Sunday, July 5, 2020

July 5, 2020 An Early Morning Hike in Thornton

After last night's artillery attack that lasted for hours in Lansing, I knew I had to get Nola outside early this morning. That poor dog is terrified of loud noises. I'll admit that today's hike is more for me than for the dogs. Although I don't think it matters to them where we hike as long as we go somewhere. This is where the hike ended. It just made sense for the sake of the story to start with this picture. 


And if you've ever driven through Thornton, you know why I added this photo.

When we drove through my neighborhood at 6:15 this morning, there was a haze that smelled like gunpowder. But it was a beautiful morning in Thornton. We walked south on Williams Street from Margaret Street toward what is known locally as the Thornton Quarry. The actual quarry is just west and north of here. This is where they process the limestone. I've never been shy about my love of natural places or my love of our country's industrial places. The quarry is huge but lately, I rarely see any work being done when I drive by either the giant hole in the earth or the processing plant. 

I've wanted to walk along here to take pictures for a long time. Since we have blue skies on this warm morning, I decided today was a good day for our hike. This Boz, yes the clown forced them to change the name years ago, probably lost a lot of business when work at the quarry slowed down.

So the Fun Bunch Three are ready for their Sunday Funday hike.

All I really know about this place is they mine limestone and use conveyor belts to move the rocks from the quarry to these buildings for processing.

I'm pretty sure these two couldn't care less about the buildings across the street.

At some point on this hike, I just started taking pictures to capture the interconnected lines from building to building.

The blue sky and low sun helped make the photos more interesting to me.

Sometimes walking by these immense structures can be awe-inspiring.

Vertical, horizontal and angled lines kept getting my attention.

If you've read my blog in the past, you know I love signs. This Francis cross street just goes to the lot on the east side of the road.

Already looking back at where we just walked to get a shot with the sun at a different angle.

I see these too often. I always stop and take a moment. I also stood the flowers up on the left.

My sunlit dogs near the crushed limestone piles.

Fun with shadows. Chrissy says it's just like Sheldon's Fun With Flags on the Big Bang Theory.

There are No Trespassing signs all over this area.

This being Sunday, I thought the shadow has a bit of religious symbolism to it.

South of the Hansen Thornton Quarry is Gallager Asphalt Corporation.
I love the old Steam Roller out front.

Somewhere near this place the street name changes to Indiana Avenue, I have no idea why. This is still in Thornton.

Another reason I came here early was so no one hassled me about taking pictures.

But Sunday morning on a holiday weekend, there was no activity at all.

This is a huge cemetery, but most graves are marked with flat tombstones. I'm not a fan of this type of graveyard. It just looks like a giant front lawn.

I keep taking these "sign of the times" pictures hoping they will be forgotten in the near future. But some days I wonder if they might be around for longer than we think.


The temperature is rising quickly. I was thinking of taking the bike trail to the train tracks and walking back on the tracks. But Nola's tongue hanging out makes me turn around here and head back.

Of course, I had to take a few pictures on the way back to the car.

It seems to me, these rock piles have been here for a long time. Maybe they restock them as needed.

I started singing a Bob Seger song to these two on the walk back.
"On a long and lonesome highway
East of Omaha
You can listen to the engine
Moanin' out his one-note song
You can think about the woman
Or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wandering
The way they always do
When you're ridin' sixteen hours
And there's nothin' much to do
And you don't feel much like ridin',
You just wish the trip was through
Here I am
On the road again" - Turn The Page
They look like sand dunes to me in these photos. 




Again I'm intrigued by the buildings and the angles of the conveyor belts connecting them.

They are moving rocks all over the place here.

They might not care about this place. Hell, there are no squirrels to chase and not many dogs walk this road so nothing to sniff and pee on. But they still stop when I ask them to stay so I can take a picture. That makes them good dogs to me.




Another beautiful morning for a hike. I hate to say it but we could use some rain. It's going to be in the '90s again today. It looks like a hot summer is here to stay.



Chicago Style Hot Dogs at Boz😉.

I hope I kept this interesting enough that you read down this far. As you probably know, the decline in our industrial cities is still occurring. There must be a way for us to retool these areas for future production here in America. It's almost the same plea I make about protecting our natural places. Not surprisingly, I'm interest in the history and the future of both.

If you are interested, ten years ago I did a tour of the Thornton Quarry. You can see my blog post for the tour here. 
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Saturday, June 27, 2020

June 20, 2020 My Little Town

After walking around Downtown Hammond yesterday morning, I decided to take these two on a walk in our little town. Lansing is a blue-collar town just south of Chicago. Our neighborhood was built up from farm fields after WWII. Lansing was settled by mostly German and Dutch families. Over the years it has become what America was created to be, a place with people from all over the world. 
So this Irish, Italian & German boy took his two french dogs for a walk to Lansing's downtown area. The local power company cut down the trees on my neighbor's property on Friday. Apparently, they were too close to the power lines.

Yeti & Nola would have sniffed these trees for hours if I didn't pull them away.


It's already a warm morning and it's only 5:40am. It looks like another beautiful day in Chicagoland.

I love being outside while most people are still sleeping. It's so peaceful and makes for a relaxing hike.
This building was a newspaper building when we moved here 27 years ago. Now it's a medical center.
We started in the back parking lot of Kilroy's Pub.

This is why I love walking through neighborhoods. You get to see everything while wandering aimlessly. But I'm not looking for a prom or wedding gown at this moment. But if I change my mind I know where to find one.

