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November 13, 2016 - Festival of Lights 2016 starts 11/19/2016
Festival of Lights gone past (the box on the right opens the photos full screen, esc to come back)
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Niagara Falls, Ontario - This year I will miss my favorite Christmas destination, the Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It's a good time to remind others they can go an enjoy it. It has been an annual tradition for years to go and take in the winter sights of Niagara Falls and in recent years it has become a great New Years Eve destination. This year I'll be west and not able to make it. Maybe I can make it after Christmas. This is my own little reminder for others to go take it all in. Opening Ceremonies is November 19, 2016. Photos from my Digital Journal article in 2013 and a few extras from other years.

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October 22, 2016 - Waterfront Trail in Windsor, Ontario
(Photo from October 22, 2015 of McKee Park looking at the Ambassador Bridge)
The Ambassador Bridge from the Waterfront Trail at McKee Park  Windsor

Windsor, Ontario - Most who know of Windsor, Ontario, relate it to being that small Canadian city across the border from Detroit or know it for the large and well appointed Caesar's/Harrah's Casino downtown. When you drive through you might want to stop for more than a Casino tour next time. Take a ride or walk along the Windsor Waterfront Trail through parks, along the Detroit River waterfront, past Windsor downtown and the Casino, back on to the road for a bit then back off to follow the St Clair River some. Above is the McKee Park with its unobstructed view of the Ambassador Bridge heading over to Detroit. This is as far as my bike ride took me to the west where the trail veers on to the roads. I took a beautiful fall October day to relax when I was near with my bicycle and was pleasantly surprised with the waterfront upgrades from last I had looked around at more than the inside of the Casino in Windsor.

Traveling east from McKee Park above on the trail you go through the Odette Sculpture Park on the other side of the Ambassador Bridge; it's not too far a walk from the Windsor Casino if you are staying there. Check out all the beautiful and fun sculptures, great spot for family selfies. My Waterfront Trail photo album will have scenery and a few of the fun sculptures in it. Continue along while watching lakers, military boats, coast guard, and other commercial vehicles going up and down the Detroit River never leaving you bored for something to see. The fall colours were stunning while riding on October 22, 2016. If there had been a newspaper vendor near I'd have picked up one just to sit on a bench and read while the boats passed by on the river. Riverside in Windsor, Ontario on October 22, 2016 trees in full colour on a beautiful autumn day.

Most entertaining was meeting a few BMX'ers out practicing their craft on this beautiful afternoon. As a cyclist, Ski Instructor, all around athletic enthusiast, I stopped to see what they were up to. They were okay with me snapping photos while I watched their fun wishing maybe if I was younger... nah I wouldn't have tried it, but I admired those doing it. They have skillz. Parker Tremblay introduced himself quickly and gave me his email to send the photos before continuing on with their work readying a stair rail for Parker to make a first attempt ride. Several times he walked up, lifted his bike, checked it. His buddy waxed the rail, prepped it and then Parker was ready to give it a shot. Well done, here's the outcome of that sweet little ride. If you want to see more of Parker and his friends I found at least one crazy video on line here at Ride BMX. I have a BMX Rail Ride photo album up showing the sequenced rail ride if you want to see it in large format one at a time.Parker Tremblay riding a rail, Windsor, Ontario, Waterfront Trail.

Click the photos for a larger photo to see the determination on Parker's face to make it. He lands no problem the first time. One more reason to ride the trail, you don't know what fun you'll have, just get on your bike and ride! Or take a walk. Lots more photos of the trail scenery in my Windsor Waterfront Trail album. I'll follow up with a link when it's posted tomorrow. Check out the Photo's Page for more of everything.Odette Sculpture park on the Waterfront Trail with Detroit Skyline across the river.

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November 8, 2017 - The Henry Ford - A must visit, for more than a day.

