NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Arts, Falls and Two Groundhogs

From Levi Jackson we took a few side trips, once to Berea to check out the art scene on a rainy day.


And once to walk along Cumberland Falls.  We are just suckers for a visit there


Was this my 4th visit?  My 5th visit? Who can keep track?


I've been there for fall color, a wintry moonbow, spring wildflowers, waterfall hikes, bears at night while I slept in my tent, and even butterflies and Easter with my mother. In comparison to all that this visit was rather uneventful, but it was fun remembering all of my previous visits as we walked along.


After leaving Levi Jackson we headed over to General Butler State Park near the Indiana border to get a little closer to home.


Once again we had half the park to ourselves, and the nicest hosts.  The cats couldn't wait to get out and explore every day and try to make friends of their own.  See who was just a few campsites over?  A groundhog set up base beneath that tree...Jewel was eager to make friends but we steered them around.


Most of the sites were on the shorter side so a visit in the summer with a larger rig might be difficult.  This park had a little more hiking though and I walked in the woods and up the hillside to the resort a few times.


Here's a better groundhog photo, though not the same specimen!  We saw one again when we drove through Clifty Falls Park in Indiana.  More on Indiana next!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Levi Jackson State Park in October


Where we were we on Halloween?  We scooted down to Kentucky for a bit to catch those last fleeting fall days.


We stayed at Levi Jackson State Park for a few days which is near the town of London.  Not much around to do except enjoy the quiet park after the summer crowds have gone.


The park contains a pioneer settlement, a pool and a few short hiking trails which were perfect for our girls to explore.


Celia found a caterpillar who rolled up and tried to hide from her.  And they spent a lot of time watching squirrels and birds.


Celia even thought about climbing a few trees to join them.


Even though we missed the trick or treaters who came the weekend before Halloween, we still put out our decorations in the mostly empty campground.  The sites up near the front are paved and more modern, but we chose the back end of the park because of the solitude. Kentucky State Parks now have free wi-fi but it was kind of spotty at times so sometimes we had to use our Verizon data to watch our Netflix.


I got to take a walk every day, including a 6 mile trek on the Sheltowee Trace Trail which was only about half an hour away.


As a general rule, when the leaves are bigger than your feet you're not in Wisconsin anymore.


It drizzled a little and there wasn't much to see, but it was so good to be out in the woods by myself that I just kept going.


I was looking for a suspension bridge...turns out I went the wrong direction and if I had gone the other way to start with I wouldn't have had that 6 mile walk so maybe things worked out for the best!



Sunday, October 29, 2017

High Cliff Halloween Inspiration

Last week I camped at High Cliff State Park in central Wisconsin where it seems they go all out for Halloween.


I tell you I haven't seen anything half as creative in any neighborhood I have ever lived in.


Are campgrounds where it's at?  Are all the creative folks living in the woods?


Anyway, between all the skeletons at the campground and all the scarecrows I saw in Ashland I was inspired to get in on the act so I went shopping in Appleton and Oshkosh on my way home.


What doesn't get used this year will be on hand for some in depth planning next year.  I'd like to turn our yard into a tableau to delight folks and revive some fun in my life.


The dead campers were definitely my favorite, complete with their loyal dog and their campfire that even glowed after dark.


My second choice was the ghoul having a questionable BBQ at his campsite.  The letters had bulbs in them and the scene was lit in a red floodlamp for spooky effect at night.


Nature had its own decorations, including fall color set against the limestone cliffs.


So, what did I do with the decorations I went shopping for?


We got our own camping spot and joined the fun!  Not at High Cliff...we headed south for a week to Levi Jackson State Park in Kentucky.  Most of what I bought was light oriented, and without all the shrubs and small trees we have in Wisconsin I was a bit stymied over how to set things up the way I had envisioned.


I'll tell you one thing, no skeletons are busting out of graves in the hard clay and rock they have here in Kentucky any time soon!


So, no matter what state you are celebrating in, have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ashland Fall Fun

I've gotten a few fall overnights in my tent for work, including a very comfortable night not long ago all the way up on Lake Superior in Ashland.  Until this week Wisconsin has experienced unseasonably warm fall weather and I enjoyed the night out at the large campsite in Prentice Park which is run by the city.


In the morning I swooned over the baked goods at the Ashland Baking Company.  Seriously, I almost fainted when the smell of yeast hit me when I opened the door!


Downtown was decked out for fall, and the big Apple Fest in nearby Bayfield which attracts 50,000 visitors was happening the very next day.  That kind of news made me want to take flight and head south as soon as possible...I'm not into crowds and the deadlocked traffic they bring!


So I visited my accounts in town, gathered up my baked goods, and made the tour of the local scarecrows as quickly as possible.


Hey, Packer Fans, did you know Aaron Rodgers is a spokesperson for Adidas?  Do you think that fact is helping me get any of my Adidas product into the Wisconsin offices?  Unfortunately, not yet.


There's a guy who doesn't need a pair of Adidas glasses, seeing as how he doesn't have a head!


I'm always amazed by the creativity of other people.  Check out these Oompa Loompas with Violet in her blueberry form, just delightful!


I picked up some Halloween decorations for the first time, well, ever!  You'll have to wait a few days to see them though.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Museum of Science and Industry

I don't want to give it all away, but there is lots to see at the Museum of Science and Industry if you've never been, including things which have a questionable scientific purpose like these penguins dressed up to go to the masked ball.


Every time Wayne goes he must pay extra to tour the submarine and experience how the crew lived and worked. 


