All posts by Katie

Red Rock Canyon

I love Nevada. I always say I want to go back to Las Vegas, but, to be honest, I don’t actually care about the strip. I mean, I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. But, I’m not a drinker, and I don’t like crowds of people. I’m a very responsible gambler, so, once my money is gone (money I’ve purposely set aside, knowing I can afford to lose it all), I’m out.

This trip I really wanted to go on the observation wheel. We went at nights, which is pretty cool. You can see all the light, and even the fountains at the Bellagio from 550 ft up. The High Roller is huge. Each car is about the size of a small room. There were 6 of us, I believe, in the car. And we could walk around and move around, and none of us had to get anywhere near each other if we didn’t want to. They can actually hold about 40 people. The ride itself is about 30 minutes. I definitely recommend it.

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We had tickets to the Red Bull Air Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speed Way. The show didn’t really start until after lunch, so that left us with a morning to kill…plus, Vegas is 3 hours behind the time at home, so I was up and ready to go at 4am. Much to Brad’s dismay.

A friend recommended Red Rock Canyon. It’s a short drive off the strip…maybe 20 minutes. We had rented a Camaro and didn’t mind the drive.

IMG_9274This place is beautiful. It is $7 per car to get in. The road is a one way loop.

It isn’t crowded, but the road is narrow. And, there are a lot of people on bikes or motorized scooter type things that are going much slower.

There are 19 trails you can hike. There is also some serious rock climbing going on in some places. That was fun to watch. The trails average about 2 miles each. Though, there are some that are just under a mile, and one that is 6 miles long.

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I literally wore out my gym shoes the day we were here.

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If you want to hike in the desert, you need to watch out for snakes, wear plenty of sunscreen, (and a hat, I like hats), and make sure you bring plenty of water. It is hot and there are very few places you can find shade.

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There is a campground located in the conservation area. However, it is closed June, July and August.

You can bike the scenic drive (almost 15 miles long, and one way), but not on the trails.

There are two off-roading trails if you have a 4×4.

 

Climbing all Day in St. Louis.

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On Monday night my oldest son said “You know where I’d really like to go again? City Museum.” City Museum is in St. Louis, Brad just happened to be working in St. Louis this week. So, I called Brad, we did some juggling. He changed hotels to one that allows pets, I started packing, and we told our son that we could go to City Museum. It is about a 6 hour drive from home, we got started late afternoon Tuesday and drove.

Wednesday morning I decided we probably couldn’t spend the whole day at City Museum. I remembered passing some signs on the highway for Cahokia Mounds, Historic Site. We decided to go there first thing in the morning.

There is an interpretive center on the grounds, that gives the history of the mounds. There is a short, 15 minute video that you can watch. (The people that work there are all very happy to tell you that it is an award winning video.) It is really interesting. The rest of the building is a museum. There is a LOT of information there too. Toward the end of the museum they talk about how they excavate the area without damaging things.

From November to April the center is closed Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the year is is open 7 days a week. 8am to dusk. The center is free to enter, but has a suggested donation of $7 for adults and $2 for children, or $15 for families. I think it is worth it, they really try to make it a nice experience, with guided tours if you like groups, or iPod tours if you prefer to do your own thing.

Around the Center are a lot of hills, in various sizes. Theses are the Mounds. I’ll write another post about the history (those have become my favorite to write.) The mounds were build around 1100A.D., using stone tools to dig the dirt out of the ground, and woven baskets to haul it to the site of the mounds. Some mounds were the town’s barriers. Some were to build houses on top of. And, most were burial mounds.

Monks Mound is the largest one, that is the one in the picture above. The Chief’s home was built on top of it. Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earth work in North America. There are a couple hundred steps to the top, and the view from the top is pretty cool.

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Weaving in and out of the mounds are several trails. Some, just a mile or so, up to 10 miles long. There is a play ground and a picnic area as well. There is also a spot named Woodhenge. It is a large circle made from pillars. They believe it was a sort of calendar.

