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.

 

Zeb the Duck in Rockville, Indiana. More Covered Bridges!

Normally we love to attend festivals, but today we planned to arrive after the festival was over.   Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?   We arrived in Rockville, Indiana late Sunday afternoon.   After checking into a motel, we walked to the nearest covered bridge.

Billie Creek Bridge

This is a great bridge.   We did walk through it, but thought it was strange to see “Cross this bridge at a walk.”

Horse cart coming through covered bridge

But now I, Zeb the Duck, understand.   Horses are to pass through the bridge at a walk.   Isn’t this a perfect horse pulled cart?   Cars, of course, can drive slowly through the bridge.   OK, we are here in Rockville, Indiana as the Covered Bridge Festival is ending.   The town of Rockville had a population of 2,600 people according to the 2010 census.   A nice, small town.   But the covered bridge festival begins the second Friday in October and lasts 10 days.   During that time, there will be about 2 million visitors, according to the website.   That is a lot of people!   Let’s look around town first.   The courthouse is a majestic old building.

Rockville, Indiana Courthouse. Tents from covered bridge festival

Here we see some of the tents used during the festival.   We love decorations.

Decorations for autumn in Rockville, Indiana

Autumn decorations abound in Rockville.   Near the courthouse, we liked the Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Memorial Presbyterian Church

The town has many old homes that are still in use today.

Older homes

Look at these wide, tree lined streets.

Tree lined street in Rockville, Indiana

Plenty of space for 2,600 people, but too crowded for hundreds of thousands or even millions.   This county in Indiana has at least 31 covered bridges.   The Visitor’s Center provides maps, with 4 recommended routes.   Humans can drive all over the county, following the suggested routes, to experience driving through covered bridges.   We found some bridges Sunday night, but did more driving Monday morning.   Here is Crooks Bridge.

I, Zeb the Duck, am in Crooks Bridge near Rockville, Indiana

I like bridges with windows.   This part of Indiana is farm country.

Tractor in use. This is farm country.

This farmer is working on his tractor today.   Farming is hard work.   This farm has the barn with cows and a covered bridge in the background.

Definitely farm country. Barn on left. Cows with covered bridge in background.

You can see the dust from a car that just drove through the covered bridge.   Of course, farms mean cows, and we like cows.

Cow with covered bridge in background

This cow lives and grazes near the McAllister Bridge.   I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to remind you that these bridges are necessary.

Zeb on edge of bridge, over river

This one allows passage over the river.   This trip we just wanted to see the covered bridges.   We were not particularly interested in purchasing items, but maybe next time we will come during the festival.   We hope you enjoyed festivals and autumn drives this year.   We like them.

Zeb the Duck With a 40 foot Wild Goose

I, Zeb the Duck, have to se this.   A 40 foot tall Wild Goose.   She is in Sumner, Missouri.

Sumner, Missouri

Meet my new friend, Maxie.

Huge Wild Goose, Maxie

She is 40 feet tall and has a wingspan of at least 61 feet.  And something women don’t usually tell me.   She weighs 4,000 pounds.   That is 2 tons!   In 1976 Maxie was sculpted by David C. Jackson, a Kansas City architect.   During the annual Wild Goose Festival, Maxie was dedicated.  Some people say parts of Maxie were delivered by helicopter.    Maxie is watching me.

Maxie is looking at me. With huge eyes

With huge eyes.  Maxie is supposed to turn a few degrees if the wind is strong enough.   No wind today.   Maxie lives in a great park in Sumner.   There is a picnic area and a sports field.   If I lived here, I also would spend a lot of time in this park.   Soon mom says it is time to continue driving.   Next point of interest for us is a state historic site.   Here we are at Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site.

Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

We need to walk to the bridge.

Walking over the bridge

First we must cross the river using an uncovered bridge.

Walking down the road

Then a short walk down the gravel road.   And here it is.

We found the bridge

Locust Creek Covered Bridge.   We will see more bridges in a couple days.  This bridge is closed to vehicle traffic.

Walking inside the covered bridge

Let’s walk inside.   This is great.   We can see the support beams.  We can also hear the river below.   I like this bridge, but why did people build covered bridges?

Why Covered Bridges?

This sign is a little difficult to read, but covered bridges were easier for animals, mostly horses and cows, to enter.   Humans believe the animals felt like they were going into a barn.   Covered bridges also served as emergency shelters.  Weather in Missouri, like most places, is unpredictable and can change quickly.   And importantly, covering a bridge helped strengthen and protect the bridge structure.   I like covered bridges and am eager to see more.   Do you like covered bridges?

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!   Today is the day we pause to give thanks for all our blessing.   This is a day for families and friends to gather, to give thanks, and share a huge meal.

Happy Thanksgiving on wooden vintage board with pumpkins and leaves

The traditional meal features a roast turkey.   But many prefer ham, beef, or any favorite foods.   Today at our house, mom is cooking a turkey and a ham.   We do plan for leftovers.   We love this day and our guests will all be offered leftover turkey, ham, pies and whatever we have.   This a great day, no presents are involved today, just family and friends giving thanks.   Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Kansas Boyhood Home of General Pershing

Let’s go to Laclede, Kansas.   A road sign directed us to the boyhood home of General John Joseph Pershing.

Laclede, Kansas. Boyhood home of General Pershing

General gained much recognition during World War I.   This statue is a tribute to the General.

General Pershing

But there is more here.

Boyhood home

This is the boyhood home of General Pershing.   His family moved here when he was very young.   We visited the Visitor’s Center here and the ladies told us much about General Pershing, and other points in Kansas.   They said John Pershing was a teacher here for a short time.

Prairie Mound School

Prairie Mound School seems so small now.

Let’s go inside the school

Let’s go inside.   Two doors and two rooms.   First the door on the right.

Door on the right. Portrait and memorabilia

A large portrait of General Pershing greeted us.   Many medals and memorabilia are on display inside.   Next, door on the left.

From World War I

Several flags and posters from World War I are displayed here.   The displays in both rooms are very interesting.   The ladies in the Visitor’s Center reminded us of the Poppy Fields in Flanders.

Poppies and Flanders Field

This sign tells much.   In Laclede, the town citizens have planted a poppy field.   We were there in late October, so nothing was blooming then.

Poppy Garden in Laclede, Kansas. Will bloom next summer.

The garden has been cleaned out for winter, but we expect a beautiful poppy display next summer.  This also is a very peaceful place.   We hope you visit Laclede, Kansas.   General John Jospeh Pershing had a remarkable military career, graduating from West Point, the military academy, being recognized for outstanding service, he was called to New Mexico when Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico.   During World War I he was Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe.  General Pershing is the only person to be General of the Armies of the United States.   He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C.    Visit Laclede, Kansas, stop at the Visitor’s Center and spend a little time wandering around the grounds.   We liked visiting Laclede and we think you will also.