The 252 foot long German submarine was captured in 1944 and there are exhibits which tell the thrilling tale and about the intelligence that was able to be learned from the vessel while keeping the news of its capture hidden.


Exhibits surrounding the submarine detail many of the artifacts, and the stories of the crew.


By 1946 the Navy no longer needed the sub and planned to use it for target practice.  But the retired captain of the ship that captured the sub, Dan Gallery, was a Chicago native and along with the Museum they lobbied to make Chicago its home.  The Navy finally agreed to let them have it, with the Museum, the City of Chicago and other private groups raising $250,000 to repair, move and install the sub as an exhibit.


Can you imagine what it must have been like to see the U505 towed by tugboat into Chicago? Or see it hauled up onto shore outside the Museum of Science and Industry?


Until 2004 the submarine exhibit was outdoors and millions of visitors, including Wayne and I, toured it there.  The new indoor exhibit is pretty amazing, and there is a video that does a time lapse of how they prepared and moved it to its new location.


There were also displays about the roles women played in the war, always nice to see.  Of course so much has changed since then and it's good to reflect on that and on what still needs to be accomplished.


Tom and Wayne try to experience sub maneuvers through a simulator exhibit

There is more to see than the submarine though, I was particularly moved by the information about the Doomsday Clock.  Not since the testing of nuclear bombs in the 1950's has this panel of scientists been so concerned about the fate of humanity on our planet.


From their website: In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way. 


I was also moved by the display on the 10 letters a day Obama read from citizens, and how they strengthened his resolve to act on issues.  Did you know that historians rate the U.S. Presidents? President Obama was ranked the 12th best president, due to his "moral authority", economic management and public persuasion, which was wonderful to hear.  He would have ranked higher if his relationship with Congress had not been so thorny.  A quick recap of the top ten:

1. Abraham Lincoln 
2. George Washington
3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
4. Teddy Roosevelt
5. Dwight Eisenhower
6. Harry Truman
7. Thomas Jefferson
8. John F. Kennedy
9. Ronald Reagan
10. Lyndon Johnson

President Clinton came in at #15 and George W. Bush at #33...I know where I would place Trump but we will have to wait and see what the historians have to say when the time comes.


Transportation is a big part of the MSI, with airplanes and actual trains on exhibit.


On May 26, 1934, a gleaming new train named for a Greek god of wind began a nonstop "Dawn to Dusk" speed run from Denver to Chicago. The Zephyr completed the trip in just over 13 hours, ushering in a new height of train travel and style. Its sleek Art Deco form was soon to be mirrored in everyday items from transportation to toasters.


 Every time we've been to the museum we didn't get to board the Zephyr and this time was no exception as the on-board portion of the exhibit was closed for remodeling.  Maybe someday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

All in the Details

While nephew Tom was here visiting we took a ride in to Chicago to see the Museum of Science & Industry.  I'll write more about some of the exhibits in my next post, but first I'll share some of the fine work that was done on "The Great Story" which tells the story of the importance of trains to our culture and economy in this case by a model railroad that whisks you from Chicago to Seattle along its rails.



Hey!  It's the 40 story tall Carbon & Carbide building on the left, you can't miss that dark beauty which I've talked about on my blog before.  On the far right is the London Guarantee building with the circular temple on top that I visited in January with my friend Andy.  So cool!


From the city streets of Chicago the 20 trains pass through the Rocky Mountains on their way west.


Seattle is actually someplace I've never been, though I hope to get there someday.


Informational boards are displayed which told me that in the center is King Street Station, which was built in 1906 and apparently underwent some massive remodeling just a few years back so I will definitely put that on my must-see list.


You couldn't drag the kids away.  Such a cliche, but the little boys were fascinated and a few parents told me they had been there over an hour.


The big boys were hard to drag away too.  Wayne was intent on every detail and was disappointed not to find a moose among all the animals in the countryside.

Wayne and his nephew Tom, just boys at heart

After they pointed out that I was missing out on the details I slowed down and took another look.  I was more interested in the tiny people than the animals.


From hanging out their laundry to walking their dogs they were busy.  No one was riding the mechanical pony outside of the storefront, but a fella was pushing along on his scooter.


Outside of Chicago city folk flocked to the Dunes in Indiana to get a break from the summer heat.  Remember when Sharon and I met there?  Look, maybe there's the train station, though not the Beverly Shores one that we visited.


We could spend all day dissecting the details of that exhibit, but let's move on and see some of the details on the actual city streets of Chicago.


There isn't much green space in a city of the kind of density Chicago has, but even in the fall folks make an effort to keep flower beds and window boxes full of interesting things.


We parked a few blocks from The Drake and walked, and though it was breezy and cool the fairly fresh air out by the lake was nice.


Inside The Drake there was more greenery, and pink blossoms too!


My mother goes to The Drake at least once a year for high tea but this was my first visit.  I've been inside much nicer hotel lobbies and restaurants in my opinion, but their floral arrangements sure did impress.


Back out on the street we went, making our way down Michigan Avenue to Water Tower Place.


It's the time of year that everywhere I go I see scarecrows.  These ones in front of Starbucks were done up like Cubs players.  I'd give more detail except I know absolutely nothing about any sports teams, however they were amusing to say the least.


Also fun was the life sized Lego man inside Water Tower Place. 


The storefront was a scene depicting Chicago's buildings, our second of the day!


And Wayne and Tom consented to a silly portrait with a Storm Trooper, I couldn't believe I talked them into it so easily!


As promised, more about the museum in another post!