I don’t think small children would be very interested in going here. My kids are 9 and 11, and they only pretended to be interested because I told them I knew where a Barnes and Noble was, and I was more than happy to go buy them a history book instead. But, once we got into the museum area, I had a hard time getting them out! I thought it was really interesting too.

After the Cahokia Mounds, we headed to City Museum. We’d been here once before. When you pull up, odds are good you will consider leaving right away again. It looks very strange. I sent my husband some photos last time and he replied with “Are you playing in a construction zone or a junk yard?”

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The best way I can describe City Museum is an Art Museum/Play ground. It is $5 to park, and $12/person to get in. Right now, they are closed Monday and Tuesday, they go back to open 7 days a week on March 14. They have a coat check inside, $1/coat. Or you can leave your coat in your car.

Wear real shoes, not flip flops, not ballet flats, wear gym shoes and make sure they are tied on tight. Wear pants. Jeans. I will have to take a picture of what my jeans looked like when we got done yesterday, I got caught, somewhere, and my back pocket is destroyed. Next time, I will use a carabiner and hook my camera to my belt loop. I learned that the hard way, after my camera fell 20 feet.

There is a small snack station down stairs and a pizza/deli type place upstairs. It’s really expensive, that is why we went after lunch. Down stairs by the snack station in a pool. Filled with turtles. Off the side of the eating area is a bathroom. The door doesn’t lock, and the water is iffy. IMG_0446

Yes, the bathroom gets it’s own photo, because it amuses me that this is considered perfectly fine. There are more modern bathrooms, like you’d expect to find in a museum as well, but, that isn’t interesting.

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This is a 3 story slide, right by the entrance. There are SO many slides here. There are random stairs, and ramps. Take them. There are holes in the floor, that lead to tunnels, that take you to different areas. Some stairs take you to a slide. Some take you to the ceiling, where you can slither your way around the first floor, above the other guests. There are wire cages that make their way up around fake trees, climb through the cages. There is a giant hamster wheel to run on. There is a stateless park to run on. It looks like a skate park, but you can’t skate.  There is a fish tank with piranhas and a 35 pound catfish. The gift shop sells knee pads, if that tells you anything about this place.

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They are laying on the floor, under a giant whale. Behind them is a hole in the floor, that leads to a pitch black tunnel, that leads you to a set of stairs, that will then take you to the ceiling tunnels.

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This is me, in one of the ceiling tunnels. I’m laying flat on my stomach, my head is touching the top of the tunnel. So, it does get a bit tight in some spots.

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But, most of the tight areas aren’t much worse than this. I’m still in the ceiling. There was enough room for me and two boys to move around each other.

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This is the view up, from the bottom, of the 10-Story slide.

When you are done inside you can head out to MonstoCity. It is the outdoor area. There is also a rooftop play area, with a ferris wheel, but we are never there when that is open. It is only open in the warmer months. MonstroCity has a giant ball pit.

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I took the photo with my son for scale. If you get bored in the ball pit, you can climb it.

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I would just like to say, that child is afraid of heights. That is a real fire truck on the ground behind him. But, the rest of the play area was too irresistible.

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I’m pretty sure, almost everything in that picture can be climbed or walked across. That blue, cone-shaped thing? It has rebar steps to the top, where you can squeeze out a small opening, then down a crane boom, to another slide.

We spent about 4 hours there. The last hour I just sat and stared at the ceiling to watch my kids climb across. I don’t have a lot of pictures of my oldest, because he has no fear and runs off before I can even give him a warning of what to be afraid of. My younger son is in the pictures, because he stays near me most the time.

I had grand plans for today, and woke up to an 11 yr old, puking and crying. He’s napping, and I’m writing.

Maybe we just enjoy the nice hotel room today, before heading home tomorrow.

 

I’m still here

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long! I’ll give a quick update, and I am working on some real posts. My last post was about hiking in Kentucky. Remember me mentioning a pinched nerve that was causing a lot of pain? Well, that wasn’t it. But, it becomes important soon. When we got home from KY we went to my uncle’s funeral, then left for Las Vegas. We were home about a week, maybe a bit longer, when we decided to add a new family member.

