The 2018 Road, Days 30-32: A Break from Driving

10

June 24-26, 2018, Spring Hill, FL-

This is a photo-less,  nearly driving-free post.  I spent Sunday night in Ocala, a good stopping place en-route to/from the Nature Coast and points further down Florida’s mid-Gulf region.  Other than being tailgated around a church parking lot, by an older man who demanded to know what I was doing therpoe, Ocala was a friendly enough place.

I got to my in-laws’ house, in Spring Hill, around 10:30.  Fortunately, W was home and Mother was up and dressed.  These three days were largely spent watching old movies (TCM) and coddling the two dogs.

I did get a couple of dips in the salubrious pool, with Bella (younger dog) happily joining in the splashing and laps.  Her more cautious “older brother” was content to lay around and watch us.

The most momentous thing that happened was that I bought this laptop, its mouse and case. The device is lighter weight than the War Horse was, and thus easier to tote around.  Nevertheless, I found myself missing the Lenovo and hoping it is at least being used for peaceful purposes, if it is even still running.

The weather was a bit on the tortuous side, so none of us spent much time outdoors. W went to visit her horses, but unlike in December, I did not join her.  AC becomes addicting.  We took all of our meals at home.  Mother appreciated that part.

It’s been a peaceful break from the road. I will head out tomorrow again, with my goal being  the middle of South Carolina, by evening.

The 2018 Road, Day 29: The Cleansing Storm and Saturday’s Markets

6

June 23, 2018, Tifton, GA-

After a short pass by Clemson University, which I found closed for the evening, I headed off to look for a campsite along  Richard B. Russell Lake.  Named for a conservative senator from Georgia, who was noteworthy as both a pragmatist and a parliamentarian, despite having misgivings about integrating whites and blacks at the Federal level, the lake, formed by damming the Savannah River, draws people of all ethnicities.

I chose the first campground on the South Carolina side of the river:  Calhoun Falls State Park.  The town was named for another senator, John C. Calhoun, who strode the floor of his chamber, orating in defense of slavery, whilst privately educating his own slaves back home.  Even the most seemingly venal of people can be complicated.

The Southland has always graced my camping efforts with a torrential rain, and last night was no exception.  Despite the cleansing downpour, with copious thunder and lightning, my tent and rain flap stayed put.  It also helped that the tent site is on porous ground.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are some views of  the lake, looking towards the Georgia shore. Note that the soil along the shore is red.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I made a stop at the camp store, for a bit of breakfast, before heading out.  Two sweet teen girls were minding the store and made sure I had fresh coffee and a scone, on this soggy morning.

Outside, the dock and its attendant were getting ready for a more promising day of sunshine.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took county roads to the town of Calhoun Falls, then to McCormick, before going on to Edgefield, the hometown of another of South Carolina’s more provocative figures:  J. Strom Thurmond.  Before Donald Trump, before George Wallace, Strom Thurmond stood for keeping things as they were, in bygone days- before coming to his senses in later years, and actually being mortified by those who cited him as an example of a man who could “keep the races apart”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I found numerous mementos of the Civil War, as was to be expected, and solid antebellum architecture.  Then, there was the turkey.  Edgefield’s more eclectic claim to fame is as the headquarters of the American Wild Turkey Association.  One of the men with whom I spoke had been to Prescott, and had hunted wild turkeys in our National Forest.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took in Edgefield’s tiny, but welcoming Farmers’ Market, purchasing a couple of gifts for my family in Florida.  Then I poked around a bit in Edgefield’s town square.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Below, is the town’s memorial to its Confederate  war dead.  Being on the opposite side of the slavery issue, I nonetheless recognize that people of earlier times had to go through their growing pains.  Then, too, so do many of this day and age.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Other memorials honour those fallen in subsequent conflicts.  This memorial stone commemorates World War II.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I stopped in Park Row Cafe, for a muffaletta, which held its own with the more famous New Orleans versions of the sandwich.  I was greeted warmly by the young lady who I had met on the street, earlier.  The cafe’s manager, though, was a bit more guarded, wondering aloud about “the western Yankee”. She was quite glad to see me go.  Too bad, as the place has wonderful fare.

