Day 21: Cars and Art. This is a short post due to time constraints this morning. More to follow later today.
Yesterday was car museum day for Lynn, visiting 3 car museums in Auburn, IN during the day. He took lots of pictures and looks forward to sharing. For a teaser, here are a few of the gems in the parking lots at the museums.
Sal spent the day catching up on the artwork she is making from pictures of the adorned books at our events. We'll post some later today.
Off to New Carlisle, IN in a few minutes. We have an event there today at 1pm and have several hours of driving ahead.
Day 20: Event in Clyde. We held our 5th event today at the Clyde Public Library. The original building dates to 1905. This beautiful old stone building is impressive with its stonework and attention to detail.
This event was quite different from our other events, as our guests were all middle school and high school students. The young folks were part of an after school program at the library called SPLAT, facilitated by our host, Rachel. At the high point, we had 23 students in the room. Some chose not to participate, as we expected. That didn’t prevent the rest of the students from having a great time adorning books and playing with the cheesecloth.
11 of the students adorned books of their choosing. The results were some of the best we’ve seen yet. Their use of color and materials was particularly good.
The part of the event they enjoyed the most was when they got to cover their facilitator Rachel under a mountain of cheesecloth. The joy and laughter in the room echoed how much fun they had. Rachel was a good sport about getting “buried” by the students.
After the event, we drove from Clyde to Fort Wayne, IN through more miles of beautifully maintained lawns and a couple of cool towns in Ohio named Maumee and Perrysville. We crossed into Indiana around 7:50pm, just before dark. It’s our 5th state; 7 more to go. We’ll be in Indiana for the next few days for one of our library events on Sal’s birthday and to visit multiple car museums.
Car museums in Auburn, IN (home of the Duesenberg, Cord, and Auburn) for Lynn today. Sal has a work day planned, hanging out in one of our new favorite hotels, Hyatt Place.
Day 19: Cleveland to Clyde. This was a short distance driving day. We had originally planned for Sal to go to the Cleveland Art Museum and I was going to visit the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum. It was a glorious sunny day, so we decided to bag being inside for half a day and enjoy a drive on a sunny day instead. Good choice!
This part of Ohio has the most beautiful lawns we've seen on our trip. Folks obviously take a lot of pride in their property and their well-trimmed lawns are a reflection of that pride.
As we entered the town of Wakeman, the great stone bridge shown below caught our eye. Turns out it was an old railroad bridge that is preserved as part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project to repurpose old railroad rights-of-way.
The little park with the red roof gazebo was just to the west of the bridge/trail.
Finally made it to Clyde late afternoon after considerable wandering off and back on US 20.
We have an event at the Clyde Public Library today, hosting 15-20 local middle and high school students.
Day 18: Erie, PA event. We backtracked a bit to Erie PA for an event at the Blasco Memorial Library, the largest of the Erie County libraries. We had 12 guests that made chains and adorned books. Another 15 or so came for the talent show held in the same room we had our event.
The library is set on the bayfront in Erie, a beautiful spot. It joins the Erie Maritime Museum on the site. We arrived a bit early and had a tasty lunch in a nearby restaurant overlooking the bay. After lunch, I took a quick tour of the grounds to take some pictures while Sal went inside to work on the wall art for our June 9 exhibit in Newport.
Our guests were mostly young people who took to the tasks at hand with interest and enthusiasm. Nothing like youthful energy to liven up a group. And while they did well making safety pin chains, it was the dress up and adorning books that was the most fun for the group, as you can see from the pictures.
The talent show was comprised of 4 musicians, one of whom was a survivor of a serious, normally fatal disease. This was his return to performing after a 10-year (!) struggle against ulcerative colitis. Don's story and performance added a great human element to the evening.
Many thanks to Jessica and Sarah for inviting us, promoting the event, and making us feel welcome. Blasco Memorial Library was a great venue that created an experience we will long remember.
Day 17: Work day in Cleveland. We spent most of the day catching up on projects that had accumulated during the previous week of travel and events. So many details, so little time. Felt good to get (mostly) caught up.
