Small Town America

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mj package store
M.J. Package Store
Walkerton, Indiana

A drive through Walkerton, Indiana is a drive back in time. The old architecture is still in place, although it's painted a different color and has a few modern signs screwed to it. This town lies directly on US 6, a major east-west midwestern highway used by plenty of truckers.

Scores of businesses have come and gone in the past few decades - a Studebaker dealer, Paulett's Restaurant, Welco truck stop, Ray and Kenny's grocery, Wilcox grocery just to name a few, but this town is still full of charm and friendly people.

Plus, you can visit Koontz Lake just a few miles away!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

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christmas decor
Christmas Decorations
November 2007

We managed to get past Thanksgiving without too many people rushing to put up their Christmas Decorations. Now, it seems everyone has their homes and businesses decorated.

We got most of our outdoor decorations in place and lit up. I've still got a lot more lights to go on the tree in front of the house, but at least it's beginning to look festive.

Tinley Park Metra Station

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train at tinley station
Train 410
Tinley Park, IL Metra Station

Passengers climb aboard the Metra train on their way toward downtown Chicago on a cold, snowy November Sunday at the Tinley Park train station.

Moonrise at 70 MPH

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moon on farm
Moon Rising over Indiana Farm

On the way home from Indianapolis I was in the passenger seat for once, so I was able to experiment with the camera. Just after sunset, I noticed the moon rising in the east so I attempted to get a shot of it.

It's not easy to use a 300mm lens in a car moving at 70 mph - especially when it's pretty dark outside. Luckily, I was able to get a few shots that weren't too blurry thanks to a fully manual camera.

I wish we had time to pull over to take some "real" shots of that evening's moon rise.

Waffles Anyone?

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worth the three hour drive
My Waffle House Dinner
Waffle House Indianapolis, Indiana

No trip to a Waffle house would be complete without a delicious waffle. It seems you can't find a traditional waffle at many places these days - they're either malted or the Belgium type that are too thick for my taste. Waffle House still serves up the great, thin waffles just bursting with flavor.

Their hash browns can be ordered scattered (not in a patty), smothered (onions), covered (cheese) capped(mushrooms), peppered(jalapeƱo peppers), chunked (diced ham), diced (diced tomatoes) or topped (with chili). Of course you can get them "all the way" with everything on them!

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waffle house waffle irons
Waffle Irons
Waffle House Indianapolis, Indiana

It was certainly worth the three hour drive for this meal. I can't wait until the next!
Get in the car John!

Waffle House Coffee

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Coffee Anyone
Coffee station at Indianapolis Waffle House

Anyone who has traveled in the south has seen the bright yellow Waffle House Sign at almost every other exit! They really have great waffles and grits, not to mention good coffee.

John and I decided to take a little detour on Saturday afternoon to get some coffee at the nearest Waffle House from Chicago. It turns out to be the Waffle House in Indianapolis, Indiana! Only a 2 1/2 hour drive for some great food!

The waitress was rather surprised when we told her we drove from Chicago just to eat at the Waffle House.

We'll have to do it again next month John!!

Happy Thanksgiving

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dan and mike making greenbean casserole
Dan and Mike making Green Bean Casserole

chris making pumpkin pie
Chris making his "famous" pumpkin pie (all by himself)
Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Fallen Leaves

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parking block
Leaf Parking Only

Steel Bridge

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steel bridge
Steel Bridge
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal was built in 1900 to replace the small Illinois and Michigan Canal that connected the Great Lakes (lake Michigan) to the Mississippi River. Prior to the completion of this canal, Chicago's waste water was dumped into Lake Michigan - the source of water for the city.

The modern canal is 28 miles long, 202 feet wide, and 24 feet deep, allowing plenty of room for barge traffic as well as an outlet for the city's treated waste water.


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cascade falls
Cascade Waterfall
Matthiessen State Park
Utica, Illinois

More than just the water was falling when we visited Matthiessen State Park. The leaves were on display and steadily falling to the bottom of the canyons.

