Devil’s Tower, Black and White, and Stall Tactics

Weeding phone pictures is a task that I am unapologetically bad at until warnings start popping up about full storage.

I don’t carry a camera most days and instead rely on my iPhone for walking around pictures. That means there are fun pictures of cool things collected here. There are also funny memes, images of recipes and pictures of things to remember. Products in the store and their barcodes save time later but they also accumulate until cleaning house is forced.

At this moment, photo weeding is supposed to be a priority. Instead I’m reliving adventures and converting some western vacation pictures from last summer to black and white.

Who needs productivity when you can have art?

Here’s a scene from Lusk, Wyoming. Classic and western, right?

And this is Devil’s Tower.

It’s sacred ground and it is monolithic. To call it impressive would be an understatement.

Here’s the view from the trail.

It was here that I saw my first Prairie Dogs and, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but that was a trip highlight. Cute little guys, those prairie dogs, but they’re prone to carrying disease so don’t try to pet them!

So that’s enough stalling. Time to resume photo weeding and back up. Tell me I’m not the only person who postpones organizing phone pictures until it’s an absolute requirement!

What Are They Discussing?

Anyone else remember when people dressed up to leave the house? Heck, forget dressing up. At this point, I would be happy just to make it through the grocery store without seeing people in their pajamas.

These days have passed but this is a great picture. What do we think they’re talking about? I’m guessing it’s not saltines and frozen fish!

Happy Birthday Bessie Coleman!

Do you know the name Bessie Coleman? She was born on this day 128 years ago and is an important figure in our history but most Americans don’t even know her name, much less recognize her importance.

This makes me incredibly sad because she’s the kind of woman that little girls everywhere should admire and respect.

Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman and first Native American woman to earn an international pilot’s license. That alone should be enough to give her a place in our history books but the road she traveled to get there is pretty incredible.

Bessie was born to Texas sharecroppers in 1892. After her father left the family, she was raised by a single mother in a house with a dirt floor. She picked cotton as a child and often missed school to care for younger siblings. But she finished the eighth grade and had a burning desire to do something more with her life.

All grown up, she took the train to Chicago where she joined older siblings who were somewhat established in the city. Here she became a manicurist and set to work using both her beauty and talent to network and build a client base.

This was important when she decided to fly.

You see, American flight schools at the time didn’t admit women or black people. But she persevered- she found a better job, saved all the money she could and used her connections to find financial backers.

She also spent this time learning French.

Then she sailed across the ocean to France where racism would not prevent her from pursuing her passion. She enrolled in a flight school where she learned the craft and went on to earn an international aviation license.

The year was 1921 and Bessie was a sensation in the African American press when she came home.

She worked as a barnstormer in this country, traveling all over as an ambassador for black women in aviation. It was her fondest dream to open a flight school for black women someday. She flew and frequently gave talks where she showed footage of her fearless flying.

I struggle to absorb the enormity of this.

The 19th amendment giving women the hard earned right to vote had only been ratified in 1920 so times were much different than we know today.

She was Cherokee, she was African American and she was a woman. Three strikes against her. Three.

And when she was denied the right to pursue her goals, she refused to take no for an answer.

Bessie raised the cash. She learned a second language. She traveled across the sea to a foreign land. She refused to be held back and she fought for her dreams.

What an incredible role model for us all!

Sadly, Bessie’s story does not have a happy ending. She died April 30, 1926 in Jacksonville, Florida during a test flight piloted by her mechanic. You see, she was planning a big show that included a parachute jump the following day. As she leaned out the open air cock pot, scoping the terrain for this jump, she was unable to wear a seat belt.

So when the pilot lost control of the plane and it flipped over mid air, Bessie plummeted to her death. A wrench used to service the plane had jammed the controls. She was just 34.

It makes me sad that her story isn’t celebrated and that hers isn’t a household name where I come from. She is known in the African American community and among aviation enthusiasts but I think her name should be as well known as Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh.

The US Postal Service issued a stamp in Bessie’s honor in 1995 as part of their Black Heritage series. Some roads and schools have been named in her honor but she wasn’t even induct into the National Aviation Hall of Fame until 2006.

