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August 2017
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August 16, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Baseball road trip 2017

For a variety of reasons, my baseball road trip this year was less ambitious than last year's, but it was definitely worthwhile. I took AMTRAK out west from Virginia (one way), and as we pulled into Chicago, I saw (and photographed) Guaranteed Rate Field, previously known as "U.S. Cellular Field," and before that "Comiskey Park" (second incarnation). While in the shopping mall that occupies the Union Station building, I bought a Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship flag, intending to place it at the grave site of my father. (See below.) I spent a few days in Kansas City, where my brother Dan and I visited the site of Municipal Stadium, but didn't make it to Kauffman Stadium since the Royals were out of town. Next I headed north to South Dakota for a few more days, and then headed back east again.

Stadium montage Aug. 2017

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Wrigley Field, Great American Ballpark, Crosley Field historical site marker, Guaranteed Rate Field, Victory Field, and Municipal Stadium (K.C.) historical site marker.

The timing of my (return trip) visit to Chicago was dictated by the Washington Nationals' schedule, and I had the choice of three consecutive early afternoon games. I was going to buy a ticket over the phone but balked at the $20 service charge. Hell no! Driving into the Chicago area from the northwest late on Saturday morning (August 5), I looked for the PACE terminal in Schaumburg from which buses to Wrigley Field depart, but couldn't find it. So, I took my chances on parking in the "Wrigleyville" neighborhood, as I had done five years earlier, and this time I got lucky big time. Heading east along Irving Park Road (Rt. 19), I saw signs for Cubs parking, and lo and behold there it was just east of the Chicago River -- about two miles west of the stadium. To my utter amazement and delight, both the parking and the shuttle bus were FREE!!! smile I arrived at Wrigley Field about 20 minutes early, but the last upper-deck tickets had just been sold out, and having learned from five years ago how poor the obstructed-view lower-deck seats can be, I opted for a standing-room-only ticket which cost $39. That would be outrageous were it not for the free parking. In contrast to the hazy, grim lighting conditions during my visit in 2012, this time the skies were mostly bright blue, almost perfect for pitcture-taking.

Wrigley Field ticket windows 2017

Wrigley Field ticket windows, showing the fancy new exterior trimmings. This and other photos (including some stunning panoramic images taken with my iPhone) will soon be posted on the Wrigley Field page.

While the National Anthem was being sung, I walked up the recently-built staircases extending from the west (third base) side of the stadium, and started taking photos from in the lateral walkway of the upper deck on the third base side. I was in perfect position to see Bryce Harper at bat in the top of the first inning. But then some people walked in front of me, just as Bryce launched a solo home run into the new scoreboard above right field. I missed it!

Bryce Harper home run 5 Aug 2017

Bryce Harper crosses home after hitting a solo shot in the top of the first inning.

Pitching for the Nationals that day was Edwin Jackson, acquired in a trade last month to fill the void left by Joe Ross, who had Tommy John surgery. The first two Cubs to bat in the first inning both doubled, and Wilson Contreras hit an RBI single, and Alex Avila hit a two-run homer just over the center field wall. Three innings later, the Nats closed the gap by staging a nice two-run rally, thanks to a sac fly by Anthony Rendon (scoring Ryan Zimmerman) [and] an RBI single by Matt Wieters.

Ryan Zimmerman safe at home 5 Aug 2017

Ryan Zimmerman safe at home on a sac fly in the fourth inning.

To his credit, Edwin Jackson recovered from the first-inning mess and pitched four scoreless innings before he exited, but then the Nats' bullpen reverted to their old ways, giving up two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. Harper singled and later scored in the eighth inning, and then came up again in the top of the ninth inning, when the Nats had runners on first and second with two outs. Talk about high tension! Unfortunately, the mighty Bryce struck out. I took a photo which shows that the ball skipped in the dirt, so technically Bryce could have tried to run to first, but in the end, it wouldn't have mattered. Final score: Cubs 7, Nats 4.

Bryce Harper strikes out 5 Aug 2017

Bryce Harper strikes out to end the game; roll mouse over the image to see a closeup of the ball.

One day before, the Nats had beaten the Cubs 4-2, thanks to Daniel Murphy's two home runs, and the next day they won 9-4, thanks to Matt Wieter's grand slam and Brian Goodwin's home run, both in the eighth inning. That huge five-run rally tipped the series balance in the Nats' favor.

I spent most of the game in a vacant seat in the very top row of the upper deck near the right field foul pole, along with a few other fans who apparently had "SRO" tickets. But such "Bob Uecker seats" at Wrigley are better than upper-deck seats just about anywhere else, so I was satisfied. I was eager to see Wrigley Field in the brand-new configuration, with the former bullpen areas along the foul lines now occupied by new rows of seats. (The bullpens are now located underneath the bleachers, out of sight.) I am already working on diagram revisions, and a recalculation of foul territory, so stay tuned!

I had pondered continuing straight east to Cleveland, in order to see the reconfigured Progressive Field, but decided to put that off for another year. The next morning I walked around downtown Indianapolis, getting a look at Victory Field for the first time. That's the home of the Indianapolis Indians, and is the third prominent minor league park I have seen. (The others are The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia, and Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York.) I also took some photos of nearby Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts.

I arrived in Cincinnati early in the afternoon, just as the Reds hit three home runs to take a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals in the bottom of the first inning. I visited the site of old Crosley Field, and was surprised to learn that the former building has been replaced by a new "City Gospel Mission," with a detailed historical sign for Crosley Field. I had thought about attending the Cards-Reds game, but I'm glad I didn't, as the mood of the crowd quickly turned sour. The Cards scored four runs in the top of the second and then nine (9) runs two innings later, and the final score was a humiliating 13-3. Ouch! I contented myself with some photos of Great American Ballpark from across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky. Then I resumed my eastbound drive toward home.