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This is Trixie, she is a pit bull mix we adopted from the shelter. And, she is great. So, anyway, I was busy with her for about a week and a half. Just getting to know her personality, since we didn’t know much about her. Plus, since I am generally the only person around ALL the time, we wanted to teach her she was my dog. I did all the feeding, and walks, etc. This plan backfired when about 9 days after we got her, I was hospitalized for a week.

Remember that pinched nerve? The pain never went away. It got worse. Then my left arm went numb. But, I brushed it off, this has happened a lot over the last few years. Then the left side of my face went numb. But, I wasn’t having trouble, one side wasn’t drooping or anything. It was numb for about 5 days, the 6th day I got vertigo really badly. I laid in bed crying that I was going to fall out of bed, while my husband insisted I was laying in the middle and wouldn’t fall out. So, we went to the ER. 4  hrs later I was admitted with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and an IV drip. So, I’ve spent more time researching the illness than I have researching my blog posts. When I got out of the hospital, I was using a cane for about a week.

In the span of a month, I went from hiking mountains in KY and hiking in Nevada to using a cane to walk to the kitchen.

The weekend after Thanksgiving Brad and I flew to Buffalo, NY. He needed a milage run to keep status on Delta, and I think he wanted to show me everything was ok, this didn’t mean I had to stop traveling.

Then, we had the holidays and birthdays. My husband, my son and myself all have birthdays with in a week of Christmas.

It has been a crazy couple months. But, things are slowing down now, and I will catch up on my blog posts.

A Walk in the Park in Kentucky, Part 2

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Day 2 of our trip to Red River Gorge was a bit less hiking, but even more to see. When we turned into the park, on day 1, we went right. On day 2 we went left.

The first thing we found was a tunnel in the mountain. Nada Tunnel. IMG_8929

The tunnel used to be a railroad tunnel. It is now a 900 foot, single lane, passage through the mountain for cars.

We came out the other side, to this.

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Pretty much, through out this whole portion of the drive, the road looks like this. It is beautiful, though I wish we had been able to go a couple weeks later to watch those leaves change!

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One thing I found interesting here was that we crossed a lot of bridges. Everyone was very different.

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That last bridge is called the Sky Bridge. It is a natural stone arch, that crosses over another path. The hike is easy, though you will want to be careful walking across the bridge, as you can see, there are no walls. And, the edges are worn down, so the very center is high and flat, and the close you get to the edge, the more sloped the rock becomes.

I found this little guy on our hike.

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I think this may be one of my best pictures!

On the route to the Sky Bridge hike, you will also find a sign that read’s “Devil’s Canyon Overlook” This is the view.

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Now, if you are anything like me, you will decide that standing by the fence is not good enough, and you will walk down a little side path, with no fence.  And the side path will lead you down here.

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Can you see, under that one pine tree, the bright green moss on the edge of the rock? If you are anything like me, you will decide you MUST sit there to get a picture. If you are married to anyone like my husband, you will keep inching over there while he shouts “Get back here!” I made it, and sat on that ledge, and enjoyed every second of my view, while my husband had a panic attack. (Ok, not really, but he was not happy with me and was very tempted to pick me up and move me back about 4 feet.) I took this picture though.

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Those are huge, fully grown trees under my feet.

We eventually had to make our way out of the park. Remember how I said it stormed on day one? This was how a good portion of the roads looked on day 2.

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Next, I’m working on the basic info post. Soon I will have posts from the Las Vegas trip we just got back from as well.

A Walk in the Park in Kentucky

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On a rare week off for my husband, we decided to go on a road trip to Kentucky for some hiking. The trip was off to a rough start. We wanted to go Wed-Thurs. But, on Sunday night we got word my uncle had passed away and we had no details about arrangements. Not wanting to miss his funeral, we bumped the trip up. It poured the whole drive. All 6 hours of it.

