No visit to Cahone, Colorado is complete without stopping at the Ruins of America Trading Post. You won't find any details about it on Trip Advisor, but then you won't find anything about Cahone there either. Most of the community appears to be for sale and the part that isn't looks abandoned. Located on Highway 491 between Dove Creek and Yellow Jacket, I can say with confidence that you are likely on your way to somewhere else if you get to Cahone.
While the community may be dying, the spirit of American enterprise lives on in Cahone. Amid the maze of trash and treasures left to the environment in front of the trading post is a jerry can with a sign that says, "Take a Picture, Leave a $1." There were eight quarters in a puddle on top of the can when I unscrewed the lid to add my dollar. Looking inside, I counted another three dollars in bills and change for a total of six bucks. A pretty good return on an investment of a repurposed gas can and a hand-lettered sign. While I'm not an economist, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I think it's going to take more than six dollars to get the community back on its feet. Still, I sleep better knowing I did my part. I also left my contact information in case Cahone rises from the ashes like a phoenix and city officials want to recognize early investors with a statue or by naming a building after me.
This is a 1949 Buick Super and it rolled off the assembly line and into someone's driveway that year for about $2500. Powered by a "straight 8" connected to a Dynaflow automatic transmission, it was the epitome of what would be known as a "lead sled." Once it started sliding on a slick road, your efforts at guiding it were often futile.
I don't know the back story on this particular car except that it has been in its current location for a number of years and there is no indication it is going anywhere soon. Because it's so dry in this part of Utah, the oxidation process may take a while. Buick Super, R.I.P.(Rusting In Place).
When you have a car that weighs over two tons, it is reasonable to expect that it will have large wheels, proportionally big tires, and, of course, a spare. Something that size is going to take up a lot of room in the trunk, leaving little room for luggage and golf clubs.
For many years, spare tires were mounted unprotected on either the front fenders or the rear of the car. Someone came up with the Continental Kit as a way to protect the tire from the elements while giving a longer, lower look to the auto's profile and maximizing trunk space. The "big is beautiful" approach to building cars effectively ruled out the idea of reducing the size of the tire until many years later when cars got smaller and it was impractical to fit a full size spare in the trunk. Some new cars have eliminated providing the spare tire as standard equipment.
I'm not sure that is an advancement in auto design.
On a recent trip to Indianapolis, IN, my youngest son, Colin, and I were walking in the downtown area heading for Kilroy's to sample some of their 25 different flavors of Long Island Iced Tea. Just a couple of blocks from our hotel we entered an underpass of indeterminate age and I noticed that all the steel support beams were in a similar condition to the one pictured above. Since I'm not a structural engineer, I can't really offer a learned opinion on the integrity of these beams, but...we took a different route back to our hotel. That should tell you that we drank responsibly.
For those of you who haven't been to Indianapolis, I can highly recommend it as a destination. The downtown is alive with excellent restaurants, fun bars, and it's a great sports venue. There are some nice museums, excellent walking trails, and even a canal where you can rent boats.
For a span of about four years, starting in 1957, there appeared to be agreement among the auto designers that the land yachts they were producing would become even more attractive if they had progressively larger fins and more chrome. When the 1959 models rolled off their respective assembly lines, most car companies had taken the tail fin idea about as far it could go and 1960 brought about more subtlety in metalwork. Excessive chroming would continue for a few years. This 1955 Desoto was on the leading edge of the chrome and fin trend.
Monica has helped me adopt a more leisurely approach to travel. She has taught me take my time and deeply absorb what the surroundings have to offer. While on our way to lunch in Mount Dora, Florida, we strolled between a bunch of small shops covered by a latticework sunscreen. Looking at the pattern of light and shadow on the wall, I noticed the corrugated metal roof on this bay window bent the light just enough to create a shape unique to that part of the building.
I keep thinking life can't get much better, but each day I find that it is. Having a great partner will do that.
The folks at universal symbol headquarters put in a bit of extra work on this sign knowing how important it is. They added colors that are recognized almost everywhere as "Yes" and "No" in the event that someone might mistake the meaning of the symbol resulting in an unfortunate event for the person using the facility or the next person who enters. I encountered this sign at Arches National Park and initially questioned its need. Then I remembered how many citizens of other countries visit our national parks each year and that millions of people use slit trenches and not toilets.
To the employees of the U. S. Park Service, I say "Thank you" for making these signs large and for posting them in conspicuous locations at your facilities.
Overall, I think the folks who design the universal symbols do a great job of communicating with few, and sometimes no, words. Their good work makes my trips to other countries much easier. Still, there are times when the finished product makes me wonder if the symbol chosen is the best one for the job. While this graphic seems straightforward, upon closer examination it appears the sign is encouraging people to run into a wall.
