Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Fox River Trolley Museum

Had a ride on this Fox River Trolley at South Elgin and it was a wonderful experience.
One can have a short ride upto Blackhawk station and back.The total ride time is about half an hour.
It was interesting to listen to the driver narrating the history of these coaches and how it started.
I was surprised when he said that these coaches could attain a speed of 85 miles per hour (on a straight stretch) The driver was very sharp and alert, especially on the curves.
The controls are just an accelerator and a break, and it reminded me of the tram drive we had in Calcutta. The clang clang clang you hear is from the bell operated by the foot.
The coach won't move unless the conductor rings the bell.
I liked the idea of stopping the train mid way with the announcement "the train will move further only after checking the whistle" This gave a chance for the kids to "check" the whistle.
On the way you see a Woodcliff station which is named after one of the land owners. Today it is a collection of signals.
Looking at the seat backs (on both sides) I think these are designed as multi directional seats.
Their upcoming rides/programs can be seen on their site. If you are around this area it is worth a visit. I made a short video on the ride and it will give you an overall experience. This was the next coach which went off on a similar ride (in another direction)

Monday, May 16, 2022

Cycling and nature

A smooth and picturesque path is a welcome sight and all the more so if you are on a bicycle.
If you pedal at a leisurely pace you get to see different activities like children participating in games
While passing a tennis court, I saw these balls strewn on the court and thought the second picture would be a good one as an advertisement shot for the ball manufacturer. (I did not put it there)
The changing colours of the trees is another sight especially if you are around at the right time of the spring season.
After crossing this narrow bridge I noticed many red winged black bird in the bulrushes.
If you are lucky (and have some patience) you can capture them having a quick bath in a rivulet, as can be seen in the video.
Saw this Grackle on a tree. The common Grackle has a iridescent appearance on their head, especially males. They spread their fantail when making their bird call.
While observing the aves on the tree top, don't miss to appreciate the yellow carpet along the sidewalk.
Obeying the traffic rules applies to cyclists too.
One last shot of nature...... the green against the blue sky
Recorded my 11 km ride on Strava. To my surprise I found that Strava works even without a net connection. Great.

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Cardinal tweets

Happened to be in Columbus (Ohio) for three days and spotted a Northern Cardinal on the very first day (a first for me)
I just managed to click one shot and he flew away.
On the third day when it was time for us to leave Ohio, one of them made a special appearance for me and was even ready to sing for me. I quickly managed to capture her performance with a hand held camera (so you will have to excuse the slight shake in the video)
It is said that both the male and the female sings together while nesting.Northern Cardinals live for about 13 to15 years which is pretty impressive for a bird. They are the state bird of seven states. Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, North Virginia and North Carolina. The airbnb that we stayed in,  was located in an Italian  community, and it was a peaceful place.
The green and red leaves formed a good canopy for the house
It was good to see early morning joggers passing by waving out with a smile.
I even spotted a vintage car parked in front of a house.
There is a Roman Catholic church (St John the Baptist) within walking distance and we could attend the Sunday morning service at this church.
It is said that this church is more than a century old and functioned  as a hub for the Italian speaking community who migrated here. A sketch of the church when it was built in 1898
The previous day when I passed by the church, a wedding just got over and the photo session was in progress.
On Sunday evening we went to the topiary park. The topiary figures are several varieties of Taxus, commonly known as yews.
The figures are trimmed and tied each June after their main flush of growth.
They are also trimmed through the summer to maintain their appearance. The beautiful gardens filled with perennials and annuals are planted and maintained by volunteers of the Friends of the topiary park.  If you are near the Convention Center, don't miss the bronze sculpture of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Before leaving that area we made a stopover at Jeni's for icecream
Had to wait in line for about 15 minutes but it was worth the wait.
The cones are hot and crisp, maybe because it is made right there in front of you.
Among the famous quotes, here is one from Clark Gable "I am just a lucky slob from Ohio who happened to be in the right place at the right time" .............. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .