Adventure Day Antiques and Vinyl

Yesterday was my first day of vacation and I spent it adventuring with a friend. We hit the Heritage Square Antique Mall, Tommy’s Diner and three (count ’em three) guitar stores in Columbus. Plus we still got out of dodge before rush hour.

Heritage Square is well worth your time if you enjoy antique malls. This one is over 50,000 square feet packed full of stuff. For under $30 I left with a like new red gingham Christmas tree skirt, a vintage Santa and two records, one of which I had never seen before in real life.

I also found this Crosley piece that I wish I had a reason to own. Original Crosleys in good condition are hard to find. This one still has the book and not a lot of wear.

Not buying this may turn out to be one of my life’s regrets.

Tommy’s is a nice little diner not far from downtown that has a u-shaped counter and lots of stuff to look at. It’s a popular place but their lunch service is pretty quick so they get you in and out. The food was typical diner meals and I won’t make a special trip to go back but would absolutely return if I’m in the neighborhood.

The guitar shops were kind of neat too because they’re filled with pretty guitars and it’s always fun to hear my friend play around with the thing he loves best. But don’t tell him that I didn’t hate it – he will take me to more next time!

We encountered some quirky people in these stores including a fellow who makes customs in his German Village Music Haus.

Check out this guitar that features an old comic strip. That’s all wood!

We also found some bargains at Apollo Records, my current favorite record store. Located in downtown Chillicothe, it’s packed full of potential treasures that are priced to move. I’ve never walked out of there without an armload.

The great controversy of the day is that I beat him to a stash of Flying Burrito Brothers albums that he insists I cheated him out of. I say that I found them fair and square!

If you’re near one of these small businesses, stop by and give them a little love. Supporting a small business means you’re supporting local jobs and businesses that fill storefronts and often support our communities in a host of ways. The online retailers we all love so much don’t even know where you live. They certainly won’t give money to your school band or pass out candy in your Christmas parade.

In all, it was a fun day and I’m glad for it. And seriously, if you enjoy antique malls and haven’t been, find your way to Heritage Square!

A Great Sign And An Even Better Friend

Stardust Motel

If you’re going to travel with a friend, be sure to go with someone who understands your oddities and compulsions. It’s even better if they can appreciate your weirdness too.

I’m fortunate to have a few such friends who wait patiently while I chase covered bridges, vintage signs and great old buildings. My Western Adventure friend Johnna is one such pal who doesn’t hesitate to turn the car around for a picture.

She slammed on the breaks in Newcastle, Wyoming when I swooned over the sign outside the Stardust Motel. We were on the road to Devil’s Tower and had places to be but she was happy to help a gal out for a quick picture.

The Stardust is a classic roadside motel, opened in 1954, and less than an hour from attractions like Devil’s Tower and Sturgis. That’s the extent of my knowledge of this place. Google reviewers commented on how nice the owners are and one called it a great place for “the budget minded traveler.”

That should tell you something.

Johnna’s a good friend and possibly a saint for putting up with me and my camera for days at a stretch. I’m grateful for her and for great vintage signs like this one.

A Mile Shy Of Laramie Peak

One goal for my western adventure was to climb Laramie Peak. Once a landmark for weary travelers along the Oregon Trail, today it is a popular area for recreation as part of the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming.

There is a nice hiking trail up the 10,274 foot mountain and Johnna and I were stoked to climb it. It’s about five miles up so we set out with packs full of water and supplies but felt no sense of urgency as the forecast was for blue skies all day.

This was the view early in the day.

Laramie Peak rocks and sky.JPG

Lovely, isn’t it? The sky was blue and clear, punctuated with puffy white clouds that my friend calls “Simpson’s Clouds.” It was the perfect day for a long hike.

Around mile three, we started running into rain showers. Just a little drizzle but we could see that a dark cloud was settling over us.

storm cloud.JPG

At mile four, the sky turned ominous and the rain picked up.

And then came the wind: wind so powerful that it sounded like a train coming up the mountain and so strong that it could knock you over.

The terrain turns rockier as you near the top, making travel treacherous when the ground and rocks are wet. There’s no cell service here and we saw just one house in the vicinity after traveling for miles without seeing another living soul – even at the campground.

In other words, it would be a long, lonely trip down the mountain to run for help for your friend should someone get hurt. And the rescue undoubtedly would involve a helicopter ride.

We discussed continuing on with our journey and considered sheltering in place if we could find somewhere safe. We had seen a number of natural rock ledges and shelters along the way but none were in sight in that last leg of the journey.

Ultimately, we abandoned our plan and headed back down the mountain toward safety.