(Photo from October 25, 2015 of Thomas Edison Menlo lab at Greenfield village)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line Ride

Dearborn, Michigan - I had no idea what an interesting man Henry Ford must have been or all he tried to do for society in his lifetime. Honestly when it was suggested I go see "The Henry Ford" I could only think, Why? I have my answer now and more. If you can swing it, this is an incredible exhibit and experience well worth the price of admission and time to go see it. I went last October and this October, when it is beautiful in the village full of autumn colour. I would not be surprised if Henry Ford had planned to fill the village streets with trees of vibrant colour. I purchased the membership for $60.00 as I was in town for a few days and the girl at the desk felt I would need more than the afternoon to see the village and museum. It was also strongly recommended to take the rouge factory tour which I still haven't done. Imagine, I thought I would only need the afternoon; a year later when I returned I visited two more times and still have hardly seen anything in the museum and not managed to get time for the rouge factory tour. Renewing my membership to see more is top of my to do list.

(1916 Port Huron Steam Engine- Oct. 25, 2015)

Port Huron traction engine, ran from farm to farm to assist with farm harvest equipement prior to tractors being built.

So what's there? Seems Henry Ford wanted to preserve the true history of technology of the past before it was the past so he started Greenfield Village in 1929. He believed history taught in school was "bunk" as noted on the The Henry Ford Blog, but real history about real people mattered. Bet you didn't know Thomas Edison's Menlo lab was preserved so you could view it? It was reproduced in detail by Henry Ford in collaboration with workers and those who knew it well to get every detail as exact as possible. I'm keeping it a secret, you need to go see what's behind the door. Thomas Edison Menlo Lab, recreated at Greenfield Village in The Henry Ford, outside view.Had someone brought me here when I was in grade school, I'm sure I'd have been inspired to do my best in math and science.

The stories, displays and hands on activities every time I visited kept me engaged for hours. I never get through seeing it all. One of the first displays inside the village gates, the 1916 Port Huron Steam engine above, begins your trip back in time. It was used to haul farm equipment and run belts going from farm to farm prior to tractors being used. A Steam powered train will whistle and run through town (you can take a ride on it for $5.00 or purchase a pass including rides), Model T's will honk and drive past you (you can ride them too), and every house will invite you in to show you how they lived, complete with very good actors who never break character while running the homes, businesses, and machines as used by the residents in their lifetime. I want a job at Firestone Farm so I can enjoy some of the fresh baked goods from the old wood stove oven that smell so wonderful when you enter. The ladies who run the farm inside as it would have been run in the late 1800's do seem to love their job though it is a lot of hard work.

Pottery hand painted a set to dry before firing at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI in the pottery shop.Be sure not to miss the downtown where they have a glass blowing factory, a pottery studio, Tin Smith and more. You can purchase wares made in the village from the gift shop or on line. They are all made in patterns and techniques used at the turn of the century. Watching the artisans at work make it hard to not want to go make a purchase. The pottery bowl/plate I show here is actually being painted with cobalt blue and yellow glazes. They go on in one colour, hand painted bit by bit while I watched. The colours will not show until the item is fired when it will come out of the kiln in full colour. Wish I could afford a huge collection of the glass and pottery. All of the studios are recreated or typical of the era, the farm houses were moved to the village or authentic recreations, and the workers are really working each display, house, field, etc and functioning in the village as they would have in the late 1800's or early 1900's. I've never seen anything quite like this village in other representations, the village was done right and makes you feel like you stepped back in time.

 

Glass shop in Greenfield Village town center, built in 1950.

Now while you are in the area, it might be tempting to spend all your time at the Village checking out the displays, riding around on the train or in a Model T, but really you have to get to the Museum! Below is one of the first things you'll see in the main room, Presidential cars from all eras. Below is Bubbletop. Originally the convertible was delivered to President Truman. When President Eisenhower took over he had plexi-glass put in so he was visible in the car and could see out in all weather. The car JFK was shot in is on display, and the truly regal looking older presidential cars also. This is just a start.

