Ricoh GX200: I Finally Got U

One great thing about technology and the technology market is the fact that, even though new technology is expensive when it is first released, you can wait a few years and get that same equipment for a fraction of the original cost.
Ricoh 200GX When I first developed an interest in photography I researched the different brands of cameras.  I wanted to find a camera with an excellent reputation that could deliver excellent results.  There were a few that stood out.  I ended up going with a Canon and never regretted that decision.  One of the deciding factors in my chosing the canon was the price.  I stumbled upon a brand of a camera that is quite populat with commercial photographers known as Ricoh.  I had never heard of the brand.  Apparently its about as top of the line as you can get.  But with a price of approaching 700 dollars I knew the Ricoh was way out of my league. Ricoh 200GX
Flash forward to a late Friday night on ebay at home. I stroll across the Ricoh GX200 bundled with the wide angled lens for less than 1/10th of the original price. I went ahead and treated myself.
Ricoh 200GX The first thing I noticed about the Ricoh camera is how well built and sturdy the camera is. It doesnt feel flimsy or cheaply light. Ricoh 200GX
Another really cool feature of this camera is the fact that it has dual power sources. You can either use the lithium ion battery or you can use two AAA batteries.
Ricoh 200GX All of these images are completely untouched and unedited. Ricoh 200GX
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The ebay time machine allows me to induldge myself once again. If you are an amatuer photographer and you enjoy creative photography, I cant suggest this camera enough.
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Indiana War Memorial — Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana World War Memorial
The Indiana World War Memorial Building is the centerpiece of the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza; a five block memorial originally concieved in 1919 as a location for the national headquarters of the American Legion and a memorial to the state’s and nation’s veterans.

The memorial’s design is based upon the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At 210 feet tall it is approximately 75 feet taller than the original Mausoleum. The blue lights which shine between columns on the side of the War Memorial make the monument easily recognizable. It is the most imposing neoclassical structure in Indianapolis due to its scale and size.
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On September 25, 1989 the Indiana World War Memorial place was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Scott Theatre — Scottsburg, Indiana

Scottsburg, Indiana
The Scott Theater was built and opened in 1947. After closing as a movie theatre it was later renovatated in 2002 and converted into a country music hall named the Scottsburg Jamboree. Later the theater was renamed to Ross Country Jamboree. The theater currently hosts weekly live music performances in the vein of The Grand Ole Opry. The theater has an audience capacity of 500.

May 2017 Indiana/Ohio Road Trip: Day 1

Meadow Lake Wind Farm
4:30 came so early this morning.  So early in fact I rolled back over and slept until 5.  In doing that I had to leap out of bed when my alarm went off and leave as quickly as possible.  I was out the door and on the road by about 5:20. The grand total for the day was 485 miles. That 485 miles included 2 new Kmart stores, a mall in Louisville on Bardstown Road that I didnt even know existed, my customary stop at the Falls of the Ohio River State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, 2 Goodwill Outlets, 1 regular Goodwill store, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and the Meadow Lake Wind Farm off I65 near Chalmers. Ill give another update tomorrow with a few more pictures from the day. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Louisville, Kentucky Kmart -- Thompson Rd -- Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, Indiana Indianapolis, Indiana

Going Back To Cairo

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Two of my most fascinating and intruiging abandoned discoveries were by complete accident. McDowell County, West Virginia and Cairo, Illinois. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
The first time I arrived in Cairo was in 2012 on spring break. I was headed for the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Little did I know the treasure trove of historical matter I was about to stumble upon.
The Cairo Union Building The town, just like McDowell County did, has stuck with me since and I often find myself wondering about the history, current state and future of a town I have no ties to whatsoever. Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southern-most settlement in the state of Illinois, it lies right at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers right at the corner of the state where Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky all meet. The town has been subject to a turbulent history which has lead to a steep decline in population. The town was founded in 1858. The population peaked during the 1920 census at over 15,000 people. By 1980 that number had fallen to 5,931. The 2015 US census estimate puts the total at 2,467. Thats a decline of just under 85% in less than 100 years.
The Cairo Union Building

What happened? What went wrong? For that information I am going to link you up to my buddy Sherman Cahal’s blog entry covering Cairo and its decline. His article can be found by clicking HERE.
The former Famous-Barr Department Store building sat on the vaccant lot to the left of the van in this picture. That building was still standing when I was here in the spring of 2012. Oddly enough, so was that van.

Cairo, Illinois (2012)
Same view in 2012

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) The post office is proof of the scope and size of Cairo in its original form. Vacant Lot in Cairo
As are the wide streets all through the town that are mostly bare. The main street even included a rail car of some kind at sometime. The rail is still visible in the brick street.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) What few buildings are left standing in the Cairo business district are overgrown with trees and have fallen into a state of decay that is almost beyond repair.  The really sad part about this is that much of the business district of Cairo has been placed on the National Register of Historic PlacesCairo, Illinois (March 2017) href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/120051008@N03/32458816573/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)”>Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) Over the next few weeks I will have several entries on this blog focusing on several landmarks in the city that are still standing, including an abandoned school and the abandoned hospital that has been closed for over 30 years. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Until then, please enjoy these pictures from around Cairo.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)

Spring Time Ramblings Through The Heartland(A few weeks early)

Over the past few days I have been rambling about the Bluegrass state and the southern edge of Illinois and a small corner of Missouri. Why you might ask? Well, like I stated in this blog earlier this week I just had to go back to Cairo one more time before the town declinds even further and also, as you might have figured out I have this weird obsession with docummenting and experiencing Sears / Kmart as much as possible, especially since their future doesnt look particularly bright. What does Sears and Kmart have to do with this area of the country?
Spring Warm Up Road Trip 2017 Well in January, Sears Holdings announced they would close 7(SEVEN?!?!?!) more Kmart stores across the Bluegrass State. All of the ones that were closing that I hadnt been to were from Bowling Green West. Couple this with the fact that the stores close for good on or about March 19th (my spring break isnt until mid-late April) and the fact that once I got to Paducah I would only be 30 minutes from Cairo I just had to do what it took to make it happen. Spring Warm Up Road Trip 2017
It snowballed into a trip covering 4 states  and by the time I realized I would only be less than an hour from one of the very last Sears stores built from the ground up ( built in 2006 ) AND it is also one of the very last Sears Grand stores still signed as such…..I covered a little over 900 miles, 7 new to me Kmart stores (side note: I have now been to every Kmart store currently opene in the bluegrass state! , 2 Sears stores, (1 closing and 1 Sears Grand) Multiple abandoned schools, throw in an abandoned hospital and the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and I have had a very busy, but fulfilling time. I will be covering all of these discoveries and explorations in the blog over the next month or so. I look forward to sharing my disooveries with you!

Curtis Mathes Sign — Martinsville, Virginia

Several weeks ago a friend of mine and I took a drive over to the Martinsville, Virginia area.  It was a new experience for me.  Even though I had been all around Martinsville before, I had never actually been to Martinsville proper.

One of the most striking vintage relics we came across was this Curtis Mathes sign hanging on the side of a building, where it has obviously resided for many years.
Martinsville, VA
Now, Im about to show my age here, but I can remember when my parents first got a VCR and they would go to and take me to Curtis Mathes in downtown Harlan to rent video tapes.  In those does, Kentucky 38 went straight through downtown along Clover Street and there were buildings and the river right around where it runs today.  In one of those buildings was Curtis Mathes.  I always thought Curtis Mathes was the fancy place in town to rent video tapes because they came in those big brown and orange cases.  Kids are so weird sometimes.