Friday, November 14, 2014

The Boonie Har Incident

This is from the draft of my memoirs - Son of a Sharecropper. 

Coming from the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, I was a bit of an oddity at IIFFV. There weren't that many of us from line units. I remember one morning formation (Yeah - I had to start going to morning formations) the 1st Sgt was reiterating that IIFFV personnel were required to wear baseball caps. Boonie hats were unauthorized attire. 

One guy pointed at me in my boonie hat and said "what about him." The 1st Sgt said "You see that patch on his right shoulder - that's an infantry unit. He can wear a bonnie hat here if he wants to." From that day, I wore my boonie hat with a bit more pride.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lake Manawa Trail Volunteer Appreciation Feed

Was a blustery afternoon at Lake Manawa mountain bike trail.  Nine of the volunteers that have maintained the trail gathered for food and refreshments.  The Lake Manawa Trailleader hosted the appreciation feed.  Thanks for food supplied by Hy-Vee on West Broadway.

Most of the volunteers rode that trail before and after the feed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Almost Home

Got the room packed up Saturday evening.  Loaded the car in the morning. I was loaded an had checked out of the room when breakfast opened.  While I only had about 500 miles to drive and would pick up an hour with the time zone, I wanted to get and early start.

Goal was minimize the time off of the Ohio and Indiana Toll-roads.  Drove up to the lake and drove I-90 and US 2 to Port Clinton..  Then took the Ohio Turnpike to the West end.

Drove UP 20 to Angola, IN then North to the Outlet Mall.  Did a little shopping.  Wanted a map for Indiana, so got on the Indiana Toll-road to the first service area.  Picked up a map and exited at the next interchange.  Drove up to US 12 and ended up driving it all the way to I-94, across the bottom of Michigan.  Once on I-94, it was across the bottom of Lake Michigan.  Took a bee-line across I-80 to Bettendorf, Iowa. 

Checked into my hotel and looked for food.  Last night was the only time I are at a chain restaurand during the trip.  Was not excited to look for a local place to eat, the were an Applebees just down the road.  A burger there washed down water and a pint of Far Tire was all I needed.

Photo:  Across the bottom of Michigan had some of the best colors during the trip.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cleveland

A light day planned for today.  Breakfast at the hotel.  Gonna be a nice day, so wore shorts and t-shirt.

Drove up to Cleveland.  Found my way to Bellflower Rd and the old Sigma Chi house.  It was the house we (the chapter) moved into in the summer of 1968.  The house before was a short block away on Bellflower, but is not a parking lot.

For a Saturday, there was a log of traffic in the University Circle area.  That, and many new, larger building, I did not dally in the area.  I was not interested in walking up on campus.

Headed downtown, finding my way to E. 9th St.  Parked on the pier (a block from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Walked around the pier and little park there.  Took a couple photos.  Nothing that I really needed to see. 

The low tire pressure light came on.  Started looking for a place to check the tire/  Found a closed aute dealer and garage that was working and helped me.  Just aired up the tires.  For some reason, the tire pressure were way out of whack.  Left side were high (in the upper 30s) and the right were low (in the upper 20s).  Got lost a couple times getting back to the interstate and hotel.  The tires held pressure on the way back to the hotel.

Worked on packing the room and stretched my legs a little.  Then time for some food.  At the hotel desk they suggested Winking Lizard Tavern for a brew and burger.  They had a large selection of craft beers on tap, but it seemed that they were out of the ones I were interested in.  Settled for the Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager.  It was a palatable beer.  Not as good as the amber ales I prefer.  I had good timing. I was seated right away when I arrived.  When I left, there was a long wiating line.

Now going to settle in for the night.  Hopefully a good night's sleep.  500 miles to drive tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ohio & Erie Canal

When I woke up this morning, it was a bit chilly - about 35 degrees.  No big hurry to get out for a bike ride.  Went over to have breakfast.  Visited with a couple from Indiana (with roots in Naperville, IL).  After breakfast, i spent some time working on the web site paged for the reunion trip.

About noon, it was in the mid to upper 50s.  Bright sunshine and almost no wind.  Time to head over to Boston Store Visitor's Center Towpath trailhead.  Grabbed the hybrid off the bike rack, topped off the tires, and headed out South.

My fraternity suggested that it would be more scenic riding South from Boston Store than North.  The trail surface is mostly hard packed crushed stone.  There are some paved section (mostly at intersections).  The trail takes you to some of the ruins of the locks.  Other places you just see where the canal used to be.  Often, on one side of the trail you have the canal, the other side is the Cuyahoga River.

There lots to see and photograph.  In my 9 mile ride, I ended ip with about 45 HDR photos.  Obviously, I was not setting any speed records!  It was just an enjoyable ride exploring this section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.  More about the trail will be written in the web site page.