The Bubble top presidential convertible, orginally delivered to President Truman and given a plexi glass top by President Eisenhower.

The museum is way more than cars. Henry Ford must have been a train buff, it's full of old trains and one of the largest model train tracks I've seen. There is airplanes through the ages, indy cars from many manufacturers, American power generation history, motors, engines, furniture, the list goes on. Check out the Henry Ford Museum web site for special events and exhibits they bring in. There's fun for the kids with a hands on craft or science station. Even if cars aren't your thing, you'll find something of interest here. The pop culture neon signs (McDonald's 15 million served), the Wright Brothers, did I mention they have a replica of the Wright Brothers home in the village? There's part of the power plant that supplied Henry Ford's first factory which he had built just for the factory power. The stories and memorabilia just don't end. I haven't been able to see all the exhibits yet, there has just not been enough time. Between the stunt planes, early steam engines, agriculture developments through the years, pop culture signs, Rosa Parks bus, the fun and learning was never ending. Stereos and computers, history of American furniture. So much I didn't get to see. Make sure you give yourself a few days or buy a membership and try to get back a few times in a year.

Steam engine from the Power America section of the Henry Ford Museum.Oh and just incase you thought all you do is walk past standing exhibits..Nope, they actually maintain the engines and motors and run them. On the day I was there one of the mechanics was doing weekly maintenance on a big stationary steam engine in the Power America display. He was carefully greasing and checking every moving part of it. He's been doing this Steam engine being maintained at the Henry Ford Museum job for several years now, maintaining the running equipment in the museum and village. When maintenance is done the machine is turned on to run at a slow speed off an electric motor showing how it works. Check it in my little video clip below. 1900's technology you can see in action and ask all the questions you can think of. The staff were all happy to answer questions and tell me about anything I wanted to know. A fun spot to visit, I can't wait to go back and see more.

Don't miss many more photos in my photo albums to show more of these wonderful places. There is so much going on at both Greenfield Village and the Museum I can't cover it in a short article so you will have to go see it. If you need any more convincing check out my Greenfield Village photo album and The Henry Ford Museum Album for a small sampling of what you'll see.

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October 2017 Two Years Ago - City Chevy - Unveiling Rick Hendrick's Second Charity Corvette C7 2014 Vin # 2

(October 25, 2013 Rewrite from Digital Journal)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line Ride

Charlotte - Since Chevy first introduced the concept car for the 2014 Corvette Stingray, the car keeps making news. Yesterday Yahoo Auto announced the 2014 Corvette Stingray is its pick for Car of the Year.

The unveiling of Vin 0002 C7 Corvette.

Yes, that's correct, yesterday Yahoo Autos published its announcement that the 2014 Corvette Stingray is its Car of the Year. Out of all the possibilities this year, from the first Tesla to Jaguar's F-Type, in the end, Yahoo felt the Corvette Stingray, with all you get for the MSRP of $51,000, topped the competition.

As corvette enthusiasts are aware, Rick Hendrick of Hendrick's Motor sports purchased the first Corvette Vin ending in 0001 at the Barrett-Jackson automotive auction as reported back in April by the New York Daily News with the funds raised going to the College for Creative Studies.

Later Rick Hendrick also purchased the convertible model for $1 million, which will roll off the assembly line sometime before the year end, as reported earlier this year by Motor Authority. The funds raised will go to Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. As Motor Authority quoted, Rick Hendricks says “I love those cars so much, and to have the first Corvettes from the new generation means so much to me.”

Amanda Cater, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad officer getting ready to assist on the escorted Thin Blue Line Ride.

Not mentioned often is Rick Hendrick also purchased the second car off the line and has received both car 1 and 2. Car number 2 was unveiled last night at his first and flagship dealership, City Chevrolet in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was lucky enough to get an invite from Tim Dobbins in sales to take some photos, enjoy some appetizers, and get a first public view of the Corvette with the vin ending in 0002. Is it possible this one was purchased to display publicly while he keeps the first one protected in his private collection?