Down the road, and a bit north of the river, is Aiken.  It is home to another Xanga friend, who was not at home when I visited downtown.  I can see the attraction, though.  Aiken had a larger Farmers’ Market than Edgefield, and was considerably more vibrant.  I spent most of my time here in New Moon Cafe, a fortuitous discovery, as I was missing Artful Dodger.  I sat, nursing a Haitian pour-over, absorbing the positive energy.  I found this magnetic little cafe a great excuse for returning to Aiken in the future, even if Xanga friend is not around.  Here is a small hotel that might be of interest to those not inclined to camp.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

New Moon is all about power!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took this photo from a discrete distance as, underneath the signage, another patron was relaxing with coffee and the paper.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Leaving salubrious Aiken, I wanted to make fairly good time getting to north Florida, before turning in. So Augusta, Lake Oconee, Macon and Andersonville all wait for another time.  I made a mental note, as to the exquisite beauty of Oconee and its Reynolds properties.  There is much also that Georgia has to tell, regarding the struggles of men with one another.  Americus showed the way towards amity, whilst Andersonville chronicles the flip side of Maryland’s Point Lookout, being the site of a POW camp for Union soldiers, just as the latter was for Confederate POW.

So, I stopped here, in Tifton, just off I-75, enjoying chicken salad at a Zaxbe’s.  I still am determined to make it at least to Ocala, tonight.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 16: Unlocking Myself

4

June 10, 2018, Montreal-

The thieves gave me more than they took, actually.  An extra day to enjoy the comfort of Auberge Bishop’s community and to spend twilight in downtown Montreal were unexpected delights.

Here are some scenes of Montreal’s old and new, around the Cathedral of Mary,  Queen of the World and St. George’s Anglican Cathedral.  Statues honour Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as a row of figures atop the Roman Catholic Cathedral.  Below is a scene of the cathedral’s cupola, with CIBC Tower to its right.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The great tower also watches this gate to the cathedral’s grounds.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Cathedral’s own watchmen are also quite vigilant.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is a memorial to the city’s fallen, in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

In addition to the excitement of Formula 1 Grand Prix, there is a dazzling amount of construction here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This abstract piece graces the Garden of the Cathedral of St. George, an Anglican house of worship.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This statue honours Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s Prime Minister during the Fin de Siecle, the turn of the Twentieth Century. Sir Wilfrid promoted both the expansion of Canadian territory and a retreat from Federalism.  He espoused increasing harmony between English and French Canadians.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The “Mounties” are honoured here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This likeness of Robert Burns celebrates Canada’s debt to Scotland, as regards its settlement.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

With the dark looming, I headed back to the hostel.  There, as an offbeat round of Bingo was beginning, I took a seat at one of the “audience” tables. The “winners” of a call had to perform a silly act. One young man came up and meowed at me. A few calls later, a pert young woman was to ask an audience member to dance.  So, I accepted her motion and let myself move to the beat.   At that moment, I realized why this extra night in one of my favourite cities happened. Business as usual, with no break-in, would have had me on the road, charging full speed ahead, to New England,  It was essential, in fact, for me to slow down and get off the treadmill. So many “daughters” have appeared these past few days, from Toronto to here, offering messages of support and encouragement, in big ways (the policewoman) and small (this pleasant dancer).  I went to bed, two hours later, feeling safe among the young.

NEXT:  A fine repair and Grandma’s roots.

 

 

I Felt Like The Waterboy

15

June 17, 2018, Philadelphia-

From Friday night until about 11 A.M., today, my bio;logical family was giving my youngest niece and her new husband the respect and honour they completely deserve.  The wedding rehearsal dinner, and all that pertained to food, last night and this morning, were among the richest and most generous culinary festivals I have seen in many years, now.

I stuck to grilled fish, as my entree, for each meal, but the hors d’oeuvres for the two dinners were an astonishing parade, and no words could do justice to the intensity of the work done by the planners, the servers and the wedding party itself.  Then, there was last night’s musical troupe, who gave their all, with a constant stream of dance-able music.  Thus, for the first family wedding, in memory, I was relaxed and out on the floor, tripping the light fantastic, rather than tripping over my two left feet.  Like Adam Sandler’s water boy, in the movie of that name, I was hearing the voice of his buddy: “You can dooo eeet!”     So I danced, almost constantly, to tunes from the 1960’d through today, though I sat out the slow songs. Some things just don’t get done, for a  long time afterward.

This weekend was special in another way:  My son and his girlfriend came, clear from South Korea, for the wedding.  So, Father’s Day was also the most meaningful in years.  We went about  taking in the historical core of Philadelphia, in particular, the American Constitution Center, parts of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.  The Korean War Memorial, near Penn’s Landing, was also of interest to Y.H., she being a Korean national.

Summer is in full swing here, sticky and hot, but the sky has been clear and calm, all three days.  After a light supper, I have to bid farewell to Philly, to my new “little family” and to the new Mr & Mrs.  I’ve watched that girl grow up and with her entry into the full bounds of marriage, I found tears coming even more readily than in betrothals past.  Long may this, and all my family’s unions, last and bring happiness.