And, I had/have a pinched nerve in my back, so my leg is killing me. And, I’m all wobbly. We kept on anyway. I thought, how hard could this be? Thinking of Indiana’s vast corn fields, not of Kentucky’s mountain ranges.

We wanted to go to Red River Gorge, deep in Daniel Boone National Forest.  The website for the forest proudly boasts that this park “embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains.” It would seem I should have done some more research before we left.

We got to the park, it had actually stopped raining at that point. Which was nice, especially since the “Dangerous Cliffs” sign above was the first sign that greeted us.

We started down the Gray’s Arch trail. The sign said it was just a .25 mile hike. Not a problem. So, we began. Above Gray’s Arch the sign read “Rough Trail” we thought it was a warning about trail conditions. We were mistaken. The arch trail was another trail, off the main trail. The main trail was perfectly named, Rough Trail. It was 7 miles long. A fact we did not know until we finished hiking.

The scenery is stunning, the trees turning all different colors. The temperature was perfect, mid-sixties. There are rock formations almost everywhere you look. My kids enjoyed hunting for mushrooms. We know nothing about mushrooms though, so we just looked and took pictures.

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It was definitely a rough trail, but not undoable. All 4 of us did fine. We were about 1.5 miles in when we found the first of several rock shelters.

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It was around this point we also found Gray’s Arch.

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This photo was taken with a filter. I took several pictures, and this is the one that shows the arch best. I just wanted to get to the arch, so we continued. It didn’t seem that far away.

We continued down the trail, and found another rock shelter, and a cave. IMG_8887

This cave is at the top of three very long, very narrow, and very steep sets of stairs. We finally reached the bottom of the stairs, and the trail forked. It seemed if we went right it would head to the arch. Left would head down another trail. As we discussed it, the sky broke open and the rain began. We rushed to the left, to get under cover of yet another rock shelter.  We thought we’d wait it out for a bit. After 30 minutes, it was still pouring, and a bad storm was heading in. It was getting late, we certainly didn’t want to hike in the dark.  And we’d already walked a mile into our “short hike” to the arch. It was another .50 mile to the arch. So, we decided to turn around and go back. The hike back was all uphill.

We realized we had made the right choice when we got up the stairs and saw the path.

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And this was one of the best parts of the path. Wide, and no cliff immediately to one side. We vary carefully headed back to the car.

And that was the end of day one.

More to come soon, but I’m heading out of town again in the morning and I won’t be taking the computer. The next post will probably be next week.

History Comes Alive in Boston

I homeschool the kids, which I’ve mentioned before. Last week we learned about the Revolutionary War for history. Several months ago I took a trip to Boston, I knew I was standing in spots that held historic significance, but, I’m also 13 years out from my last history lesson. So, to read them this information, and know I had stood there just months before was so cool.

I love Boston. We stayed in a small town outside of Boston. I think it was about a 45 minute drive, or train ride into the city. Brad and I shared one car, so, he drove to work, while I took the train into the city. The first day, I decided to take the train, so he dropped me off at the station. I was concerned because this was a 730a train. Brad wouldn’t get off work until 5p, so if I got bored and wanted to come back to the hotel, I was out of luck. I’d have to bring the train home, then walk about 3 miles back to the room.

I didn’t need to worry, I had all day in Boston. I walked 11 miles. I was not bored.

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This is the train station. I got off the train and had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I like to wander, so I walked a couple blocks, through the Financial District. Then, I came out into a very crowded area, where a red line is painted on the sidewalk, in front of a very old building. This red line is the Freedom Trail, it is 2.5 miles that will take you through 16 different historic sights. I felt like, every time I turned one way to see something, I missed 3 other interesting sights the other way.

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This is the Old State House, this is where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time. This was also the site where the Boston Massacre happened. John Adams declared the Revolution began here. This is Boston’s oldest public building, built in 1713. I used this all week to figure out where I was.

