Category Archives: travel

Seward, Alaska

The official motto of Seward: Alaska Starts Here


Seward Marina

I was finally able to escape for a few days and get some fishing in, so some friends and I headed south to Seward to chase some cohos. The silver run was winding down, but we still hit some pockets, and had a great day out on the water.


Resurrection Bay

Seward’s population is just over 2500, but it swells during the summer with people coming to fish or just see the sights. As many as 40,000 come into the tiny port town for the July 4th festivities, which include the running of Mount Marathon.

In 1793, Alexander Baranov started a fur trading post at Resurrection Bay, where the city now stands. Seward is Mile 0 for the historic Iditarod Trail. In 1964, the city was virtually destroyed by the Good Friday Earthquake, which struck Alaska. Much of the damage was caused by the tsunami that hit immediately after the shaker.


The Catch

As recently as 2011, Seward was the ninth most profitable fishing port in the U.S. We did all right for a late run. Most of the salmon we caught were silvers, but we hooked into a few pinks as well. In an unfortunate turn, one member of the boat caught a puffin. The first time I had seen that happen. The puffin was deep, probably after some of the chum in the water, and I think everyone was surprised to see feathers break the surface of the water, and not scales, when the puffin was reeled in. We brought the bird on board, and I held the colorful diver, while the boat’s captain removed the hook from its wing. Once released, the puffin flew off with no signs of distress.

After a day of fishing, we hit Thorn’s Showcase Lounge. I apologize to Thorn’s: the first time I saw the building, I immediately thought it was a strip club, and not wholly due to the sign out front that reads: “Bucket of Butts”. Thorn’s does serve up the best halibut in Seward, and they have an extensive collection of old liquor bottles in all shapes and sizes.


Thorn’s: Where it’s 1968 all day, every day.


Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

While in Chicago, we visited the Frank Lloyd House & Studio, which is located on Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. FLW built the home in 1889, using a loan of $5000 from his employer Louis Sullivan, to purchase the property and start construction. The home received an extensive remodel and addition in 1895, and the Studio was added to the property in 1898. Both the Home & Studio were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.


Mural and skylight in the children’s playroom

The FLW Preservation Trust currently owns the home and studio. They have restored the property to it’s condition in 1909, when the Wright’s lived there, raising six children.


Lighting, both natural and electric, in the playroom

The home has made use of a lot of stained glass, skylights and indirect natural lighting. Pictures were hard to come by, while on a tour. Our group was 15 strong, which is a full tour group. Many of the rooms, and hallways are quite small, but then open into larger rooms with tall ceilings. It was a challenge to take photos without including members of the tour.

As much as I enjoyed the home, I think I liked the studio even more. It is a wonderful workplace. Two sections of the studio are octagon shaped rooms, connected by the front entry room. FLW’s private office was octagonal, as was the two story room, where the designers and craftsmen worked on projects. If you go, look for the structural chains in the main design room.


The Studio, as seen from across Chicago Ave

The Studio must have been a major presence on Chicago Avenue at the time it was built. No doubt, it offered some wonderful, free advertising. If someone wanted to build a unique and “out-of-the-box” home, a trip down Chicago Avenue would tell you that FLW was worth contacting.

The guided tour lasts about an hour, and is well worth the time, if you are wandering around Oak Park, and looking for something to do.



Hemingway Museum

Located in Oak Park is the Ernest Hemingway Museum. Most of the exhibits focus on Hemingway’s Oak Park years, but there is information that explores all facets of his life. There are two videos playing on a loop, one of which is exclusive to the museum.

The Isle, an exhibit in the center of the museum, covers Hemingway’s time with both the Kansas City Star and the Toronto Star, as well as his love of nature, and how he incorporated that into his writings.

It was an unexpected gem in Chicago, and I highly recommend it if you are in the Oak Park area.

A block and a half from the museum, is the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. A Queen Anne style house, built in 1890 by Hemingway’s grandparents. The home was purchased by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park in 1992. A major restoration was then started to bring the home back to the condition it was in when the Hemingways resided there.

It’s a neat house, and well worth the time to tour it. Price of admission to the museum includes the tour of the home. You are free to return a second day to take in all of the exhibits and videos. The volunteers are first rate, and very knowledgeable.


I looked plenty hard…


Route 66

In an attempt to get to know the “Mother Road” a little better, we drove over to Ogden Avenue in Berwyn to check out the Berwyn US 66 Museum. That turned out to be a lot like trying to hunt down Route 66 itself.

The museum was closed, and the folks seemed to leave without a forwarding address.

Next door was a hobby store, that sold Legos (“Get your Bricks on 66”) and all sorts of trains. They seemingly had all gauges, and a nice, running, 2-train setup in the middle of one room.

The folks in the hobby store had no idea what happened to the museum.


The Schott

Schottenstein Center
Columbus, Ohio

The Schott exterior

I returned to the site of the 2005 Frozen Four, the Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center, at The Ohio State University, in the middle of Columbus, Ohio. Whew! That’s a lot to plug in an opening sentence.

OSU Pep Band

The OSU Pep Band was there to greet me as I came through the front door. Very considerate, as I had driven a long way to attend.

The Golden Bear

There is a lot of sports history at OSU, and all sports are represented on the banner that runs along both sides of the walkway around the rink, or court, depending on who is playing.

Warmups at the Schott

But, we are back to hockey, as the Wisconsin Badgers took on the Ohio State Buckeyes on the ice. The Schott is a nice venue, but I wouldn’t say it’s all that and a bag of chips for hockey. The first eight rows are temporary seating, where the rows rise slowly, putting everyone farther away from the action than should be. It’s a big venue, with over 17,000 seats for hockey, but the upper bowl is blocked off by black sheets, and even the seats at one end of the ice received the black sheet treatment. For all of Ohio State’s rich athletic history, hockey still remains an afterthought on campus.

Badgers during warmups

The Badgers would draw first blood, but they should not have. Ohio State was on the power play, and had a flurry in front of the Wisconsin net, Jack Berry made several saves, but seemed to lose sight of the puck in the melee. Somehow, the Badgers gained control, and Luke Kunin (of course) scored a nice short handed goal at the other end with one second left on the power play.
Matthew Freytag would score before the period was over, only his second goal of the year, for a 2-0 Badger lead.

Ohio State scored the only goal of the second period, with an absolutely beautiful pass out of the corner by Mason Jobst to Matthew Weis, who was right in front of the net. 2-1 Badgers after two.

Ohio State did finally step things up in the third period, but Berry was up to the task and didn’t allow another puck to get past him.
A lot of bad blood out there between the two squads. From early in the first period, the two teams were throwing punches, and there were constant skirmishes, often away from the puck.

Ryan Wagner finished up the scoring with an empty net goal for Wisconsin, which was assisted by Kunin. Giving Kunin a two point night. Berry finished with 26 saves for Wisconsin, and Christian Frey had 22 for OSU.

Most schools have some amusing traditions for the outsider, and OSU was no exception. I did enjoy the rendition of “The Hockey Song” during the second intermission, with the band members leading the way. Nice job. “Do I play hockey?”