Thursday Doors… NOLA

The Mrs & I just returned home yesterday evening after almost 2 weeks on holiday in coastal Alabama and Louisiana. We packed up the van with all sorts of travel and vacation stuff. Pretty much anything we imagined we could want, need, use. Well, everything except my FujiXP digital camera with full charged battery and totally empty 32GB memory card. I dutifully left it sitting next to my computer as we left the house. So, my Thursday Doors photos were taken with my old-dumb-flip fone “camera function”. I think the image quality is measured in Crayola-MessyBits…

All these photos were taken in the Garden District of New Orleans on Tuesday, March 14th. We walked just about 10 miles this days…whew…

NOLA glass doorwayNOLA round window door

NOLA moss steps
I confess I noticed the ivy growing on the steps before I noted the door…. (sorry Norm)

NOLA corncob house

This last doorway, as well as the attached house/mansion AND metal corncob fence, is for sale, FYI…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Visit Norm 2.0 for more doors and details. When you get to Norm’s site, look for The Blue Frog rectangular box thingie and click-it.

 

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Bumbling into Utica

The 19th of September (2016) was the second day of our anniversary week mini-vacation. We had stayed overnight in a rental cabin at Starved Rock State Park. This Monday morning we awoke a bit groggy, having been awake for what seemed to be half the night killing mosquitoes… seems the damper of the wood-burning fireplace was open, and three of the screens had bends in their frames big enough for a Fiat to drive through. I had smashed 4 or 5 midnight marauders in the dark after closing off all the portals of entry, and another 14 in the morning light…

We had coffee, tea, and a light breakfast, and by the crack of 11:00, we were on the trail to St. Louis Canyon for a wake-up hike to see the beautiful 80-foot waterfall there. Leaving from our cabin, it was a short walk on a dirt trail before we got to a wooden walkway…

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came to a set of stairs…

 

and then the canyon…

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We took a few photos and enjoyed the quiet, then headed back to the cabin. We had visited  Starved Rock earlier this year, and The Mrs has much more information and several photos of that trip on her blog-site, Graceuncensored. After returning from our hike and having a bite to eat, we decided to do some touristy stuff and go driving to explore the area.  Just about 1 mile north of the park is the little village of North Utica, although, since probably the 1850’s,  it is commonly just called Utica.  Wondering why? Read here !

It took us only a couple of minutes to drive through the heart of the village when we got there, but I saw some interesting doors that I told The Mrs I wanted to photograph for future Thursday Doors postings. I turned down a side street and we parked right near a gorgeous B&B called Landers House.

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There is a house two doors away from LH that caught my eye so I walked there and took a picture of that door first…

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I had taken this picture of the door at 131 and was walking back towards LH visually framing my next picture in my head, when a white-haired guy about my age who was cleaning screens at LH asked if he could help us. I went into a long, wordy, disjointed soliloquy about visiting Starved Rock, and blogging, and Thursday Doors, and taking pictures, and being an historian, and do you think the owner of 131 would mind if I was taking pictures of his front door….

Turns out, the gentleman I was talking to (John Pappas) WAS the owner of 131. He was the “handi-man” in the hire of Landers House B&B, and had recently bought 131, with maybe the intent to open his own B&B, or maybe he and his wife will open a catering business there. And, “no”, he had no objection whatsoever about me photographing his door. Not only did he like the idea of people taking pictures of doors, he COLLECTS old doors! Actually, it is probably closer to the truth to say he rescues old doors from destruction when old buildings are torn down. What a fascinating person! We chatted for at least 15 minutes, and he gave us a quick tour of the LH grounds. I look forward to a stay at LH sometime in the future (to The Mrs: hint, hint…).

We then wandered through the two block long downtown of Utica, coming across this little pub…

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The owner of the pub, Andy Skoog, is of Swedish ancestry, so that must make it a Swedish bar, right? Well, just down the block at the corner is the local Irish pub (Duffy’s Tavern), of course!

