Lincoln Highway Conference 2017

I’m on my way to the Lincoln Highway Association’s 25th Annual Conference which begins Tuesday in Denison, Iowa. When I first decided to attend, I envisioned a slow drive of the Lincoln Highway from Iowa’s eastern border to the western side of the state where Denison sits. Events in Cincinnati prevented me from leaving before Mondays morning so that slow drive on the LH has become a much speedier drive on the interstates. I do have the eastbound route of the LH through Iowa loaded into the GPS and hope to drive all or some of it after the conference. We shall see.

The trip journal is here. This entry is to let blog only subscribers know of the trip and provide a place for comments and questions.  

Trip Peek #57
Trip #88
Lincoln Highway Conference 2010

This picture is from my 2010 Lincoln Highway Conference trip. This was my first Lincoln Highway Association Conference and part of the reason I was able to attend was that it was my first year of retirement. Immediately prior to the conference in Dixon, IL, I attended the Route 66 Festival near Joplin, MO, and drove directly from one to the other. Among the many things I learned was the difference between a festival and a conference. There were a couple of bus tours, a couple of group dinners, and a day of presentations. The picture is from the awards banquet. Brian Cassler had recently become an Eagle Scout by preparing some Canton, OH, Lincoln Highway bricks for use in a display in Kearney, NE. Bernie Queneau traveled the Lincoln Highway as an Eagle Scout back in 1928. Brian chose Bernie to share his award with and is shown pinning the badge on the 98 year old Queneau. This “pair of Eagles” photo is one onf of my favorites. Bernie is a Lincoln Highway legend who remained active in the association until his death at 102.


Trip Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the associated trip journal.

Trip Peek #46
Trip #55
2007 Illinois 66 Festival

pv40This picture is from my 2007 Illinois 66 Festival trip. Day one of the four day outing was spent crossing the Chain of Rocks bridge, cruising to Springfield, Illinois, on Historic Route 66, and taking part in the festival’s huge cruise-in. There were more festival activities, including a downtown car show, on the second day and the third and fourth days were spent traveling home. I had recently developed an interest in the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway and followed portions of that historic named auto trail as I returned to Ohio. The featured photo was taken on the last day of the trip as I followed the PP-OO  through Hillgrove, Ohio, where I lived as a child, and past the town pump that I remember faintly.


Trip Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the associated trip journal.

Bock Again

cbf16_01It was cold and cloudy for the 24th Cincinnati Bockfest Parade. It was, however, dry so a friend and I braved the 40-and-falling temperature to walk beside the merry participants. It was my friend’s first exposure; my fifth.  The cold seems to have kept some observers away but it had no noticible affect on the size of the parade itself. I think a few past entries were absent (e.g., the whip lady) but I doubt that temperature was the cause and there were compensating new entries to keep things interesting.

cbf16_02cbf16_03Proving that the temperature was not a deterrent to everyone was this this wading pool accompanied group wearing shorts, T-shirts, and water wings. Some Red Hot Dancing Queens gathered in front of Arnold’s, Cincinnati’s oldest bar and traditional parade starting point. The Dancing Queens instantly became one of my all time favorite parade groups when I saw them on their second outing at last year’s Northside 4th of July Parade.

cbf16_05cbf16_04I failed to get a picture of parade Grand Marshall Mick Noll and barely caught Schnitzel the goat pulling the ceremonial keg of bock beer. That’s 2015 Sausage Queen, Elyse Lohrbach, in the Caddy. Her reign ended Saturday night when the 2016 queen, Rachel Appenfelder, was chosen.

cbf16_06cbf16_07It’s always good to see perennial favorites Arnold’s self propelled bathtub and the Trojan goat. I personally prefer the original motorized tub (two paragraphs back) although I’m sure the new model is both safer and more reliable.

cbf16_10cbf16_09cbf16_08And now some of the new entries. In case you haven’t noticed, the parade is a real showcase for certifiably groan-worthy puns. Here we have “Whatever Floats Your Goat”, “Bocktor Seuss’ Whodeyville”, and “The Empire Strikes Bock”.

