Zeb the Duck Sees What at Park Meadows Mall?

We love Christmas decorations.   Shortly after malls open in December, during the week, mom and I visit a few malls.   There are not too many shoppers there then and the decorations are beautiful.   This December we visited Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, Colorado.   This is in the southeast Denver area, located on I-25.   First stop was this Christmas tree, just outside Dillard’s department store.

Christmas tree at Park Meadows Mall

Santa Claus was also in this area, but difficult to see everything.   So, up the stairs to the second floor of Park Meadows.

Santa’s area, Park Meadows Mall

Pretty clear that this is Santa’s area.   Looking down the main hall of the mall.

Christmas decorations at Park Meadows Mall

These beautiful Christmas decorations make us smile.   But, let’s walk a little and see more.

Entrance to Nordstrom’s

This is the entrance to Nordstrom’s department store.   I, Zeb the Duck, just love this snowman.  Don’t you just love Christmas decorations?  But what is this?

Tesla showroom inside Park Meadows Mall

We are inside the mall, and there is a Tesla car showroom?  OK, let’s go look.  Tesla may be known for electric cars, but I’m sure interested in the back doors of this white Tesla.

Tesla inside mall

Maybe like bird wings?   Very unusual and nice.   And one of my favorite colors.

Tesla inside mall

I really like this bright red Tesla.  All those white spots are reflections from ceiling lots.   My red Tesla doesn’t not have spots.    Mom is shaking her head no.   OK.   No Tesla for us today.   This is something new.   I know Amazon.   Everybody buys something from Amazon and it is delivered to our homes.

Amazon store inside Park Meadows Mall

But now, an Amazon store in the mall.   This is my first time inside an Amazon store.   There is some of everything.   But only the best sellers.   This is fun.   Another day we visited Southwest Plaza, a mall in the southwest area of Denver.   We really liked this Santa visitation area.

Santa’s area, Southwest Plaza

Santa had just arrived and the children came to see him as soon as we took this photo.   We hope you had some time to visit and enjoy the decorations in the malls and all over your town.

Zeb the Duck Visits the Birthplace of George Washington Carver

Near Joplin, Missouri we stopped in Diamond, Missouri to visit the George Washington Carver National Monument.

George Washington Carver National Monument

George Washington was born a slave on January 1, 1864.

Building dedicated to George Washington Carver

OK mom.   Let’s go inside now, I’m getting off the bench.   Inside this building we watched a short movie about his life and wandered through the museum.   When George was very young, he and his mother were kidnapped.   Moses Carver, the slave owner, got George back, but his mother was never heard from again.

Choose what to remember and what to forget

What does George know or remember about this bleak time of his life?  After learning about this episode of his young life, George began to realize that he was important and his life had worth.  Moses Carter had given a $300 racehorse for his return.  George was born in this house.

The foundation and frame of George’s birthplace

All that is remaining is a foundation and the frame of the house.   As a young boy, George was fascinated with plants.   He learned as much as he could, just by studying what he saw in the woods and asking a few questions.   George became known as “the plant doctor.”  He had a secret garden where people could leave sick plants and he usually was able to make the plants healthier.   He also made plant house calls.

Young George Washington Carver

This is George Washington Carver at a young age.   This statue is located by the bridge crossing this creek.

Bridge over creek

I, Zeb the Duck, love water and plants, so I insisted on being photographed here. More water.

Peaceful lake

Isn’t this a pretty lake?   I love sitting on the bench and just watching the lake.

Turtles sunning on log

And here is lake company.   These two turtles are enjoying the autumn sun.   At the museum, we received a map of the grounds.   Following the trail, we came to the Carver farm house.

Carver farm house

I’m going inside.   We entered through the back porch.

Inside Carver farm house

I, Zeb the Duck, met a new friend.   This man, another tourist, entered the house and was very nice and friendly.   My new friend was traveling from Oklahoma to North Carolina.   Continuing on the path, we discovered the family cemetery.

Headstones of Susan Carver and Moses Carver

The graves of Susan Carver and Moses Carver are here.   Moses and Susan are the owners of this farm and also of the slave, George Washington Carver.   The American Civil War has ended, so now all slaves are free, but George stays here and Susan teaches him to read.   George is incredibly curious about everything and he loves to learn.   Many schools still did not allow black students.   George finally graduates from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas.   After many disappointments and much racial prejudice, George becomes the first black student at Iowa State University and receives his Bachelor of Science Degree.   George is a botanist and inventor.   He teaches alternative crops to cotton so farmers can rotate the crops to prevent soil depletion.   He works with peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans.   Back near the museum, we see this bust of George Washington Carver.

Bust of George Washington Carver

He soon joined Booker T. Washington at the African American Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.   George Washington was an extremely important figure in agriculture and nutrition.   He was an advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt, and also to Mahatma Gandhi of India.   Carver taught farmers how to grow different crops and also invented hundreds of products from these new crops.   Although he is remembered as a botanist, he was also a talented artist.