Grama in Time

5

June 12, 2018, Plattsburgh-

My maternal grandmother, Estella Myers Kusch, was born here, in 1892 and passed on in 1960, in Stoneham, MA. It’s been a long-standing desire of my siblings and me, to spend time in this area. Last night, and this morning, I got the chance.

Sunday brought me back to Auberge Bishop, which now takes its place among the places where I feel a special measure of love. These places exist in every part of the world I’ve visited and are sure to grow in number. As another friend pointed out, the opposite is also true. Yes, every place has its shadows, as well as its light. I was, however, enormously comforted by my young friends at Bishop, forming a cordon of love around me on Sunday.

Monday came and went, nicely. I had no problem getting cleared by theU.S. Consulate to leave Canada. The auto glass replacement took mu h of the day, but it, too, got done. I fetched my bags from Auberge Bishop, then navigated my way to TC-15 and the border. By 8 p.m., I arrived here, my Grama’s hometown.

Grama was an anchoring presence in my first decade of life. She watched my sister and me, when our parents went shopping on Saturday morning, always warning us to behave, lest Mom get “terry”-her term for being angry. I loved going up to her house, about a mile from our duplex, from which we moved when I was four. In fact, the first time I caught a hair brush to my backside, was when I walked up there alone. I was three. I can only imagine my Mom, crying and trembling, even as she tended to my punishment.

I saw several people around Plattsburgh, who resemble my Grama, my maternal Uncle Jim and few others in the Myers-Kusch family.

The town itself is a most picturesque place, with a compelling story, especially relative to the War of 1812.

I will have photos of Plattsburgh, nearby Ausable Chasm, and all the places before and after, when I get my new laptop and The 2018 Road series resumes.

She became seriously ill, when I was eight years old and I didn’t see her anymore after that.

Dear Thug

13

June 10, 2018, Montreal-

You thought you got the drop on me, yesterday, waiting until I was far enough away from my car that I didn’t hear the smashing of window glass, did not witness you taking my seven-year-old laptop and my passport. To the extent you thought of me at all, you probably imagined a terified, whimpering American tourist, who was wondering “Oh, whatever shall I DO?”.

So, let’s get real about what this means, for each of us. I spent The rest if my Saturday being assisted by your better neighbours: A confident and dedicated young police officer, who knows her role in society, far better than you know yours; a strong, but gentle, young man who is a Muslim, by the way, and who carefully and diligently removed the bulk of the glass you left in my car, following your act of rage; two hostel workers who called around, for a space for me, to no avail. It is one of Montreal’s signature weekends, after all: Formula One Grand Prix.

Today, I am back at my favourite place to stay in Montreal. I made my car fitted with protection from the elements. I gave back to the young people who have so gracefully welcomed me into their community. I got a fine haircut from Irina. I am singing along to Eddie Vedder’s “I’m Still Alive”. Tomorrow, I will move forward, with new glass on my car windows and clearance from my government, to cross back into the land of my birth. In two years’ time, I will be back in Montreal.

So what of you? Perhaps, you are bragging to your friends and associates, about how you took advantage of a stupid Yankee. You may find someone who can break my laptop’s encryption and enable you, or your “employer”, to read my posts, to harass me or, God forbid to use the device for more nefarious purposes. You may try to sell my passport to the wide world of imposters. You will, in the long of it, fail. You are probably well-known to the Montreal Police Department, and the young officer took evidence with her. You are certainly known, at least in terms of your actions, by the people who live around McGill University. Their patience is running thin.

So, we both move forward. I will continue to live a life that values people and a Higher Power. You have a choice to make. Give up what is not yours or face one element or another, of civil society.

Sudden Leghold

7

June 9, 2018, Montreal- 

I will remain here. In a mostly majestic city, for two more days, and possibly three.

No details, and I am safe. In fact, thanks to the Grand Prix that is taking place here, I am alone in a big, empty palace.No one else wanted it, and I had no place else to go, so here I am, for one night. Tomorrow, it’s back to a hostel. I am without a computer, for several days, so The 2018 Road series is on hold.  No details beyond that, for the time being. I am safe. I have a car that works  and now, I am going to sleep. See you tomorrow.

The 2018 Road, Day 10: Reckoning with Destiny

6

June 5, 2018, Elkhart- 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My morning was spent, very well, at Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum

.  After viewing a film on this unfortunate event, it occurred to me that, had Tecumseh not been taken in by the British, he may have reached some sort of accommodation with at least enough of the west-bound Americans, that Harrison would be remembered as other than as the President who served the shortest term, before dying of the lingering effects of pneumonia. Tecumseh, also, might have lived to promulgate the Federation of Native Americans that he so treasured.  The Prophet might also have figured in the spiritual renaissance of the confederated people.

