Sunday, July 29, 2012

Alum Creek State Park

This was our first visit to Alum Creek State Park near Delaware, Ohio.  Located just a short distance north of Columbus, Ohio, the park is on the edge of the Alum Creek Reservoir, a 3,300 acre U. S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lake.
There are 286 campsites at the main campground.    Although we did not have a lake-front view at our campsite, we were just a short walk from the lake.
The geese enjoyed their lake-front site.
Alum Creek State Park is definitely on our list of "let's go back there again" places.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Darke County Fairgrounds

We have spent the past eleven days in a campsite with full hookups at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, Ohio.  This is the city where we had lived from 1981 until 2005 when we sold our house and began living full-time in our fifth-wheel trailer. 
The time has flown by and looking back we are amazed at all we have done in these few short days.  We have visited with former neighbors, numerous friends, work associates, and extended family members.
On Sunday evening we had dinner with nearly 30 of Mary Sue's neices and nephews and their children and grandchildren.  It was so great to see all of them and to welcome two new babies who have joined the family this year.
The fairgrounds is a very convenient place for us to park the RV.  We have spent at least a week here every year since we sold the house and went "on the road.".

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Car Show and Ice Cream Social

We spent part of the afternoon today at a car show and ice cream social in Pleasant Hill, Ohio, where the Church of the Brethren is raising money to replace the roof on the church building.
While there were many interesting cars, Mary Sue and I were both attracted to the 1930 Studebaker. 

Did I mention that there was also an Ice Cream Social?
Although I forgot to take a photo of the ice cream, we did get to see many old friends.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Evolution of Summer

When I was a kid I loved summer,
Played all day in its blazing sun.
I was never ready for school to start
Because summer was so much fun.

Air conditioning wasn't invented yet.
We just sweated and sweltered and fanned.
As a teen, I often lay out "catchin' rays"
So I could look healthy and tanned.

Summer got hot in the city
Where I studied at twenty-years-plus.
The streets were hot, as were tempers,
And so was the city bus.

Then travel took me to tropical climes
With no winter or spring or fall.
In heat cooled by sea breeze and palm
I didn't miss winter at all.

Later I learned inside air could be cooled.
"Less humid; too," said dear spouse.
So summer again was a lovely time
If I didn't go outside the house!

Then came the summer of 2012
When thermometers boiled over.
Even the A/C lost its cool
When we went inside to take cover.

So summer has changed from frolic and fun
'Till it threatens our human lives.
If global warming gets hotter still,
Will we all just vaporize?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lincoln Trail State Park

We have enjoyed staying at the campground in Lincoln Trail State Park near Marshall, Illinois.  The area is named after the trail Abraham Lincoln's family followed en route from Indiana to Illinois in 1831.

Within the 1023-acre park is the Lincoln Trail Lake which covers more than 146 acres and includes more than seven miles of thickly wooded shoreline. 

We especially enjoyed the views from the windows of our RV which was parked on a point overlooking the lake.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How Hot Was It?

Weather statisticians report that the past six months have been the warmest ever recorded in much of the U.S.  We really hadn't noticed until the first week of July. We were traveling, visiting and sight-seeing in central Illinois as the media weathermen (and women) warned of a coming heat wave.  To us -- and others -- it felt like hell had broken loose and come to live with us!

One day of triple digit temperatures is bearable.  Two days can be tolerated with air conditioning and unlimited supplies of iced tea.  Beyond that, the excessive heat becomes hazardous to plants, animals, humans and inanimate objects.  For neartly two weeks we survived the constant threat of dehydration and other heat injuries.