Welcome to D.C., Howie Kendrick!!

As the July 31 trade deadline approach, most of the attention was directed toward Washington's shaky bullpen. They had acquired Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle in a trade with Oakland in mid-July, and at the last minute, obtained Brandon Kintzler in a trade with Minnesota. Those deals have made a huge impact already, giving the team some much-needed confidence that they can hold onto leads late in the game. But another late July trade has turned out to have almost as dramatic of an effect: the Nats got Howie Kendrick from Philadelphia. He missed several weeks due to injury earlier in the season, and at age 34, his value as a player is a question mark. At first he served as a pinch hitter for the Nats, and has been playing left field since Brian Goodwin went on the disabled list. With a batting average of .341, Kendrick is proving to be invaluable to his new team.

In the second game of a double-header with the Giants at Nationals Park on Sunday evening (a make-up for the rained-out Friday night game), it went into extra innings with a 2-2 score. Having lost the afternoon game (4-2), and having lost Bryce Harper for at least a couple weeks the day before (see below), the outcome of this game would have a crucial psychological impact as the team approaches the final six weeks of the season. In the 11th inning, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman led off with back-to-back singles, and then Anthony Rendon was walked to load the bases with nobody out. All Howie Kendrick had to do to win the game was hit a long fly ball sac fly, but he smacked that ball right out of the park for a grand slam. It was exactly seven days after Matt Wieter's grand slam, and was the fourth walk-off grand slam in Nationals history!!!

  1. May 12, 2007 -- Ryan Zimmerman; WSH 7, FLA 3
  2. Sept. 30, 2009 -- Justin Maxwell; WSH 7, NYM 4
  3. Aug. 19, 2011 -- Ryan Zimmerman; WSH 8, PHI 4
  4. Aug. 13, 2017 -- Howie Kendrick; WSH 6, SF 2

I posted that list (extracted from the newly-updated Washington Nationals page) on Facebook, and was reminded by Sean Grogan who the pitcher was when Zimmerman hit the grand slam against the Phillies in [2011]: none other than Ryan Madson, one of the newest Nats!

And in last night's game against the visiting L.A. Angels, Kendrick did it again! He hit two solo homers, while Gio Gonzalez had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. The Nats later got an insurance run, and as usual (of late), the bullpen held on to win the game. Final score: Nats 3, Angels 1.

Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick, at Wrigley Field on August 5.

Harper injured, but not too bad

I was watching in horror late on Saturday night when Bryce Harper slipped on a wet first base, twisted his leg, and fell in agony in the first inning of the game. I've seen enough season-ending injuries on TV to fear the worst, but in this case it seems the Nats have dodged a bullet. MRI tests revealed that there is no damage to Harper's knee ligaments, just a bruise to a bone. Obviously, the Nationals will be extremely cautious as Harper heals for the rest of this month, but hopefully he will be ready to play again by September. With a 14 1/2-game lead in the NL East, the Nationals are focused on October.

Other Nationals news notes

On July 27, the Nationals made history by hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs (plus a fifth non-consecutive one) in the third inning. Unbelievable! Altogether they hit eight home runs in that game, beating the visiting Brewers by a score of 15-2. That was the third and deciding game of that series.

In Miami on July 31, Gio Gonzalez had a no-hitter going into the top of the ninth inning, when Dee Gordon spoiled everything. Gio was relieved by Sean Doolittle, who induced Giancarlo Stanton to ground into a double play, then gave up a hit to Christian Yelich, and then got the final out. Whew! Nats 1, Marlins 0.

In the first inning of the game on August 1, Max Scherzer hit his first career home run (in Marlins Park, of all places!), as the Nats took a 6-0 lead over the Marlins. But that big swing apparently aggravated a pinched nerve in his neck, as Max had to come out of the game in the second inning, and the Marlins scored seven runs against the relief pitchers, while the Nats failed to score any more at all. Final score: 7-6. How weird is that? Fortunately, Max was only out of action for a few days.

In Washington on August 9, Ryan Zimmerman hit two more home runs, raising his season total to 27, as the Nats beat the Marlins 10-1. The Nats also won the next day, 3-2, thus taking three of the four games in that series.

[UPDATE: I was so focused on getting this blog post done that I completely forgot the Nationals were playing an afternoon game! Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer (#28!) in the first inning, but the Nats failed to capitalize on run-scoring opportunities after that. Meanwhile, Tanner Roark had a solid seven-inning outing on the mound, but gave up two home runs. And so, the Nats lost to the Angels, 3-2, splitting the two-game series.]

Tribute to a late Cubs fan

As mentioned above, in Chicago I bought a Cubs 2016 World Series championship flag, for the express purpose of placing at the grave site of my father, Alan L. Clem, who passed away on April 11, 2016 -- seven months before his favorite team finally won the World Series for the first time in over a century. The glorious triumph came just a little too late for my dad to enjoy it...

Andrew, Cubs flag, gravesite

Yours truly with the Cubs flag at my father's (and mother's) gravesite, adjacent to The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, South Dakota. (Photo taken by Dan Clem, later retouched.)

August 20, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Stadium capacity changes for 2017

I recently compiled the current-year seating capacity figures for each of the 30 MLB stadiums and calculated changes in capacity for 2017. One of them, SunTrust Park in Atlanta, is brand new, so the net reduction of 8,086 is compared to Turner Field, of course. It's sometimes hard to compare one stadium to another because of inconsistencies among the franchises, but I'd say they are generally accurate to within 5,000 [500] seats or so. (The main exception is Dodger Stadium, which has had the same nominal capacity since it first opened in 1962, in spite of numerous changes over the past two decades.) I will be updating several of the affected stadium pages in the near future, in cases where significant changes took place.