It was not to be, though, and the Battle of Tippecanoe might easily be regarded as the opening salvo of  the War of 1812.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It is commemorated by this obelisk.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This diorama shows a Wea couple, as they may have appeared in their home, at a village similar to Prophetstown.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Nearby, is a more heartening place.  The Wabash Hertiage Trail stretches from this engaging Nature Center

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This surreal scene was taken from behind  a one-way mirror.  The birds and rodents could not see me, but I think a  red-billed woodpecker saw its reflection in the window and rammed the glass with its bill.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After a few minutes of watching the action, I took a 3-mile round trip hike, along the Wabash Heritage Trail, going as far as Barnett Street Bridge.  The full trail goes to Fort Ouiatenon, a ruined fort, 13 miles to the south.

Here are some scenes of this northern segment of the trail.  It follows Tippecanoe Creek.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Black lace wings kept me company, at various points along the trail.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The creek had to be forded, at one or two points along the trail, but it was more muck than running water, at those points.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Finally, I turned around at Barnett Street.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

As it was 87 degrees outside, this was enough.  My reward, about three hours later, was a home-cooked meal, courtesy of an old friend-and a new one, who was grill–master for the evening. Then, I found my way to a true Budget Inn, here in Elkhart.

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 9, Part 1: Purdue’s Two Hosts

4

June 4, 2018, Lafayette, IN-

Today began, and ended, down on the farm. Oak Ridge Farms, a dairy enterprise combined with a resort, has a “farm to mouth” restaurant, and a huge presence in the area between Lafayette and the Calumet region of northwest Indiana.  It was too early in the morning, for any of the facilities to be open, so I went about the grounds and share these scenes:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Farmhouse Restaurant being closed until 10 a.m., I headed to Rensselaer, down the road a piece, and had my own repast at Janet’s Kitchen.  Breakfasts in much of the Midwest are very basic, but flavourful and filling.  That was the case here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I went shortly afterward to downtown Lafayette looking, as always. for  solid buildings and interesting scenes. Various art forms share the space here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Tippecanoe County Courthouse is reminiscent of the equally solid courthouse we have in Prescott.  It has a couple of extra spires, though.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I was taken with this avant-garde bench, on one of Lafayette’s side streets.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After doing my laundry at West Lafayette’s large tanning salon/laundromat enterprise:  Levee Tan & Laundry, I took a short walk along the main drag of Purdue University, which is the pride of both cities, and of west-central Indiana as a whole. Purdue has plenty of both ivy-covered traditional structures and state-of-the-art, modernist buildings.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

With that, I headed south, to Indianapolis, and had an enjoyable, if brief, catch-up session with an old friend and her son, at a north side Einstein Brothers.  Curiously, though no surprise to me, I took the exact exit I needed to take, without knowing where we were to meet.  There is a lot of energy out there, guiding this often clueless wanderer.

The day ended, as it began, with me on the farm.  Part 2 of this post will look at one of western Indiana’s best-kept secrets:  Prophetestown

 

The 2018 Road,Day 6: Jerry-rigging and Resolving Confusion

2

June 1, 2018, Sedalia, MO-   I exited Limon, around 8AM, as the goal was to get across Kansas and to Sedalia as quickly as possible, as I had read what sounded like an invitation to a premier musical festival, Dutch treat of course, but interesting, nonetheless.  Just so we’re clear, I do not regard Kansas, or any place other than the ocean- as flyover country.

Here are a couple of reasons, one in particular, why I chose to stop in Limon last night.  Yes, they share our mascot!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I headed out with a bit of the continental breakfast under my belt, and had a fairly easy drive- though I stopped several places en route, to reinforce the duct tape that is keeping a loose panel on my car in place.  Jerry rigging is not my favourite way of keeping things together, but it’ll not be until tomorrow before I can properly apply the JB Weld that’ll secure the piece for good- and then only weather permitting.  The wind across Kansas was especially vigourous today.  Otherwise, I stopped only in Colby for a hot dog and kept well on track.  Even Kansas City, at 6 P.M., was not a problem.

I arrived in Sedalia around 8 P.M., and found what was apparently the last single bed room in town.  Not surprising was this, given the International cast laid upon the Ragtime Festival, honouring Scott Joplin, a key promulgator of ragtime, who lived in Sedalia for several years and taught piano there.  One of Sedalia’s major thoroughfares is named in his honour.

I went downtown for about an hour, and learned that the person who invited me here was unable to join the festivities, tonight or tomorrow.  It took a fair amount of mental processing to figure that one out, but I did get some enjoyment out of the bit of ragtime that was being performed in a large brew pub- despite my not being one to go sit in a bar with people who have no interest in me as a person.

Sedalia is a lovely town, though, as we will see tomorrow.  In the meantime, here are a few scenes of downtown, by night.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES