Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Tourista!”

The Indianapolis Canal District

The canal includes a memorial to the USS Indianapolis and the truly massive loss of life resulting more from narcissism and incompetence within the naval administration than the Japanese sub that sunk her.

The canal includes a memorial to the USS Indianapolis and the truly massive loss of life resulting more from narcissism and incompetence within the naval administration than from the Japanese sub that sunk her.

An unusual city in many respects, Indianapolis Indiana has found a way to turn a early-1800s boondoggle into an inviting and pleasant civic space. I’m talking about the Indiana Central Canal, a tiny segment of which I walked while I had the chance weeks ago.

Near one end is a fountain in the center.

Near one end is a fountain in the center.

The ability to transfer goods and materials across states and territories was recognized as A Good Thing from the outset, especially since the United States relied on its agricultural output to generate income from other nations. When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, it connected New York City (and the Atlantic Ocean) by 363 miles of navigable waterway to the Great Lakes. It became fabulously successful as a commercial venture, cutting Read more…

Shock and Awe – The Green Mamba Jet Car

I'm not sure, either...

I’m not sure, either…

Last weekend, my son and his family made their annual trek to Rockford Speedway in Illinois for a special event. I wasn’t there of course, but I was in spirit. I introduced this event to them when they were young’uns, and I suspect that it will become a tradition as long as a certain one of the feature events hangs in there long enough. Rockford Speedway is a quarter-mile banked oval track, and the “Miller Lite Night of Thrills” featured Doug Rose and the Green Mamba Jet Car, monster trucks, a school bus figure-8, hornets (4-cylinder shitbox oval racing), and “Spec Drags”.

Spec Drags were earlier referred to as Spectacular Drags, and before that, Spectator Drags. Anyone in the stands is eligible to run what they brung, be it a 10-year-old Honda Civic, a full-on 1978 Dodge Charger, a pickup truck complete with bed toolbox, or your grandmother’s Buick. That last one did not go well; Read more…

Days on the Monon Rail Trail

The monon Rail Trail is the Interstate of bike trails.

The Monon Rail Trail is the Interstate of bike trails.

One delight of being stuck in Indianapolis is the Monon Trail, an arrow-straight paved recreational trail running 20 miles, from downtown Indy to the northern suburb of Carmel. As was pointed out to me, that’s pronounced CAR-mel, not that snooty car-MEL, as in California. This post is a composite of three days involving the Monon and/or Carmel. See, the oppressive heat and humidity finally tempered, and I took the Evelo Aurora out for a brief 6-mile spin one day, just to gauge my butt’s condition, or lack of. One of the trailheads is just a mile from where I’m staying, and the main connector involved has a broad shoulder. Low and behold, I could feel the seat by the end of the ride.

Heading south toward the city.

Heading south toward the city.

That particular ride took me south, and there are stopping pull-offs to view the scenery. This was on Read more…

Son of Route 66

Wicker thou goest, I will go.

Wicker thou goest, I will go.

Today’s ride was a short one, just 60 miles, and half of that was on the Interstate instead of Route 66. This is the final installment of the Route 66 series, since the remainder of my pilgrimage will be on an assortment of state highways instead of my previous Interstate commutes to Illinois.

One of the things I wanted to see this day was the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa. Five bucks to get in gets you about 30 vehicles to gawk at, plus motorcycles, bicycles and lots of memorabilia. Personally, I was Read more…

Route 66 – Part Too

Route 66 (Fourth St) in Albuquerque!

Route 66 (Fourth St) in Albuquerque!

Albuquerque is actually a pretty nice town. The picture above may look questionable, but apart from the metal bars over every window in the older sections, it’s a nice burg. Anyone else would have found a parking garage near the civic center and seen the sights as well as some kind of sidewalk fair going on, and I noticed many tourists and hangers-out.

From there, Route 66 goes up to Santa Fe, which I intentionally bypassed since I’m not up for the complex GPS combat needed to tackle 66 through it. But even my bypass didn’t work that well and I wound up Read more…

Route 66 Harder

The light tower at the Aviation Heritage Museum.

The light tower at the Aviation Heritage Museum.

This day started off close by at the little Grants-Milan Airport in Milan. The technoids at the Cibola County Historical Society decided to rig up a display of some of the key equipment used to guide cross-country flights in 1930-ish. Ford Tri-motor passenger planes were the dominant carrier at the time, and when one of them went into a mountain, it showed that some improvements were needed. Such flights were made by eye, not by nonexistent instruments. Markers in the form of large arrows were were laid on the ground at the time and this website gives more detail than I can. The buildings are open on Saturday mornings, and someone is Read more…

The Return of Route 66

It's a good day to drive.

It is a good day to drive.

Heading out of Chambers in the Intrepid provided a jaunt on Route 66 right off the bat. Then Sanders showed up, a further stub of 66 was just a few hundred feet, and it was time to get onto I-40 eastbound. Off again at Exit 341, I jogged north to Road 7250/Quentin Dirt Road for 5 miles. This is Reservation land, and Quentin is an early route for 66. It is dirt, and dirt over pavement for a few miles. I stopped and jumped out when I came to Read more…

Route 66 Reloaded

This may be the 21st century, but the concept here is considerably older than Route 66.

This may be the 21st century, but the concept here is considerably older than Route 66.

[Caution for those of you pulling this post down via cellular data – lots of pictures here.]

Day 2 of my Route 66 tourlette – and no, that isn’t a misspelling of another word – netted more dead ends than expected, but I’d purposely built in a few, so the excess was more of an opportunity than a problem. First thing was to pull off I-40 at Exit 269, which took me past Jack Rabbit Trading Post, which is a lot less grandiose than your usual tourist trap. Built in 1948, it’s now more of a Read more…

Route 66 – The Beginning

Two Guns, Arizona. What's left of an early tourist trap.

Two Guns, Arizona. What’s left of an early tourist trap.

Since I have a few days before the annual trek to Illinois to see kit, kin and the usual medical facilities (a hobby I do not recommend), my choices came down to staying at Mormon Lake or seeing bits and pieces of Historic Route 66 along the way. Not that tough a choice, even for the indecisive. After hit-and-run errands in Flagstaff, I picked up Route 66 there and began on Townsend-Winona Road, which used to be an earlier version of 66. That was not a pulse-booster, since it was a wide, smooth highway meandering through the forest, and it’s still in full use. Then you have to get on I-40 and head east.

I’m using a set of printed maps by Jerry McClanahan and Jim Ross via Ghost Town Press to navigate 66. This is not as easy as it sounds for a driver sans navigator, since the handy turn-by-turn instructions are nearly useless in my situation. You need a devoted navigator. Otherwise, you’ll be pulling over frequently to look at the directions and relate them to where you are, or think you are. The better option is a Read more…

A Busy Weekend

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

A tree, just like any other tree, only long-dead.

One thing that had conveniently skipped my mind is that although the Overland Expo is great, the following weekend may have a team roping competition to watch, but it also brings hordes of holiday campers to Mormon Lake.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The area where I was camped had some very, very big pines downed long ago, most falling in the same direction, as if a storm had blown them over long ago.

The lower area where I was pretty much filled up, and a parade of fifth-wheel toyhaulers began making their way up the Read more…

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