cbf16_11cbf16_12That cluster of Red Hot Dancing Queens in front of Arnold’s had grown to full strength when the parade stepped off. The fun that these gals have is truly contagious and there is no known cure.

cbf16_13I normally probably would not post this blurry picture of a float that has appeared in previous parades but I really need to this time. The 185 year old Rabbit Hash General Store was destroyed by fire just three weeks ago but, as the sign says, “You Can’t Keep a Good Town Down”. There were no injuries and there is some insurance but it isn’t really enough to rebuild the store. A GoFundMe campaign, accessible through the Rabbit Hash website, has been established.

cbf16_14We got inside Bockfest Hall which is something I did not do in either of the preceding two years. I guess that was our reward for dealing with temperatures that not everyone wanted to deal with. In the warmer and brighter 2014 and 2015, when the end of the parade reached the end of the route, the street outside the hall was filled withe people trying to get in. Of course getting in didn’t mean getting to see or hear much. The reduced crowd was still a very big crowd. I snapped this picture over to to of that crowd and only later realized that it contained the previously miss Grand Marshal. That’s Mick Noll in the blue hat at the photo’s left and Christian Moerlein’s Greg Hardman in the top hat on the photo’s right.

The following links lead to evidence of my previous visits: 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015

Naissance All Over Again

I think I attended the very first Ohio Renaissance Festival in 1990 though it’s possible that my first visit was in ’91 during the festival’s second season. It was great fun regardless of when it happened. I visited Willy Nilly-on-the-Wash, the fictional home of the festival, a few more times during the next decade then I stopped. I have no idea why. I was never a regular. I never went more than once a year and doubt I ever went two years in a row. Every two or three years seemed about right until it somehow dropped completely off my schedule. I’m sure I haven’t been there since at least 1999 which means that yesterday was the first time in the twenty-first century that I visited the sixteenth century. It’s changed.

I heard something on the radio about the festival just before it opened this year and decided I really should check it out. It runs for eight consecutive weekends with each week having a theme. There is a Pirates Weekend, a a Barbarian Invasion Weekend, and other fun sounding themes including OktoBEERfest!. This was the only weekend I had free. It’s Romance Weekend. By buying my ticket online I saved $1.14 (20.81 vs. 21.95). I wondered whether it was worth it but once the car was parked it became clear that I had done the right thing. My print-at-home ticket let me go right through the entrance on the right instead of standing in one of the lines on the left.

orf_06orf_05orf_04People in period dress (more or less) are everywhere and it’s not always easy to tell if they are officially part of the show or just highly motivated patrons. I’m only half sure the lady shopping for new cutlery is an amateur and even less certain about the others. I’ve never been actually confronted about photographing someone but I have had a few hard looks. It the look comes before I’ve fired the shutter, the shutter remains un-fired. At this sort of event, the exact opposite is more likely. When I took the second picture, I was actually targeting that magnificent beard but the lovely lady beside it noticed me and made sure I got her best side.

orf_07orf_08orf_09Thrill rides are powered by gravity or muscle. There are, of course, weight limit and “you must be this tall” signs but those aren’t the only restrictions.

orf_12orf_11orf_10Music is plentiful and good. There is even a genuine honest to goodness hurdy gurdy.

orf_13orf_14orf_15Actually, entertainment of all sorts is plentiful. One of the perennial favorites is the Theater in the Ground (a.k.a. Mudde Show). I caught a a performance of Dante’s Inferno and yes he does. They somehow talked a lovely lass from the audience into playing the role of Beatrice and much to my amazement kept her quite clean. The narrator didn’t fare so well. I lingered behind to get a picture of the bare stage.

orf_17orf_16Knights on horseback are every bit as popular as men in mud. There are full-tilt jousts several times each day and before each joust the knights demonstrate some of the skill involved by charging past their squires and plucking rings from their fingers. The lances used are considerably smaller and lighter than the ones they will use in the actual joust.