Ever since the quarantine started, Beggars Pizza set up their parking lot with numbered spaces and would bring out your order to your car.

We walked around Beggars Pizza to Ridge Road which is the main street through Lansing's downtown area.

The still closed front doors at Beggars Pizza.

Santori Liquors still has the boards up from the recent looting spree that subverted the legitimate protests.
Beggars Pizza has several locations on the south side of the city, so it seems appropriate they sponsor the White Sox.

This pizzeria is a converted movie theater.

We are walking west on the north side of Ridge Road. But the early morning sun is lighting up the south side of Ridge Road which is creating some nice reflection shots on this side of the street.

A t-shirt printing shop that I did not know was here.

The front window of Bridal Solutions.

I'll eat Subway if nothing else is available, but it is true that they are locally owned.

The low sun is lighting up Gus Bock's Ace Hardware beautifully. This place is a great locally owned hardware store.

I love this photo. Kilroy's put this manikin in their front door when the quarantine began. Everything else in this photo is a reflection.

The front entrance to Kilroy's Pub. 

This place moved across the street years ago. Unfortunately, we have several empty storefronts on Ridge Road.

This place has good Mexican food. I believe it is called Rancho Grande but some people call it Tacos & Burritos. I also love that it stays open until midnight.

It looks like we have two T-Shirt shops in town.

The only mural on the streets here. There is an old beer advertisement mural on the wall inside Rancho Grande.

Just in case you thought I lost my dogs, they are still with me. Yeti is taking a moment to smell the flowers.

I don't think either one of the two businesses advertised here are still open.

The Pennsy Greenway Trail crosses Ridge Road here with the Clock Tower Park across the street.

These banners are all over every town around here. 

The Lansing Firefighter Memorial. Our house was built by a Lansing Firefighter back in 1951.

We have a lot of barbershops and...

...nail salons for a small town.

Jack's lit up nicely by the early morning sun.

This old furniture store is supposedly the new home for One Trick Pony Brewery.

I think the reflections make these pictures more interesting.

I just got a new phone and it has a wide-angle camera feature. It works pretty well. Yeti seems to like the clouds as much as I do.

The signs of the times. It's been a strange year.

Gayety's Ice Cream & Chocolates. When this place closed suddenly, I was crushed. I'm so glad a former employee, bought & reopened it. 

The original owner of Gayety's must have rolled over in his grave when the family closed this place.

Yeti hoping to place an order for a Mancino Club Grinder. It's the one I usually get and he always looks at my sandwich with loving eyes. Another locally-owned place with great food.

Lansing's own First National Bank. It's already 71 degrees at 6:09am. Going to be another hot one today.

It looks like a new business might open here.

Not sure if this already opened and closed for the coronavirus. Maybe it never opened. I'm not sure.

I am sure this Harold's Chicken is closed. I blame the sign. All the other Harold's Chicken signs show a chef with a hatchet chasing a chicken. It always makes me laugh.

I love this place too. They are extremely friendly and very helpful every time I go there for house projects. Now we are walking east on the south side of Ridge Road.

I've been here more often than I'd like to be. They do what they do very well. I would recommend this place if you need this service.

I really like this wide-angle feature. Yeti still stopping to smell the flowers.

I love the wide-angle distortion for this picture.

I've been going to Kent's for years.

Interesting combination of businesses in this family. The airplanes were a summer art project in Lansing years ago. It was for the historic Ford Hangar at the Lansing Airport.

Great sky for pictures this morning.

I heard this place had some looting. 

A real shoe store like the one you used to go to with your mom when you were a kid. It used to be in Hammond and moved here years ago. 

Our downtown grocery store.

There are lots of interesting things at this military surplus store. I bought a great wide brim hat for our Hawaii trip here. I look like an extra on the TV show Mash when I wear it. 

Several businesses on Ridge Road have benches out front on the sidewalk.

More fun with wide angles.

The most impressive thing about this photo is the newly paved street. Lansing has way too many streets falling apart and only a few ever get fixed.

This is an impressive run for a small business.

Lansing is 135years old. It was founded the year the Civil War ended. That is impressive. 


A give a book, take a book box at the Clocktower Park plaza.


I guess we have a computer store in town.

It took me a few minutes to realize that this place has closed.

I truly felt sad once I realized. I first stopped here years ago during one of Lansing's Cruise Nights. I met a young man who owned the place. Even though I never skateboarded, I loved that Lansing had a skate shop. I loved the graffiti artwork on the walls and the cool vibe of the place. I bought a deck with NYC Cinco Barrios on it. Only after asking if it was okay that I wanted to use it as art. He thought it was a cool idea and said yes. I never thought the business would make it. But over the years I stopped in once in a while to see the young bands that played there and I loved seeing the kids skateboarding in the back parking lot. I was wrong it seemed to do very well. That's why I felt so bad it was now empty.

Even though it wasn't for me, I thought this was the coolest business in Lansing. I am going to miss Royal Skate.

Of course, a blue-collar town has a Blue Collar Supply store. Yes, I am a regular here. Great selection of Carhartt jackets and everything you need to work outside in Chicago's winters.

All the union decals in the front window. 

I can walk to two liquor stores, a drug store, two bars, four pizzerias, and five restaurants. You have to love a small town.

The front of Gus Bock's.

We walked home down William Street. That is how my day started. 


This is how it ended.
Dinner from the Maple Tree Inn. Flash fried oysters, Hickory BBQ shrimp, beignets, and a bottle of Creole Voodoo Zombie. Life is good in my small town.