Buenos Aires – March 2020 – Cool and Funky Vehicles of Argentina

While we have returned to the USA to ride out this challenging time, there are some interesting topics that have yet to be covered on our time in Argentina. One of those are the funky vehicles of the country.

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Lets start with the city buses. Unlike most cities in the US, the buses in Buenos Aires are privately owned, and are known as Colectivos. They are very colorful, and run what seems like illogical routes.

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Note this line’s name – Nueva Chicago. Based in the south end of the city, the neighborhood was home to the stockyards. These stockyard came after the famed Chicago stockyards, so of course the neighborhood became known as ‘New Chicago’. Today the neighborhood is more commonly known as Matadoros, but the bus line retains the original name.

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This photo transitions us from the buses to the quirky trucks that haul all sorts of stuff around the city.

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I didn’t get enough of these trucks as they would just appear randomly.

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A stop of the Subte….  Buenos Aires has 6 different subway lines and it seems each has it’s own style car, including two lines that have cars with no air conditioning so the windows open.

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A trip to the country gives a good example of the number of huge old Mercedes Benz trucks that troll the roads of Argentina.

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Also in this area was this – an Argentina El Camino perhaps. So much with this scene, a funky truck/car, a gaucho and the drivers door open with no driver to be seen, and they were parked nowhere close to anything else.

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A jeep with some interesting replacement bodywork.

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A few beer trucks…Always very cool.

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A 1970s Ford LTD as a taxi way down in Patagonia.

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This guys mom must not have told him never to play in traffic. In reality we saw numerous street performers doing their act in traffic stopped at lights.

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To me it appears Buenos Aires has more motorcycles and scooters than any city in the Western Hemisphere.

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There are also a stunning number of nicely restored VW Buses.

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But in the end the cars are the best..

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The red streamer hanging off the back is supposed to bring you good luck and keep you safe.

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With the strong Italian culture in Buenos Aires you must have a cool old Fiat.

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A ubiquitous Buenos Aires taxi – low fares, a strange collection of vehicles all painted the same color scheme, and drivers who are even more interesting. I read horror stories of the taxi’s but we took them all the time with no problems. My favorite taxi ride was to go to a commuter train station, but the street to get us next to the station was one way the wrong way – no problem, pull onto the street one block up and BACK DOWN the block to get us there. At least we were pointed in the correct direction the entire time!

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And we end this posting with this stylish Cadillac that belonged to the one and only Juan and Eva Peron.

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Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – The Old Cars of Colonia

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.








Chicago – October 2019 – Open House V3.0

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.













Allentown, Pennsylvania – August 2019 – A Long Trip Down a Short Hall

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.
















Across America – May 2019 – Random Scenes Part 2

Central Tennessee – Bus Graveyard







Northern Alabama – Rock Zoo





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.





Pawhuska, Oklahoma



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.






Ash Grove, Missouri – May 2019 – Getting Your Kicks on Route 66 Missouri Style

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.
































Washington DC – May 2019 – Going Postal

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.