orf_18orf_19orf_20Although I was quite happy to get it, my seat for the joust wasn’t the best. It was easy enough for me to look past the array of lances but that might be a little tougher in the pictures. In the first picture they are just about to meet. In the second and third thay have just met and some fairly dramatic things are happening. I suppose most folks would simply post some video from their smart phones but I’m a bit more old fashioned and have created a couple of triptychs. One begins with that second photo in which the lance of the knight on the white horse has just snapped. The second begins with the third photo where the knight on the black horse is about to lose his lance.

orf_23orf_22orf_21Though bigger and better than when I last saw them, the joust and mud theater have been part of the festival since its beginning. The human chess match was new to me. I didn’t really follow things closely or understand all the rules but it is obvious that captured pieces do not just leave the board/field willingly. Note Elizabeth Regina watching the game in that third photo. The queen’s presense is often felt throughout the festival. I had encountered her shortly after entering and snapped a few pictures of her and her entourage. She spotted me and paused as she passed. There is an “official” photo of the queen that appears on the festival website and in brochures. I borrowed it to pair with mine.

orf_24This is, as I said, Romance Weekend so I’ll end with this touching image of two smitten youths, with odd curly things on their heads, sharing a scarf.

Behind My Back

A couple of weeks ago, the amount of miscellany filling my life prompted two posts: Much Miscellany and Much Miscellany 2 Sloopy at 50. I don’t often appear in my own posts and I didn’t appear in either of those. I did, however appear in the posts of others — sorta.

bmbcffcff15-03One of the activities in the first Much Miscellany post was the Cincinnati Film Festival. My post included a photo of producer Daryl Sledge and comedian/actress Rain Pryor during the opening night Q&A. That’s the first picture to the right. The other pictures is from the festival’s Facebook page showing that they were keeping an eye on me that night.

sloopy03bmbucafThe second Much Miscellany post covered a Rick Derringer concert held as part of the Union City Arts Festival. It seems they were also keeping me in sight. The first picture is one I took of the band and the second is one from that festival’s Facebook page. I don’t know whether I’m being stalked or if both festivals simply had photographers with really bad luck.

Much Miscellany

concord01It didn’t start out that way but the week got quite busy toward its end and there were several good candidates for the weekly blog post. I couldn’t pick one or, to be more accurate, I couldn’t throw any away. So, I’ve included them all. Because of timing the last one does get its own entry. The rest appear here.

The picture at right was taken Sunday. It was a beautiful day and, as frequently happens, I found myself cruising east along the Ohio River’s north bank. New Richmond, OH, is a common turn around spot although I’ll sometime go on to cross the river at Maysville, KY, and return on the river’s south side. This time I went all the way to Portsmouth before crossing over. I’ve idly followed the river to Portsmouth before but I guess I’ve always headed home through Ohio. I wasn’t expecting to come upon the town in the photo but it looked familiar and I soon realized why. I’d been here before, arriving, quite intentionally, from the west. The reason? This is Concord, KY, where the very first episode of the Route 66 TV series was filmed.

concord02concord03I drove through the town and found it even emptier than I had in 2008. Just before I drove on, I used my phone to snap that opening picture and post it to Facebook where it got a few comments from Route 66 fans. That would likely have been the end of it had not Route 66, co-star Martin Milner (Tod Stiles) died the very next day. He was 83 and died quietly at home. His passing prompted this post using a couple of pictures from Sunday to help with an after the fact “update” of my first visit to Concord. The first picture is of the lawn that Ed was mowing when I first saw him. I took the house to be where he and Johnny lived. On Sunday, there was a cluster of old chairs near it just as there had been in 2008 but today they were all empty with no hints as to when they were last occupied. The second picture shows the building that had the newspaper article in the window in 2008. There was no article this time and unidentified items were stacked against the inside of the windows. There was a handwritten “CLOSED” but I’ve no idea whether it was for the day or forever. Of course, Milner’s passing also brought back memories of the only time I ever met him. It was in 2003 at my very first Route 66 festival. The meeting was brief (It was an autograph session.) but he was quite friendly and readily agreed to a photo which someone (I think it was his daughter.) took with my camera. Communication was less than perfect and somewhere I have an 8 x 10 glossy signed “To Benny”.


lft03lft02lft01Even before he finished the full-sized working replica of the Civil War era steam locomotive Leviathan, Dave Kloke realized that his dream of using it to recreate the 1865 journey of Abraham Lincoln’s body from Washington, DC, to Springfield, IL, would not come true. Having the old style technology share tracks with modern diesel powered trains just wasn’t feasible. However, the big engine and an exact replica of the funeral car that carried Lincoln home are visiting many of the cities that were on the 1865 route including Troy, Ohio. That’s where I was Thursday afternoon to see the train on the first of its four days in town. Take a peek inside the cab and car here and here and visit the train’s website here.

