World Maker Faire 2012

Katie Perry is a multifunctional unicorn that shoots fire out of its horn and pees the beverage of your choice. Weird, I know, but such a delight that people will come up with such crazy ideas and make them real. She appeared at Maker Faire.

Maker Faire it’s just plain fun! This was the third year in NYC and this year Mayor Bloomberg declared it Maker Week. Amazing! The result was a huge increase in attendance over last year to 55,000 people across the two days. With 500 exhibits, a roster of speakers (that kept me busy running from venue to venue), many how-to workshops and a wide variety of attractions I was flat-out on a tear all weekend. My official agenda was constantly being adjusted by chance meetings with friends, impromptu business meetings, and interviews for articles. The MAKE folk work very hard to pull off excellent events and I think they do a remarkable job … as do the legions of volunteers.
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Coastal Connecticut at Christmas

Dinosaur Park

Nothing says Christmas like a giant dinosaur, don’t you agree? Such an oddity, a park filled with life-sized replicas of these ancient beasts. Closed for Christmas and definitely worth revisiting.

In Connecticut for the holidays with some time on our hands? No problem, Kelsey and I decided to take a trip up the coast. Themes were to be the lighthouses and historic sites along the Boston Post Road from New London, CT to Watch Hill, RI and that’s what we did. Continue reading

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Ninth Time Across the Continent

Bumble Bee Plane

Is there any way that looking at this world-record tiny plane won’t prompt the thought of a bumble bee? Believe it or not it does fly with crazy-cramped quarters for the pilot; but it doesn’t buzz.

Having driven from NYC to Yosemite in 72 hours going west during my eighth crossing this year I was content to take my time going east on my ninth crossing. I managed to spend three days in Arizona and New Mexico and a fourth day in Colorado. Then I heard that my new iPhone had arrived and within three days I was home again. It’s nice to be back.

While I loitered, I saw many things but I’ll only mention four here now. Continue reading

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Where East Met West


No plans existed for this historic engine so the Jupiter was rebuilt using only references designs developed from pictures and postcards. It is now very similar to the original train engine and it is in immaculate condition.

Every day, east meets west in a recreation of the event that made this huge country small. On May 10, 1869, two railways joined tracks at a place called Promontory Summit in Utah and created the first transcontinental rail line. For the first time it was possible to buy goods on one coast and have them efficiently delivered to the other, the west could sell to Europe and the east could sell through to asia. The world got smaller too.

The reason the railroads met here was chance. The two companies who accepted the government’s contract started from opposite directions: one in Omaha heading west, the other in Sacramento heading east. Progress across the plains was fast and easy but laying track out of California over the Sierra Nevada mountains was slow progress.  Continue reading

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A Varied Path Home

Museum of the Appalachia

Museum of Appalachia is a living village of farming life. It reflects the simple but difficult life of those eking out an existence in mountains of eastern WV, Kentucky and Tennessee during the 19th century

Often the last leg of my trips is simply about getting home. However, this time I wasn’t shooting to break land speed records so I wove in a few interesting distractions into each day. Given the new path I had chosen for my return, finding new things wasn’t difficult. 

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Touring Western Living

Two Headed Cow

Everyone needs to see the two-headed calf. This kind of oddity would get talked about and draw people into businesses. In this case, the stuffed contrivance was used by a pub in Boise to attract patrons.

Time to meander home. Why “meander”? The fact is that all the primary east-west routes via the Interstate Highways I’ve already explored. Sure, there’s alway more to see but they’re not the rich passageways as they once were.  By taking secondary highways and especially diagonal highways I come across abundant new veins of discovery to mine.

Not in keeping with the above, I started down the Columbia River Gorge which I love, love, love to drive. However, once I emerged on the east side of the Cascade Mountains I jumped on a quiet road, the John Day Highway, to the National Monument I had once visited too briefly. Then I cut east through the Blue Mountains to historic Baker City Continue reading

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California’s Glorious Middle Coast

Monarch Butterflies

For a long time I’ve known about the Monarch migration to Guadalajara in Mexico. However, it turns out that Monarchs west of the Rockies head to Pismo Beach where I went and saw thousands!

Normally I drop into a rut when I drive up the California coast: relax, enjoy becomes hurry up, running late. To reset where my rhythm kicks in I reached the coast via a new route. Now I had the luxury of suffering the same pattern but starting at a different spot on the coast.

Back when we lived in Los Angeles, Beth and I talked about living in San Luis Obispo some day. Why? It’s not too complicated an answer. SLO lies along the glorious stretch of California coast, has a large enough population to have all necessary services and benefits from having a local university: Cal Poly Continue reading

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A Touch of Los Angeles

Jazz Trax Logo

Periodically I reference Art Good’s JazzTrax. I like smooth jazz, I listen to his syndicated show, and he’s also my uncle. In LA I spent time with him and his team planning how we would instill his business with social network marketing.

Nixon Presidential Museum

When I choose a theme I can’t help but wrestle it to the ground. The Nixon and Reagan Presidential Libraries are both in Southern California so to keep progressing down my list of the 12 managed by the National Archives I visited them both. Nixon’s was very good but interestingly the Watergate section is still not finished; Reagan’s was in an amazing location but key sections were closed due to preparation for his 100th birthday celebrations. I’ll have to return to Reagan’s because too much was unavailable and I might as well visit Nixon’s again to see if they ever finish Watergate. Continue reading

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Texas Spots

Texas Spots

This State is HUGE! Over the course of two weeks I covered the Gulf Coast and a myriad of other inland spots. I had no particular theme. For any number of reasons these places got on my radar so I hopped in my car and drove for a visit.

While I didn’t start out intending to explore the nooks and crannies of Texas,  I did end up visiting a wide variety of places and learning much about this exceptional State. Below you’ll find a variety of places I visited and enjoyed. Continue reading

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Plains Nowhere!

Jimmy Carter HQ

It’s not so long ago when Jimmy Carter ran for president. So much of Plains, GA is as it was. Pictures from 1976 had this sign over he storefront and I wouldn’t doubt that this is the very same sign.

In a movie at the NPS visitors center Jimmy Carter says that when he was young, a trip to Plains was a trip to the “big city”. My goodness! Arriving in Plains felt like arriving at a crossroads, there was very little substance. The boyhood home was another three miles down the road in the middle of absolutely nowhere. In a sense it really is amazing that someone from the hinterlands became president of the world’s most powerful nation.

In truth, I really enjoyed my visit to Plains because it was so untouched and genuine. I walked around in his boyhood home, strolled the hallways of his high school, stopped by the house where Jimmy courted Roselyn, drove by his current residence, and saw all that lay in between. There was the train depot which they used as campaign headquarters for the presidential campaign. There were the grounds of his father’s farm and the outhouse they were happy to finally leave behind when they got an indoor toilet. It was all so real.

However, it really was in the middle of nowhere! Continue reading

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