Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Postcards from the Moon

I'm fully committed to collecting post cards now. I wavered on that a lot over the last few years, but there's no question now.

When we were on the trip to Ohio, I bought post cards whenever I had the opportunity...some of them, I didn't even have to buy, because they were free. Yes, free. Can't beat adding to your collection for nothing!

The biggest source of the post cards was the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, which charged for the new cards, but the old ones were free!

I had to pay for all of those...but I think they were all 50 cents each. It's nice to be able to build a collection without going broke!

These two are huge...and they are old. Like most post cards, they are not dated, but based on paper quality and overall "feel" I suspect the top card is from the 1980s and the bottom the 1970s. I also suspect they may have had more than one printing. They are the size of two standard post cards together.

All the scalloped post cards were also free, and I suspect were made in the 1970s...or possibly late 1969. They refer to Nixon as the president, not former president, which lends credence to my theory.  Interestingly, the large card and the scalloped card showing Buzz Aldrin with the flag have the same caption on the back, which specifically mentions the wire placed in the flag to make it appear to be blowing.

Although not a post card, I also got this cool patch. I generally don't collect patches, but I couldn't leave without this one. I'm always afraid that the heat will activate the adhesive and it'll damage anything I leave it on or near...right now it's sitting on a stack of cards while I try and figure out where I'm going to put it permanently.

I've long been a fan of space exploration- I think it comes from Star Wars, honestly- so I'm thrilled to add all of these cards, and I think, for only 2 dollars total. I consider the space program and moon landing to be the greatest human least so far. If you're one of those crazy people who think it was a hoax...don't comment. I will permanently lose respect for you...and I won't send you any more cards if you're somebody on my "card list".

I should plug my trip to the museum photo album, over 800 photos, again. Go here to see all 800 photos, ranging from a moon rock to a space toilet and everything in between.

Come back next time to see some more terrestrial post card additions. And don't forget to check my last post from yesterday for a contest announcement!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

1 Million Views Contest

Do you ever scroll all the way down to the bottom of my page? Past the blogroll, past the Tags, to the very end?

If you do, you see some fun stuff, like my view counter.

I have to be honest, I don't scroll down that far very often. I see I'm approaching 1 million views. Holy mackerel! I can't believe that. I am constant surprised that anyone cares what I have to say, but, based on the view count, it looks like I shouldn't be surprised.

So, I'm having a little contest for my viewers. If you happen to see the 1 Million number- exactly 1 million- take a screenshot or even a photo of your screen. Send it to me and you'll win a prize. I don't know what exactly yet- I'm losing my source for baseball and football cards at the end of this year but I'll try to find something you'll like...tailored to your collection. It won't be anything big but free is free, right?

Since I don't check that part of my page often, I am not sure when to expect it to be reached. It could be this week, it could be January. I don't have any idea. But I really want to see the counter at exactly 1 Million views.

I'm thinking about temporarily moving it up to the top of the screen, so I can see it more regularly, but I'm not sure if I will do that or not. So stay tuned as it's location may change.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Epic Ohio Roadtrip...and my oldest card ever!

Last year, I wrote a post recounting some memories from my trips to Toledo, Ohio, for the NNL Nationals that we took from 2003-08. When they announced that this year's show would be the last...I knew I had to go. In fact, I knew I was planning to go when I wrote that post, although I kept it under wraps at the time. Most things I want to do that require any kind of money and traveling just don't happen, but we were able to pull it off this time...and what a trip it turned out to be! The model show was great, but it turned out to be so much more. We visited six states, I hit one of my "bucket list" items without even trying, and I managed to find the oldest card in my collection...and 24 of the top 25 oldest!

I also set several photography records. I didn't know if I was ever going to get back there, so I photo documented pretty much everything...I ended up taking more than 8500 pictures, setting my record for most in a week and most in a day- over 1700 the day of the NNL.
I also took a picture of every town we went through over the course of the trip...our car's GPS tells you where you are, and I photo documented it. (It was 184 places provided I didn't miss any) I had never done that before and that was interesting.

The first day we left home near the Connecticut border and drove all the way to Batavia, NY. We stopped at every rest area because NY state has historical signs at all of them...and I photographed them all.
My favorite stop along the way was the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, the third of the 11 new Welcome Centers NY state has opened. They are all great. That's the Mohawk River and Erie Canal in the photo. Each welcome center also has a small museum in it...great places. I've also been to the Capitol District center (just south of Albany in New Baltimore) and Adirondack Welcome Center in Queensbury, the next town south of Lake George.

These are the historical signs at each NY rest area. I photographed them all over the course of the trip. The Ramapo area is the only one without one, I believe.

 The second day we left Batavia, drove through Buffalo, and on to Pennsylvania. This is a view of Lake Erie from the Pennsylvania Welcome Center in North East, PA. Note the boat.

 Then we drove all the way through Ohio, to Maumee, which would be our home base for the next week. This is the Cleveland Indians field in Cleveland.
One thing about Ohio is that it's so very can see for miles and miles. This is somewhere along I80/I90, which is combined from just west of Cleveland to just west of South Bend in Indiana.
Because we stopped so much, it took us 21 hours on the road to get there...the trip, without stopping, is 14 hours when you go I-90.  It's only 12 hours if you go I-80 through Pennsylvania but my mom won't drive there.
 The third day was the only real quiet day. We took a drive to the new location for the NNL, it was not at the same place it was when we used to go. We stopped so I could photograph this 48-50 Packard.
 We went to Sidecut Metro Park...
Then we went to the Maumee Antique Mall. This place is fantastic. It's worth the drive just for this place, and I found my oldest card ever here...more on that at the end. I'm a big fan of antique stores and it all goes back to this place, which I visited in 2008.

An old TV.
The next day we went to the Toledo Zoo. This used to have the best Aquarium but they redid it since we were there last and most of the charm it once had has been lost. My favorite part now is the Museum of Natural History, which opened up earlier this's two stories, and has statues of the megafauna that once lived in the area, and the coolest thing is that they make sounds...what they think they sounded like. It's truly incredible. Here you can see a statue of a Wooly Mammoth and a Sabre-Tooth Tiger, plus a species of moose that predates humans. Statues of birds hang from the ceiling, including one with a 40 foot wingspan, not in this photo. I have a video I took inside the museum on my website, where you can hear the amazing sounds. I also hit 30,000 photos taken on the year while at the Zoo. My previous record for a year was 13050, set last year.
Unfortunately at the Zoo I rented one of the ride-on scooters because of my health problems and it cut the enjoyment down for me immensely. Also, I didn't see a wall, crashed into it, and hurt my knee...over two weeks later and it still hurts if I move it the wrong way or touch the area that hit.

Toledo Zoo 2019

 The next day was a busy one...we went to Michigan, just so we could hit another state. (my third time in Michigan, but we went a different way this time) This is a painting in the Welcome Center.
 Then we went to Maumee Bay State Park, and followed the GPS to get there...the ride wasn't very scenic for the most part, but it got better at the end! This is the Overland smokestack. Overland, which was based in Toledo, was a car company in operation from 1903-1926. This smokestack is all that remains of the company. It was purchased by John North Willys, and merged into the Willys brand (pronounced like Bruce Willis). That company was purchased by Henry J. Kaiser in 1960, was folded into American Motors in 1970, and was purchased by Chrysler in 1987. All this of course comes from the fact that Willys produced the Jeep...
 And, although now owned by Fiat, is still made right in Toledo, right here in this building! Our very own Jeep was born here on March 9th, 1994. (unfortunately my family has voted not to try and fix it anymore)
 We ended up going over a bridge, unexpectedly, which made my mom freak out. But we got this great view of the Toledo skyline, and see that big green ship on the left? It's a floating museum, and directly to it's left, outside the photo frame, is the Museum of Great Lakes. We didn't have time to stop there unfortunately.
 We followed the GPS to Maumee Bay State Park, but it didn't take us to the waterfront. It took us over to the end of the road where the cabins you can rent are. It worked out ok though since we discovered they have a science museum there, which is in large part taxidermy animals, although they have more than that...much more, including this lense from a lighthouse on Lake Erie, which was installed in the 1890s.
 Behind the building is the last vestiges of the Great Black Swamp, which once covered from Fort Wayne, Indiana, all the way to Lake Erie. My brother and I went out on the pier for a bit, but not too far...we had other things to do.
 Finally, we got to Lake Erie! You probably can't see it here, but the lighthouse I mentioned, that the lense is from, is visible in this photo.
 Here it is at 42x optical, 160x digital zoom. I brought my red camera mostly because it's got great zoom capability...most every thing else is shot with my smart phone.
 This ship may have actually been in Michigan waters.
We ended the day at Nickel World, a great game room where the games take nickels, not quarters. I spent a lot of time on Cruisin World, a game I loved in the 1990s but have not had a chance to play since probably 1997. I raced every track. And had my brother film it! This was a place I wish we had a lot closer. 

 October 10th turned out to be one of the best days ever. We set out to Indiana...

 and ended up at Indiana Dunes State Park, seeing Lake Michigan for the first time! This is the second of the Great Lakes we've seen...unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying it, I didn't take very many photos. That's really frustrating for me because it was not very easy to get to, and I'm not sure we will ever go back.
 I'm pretty sure that's Chicago, way off in the distance.
 Then, we got back on the road, and headed into Illinois. It's already the farthest west any of us have ever been, and the road in Hammond, Gary and Illinois was a bit stressful. This was one of the funniest things we've ever seen going down the road though...look right by the side view mirror. Pigs, sticking their noses out of the holes in the truck!
 We stopped here for lunch, and discussed where to make the turn to go back home. (Home being Maumee, not home home) I suggested that Chicagoland Speedway, in Joliet, was not far...after checking on her phone, mom determined it was about a half hour, and we headed there!
 My first time seeing an active Cup race track, although we could not actually see the track itself...just the grandstands and stuff. I'm still thrilled.
 My first inkling we were near 66, which I knew went through Joliet, but not where.

Me in front of the race track
 We needed to stop, so the Pilot truck stop was chosen. I saw this building across the street, and I knew it was at a right angle to the Route 66 raceway. I realized we must be close. So, while my mom was in the building, I pulled out my smart phone and did what all modern people do...I hit Wikipedia. And I was stunned! I had already been on Route 66 for the last several minutes! The old Route 66, one of the most important roads in history, not just American history, was underneath our tires!
 A ride on Route 66 was one of only three things on my "bucket list"...and the second I've checked off in 2019. (The first was a ride in a classic car, which I did in May in a 1913 Ford Model T) I took this photo of myself, with Route 66 out the back window, to prove I was actually there! This is now my profile picture on Facebook and probably will be for a long time.
 A few miles down the road I spotted this sign that confirmed that Wikipedia was exactly right. Route 66 has been renamed Illinois 53 in the majority of the state, with most of the signs saying just 53, and that was also what appeared on the car's GPS locator as well. Not only that, but Route 66 is now also the farthest west I've ever been...for now.
 I didn't see as many horses and cows and other animals as I would have hoped over the course of the trip. These live somewhere in Illinois.
This was the longest time we spent in the car, without stopping, the entire trip. We put in the motel while in the Pilot parking lot, on Route 66, and got us all the way home with it. Of course, once we got back past the 80/90 split in Indiana, we didn't need the GPS anymore, but we used it for most of the trip because we enjoyed seeing the estimated time of arrival...what's interesting is that when you drive to a certain point in Indiana, the time changes as you cross the Eastern to Central time zone, so the trip automatically adjusted by an hour at one point. 
 The next day we went to Snook's Dream Cars, in Bowling Green OH. It was a nice smaller museum, with the highlight for me being the Kaiser Darrin, center in this photo, a car I've never seen in person before. Snook's got it's own album on my website: Snook's Dream Cars
 Then we went to a comic store we found, and I got some more cards. Again, more at the end.
 A used book store saw us bring home at least 25 pounds of books. All three of us found something there. A lot of somethings for me.
 There's a new hot rod shop in town, and I just missed a car show there...we drove by as it was ending on the way to dinner after the Route 66 trip. Alongside the building they have Bob Strait's Oldsmobile, which raced in ARCA and possibly DNQd for a couple Winston Cup races in the 1990s. ARCA is based in Toledo.
 Then we went out to Woodville for the Speedtrap diner. I didn't get a better overview shot than this, and I didn't get a good overview shot inside either, only detail shots. The place is covered in's cool. And the food was great and not very expensive at all.
 Ma, hope you don't mind a brief guest appearance!
They encourage you to sign the I did!
After that, I went to the Founders Banquet for the NNL Nationals.

 The 12th was the NNL Nationals, the 40th and final event. I photographed every model, taking more than 1700 photos on the day, my new personal record. This is what I brought. 20 models, all of which have been built since the last time I attended the NNL Nationals in 2008. I took this photo to check and make sure I didn't miss any when packing up.

 Just a couple overview shots. You can see four of my models in the second photo.
 I was pretty thrilled by the fact that Scale Auto Magazing chose my Impala to photograph!
Later, I went to the Afterparty, which is one of the most incredible things I've experienced in the hobby. There was so much history there...the International Model Car Builder's Museum in Salt Lake City sent a portion of their collection, including this car, built by the late Augie Hiscano in 1963, and won the Revell contest that year! The first NASCAR model to ever be printed in a magazine was also there, also built in 1963. It was spectacular, and people are going to be talking about it for decades to come...and I was there!