Rank Name Seating capacity 2016-2017 change
1Dodger Stadium56,0000
2Coors Field50,3980
3Yankee Stadium II49,642+173
4Rogers Centre49,2820
5Chase Field48,633+114
6Globe Life Park in Arlington48,1140
7Safeco Field47,476-467
8Oriole Park at Camden Yards45,9710
9Busch Stadium III43,9750
10Citizens Bank Park43,6510
11Angel Stadium43,250-2,243
12Great American Ballpark42,3190
13PETCO Park42,3022,140
14Minute Maid Park42,060+486
15Citi FIeld41,9220
16AT&T Park41,9150
17Miller Park41,9000
18Comerica Park41,681+384
19SunTrust Park41,500-8,086
20Nationals Park41,408+95
21Wrigley Field41,0720
22Guaranteed Rate (U.S. Cellular) Field40,6150
23Target Field39,021+150
24PNC Park38,3620
25Kauffman Stadium37,9030
26Fenway Park37,499-174
27Oakland Coliseum37,090+2,023
28Marlins Park36,742-700
29Progressive Field35,051-174
30Tropicana Field31,0420

SOURCE: Box scores published in the Washington Post

Jeter to "buy" Miami Marlins

Rumors that former Yankee (and future Hall of Famer) Derek Jeter was planning to buy the Miami Marlins were confirmed last week. Actually, Jeter serves as the public face of a group led by Bruce Sherman, the presumptive controlling owner. The purchase price of the franchise was $1.2 billion, no doubt considerably boosted by the construction of Marlins Park five years ago. The deal is pending formal approval by MLB owners in September. See; source thanks to Mike Zurawski.

This situation is similar to when George W. Bush, son of president-to-be George H. W. Bush, served as the public face of a group that purchased the Texas Rangers in 1988. Bush's stake in the team was only a few percent, mostly from borrowed money. In due course we may find out how much of a real equity stake in the Marlins Derek Jeter will have.

A local Cuban businessman named Jorge Mas also bid for the Marlins, and may still join the ownership group. ( The new group may do away with the center-field home run sculpture, a signature feature of the glitzy sports palace. (; these sources also thanks to Mike Zurawski.)

Jeffrey Loria has been the lead owner of the Marlins since 2002, when he sold the Expos in a complicated transaction under which former Marlins owner John Henry acquired the Boston Red Sox. Loria announced his plans to sell the Marlins franchise earlier this year. This would seem to mark the exit from baseball of Loria, whose involvement with the faltering Montreal Expos franchise paved the way for the relocation to Washington in 2005.

Strasburg back home in San Diego

Nationals eked out a 2-1 win in San Diego on Thursday, thanks to a clutch late-inning home run by Ryan Zimmerman (his 28th!), and and then handily beat the Padres, 7-1. In both cases it was backup starting pitchers came through in dramatic fashion: Edwin Jackson won it on Thursday (seven innings!), and Matt Grace went four-plus innings on Friday without giving up a run. Grace was subbing for Max Scherzer, who has another pain in the neck. Then on Saturday, Stephen Strasburg had a fine outing (six innings, two earned runs) in his first game since being put on the disabled list. The one mistake was a fastball in the first inning which was knocked out of the park, giving the Marlins [Padres] a 2-0 lead. It was the first time he lost a game pitching in his home town of San Diego. This afternoon, the Nats will try to nail down another series win, as the over-achieving Gio Gonzalez takes the mound. I'll be chasing the solar eclipse down south, but it doesn't look like I'll get to see a game in Atlanta's new stadium as I had originally hoped. Maybe next month!?

Very short home run

While vacationing out west late last month, I noted in the Kansas City Star that on July 29, the Royals' Lorenzo Cain hit the shortest home run in the major leagues since at least 2015. This was in Fenway Park, where the ball landed right next to "Pesky's Pole" down the right field line -- only 302 feet!

NOTE: Two corrections to this blog post were made on August 31; the original text is now displayed as stricken out.

August 23, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Totally awesome * eclipse of the sun!

On Sunday morning, Jacqueline and I embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime (?)** pilgrimmage to witness one of the most amazing marvels in all the natural world: the total eclipse of the sun. Here in Staunton, the sun was expected to be about 85% covered, but we were both eager to see the glorious totality for the first time. So, we hit the road and drove southwest to eastern Tennessee. (The journey down there and back was an adventure in itself, and will be the subject of a separate blog post.)

In preparation for the eclipse, I had gone to several local retail outlets (on August 13-14) in search of the special eclipse glasses, striking out each time. Then last Friday (August 18), I went up to the library in downtown Harrisonburg, where they were handing out free eclipse glasses, and once again, they ran out just before they got to me. Fortunately, we found another source on Saturday, just in time.

Andrew, Jacqueline eclipse glasses

Yours truly and Jacqueline trying out our "cheap sunglasses" (ZZ Top!), manufactured by the Lunt Corporation specifically for the 2017 eclipse.

I had studied maps and had a good idea of where to go to see the total eclipse for the longest possible interval: about two and a half minutes. My choice of destination depended on the weather forecasts, and we were fortunate that clear skies were expected throughout Tennessee and South Carolina. While in Knoxville on Monday morning I got a tip from a friend (Peter Van Acker), who was already in the town of Sweetwater, Tennessee, so that's where we went. But by the time we arrived (about 10:30), it was already crowded and hectic, so we weren't able to meet up with Peter and his wife. Instead, we found a suitable location at the Flea Market just west of town. We met some nice folks who offered us seats at a picnic table in the shade.

At about 11:30 I took a test photograph of the sun with my Canon PowerShot SX-50 camera (covering the lens with my eclipse glasses), and I was thrilled that sunspots appeared clearly. Just after 1:00, I spotted the moon intruding upon the sun for the first time, and all the folks around me quickly went for a look with their own eclipse glasses. The passage took a long time, nearly an hour and a half before the sun was completely obscured. As the eclipse progressed, I took photos of the partial phases about every 15 or 20 minutes, with fairly consistent results. (I also took some video footage, which I will probably edit and upload to YouTube soon.) At about 2:00 we all moved away from the building and into an open field to make sure the parking lot lights wouldn't detract from our view of the impending total eclipse.

Fortunately, the skies remained bright blue, with just a few scattered clouds. I was a bit surprised that the ambient brightness didn't seem to decrease by all that much, even after the sun was over half covered. You could tell it was dimmer than usual, but the human eye compensates for brightness, making the apparent difference much less than one might think. Then, as the final sliver of sun disappeared and the total eclipse phase began, it got very dark in a hurry and the air cooled noticeably. The crowds ooh'ed and ahh-ed as the black disk of the moon appeared, surrounded by the dazzling, shimmering bluish-white corona. In my whole life, don't think I have ever seen anything as beautiful. Unfortunately, my camera just wasn't up to the task of capturing the sun's corona. Knowing that there would be only had 2 1/2 minutes of eclipse totality, I decided beforehand to relish the moment and not fuss with camera settings. It was at least gratifying to get photos of two planets in the sun's vicinity: Venus, a ways off to the right, and Mercury, fairly close on the left side. There was light along the horizon much like at dusk, but extending all the way around for 360 degrees, making it seem as if the sun was setting in all directions at once!

I was looking up at the entrancing spectacle just as the famous "diamond ring" effect was manifested, when the first bit of direct sunlight peeks along the edge of the moon. That's when it's no longer safe to look directly at the sun, so we had to put our eclipse glasses back on as the solar crescent got bigger and bigger. We noticed small groups of birds acting strangely, obviously confused by the brief period of "night": There were 6-8 Killdeers noisly circling and landing not far from us, and soon I saw a few Common Nighthawks flying several hours ahead of their normal schedule. After a few more minutes, we said our goodbyes [and headed home to Virginia.]

Below you can see a montage that summarizes the eclipse phases (which I posted on Facebook), as well as separate, larger versions of those images. For two of them, I also made double-sized images, which you can see by clicking on the adjacent links with exclamation marks. In summary, [nothing can compare to seeing a total eclipse in person, and] Jacqueline and I strongly agree that it was well worth the travel effort, in spite of hellish traffic on the way back. But we'll leave that part of the story for a separate blog post...

** There will be another solar eclipse in the United States on April 8, 2024, seven years from now. The path of totality will extend from Texas through Ohio and into Maine. So maybe we'll get a another chance for such a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience!

Solar eclipse montage 2017

Roll over (or click) these links to see the progression of eclipse phases (percentages are approximate):

full sun ~5% ( ! ) ~15% ( ! ) ~40% ~55% ~70% ~90%

100% 100%, Mercury 100%, Venus ~70% (receding)

* On Facebook, I posted a "Public Service Announcement" along with one of the total eclipse images: The phrase "totally awesome" should be reserved for occasions such as this!

Solar eclipse watchers

Solar eclipse watchers, near the Sweetwater Flea Market, at about 2:08 PM, when about 70% of the sun was obscured by the moon.

Sweetwater Flea Market at total eclipse

Jacqueline (left) and some folks we met at the Sweetwater Flea Market, during the total eclipse at about 2:28 PM. The sky was dark blue except for all along the horizon, much like after dusk. To see many more photos, please go to the Chronological (2017) photo gallery.

August 27, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Our eclipse trip to Tennessee

As described in my blog post of last Wednesday, exactly one week ago Jacqueline and I began a trip to see the total eclipse of the sun in Tennessee. (As explained then, our precise destination was literally "up in the air," depending on where the skies were forecast to be clearest.) We drove southwest along I-81, encountering heavy traffic outside the population centers along the way (Staunton, Roanoke, and Christiansburg), but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. We stopped at the Tennessee welcome center on the outskirts of Bristol as soon as we crossed the state line, and I soon noticed an odd building shaped like a guitar across the highway. So, I used Google and learned all about the "Grand Guitar" from It was built in 1983 and for a while housed a music emporium of sorts, but later fell into disuse. According to one of the brochures I picked up at the welcome center, Bristol, Tennessee considers itself the "Birthplace of Country Music."

Andrew, giant roadside guitar

Yours truly, and a giant roadside "guitar" across I-81 from the Tennessee welcome center near Bristol. (Aug. 20)

From there we took a detour to the west in order to visit old friends of ours in the town of Rogersville. Then we resumed our journey toward the southwest, and arrived in Knoxville just as the sun was about to set. We dined at a decent barbecue restaurant (Buddy's BBQ) and after a few false starts, found a motel for the night. With hundreds of thousands of "eclipse tourists" swarming into the region, [the choices were limited and] we couldn't afford to be too picky.

