Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tours and tears

We drove through Ohio and into Pennsylvania on the Ohio/Pennsylvania Turnpikes.   When traveling from Michigan to just southeast of Pittsburgh, the Turnpikes are the most direct routes.    It's the first time we've driven Beluga on these toll roads and it will definitely be our last.      That drive cost us $83.25!     I'm not sure where the toll profits go because the roads were not in great shape.   Lesson learned.

 Tonight is our last night at a very nice campground near Somerset, Pennsylvania.    We have a lovely end site on a hill overlooking a tree lined pond.    Hickory Hollow Campground closes for the season in two days so there are few people here anymore.    Perfect for us.    Tomorrow we leave Pennsylvania and move to Harper's Ferry to visit with an old friend and do a little research.

my view from site 103

Dave and Lew set off for the dumpsters

All alone

We're here because this location will allow us to visit three places we've wanted to visit but always seem to miss.  Frank Lloyd Wright's two homes, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob and the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville.

Kentuck Knob was our first stop.    It is a small, one story Usonian house, a signature design of FLW that was meant to be affordable for most Americans.     There was no photography allowed inside but we were allowed to take pictures on the grounds outside.

The home is built of local sandstone, tidewater red cypress and glass, capped by a copper roof.    Part of the structure is nestled into the surrounding landscape.

sunlit balcony along the rear of the home

open, hexagonal "lights" in the balcony roof

The grounds are naturally landscaped and peaceful.   Paths lead through the trees to open on expansive views.

The current owners have integrated their collection of large sculptures into the surrounding woods.

this piece undulates in the wind, making the most delightful

bronze wolf in the woods

 Next stop was the famous Fallingwater.    We arrived early for our 2 p.m. tour so we used the time to enjoy lunch outside at their nice cafe in the interesting visitor center complex.

Visitor's Center is comprised of 3 glass sided pods containing the
museum store, a gallery, and the cafe

Our tour had only 6 people instead of the usual 12 or 14 so we all enjoyed a more intimate experience.     Once again, no photography inside.   

Our first glimpse of the house came as we walked over a small bridge spanning Bear Run.

The home cascades down from the hillside to mimic the beautiful waterfalls it is cantilevered over.  It was built in 1938 as a summer home for the Kaufmann's, (Kaufmann's Department Store in nearby Pittsburgh).   Fallingwater is considered one of Wright's most beautiful designs and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

While it's spectacular cantilevered balconies have been plagued by problems resulting from it's location on a hillside, over a running body of water and not being sufficiently reinforced,  they have been permanently fixed leaving Fallingwater's interior and exterior appearance unchanged. 

This morning we left Beluga in heavy fog.   Driving through the mountains we would move in and out of the heavy, white blanket.

heading down into the fog again

We drove over two narrow covered bridges on our way to Shanksville.

Our destination was the Flight 93 Memorial.   

We walked through the Visitor's Center, reading, looking, watching news clips and avoiding listening to the last phone calls.


It was all so very emotional.   Even the small black box of tissue sitting on the windowsill.

Outside we quietly walked down the long black path that was the final flight path of Flight 93, ending in impact at 563 mph.

Below we walked along the white marble Wall of Names and came to the Gate.   Beyond the gate is  the final resting place of 40 American heroes.  Only family of the 40 are allowed past this point.   A large boulder marks the point of impact.

view of the impact site boulder through the Gate.....

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rouge Factory Tour

Today we used the last of our three ticket package and boarded the bus bound for the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.     No photography is allowed on this tour - to keep from distracting the employees they tell us.     This is a place I would have loved to have my little camera with me.    Truth be told, I did take my phone out at one spot.....but chickened out before I took the picture.   I envisioned lights flashing, bells clanging, and security running at me as I clicked the picture.   I'm a chicken.

We were lucky today, only 3 other people were on our bus so we had the two movie theaters and the self guided assembly line tour to ourselves.    I loved the first movie, hated the second movie "experience" (think LOUD noise, BRIGHT strobe lights, several screens playing at once, etc.) and was totally fascinated watching the assembly line moving along smoothly below us.