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This is the Old South Meeting House. You walk in, and walk where George Washington one stood. Where the colonists prepared for the Boston Tea Party. It was built in 1729, and Benjamin Franklin was baptized here. It was the largest building in all of colonial Boston. FIVE THOUSAND colonists crowded into this building to decide what to do about the ships full of tea in the harbor.

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Next we have Kings Chapel.

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I loved Kings Chapel, enough I went back every day. I even went to a church service there, and I’m not particularly religious. The church was founded in 1686. When it was time to build a new building, they weren’t able because there was no more land. So, they build this stone building around the old wooden one, in 1749, then carried the wooden one out, piece by piece. The pulpit from the original church remains in the building. Over 30,000 sermons have been preached from this spot. IMG_5238

It was very powerful to kneel at this alter where so many people have been. Where people were worshiping before the United States even existed!

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The history of the pews was very interesting, in my opinion.

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The pews are not in rows, they are in high-walled boxes. You could “buy” a pew, and pay a yearly rent. This allowed the family that owned it to make it fit their needs. The walls kept the area warmer in the winter. These are original pews, from the 1600s. The owners could decide how the seating was set up. This one held the most people. I saw many with a single row, and one with just 2 seats in it. While the upholstery has been redone, the padding is still the original horse-hair! The owners were able to decorate them as they wished until the twentieth century.

I did not go into the bell tower, though I wish I had. in 1772 a bell was shipped for the tower from London. It fractured in 1814 and Paul Revere offered to remake the bell. It was one of the largest bells ever cast in the Revere foundry and it was the last one made by Paul Revere.

That is all for today, if I include everything I’ll be writing for days!

Liebster Award!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by TravelingSaurus. Her blog is great, I think it is a lot more relatable than many of the luxury or full time travelers blogs. So, thank you so much for the nomination!

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here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

1. Write a blog post thanking the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award, and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator asks you.
3. Nominate 10 bloggers of our own, with under 600 followers, who you think are awesome and deserving of this honor.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
5. Display the Liebster Award logo on your page.
6. List these rules in your post.

Here are my answers for the questions TravelingSaurus asked.

  1. What’s your traveling style? I.e. luxury? Affordable luxury? Backpacking? Glampacking? Your own unique style?

It is my own unique style. Half my trips are following my husband around the country for work, so that style is “don’t be bored or spend a fortune”. When we are on an actual vacation, the style is laid back. We are not huge on tours and the real touristy spots. I like to wander and see where I end up.

2. How do you finance your traveling habit/lifestyle? 

Delta frequent flier miles and hotel rewards. My husband has a job that is full-time travel. So, he gets a lot of rewards/bonuses and that is how I get to travel.

3. What city or town would you move to if you had to pick one?

At this point, I think Kalispell, Montana. It is where we got married, and it is beautiful. Though, I don’t know how many winters I could deal with. So, maybe Boston is a better plan.

4. Do you have one piece of travel gear that you just can’t live without?

No, not really. Well, actually, my spare battery for my phone. I use it to take all the pictures, so I drain batteries like crazy. I may need ANOTHER spare.

5. How many continents have you been to? Do you want to see them all?

Just 1. Yes, I want to see them all.

6. Pick something that makes you nervous when you travel.

Getting lost in dangerous areas.

7. What’s the best local beer you’ve ever had (or wine, if you aren’t a beer drinker)?

I’m not really a drinker at all.

8. What’s your one sentence opinion on selfies in sensitive cultural or historical places?

They are a bit insensitive, but I understand the desire.

9. Do you prefer history museums or art museums?

History museums, definitely.

10. What is your number one dream destination that you haven’t been to (yet)?

Petra, Jordan

11. Are you pretty content with your current blog, or are you always thinking/itching/looking to do a revision, update, or tweak?

My blog is still really, really new. I actually didn’t plan on doing the history posts, but they keep being to interesting, in my opinion, to pass up. I think it is a bit early to decide if I’m happy with it. I’m not happy with my organization.

