Curator Jessica and I were on Scenic Route 124 headed for Letart Falls, Ohio, where I wanted to see if an old gas station / convenience store / teenage hangout I had photographed in 1968 was still standing. About 1.9 miles down the road from Racine, and 3.9 miles from Letart Falls, I pulled off onto the shoulder.
“Hop out,” I said to Miz Jessica. “I need some scale in the photograph. Go down that way a bit and start walking back toward the city limits sign, please.”
After I popped off a few frames, she asked what I was REALLY trying to accomplish. Mistrust is an ugly thing in one so young.
“Well, now that you’ve finally hit 30, I thought this would be a photograph of you approaching Antiquity.”
I don’t think ‘guy’ is the word she used
“Wait here, Wiseguy (I’m pretty sure ‘guy’ isn’t the word she used). Go stand under that sign. I may be APPROACHING Antiquity, but you’ve already arrived.”
To add insult to injury, she said she doesn’t like it when I walk behind her because “I can feel old age creeping up on me.”
I’m going to have to start auditioning new Road Warriorettes. I’m just not getting the respect and reverence I deserve.
All of my Road Warriorettes – Jan, Shari, Anne and Curator Jessica – have different sleep patterns than I do. I’m up until the wee hours of the morning doing blog posts after driving all day. They’re snug in their beds snoring the night away, then they get up early and traipse down to the motel’s free breakfast. I sleep until 9:32, check my email and get rolling just before check-out time. Actually, Shari was the strangest of the batch: she doesn’t come to life until she fills her tank with Starbucks coffee. I’d set the GPS for the nearest Starbucks and leave her a set of keys, hoping she wouldn’t leave me stranded in some backwater town.
Because Anne and Jessica had the early breakfast this morning, they weren’t overly hungry. My hunger alarm was clanging loudly by the time we got to the first town of any size, Albany, Georgia. We had set a goal of avoiding chain joints and had been doing well so far. The first candidate looked a little tea roomy for my taste, so Curator Jessica was dispatched to see if it had tablecloths and/or candles.
I don’t remember if she said it had hanging ferns or not, but we elected to drive around the block to see what else was downtown. When we made the turn, the Albany Artpark on Pine jumped out at us.
At first glance, it was hard to tell if the front windows were painted, if we were looking at reflections or if the colorful images were inside. I put my hunger alarm on snooze.
Fascinating urban art
What we discovered was one of the most innovative uses of an old building I had ever seen. A local organization bought a neglected building, razed the upper floor to make it open to the sky, and beefed up the exterior walls. It became a huge open-air art gallery.
There was such a 3-dimensional feeling to the graffiti art and the surrounding walls that it was hard to tell what was art and what was reality.
We were a day early
The stuff we saw was, for the most part, the equivalent of finger exercises. A formal paint-off was held the day after we were there. News accounts I saw online showed some remarkable work. It’s sort of like the annual chalk street paintings held in Lake Worth, Florida.
Opportunities for other towns
Every place I’ve lived has more than its share of decaying buildings in its downtown areas. I’d love to see art parks like this pop up all over. It’s a great outlet for artists, and the images are fun to look at.
While we were walking around, we visited Ray Charles Plaza, the subject of yesterday’s blog post. We found a great local restaurant on the way of town. It had great food at a reasonable price, served without table cloths, candles or hanging ferns.
Art Park photo gallery
Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.
You may have noticed I had a varied group of road warriors traveling with me last year. One of the things that makes for a successful trip (meaning that the same number of people arrive at the destination as left) is working out the Rules of the Road before you take off.
Friends Jan and Anne were bike riding partners, so we had plenty of time to work out the kinks of our relationships while pedaling down the road. Friend Shari was my first high school girlfriend (which didn’t end well), and we hadn’t spoken in close to four decades, so I had to learn that she doesn’t become close to human until after her first cup of Starbucks coffee, she needs frequent smoke breaks and she gets up about the time I’m normally going to bed. We were stopping often for her to check out antique shops, so the smoke breaks weren’t an issue, and I’d leave her my car keys so she could get her Starbucks fix before I even thought about waking up.
Curator Jessica from Athens, Ohio, was a going to be a challenge. She was half my age (OK, more than half my age, but who is counting) to start off, so I was afraid we would have generational issues. We managed to compromise on a waking and sleeping schedule, types of eating establishments (she wasn’t picky) and where we would stay (no place that rented by the hour or where bodies had been found in a room recently). The only place where we hit a speed bump was when we got to talking about music play lists.
“No Glenn Yarbrough,” she insisted
I’m not really a Yarbrough fan – in fact, I get Glenn Yarbrough and Gordon Lightfoot mixed up, probably because of the G-names – but I wasn’t going to concede all that easy. “Miz Jessica, Ma’am, you’ve read my blog. You know that Baby the Rain Must Fall, Glenn’s biggest hit, was how I met Wife Lila. Surely you wouldn’t make me cut that from the playlist, would you?”
She would. Yarbrough was a non-negotiable with her. She also wasn’t big on C.W. McCall, but she WOULD let me play the home brew Cars & Trucks mix tape that was a Steinhoff family trip staple.
So, when I was editing some of my Ohio film, I was surprised to run into Glenn Yarbrough in concert at Ohio University on March 2, 1968.
Jessica, this are for you.
He is as bland as his music
While I was editing the film, I cranked up some Yarbrough music. Sorry, Glenn, I had to dump you after about the third song. You make Gordon Lightfoot sound exciting. On top of that, the photos are dull, too. I’m only including a bunch of them in case some reader was one of the folks who bought some of his nearly four dozen solo albums. He also sang on almost two dozen albums with the Limeliters. SOMEBODY must have liked him.
I’m sticking in some shots of the guys in his band just in case they became famous on their own later.
Glenn Yarbrough photo gallery
Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.
Before I started this blog, I had PalmBeachBikeTours.com. Kid Matt said, “You’re always picking up strays along the road, why don’t you do bike tours?” Well, that lasted until the first time half a dozen riders of various abilities and attitudes showed up (and they weren’t strangers, they were friends and family). I decided I wasn’t cut out to herd cats, so I concentrated on writing about rides and reviewing products.
Jan got to feel cold
It looks like THIS blog is turning into a touring group. I got to introduce Jan Norris to cold weather and Old Man’s Cave in February.
My first high school girlfriend, Shari Stiver, flew into town Tuesday afternoon to spend a few days in Florida before heading back to Cape with me. Wife Lila shot the photo at the top of the page of the two of us listening to Friend JacqieJackson perform at the Tides in South Palm Beach. The ocean and a huge lighting storm way out at sea are in the blackness behind us.
I’m not sure, but that may be closer than Shari ever got to me when we were dating.
Jessica is next victim
My next victim after Shari will be Jessica, the curator at the Athens Historical Society and Museum in Athens. She’s riding from Athens to Cape with me. She says she can’t believe half the stories I tell her about SE Missouri, so she wants to see the place for herself.
I told her Bill Hopkins will vouch for me. (I’ve already cautioned her not to stare at Mother’s arm. She’s sensitive about it since that riverboat mishap.)
I don’t have many pictures of Jessica yet. The best I could come up with is this shot of her trying to convince the cat in the window of the Athens County Board of Elections that the museum would be a better home because it provides catnip breaks twice a day.