We were met at each section of the tour by an orange shirted employee placed there to show us which way to go and to answer any questions we may have.     After the two movies we entered an elevator and were taken to an observation deck to get an overview of the Ford facilities.    Pictures were allowed there.

observation deck

fall color on the "green" roof and walls of the assembly plant

When we saw all we wanted to there, we reentered the elevator and the doors reopened on a raised observation walkway above the active assembly line.     We were on our own to walk and look down at the workers, working.     No pictures, no leaning over, no calling to the people below, no dropping things on their heads, no spitting.

We both found it utterly fascinating,  watching this ballet of people, robots and slowly moving parts  produce a shiny new truck every 53 seconds.    We spent quite a long time walking along and stopping to watch robots carefully fitting windshields, workers fitting headliners in empty bodies, seat belts being installed, entire assemblies being moved over our heads from one area to another.    The computer controlled machinery worked seamlessly, forklifts whizzed by, lights blinking, to restock bins as they were emptied....On and on and on.    Pretty cool.

Legacy Gallery

Once we'd had our fill, we exited through what they call the Legacy Gallery and boarded another bus for the return ride to the Museums and our Jeep.    When we got back to Beluga, I discovered that the Rose Robber had struck again.   I just love that guy......

they smell as good as they look

Our time here has been very interesting.   We're so glad we came, these three venues were very worth our time.   I don't know which I enjoyed most...each one had something unique to offer.

We leave in the morning, heading east again, our next stop is Pennsylvania.   Fall has been beautiful here in Michigan but the word "snow" has been mentioned in the weather reports so.....

these maples in the campground are just divine


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Henry Ford Museum of Innovation

Don't judge.....but Dave is often in a position to watch Mo Rocca's Innovation Nation on Saturday mornings and the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation is at it's core.    As a result, his interest has been piqued about this place for a long time.      In our other life, the business owner one, we spent lots of time in Dearborn for conferences and business calls.   As a matter of fact, we often stayed at the Fairlane Town Center within walking distance of The Henry Ford museums.   Always to busy then.

This is our time to connect all the dots of those days and the Henry Ford Museum is one of them.

I'm breaking in a new camera (actually, the same camera as I've always used but a newer model) and as usual, it's causing me trouble.   I'm a point and shoot sort of person and that's what this is but it doesn't exactly work like the old one so my pictures at the Museum aren't very good.   Sorry.   I'll probably get the hang of it eventually.

The elegant entry

This is one great museum.   I often lose focus in museums, I get tired of reading endless placards and illustrations eventually.    Here, however, I saw and read more than I usually have patience for.   

an exploded view of a Model T

Things were organized and presented in a thoughtful and interesting way.    Innovations from "then" that led to more innovations and applications "now".     The stream and reasoning were clear and fascinating to see.

Dave looks at  old, belt driven woodworking tools

This is a collection of things that one wealthy man felt represented the best of American innovation.

From manufacturing tools and machines, to furnishings and clothing, to agricultural implements, to planes, trains and automobiles of all sizes and types, to innovation in power generating and distinctly American memorabilia. 

a fiberlass mold for an Eames chair

evolution and innovation in home heating

I want my Cowboy Hat, I want my Maypo!

An old 9N prototype....look familiar JoAnn?

"Oh I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer Weiner....that is truly what I'd truly like to be....and if I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, everyone would be in love with me"

Dave used to ride on a grain drill just like this one and help his Grandpa seed the fields

the only existing Dymaxion house designed by Buckminster Fuller. 
A really interesting concept!

I remember these drill instructions written on my classroom chalkboard.....chilling.

cases and cases of stuff

one of many steam generators, large and small

old and new

Kennedy's car among a collection of Presidential vehicles

a look into an old Holiday Inn motel room

And in the "Mathematica" display we had a bit of fun in an otherwise very over my head exhibit.....

It was another long day for us and, just so you don't think we're neglecting our dear companion, here's a shot of a normal, after dinner scene between the boys.

Lew wonders how he'll get the ball back this time.....