My nominees:

Backpacks and Babygrows

Chasing Adventure

Wise Monkeys Abroad

Five Fs

Bohemian’s Eye

Simple Travel Our Way

The Lens Less Traveled

John and Debbie RTW Adventure

Questions for the nominees:

1. What do you know now, that you wish you had known when you started traveling?

2. Do you prefer short trips or long ones?

3.  Do you have a family, significant other/children? What has been the hardest to juggle while traveling?

4. Do you collect any one thing from your adventures? Magnets? Post Cards?

5. Mountains, ocean, or city? Or something else?

6.  You have one day to drive, leave from your home and drive for the day, then spend the weekend. Where are you driving to?

7.  What was your most memorable trip?

8. What is one travel experience you’d like to forget?

9. Where have you been you don’t think you could resist going back to, time and time again?

10. Why do you blog?

11. Not really a question, show one of your favorite photos you took during your travels.

Auctions America, Auburn Indiana

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This is my dream car. I go to this auction every year just to search out  Hemi ‘Cudas.

Every Labor Day weekend since 1971 there has been a collector car auction in a small town in Indiana called Auburn. If you have an interest in collector cars this is the place to be.

As usual, there is some interesting history to the auctions beginnings, and the town itself. But, that will be another post.

This is the largest collector car auction in the world. Though, I suppose we need to wait for this year’s numbers to come in before we claim that.

There is a $15 admission, parking is free. Kids 12 and under are free. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, the activities cover 235 acres of land.

When you enter the gates, there are tents immediately in front of you. Those tents hold the cars that have already been auctioned.

In the first tent last night we saw a Maserati.

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And more than a handful of Mustangs from the 1960s

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My intent was to photograph the cars with the signs that told about them, but, apparently I wasn’t close enough to be able to see many of the words later, and the lighting kept messing me up.

After you’ve wandered the tents, you head indoors where there are more cars, waiting to be auctioned.

Cars like these

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As you keep walking through these giant rooms, you will notice it is getting louder. You are getting closer to the actual auction. In a giant room are two spinning displays, with a car on each. Bleachers surround the center, and big screens display photos of the cars, as well as the current bid. When the auctioneer calls “sold”, the spinning stops, and 3-5 people, all wearing white gloves, so they don’t put fingerprints on the car, rush up to push the car down the ramp so the sound of a 1,000hp engine doesn’t drown out all going on inside.

Just outside the auction arena is the food court with the types of food you expect at almost any outdoor event. Elephant ears, corn dogs, twisty fries.

Then, you are at the other vendors. Have you ever felt you needed a giant, neon, Pontiac sign? Do you have $2000 spare to spend on it? You came to the right place. What about an old gas pump?

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You can venture out of the first set gates on the far side, this is where you will find the car corral. This is basically a 900 parking spot, used car lot for really cool cars. If you want to pic up a ’79 Trans Am (great choice, I used to have one) you can probably find one here.

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Maybe you’ve had your eye on a Roadrunner? Or a Duesenburg. You can find those here too. The cars in the car corral won’t be going up for auction. You bring enough cash and you can leave with the car you’ve wanted for years.

There is also a car parts swap meet outside the car corral, in case you leave with a project.

This year they also have helicopter rides for $30. And, on Saturday and Sunday they are having a monster truck show, free with the price of admission, as well as free monster truck rides for the kids.

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As you can see from the pictures I’ve chosen, my heart is with American muscle, from the last 60s, early 70s. But, there is a lot more to see here. And, learn, because many of these owners are very proud of their cars and know the history, from the factory until they put the last mile on last week. I’ll leave you with some more pictures.

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Important Info:

  • $15 admission, kids 12 and under and free. There is a $50 pass that gets you in all weekend.
  • It only goes on over Labor Day weekend. There is another, somewhat smaller auction in the spring.
  • Kids are welcome, but they need to know not to touch the cars. The owners will flip out if they see it.
  • Gates open at 8am, auction starts at 10am.
  • Plan on spending 3 or 4 hours, and that is just to walk the entire grounds. If you want to watch the auction or browse the swap meet, you’ll be there longer.
  • Parking isn’t too bad, but it is in a field. So, if it’s been raining you might want to be careful where you park.