He was also an artist

This painting by George Washington Carver is displayed in the museum.   And he had more talents.

His violin

He loved music and was an accomplished musician.   This is his violin.   His monument is located the wooded area of southwest Missouri.  Upon his death, January 5, 1943, Carver is buried in Tuskegee, Alabama near Booker T. Washington.

Beautiful setting in the Ozarks

We hope you visit here soon.  The Monument is very interesting and the wooded area is beautiful.

Zeb the Duck Finds Big Things in a Small Town

I, Zeb the Duck, am in an amazing small town in Illinois.

Casey, Illinois

Casey, Illinois, wants tourists to stop here, so they have big things in a small town.   Starting here.

World’s Largest Wind chime

This is the world’s largest wind chime.   This is 55 feet (16.76 m) tall and weighs over 8 tons.   What else do they have?

All this in Casey, Illinois

This sign lists 8 world’s largest things. Across from the wind chime is the rocking chair.

World’s largest rocking chair

This rocking chair is 56.5 feet (17.22 m) tall.   Too big for this duck to sit and rock.   Now we are heading toward Casey Country Club.

World’s largest golf tee

At 30.5 feet (9.29 m) tall, this is the world’s largest golf tee.   We like the golf course.   Next item, not far from Casey Country Club is a pitch fork.

World’s largest pitch fork

This, the world’s largest, is 60 feet (18.28 m) long and weighs almost one ton.   Smaller pitch forks are used on farms.   Back into town, we found a parking place near a pencil.

A large wooden pencil

This is 32.5 feet (9.9 m) long, but it is not the world’s largest pencil.   The world’s largest pencil sits in the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.   That pencil is 76 feet (23.16 m) long.   Here is a useful item.

World’s largest mail box

The world’s largest mail box.   You can climb the ladder behind the mail box and go inside.   You can also visit the store behind, purchase a post card and mail it from this mail box.   Inside a nearby candy store, look what we found.

World’s largest wooden shoes

The world’s largest wooden shoes.   They are 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and 5.5 feet (1.67 m)  wide.   Each shoe weighs over one ton.   Who can wear those shoes?   And walk with a ton on each foot?  And this is crazy.

World’s largest knitting needles and world’s largest crochet hook

Inside this yard store we find the world’s largest knitting needles and the world’s largest crochet hook.   The knitting needles are 13 feet (3.98 m) long with a diameter of 3.25 inches (8.25 cm).   The crochet hook is 6 feet 1.5 inches (1.87 m) long and a diameter of 3 inches (7.6 cm).   To obtain the record for the largest knitting needles, Jeanette, the knitter, was required to cast on 10 stitches and knit 10 rows of material.   This was not easy, as each knitting needle weighs 25 pounds (11.33 kg).   I, Zeb the Duck, do not know this, but I bet this was a group knitting project.   Those are heavy knitting needles.   While it is true that Casey, Illinois has many large things, we want to remind you that it is a nice small town.

Pedestrian crossing in Casey, Illinois

Here is a sign for a pedestrian crossing, probably near a school.   This seems to be a very friendly town.   I, Zeb the Duck, liked Casey and I liked the people we met there.   And, yes, we did purchase a few things.

Zeb Asks “Why Indiana??”

We stayed in Indianapolis, Indiana for 3 nights.   That is a long time for us on a road trip.   We stayed with our friends and former neighbors.   This morning we drove south to Columbus, Indiana.   This is a small town, but many artists and architects have done fantastic work here.   Our first stop in Columbus was the Visitor’s Center.   In the Visitor’s Center, we saw this beautiful glass sculpture.

Large glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly, the famous glass sculptor, created this.   It was spectacular, with sun streaming through windows and through the glass.   There were other, smaller works of art by Dale Chihuly.

Dale Chihuly glass sculptures

His work is beautiful.   There are traveling displays of his work and some permanent displays, such as this one.   If you are near some of his glass creations, please stop to take a look.  Columbus is known for unusual architecture.   There are tours that take humans around town and show different buildings and tell about them.   We wanted to take a tour, but we were too late.   Next time we will arrive earlier.   We purchased a map and drove around town.   We did see many things, but next time, the tour for us.   Driving through town, following our map, we saw some great buildings and sculptures.   North Christian Church, one of 7 National Historic Landmarks in Columbus, was our first photo stop.

North Christian Church

Architects used new and unusual designs here in Columbus.   North Christian Church was designed by Eero Saarinen, while Dan Kiley was the landscape architect.   Our next stop was St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.

St Bartholomew Catholic Church

The architects were William Browne, Jr and Steven R. Risting.   When you visit Columbus, take the tour, buy the map and drive, or walk through the downtown section.   Better, yet, do a combination of all three.   But, now for the real reason for this road trip and our extended time in Indiana.   My friend and former neighbor, Liam, is a senior at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.   Liam is a very accomplished musician.   He is majoring in music composition.   We came for his senior recital.

