Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Columbus, Indiana June19 & 20

                                            Another day, another state.

While chatting with some locals while we were in Louisville, the topic came up that we were heading for Columbus , Indiana next and the question was why.  What's in Columbus?  Joel had seen a segment on T.V. featuring the Architecture of Columbus a while back and it stuck in his mind, so off we went.

The city  slogan/motto for Columbus is: Columbus, Unexpected, Unforgettable.  I wasn't sure what to expect but after spending some time here I sure wasn't disappointed.  Our first stop was at the visitor center.  Once in the visitor center you realize that Columbus is not any ordinary small town. Not only is there inspiring architecture and landscapes there are wonderful original sculptures and murals.  Where else would you find a Chihuly chandelier sculpture, not on loan, but permanently installed?

Or find a real original  Henry Moore sculpture gracing the front of the public library, donated by the sculpture himself.

Throughout the downtown area are various sculptures, all within walking distance.  These children greet a street intersection, reminding the citizens of Columbus that children are meant to frolic.

Enos (in Greek mythology its the goddess of the dawn).provides a powerful greeting to the downtown area.  The sculpture was created by a student curating an exhibit while in Columbus. There was a contest and the student won.  Two young people from Cummins Engine (I'll talk about that later) started a grass roots movement for donations so the sculpture could be purchased for the town.
Another impressive structure  welcomes you as you enter town on the highway.  I think its called  The Welcome Arch.
This sculpture was located in Mill Race Park along the river front.

There were also many murals throughout town.  This one was on an apartment building adjacent to the Moose Lodge where we stayed at portraying a green Columbus.
This mural  was part of the Indigo Hotel.
The First Christian Church was designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1942 during the beginning of contemporary architecture in the US and is just one of many intriguing churches in the area.
St Peter's Lutheran church was designed by Gunnar Bikerts in 1988.  There is a small ball below the cross at the very top which contains a time capsule and a bell from the old church is housed in the larger ball at the base of the spire. The back of the church is round (trees made taking a photograph impossible).
The sanctuary is actually a circle within a circle.  It is very awe inspiring and very open and light. .

Part of Mill Race Park (below).  There are 19 miles of "people trails" within the park.  What makes this park so unique is that the land was located in a flood plane and subject to springs floods and architect Michael Van Valkenburgh chose materials that would withstand the floods.  Much of the construction and materials were donated by local business men and contractors. The land was basically a "waste" land that has been turned into a beautiful park for the community.

Joel is getting a little exercise on the special outdoor gym at Mill Race Park
There is a beautiful covered bridge that withstands flooding.
Even the restrooms are fancy!
The boat house is made to withstand high flooding.
There is also an observation tower.  Yes, we climbed all the way to the top.....
and the panorama vistas were pretty.  It's too bad the sun wasn't out.

The river has a few fun looking rapids.  There is a launching area for kayaks and canoes.
This is a tight knit community and The Commons building is a major focal point located in the downtown area. Its a gathering place for all things cultural...concerts, art shows, meetings, dances, family gatherings....
Contrasting the old and new in downtown.
The Commons is a gathering place for young and old and features the Lucky Climber. which looks like fun for adults and children.
and there are the typical and slides and tunnels for the children to explore.

One of the focal points is the sculpture called Chaos.  It has constantly moving parts .

One of the long hallways in The Commons.  Note how the walls curve in and out.

Across the street from The Commons is the "Kids Commons".  Note the small door for kids.

There is a giant bubble machine where children can encase themselves in a giant bubble.
But wait!  What is this toilet doing in a children's playhouse?
Well, the biggest kid of all appeared.
The toilet makes a flushing noise and is actually a slide.

Next we visited an old fashioned ice cream parlor and museum with and old fashioned soda fountain. Zaharakos dates back to 1900 and was recently fully restored.  You can still sit at the counter and order a soda or sundae.  I remember the old soda fountain at the drug store where I grew up in Pacific Grove, but it wasn't as fancy as this.
There were several antique soda fountains on display.

and several Wurlitzer players.

We shared a fudge sundae but forgot to take a picture of it.

I mentioned Cummins Engine earlier in this blog.  Cummins Engine is the heart of Columbus and the corporate headquarters are located here. Cummins Engines were not  very unprofitable in the early 1900s and a young man by the name of Irwin Mills with no business experience took over the company. Within   three years he turned the company around was making a profit.  Commins Engines has continued to grow into a billion dollar company but that is not the end of the story.  Mr. Mills felt education was very important and  Columbus  needed a new school.  He offered to pay architectural fees if the school board would chose an architect from an approved panel. He also provided the architect fees for the post office, the first privately funded post office design in the U.S. as well numerous other projects. Mills believe in quality and that a building should last a long time.  His philosophy shows in all the different projects he has been involved in around Columbus.

The corporate headquarters are beautiful and house a small museum .

This is just the entry way to the reception area and museum.

An arbor follows one of the streets a makes for a shady retreat.
Ivy grows on the side of the building cooling it in the summer also providing a nice buffer for employees inside.
Some of the engines Cummins manufactures.

The focal point in the reception area museum is the "exploding engine " sculpture. Parts of the diesel engine are suspended from the ceiling.

