September 5, 2012

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Below are the diary entries for September 5, 2012, with the newest entries added at the bottom. Also, check out today’s photos.

Nicoline Update
Nicoline (September 5, 2012)

Last modified: September 5, 2012 at 8:26:29

During breakfast I looked through yesterday's pictures and I decided it would be a shame not to post any of them. But I don't want to falsify history by editing yesterday's post. So I'll just add another post with pictures, in reverse chronological order, so it'll be clear it was a bit of an afterthought.

The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marker on or near the spot where there used to be a tollgate on the National Road.

Here's the Madonna that Eric desperately wanted to get a picture of :-) I still think the statues are exceedingly ugly, but now that we've made up our mind to get all of them, we're going to do so too, dagnabbit!

An impression of Main Street, Richmond:

This building marks the spot where the sporting goods store blew up in 1968:

The new Morrison-Reeves Library saved lots of materials from the old building, including a whole room named for a former library board president who was a great collector of Civil War and Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. Some of the books in the bookcase are very old and valuable, but they are still available to researcher upon request.

These are the Tiffany windows we came to see, with the information panels:

Meet librarian Sue King, who took the time to show us all the artifacts from the old library. Thanks again, Ms. King!

Since neither of us care a fig about football, we decided to give the Indiana Football Hall of Fame a miss. I'm sure Old Joe McCarthy must be turning in his grave, but there it is.

The Tiffany window:

Entering Richmond on the National Road:

We thought the weather was muggy in Maryland, but it was pretty bad in Ohio as well. It was so foggy the A/C started blowing fog into the car!

Lunch with Mark and his new house. And Hoshi, of course :-)

The miners' memorial at Kirby.

Looking back into Maryland:

Pitstop in Cumberland:

From one end of I-70 to another:

Frank Grivel wrote on September 6, 2012 at 22:26:37:

Looks like a lot more fun than what I'm doing! Keep us updated! :D

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Eric Traveling Through Indiana
Eric (September 5, 2012)

Last modified: September 5, 2012 at 18:33:36

After a night's sleep, we head west from Richmond on US-40, the National Road. We enjoy the Indiana landscape, although the corn fields do not look well at all. There has been a severe drought this summer all over the Midwest. We spend some time walking around Cambridge City, and stop briefly to admire the grand Dublin Town Hall (actually, it's pretty small).

In Indianapolis we visit the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of the city, and climb all the 331 steps to the observation level. That gives a great view of the city center, and gives us our daily exercise!

After the Soldiers and Sailors Monument we visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (or rather the museum and hall of fame). It it located inside the speedway circle and houses a lot of the cars that won races here. I never realized that the "Indy 500" was a 500-mile long race, and for the longest time the only race held on the speedway. The whole thing was only used once a year!

There are also a number of other interesting displays, including an opportunity to take pictures of each other in a race car:

After the motor speedway we continue down to Bloomington, taking some landscape pictures along the way -- in the rain!

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Nicoline Indianapolis
Nicoline (September 5, 2012)

Last modified: September 5, 2012 at 19:05:13

After a good night’s sleep - for me, but unfortunately not for Eric - in an acre of bed we were off to Indianapolis by 9.15 this morning. Since we weren’t in any great hurry, we decided to take U.S. 40 and see if anything interesting turned up.

The first thing we saw just outside Richmond was a huge Mourdock for Senate sign. Mourdock is the TP candidate who defeated long-time Indiana Senator Dick Lugar in the primaries earlier this year. You don’t see a lot of political signs here, but the ones you do see definitely aren’t for any Democrats. At one point at U.S. 40 we were parked next to a car that had been behind us for a couple of miles, with an excellent view of our Obama and other “lefty” bumper stickers. I was driving and a just happened to look over at the passenger in the car next to me. The elderly lady looked as if she greatly feared that I was about to eat her or something.

One of the first places we came to was Cambridge Town. According a historical marker, the town was first laid out in 1836 and quickly grew because it was a hub for no fewer than four railroad lines and it also boasted a canal. In fact, Cambridge Town is going to be celebrating “canal days” next weekend, but don’t ask me how. There’s nothing left of the canal that we could find, even though we followed the signs to a scenic drive that supposedly ran alongside the canal. Oh, well. It was a nice looking town anyway. Incredibly spacious, too, as all towns tend to be here. They don’t go in for narrow winding streets in these parts.