In the decades between the 1950's and the widespread use of smartphones, nearly every bedroom in America has some version of the appliance above sitting on a stand near the top of the mattress. The origins of the clock radio are unknown, and the U.S. Patent Office has no record of it on file. Credit is often given to James F. Reynolds and Paul L. Schroth Sr. for inventing the clock radio sometime during the 1940s. According to Answers.com, Reynolds' grandson says Granddad created the clock radio because "the alarm quit working on his windup clock ... so he rigged the key on the back of the clock to the volume knob on the radio. When the alarm started going off, the key would spin around and turn the volume up on the radio." Necessity truly was the mother of this invention.
This particular beauty sits in the Raton Museum in Raton New Mexico and is decked out with the best technology of the day: a polymer (plastic) case, monophonic AM radio, a clock face straight out of "The Jetsons", a control knob to choose whether to wake to the alarm or music, and one of mankind's greatest inventions...the snooze button. This and a princess phone were the primary elements of a cool bedroom in the mid-60's.
Though Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn are assigned particular start and end dates on the calendar, most of us have developed specific events that denote the arrival and passing of the seasons. It might be seeing the first robin or noticing the maple tree that is always the first to change its colors as Fall approaches. It's hardly scientific, but those are the things that make it official for us.
For me, Summer arrives when I first spot someone in a hammock. This harbinger of warm weather was found along the Canal Walk in Indianapolis and is burrowed so deeply in her hammock that only her book was visible. I hope she can get out when the home made ice cream is ready, which is the other sign that Summer is here.
At some point, the joy one of our ancestors, let’s call him Thag, experienced at inventing the dugout canoe gave way to disappointment. Realization set in that his invention was just a log with a space for a rider. It was functional, but definitely not sexy. It didn’t look fast. Flash forward 1400 years and change locations to a shipyard in Europe where a master builder has just completed the finishing touches on what he knows will be the fastest ship to sail the seas. Still, it’s not complete until the figurehead goes on. It’s the element of the ship, placed at a rakish angle on the bow that catches the eyes of passersby as she sits in the harbor.
On land it took a while for a variation of the figurehead to catch on. Conestoga wagons, stagecoaches, and buggies didn’t go fast enough to warrant any kind of acknowledgement that they were rapid transportation. Eventually the automobile came into production and I suspect the designers of the first autos experienced the same disappointment as Thag and the shipbuilder. Their version of the masthead came in the form of radiator caps and hood ornaments that made their products look fast while sitting still. To accomplish this they used running dogs, rockets, unnamed superheroes, birds, and the occasional filmily clad young lady whose garments were wafting in the breeze. As if being placed on the most prominent part of the auto wasn't enough, all these decorative elements were chromed make them more conspicuous. Obviously they didn't have to contend with automated car washes back then.
If you can believe the shadow, it appears the Big Breakfast is about to meet the Big Wrecking Ball. Of course everyone knows that shadows are great tricksters. I spotted this while Monica and I were strolling down the side streets in Mt. Dora, Florida.
My Dad ran a small mining and construction business and before I started going to school it was not unusual for me to go to work with him. The huge equipment was fascinating and I would often sit on a grease bucket next to him while he ran the bulldozer or stand behind him while he operated one of our draglines. Invariably, one of the pieces of equipment would break down and he would need the services of a machine shop. In the small town of Oakland City, Indiana it was Duncan's.
Phineas Duncan's place sat next to the railroad in a large wooden building with a concrete floor blackened by years of oil and grease from lubricating the drills, saws, and precision gear he used in the machining process. As fascinated I was by all the equipment and what it could do, what consistently held my attention were all the belts that powered everything in the building. Long before equipment had individual electric motors, shops like Duncan's used belts of various widths and lengths looped over driveshafts connected to a single power source to run the gears. Using a series of clutches and handles, Phineas could turn on the the machines he needed.
For a five year old, when the belts were whirring and the machines were grinding or drilling, this was as close to Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory as I was going to get. The only thing missing was electricity arcing across the ceiling. It was spellbinding!
A recent visit to the machine shop at the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah took me back to Duncan's for a little while. The elegant simplicity of the equipment belied the exacting nature of its function and was a gentle reminder that precision work was being accomplished well before robots and computers in the workplace.
The stairway leading from the lobby of the Hotel Indigo in downtown Atlanta to the mezzanine is a wonderful design that is as functional as it is beautiful. There are some nice uses of photography throughout the hotel and we found the accommodations to be very comfortable. The staff at the front desk were some of the best we've ever encountered and equally engaging. It's definitely a place we will return to.
While the world has focused its attention on multiple issues from what’s happening on the Korean peninsula, Stormy Daniels, the Bill Cosby trial, the volatility of the stock market, sports playoffs, and what’s happening in Washington D.C., a seismic change that will effect all our lives has occurred in the fast food industry with all most no fanfare at all.
You missed it, too, didn’t you? What if I give you a hint? It happened at Pizza Hut. Was it a new sauce? Nope. More pepperoni? Wrong again. Faster delivery? Not exactly. Gluten free options? Possible, but that’s not the real news. Still stumped?
The fine folks at Pizza Hut have done something that Albert Einstein, nor anyone at MIT, Cal Poly, nor any think tank has been able to accomplish previously. They have altered the space/time continuum by creating longer hours. You don’t have to believe me. Read the sign.