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When we were chatting with John earlier, he had asked us if we had been to Matthiessen Park . We had seen the signs, but had not been there. He strongly suggested we make a stop and at least visit the waterfall. Soooo, having completed our tour of “the Utica strip”, we climbed back into the van and headed back south to go visit Matthiessen Park. I will discuss that in a future posting…

Thursday Doors – Starved Rock

I did not post a Thursday Doors last week because The Mrs & I were on a mini-vacation in northern Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, while my computer was still at home relaxing. My camera, on the other hand, was busy, busy, busy…

We drove to Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County on Tuesday last week. The Park is located on the banks of the Illinois River near Utica and Oglesby, Illinois. The main draw for most people is the hiking… there are approximately 13 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. The architectural centerpiece is what the DNR website describes as, “… the 1930s-era stone and log Starved Rock Lodge offers luxury lodging, cabin rooms, and fine dining .” The Lodge was constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservaton Corps) during the Great Depression. My first door this week is the main entrance.

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On the other side of the building, almost directly opposite the main door, is the outside entry to the Back Door Lounge, a small indoor/outdoor bar and grill.

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We stayed in one of the cabins near the main lodge for two nights. Although the doors to the cabins are not overwhelmingly intriguing, the housekeeping staff do an incredible job of keeping the glass clean!!!

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My final door this week is of a door that I assume is an emergency exit from the Lodge, as there in no door knob… or maybe it is a Jedi Only entrance…

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates that well over 2.5 million people will visit Starved Rock in 2016…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

Impending Bloom!!!

Last week, while taking my morning coffee down at the dock, I noticed 2 things (actually, maybe more than 2, but only 2 that are noteworthy). One of the purple lilac bushes was just starting to re-bloom (for the third time this year!). And the chrysanthemum bush closest to the water was just about to bloom… see, Impending Bloom!

 

This past week, The Mrs and I took a mini-vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We spent 2 nights and 3 days at Starved Rock State Park  outside Oglesby,  Illinois. We hiked, and we ate, and we drove a bit, and hiked some more. And ate more… Then we drove to St. Ignace, Michigan and took the ferry to Mackinac Island, MI. We stayed at a B&B on the island for 3 nights and 4 days. We hiked, and we ate, and we rode bikes a bit, and hiked some more. And ate MORE…Then we drove back home to Springfield, Illinois in 2 days, getting back about 3-ish yesterday afternoon.

The really exciting parts about all this? Firstly, I got lots of pictures of some really great doors that I will be posting for Thursday Doors!! And secondly, I will make three different postings this week to cover the three phases of our trip… In between these postings this week I may hike a bit, and eat a bit… you know the routine  🙂

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Thursday Doors – Wales

Just over 1 year ago, The Mrs & I took a walking holiday along a portion of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales, UK. At the time, I primarily took pictures of the incredible landscape and scenery, but did actually capture a couple of doors. This first was a gorgeous little house in Marloes.

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A couple days later, we walked to St. Bride’s and saw this little archway that faces the bay…

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This is the front door to the lovely B&B/pub we stayed at in Solva, The Cambrian Inn.  Our room was on the top (3rd) floor behind the little 6 panel window you can see to the left in the photo…

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The last door is actually the gate of the main entry to the Flying Boat Centre Museum in Pembroke. We spent a couple hours in the museum talking to various highly knowledgeable and friendly staff members, and had scones and coffee and tea in their little refreshment area.

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

 

Day 2 of Backpacking Ramsey Lake

I was planning to finish this posting about our Ramsey Lake trip yesterday, but it was a crazy busy day…. in the morning I ended up weeding the garden, plucking hornworms off the tomato plants, and moving the perimeter fence surrounding the garden a bit further away from the garden beds to stop the deer from leaning over the fence and eating the tomato plants. There was a moderate breeze blowing across the lake and I really wanted to sail, even if only for half an hour, but just no time! My free time was only available until about noon, at which time I had to get ready for an appointment with my ophthalmologist. The visit went GREAT! Eyes healing well, and vision in right eye is now 20/25… considering that it was 20/BLIND just a couple years ago, I would say it is miraculous! Downside to the visit is the dilation drops… We got home, I lowered all the blinds in the living room and wore my sunglasses to try to get comfortable. Eventually I went to bed and napped a couple hours, but my eyes did not return to normal until late evening, much too late to start blogging… End of excuse.