Back at the hotel, I processed the bike ride photos.  Soon, it was time to drive down to Akron the check out "Locktoberfest".  Had a little finding the location as the wrote down the address as East North St.  But it was West North St - I was off by a couple blocks.

The festival was a small community function.  Could not go wrong as the donation to the Cascade Locks Park Association was $10 and I got 2 cups of local craft beer and a large brat.  I probably could have had another brat if I wanted.  For food there also hot dogs for the kids, baked beans, and chips.

Visited with the folks from the brewery.  Can got to a brewery tour at 2pm tomorrow.  For the record, the brewery is Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.  On tap for the festival they had their "Labrador Lager".

Kids were carving pumpkins and a group of fraternity members from the local Lambda Chi Alpha (Lambda Chi) were throwing bean bags.  Others were visiting.  Now, I did not know anyone at the festival.  Thankfully, I was wearing my Green Bay Packers jacket.  It was the ice-breaker.

One of the Lambda Chi brothers stopped to talk - he is a Bears fan and from Chicago.  His older brother is a Sigma Chi from DePaul. The Lambda Chi chapter were helping for the festival as a community service project!  Had another conservation with a local originally from Cudahay, Wis.  I ended up spending almost 2 hours there, about an hour longer than I had planned.

Was a very enjoyable day!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The hotel has a complimentary breakfast for guest.  So I started the day off with some eggs, sausage, potatoes, sweet roll and coffee.  I was not in a hurry this morning as the park Visitor's Center did not open until 9:30.  Waitress at breakfast gave me directions to Brandywine Falls.  Looked at my maps and charted my planned route for the day.

As I recall hearing, Brandywine Falls (pictured here) is the second tallest waterfall in Ohio.  I walked to the upper viewing platform and further to stone building ruins.  Took a few photos there and backtracked to the boardwalk to the lower viewing deck.  Did not go all the way down to the lower deck (I had lots of more walking to do today).  Got a couple photos and headed to the Boston Store.

There, I watched the movie about the Park and its inception.  The big take-a-way I got from the video is that addition of the Towpath Trail was huge in the development of Cuyahoga Valley NP.  Previously, it was just an urban National Park.

Next stop was Peninsula, OH and Lock 29.  I did not find the lock, but could see this would be an interesting spot to ride my bike.  I continued South find the Everett Covered Bridge.  More walking to get to the bridge.  I could not find a reasonable spot to photograph the bridge span over the river.

Since I had not found Lock 29, I headed North to the Canal Visitor's Center.  There. I was able to see the old, manual canal lock.  More canal memorabilia in a museum at this location.  While in the area, I drove the Tinkers Creek Gorge Parkway.  Here, I saw the best Fall colors of the trip.  Was going to photograph Bridal Veil Falls, but I did not see it.  Walked the boardwalk a bit, but i was getting tired, did not to climb the steps back up from the river, so called it an afternoon.

Back to the hotel.  Started processing photos from the day.  I was getting tired, so got horizontal, stretching my legs.  Finished the photos and changed for dinner.

I had dinner plans with a Case classmate and fraternity brother.  Another fraternity messaged about getting to get this evening - we made it a threesome.  Had Mexican food at Marcelita's (I had not eaten Mexican yet on this trip, so it was a nice change from burgers). 

Had great conversation over dinner (and well after).  Lots of reminiscing. We basically closed the place.  Thanks for an enjoyable evening, Dave K and Dave R.  in hoc.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Maine to Ohio

The last 2 days have been mostly just driving. The weather was the pits for doing other than the drive, so not minding it.  Overcast both days.  Sprinkling of rain also both days. Good shower over night in Danbury, CT.

The Super 8 in Danbury was a pretty good room.  It was a second floor room 2 doors down the hall from the elevator.  Dinner was a Philly Cheese Steak at the Windmill Diner.  Decent food but nothing to write home about.

Found my hotel at Exit 180 of the Ohio Turnpike.  I am not impressed with the hotel.  The assigned me a room that is 2 doors from the opposite corner of the hotel from the lobby, Bar/Restaurant, and Breakfast.  When I went to looking for the ice machine (the hotel map shows just down the hall from my room) there was no ice machine. 

Had a coupon for $3 on beverage, and was tired, so figured to had a brew and burger the the hotel.  That was a mistake.  Took forever to get my burger.  The fries were "limp" - not crisp at all.
beer was decent - one from Yuengling, Americas oldest brewery.

Sent message to fraternity brothers that I arrived town.  One has contacted me to meet tomorrow evening.  Now its time to get horizontal, watch TV and plan my visit to the Cleveland area.