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R Todd Rothrauff
2,760 followers -
"I never take myself too seriously, 'cause everybody knows fat birds don't fly !"
"I never take myself too seriously, 'cause everybody knows fat birds don't fly !"

2,760 followers
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October 24, 2004: My then-wife and I had moved to Missouri in mid-2003. Amidst graduate school and work obligations, we made time on the weekends to do some exploring in a part of the country neither of us had been before. One of those adventures took us to Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Union Station opened on September 1, 1894 and soon became the world's largest and busiest train station, seeing 100,000 travelers passing through its doors each day by the 1940s. But the decades that followed saw a sharp decline in passenger traffic due to the increase in popularity of travel by airplane. Operating a massive train station for a dwindling number of passengers just wasn't feasible by the mid-1970s. The last train departed Union Station in 1978. The complex was renovated in the 1980s and re-purposed into a hotel and shopping mall.

Untion Station is a great place ! Along with all the shops and restaurants, the building was full of historic exhibits from its train station days. We spent some time wandering around checking everything out, using the posted signage to find our way around.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Arrows." Shot with a small Fuji FinePix F401 that surprised me in a good way with the quality of pictures it took.
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August 16, 2008: My late submission for today's #joinindaily theme of "Tall structures" is a photo I took of the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, USA back in 2008, (the building was renamed to the Willis Tower in 2009). I was touring Chicago and preparing to take a ride to the Skydeck observation deck on the building's 103rd floor. The view of the entire region from 1,353 feet is amazing ! But looking up at the tower from the street level is equally as impressive.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Tall structures." Shot with a Canon S3IS.
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October 8, 2011: I was strolling through the Bear Hollow Zoo at Memorial Park in Athens, Georgia, USA and came across a group of Chinese Ringnecked Pheasants. The Bear Hollow Zoo serves as a home for wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild as a result of an issue, (i.e. injury, behavioral, etc). The zoo's website describes its residents as "ambassadors for their species." This particular ambassador must have been on his coffee break when I passed by. Either that or he had grown weary of the stream of paparazzi altogether and wasn't really into his job at that moment.

A late submission for #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Tails." Shot with a Canon S3IS.
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December 26, 2015: Neptune Park is an oceanfront public park in St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA located in the Pier Village section of downtown. The park features a swimming pool, a mini-golf course, a children's playground, and the St. Simons Island Pier. Having the St. Simons Lighthouse next door allows for some amazing photo ops ! I took the photo below of the Pier from atop the 104-foot Lighthouse during my 2015 Christmas Holiday visit.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Piers." Shot with a Canon SX40HS.
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June 21, 2009: Below is a late submission for +Johnny Wills for today's #joinindaily theme of "Looking out." In this case, I was flying to San Diego, California, USA and took the photo below not long after takeoff from Atlanta. I always prefer to have a window seat because I enjoy looking out the window, even if all I see is a wing or aircraft engine . . .
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April 16, 2017: I sometimes struggle with finding an appropriate picture of decent quality for the #joinindaily theme. But not today !

I've been an old car lover ever since I was old enough to know what a car was, and had amassed quite a collection at a young age, ( http://www.oldcarsarecool.com/The-Heritage-Collection/October-1970-When-Todd-became-a-car-lover-/i-29XV9M9/A ) ! This love gradually morphed into an Asperger-like devotion throughout my youth. The 1980s added a driver's license to my wallet which progressed into "ownership" for the first time. However, anything "ordinary" or "boring" just wouldn't work for me. Most parents encourage a new driver to look for a car of modest size, something economical to own and operate, and something that doesn't draw a whole lot of attention. My first car incorporated precisely NONE of these qualities ! http://www.oldcarsarecool.com/The-Heritage-Collection/Misc-old-scanned-photos/i-nM7RRX6/A .

My parents weren't really worried because that 1965 Cadillac Deville convertible wouldn't pass Pennsylvania State Inspection, meaning I couldn't drive it. While my big smile in that photo is pretty clear, other things like the stream of coolant coming from the radiator, the frame and floor rust, the electrical gremlins, and the hard right turn with application of the brake pedal are very well hidden. The car was more "project" than actual transportation. But the most important thing to me was that the convertible top worked ! When I finally fixed the car enough so it could be legally driven, I spent a lot of time cruising to nowhere with the roof down.

I kept that car for 15 years before selling it in 1999. Even though it never evolved beyond the "project" it was from the beginning, I loved that car and still miss it tremendously.

