Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shooting the Illinois State Capitol

Whenever it's reasonably convenient, Linda and I snap a shot of the capital buildings in states we visit. Being in Springfield, Illinois, it was nearly mandatory. When visiting the Lincoln Presidential Library, you can almost see the dome; we had to take a shot or two.
Actual date of these events: 2009-03-14

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

While many states understandably claim Abraham Lincoln, Illinois is the Land of Lincoln and Springfield is home to his presidential library and museum. I visited the museum a couple of years ago and wanted Linda to have that experience as well.

I think that Linda would agree that it's not like many museums. Yes, there are a number of exhibits of collections of items like dresses from the time. On the other end of the display continuum is a theatre with state of the arts special effects. Throughout, the stories of Lincoln's life and presidency are told, often with complimentary visual and audio effects that immersed us in the story at hand. It really is an impressive tribute.
Actual date of these events: 2009-03-14

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Telling a tale I'd rather leave untold

Somewhere before Columbus, Indiana, Linda and I were getting a little hungry. It was lunch time and we were on the road, trying to put some miles behind us. We pulled off at a convenient exit to grab a bite. The sign said, if we went this way, we'd find some familiar fast food (I forget what brand name it was,) so we did. We drove a mile or so and still didn't see a sign of that brand but there was a Krystal Burger.

We'd never been to a Krystal Burger so it would be a new adventure. I pulled into one of the two drive through lines, paused at the menu board, and was asked what we'd like to eat. We had no idea. I saw an item "Lunch for two" and suggested it to Linda; she agreed and we placed our order. I pulled up to the window.

The lane I'd chosen made Linda the one who'd be receiving the food. Out came our drinks and a bag of fries... a good sized bag of fries. We positioned the bag of fries between us and nestled our drinks in the cup holders and prepared for the sandwiches. Right on time, the bag was ready to pass to Linda. Again, it was a good sized bag... actually, a surprisingly large bag... that looked pretty full. Linda took the bag and we headed back toward the exit.

Linda opened the sanwich bag and there were rows of boxes, each containing the standard waxed paper wrapped sandwich. There were a DOZEN boxes all neatly stacked in the bag. Granted, they looked a little smaller than most fast food burgers but not much. I've had White Castle before and these were larger than White Castle; these were three to four bites each. As we headed back toward the interstate, I was eating and Linda was unboxing and unwrapping. Surprisingly quickly, I'd eaten three or four and Linda was just getting to her first sandwich. She opted to start handing me the boxed burgers so now the issue was what to do with the empty boxes. Having been around pickup truck owners, the appropriate action is to toss 'em in the back... after all, it was a rented car. Linda suggested slowing down a little... the consumption, not the driving. I replied "You gotta stay on these or the cheese 'll set up." It was a memorable bit of our trip but, as you can see, one story that might have been just as well untold.
Actual date of these events: 2009-03-14

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pausing at Columbus, Indiana

Columbus, Indiana, is located about forty miles south of Indianapolis along I-65. Linda suggested we stop to take in the sights of the community. One of her relatives lived in Columbus some years ago and Linda thought I'd like to see the town. On top of that, Columbus is now home town to the former Rushville Rocket, Tony Stewart. I didn't expect to see Mr. Stewart but figured it more likely to see him there than rolling down I-65.

Linda was right. Columbus was a surprisingly rich visual treat. Interesting architecture, public installation art, and a very cute community fundraising project were all on display. The two images at the left in the image a permanent pieces (as I understand) and the remaining four images show tree cozies installed after the first of the year for a couple of months. The cozies are built to raise funds for their identifies charities. The winner is pictured in the upper right.
Actual date of these events: 2009-03-14

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stopping at the State Capitol of South Carolina

Linda and I found the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, richly decorated with markers commemorating various aspects of their history. The capitol building itself is a fine looking building. There's a very nice monument to the "Thin Blue Line," their law enforcement. The South Carolina State House also claims to be the only state capitol in the nation to have a monument dedicated to the contributions and history of African-Americans on its grounds.

There are no less than three markers reminding South Carolinians what the Union army under William Tecumseh Sherman did there; a statue of George Washington with a broken scabard bears a plaque identifying Sherman's men as those responsible. A marker shows the location of the old state house burned down by Sherman's men. There are six bronze stars on the unrepaired exterior of the current state house highlighting where cannon fire struck the building.

One of the more moving monuments stands to the north of the capital and depicts a confederate soldier. The inscription reads
This monument perpetuates the memory of those who true to the instincts of their birth, faithful to the teachings of their fathers, constant in their love for the state, died in the performance of their duty; who having glorified a fallen cause by the simple manhood of their lives, the patient endurance of suffering, and the heroism of death, and who, in the dark hours of imprisonment, in the hopelessness of the hospital, in the short, sharp agony of the field, found support and consolation in the belief that at home they would not be forgotten.

Actual date of these events: 2009-03-12

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Getting a taste of Charleston, South Carolina

Because I'd visited to Fort Sumter a couple of years ago, I'd claimed to have been to Charleston; now I know that I'd not really begun to experience the city. Linda and I came into the city from the south, making our way through the narrow streets of the peninsula. The colorful homes and shops felt like they'd been there a long time. A horse drawn carriage carrying tourists edged over to let us pass as they talked about the significance of this building and that. We found our way to the shoreline where we could see historic Fort Sumter. I remembered the fort tour guide telling how outraged the people of the city had been to have a "foreign" fortress overlooking the channel to their harbor. Someone probably stood where I stood, watching the opening volleys of the War between the States.

We walked up into the city to see the old market area. On our way, we saw the pineapple fountain and the customs house. We strolled the through various stalls and buildings of the market. Between the long, slender buildings of the market, Gullah people were making beautiful baskets for sale.

After our stroll through the market, Linda and I headed out of the downtown to the Hominy Grill, one of our RoadFood.com finds. It was not the easiest place to find but well worth the effort.

Actual date of these events: 2009-03-12

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Checking out Folly Beach

Just south of Charleston, South Carolina, is the beach community Folly Beach. Linda and I took a spin around town but found it challenging to find public access to the beach. We DID find the path up to where we could see the Morris Island lighthouse. It took a walk of about a quarter mile to reach the point where we could see the lighthouse. The wind whipped over the ocean and dunes putting salt and sand in the air; nice experience for a lifelong Midwesterner.