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Baltimore by the Sea

Thursday, November 16, 2017


William against the Chicago skyline
♪Start the car, I know a whoopee spot
Where the gin is cold, but the piano's hot
It's just a noisy hall where there's a nightly brawl
And all...that...jazz♪ 

What I'm trying to say with that probably inappropriate opening is we're in Chicago! The city, not the musical. We arrived yesterday, shortly before sundown. We reserved an Air BnB in a nice quiet neighborhood, an old fashioned 'walk up'. We have a flat for two nights. On arriving we trotted right back out to a nice dinner at The Handlebar, a  cute restaurant only a block from our flat.

But I'll back up a little. By coincidence (really, it was coincidence - of a sort) our first stop on arriving was the Chicago Field Museum. I wanted to go in, at least for a quick look. I adore natural history museums.

William stayed in the car and I jumped out for quick look in the Musuem
The tantalizing entrance to the museum - dead ahead!
I got a quick peek at the massive main hall but the museum was closed to the public in readying for a special event, a nighttime gala.
My speedy peek
The museum was closed for the evening, but seeing how forlorn that made me, the following day, William indulged me. We spent the day at the museum. Yet another item of my bucket list fulfilled!
William syncs with his new, powerful Spirit Animal
We toured the Egyptian exhibits

We had breakfast in the Museum's cafe, and there we noticed a few dino souvenirs - mugs, beer, etc.,  that started me telling William about the infamous T-Rex, Sue. A museum docent heard me and said, "Sue? Sue's here, just over there. I looked up and HOLY CRAP, - SUE!

Seeing the massive T-Rex Sue, right there in front of me was dumbfounding. I never had a bucket list wish to see Sue as I didn't even know it was possible that to see her! Yet, there she was, in all her magnificent massive bony-ness - the best preserved & most complete T-rex on earth.
SUE the T-Rex
The Field Museum was on my bucket as it is the final resting place of the man-eating Lions of the Tsavo.  I finally got to go eye to amber scary eye with the pair of murderous brothers. *shivers!*
The Ghost and the Darkness
The lions in the movie were named, 'Bongo and Caeser'. Not as mysterious or awe inspiring as 'Ghost and Darkness' huh?
Nice kitty, murderous kitty...

The Man-eaters were maneless but they can grow manes - it entirely depends on the temperatures where they live. I'm not lion, that's a-mane-zing!

The museum has .002 percent of it's b'zillion objects de interest on display and we saw perhaps .001% of those.
Ancient Chinese textiles

Chinese Masks & Puppets
and in artful forms such as these carved frogs made of African Anyolite

I love looking at clothing from Aboriginals of all nations - so pretty...
Oh, and the shoes
Whew! There were some long corridors to trek
There was an honest-to-gosh live Bigfoot in the Redwoods exhibit
You KNOW we had to hit the gift shop, though I didn't do much $$ damage.
There were several BIG WAYS to empty one's coffers there...

I regret passing over the T-Rex & Wild Cat Eyeball pops...
I am indulging in some back handed bragging when I say we so enjoyed ourselves, and were so reluctant to leave, that we ended up being gently escorted to the exit by a friendly museum guard. If we could have slipped the guard for a full night in a museum, we may well have done so - except...there are further plans for our last night in Chicago.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Baltimore to California or BUST!

After leaving Louisiana, I spent a pleasant week at the home of my nephew Kirk & his family. He, Nicole and the kids are in the midst of packing up to leave their home to move to a brand new townhouse not very far from their current home. That means it was doubly wonderful they consented to my very-nearly-unannounced visit.

My nephew William has, for ages, requested a coast to coast trip with me. Am flattered that he thinks I could be fun for days & days in a row. Thus, despite Fall not being an optimum time for a road trip & since I was on the east coast & needed transport to the west coast, now seems as good a time as any to make it happen. When William arrived at Kirk's house, we spent a whole ten or twelve minutes planning our coast to coast drive. We soon nabbed a rental SUV and we hit the road Jack!

I have long been interested in visiting Gettysburg National Historic Park so that was our first main visit on our trip.

The first stop was the Pennsylvania Monument. Read that the angel at the top of this ode to Pennsylvania union troops was cast from a melted civil war cannon.

The individual plaques lining the base, show the roster of each of PA's infantry & regiments.

View from the stairwell, over Lincoln's head
One of the pillars contains a stairwell that leads visitors to the top of the monument, at the base of the upper dome.
Cool spiral stairwell
At the top of the stairs, a mysterious, orb emitting spectre
 that answers to the name of 'Willikins'
Gettysburg seen from top of the Pennsylvania Monument
Ditto on the view
After touring the monument we gave equal time to the rest of the park. The entire time I could hear Ashokan Farewell playing in my noggin. Remember that tune from Ken Burn's 'The Civil War'?

Statues, monuments and war memorials are scattered around the grounds. Solid memoires meant to give meaning to the countless deaths of men & women on both sides during the civil war. 
tired & worn fencing give the field 

Drums & knapsacks to this ode to Pennsylvania's 106th infantry
After a long slow drive through the battlefield & its numerous monuments, we hit the visitor center.
A tiny view inside the spacious visitor center
 Once there, we looked at the displays of which there were a zillion.
A Civil War encampment under glass
Civil War era arms
Yay! Calvary gear like grandpappy had
We then got tickets to the Cylorama. Cycloramas were the Disneylands of the 1800s. Here's a description:

These massive, oil-on-canvas paintings were displayed in special auditoriums and enhanced with landscaped foregrounds sometimes featuring trees, grasses, fences and even life-sized figures. The result was a three-dimensional effect that surrounded viewers who stood on a central platform, literally placing them in the center of the great historic scene

So we got to experience the Cyclorama which in effect a visit to another century. Cool!

We heard a description of the battles, and a live talk about the artist that painted the massive circular cirular painting. Here are some close looks.

And sometime after dark, we finally approached Ohio.
For your viewing frustration enjoyment, here are a lot of incidental iPhone 'live picture' vids pieced together a super short vid. You're welcome!
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the visitor center's cafe, then we were off to Ohio. 
Interesting brickwork on a Pennsylvania barn.

After dark, we finally approached Ohio...

Where the local Highway patrol stopped us and gave William a $175 plus speeding ticket, although our rental car speedometer indicated we were NOT speeding. That wasn't very welcoming and put rather a damper on the end of our first day on the road.

Bummed, but hopeful for the rest of our journeys, we stayed overnight in Twinsburg, Ohio. Twinsburg is famous for its annual Twins Day Festival. In my book that falls short of a birding festival but interesting nevertheless.