Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday

This weekend is the 29th annual Nostalgic Indoor Invitational Auto Show in Peoria.  It's a big deal.  Back when I had old cars (I hope to have another someday) I went to many car shows and have the show plates to prove it.  Every one who registers a car gets a metal show plate that has a logo and art work and date of the show.

I went around to places like Laura,  Oquawka, Aledo, Keithsburg, Joy, Wataga, and even remote places like Paw Paw.  I usually took my true show car, a 1961 Imperial Custom Coupe.  It was a rare car and usually drew stares mainly for the unorthodox styling:  floating headlights, high rear fins, stainless on the roof, and a square steering wheel.  And it was huge.  One of the biggest of the era and heavy with 5 gauge steel which lent them to good use on the derby circuit.  In fact many demolition derbys banned them because they were like tanks compared to other cars.

She came from California and we traveled the countryside, never saw another like her at shows and she was truly a great car.  In all the shows I ever went to, this was the only one of my 3 that was ever invited to attend the Peoria Invitational.  Again, that's a big deal.


My Imp only broke down once, at the DQ on Henderson Street in Galesburg.  Otherwise she performed flawlessly.  Here she is inside the building that houses the other 60-70 cars invited in 2002.

She had a presentation board (in front of car leaning on bumper) made by Julia Breuer-Jackson, who was a counselor at the Mary who could make about anything.   The color was Autumn Russett and with torsion bar suspension floated like a cloud.

I don't think that car was ever prettier.  Inside was also a Chrysler Highway Hi-Fi.   They were record players Chrysler made as an aftermarket item and records were grooved deeper to allow for bumps in the road as you were driving.  It still didn't work well so it only lasted a few years.   Mine lit up and was installed, but I never used it because needles cost over $400.00.  Mine didn't have a needle.

Picture of a Highway Hi-Fi. 

When I moved here I sold all the cars.  Here it is very difficult to have an old car because  I have no garage and storage costs are high.  I do, however, have some storage options up North.  

Perhaps one day I will either become a snow bird and be able to have an old car again, or maybe just go back up and stay.  I really haven't been the same without old iron in my garage.  What to do, what to do?

Anyway, I didn't win anything this weekend in Peoria, but I didn't have to.  It was about the apex of my old car showing hobby to be invited and have the weekend to gawk and people gawk at my car.  There was a palpable pride this weekend,  of displayer and displayed that will never ever be replicated again.  This is the stuff of memories.  And that is a big deal.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leaving the Lynx

When you lug a camera around you tend to frame things where you are as if it would make a good shot.  With the advent of digital you can literally take hundreds of shots free.  Erase them all and you are out nothing.  This wasn't possible back in the 35mm film days.  Film wash wasn't cheap and neither was the processing.  Today picture taking, once the camera and card are paid for, is free. 

One takes pictures of things that are usually disregarded, and the number can get into the  teens on a single subject.  After viewing the Lynx as the sun was setting, there is a rather long walk to get out of the marina.  Below are some pictures I took and a surprise that awaited me when I got home.  

This is the opening to Harborage Marina where the Lynx was docked.  To the right is a Coast Guard ship, the Joshua Appleby, that is a buoy and sea lane maintainer.  This is an actual, unphotoshopped picture, which I though was remarkable. 

This frame is the harbor as the sun is going down and an osprey sitting on one of the masts.

About now I, and others walking nearby, heard a screeching and we looked up and saw that an osprey had grabbed a rat or a rabbit or or something and we heard the last final screams of its life.  The guy behind me said that the bird had just found supper.  It was kind of unsettling, but I know that's nature and well, predators hunt, and little things end up being meals.  I tried getting a shot, but the bird was too quick and I was too slow, something the little creature learned too late.     

I got another shot of the mouth of the harbor because the moon was striking and, again, this has a mysterious, ominous look to it.    

I am fond of ship names.  And I found this to be particularly insightful.

About then another bird was approaching, and decided to start taking pictures with the hopes that I might get lucky.  He was pretty high, and I didn't see anything dangling from its talons, so figured I'd just be erasing a bunch of pictures of a bird flying. 

I followed this guy for a few shots.

But, frankly, it didn't look like I'd see an example of nature's food chain in action. 

Still, it was worth sticking with it a bit since it is all free, right?   

When I got home I did a little enlarging and noticed something sticking out that shouldn't be there, so enlarged it even more.

Pulse quickening just a bit, and, hey, you photographer's out there, you just never know what you'll get in taking burst mode shooting.  Not knowing at the time, it was a thrill to see, once home, that my bird, had indeed, found supper and I got it!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1812 Privateer Lynx - Part 2

I went home that afternoon having toured the Lynx and was so excited and hyped about it I just had to return.  These are my pics the second time around.  By now the sun is going down and the crowd has dwindled.  And that flu carrier has left.  

You can tell you are in the right place because the slanted masts are so unique amongst the perpendicular ones. 

That and the bowsprit or spar.   

Simply beautiful.

It was close to 6:00 pm, when it closed for tours so not as many people.  And the setting of the sun (the Golden Hour) on the masts was pretty spectacular.

I'd like to have one of thee babies then I could sail her to Keithsburg and get a couple $1 Bloody Mary's at Tweety's.

When I've been at Demen's landing I have seen sailing classes for kids.  All of these tiny boats with a sail all tied together getting towed out into the Bay by a bigger boat.  There  the teacher sits and gives instructions to the kids in their individual boats.  

Flying high above was the flag that read, "Don't Give Up the Ship"

Also flying were the state flags of New Hampshire (home port),  Florida (winter home). Tall Ship Organization, the Lynx flag,  a red, white and blue ensign, and the Stars and Stripes used in 1812, with 13 stars. 