We did wander out late in the afternoon to get some sun (yay!) and look around the Cleveland downtown. All the pictures were taken within 3 blocks of our hotel. (Cleveland blocks are quite large compared to Portland.)
This area of Cleveland is an interesting mix of old and new. The Cleveland Public Library across from our hotel and many of the other office buildings are old, dating back to the early 20th century. Our hotel is even older, dating to 1890.
Memorial Plaza, the Convention Center, the Hilton (tall, blue, reflective, oddly shaped building), the football stadium, and the Great Lakes Marine Science Center have all been built in the last 25 years or so.
The city has done a masterful job of incorporating new architecture with old; the mix works well.
We're off to Erie, PA later today for an event at Blasco Memorial Library. Connecting US 20 is part of a big talent show this evening. Should be a fun time!
Day 16: Traveling. Today Sal Strom and I drove from East Syracuse, NY to Cleveland, OH. It was about 370 miles but took nearly 12 hours due to slow travel on US 20 (lots of little towns, long stretches of low speeds). Rained like crazy until around 11am, just as we arrived in Seneca Falls, NY.
In Seneca Falls, we stopped at the Woman's Rights National Historical Park. Seneca Falls was the genesis of the Woman's Rights movement in the US. The museum in the Park told the story well.
It finally (!) stopped raining completely about 3pm and the sun came out to stay. Yay!
We were welcomed to the downtown area of Cleveland by a giant chandelier hanging over an intersection about 10 blocks from our hotel. Have never seen anything quite like it.
Slow day today. Museums all closed and we're pretty tired. Just hanging out in our giant (free) room at the Hyatt Regency.
Day 15: Cazenovia NY and our second event in 2 days. Cazenovia is a beautiful town, with a lake and revitalized downtown to attract visitors. It's also home to the best library in New York.
We had the Community Room for our event, a large space which gave us opportunity to spread out the phases of our event. We were looking at the clock and when there were 2 minutes to when the event was to start and there were no people, we were worried that no one was going to attend.
Imagine our surprise when an administrator from Cazenovia College arrived with 11 of her students and an assistant! Connecting US 20 was an opportunity for the students to do a community-focused event as part of their studies.
The students paid close attention to what Sal was teaching and were diligent and thoughtful in their book and selections during Phase 2 of the event. They did some beautiful work that will be shown in our exhibition at the VAC in Newport starting June 9.
Thanks to the students and teachers from Cazenovia College for their enthusiastic participation and to Cazenovia Public Library for the space and promotion of Connecting US 20.
We get a 2-day break before our next event in Erie, PA. We have a lot of US 20 to cover before then. Hopefully the rain from the last 3 days has passed and we’ll get to see the sun today. Oregon is not the only place getting deluged these days.
Day 14: Our second event on US 20 in West Winfield, NY: We held this event at the West Winfield Library and had coordinated with a weekly knitting group for them join our event. A total of 8 guests participated in the event. Because of the great dexterity of the knitters, these ladies assembled safety pin chains faster than any group we have worked with. Usually, our guests will make one chain during Sal's talk about safety pins. Some of the ladies in this group did 2 chains and could have done more. Impressive!
Our guests had some great stories about the books they chose to "adorn". We're now capturing these stories in audio so we can relay them to others along the way. We'll post a few of them as time permits.
After the event, we were treated to dinner at the elegant Horned Dorset Inn in Leonardsville by Roberta and Kingsley Wratten, owners of the Inn. (Roberta was a guest at our event.) Wonderful way to end a fun day.
Thanks to Ruth and the West Winfield Library staff for their help and the use of space. And thanks to our guests for their enthusiastic participation.
Today we visit Cazenovia, NY for another Connecting US 20 event.
Day 13: Before leaving Saratoga Springs Sal and I took one last look around. We did a short drive thru Avenue of the Pines, the road that traverses the state park where the springs are located. The grounds, especially around the Roosevelt Spas are simply gorgeous.
From Saratoga Springs we drove back to US 20 and on to our next destination, Norwich, NY, another one off our main track but with a reason to be there. Norwich hosts the Northeast Classic Car Museum and it was definitely worth the detour to visit.
A gentleman named George Staley donated or loaned a large portion of the museum's four permanent exhibits. Mr. Staley loved cars. He was able to retire at 51 and spent the next 40 years collecting and restoring unusual or rare cars. The sheer variety of cars and the quality of the restoration work is impressive.
Mr. Staley had a particular fascination with Franklin, a car produced in Syracuse NY from 1902-1934. He has assembled the largest single collection of these cars in the world. All are lovingly restored.
Another short visit to see the rest of the exhibits in the museum and take a few pictures of Norwich this morning, then off to our 2nd US 20 event in West Winfield, NY, about 40 miles away.
Enjoying our time in the beautiful Adirondacks.
Day 12: Travel day, driving from Lee, MA to Saratoga Springs, NY. It was another cool, windy day but mostly sunny for a change.
For those not familiar with the area, Saratoga Springs is the site of a number of natural springs which were touted for their medicinal benefits for many years. The business that sprang up (no pun intended) around the springs over the years coupled with a world-famous horse racing track turned this into a resort community. Much evidence of this remains, even though the springs were replaced by "real" medicine in the late 50s and early 60s.
We arrived in Saratoga Springs mid-afternoon. After quickly checking into the hotel, I headed off to the Saratoga Auto Museum and Sal to the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. We each got our art "fix" for a few hours.
After the museums and dinner we took the "back way" to our hotel and ran across a number of gorgeous (and some not so gorgeous) old homes from the resort era. A few pictures below; more to come later.
Norwich NY is today's goal with more cars and art in the offing.
Day 11: Unlike P'town where Sal knew all our guests, our first event westbound on US 20 was with folks we had never met. We were a little concerned that no one would come. Fortunately, that was proven wrong.
Over the course of the evening, 11 folks came to share in the event. Our guests shared their stories of local writers and the lore of the town. The area around Lee, MA is steeped in literary history as evidenced by the many famous authors like Herman Melville and Edith Wharton who have called this area home.
Our guests were a lively and interactive group, interested in our project and Sal's art. Encouraging people to touch the art raised a few eyebrows, as touching art is usually not ok. But Sal's art for this project is durable and so touching IS ok. Many took advantage of the opportunity.
Thanks to the Lee Library Association and especially Rosemarie for hosting us and make us feel so welcome.
Lee, MA is beautiful town. I took bunches of pictures of the area and will publish them in a separate post.
Today's goal is Saratoga Springs, NY for auto museum and art museum visits, another tourist day. Yay!
Day 10 of our Connecting US 20 adventure found us at the Eastern terminus of US 20. Being at this spot has been a goal for nearly 2 years.
Sal and I were there at 9am on a COLD, cloudy, windy morning, excited by the official starting point of our US 20 cross-country trip. Kenmore Square is famous for its proximity to Fenway Park, home of the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox and the huge Citgo sign that has been a fixture of the area for many years.
Kenmore Square itself holds a small city park (image 2 and 3 below) and is at the eastern end of Boston University. We got some strange looks from BU students and the local police as we "adorned" the sign post and ourselves with colored cheesecloth. But of course that didn't dissuade us from our mission. :-)
We left Kenmore Square about 11:00am. It took another hour to clear the Boston metro area. Had a beautiful drive thru quaint New England towns and the foothills of the Berkshires to our current location, Lee MA. The last image is the lake behind our hotel. Beautiful area.
We do our first event on US 20 westbound this evening (May 2) in the Lee Public Library.
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Day 9 of Connecting US 20: It's all Westbound from here.
Drove from the Cape back into Boston for the overnight. Our GPS got an "A" for directing us thru the maze of Boston to get here. Boston is a confusing place to drive as the concept of a grid of streets doesn't really exist. Old eastern cities are often like that.
Staying tonight in a beautiful part of Boston known as the Back Bay area, about 1.5 miles from our starting point at Kenmore Square. Tomorrow the US 20 route begins.
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Day 8: Showtime in Provincetown! We did our kickoff event on Saturday 4/29/17 in the friendly environs of the Provincetown library. Sal invited her MFA classmates to share in our event and 6 came. We had a great time renewing old friendships and talking about art and life. The event went well and everyone left smiling after the always-fun "cheesecloth toss" at the end.
After the event, Sal/I went to Herring Cove at the tip of the Cape to "dip our toes" into the Atlantic to symbolize our upcoming ocean-to-ocean journey. Our friend Carole Ann Danner was the videographer for our Facebook Live post of that dip. Thanks, CA!
After all that excitement, we went back to the home of Sue Post and Woody Lichtenstein for a house warming party and another gathering of art friends. What a fun day!
Thanks to all who came, all who helped, and especially to CA and Sue and Woody for sharing their homes with us for the last few days. And to Martha and Rory who drove 7 hours from New Jersey to say hello.
On to Boston today for an overnight and the "official" start of our Connecting US 20 tour at Kenmore Square on Monday.
Day 7 of our eastward adventure. After an overnight in Hyannis, we visited Toad Hall Cars and had a great visit with the owner, Bill Putnam, and many of his 19 cats. Bill has been collecting and racing sports cars for 30+ years; he even raced with Paul Newman. A few of the more unusual cars are in these pics. I'll put more up on Car Connection area on our website in the next few days. From Toad Hall we drove to Provincetown to check out the library where we're doing our event tomorrow. P'town is such a great place and we're looking forward to our time there.
Connecting US 20 was written up in the most recent edition of our local paper, the Regal Courier and published online 4/27/17 in Pamplin Media's main site at the Portland Tribune. This is the second time the author has written about the project. She spent nearly 3 hours with us a few weeks ago gathering info for the article. We enjoyed having her visit and especially like the result. Thanks you Barbara Sherman for another great writeup!
Click here to see the article.
Day 6 of Connecting US 20 eastbound finds us at our friend Carole Ann's house in Hyannis MA. It was another long day, 537 miles and a lot more traffic than the rest of the trip. 11 states, 3,273 miles so far. Much slower pace for the next few days.
The image below has our first glimpse of the Atlantic. This was taken from the back of Carole Ann's home.
Tomorrow (Friday) we visit the first of our car museums and wend our way further onto the Cape for our 2-day stay in Truro, near Provincetown.
When we passed the sign on I-495 for Lee, MA today it finally hit me that we are here and this is finally going to happen. Lee is our first "official" US 20 event, on May 2nd. 2 years of work, coming to fruition. Feels good.
Day 5 of Connecting US 20 eastbound was a mercifully short driving day. 120 miles from Erie PA finds us in beautiful Niagara Falls. I was here when I was 10; Sal has never been here. We took the Maid of the Mist boat tour in front of the Falls and had a great time! Took about 200 pictures today. Hard to capture the beauty and majesty of this place in 2 dimensions. We wound up in the largest hotel room either of us had ever seen, 100 yards from the Falls, and at a great price; the advantage of the coming in the off season. Another long drive day tomorrow to Hyannis, MA.
Day 4 of Connecting US 20 eastbound was a tough one. Construction in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio slowed us down, adding about 1.5 hours to an already long day. Highlight of the day was our lunch at T-Bones in La Porte, IN. Sally had eaten there when she was at a residency in Indiana last year. It was 7 miles off the freeway and we just happened upon it. Paid nearly $25 in tolls across 3 states; weird occurrence for those of us who don't pay a toll anywhere in Oregon. 14-hour day; 5 states, 1 Time Zone, 669 miles. 2617 so far. Erie, PA overnight. Niagara Falls is Day 5's goal, about 120 miles away. Get to be tourists for a day. Yay!
Wyoming, Nebraska, and most of Iowa behind us after day 3 of #connectingus20 eastward trek. Warm sunny day, light clouds and very windy. Scary passing trucks (especially doubles), with the wind blowing them into our lane on numerous occasions. Highlights of the day were a giant windmill "farm" east of Des Moines and the beautiful rest stop at MP 180 in Iowa shown below. Iowa gets an "A" for I-80 rest stops; few and far between, but well worth the stop. They even had public WiFi access. 744 miles on Day 3, 1948 total so far. Erie PA is our next goal.
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