The train is in the background of the third photo. In the foreground is a 30 foot tall version of Seward Johnson’s Return Visit. Visitors to Gettysburg, PA. will likely have seen the life-sized original in front of the Wills house where Lincoln put the finishing touches on a certain speech. Troy has displayed various Seward Johnson sculptures in the past and is the first to display the giant Return Visit. It has been there all summer (Here‘s a picture I took about a month ago.) and will remain through October.


cff15-01cff15-02cff15-03Thursday evening saw the opening of the ten day Cincinnati Film Festival. I’ll admit to being almost as interested in the venue (The Carnegie) as the program. Apparently not many were interested in either or — more likely — hadn’t heard about it. A couple of the speakers mentioned an audience of thirty-five and I think they were just about right. There was only one film screened on this night but it was preceded by about half a dozen local female comedians and the movie’s star, Rain Pryor. After the showing of of That Daughter’s Crazy, Rain (Richard’s daughter) and producer Daryl Sledge fielded questions from the audience. The movie was quite good and the unfiltered Q&A very informative.

cff15-06cff15-05cff15-04Friday night’s venue had me even more excited. This was my first time on the Show Boat Majestic since attending one of the final shows there in 2013 and the first, as far as I know, she has been used since that run ended. Here‘s a full view of her. Attendance was even poorer than the previous night with no more than ten audience members for either of the two films shown. Three films were scheduled but that was cut to two because of equipment problems. Searching for Home tells the stories of veterans damaged by war and various healing and coping methods. The Battle Buddy Foundation is one of the organizations featured in the excellent film and co-founder Kenny Bass, along with his battle buddy Atlas, was on hand to answer questions after the screening. That’s Kenny in the middle with his wife on his right and his brother Jon Campbell, also a Battle Buddy co-founder, on his left. The second film, Bad Moon Rising, was a Japanese language drama with English sub-titles. It was entertaining but not easy to follow. A Q&A session with actress Chihiro Seko and festival director Kat Steele followed.

A Pretty Fair Week

gdcf15_01Once upon a time, all of Ohio’s county fairs preceded the state fair but not anymore. In fact, only 29 of the 88 opened their gates before those of the biggie in Columbus this year. When I attended the state fair a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I make it to the fair in my original home county from time to time. This year I made it to The Great Darke County Fair on Monday which is, among other things, Senior Citizens Day. It’s a day when folks over 60 or under 12 and ministers of any age get in free. Yes, I am cheap.

gdcf15_02gdcf15_03Darke County is the Horseshoe Pitching Capital of the World so finding a tournament in progress wasn’t much of a surprise. Some of these guys can throw more consecutive ringers than I can take consecutive steps without tripping.

gdcf15_05gdcf15_04It’s another sort of competition that is at the heart of all fairs and I got to see just a little of the Junior Fair Dairy Show. I believe the fellow in the second picture placed third and he couldn’t have been happier.

gdcf15_06gdcf15_07gdcf15_08I hate to knock the Ohio State Fair but the only “amazing creatures” I saw there were “The World’s Smallest Woman” and “Snake Girl”. The Great Darke County Fair has a whole menagerie plus a giant horse. Of course, the midway also had plenty of games, rides, and food. The pictured food stand certainly isn’t the flashiest or exotic. I’m including it for personal reasons. I have a real weakness for ice cream made the old-fashioned way in a mixer cranked by an old hit-or-miss engine. Doubly so on an apple dumpling.