On the way to Indianapolis we passed through the town of Dublin, which at one time was a hotbed for the campaign for women’s rights, just four years after the Seneca Falls Convention. Indiana hasn’t always been ultra-conservative! Dublin is a tiny town. Its town hall is about the size of our house and its library is a miniature.

Just around 12 noon we made it into the center of Indianapolis, looking for the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument that was built in 1901. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s quite an experience to come upon it suddenly and see it rise 284 1/2 feet in the air! You don’t see it as you drive in because there’s lots of tall buildings around it. I managed to find a parking space right on Monument Circle and brilliantly parallel parked the car behind some kind of electric vehicle and a couple of cars in front of a Texas car with Obama stickers! The monument is open to the public and you can choose to pay a small fee to take the elevator to the top, or you can walk up 331 steps for free. Since we spend the majority of our day sitting on our behinds in the car, we walked up. Let’s just say that we could use the exercise. The view over Indianapolis is worth it! There’s a Civil War museum in the base of the monument, but it’s only open Friday through Sunday, so we didn’t get to visit it.

From atop the monument we saw that there was some kind of market in progress, so when we had walked downstairs we went towards it. But as the sky was darkening rather alarmingly and the wind was clearly picking up, most merchants were packing up their stuff and besides, it was a farmers’ market and we weren’t in need of any produce. We’re still working on eating the cucumbers and apples we brought with us.

So we went back to the car and drove out in search of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not that we’ve all of a sudden developed a passion for the Indy 500, but we’ve been listening to Earl Swift’s book “The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways.” In the first few chapters, Swift tells the story of an Indianapolis entrepeneur Carl G. Fisher, who became the driving force behind the creation of the Lincoln Highway, but who actually got his start in business selling bicycles. When you think about it, it’s not that strange, since you need good roads just as much to ride a bike as to drive a car. He and three business partners built the Speedway in 1909, as an area where cars could be tested on a proper road. Many roads, even in the city, were not yet paved at that time and the least little rain turned them into bogs. Later on they added various racing events. Fisher went on to develop Miami Beach, but was almost wiped out when a hurricane hit the area in September 1926, while he was simultaneous working on developing the Montauk area of Long Island, NY. He sold his interest in the speedway to Eddie Rickenbacher, a World War I flying ace, but he didn’t manage to raise enough money and the 1929 stock market crash pretty much wiped him out financially. He ended up living in a tiny cottage at the Caribbean Club in Key Largo, his last development project, according to Wikipedia: “... about 8 years after his death, the Caribbean Club became famous as the filming site for the 1947 film “Key Largo” starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Almost 60 years later, in 2007, filled with Bogart memorabilia, it is still in business as a tourist attraction.” Fisher died of a stomach hemorrhage in 1939.

We decided to visit the museum since we were in Indianapolis anyway, to see what it would say about Fisher, but in that respect it’s rather disappointing. Of course, the museum is there for racing enthusiasts and they can certainly get their fix. There are lots of historic race cars, from 1911 to 2011, right next to one another, and the Stoddard-Packard pace car that Fisher himself drove in 1911. Some pretty big name drivers raced at Indianapolis, such as Formula One drivers Mario Andretti and Nelson Piquet. I know I’m hopelessly dating myself here, because these guys haven’t been behind the wheel of an F1 car in 30 years or more, but I remember the sound of Formula One racing at the circuit at Zandvoort, the Netherlands. We spent many summers in the neighboring town of Bloemendaal and if the wind was just right, you could hear the race from where we were, a couple of miles north of the circuit. We never went to the circuit itself, which would probably have been way too expensive with five people.

After the speedway we decided to head for Bloomington, since we will be visiting Indiana University’s famous Thomas Hart Benton mural tomorrow. We had intended to drive south on the Indianapolis beltway and take the I-69 down to Bloomington, but we missed the exit and ended up driving down Indiana State Routes 135 and 144. The latter was especially scenic, even if we did hit a detour due to a downed tree. But we found our way back to Bloomington easily enough and found a Day’s Inn quite close to downtown. We had a burger & fries for dinner at Denny’s and we’ll treat ourselves to a desert of M&Ms.

Frank Grivel wrote on September 6, 2012 at 22:25:50:

Zandvoort is one of the most famous racing circuits in the world... I should go and visit it sometime ;)

Looks like you guys are having lots of fun! Keep me/us updated!

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Nicoline Smits wrote on September 9, 2012 at 22:18:22:

Did you know you can drive around the circuit yourself? You can even get a racing license or something. Not quite F1, I'm sure, but still. http://www.circuit-zandvoort.nl/Page?contentid=90&languageId=1

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