The banquet, the show itself, and the afterparty, are all combined into one album on my website: NNL Nationals 2019

Sunday the 13th, our last full day in Ohio, and I was pretty beat by this point. I knew, going in, that I would have to push myself past my physical limit on this trip, and I sure did. Instead of taking it easy, no, we headed to Wapakoneta, and visited the Neal Armstrong Air & Space Museum! This is the genuine, flown Gemini space capsule, on loan from the Smithsonian! (Note that it's fully enclosed in plastic so nobody can touch it)
 A genuine moon rock, in bullet-proof glass that made photographing it difficult.
On the way back to Maumee, we took the scenic route...not I-75 which we took to get to the museum. It was interesting, but also probably not something we'd do again. It's mostly farmland as far as the eye can see, with an occasional farmhouse or church. (I like old farm houses and barns, so I still managed to take a lot of pictures). I'm glad we didn't do it at night though, as the road curves unexpectedly a few times, right near a ditch, and there are no lights out there...and some of the curves are 90 degrees.

The next day, we set out on the road back to Batavia for an overnight stop.
 Some future Cadillacs in disguise. I've seen this before, where they try to mask them...they covered them when they went into the rest stop as well! And left somebody standing guard over them.
 Cleveland skyline
 Here you can see the Cavaliers arena and the Indians stadium
There were some nice foliage images on the way home.
 The very last day was a long one...and I took the least amount of photos of the entire trip, because I was mostly taking time-lapse images...I got, on one long video, a timelapse covering somewhere in the finger lakes (I forgot to pay attention to when I started) all the way to Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, home.
 The rest area where we had lunch was decorated for Halloween...Indian Castle, if anyone is curious.
We actually didn't get home until it was dark.

Now, I took a ton of photos, as mentioned, and I didn't post them all. I'd take all month to do that, hah. In fact, I just finished uploading the ones for the public today, and I started on the 16th! I still have to do the family images.

I of course have them in an album on my website:  2019 Ohio Trip
With 3690 photos in the main album, I believe it is now my largest non-collection album on my entire website.

In the end...we ran out of time and physical ability to do everything we wanted to. So the decision has been made...we will be going back. It won't be next year...the trip was so expensive I'm missing a model car show this weekend because I literally cannot afford the gas or entry fee to go, the first time that's ever happened in 20 years in the hobby. It is something we have to save for, but we are targeting 2021.

Now, the cards...I knew there were a couple of card dealers in the antique mall, but there are more now than were there in 2008. (a lot can change in 11 years). And I found a lot of old stuff...
 Take a look at some of these cards!
 My oldest card! From 1887! My first original Allen & Ginter.
 They had others from the same set but there was too much paper loss for my taste.
 My third oldest card, from 1889!

 I don't do college stuff, but West Point...yeah, I had to get that. I've been there! This set is famous because it includes the first ever card to show basketball. The sport was less than 20 years old at the time.

 Love this set. They had more, but I couldn't afford them.

 I didn't even know this turns out it's from 1951, and I got 20 of the 21 cars in the set, missing only Studebaker. Toledo is only an hour and a half away from Studebaker's home of South Bend, Indiana. I suspect somebody came by, and picked out that one. I hate that the set was broken up.
 I spent $3 for the big box and $2.50 for the small box. Both were full! Unfortunately I only got 17 new cards and 3 upgrades, 6 of the new cards being shown atop the boxes. For those prices, though, I will not be too unhappy.
 This was probably the best find. These are all from the 1890s!
And I paid $25 for 24 cards! And everything in the order was 20% off because I had a coupon, and the card dealer gave me even more of a discount because I got so much!

These cards are so obscure that there is no date known for them, at least not by me.

 I found these tractor cards at the vendor area at the NNL. I have not actually opened each bag yet. The vendor told me he brought them by accident, he vends at farm toy shows and car shows and brought the wrong bucket...worked out well for me!
This is what I found at Monarch Comics...he was glad to be rid of them and charged me $10 for the lot. I couldn't get internet access in the store so I couldn't check to see what other Power Blast cards I needed from Marvel Universe...I needed Thing, which I was absolutely sure of. It didn't occur to me to check when I got back to the motel and then go back, no, that idea didn't occur to me until I was all the way home in NY. Darn it.

The week since we've gotten home has been particularly terrible, so I'm glad I have the fun of this trip to remember. I do look forward to going back, whenever it may be. I do have a plan for the first weekend in October next year...the Hershey car show is one of the largest in the entire world, but I've never been there. It's a week long but I don't need that, which means almost no motel fees...that's my goal for next year. I know it probably won't happen...I didn't think Toledo actually would until we were in the car and on the road. But I'll be looking back fondly on this week for the rest of my life.