It was the right thing to do, even if we were disappointed to abandon our goal. But there will be other trips and other mountains. And we still got in an eight mile hike which isn’t too shabby.

It was a friendly reminder that plans don’t always work out and that sometimes circumstances simply get in the way. We made the best of the day anyway and celebrated eight miles rather than be sad we didn’t make it to ten.

That’s a pretty nice victory too!

 

 

The Best Kind of Vacation

Johnna

The best kind of vacation is the one that stretches your horizons. It teaches you something about a place and its people.  You come home feeling like your world view has shifted, if only just a bit.

It’s a huge world out there and I haven’t seen most of it so when my pal Johnna suggested that I visit her in Wyoming and we journey over to South Dakota for some adventure, I was ready to go.

We spent a couple of days exploring her neck of the woods and then road tripped over to South Dakota’s Black Hills. The vacation was amazing, even if everything didn’t go as planned.

Truth be told, we only hit a few of the highlights and didn’t do everything we had hoped. There’s a lot to see and never enough hours in the day to do it. But we had a great time – partly because we did fun stuff and partly because the company was great.

As I sift through pictures and souvenirs, it becomes increasingly clear that there are many, many stories to tell from this trip. The plan is to begin sharing these tales, one at a time for as long as you’re willing to keep reading.

This trip taught me about the Lakota people and some of their traditions. I learned about how our government prohibited by law many aspects of religions and sacred ceremonies of native peoples. This impacted Native Americans, Eskimos and Hawaiians and it was within my lifetime that our government passed an act granting them the religious freedoms they deserve.

This is something that I want to revisit another day and there is nice imagery to go with it.

It taught me that sometimes a tourist trap is just a tourist trap but also gave me hope that there could be a breathtaking rainbow around the next bend.

I also learned about the rural nature of Wyoming and some of the challenges that come with living here. The western landscape is about as foreign as the surface of the moon compared to my wooded southern Ohio. The big skies, various shades of browns and the sparseness of the landscape lend a unique beauty that you won’t find most places.

Plus there were some good restaurants, interesting people and beautiful sights along the way that made each day of this adventure seem a more rewarding than the one before.

It was a great vacation so stay tuned! There’s more to come!

Springfield Antique and Vintage Extravaganza

On the first day of my fifth grade year, I sat on the school bus next to the new girl in my class.

When you live in a rural community, having someone new move in is kind of a big deal. I was expecting her because our grandparents were friends and my grandma had asked me to be nice to her. I would have been nice to Meria anyway but I’m so glad we met. We’ve been friends ever since.

It’s been a lot of years since that first day of fifth grade (ahem…. no need to count them…) and we’ve been through a lot together. While we don’t talk every day, she’s always there when I need her and we try to do something together periodically.

Yesterday, we went on a little adventure to the Springfield Antique and Vintage Extravaganza. It’s like an outdoor flea market that’s devoted almost entirely to antique and vintage items.

I’ve heard about it for years but never had a chance to experience the extravaganza for myself. I thought the use of the word extravaganza was a little much – that is, till I arrived. This event is massive. It’s held at the county fairgrounds and it’s so large we never found the actual end, running out of steam in the hot sun before we ran out of booths to peruse.

We shopped for a few hours but eventually surrendered to the sun, leaving for lunch and a trip though the Heart of Ohio Antique Mall which is also huge and which I adore.

She’s gluten free and I’m pescatarian so we’re a real fun pair to feed in a place where all the vendors sell meat and deep fried stuff. Next time I’ll pack a picnic!

Anywhoo… we saw a ton of neat stuff with prices ranging from dirt cheap to completely overpriced. But you’ll have that anytime you shop for vintage and antique items. What you don’t have most places is the sheer volume of stuff to look at.

Meria found some glass pieces for her collection and I scored some mid century children’s story books- all in excellent condition for $2 each.

Admission is $10 per person but parking is free. If you plan to shop a lot, bring a wagon, shopping cart or a large tote bag to haul your stuff around in. And, of course, remember that cash is king in this setting.

Next time I’ll probably take a backpack and will absolutely remember to pack sunscreen. I forgot mine and have a nice sunburn today.

Want to learn more about the Extravaganza? Click here!

Adventure Day

I went on an adventure the other day. A pal took me driving back roads that I had never been on and to caves and bridges and churches that I had never seen. Little makes me happier than an afternoon spent this way. He’s a darn good adventure partner, not caring to get his truck muddy and patient with me and my camera.

It was an overcast day so not the best for pictures but I did manage a few. Here’s a few from this trip through Morgan and Washington counties.