Road Trip: Southeastern US, 2018 – Part 1

My wife and I had some time in May to take a little road trip to see our respective sets of parents. We didn’t have a lot of time because of work and other commitments on our respective schedules, so if you’re in the areas we visited and wondering why we didn’t make social calls, that’s why. Anyway, we hit a few states over a little more than a week.

The trip south was a two-day affair. We stopped in Vandalia, Ohio, for dinner, thus allowing much of the rush-hour traffic in Cincinnati to clear out. I found this nifty American Legion hall sign.

We did the overnight in Lexington, Kentucky, at a Courtyard. This particular Courtyard actually had a courtyard, and the courtyard had some seasonal residents.

Seriously good work by the staff at the Courtyard.

Our second travel day saw us take a break in Gadsden, Alabama, so that I could try to catch as many Charmanders as possible on Pokémon GO Community Day. (I don’t remember my total haul, but I did catch six shiny Charmanders, so it was a good day.) Along the way, I managed to snag a few photos, some of which I’ll share here.

I love these old-school, Coke-sponsored signs.

The front of the buildings is here, but the back has departed for the great downtown in the sky.

What a lovely post office!

Vintage neon!

Anniston and Oxford offered some fun scenery. The stuff that I found on the run will find its way into a What I See When I Run post. As for the rest, … well, here ya go.

I can’t wait to see what the Anniston Runners Club offices look like when they’re completed.

This old service station would be majestic with a little TLC.

After a few days in Alabama, the trip shifted to North Carolina. Those photos are coming soon.

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Road Trip: Indiana, 2018

I like to run distance races. I used to run marathons, but my marathon-runner sports medicine doctor advised me that I wasn’t doing that any more after my last one in 2015; it was apparently a bad thing that my right knee sounded crunchy for six weeks after the race. Half marathons aren’t banned, and I haven’t had that kind of problem after one of those, so I run them.

Sometimes, I run more than one a weekend. In 2015 and 2016, I completed the Midwest Half and Half Challenge by running both the Wisconsin Half Marathon and the Borgess Run for the Health of It in the same weekend. In 2017, I missed the event due to my ongoing recovery from my 2016 ankle surgery, but I returned to the event in 2018.

I didn’t snap many photos in Kalamazoo, because I’ve spent years there. I hadn’t been to Bloomington or Indianapolis, though, so photographs were required. I have family-level friends in Bloomington, so my trip started early enough to allow me to hang out with them.

The real queen of the house in Bloomington is Pearl. She’s a lovely gray-and-white cat with lots of attitude and a solid vocabulary. Pearl is amazing, and here she is:

Bloomington has a lot of great eats and fun places to go. Here are a few of my favorites from the trip.

The Owlery in Bloomington has legit vegetarian poutine, and it is delicious.

This bridge carries the B Line Trail over 3rd Street.

This coffee shop is both excellent and located right along the B Line.

Look at this beauty of an espresso machine! The folks at Hopscotch couldn’t bring themselves to part with it.

Bloomington was fun, and seeing my friends was even more fun, but I had to move on to Indianapolis for race day #1. I didn’t get around much, given that I had a race the next morning, but I had some great views from my hotel room.

White River State Park

All in all, it was a great trip, and I can’t wait until my next visit to both cities.

Road Trip: Cleveland, 2017

My wife and I make what seems like an annual pilgrimage to Cleveland to run a 10k hosted by the A Christmas Story House and Museum. It’s a great cause — the proceeds from the race all go into the museum’s charitable work to help improve the surrounding neighborhood — and it’s a lot of fun. We had time to do a little bit of sightseeing, some of which included the house.

It’s a major award!

This is a great scene of “life” in the house. Also, the Look magazine reminded me of a rare stamp from the 1950s that was issued on a special paper and used on mail from Look.

The “Old Man” drove a 1938 Oldsmobile.

Not everything I photographed was in the house, though. I found a little bit of neon, and a couple of other things along the way. I found a few fun pieces of neon artwork, and we toured Great Lakes Brewing. I don’t drink beer, but touring the brewery was a very fun experience.

The Corner Alley has a great neon sign.

So does Mabel’s BBQ.

So does the West Side Market. Also, what a beautiful December day it was!

The remnants of the old Schlather brewery now reside at Great Lakes Brewing.

We enjoy our adventures in Cleveland, and we’ll definitely be back.