Auctions America, Auburn Fall Auction

Visit Fort Wayne

Just a side note, Auburn is not a very big town. It has a population of about  13,000.  An estimated 300,000 people come into town to buy, sell, and look at the cars. Traffic can be a pain. Usually there is NO traffic, unless you count the cars lining up behind the tractor waiting for a place to pass, and this is a weekend where you can count on traffic jams.

The U.S.S. Cod, A Submarine in Cleveland Ohio

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The U.S.S Cod was a World War II submarine, One of the few large submarines that the US Navy had that was not damaged in Pearl Harbor. It was launched on March 21, 1943.  The Cod made 7 successful war patrols before the end of the war. It was based out of Perth, Australia.

The U.S.S. Cod is 312 ft long, and weighs 1,525 tons.

While the Cod was a very successful submarine, it also holds a place in history as the only submarine to preform an international sub-to-sub rescue ever.

In July of 1945 a Dutch submarine, the O-19 was grounded on a coral outcropping. The Cod spent 2 days trying to pull the O-19 off the reef, breaking several chains in the process.  While the Cod tried to pull the O-19, the O-19 was busy trying to help itself, by putting its engines completely in reverse, blowing the ballast tanks, and firing the torpedoes, hoping that all together, this would pull the submarine loose. It didn’t work. So, the Cod took on the 56 man crew, in addition to the full crew already on the U.S.S. Cod, and then they put demolition charges on the stuck O-19, finishing with shooting 2 torpedoes at it as well, to destroy it so enemy ships couldn’t get to it.

In 2003, the Dutch Navy honored the U.S.S. Cod.

The Cod was removed from service in 1946, only to be recommissioned in 1951 as a part of NATO anti-sub training missions. She was decommissioned again in 1954, but in 1959 was used as a naval reserve training vessel, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S.S Cod quickly became a stop for school children to learn about a bit of history.

Today, the U.S.S. Cod is a war memorial, and a historic landmark. It is the only submarine that allows visitors that had not had ramps built, and holes made in it to allow visitors easier access. If you want to visit, you need to be prepared to enter the hatches and climb down the ladders.

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This is the site that greets you when you enter the U.S.S. Cod. You will be in the forward torpedo room. There are 6 torpedo tubes that will hold 16 torpedoes total. There were 2 types of torpedoes used. The MK-14 and the MK-18. The 14 was faster, but also left a wake, pinpointing the sub’s location. In addition to the torpedo tubes, this room also holds 15 bunks for the sailors.

The next section is the Forward Battery. It holds 126 lead-acid, electric storage batteries. But, it is also where the officer’s areas are. IMG_7446

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The next section is the Control Room. When you enter this section, you will notice it is lit with red lighting. This red light is used at night, so if anyone has to go topside, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.

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This room is where the controls are that power and steer the submarine, as well as control its depth.

The Conning Tower is right above you while you stand in the control room. IMG_7457

The picture is terrible, because you aren’t allowed to climb into the conning tower. You are allowed to climb halfway up the ladder, for a view. But, I’m short. So, my view was just the rungs of the ladder in front of me that they had put plexiglass over.

The conning tower is the attack center. This is where the periscopes are used, it holds the main steering station, as well as the 2 red firing buttons for the torpedoes.

Next is the After Battery Compartment. It holds another set of batteries. But, it also holds the galley and the mess hall for the elicited men. Only 24 men can sit and eat at a time, so each meal requires 3 shifts.

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It was hard to get a decent picture of the space, because it was so small. Now, picture it with a full crew. Up to 97 men filled this submarine, for months at a time.

I found the refrigerator interesting. It is under the floor, so you look down at it. You cannot enter it.IMG_7472

The refrigerator not only held the tons of meat the crew needed, but other perishables. Under the floor is also the ammunitions locker, that doubled as a jail cell for any Japanese prisoners of war they may have.

When you venture out of the mess hall, there is a berthing area.