City Chevrolet and Hendricks Motor sports sure know how to put on a show. The catered event had great food, great door prize giveaways including laptops and tablets (awe, no car?), a car from every generation of the Corvette lineup supplied by Rick Hendrick from his personal collection and of course the star of the night, the red 2014 Stingray vin ending in 0002.

From the C1 to the C6, Rick brought one of each over for the big unveilng of the C7.

Car of the year to an an American sports car, not too shabby a title. Photos of the seven generations of Corvettes from Rick Hendrick's collection and scenes from the event are in the slide show on my photos page. Click the box on the top right of the show for a full screen view.

Over all it's a great fun day, a safe and scenic ride, with entertainment for a great price, going to a super cause. Only $50.00 for a rider and passenger when registering late and $35.00 if you register early gets you the escorted ride, breakfast, lunch and entertainment; great value for your dollars. For the VIP treatment, special breakfast and to ride up front, you can pay a little more, remembering it's all for charity.

See all the photos from the evening here C7 Vin#2 Unveiled

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April 14, 2013 - The Thin Blue Line Ride

(April 13, 2013 Thin Blue Line Ride article re-posted from Digital Journal, different photos)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line RideCMPD officers heading out to lead the Thin Blue Line ride.The Thin Blue Ride Line ride, running from from Cox Harley-Davidson in Rock Hill, SC to Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, NC, starts off my season of great rides and stands out as my favorite for many good reasons.

What ever your charity is, a great way to combine giving with something you love, if you're a motorcycle enthusiast, is to sign up for a charity ride and have fun. What a great cause The Forever Blue Foundation is.

The organization was started by John Rainier and his wife when a close friend and fellow officer was shot in the line of duty. Jeffery Shelton and Sean Clark were both shot and killed in 2007 in Charlotte, NC while responding to a call leaving young families to find a way to look after themselves. John tells me when he lost his good friend Jeff he just wanted to be able to help and so he and his wife Melanie started up Forever Blue to assist the families of fallen officers. The Thin Blue Line Ride is a major and growing event, with all funds raised going to the charity to support families of fallen officers. John says there is over 500 riders attending this year.

Locally the ride gets quite a bit of press, with the local television news running bits on the ride and here John tells the Charlotte Observer, “It's very overwhelming and you feel like you have to do something, you know, paying it forward and so, we really feel the loss especially when it's one of our own," said founder John Rainier.

Amanda Cater, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad officer getting ready to assist on the escorted Thin Blue Line Ride.Cheryl Barrineau, first female officer on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad.The ride has become my favorite of the season. The Thin Blue Line Ride brings together a diverse collection of riders to support a great cause. I couldn't help but notice the increase of women riding their own bikes and the addition of a second female officer, Amanda Cater, above, to the CMPD motorcycle squad which already had Officer Cheryl Barrineau, highlighting the diversity of people now enjoying motorcycling as a hobby.

The route skirts along the scenic paved country roads and secondary highways of the border towns of North and South Carolina between Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, NC. The perfect early spring weather, with trees and flowers in bloom, temperatures typically in the 70's, are perfect for riding.

CMPD officer keeping the Thin Blue Line safe, riding past on the outside.The coordinated efforts of 5 different county and town police forces come together and two states, to keep riders safe and together for the entire ride. Intersections are patrolled and traffic stops as we ride all together through traffic lights and corners all along the route.

The police cars and motorcyclists that escort the ride keep lights on and traffic stops, pulling to the right of their lanes where they sit, wave and watch in awe as a line of apx. 500 motorcycles ride through. When the route was advertised in past (it wasn't advertised this year), John tells me that spectators would line the route waving flags and taking photos. There was many getting their phone cameras out this year for photos and waving from their homes as we passed.

