June 1, 2018
by David Ryan

Wandering into a Huge Surprise in Columbus, Indiana

Before starting the blog post, I want to apologize for going a little over eight months without writing a new post for this website. I was busy during those months working on the 3rd Edition of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Albuquerque. The manuscript is now with the publisher (Menasha Ridge) and should be available by the end of this year. If you already have the 1st or 2nd Edition of the book, the 3rd Edition for all practical purposes will be a new book. There are 19 new hikes, 17 of the retained hikes have been completely revamped to more or less be new hikes, and the remaining 24 hikes have all been updated. To make sure that we had it right, the dogs and I went on 140 hikes related to the book. I’ll be providing more information on some of the hikes as the book gets closer to publication.

To celebrate turning the manuscript over to the publisher, my dog Petey and I hopped in the car last week and went on a road trip. Other than wanting to pick up a couple of baseball parks (Pittsburgh and Detroit), we had absolutely no plans. Somehow we found ourselves driving across southern Indiana and less than thirty miles from Columbus, Indiana.

I had long known that Columbus was the home of Cummins Engine and a mecca for mid-century modern architecture and had driven near Columbus many times while traveling from Chicago to Cincinnati, but for one reason or another, I never made the stop. This time we did stop in Columbus to wander around.  And all I can say is, WOW!, WOW!, WOW!

Even the bridge into town has a sense of design. Outdoor public sculptures are everywhere

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September 21, 2017
by David Ryan

Urban Walking and a Sense of Place

As we all know there is a certain amount of sameness in places that were developed to accommodate automobiles. This phenomenon was described as the “geography of nowhere” by author James Kunstler in his 1993 book of the same name. I have made it a point to wander around to find locations and items that have a sense of place, or if you will, the “geography of somewhere.”

For example, in the older parts of Chicago, you can find areas where the houses are several feet below the street level. The difference in levels is a result of the street level being raised after the homes were built. Raising the streets has been only one of many engineering efforts undertaken over the past 180 years to deal with water in the Chicago area.

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August 28, 2017
by David Ryan

A Totally Awesome Total Eclipse

A little more than two years ago I wrote a post in this blog about the upcoming August 21, 2017 eclipse. (Please click here to read that post.) August 21, 2017 finally came last week and the total eclipse of the sun was awesome. There is nothing in this this world the same as a total eclipse, and I hope you had the opportunity to see it in person.

My original plan for experiencing the 2017 eclipse was to have no plan and hang loose for the best cloud-free sky opportunity. But when I spoke to my brother in California a couple of months ago, he mentioned to me the difficulty that he was having in finding a place to watch the eclipse in Oregon.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I started checking online for motels in Wyoming and Nebraska and discovered that almost all of the rooms had already been booked and that the few rooms that were still available were going from $400 to $1000. Rather than pay that, I booked a room for the night before the eclipse at a Motel 6, a couple of hours south of the eclipse centerline, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The room only cost $80.

With a room in Fort Collins I figured we could easily get to Wyoming or Nebraska to watch the eclipse. As insurance, I even paid $15.00 for a parking space at the rodeo grounds in Alliance, Nebraska.

As eclipse day got closer, I began studying the weather forecasts for Alliance and other nearby towns. What had been forecasted as a sunny eclipse day in Alliance began to be forecasted as partly sunny, then as partly cloudy, and finally as mostly cloudy. With that bit of unpleasantness, I took a closer look at the weather forecasts for other towns. It seemed that Glendo, Wyoming (where the centerline of the eclipse was to cross Interstate 25) might be a better bet.

On the morning of the eclipse, we were up at 2:00am and on the road by 2:30. Before leaving, we took one more look at the forecast and decided to head north on Interstate 25 toward Glendo. (It turned out that Alliance also had an unobstructed view of the eclipse.)

Even at 2:30 in the morning the traffic coming out of Denver was extraordinarily heavy but moving faster than the posted speed limit. It only took us two hours to get to Glendo, but at 4:30 in the morning the traffic was already backed up coming off the highway.

Here’s the traffic pouring into Glendo at 5:00am.

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