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On the left, the bunks are stacked, three high and three deep, with no space between side to side. There is a total of 36 bunks in that small space.

Next we have the Forward Engine Room.

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This room holds four 1,600HP diesel engines. The engines were actually made in Cleveland, Ohio. This room also holds 2 freshwater stills.

That’s all the pictures I have of the inside. But, next is the After Engine Room that holds additional generators, for use when necessary.

Then is the Maneuvering Room, the men in this room would control the speed of the Cod using a combination of large levers on one side of the room.

Finally, there was the After Torpedo Room. It holds 4 more torpedo tubes, 15 bunks, a signal flare ejector, and a tiny engineering office. On April 27, 1945 this room caught fire and almost destroyed the submarine. Crewman Andrew G. Johnson was helping to fight the fire when he was washed overboard and drowned.

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Outside the submarine sits a M-14, on the last known, working, WWII Navy torpedo crane truck. It was used to carry torpedoes to the pier, to be loaded by a larger crane.

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More Info:

U.S.S. Cod Home Page

U.S.S. Cod (SS-224)

Historic Navel Ships

Dutch Submarines: The Submarine O 19

Cod Rescues O-19- This is actual video footage of the rescue.

 

Squire’s Castle, History and a Ghost Story

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In northern Ohio, in the North Chagrin Reservation, part of Cleveland’s Metro Parks District, is a castle. Or what looks like a castle. In reality, it is the shell of what was to be the caretaker’s house for a mansion that was never built.

Feargus B. Squire was one of the founders of the Standard Oil company, so he was very wealthy. (At one point, after the castle was built, Squire served a term as mayor of a nearby town.) He owned a home in Cleveland in the late 1800s, but wanted to live in the country. (Which is funny when you think about how it, how much of a city was Cleveland in 1890, especially compared to now?)  Squire bought himself 525 acres of land in a forest, and planned to build a giant estate, intending to live at this estate with his wife and daughter. The home was built from stone, quarried from the property itself.

Before construction on the mansion began, the caretaker’s home was built. It was 2 stories, though there is some speculation there was a basement as well, though you can’t find it now. Squire was going to live there, while the mansion was being built.

The home was supposedly quite beautiful designed after castle is Europe, with Tiffany glass in the windows, carved moldings, and European finishings.

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Mrs Squire, however, hated the country. She had been raised in the city and that was where she wanted to stay.

Legend says that Rebecca Squire would be unable to sleep at night, and would wander the home, holding her lantern. One night, she was startled by one of her husband’s hunting trophies hanging on the wall, she tripped and fell down the stairs to the basement, breaking her neck in the fall that killed her.

Mr Squire was so distraught, he abandoned the property and moved away. But, you can sometimes see a woman in the upstairs window, or a red glow, as is coming from a lantern, moving through the house at night.

The real story is not as interesting, or as tragic.  Mrs. Squire did hate the country, and Mr Squire abandoned the dream of a country estate.  Squire sold the property in 1922, and Cleveland Parks got the property in 1925.

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This is the fireplace that stands in what was once the library.

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When you stand in the library and look out, this is the view of the rest of the castle. There are 2 large rooms you can’t see from the photo, and once there was a second floor, but, the castle had been left to the elements and the 2nd floor deteriorated to the point the parks department removed everything except the shell; there is no roof either. If you believe the legend, Squire had the basement filled in after his wife died. But, others say there never was a basement.

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Can you see it? This castle as it once stood? Perhaps the window was stained glass, blocking the beautiful view. Or perhaps this window by the fireplace was one you could sit by on a winter day, watching the snow pile up around the home. Maybe the floor had furs as coverings, since Squire loved to hunt and show off his skill.

The park is actually open until 11pm, and as the sun goes down, I’m sure you can also see why this abandoned castle has also lent itself to a ghost story.

More Information

Squire’s Castle, Cleveland Metroparks

Squire’s Castle, Travel Cleveland

Squire’s Castle, Wikipedia

Ghosts of the Prairie