Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Garden of the Gods - Southern Illinois - Shawnee National Forest

This past Saturday we took a drive over to the Garden of the Gods in Illinois. This is a part of the Shawnee National Forest.

As you can see it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

A fair number of people out.

But I can't imagine the crowds are ever very big. It is out in the middle of nowhere. The only industry is coal mining and maybe a little logging. Towns are few and far between.

The colors were spectacular. Maybe a little before peak but really nice.

I used a circular polarizer on most of these shots. It reduces the glare on the leaves and makes the sky a darker blue.

The downside of the polarizer with wide angle shots is that the affect is maximum when at right angles to the sun and zero when directly toward or away. That means you can sometimes get changes in the color of the sky from one side to the other.

This is camel rock. Head on the left.

More info here. Garden of the Gods

and here Wikipedia

The swirls in the rocks are known as Liesegang bands. They are caused by iron or rust settling in the sandstone millions of years ago. The iron causes difference in erosion rates.

Learn more here. Liesegang Bands

More bands.

The Liesegang bands are all over.

I took a picture for a couple and they offered to do the same.

Here is one Margot took of me.

And here is a picture of Jacques and Margot.

Jacques actually walked most of the way. He was pretty worn out by the end of the day.

We took the scenic route back. We drove down to Cave-in-Rock, Illinois and took the ferry across the Ohio River into Kentucky.

This guy was fishing down at the barge landing.

I think he was using the net to catch bait fish.

Didn't see him catch anything.

I imagine he was mostly enjoying the sunshine.

Here is a picture of the ferry. Holds 15 cars or so at a time.

There aren't very many ferries left on the river.

The best part about it is that it is free. No toll.

It is operated by the Kentucky highway department according to the Kentucky tourism board.

Not so says the Evansville Courier Link

The area in Kentucky at the landing is Amish country.

We saw several horse drawn wagons, etc. on the way to Marion, Ky.

Here is a shot of Cave-in-Rock state park just upstream of the ferry landing.

Interesting history tidbit here. Cave-in-Rock Park

And of course, just past the park is a quarry.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Harmony, Tobacco in Kentucky and Nut Club Festival

Stumbled across a small festival in New Harmony about the middle of September. 

This was a pretty good sized flag hanging over the street.

We were actually on our way to New Harmony State Park but stopped here instead.

A couple of weeks later - around the 1st of October - we finally made it to the park. It is located on the Wabash River south of New Harmony. 

Nice park but it was practically empty. There is a pretty large campground but again not many people there.

This picture is near the boat dock.

Took a drive through Kentucky just opposite Newburgh a few weeks ago.

Click to enlarge.

This is a tobacco drying barn.

Here you can see the tobacco leaves hanging in the barn.

It is hard to get a perspective on this picture. It is taken from the door above looking diagonally up to the roof on an angle.

The barn smells like .... well tobacco.

This one is looking more or less straight up.

Looks like there are 6 levels of tobacco in the barn.

Not sure how they get them in there.

The tobacco comes from the field on the sticks or poles.

This is just a pretty scene along the highway near the Green River east of Henderson.

Now for something completely different.

These are shots from the West Side Nut Club Festival.

The what?

West Side Nut Club Festival

These 3 pictures are basically experiments.

Here is some more info on the festival.


I didn't take any pictures of the food booths. Must be over 100.

Basically fried anything you can think of - Snickers bars, KoolAid, Pepsi, hot dogs, etc. Yes, fried Pepsi.

Also, you can get the infamous brain sandwich there.

We went with pork tenderloins.

Another shot of the ride. I have some video of the ride in action. When I figure out how to edit it I'll post some footage.

Lots of carnival booths, also.

No link to the Nut Club itself. Google says their website seems to have been compromised by Cialis ads. You can try linking to it if you like. They do a lot of good work in the community.

Here is a picture of the house with a nice sunset in the background.

Here is a close up of the mums in the front garden.

Trip to Ottawa

Took a trip to Ottawa a couple of weeks ago to attend the wedding of Kylie Mestelle and Kyle Booras. On the way there we stopped in Olney to see if we could spot the infamous White Squirrels.

As you can see, we were successful. They really are white. Not light gray, white.

Bad news is the number seems to be dropping.

In the 40's there were about 1000 of these things roaming Olney.

There seem to be a couple of stories about the early history. You can read more about them here.

White Squirrels

Turns out there are several pockets of white squirrels around the country.

You can read about the Squirrel Wars here.

Squirrel Wars

Here is a grey cousin for reference.

No pictures from the wedding but here are some from Starved Rock on Saturday morning before the wedding.

There had been a lot of rain and wind a couple of days before so a lot of the leaves had been knocked down.

Fungus growing on a tree.

I don't know why.

A farm across the river.

Nice visitor's center at the lock and dam across from the park.

Here is a picture of Starved Rock from the lock and dam.

The lock was busy while we were there.

This is an American White Pelican fishing near the dam.

The tug boat has a wheel house that can be raised and lowered. For low bridges, I guess.

Here is a picture of Margot and me from the reception.

A very lovely affair all the way around.

Dan and Lisa have had a lot of practice - 3rd of 4 girls.