gdcf15_11gdcf15_10gdcf15_09When I saw that this was the day of the High School Marching Band Spectacular, I decided to hang around to see the band from my old school. I got there just a little late and missed one band. It took me awhile but I eventually figured out that the band I had missed was my old school, Ansonia. I still enjoyed the show.

gdcf15_12gdcf15_13Even though I get back to the fair every few years, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a dark Darke County Fair. I probably should have stayed around to ride to the top of that Ferris wheel but it was getting chilly and I was ready to head home.


gets15_03gets15_02gets15_01I visited fair grounds again on Thursday but it wasn’t for a fair. It was for the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association‘s 50th Antique Engine & Tractor Show on the Jay County Fair Grounds in Portland, Indiana. Terry, a long time friend who collects Wheel Horses, has exhibited at the show for many years. Dale, another long time friend, lives reasonably close and has attended the show on several occasions. This was my first time but I knew I’d be in good hands. I arrived a few minutes ahead of Dale which gave me a chance to snap a few pictures of Terry (on left in third picture) and his tractors. The Massey-Ferguson and Simplicities in the foreground belong to Terry’s brother, Joe.

gets15_04gets15_05gets15_06As expected, there was no shortage of gas engines including plenty of the hit and miss variety. A sizable percentage were not running and probably couldn’t without considerable effort while others were hard at work doing things like making (or at least pretending to make) ice cream. Some were running but were just relaxing and blowing smoke rings. One display prompted me to attempt a rare video to show one solution to the aggravation of having an engine that works and a console TV that doesn’t.

gets15_09gets15_08gets15_07I would quickly discover that the show contained about as many things that I had not anticipated as those that I had. Maybe I should have expected this display of unusual Crosley vehicles, Terry had shown me a photo of the motorcycle from a previous year’s show, but I didn’t. Some, like the motorcycle, are factory prototypes while others, such as the first open-wheeled Crosley-powered racer I’ve ever seen, were aftermarket customs.

gets15_10gets15_11gets15_12This would have been completely unexpected if I hadn’t heard the announcer mention it over the PA. As soon as I heard the phrase “spark plug collector” I knew it was a hobby as natural — and as endless — as postcard collecting. I was thinking only of the multitude of brands and sizes but soon discovered that there were variations I had never dreamed of. Some early designs had an opening which allowed cylinders to be primed with fuel. Others had two connectors to support both coil and magneto ignitions. There were a variety of multi-piece designs that could be used to fashion quick disconnect plugs so that fouled electrodes could be changed during racing pit stops. Besides being surprised but the many wild plug designs, I was somewhat surprised that Terry and Dale (in the first photo) were almost as unfamiliar with them as I was — but I didn’t let it show.

gets15_13We all learned something here, too. At first I thought it was showing different types of fencing like some barbed wire displays I have seen. Then I thought it might be showing different methods of splicing pieces of wire. The truth was so much better. These are variations of Check Row Planter Wires which were first patented more than 160 years ago. The wires were stretched across a field and carefully placed “buttons” would trigger the dropping of seeds from a sled pulled along their length. A slightly more readable copy of the explanatory placard is here.

gets15_14gets15_15Almost everyone knows about Gibson guitars, greeting cards, wines, appliances, and other items but I doubt many know about Gibson tractors. I didn’t. Produced between 1946 and 1952, internet searches indicate that the tractors were made in Colorado although the company was based in Seattle, Washington. This was an at least rare, if not unique, instance where one 1947 model Gibson took a photograph of another.


lsd_tshrOh, and one more thing. In between the cows and the tractors, I went to a concert at The Southgate House Revival. Tuesday marked my second time seeing Lake Street Dive. As part of his introduction, WNKU’s Ken Haynes asked how many had also attended their only other area appearance and a number of hands, including mine, went up. “Well,” he said. “They’re two years better.” He was off a little on the calculation (That show was March 4, 2014.) but right on regarding the better and they were fantastic the first time around.

