Excursion 25, Part 1 (Mud House Mansion)

In which our intrepid hero chances upon the manse macabre…

A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs.
B is for Basil, assaulted by bears.
C is for Clara, who wasted away.
D is for Desmond, thrown out of a sleigh.

Those are the first few lines of the Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabet book consisting of 26 different children meeting untimely ends.  The Tinies are the work of Edward Gorey, a rather amazing author and artist, whose distinctive visual style was a sort of goth Edwardiana.  I first encountered Gorey in high school and fell in love with his dark wit and unique artistic style.

Little did I know that a bit more than 30 years after I discovered Gorey that I would encounter a mansion that looked as if it came right out of one of his books.

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Excursion 24, Part 2 (The Merry Mannequins of Cambridge)

In which our intrepid hero gets in touch with his inner Victorian…

For many people, the Christmas season is rather depressing, but I must confess that I typically am filled with good cheer during that time of year, even though I am not Christian.  There is just something to the Christmas season for me, a period in which—in theory, at least—there really is “good will towards man” and with the gift-giving, people often do make an attempt to be thoughtful to others.  As a result, I am very pro-Christmas, even if from a secular viewpoint.  On this Christmas day, I found several examples of this seasonal “good will” that made me think the world wasn’t really all bad.

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Excursion 24, Part 1 (Sleep in Heavenly Peace)

In which our intrepid ventures out on Christmas morn…

In November 2013, I finally purchased my first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 70D, something I had been itching to do for several months at that point, although the Canon Powershot SX50 HS superzoom camera that I had been using is in some ways better suited for roadside photography.  But I felt it was time for me to step up.

Work and the Polar Vortex combined to prevent me from taking the camera on a test ride for some weeks, but one possibility did intrigue me:  going on on Christmas day.

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Excursion 23, Part 3 (The Ghosts of Lake Erie)

In which our intrepid hero visits a ruined castle of glass…

Let me pick up where I left off, and show the final part of my excursion in late November 2013 north to Lake Erie and east to the environs of Cleveland.  As I drove east along the shores of Lake Erie—or as close as I could get to the shores—I came an amazing site, east of Sandusky and Huron:  a huge, overgrown ruin of a greenhouse complex.

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Excursion 23, Part 2 (Meccas and Maples)

In which our intrepid hero passes motorcars and motor hotels to reach the shores of Lake Erie…

One day, when my sister and I were little, we were playing in the backyard of my grandparents’ house in El Paso.  We got a little bored and were wondering what to do when I had a brainstorm.  I went inside and brought out a spiral notebook—I almost always had one with me, because I loved to draw, even at that early age—and on a page of that notebook, I drew a treasure map, snaking around the outside of my grandparents’ house.  It had a dotted line for the adventurer to follow and even a big X at the place where the treasure would be.  When I was done, my sister and I started following the map, tracing that dotted line until finally we came to the place on the map marked by the X.

And you know what?  There was no treasure there!  Despite the fact that it was clearly marked on the map, there was no treasure in the actual spot.  And I learned a valuable lesson that day:  you make your own treasure.

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Excursion 23, Part 1 (Northern Exposures)

In which our intrepid hero journeys into the northern wilds of Ohio…

During the course of 2013, I was able to visit several stretches of Ohio’s Lake Erie shore, but one stretch had eluded me—the area roughly from Sandusky to Cleveland (the central shore).  So, on a bright but cold day at the end of November, I decided to complete the chain and headed north across Ohio’s farmland to Lake Erie.

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