Sunday morning, Garrick & I broke camp (in record time, especially considering we were drinking coffee and swinging in our hammocks) and stepped carefully out of our bramble patch and headed to the fire road which then lead us to the horse path which would lead us back to the parking lot next to the horse campsite. On Saturday, we had counted 8 horse trailers at the horse campgrounds, and saw maybe 5 riders total throughout the day. We did not anticipate any horse traffic this morning since the path we were headed on was a minor trail.

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On the trail again….

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That is just the coolest spider web!

Once out of the woods, and on the trail, we rounded a bend. We were talking and laughing, just making noise in general. Coming towards us we saw three horses and riders – a woman on the lead horse, a child, maybe 4 or 5 years old on the middle horse, and a man on the 3rd horse. We drifted to the right side of the trail in a single file, but continued to chat. One of us scuffed a foot as the lead horse stepped from bright sunshine into the shade. The horse wheeled around clockwise and the woman rider landed on the ground. She held onto her reins though! The horse with the child, and then the horse with the man both wheeled around dumping both the child and man on the ground. The man kept his reins and the woman grabbed the reins of the child’s horse. And then the little girl started to cry, although she was not hurt…. just scared/startled. I told Garrick to just stand still until the riders (now grounders??) got themselves and their horses back in order so we wouldn’t startle any of them again. After a couple minutes they called us to go ahead and pass. We asked about the child, and offered an apology, and the man and woman were friendly and said the lead horse was just startled, not expecting to see walkers it seems… The remainder of our walk was uneventful after that!

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This is Garrick back at the horse camp parking lot. Note that his rucksack does not extend either above his head nor past his sides. My ruck is exactly the same. I point this out because one of Garrick’s co-workers told him that the reason the horses were startled is because they did not recognize us as people because the packs towered over our heads and around our sides. Nice theory, I guess… reality doesn’t support it though. I think the lead horse went from very bright sunshine to deep shade and heard a noise ahead of it but could not see clearly because its pupils were still constricted.

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TSV still there, ready to hit the road…

We stopped at the Ranger Station to check out and got to chatting with Ranger on duty. He mentioned that they never get backpackers at the Park, just horse folks, or people with campers or tents who roll up in their vehicles. He then told us that the only other backpackers any of the Rangers remembered were there a few years ago, and it was two guys in homemade buckskins carrying old flintlock rifles. Garrick got a twinkle in his eye, smiled broadly, and told the Ranger, “That was me and another friend of mine…” Funny how the Rangers still talked about those two crazies, and now they have another story about crazy backpackers to talk about!!

We drove north from Ramsey Lake on US 51 to Pana, IL.  This is a little town of just over 5600 people. As we drove into town we saw a good sized park… with a CANNON! Garrick asked if we could stop, I said, “hell, yes!”

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Kitchell Park, Pana, IL

Japanese captured artillery piece

Kitchell Park (40 acres in size) was given to the town of Pana by Civil War Veteran, Captain John W. Kitchell and his wife, Mary, in 1908. It was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1992. What a glorious park!

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We drove from the park and stopped nearby for a cup of coffee and to use the FLUSH toilets! Back in civilization!

Finally, a word about the 2016 Olympics…

19 year old Competitive Shooter.
She won the FIRST gold medal of the 2016 Olympics.
She won the FIRST gold medal for Team USA.
She is the youngest female to ever win the first medal in Olympic competition (ever).
She set a NEW WORLD RECORD with her winning score.
Congratulations to Ginny!
In 2007, I trained at the US Olympic Training Center to be a Foil Fencing Coach. The training was fantastic, the other coaches and athletes I met were great, the Center was awesome! Since then, I have taken great pride in the dedication of our Olympic athletes…