The skies were bright blue at daybreak, just as had been forecast, a big reassurance. Since the eclipse would not start until about 1:00 in the afternoon, and we were within a stone's throw of the zone of totality, there was no big rush. I had only been in Knoxville once before, and didn't even stop, so I wanted to do a bit of exploration while we were there. So the first thing to do was take advantage of the morning sun and get a nice backlit photo of the city center. The photo below shows the "Sunsphere" from the 1982 Worlds Fair, as well as two churches which I later photographed from a closer vantage point:

Knoxville skyline, Gay Street Bridge

Knoxville skyline, and the Gay Street Bridge, seen from the east side of the Tennessee River. (Aug. 21) {Click on the photo to expand.}

After crossing the river into downtown, I drove to see the Tennessee, which I had discovered on a city map during the night. Why would a state's Supreme Court be seated in a city other than the capital? I wondered, Is Tennessee like Bolivia, where the Supreme Court is located in Sucre rather than La Paz? Not quite. It turns out that their Supreme Court has a distinctly regional composition (at least one of the five members must be from each of the state's three regions), and the court periodically rotates between Nashville (center), Knoxville (east), and Jackson (west). Apparently Memphis wasn't very big in the early days. I discovered that the Supreme Court shares a building with the Post Office, which seems unusual.

One thing we noticed driving through Tennessee was the predominance of Baptist churches across the countryside. We even saw two Baptist churches right across the road from each other! They were probably of different sectarian origins. So it was no surprise that the First Baptist Church occupies a prominent position across the street from the Supreme Court. A couple blocks to the south is the Church Street United Methodist Church (also visible in the photo above), and a couple blocks to the west are St. John's Cathedral (Episcopalian) and a Catholic church.

Then we headed to the World's Fair Park, which occupies a filled-in ravine along the south edge of downtown. I remember the 1982 World's Fair (in part thanks to postage stamps, which I collect), but according the Wikipedia, it was only a "specialized" exposition. The "genuine" World's Fairs of the modern era have been:

Worlds Fair Park, Sunsphere

The Worlds Fair Park, site of the 1982 Knoxville Worlds Fair, featuring the Sunsphere. Today it serves as a convention center and venue for outdoor public events. (Aug. 21) {Click on the photo to expand.}

Next, we headed south on Cumberland Avenue past the sprawling University of Tennessee campus, looking in vain for a Starbucks to have breakfast. It was while we were at McDonald's that I got a text message from fellow birder Peter Van Acker, who was already in the town of Sweetwater, so that became our destination. I had one more sight to see in Knoxville, and that was Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers. Why??? Because with a capacity of 102,455 (according to Wikipedia), it happens to be the fifth-biggest football stadium in the country, that's why! For a brief period after the upper deck was totally enclosed in 1996, it was the biggest stadium in the country. I also visited the (now) #1-ranked Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (capacity 107,601 according to Wikipedia) in 2015 (delayed blog post). But to get in a good position for a photograph, we had to backtrack and re-cross the Tennessee River. That took an extra 20 minutes or so, but also gave me a good look at the UT Law School building.

Neyland Stadium from east

Neyland Stadium from the east. (Aug. 21) {Click on the photo to expand.}

Finally, we got onto I-40 southbound, and immediately encountered extremely heavy traffic. It was so slow that we took over an hour just to get out of the Knoxville metropolitan area. For a while, I wasn't sure if we would make it to Sweetwater, which is ideally positioned along the center of the zone of totality, thus giving viewers more time to see the total eclipse. I was amused by the "No parking during eclipse" signs displayed above the interstate highways. Once we arrived in Sweetwater, it was clear that parking was scarce. The going rate was $20, with some places charging $30 or even $40, but a nice guy at the entrance to one of the temporary "campgrounds" ($40!) told us that the nearby Flea Market charged only $5, so that's where we went.

The total eclipse was over at about 2:35, and not long afterwards we departed Sweetwater amidst a swarm of traffic the likes of which I'm sure that town had never seen. I tried to outsmart the masses who were congregating along I-40 by heading east, intending to take the back roads and bypass Knoxville. It was a good plan, but the local law enforcement people didn't seem to know what they were doing, as we encountered lengthy, needless delays in each town along the way: Madisonville, Vonore, Maryville, and Newell Station. (At one point we were only about ten miles from Smoky Mountain National Park and the town of Gatlinburg, which suffered catastrophic forest fires a few months ago.) We got back onto I-40 as the sun was getting low in the sky (about 7:00), and even after I-81 split off from I-40, we were just creeping along at about 10-20 MPH for most of the way through northeast Tennessee. Even after we made it into Virginia the pace remained miserably slow, aside from a few occasional stretches. Not until 3:30 AM did we make it home -- over 12 1/2 hours driving time covering 380 miles. That's an average of only about 30 MPH! Nevertheless, it was undoubtedly still worth the effort, and we made the most of our travel time by visiting interesting places in Knoxville.

Many more photos, including ones of the solar eclipse, can be seen on the Chronological (2017) Photo Gallery page. The exclamation marks next to the camera icons on that page show double-sized versions of those photos (1200 x 800 pixels rather than 600 x 400), which you can also see by clicking on the latter three photos above. In addition I added one more total eclipse photo since my Wednesday blog post, a freeze frame image from a video clip that I took. It is more natural looking that the other total eclipse photos, even though I used the same camera for still photos and videos. I hope you enjoy those photos and this travelog!

August 29, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Werth & Turner return, Nats ignite

After three full months on the disabled list, veteran slugger Jayson Werth was back in the lineup last night (August 28), and he made the most of it! In the fourth inning, he followed a lead-off single by Matt Wieters with a huge home run that almost reached the concourse behind the stands in left field. It was estimated at 425 feet. That gave the Nats a 4-1 lead over the recently-surging Marlins (66-63 before arriving in D.C.), and the lead kept growing. In the sixth inning, Howie Kendrick hit a three-run triple, and three more runs scored in that inning and one in the seventh. Max Scherzer was also back from the disabled list (only ten days), he struck out ten batters over seven innings, while only giving up one run. Final score: Nats 11, Marlins 2.

