Saturday morning, November 10th, saw union members of IBEW local 481 braving brutally cold temperatures and wind to install the long strands of LED lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown Indianapolis. This is the traditional start of the Circle of Lights celebration.
Working hard to get the lights up
Putting on the finishing touches
This year the lights will be turned on on November 23rd. One lucky kid will be picked to flip the switch and turn on the lights! (The contest is going on right now: a coloring contest.) 2018 will be the 56th year of this beloved Indy tradition. The lights come on at 7:30 that evening after a delightful variety show with local talent. Oh, and a huge fireworks show will follow the festivities.
All the strands are up
Close up of the top
Indianapolis on a Saturday night in early November can be quite pretty and full of activity. Landmark structures are well lit, and the street horse drawn carriages are already offering cozy rides to couples and families alike.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.
Entrance to the restaurant
Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.
Our cocktails and menu
Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon
Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.
Traveling on I-90 through South Dakota provides some remarkable scenery. In addition to the natural wonders of the state, one man-made marvel really stands out. Near Chamberlain at Exit 294 you’ll see the signs for a rest area with a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. As you exit the interstate and drive up a decent slope you see a very large stainless steel sculpture with a geometric pattern. Then you soon realize that it is a star quilt being held by a beautiful Native American woman.
The star pattern
Note the size of the person on the left to give you an idea of how large the sculpture is
This is the statue titled “Dignity of Earth and Sky”. The creation of South Dakota Artist Laureate Dale Claude Lamphere is a magnificent example of very large scale public art. The statue represents the courage and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota people who come from the area. The star quilt pattern is traditionally used to honor people or peoples.
We enjoyed our rest stop. Oh, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center? Well, it was closed for the season, to reopen mid-May, 2019. We were there mid-October. At least the restrooms were still open for those without their own facilities in their RV.
Driving back to Indiana from Seattle always provides some really neat scenery. We stopped at Deer Lodge, MT to take in the view of the recently snow covered mountains south of I-90.
Snow shining on a sunny day
Sher and I got to go to the 2018 version of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. We went with our daughter, son-in-law and our 4 year old grandson. The fair was packed with all kinds of “state fair” type stuff, including a large midway, tons of vendors and of course, agriculture exhibits.
We went on the last day of the fair, and the fairgrounds were packed. A good time was had by all, and Sher and I had our first ‘Scones”, a jam filled biscuit type pastry that is a famous item at this fair.
Snohomish, Washington is noted for its historic downtown Main Street stores, restaurants and other businesses. The Oxford Saloon is one of the most popular of the restaurants. Good food at reasonable pricing makes the Oxford a popular place for meals. Live entertainment most evenings attract lively crowds.
Even the exterior of the Oxford is interesting
Every bar needs a moose and a little red wagon
Sher and I had a very nice time at the Oxford. It was a great break from our checking out the shops and businesses on Main Street in historic downtown Snohomish. Hint: Park your car at the bottom of the hill on Main Street. That way when you walk up one side of the street and come back on the other side you’ll be walking down hill to your car.
Dodge City, Kansas portrays itself as one of the historical sites of the old Wild West. In keeping with that tradition, the local casino is called the Boot Hill Casino and Resort. The site layout has the casino flanked by a large event center (for concerts, conventions, etc.) and a Hampton Inn hotel and suites.
We liked the casino. It is small compared to most, however it was clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful. What really stood out was the first time player Free Play program. When we signed up we both got player cards with $10 free play. We also learned that for our next four visits we’d get another $10 for each visit! That’s right, we went back the next day after we checked out of our campground. Yep, we put our cards into slot machines and Bingo! another $10 free play.
That night we parked in the casino lot. The next morning before we headed out we went back into the casino and, you guessed it, we both got another $10 free play! We both got $30 in free play, and we each have another $20 if we ever go back. Best new player Free Play program we have ever come across.
On our way west we went off the interstate for a trip to Boonville, Missouri. The billboards touted the Isle of Capri Casino and Resort. The casino was clean and neat. We got our player’s cards, but no free play as we already signed up at a sister casino in Louisiana. We did win a bit at this casino stop.
We are off again on what will be a rather long trip. We are planning to go to visit our daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Seattle. Not ones to take a direct route, we are going from Indiana to Seattle by way of Las Vegas. A quick check of the Rand McNally will quickly show that this is NOT a direct route.
Anyway, we’re off now. Our first day took us through Illinois. We had to stop at Casey, home to all of these “World’s largest” things. Wind chimes, pitch forks, golf tees and of course the largest rocking chair. (See below) Kitty cornered from the chair they were working on completing the World’s Largest Teeter-Totter. I swear they were….
This chair is HUGE