Not enough, friends. Not enough. I say we help keep her story alive by telling it to others. Share this story, tell your friends about her. Do what you can to make sure this brave woman, this trailblazer for African Americans and women everywhere is not forgotten.

Meanwhile, Happy Birthday to this brave woman who was taken from us too soon!

The Chair

This chair was for sale in an antique store near Kenton, Ohio. It’s actually in a cute little town called Mt. Victory that boasts several antique stores.

I didn’t look at the price because it wouldn’t fit in the car but can’t get out of my head that I need a chair like this. Wouldn’t it make a great reading chair? Is it bad that I’m still drooling over this chair almost a month later? I’m in vacation saving mode now so there will be no chair acquisition in my immediate future but it’s nice to dream.

That exposed brick wall is awfully nice too.

It’s so important to have a great place to relax in your home. What’s your favorite room like? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for ideas to cozy up my home!

If you’re in the Mt. Victory area, it would be worth a stop to check out their antique stores! The drive-in theater with the great sign is nearby too!

The Best Pizza In Wyoming and Plan B

We stopped for lunch in Lusk, Wyoming on the way to Rapid City. This picture represents a portion of their charming downtown area. I know it’s a bar but I liked the bike and all the colorful signs. More importantly, there was a promise made that the best pizza in Wyoming is made at a local joint here in Lusk.

Alas, that best pizza isn’t available over Labor Day weekend.

They were closed. Yup. Just my luck.

Since we had eaten a light breakfast, we were starving with few food options in the neighborhood. So we ended up at a gas station across the street where we found gas station snacks and “fresh personal pizzas.”

It seemed pretty impersonal pulling it out from under a warming light and it wasn’t especially fresh either. But it kept us from starving until we could get a real meal.

The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to adapt and come up with a plan b.

First though, we stood on the sidewalk outside the pizza place staring at the closed sign and debating what to do. It was reminiscent of the Griswold Family outside Wallyworld when they found it closed. It probably appeared we were willing the place to open just for us and for pizza to magically appear! After some initial whining, we eventually decided that we just needed to not starve and to move forward.

Things don’t always go as planned when you travel and that’s ok. Into everyone’s travel life some gas station food may come. It’ll make you appreciate the next meal even more!!!

Hi-Road Drive In

They’re a rare sight along America’s roads but a few drive-in movie theaters do still exist. I’m happy to report this one is still operating near Kenton, Ohio.

When I saw the gateway sign for the Hi-Road Theater just off the road, there was no doubt that I would be going back for it. The colors! The lines! The sky!

They’re currently closed for the season but you can learn more about them here!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

Everyone recognizes Henry Ford as an industrialist and pioneer in mass production who changed the way Americans travel.

In case you don’t know, his philosophies about production efficiencies extended to many areas of his business and are still used today. He also understood that a happy employee is a more productive employee and one less likely to leave. So Ford introduced the unheard of $5 a day wage, providing his employees a comfortable living and making it possible for them to afford to buy the cars they were building. It was a smart move because reducing turnover, cuts costs and improves efficiency.

What many people don’t know is this that Ford also was fascinated by science, technology and Americana. So in the twenties, he began collecting things for what would eventually become the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

He plucked up important structures and items with historic value from around the country and began bringing them to Dearborn, Michigan.

This place has grown and is modernized for the 21st century visitor but remains true to Henry Ford’s vision.

I had been before but was feeling a real draw to go back for some reason. I spent most of a full day wandering around the museum, taking pictures, reading signs and admiring the collection so vast that it’s hard to see everything with one pass.

Anyone who knows me well won’t be surprised that I spent the vast majority of my day lingering over the cars and planes. If it has an open cockpit or tail fins, I’m probably going to be a fan.

Here are a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment.

Any vehicle with interesting lines and a cool color is A-ok in my book!

Did you know that Ford made an airplane? They also have one at the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana.

It’s a train snow plow! How cool is this?

This little car was made by Crosley, the same people who gave us the Crosley Radio. We’ll talk a little more about them another day. And yes, it’s as tiny as it looks!

Combining my excitement for aviation and interest in reporting!

Check back. I have a couple of specific stories to tell you and we’ll go to some other areas of the museum!