Fast forward to 2011 where I found myself able to revisit those wonderful memories from that time period. Surfing through the online car ads, I found a stunning 1996 Jaguar XJS convertible for sale at a dealer in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA. Not only did it have a mere 31k original miles, it also sported one of the most desirable color combinations: Carnival Red Pearl with Cream. I was hooked after one test drive and brought it home in September 2011.

Unlike my first convertible, the Jag is a mint condition toy that only comes out on nice days. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I took it out for a cruise to the Lake Oconee region of central Georgia. I still love the car as much as I did when I first saw it 6 years ago.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Beautiful reds, (not flowers)." Shot with a Canon SX40HS.
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August 1, 1998: One the highlights of summer during my youth was my annual pilgrimage to the Supercar Showdown. This two day drag racing event was conceived by a man named Chuck Green from Ohio in the mid-1980s and held at various drag strips in the northeastern United States.

The initial emphasis of the event centered around original factory-stock muscle cars from the 1960s. The late 1970s and early 1980s are considered the "Dark Ages" by automobile enthusiasts. The so-called "Performance Cars" available at new car dealerships in those days did everything but perform. The inevitable "which era is better" debates lead to a resurgence in popularity of the classic "muscle cars" from the 1960s. Chuck created the Supercar Showdown event as a way to try and answer that question, and his timing was perfect !

The inaugural event was held at Beech Bend International Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1985 and attracted around 50 cars. For 1986, the event was moved to Quaker City Dragway in Salem, Ohio and tripled in size. After a decade in Salem, the event was moved to National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio in 1997, and then to Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania in 1999.

I absolutely loved this event and participated in 12 of them from 1986 - 1999. Even though the event was targeted at "muscle cars" from the classic era, it was open to all performance cars from any era. I would race whatever I was driving at the time not to be competitive, (that wasn't possible !), but to enjoy being around the hobby I love.

I took the photo below at the 1998 event held at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio. In front of me in the Tech Inspection line, (I was driving my silver 1993 Ford Taurus SHO on the far right of the photo), was a flawless 1973 Pontiac Super Duty Trans Am finished in 1973-only "Brewster Green." The "Super Duty" was one of the last true "muscle cars" one could buy in that era. Not only are they fast, they are also incredibly rare. A mere 252 were produced in 1973, of which only a handful were finished in Code 48 Brewster Green, (one source I saw said 7 cars). These cars command a 6-figure premium today.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Green, (but not leaves or grass). Shot with an ancient Canon SureShot 35mm film camera by an idiot who had the exposure dial set incorrectly, (had 400 film in the camera, but had the dial set on 200 - D'oh ! ! !).
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May 21, 2005: My ex-wife's parents are great people who always had plenty of sightseeing tours planned for us during our visits to Austria. Naturally, we wanted to do the same for them when they came to visit us in Columbia, Missouri, USA back in 2005. On the agenda for this visit was a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to the standard activities - a city tour, the French Quarter, the Riverwalk, the French Market, and riding the streetcars - we added a Mississippi River cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez to our itinerary. Included with our cruise was a simple but very good buffet lunch.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Eating." Shot with a Fuji FinePix F401.
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December 21, 2003: Four year old Samuel Clemens moved with his family to the city of Hannibal, Missouri, USA in 1839, and remained there until he turned 18. Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, used his experiences growing up in Hannibal as the basis for his novels "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

As a result, the city of Hannibal is all about Mark Twain/Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn. Visitors can climb Cardiff Hill and see the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, (that offers a stunning view of the Mississippi River !). The Twain family home, his father's law office, and the Becky Thatcher House occupy an area in the center of town and are all open for tours. Also part of that exhibit is Tom Sawyer's Fence seen in the photo below. My then-wife and I were relatively new residents of Missouri at that time and set a day aside to check the place out.

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Fences or walls." Shot with a Fuji FinePix F401.
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June 1, 2009: One of the many attractions of Stone Mountain Park outside of Atlanta, Georgia, USA is the SkyHike adventure course in the Crossroads section of the park. The SkyHike is basically a giant multi-level obstacle course. The kid in me immediately wanted to start climbing. But my mind was quick to point out that I was no longer a kid. Or coordinated. Or graceful. Or light on my feet. A visit to the local emergency room would probably follow soon thereafter. But it sure does look like fun !

For #joinindaily and +Johnny Wills for today's theme of "Looks like fun." Shot with a Canon S3IS.
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