I didn't bring a tripod with, so this shot was pretty hard. I had the camera in my hand but resting on a small boulder to help keep it steady.

Next time, I've got to remember a tripod.

Fall Colors at Dellwood Park

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Dellwood Park Trail Entrance
The path leading away from the IandM Canal trail
Dellwood Park
Lockport, Illiniois

The last of the fall color is on display in Dellwood Park. The trees are getting bare and the weather is certainly much colder as we approach winter.

Path Through Fall Colors

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bridge in fall

Bending trees cover this bridge with fall color on a warm, October afternoon. Matthiessen State Park was showing off at the time of this photo - lots of gold and red colors along this path over a 40 foot tall waterfall.

Not Fit for Human Contact

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not suitable for human contact
Not Fit for Human Contact
Sign under Route 83

After walking through the Lemont Quarries looking for fossils, we wandered down a closed path that lead toward the Calumet Sag Channel. An interesting but lonely area marked with spray paint and garbage. Not the kind of place I enjoy, but one that was worth exploring.

We noticed the sign pictured above, heaven help anyone who falls into the channel!


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Ladies Quilting
LaPorte County Fair
Indiana July 2007

During the LaPorte County Fair, the Pioneer Village is open for visitors. This village offers a peak into life back in the early days of LaPorte County and includes a blacksmith, post office, general store, house and barn. Each year in the house, these two women work on a hand-sewn quilt. There may be others who help too, but I always see the same two! They are always happy to show you their work, and will answer questions about quilting and sewing.

See ya next year!

Autumn Pool

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giants bath
Giant's Bathtub
Matthiessen State Park, Illinois

Fall colors are reflected in Giant's Bathtub, a pool of water located between two waterfalls in Matthiessen State Park. This day was very warm and sunny, so lots of people were enjoying the canyons and trails. The people in this photo help to give an idea of just how large this "bathtub" really is.

A certain destination this winter.

More Fall Colors

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red leaves
Red Maple Leaves
Dellwood Park, Lockport, Illinois

Certainly not my favorite time of year, Fall has some nice aspects. Take the colors for instance, reds, yellows, greens and browns combined with the low angle of the sun make for some great scenery.
I still don't like the increasingly cold weather, but if you think about it, the farther we get into fall, the closer winter is, and the closer winter is, the closer spring is!

That's how I get through the winter.....thinking of spring.

Floating on By

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Floating On By
Leaves Float in a Small Stream
Naperville, Illinois

The colorful fall leaves have been inspiring this year. Warm weather and just the right amount of rain and wind have prolonged the "leaf" season for more people to enjoy. Peak color seems to be right about now, but I'm certain that it won't last much longer.

These leaves fell onto the surface of a small creek in Naperville, Illinois. They'll be transported somewhere else by the running water. Perhaps eventually they will travel down the Des Plaines River, into the Illinois River, to the Mississippi River and turn up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fall Reflection

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fall colors on fish lake
Autumn Colors
LaPorte County, Indiana

What a great day to walk around in the cold water! The water may have been freezing, but when you glanced up you saw this beautiful color -made me warm instantly.

Approaching Storm

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surviving another storm
Storm Approaching an Abandoned Farm
Orland Park, Illinois

A late October thunderstorm is slowly approaching this abandoned farm in northern Illinois. I counted three supercell thunderstorms from this vantage point and was able to take cover before the drenching rains, wind and hail began.

The setting sun was shining brightly, creating almost impossibly saturated fall colors on the trees and grasses. It also created a perfect double rainbow.

Begging for Food

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pretty please
Chipmunk waiting for a handout
Brookfield Zoo

These little guys are running all over the place - outside and inside some of the animal exhibits! The usually shy and elusive chipmunk has realized people at the zoo don't want to harm them, they want to feed them.

This little guy is waiting for a little piece of a cracker.