Tonight Werth rested, while another long-ailing (but much younger) star returned from the DL: shortstop Trea Turner. He immediately proved his worth by nabbing a line drive with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, squelching what could have been a big Marlins rally. The amazing Giancarlo Stanton (batting second) had already hit a home run -- his 51st of the year! He is well on the way to becoming the first player since the Steroid Era to break Roger Maris's record of 61 home runs. But the Nats later came back. Daniel Murphy batted in two runs in the third inning, Turner scored after doubling in the fifth, and Anthony Rendon batted in three runs in the seventh. Once again, Edwin Jackson pitched effectively after giving up an early run, giving up just two runs over six innings. Nats 8, Marlins 3.

Nats keep up a steady pace

Tuesday night's win (their 80th of the season, against only 51 losses!) marks the eighth consecutive series which the Nationals have either won or tied. Their last series loss was against the Marlins in Miami, July 31 - August 2. But the Nats have not swept any of the series this month, they just keep plugging along with enough wins to keep them at or above the .600 mark.

The Nats had a successful road trip out west, winning five out of seven games. With another great outing by Gio Gonzalez (on August 20), they won the final game of the series in San Diego, 4-1. Daniel Murphy's two RBIs proved decisive in that one. Then the Nats flew to Houston, where the Astros have been having their best year in franchise history. (When the Astros won the National League pennant in 2005, they were only .549 in the regular season.) The Astros began that series with a slight percentage edge over the Nationals, but the visitors won two of the three games and came out ahead of the home team. The finale on August 24 was a heart-stopper: The Nats had a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Astros scored twice off of Brandon Kintzler, the first blown save opportunity by the Nats bullpen since early last month. (For some reason, Dusty Baker had put the usual closer Sean Doolittle on the mound in the eighth inning.) But the Nats staged a two-run rally in the top of the 11th inning, and held on to win, 5-4. That series might be a preview of this year's World Series, assuming the Nationals make it to the NLCS and find a way to beat the L.A. Dodgers. But you know what? Now that the Nationals' injured players are returning, the team is playing at the championship caliber that they displayed earlier in the season, and as we know, anything can happen in the postseason!

And as the month of September approaches, we start thinking about October and counting our chickens before they hatch. The Nationals' magic number is now just 18, whereas the lowest it had been on September 1 of their three division-championship years (2012, 2014, and 2016) was 19. Smooth sailing ahead??!

Massive flooding in Houston

The Nationals got out of Houston just in time, as Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on southeast Texas. Fortunately, the Astros were also leaving town on a brief road trip to Anaheim, but the storm proved much worse than forecast, with rainfalls of Biblical proportions turning much of the city into a vast lake. Thus far, Minute Maid Park has only suffered minor flooding in the lower service levels (see, but it could get worse. In the mean time, the Astros are playing a "home" series in Tropicana Field against their cross-state rivals, the Rangers. It would have made more sense to play the series in Globe Life Park, but the Rangers would have been obliged to reciprocate by playing the scheduled series next month against the Astros in Houston, which would have created an extremely long road trip for them.

I updated the Anomalous stadiums page with that information. The last time a Major League series had to be relocated due to a hurricane was in 2001.

By the way, thanks to Facebook I am in touch with a guy who lives near Houston who is one of the most loyal fans of this website: Mark London. So far, he has been coping well enough, but for millions of other folks in that metropolitan area, life has become a sheer hell. I encourage everyone to do their part by donating to the American Red Cross or other relief-oriented charitable organization.

Wrigley Field (minor) update

The Wrigley Field Wrigley Field diagrams have been revised slightly, based on careful observations made during my visit there earlier this month. It's more than a "tweak," but less than a full-fledged "update." As noted months ago, they moved the bullpens inside, beneath the bleachers, filling in that space with three more rows of seats all the way down to where the grandstand meets the foul line. (I have yet to calculate the reduced foul territory, however.) Most of the other changes were in the grandstand near the left field corner, as the positions of the entry portals and lateral walkways were altered. I also added an elevator shaft that I noticed for the very first time in the rear of the lower deck over there, and there is a corresponding structure atop the second deck as well. In addition, the brick wall is not quite parallel to the foul line down there (remember Steve Bartman?), and there is a gap of about two feet where that brick wall bends. I also added the upper-deck refreshments balcony behind home plate, and there are are also slight corrections in the on the first-base side over there. Finally, I am also in the process of adding some new photos to that page, such as the one below, but most notably some extreme panoramas. They should be ready by Wednesday.

Wrigley Field bleachers 2017

The iconic ivy-fronted bleachers of Wrigley Field, bathed in sunlight.

August 30, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Another BIG show at Bedlam Brewing

(Here goes yet another woefully-late blog post...) On July 23, I had another musical gig at Bedlam Brewing, following up on the HUGE (?) success of my first gig there on June 4. (See my June 30 blog post.) This time it was in the nice, cool indoors, and it went from 6:00 until 8:00 rather than 4:00 to 6:00. (Actually, I lost track of time and kept playing for about ten minutes past 8:00.) Once again, I was very grateful that so many of my friends from the Augusta Bird Club showed up. There were a few from Emmanuel Episcopal Church as well, but there was a schedule conflict with a church event taking place at almost the same time.

Andrew at Bedlam Brewing 23 Jul 2017

Yours truly at Bedlam Brewing; photo courtesy of Jacqueline.