The breakfast and lunch supplied by the Harley Dealers and live entertainment supplied by Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, shouldn't go unmentioned. Sandy Pullin, the event coordinator for Charlotte Harley-Davidson gave me a little tour of the site and is thankful to be able to assist with hosting the charity ride, supplying a band Stella Rising this year (last year one donated their time), the space for all the bikes and lunch. Sandy mentions that lunch was fully donated for 500 by Finz's of Matthews this year and that Adam's Beverages donated the free (donations only) Budweiser for the bar.

Sandy Pullin, event coordinator for Harley-Davidson Charlotte says,
"Anything we can do to assist the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Sheriff office is welcomed by the dealership",
who have supplied Harley's to the Mecklenburg police forces since 1922. Sandy pointed to the blow up of an early news paper clipping hanging in their service depot showing the police motorcycle squad from 1922.

The Thin Blue Line ride, long line of riders behind.Over all it's a great fun day, a safe and scenic ride, with entertainment for a great price, going to a super cause. Only $50.00 for a rider and passenger when registering late and $35.00 if you register early gets you the escorted ride, breakfast, lunch and entertainment; great value for your dollars. For the VIP treatment, special breakfast and to ride up front, you can pay a little more, remembering it's all for charity.

See all the photos here and more from the ride in the Thin Blue Line 2013 slide show.

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Archived News Stories Here: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2004 to 2008

Updated: May 2017- Watch for a Season Teaching at Whistler coming in the news. Main page updated.

Features and Headlines:

Festival of Lights - Niagara Falls is waiting, November 19, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Windsor Waterfront Trail ride - See what fun you can find in Windsor, Ontario, right outside the Casino.

The Henry Ford Review - The Henry Ford - A must visit, for more than a day.

The 2014 C7 reveal - October 2017 Two Years Ago - City Chevy - Unveiling Rick Hendrick's Second Charity Corvette C7 2014 Vin # 2

Recent Photos:

Windsor Waterfront Trail - Pictures from the parks along the trail.

BMX Rail Ride - Check out a first attempt stair rail ride.

The Henry Ford museum - So much more to see..

Greenfield Village - Beautiful in fall, both 2015 and 2016.

Entertainment:

Movie Reviews - Three Stooges, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Book Reviews - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire

Past Headlines

Sugar Mountain put in the Chondola 2015- My last article on Digital Journal

Charlotte Motor Speedway - Fall auto fair 2015 on Digital Journal

Thin Blue Line 2013 - Re-posted from my article at Digital Journal.

Carnival Cruise Western Caribbean 2012 - Full detailed write up of this cruise on the Legend out of Tampa, FL.

December 2012 - A visit to the Georgia Aquarium - Amazing what you can see and do at the aquarium.

Vancouver Island Favourites - Check out Vancouver Island parks and trails in the News, then go find the ones I haven't.

Aviation News- Museums and Air show, August must be Aviation month!

Summer Vacation 2012- Lets all go to the races!

Summer Vacation 2012 Photos - The kids, grand kids, races, and Lion Safari (what I could fit in 50 photos).

Cruising with Mom and Dad- Port Canaveral to Bahamas, a nice diversion.

Photos Cruise 2012 - Bahamas Cruise, 2012 with mom and dad

Vail and Denver, March 2012- Nothing like Colorado, Vail and Denver.

Whistler, Victoria, Blaine, 2011 - Don't miss this write up and the beautiful photos! Everyone should do this for Thanksgiving.

Miami and Bahamas, December 2011 - A fun 4 day cruise and a night in Miami, what fun.

October 2011 - A recap of October in photos, no big news update until next month, then look for Victoria, BC information and a mini Bahamas cruise.

Fall Fun - A Fall Hike and Fall Fairs

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course- An overview of the course.

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course - An album of the course, may add more photos later.

Summer 2011- Weddings, Disney, parks etc. All the fun in the news.

Midland First Annual Ace Race- Who won, how did it play, when's the next? Come read the details.

Midland Ace Race- Link for next years updates.