Road Trip: Stephen Kellogg in Spring Lake, 2017

In October, my wife and I made a quick trek across the state to Spring Lake to see Stephen Kellogg in concert at Seven Steps Up, an amazing little music hall right downtown.

This is a lovely bit of neon; I regret not catching a photo after the sun went down.

There’s nothing better than walking up to a music hall and seeing Stephen Kellogg’s name on the sign.

The venue is a nifty site with amazing acoustics. The wood floors add to the ambience, and the staff who work there are amazing. As always, Stephen Kellogg put on a great show. Our seats weren’t conducive to getting great shots of the main show, but we did get to catch up with Stephen before the show during a meet-and-greet event. Here are a couple of photos of Stephen doing what he does best.

Look at that smile!

Seriously, Stephen Kellogg puts on a great show. It doesn’t matter if he has an opening act. It doesn’t matter if he has a band or plays by himself. He’s just great at what he does, and he sure enjoys doing it. Everyone should be so lucky.

Road Trip: Port Huron, 2014 – Part 2

Because Port Huron is right on the St. Clair River, the trip afforded me the opportunity to snag photos of a few freighters and ships that passed through. I didn’t capture all the names; in some cases, the zoom on my camera phone wasn’t quite enough to allow me to pick up the name here 3½ years later as I finally post these. Oh, well — that’s life.

The tug in the previous photo was pulling this barge.

The Mississagi

The Algoma Navigator

The John J. Boland

The Emilie

The Cason J. Callaway

I hope you enjoy these photos. If you want to see my other photos from this trip, please click here.

Road Trip: Port Huron, 2014 – Part 1

I spent a couple of days in Port Huron back in 2014. Port Huron is a lovely town with so many great sights to see and photograph.

My hotel room offered a very nice view of the St. Clair River and the Blue Water Bridge.

The lightship Huron is part of the rich history on display in Port Huron.

The USCGC Hollyhock was in her Port Huron home during my visit.

The Port Huron Paint Company has a great sign.

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The view from the observation deck of the Fort Gratiot Light is magnificent.

For photos of the many boats and ships I saw on this trip, please click here.

Road Trip: Two Stephen Kellogg Concerts in Two Days

One of my wife’s all-time favorite artists is Stephen Kellogg. Over nearly eight years of being attached, I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of Stephen Kellogg shows, including both of his most recent shows in Michigan. My wife and I pulled a couple of very late nights / early mornings, but we enjoyed some great music along the way.

The first concert was in Ann Arbor. Before the show, we had the opportunity to pay a visit to Kelloggtown and hang with Stephen for a few minutes before the show. Hanging out in the dressing room with the headliner was a new experience for me. Stephen treated us to a couple of songs, a bit of Q-and-A, and photo opportunities.

Stephen Kellogg has an awesome voice, and he was kind enough to share it with us before the show.

Before this selfie, Stephen decided he needed to be wearing his track jacket. Twinning is winning! Also, seriously, I live in that track jacket. You should get one, too.

I didn’t carry my rarely used superzoom Canon Powershot with me to the show in Ann Arbor, and the lighting didn’t really make for good photography with my phone. That’s not intended as disrespect to The Ark; it’s a great venue, and it’s not like we were sitting in the front row. We’re too old for that sort of thing, right?

All the guitars. All of them.

Yup. We were front row center for our second Stephen Kellogg show of the weekend, at Acorn Theater in Three Oaks.

My ears remain grateful to Stephen for not rendering me completely deaf. Thank you, sir. Thank you.

Hailey Steele opened both nights, and she did a very good job both nights. Her music grew on us by the second night, and we picked up a signed copy of one of her CDs. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll upload that to my iPod, as my current computer doesn’t have a CD drive. I guess it’s finally time to invest in that external CD drive — but I digress.

Hailey Steele, preparing to country-rock out.

Stephen Kellogg puts on a great show. He engages well with the audience, he’s witty, he’s an excellent storyteller, and he has an outstanding voice which he uses to belt out amazing songs. If you’re lucky, he’ll even FaceTime his daughters during the concert to get them to teach the audience the dance to the song “Big Easy” that he originally recorded with The Sixers. Here are a few shots from the concert.

All in all, between two concerts and a total of 25 miles run (10 on Saturday, plus 15 on Sunday), it was an exhausting weekend, but it was also a heck of a lot of fun. I’m confident that my 42-year-old self will someday recover from my attempt at being a 24-year-old.