An informational banner plastered on the side for educating the land-lubbers.

One of the working swivel guns made by a firm in England which had made them for centuries. 

The next few pictures I will remain silent and let you tour and gawk at your leisure.

While I was there an Osprey landed on one of the yardarms to see what all the excitement was.

She flies the stars and stripes used by the US during the War of 1812.

This ship also has a motto, which is simple but pretty all-encompassing.

There you have it.  The Lynx left 4 days later after having invaded Tampa and defeating the defenders of the city in the annual Gasparilla Festival, thus receiving the keys to the city.  Why anyone would want it is beyond me.  

My first tall ship, possibly last.  A very exciting and noteworthy experience.  Loved the history, the beauty of the ship and the romanticism of the sea.   


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

1812 Privateer Lynx - Part 1

-Is that the Lynx?

-No, sir. That's the flagship of the fleet. Over there's your little pint-pot. 

-That's the Lynx! She isn't very big, is she? 

- It ain't the size that counts, youngster. It's the salt in the lads that man it.

I happened to have had the day off one Thursday in February and checked the Tampa Bay Times to see what was going on in hour little Burg.  I then noticed a pretty cool entry that said something like, "Lynx Enters Bay With Canons Ablaze".  That certainly caught my eye, and reading on I saw that a Tall Ship, the Privateer Lynx had entered our waters and was at a marina not far from my beloved Demen's Landing, second best place to revive one's batteries and reflect on life.

The article went on to state that this Baltimore Clipper schooner was going to participate in the Gasparilla Festival the following Saturday and while here she could be toured and, if lucky, you could be on what they call a "sail away" which is a 2 hour sail into the Bay.  It took me about 23 seconds to throw on my shoes and hop on the bike for a trip over to Harborage Marina to check this baby out.

True Confession Time:  I read every night at bedtime.  I like courtroom dramas (Defending Jacob), some sci-fi (The Passage/The Twelve),  dog stories (The Art of Racing In the Rain), and maritime novels.  I have some biographies in there and meaningful histories, but I seem to be in a novel rut lately.  Anyway, for some odd reason I enjoy the sailing novels of O'Brien, Hammond, and Russell.  The whole Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh, press gangs, overwrought heroics as well as the microcosm of life on ship appeals to me.  After you stop laughing, you may proceed to the next paragraph.

I was not disappointed when I arrived and quickly handed over $6 dollars to board her and walk around.   The crew members wear authentic period dress and are quite friendly and willing to answer questions.   The Lynx, of course is a replica, as are most Tall Ships.  Most sailing ships, like horses, I suppose simply vanished through old age,  storms and obsolescence.    

Her owners and builders stressed authenticity with the Lynx which, except for Coast Guard safety regulations, was achieved as closely as possible.  These Clipper schooners had a most handsome raked masts, which were at a 15 degree slant.  

The 2 above pictures are not mine.  I found these of the Lynx on her website which I recommend highly if you are interested.  I think they are beautiful pictures of her at sea. 

The Lynx's flag was the US flag during the War of 1812.  The original ship was captured by the British in 1813.  Privateers were private-owner ships leased to the US Navy since the navy at that time was ill-equipped to handle such duties of war.

Crew members wore authentic clothes of the period which would have been worn on such ships during the war.  The Lynx's home port is Portsmouth New Hampshire, and her winter home is Fort Myers, Florida.

The wheel and wheel house which contained the rudder system for maneuvering the ship.    

Compass and chart table.

You can find these floating compasses in antique shops and Ebay.  They aren't cheap (explains why I don't have one) but a smaller one would make a great corner table object 'd art.  Did I spell that correctly? 

This was an opening for storage items which we weren't allowed to investigate.  I wasn't really interested in the innards anyway.  Especially when that kid with her grampa who was coughing non-stop over everyone on deck and in the crew's quarters.  This winter was not the place to flaunt one's health with the vicious flu that was so widespread.  As of this writing I have escaped it so obviously I'll get Legionairre's or Avian flu.   

Crew's quarters is down this hatch. 

The Lynx is equipped with 4 functioning six-pounder canons and four swivel guns.  

The Staterooms.

Berths for the crew members doesn't allow for much wriggle or stretching room.

A crew member going through s storage area.  Notice the period dress.

Coming back on deck from the Stateroom quarters.  There was also an area, the Great Rooms, which was off limits to tourists.  

I'd wager not too many ships in 1812 had women crew members.  In fact superstition had it that it was bad luck to have women on board a warship.  

A sight right out of the past.

A Thirtyacre five gallon bucket of balls.

If the Baltimore Clippers had any weakness it was their lack of firepower if the seas became becalmed.  Now there is a sentence one can dissect.

This is grapeshot which was like a shotgun blast rather than a single ball when shot.  They would have used this type of armament when an enemy ship got close.  They would then rake the deck with grapeshot in hopes of decimating the crew and snipers.

The bow of the Lynx.

One of the anchors of the Lynx.

Very popular afternoon attraction at the marina.

The ship's bell.  Apparently every ship has one.

Imagine having to go aloft to trim sails in 50 mph winds being tossed around on the sea. I don't know if there is enough pucker left in me to try that.

The Age of Sail.

Looks a lot like my shoelaces sometimes.  

The decks are fashioned from Douglas fir, while the rest of the ship is made from Angelique and Southern pine. 

YouTube films of the Lynx entering St. Petersburg.

So I left having witnessed something pretty unique.  And then I imagined a marina where all the ships and boats had masts and sails.  With horse-drawn wagons bringing cargo and taking it away.  Only a hundred years ago it would have looked a lot like that.  Yes, it was a pretty neat experience.  But wait! There's More....tomorrow.