Whereas last month, I only managed to play 24 out the planned 32 songs, this time, I planned on 28, and that's how many I played. I had a fairly realistic estimate of how many songs I could within the allotted two hours. There was a problem with the sound volumen, however, even though I had done a sound check before I got started. I had already finished one-third of my set list before someone sitting in the back came up and told me that they couldn't hear much of what I was playing. Argh-h-h-h!!! Next time, I will make darned sure the volume is loud enough to reach the back! So, on request, I played Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" for a second time so that everyone could hear it. I changed the order of songs slightly, however, and substituted one Eagles song ("The Long Run") for another ("Witchy Woman"). What follows is the actual set list:

  1. Country Girl -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  2. Train Leaves Here This Morning -- Eagles
  3. Love Me Do -- Beatles
  4. And I Love Her -- Beatles
  5. Helplessly Hoping -- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  6. Harvest Moon -- Neil Young
  7. Heart Of Gold -- Neil Young
  8. Green River -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  9. The Old Man Down the Road -- John Fogerty
  10. Breathe In the Air -- Pink Floyd
  11. Time -- Pink Floyd
  12. Us and Them -- Pink Floyd
  13. Heart Of Gold -- Neil Young (repeat; higher volume!)
  14. Luckenbach, Texas -- Waylon Jennings
  15. If I Fell -- Beatles
  16. ( BREAK )
  17. The Long Run -- Eagles
  18. Better Left Unsaid -- Andrew Clem
  19. Sweet Virginia -- Rolling Stones
  20. If You Could Read My Mind -- Gordon Lightfoot
  21. Cat's In the Cradle -- Harry Chapin
  22. Tears In Heaven -- Eric Clapton
  23. If You Wanna Get To Heaven -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  24. In God's Country -- U 2
  25. Pink Houses * -- John Cougar Mellencamp
  26. The Time of Your Life -- Green Day
  27. Crazy Love -- Poco
  28. Wicked Game -- Chris Isaacs
  29. Found Out About You -- Gin Blossoms
  30. Love Will Keep Us Alive -- Eagles

People really seemed to enjoy it, and one guy even told me I played the song "Found Out About You" even better than when he heard the original group (the Gin Blossoms) play it in concert! So, I was asked to come back and have scheduled future shows for Sunday, September 24 and Friday, November 17. I make a point to avoid repeating songs that I have played before, but I will probably do some of the Pink Floyd songs again, since the volume was too low this time.

On a separate note, I should congratulate the owner of Bedlam Brewing Mike McCrackin for a successful first eight months in business. They serve great food and a wide variety of tasty malt beverages. The Augusta Bird Club has held its monthly "Birds 'n Brews" social hour there more than once, and it has become an active part of the community here in Staunton. I even bought a Bedlam Brewing T-shirt!

More open mic events

Since my last blog post about music, two months have elapsed, so here's a quick review of what I played in public. At the Queen City Brewing Open Mic Night on Wednesday, July 5, I paid tribute to the 241st birthday of the U.S.A. with an unusual song about the country.

The next week, on July 12, I shifted toward country music, with a song I recently learned ("Luckenbach, Texas") and two others that I have known for a while but never quite had it right until recently.

On July 19, I played two more Eagles tunes, the first of which alluded to my impending train voyage out west. (More about that soon...) In years past, I was never able to make "Witchy Woman" sound right, until I used the harmonica with it a couple months ago. I didn't quite reach the level of excellence I was aiming for on that one, however, as it's a little tricky.

After returning from my big trip, I played three songs at the August 9 Open Mic event that I had seen one of my favorite groups perform in concert on July 29: the Ozark Mountain Daredevils! (Much more on that later!) The first and last songs I played were the first and last songs played by the actual group in their show, and the middle one was one of their only two hit singles (1974). Surprisingly, I only learned to play "Jackie Blue" all the way through this summer.

On August 17 I played at a different open mic venue for the first time: Barrenridge Vineyards, located a few miles northeast of Staunton. This first song was a tribute to Elvis Presley, who died on August 16, 1977 -- 40 years ago. Then I played a song about my growing up ("Small Town") and a song aimed at countering the hatred in the Charlottesville protests earlier this month ("Get Together"). (More on that soon!)

A week ago on Wednesday (August 23) the weather was perfect, the crowd size wasn't very big, unfortunately. My first three songs were inspired by Monday's solar eclipse.

And tonight, finally (August 30), my musical theme was torrential rain and hurricanes, although the second one ("Bad Moon Risin'") could be interpreted as about eclipses and hurricanes. I played:

August 31, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Strasburg rocks, Nats sweep Marlins!

For the first time since mid-July, the Nats swept a series, winning all three games against the Miami Marlins this week. The star of the show was Stephen Strasburg, who went a complete nine innings for the second shutout of his career. He even provided all the offensive power the Nats needed, getting the first score by hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning. (Two batters later, Wilmer Difo did likewise.) Strasburg got into a jam a couple times, but he kept his composure like the veteran he is, and escaped unscathed. Anthony Rendon later batted in a run, and the Nats added another run in the eighth inning on a passed ball. Final score: Nats 4, Marlins 0.

Strasburg thus brought his ERA down from 3.10 to 2.90, joining Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez in the elite sub-3.00 ERA club. Clayton Kershaw leads the National League in that category, but the next three pitchers are all Washington Nationals pitchers!

Wrigley Field foul pole anomaly

If you look closely at the photo of Wrigley Field that I posted two days ago, you will notice that the left field foul pole seems slightly out of line from the left field wall. That bothered me, and after doing some checking of other photos, I discovered that that pole is indeed positioned about five feet closer to home plate than the wall is. I assume that means the distance marker (355) is correct at that precise spot, and that the foul pole is therefore about 350 feet from home. The left field corner in Wrigley Field is slightly curved!