Mississippi - Tupelo, Memphis, Elvis Presley, Beale Street, Tunica, - Just fun, check it out.

Mississippi Photos- Beale St., Memphis, Graceland, Elvis Presley Park, Tupelo.

Tunica Photos- Tunica Riverpark airboat ride, and the evil Sam's Town employee.

Chattanooga -- Great Food, Waterfront Festivals and Fun - A fun place to visit.

Chattanooga, TN- A few water front photos in Chattanooga.

New Orleans and Biloxi Bound. - First Long weekend of the season, getaway. News and photos.

New Orleans and Biloxi Photos- Sites around New Orleans and Biloxi.

Fun at Maxton, NC - Land Speed Trials - ECTA - Details from the May 2011 meet.

Maxton Photos on Flicker - Find yourself or car from Maxton, NC, May ECTA meet up. Email for prints or high quality digitals.

Pink Slips Women's Car Club Photo Shoots - Car buffs check this story and VOTE for Sally...

Pink Slips LMC Photo Album- Photos from the day at Legendary Motorcar Company

Riverbanks Zoo Photos - An afternoon at the zoo.

Summit County, CO. - Quick update, on the Summit county Bears gathering..

Castle Mountain Photo Album - Lots of ski, scenery and friend shots. Find yourself.

Castle Mountain Winter - Friends, fun and work. - All the details, slide show and photo album.

Warning, HHGregg Return? - Read and be wary; features update.

Houston and Area - Houston, Galveston and the Gulf coast, what to do with 4 days in the area.

October in the Carolinas - Myrtle Beach new, Fort Fisher Ferry fun, York Fall Festival.-------Slide Show here too.

Fall Colours- Blue Ridge Parkway fall colours on Flicker

Victoria, Whistler, Whale Watching, - Finally added the details on a terrific spring vacation to go with the photo album I uploaded in the spring.

Port Dover, Friday 13th Ride In - Photos of the Port Dover Ride in.

Victoria, Whale Watching, Whistler - Complete pictures from my whale watching excursion in Victoria, BC, and the rest.

7 Days 4 Resorts, Utah, Big Mountain Fun - Salt Lake city Utah, a great place for skiers. Check it out.

It's Better in the Bahamas - 4 day, 3 night mini cruise to the Bahamas; get all the details.

A Wedding! November 7, 2009, Leonard and Jenny Parker - The big day.

What about the Norfolk Area-Favorite places to eat in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake area and what to see.

Atlantic City, Long Weekend -Why we keep going back. Where to eat, sleep and play

Washington with Grant and Donna -Great time. So awesome to meet up with old friends, and Shelby, you're not 2 any more!

4 Days in New Orleans - What a great get away. We escaped for 4 days and 3 nights to New Orleans.

Atlantic City Weekend -Caesar's invited me for the weekend, free flight for two, free rooms and most meals free. Well it's never really free, but it was nice.

March Break, 2009 - Katrina and the family come to Myrtle Beach.

Wintergreen, VA , Closing Day, 2009 - A day at Wintergreen Ski hill, and we thought ski season was over.

Summer 2007, wow - Catch all the up to date news on who did what, and the latest pics.

New York City New Year - Happy New Year 2007!

Wow Vegas, A Modern Wonder -What a birthday.

Richmond & Portsmouth, VA - What a weekend it turned out to be.

Len and Jo-anne Graduate- Definitely the highlight of my year was these two making it to graduation!

S.N.A.R.T. Group of Racers -Fun weekend, details in the news.

Natalie and Jay at Disney - A surprise visit to Florida for my niece and nephew, details here.

Holiday July 2005 - Rockford and Chicago highlights from 2005,click to go right to the story.

Skiing In North Carolina - Yes, there really is skiing here! See pictures, links to hill sites and more. Click to read.

Cruising the Caribbean - Nice cruise pictures and details.

Fit and Forty - How I did it!

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