A small ensemble performing Liam’s composition

Here, a small group of musicians, are playing one of his compositions.   The University of Indiana has a great music program.   And as you can, a great pipe organ.

Organ and huge pipes

This is the room for Liam’s recital.   Liam, the composer, is directing another of his compositions.

Liam conducting one of his compositions

Liam attended Denver School of the Arts for high school.   During that time, he composed pieces that were performed during the end of year concerts.   After this piece, Liam, is recognized by the audience.

Liam is the composer.

 

I, Zeb the Duck, am so excited to see Liam on the stage again.   Liam not only composes, and that means he writes the music for each instrument in the orchestra, but he is an accomplished violin player as well.   This piece was not only composed by Liam, but Liam also performed in the orchestra.   Since Liam was performing, a guest conductor was invited to lead the orchestra for this piece.

Liam is composer and performer. Guest conductor for this piece

I, Zeb the Duck, am so proud of my friend, Liam.   Mom and all the humans are also very proud of Liam.   This was a wonderful evening for us.   Liam’s parents furnished food after the recital, so there were many there to congratulate Liam and lots of pleasant conversation.

Indianapolis Speedway with Zeb the Duck

Let’s race.   I, Zeb the Duck, am ready to tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Wow. Let’s check out this speedway

This is an exciting place and famous for many races.   Perhaps the best known is the Indianapolis 500 race held annually the end of May.   Also NASCAR race, the Brickyard 400 is held here.   And this is the former home of the United States Grand Prix.   Such an impressive place.

Looks great. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

This building is huge and holds so much history of racing.   Of course, this car, #7, that I am on is very impressive also.   Mom and I, with Kristi, our former neighbor, board the tour bus and soon we are driving on the racetrack.   **

I, Zeb the Duck, inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Yep, we really are on the track of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   Meet my new friend, our guide.

Our guide

He is so nice and tells us so much about this speedway.   In fact, he tells us the first race held here, was not on this track.   On Saturday, June 5, 1909, the first race was hot air balloons.   The Balloon Universal City won the race, landing 382 miles (615 km) from here.   Also, there is a golf course in the infield of this race track.   I never knew.   Here is the platform where a flag starts the race.

Flag from this platform starts and finishes the race.

From this same platform, a flag ends the race. I’m looking down the track here.

Looking down the race trace

Can you imagine driving at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour, with other cars all around you?   These highly skilled drivers must have nerves of steel.   Shortly after the track opened and races were held, there was a problem with the surface of the track.   To fix the problem, the track was resurfaced with bricks.   Each brick was hand laid over 2 inches (51 mm) of leveled sand.   The gaps were then filled with mortar.   The track soon had the nickname of ‘The Brickyard”.   Years later, the bricks were removed and the track was once again, resurfaced.   However, this line of bricks remain.   The brick strip is one yard (.91 m.) of original bricks.

Row of original bricks

Custom requires that the winner, of whatever type of race, must kiss the bricks.  I, Zeb the Duck, follow tradition, and everyone knows that I am a winner, so I am kissing the bricks.

I, the winner, kiss the bricks

Some of my fellow tourists, humans, are sharing my victory.

Kissing the bricks with human visitors

We all kiss the bricks.    Let me tell you a little about this speedway.   There is permanent seating of 257,325 places.   With the additional infield seating during most events, there is a capacity for 400,000 spectators.   Right here, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is the highest capacity sports venue in the world.   The track is 2.5 miles (4.0 km).   The name of the major races includes the length of the race in miles.   The Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.   These are all day events.  Our guide now takes us into the building and to the museum.   We love this car.

#19 car driven by Al Unser, Jr.

This is #19 driven by Al Unser, Jr.   The Unser family is a legend in Indianapolis 500 racing.   The car is sponsored by Coors Brewery.   Coors Brewery, of Golden, Colorado, is a few miles from our home.   This trophy is for the Indianapolis 500 race winners.

Silver winner trophy for Indianapolis 500

This sterling silver Borg-Warner Trophy has been symbolic of victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1936.   A silver likeness of each winner has been added to this trophy since 1936.   To each winner, Borg Warner presents a smaller sterling silver replica of this handsome award.  I like this trophy, but I don’t see any likenesses of racing or traveling ducks.   So, I guess I will not be receiving a trophy this time.   Look at the winning car from 2016.

2016 winning car of Indianapolis 500

I like it and it sure doesn’t look like mom’s car.   But, the earliest winning car I could find was from 1932.

Winning car from 1932

This also doesn’t look like mom’s car, but it doesn’t look much like the latest winning cars.   The designs keep changing for more speed and more safety.   If you are near Indianapolis, I hope you take time to go the speedway and take a tour.   This place is really interesting.   I, Zeb the Duck, liked it and I think you would also.