This the only Auburn remaining. It has a diesel engine made of aluminum.
Cummins also developed racing machines. These are vintage models.

No town is complete without a designer parking garage:)
And then there is this.  I couldn't find out much about it, but there was an ATT logo on the building.

I could go on and on about this little community.  There was a real since of community spirit and pride and the people were very friendly and obviously very proud of their community.   

We left Columbus and headed north towards Goshen, Indiana on Monday.  We stopped overnight at Indianapolis and decided we had had enough of cities and continued on to Goshen to the Moose Lodge.  The Moose Lodge in Goshen charges a $$fee for dry camping so we continued on to Elkhart (RV capital of the US )and landed at the Moose Lodge.  There is plenty of dry camping here and the membership is very friendly.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More on Louisville, June 17 Glassworks and Churchill Downs

I think glass making and glass blowing is fascinating and Louisville has a world famous glass studio called Glassworks.  Tours are offered along with viewing of the artists.  But this is more than just a glass studio turning out works of art, its owner Ken vonRoenn  wanted to use more glass in architecture and the studio explores that concept also concept.

The building is also promoting the downtown concept of living quarters above businesses.

I spent quite a bit of time watching the making of ornaments. First a glob of glass (called a batch)s is pulled out of the hot kiln ( over 2000 degrees) where it has been heating to remove any bubbles.
Next it is rotated to keep the glass centered.  Some times it is rolled on one of the metal tables.
The trays hold frits, crushed glass, which the artist will roll the hot piece of glass in to attain some color.

The color has been added and now the artist is rolling the glass on the table to even the shape and embed the the frits.

Next a helper or an artist will blow into the tube form a small ball turning the rod so the ball stays round. See the small ball at the end of the rod.  The artist will then take the ball off the rod by snipping it off the rod and then it is put in a special kiln to gradually cool down usual 8-24 hours.

I also watched while a wine decanter was being made.  This was a "production" decanter made by a team. Usually one decanter will take about seven minutes to make before putting in the cooling kiln. Below the solid piece of glass is being formed by the artists hands with wet  newspaper.

His helper blows and he shapes with more newspaper.  Sometimes they use wooden "spoons" to shape.

As the glass cools he puts it into the "glory hole" to reheat it. He may also use a torch to even out the glass.

Then the glass piece is allowed to elongate and the helper continues to blow the glass using an extension tube while the artist shapes the piece and voila..a wine decanter.  It is then put in the cooling kiln.

I didn't buy any of the pieces....they are beautiful but pricey.

We are in Kentucky the home of the famous Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby.  I just had to see it.  I thought we would just drive over there and walk around and see the track, but we found out that this was the opening of the "Downs at Dark", night racing and bands to draw a young audience.  It's only on Friday nights during the summer race series.   Apparently no two rated race tracks run at the same time so Churchill Downs is dark right after the Derby and then reopens about six weeks later, so we hit it just right.

We arrived at the track about 3:00 and and found out for $1.00 we could go in and explore Churchill downs, but after 4:00 it would be $10.00, but once in we could stay as long as we wanted.   The place was ghostly empty.  We wandered around and then took the historic walking tour.  During the last Derby in May over 160 thousand people were present. All of the seats and infield are full.  It's a big, huge party! Our guide confirmed that women do dress up in fancy dresses and hats and the men in their Sunday Best...even in the rain for the Derby.

The finish line.  The track is one mile but some races are 1 1/16 and others are 3/4 so the gates are moved so the finish line is always the same.

Imagine  over 85,000 people in these seats at the Derby.  General admission is $40 to stand in the infield and other areas but prices go up from there. A box at the top can rum almost $60,000.

There is a nice plaza and paddocks.

The famous steeples of Churchill Downs.

Inside there are several beautiful murals.  This one depicts  all of the jockeys and race horses, below is a key listing the names of the jockeys and horses. Two other depict the owners and the crowds, just as colorful.

The Derby Museum features the current winner of the Derby...this year it was Animal Kingdom.

An exhibit of hats worn during some of the Derby.  Everyone gets dressed to the "nines".

Sculpture of jockey Pat Day who was only 4'11" and always wanted to be 5'.  When the sculpture was cast, it made him 5'.

There are plaques listing the winners of the Derby for 137 years.  Joel wanted to know who won in 1946,  It was Assault who was a triple crown winner also. The triple crown winners are labeled in gold. A triple crown winner is a horse who has won in the Belmont, Preakness, and Derby.  I think there have only been around eleven horses who have won the triple crown.

On to the races.  The horses are walked out by their handlers and put in the gate and then they are off!

We were just inches from the finish line.  It's pretty exciting to watch but, the whole race takes less than two minutes.  We ended up staying for five or six races and then wandering around.  Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries and my digital card was full so I didn't get too many more pictures.  There was a band playing really loud rock and roll...don't know the name... and the thirty something crowd was having a great time.  There were very few greyed hairs in the crown. We left around 9:00 and the party was just starting.

Another skyline view of Louisville

The next morning we headed out for Columbus, Indiana under grey skies.  I feel like we barely scratched the surface of Louisville. There are lots of little neighborhoods and historic districts which would be fun to explore.....