the visitors seem genuinely pleased to be there.
On the day we were there one of the old trucks her father had owned was returned to it’s rightful spot at the station.
As noted plenty of tourists make the stop to check it out. I suggest if you get the chance you do the same.
The National Postal Museum was established through a joint agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution in 1993.
Located in the former main post office for Washington, it has a great collection of philatelic items.
In the mid 1800s the United States Postal Service was just starting up, and they had competition from private postal services – in a way they have come full circle losing much of the market to Fedex and UPS.
The museum had a nice collection of the various improvements in delivery, as well as a couple of the more unusual. This mailbox was stuck inside a cruise missle and fired on June 8th, 1959. It did reach it’s target, but was done only once because of the immense cost.
The museum has an amazing collection of stamps and letters. The one below is one of the earliest known U.S. Postal stamps from 1847.
A couple of survivors. This letter survived the Hindenburg fire and crash.
This is one of the few letters sent from the Titanic. The writer, George Graham of Canada wrote this brief letter and mailed it before reaching Cherbourg, the last stop before going trans-atlantic. The letter reached it’s destination – unfortunately George did not, dying in the accident.
An actual Pony Express delivered letter. Despite all of the publicity over the last 150 years, the Pony Express operated for about a year and a half.
There are a number of other small items including letter carrier badges from around the country.
One section detailed what goes into the design of a stamp.
The Postal Service has always celebrated famous Americans, including musicians.
Throughout the museum were various mailbox displays.
A number of the displays highlighted foreign mailboxes.
The 6 story atrium featured a number of aircraft that were used in the early days of air mail.
Also on display is a full size mail rail car. Imagine sorting the mail bumping along at 60 MPH.
Benjamin Franklin was, among other things, the First Postmaster General. He was well qualified as he was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia by the British Crown Post in 1737, as newspaper publishers often were appointed postmasters.
The Postal Museum is a great place to spend a few hours – well worth the time. And as most Smithsonian Museums, it has free admission.
Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.
Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.
As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.
As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.
A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.
This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.
The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.
For some the audience made a good match for the car.
A Zombie car – because why not.
The Zombie car’s door art.
Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.
Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.
This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.
An aptly named 1957 Chevy.
A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.
While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.
There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!
As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.
Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.
There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.
I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.
Mixing classic art and hot rods.
Many had names.
Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.
Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.
Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.
All obviously have very steady hands.
The detail is amazing.
His shirt says it all.
It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.
This guy had great pedal cars.
Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.
Ready for St Patricks Day.
The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.
Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.