"How hot was it?" you may ask.  Well, it was so hot that:

  • grass died of dehydration and sun stroke
  • south Texas temperatures of 96 sounded cool
  • the pavement burned our feet thru the soles of our walking shoes
  • metal stair rails became too hot to handle
  • water in bottles left in the truck got hot enough to brew tea
  • evergreens were turning brown
  • the pavement on highways and walking trails warped and buckled at places

  •  wild morning glories went back to sleep by 9 o'clock
  •  even sun-worshippers sought -- and fought -- for shade
  •  cold water faucets gave off  steam and bubbles
  •  sunflowers tried using sunscreen, but they wilted anyway
  •  bird songs became cries for mercy
  •  one bank thermometer we passed read 112 degrees but most were scorched blank screens

  •  many plants drooped, dried out, and drifted back into that dust from which we have all come
  • the daily little frustrations of life made our blood boil
  • even Satan began sweating and swearing, fearing that his domain had been permanently re-located to the U.S. mid-West.
Fortunately, for him and for us, it was only a temporary move, but even the righteous were ready to repent of sins they had not committed!  Temperatures have been in the upper 90s for the past few days, which is a great relief.  However, the "steaming summer of 2012" has taken its toll on our energy and good humor!

Ryan Spearman Concert

Last evening we returned once again to Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis for their weekly out-doors concert known as the Whitaker Music Festival.

Now in its 19th year, the open-air festival presents nine weeks of free Wednesday evening concerts under the stars, May 30 through July 25, 2012, sponsored by the Whitaker Foundation which supports St. Louis arts and parks.

The lead artist for the evening was Ryan Spearman an instructor at the Folk School of St. Louis where he has taught classes covering several traditional musical subjects including, clawhammer banjo, old time and bluegrass fiddle, guitar, jug band, improvisation, music theory, and old time ensemble performance.

Although the lanterns for the Lantern Festival were not lighted in most of the Botanical Garden,  the four column lanterns closest to the stage were lighted adding to the beauty of the evening.

The weather was perfect for a concert on the lawn.  Spearman is an excellent musician, playing the guitar, banjo and fiddle.  His back-up instrumentalists were also added variety to his presentation of  various styles of music, including folk, country, bluegrass,and rhythm and blues.  It was a delightful evening!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

St. Louis

Fountain, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO
 Yesterday we began our morning with an hour-long walk in Forest Park.
Japanese Garden, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO
Then we visited the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis with its Romanesque Architecture. 

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
We admired the interior with its Byzantine styling and a mosaic collection that is said to be the world's largest. Pieces of glass tesserae illustrate numerous religious stories.

In the evening we returned to the America's Center Convention Complex for the evening sessions of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Missouri Botanical Garden

Today we returned to the Missouri Botanical Garden where we had seen the Lantern Festival last evening (see previous blog).   We wanted to see the lanterns in the daylight as well as the many regular features of the botanical garden.
The Lantern Festival continues through August 19.

Lotus Ponds

The Porcelain Dragon by Day.

The dragon is constructed of porcelain platters, plates, cups, and spoons.
Panda Paradise lanterns in the daylight.

Japanese Gardens.

Lotus flowers is the Japanese Gardens.

The Victorian Garden.

Lantern Festival

Last evening we joined Joyce and Anna for a visit to the Lantern Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.
Each one of the massive lanterns is created by forming a frame of wires welded together.  The frame is covered with silk onto which designs have been painted.  The lanterns are illuminated by hundreds of lights.  Thirty highly skilled artisans traveled from the Sichuan Province of China and worked seven weeks to prepare this exhibit.
Terra Cotta Warriors
Panda's Paradise

Lotus Ponds
Goddess Blessing Buddha

Heavenly Temple

Porcelain Dragon
The Porcelain Dragon consists of more than 40,000 individual pirces of porcelain -- platters, plates, cups, and spoons -- tied together using ancient techniques.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Song and Story Fest

We spent the week of July 1 through 7 at the Song and Story Fest held at Camp Emmanuel near Astoria, Illinois.   This was the sixteenth year for this event which brings together musicians and storytellers from all over the nation.   Most are affiliated with the Church of the Brethren but other interested folk also participate.
Camp Emmanuel is a beautiful location with a seventeen-acre lake at the center of camp.
Cody Robertson, cello, Erin Robertson, oboe.
 Some of the events took place on a grassy site overlooking the lake.
Jim Lehman, storyteller.
Other events were held in a pavilion with lights for late-night concerts.

This week was one of the highlights of our summer.