Cardboard on the Ohio

cbr2015-01The weather was perfect for yesterday’s Cardboard Boat Regatta in New Richmond, Ohio. I missed the actual start of the first heat but I did see its conclusion and plenty of the racing that followed. Lego Joe was a crowd favorite. It is kind of hard to believe but both the water-skiing Joe and his wave runner style tow vehicle are both made of cardboard.

cbr2015-02cbr2015-03Unfortunately, Joe’s maneuverability was not a match for his good looks. He never really reached race speed as what I’m guessing was a small leak in his skis led to an early finish. Joe began to plow into the water then eventually tipped over. The increased drag slowed the rig even more and it appeared as if the tow vehicle started to take on water which make it even slower and less stable. When the driver eventually fell off of the increasingly wobbly craft, I think he was ready for a rest.

cbr2015-06cbr2015-05cbr2015-04Of course, Lego Joe was not the only beautiful but not quite race-worthy craft in the field. The submarine did eventually reach the finish line under power from its two man crew. The raft, piloted by a young girl also made it but it took a while and required some assistance from a friend or family member. The shoe had directional difficulties and, after an excursion into the line of spectator boats (that may or may not have included soliciting a cold adult beverage) pulled ashore near the course mid-point.

cbr2015-07cbr2015-08If this ten member crew wasn’t a record, it had to be close. It’s certainly the most people I’ve ever seen in a cardboard boat. It took quite a while to get everyone into  the boat and ready to paddle but disembarking went a lot quicker.

cbr2015-11cbr2015-10cbr2015-09Here are shots of one of the entrants before, during, and after the race. Some boats return to compete year after year. Others make just one glorious appearance. I’m thinking this one might be in the latter category.


fbl1fbl2fbl3I finished the day at the Festival by the Lake in Alexandria, Kentucky. The draw for me was SIMO, who I last saw close to a year ago at the Southgate House Revival. This is a high energy and high volume act and, at least for me, the great outdoors suited this better than the smallish upstairs room at tSGHR. I also think a bass player change helped. Wonderful stuff.

A Pretty Fair Day

osf01The day in the title was Friday and the fair was the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.The day was, just as the title claims, quite pretty and so, in its own way, was the fair. I can’t really recall the last time I was here but it’s been a long time. Not years but decades. More than two. Less than five. Why that is, I can’t say. I attend the Great Darke County Fair every year or two and I’ve frequently thought about attending the state fair but never got around to doing it. My Friday visit was rather spontaneous. I was aware that the fair was in session but had no plans to attend until I woke up and realized just how wonderful the day’s weather was going to be. It did not take me long to decide that it would be the perfect day to end my long absence.

osf02osf03osf04I parked next to the fairgrounds at the Ohio History Center. For the most part, its lots become paid parking for fair goers but is still free to members. $5 for everybody else. That put my entry to the fair right at the north end of the double wide midway.

osf07osf06osf05The midway is mostly rides and games of “skill” but there are also plenty of intriguing foods to be tasted and exotic sights to be seen.

osf08osf09osf10The first livestock building I entered was the horse stable. It was empty. However, speakers in the area were broadcasting reports of some sort of horse competition which I learned was taking place in a nearby arena. The event was for draft horses. Each two horse team was driven through a series of maneuvers that included measured stops at points where bales of straw were loaded or unloaded. The fellow in the third picture was the eventual winner.

osf13osf12osf11I snapped some candid shots in the dairy cattle barn but some of the gals were getting professional photos taken in an onsite studio.

osf14osf15A cow made of butter first appeared at the Ohio State Fair in 1903. A calf was added in the 1920s and the pair became fair regulars. Since the 1960s, they’ve been joined by a variety of “guest stars” with Ohio connections. This year the Ohio State University’s football team, winners of the first ever national championship playoffs, gets the honor. There’s coach Meyer, the championship trophy, and Brutus Buckeye, the team’s mascot.

osf18osf17osf16I reached the beef cattle area in time to see some of the junior competition. The second picture shows a judge talking to an exhibitor. A judge spoke personally and at some length with every one of these kids, who I believe the announcer said were in their early teens. Whirling rides, flashing lights, and fast talking barkers are sure-fire impression makers and slithering ladies and deep-fried silliness are also important parts of what makes the experience memorable. But, with the possible exception of the guy and his horses a few panels back, nothing says “fair” to me louder than these three photos.