Wrigley Field LF corner

Wilson Contreras nabbed what would have been a double hit by Daniel Murphy in the August 5 game. Roll your mouse over the image to compare it to a virtually identical perspective when I was at a game there in July 2012.

So, I brought this discovery to the attention of Bruce Orser, and he found some excellent closeup photos on that show that curved brick wall much more clearly. (Thanks, Bruce!) It is not yet certain whether the left field foul pole was that way ever since the modern bleachers were built in 1938, or if it was moved at some point after that. In any case, I have made a few minor tweaks to the main Wrigley Field diagram, but will leave the other variants untouched for the next day or two, while I pursue this question further.

NOTE: I made two corrections to the August 20 blog post, eleven days after the fact: In the paragraph about stadium capacity changes, I meant to say that official data are usually accurate to within 500 seats (not 5,000) the and in the paragraph about the Nationals' series in San Diego, I changed "Marlins" to "Padres."

August 31, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Trains, plains, and a new automobile!

(Here goes yet another woefully-late blog post...) Just over a month ago, I embarked on a long-distance trip to the Midwest to see my brothers, and do some incidental sightseeing, birding, music appreciation, and baseballing. It was the first time I had been out there since I flew home for what turned out to be my father's funeral in April 2016. I already wrote a blog post about the baseball aspects of my trip, and will do so shortly for birding and musical events as well. This post will focus on the sightseeing.

After a few false starts trying to coordinate potential activities with my brothers, I finally made concrete plans in early July, geared toward seeing the Ozark Mountain Daredevils play on July 29 at the Mid-america Music Festival in Trenton, Missouri. That's only about an hour and a half from Kansas City, where my brother Dan lives, and he agreed it would be a fun thing to do. So, I bought a one-way AMTRAK ticket from Staunton to Kansas City, and got ready to go. My brother Chris offered to sell me his car, so I took the risk that it would be acceptable and thus serve as my mode of transportation for the return trip to Virginia.

All aboard AMTRAK!

On the afternoon of July 26, Jacqueline I arrived at the station here in Staunton -- almost an hour early due to my own error! The "Cardinal" train (#51) left right on time, and I settled in for the long ride, reading books and newspapers, and occasionally checking my iPhone for news, etc. The train passes through familiar territory in western Augusta County where I often go birding, and makes stops at Clifton Forge and then White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any good scenic photos of the mountains or the small mountain towns. I had an adequate meal (hot sandwich plus a beer), and prepared to sleep. I learned from the last time I had travelled on AMTRAK (December 2015 - January 2016) that sleeping is extremely difficult, even with a reclining chair. So, I bought myself a travel pillow that cushions bumps and keeps your head supported so that you can relax. It worked pretty well, but I still only got about four hours of sleep that night.

The next morning our train arrived in Chicago, where rail freight traffic is so heavy that it causes delays in passenger trains. I had about a four-hour layover before my connecting train departed, so I had a big breakfast at McDonald's and then walked outside. I took a few photos of downtown, and circled the block where the Willis Tower is located. The clouds were low that day, and you couldn't even see the top of the building!

Andrew, Chicago River, boat

Yours truly at the Chicago River, right next to Union Station.

Just before 3:00 PM we boarded the "Southwest Chief" train (#3), and soon were on our way. The skies cleared as we headed west, past corn fields, soybean fields, giant wind turbines, and small towns. There were a couple delays as we approached the Mississippi River, and we finally crossed the bridge and stopped in Fort Madison, Iowa. I had been through Burlington, Iowa on AMTRAK a couple times (en route to Omaha), but I had never been to the far southeast corner of the state. The rail line from Chicago to Kansas City passes through some very out-of-the-way parts of northern Missouri, but it quickly grew dark and I didn't see much of it. The train rolled into Kansas City at about 10:40, about a half hour late, which isn't too bad for a long trip. My brother Dan drove me home, and we had fun with his guitars.

Kansas City, Missouri

The next day (Friday) Dan took me on a wide-ranging tour of Kansas City, parking at Union Station (where I had arrived the night before), and then taking a streetcar (free!!!) all the way to the north part of downtown. From there we walked to a park on the Missouri River. Dan has devoted a huge amount of effort to studying the history of that city, and explained to me that the riverside park was once the main port area where riverboats steamed up and down "The Big Muddy." Later on, we visited the district of Westport, which is kind of like Georgetown as far as being old and funky, with a vibrant night life. Dan explained to me the historical signs referring to the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, which all started in Kansas City! While in Westport, we noticed the police arresting a black person, and we were later yelled at by a group of black youths in a car. Clearly there are racial tensions.

On Saturday, we had two big objectives: visit the National World War I Museum, and then drive up to Trenton, Missouri to see the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in concert. It was yet another beautiful day with blue skies perfect for taking pictures. The World War I Museum is at the base of a huge stone pillar, the top of which provides an ideal vantage point for scanning the urban area and photographing it. The museum itself is quite impressive, filled with original uniforms, army equipment, artillery pieces, machine guns, and tanks. The weak spot is the lack of maps, and one of the maps I did see conveyed rather misleading information. After that, we drove over to the site of the old Municipal Stadium, where the Kansas City Athletics (MLB), Royals (MLB), and Chiefs (NFL) used to play. (There were also minor league and negro league teams that once played there.) I had visited the historical marker there once before, and I noticed that it is in need of maintenance. Then we drove northeast through the city, and arrive in Trenton late in the afternoon. (That music festival will be discussed in a separate blog post.)

Kansas City downtown skyline

Kansas City downtown skyline, as seen from the top of the World War I Museum Tower.

On Sunday we visited the Shawnee Indian Mission historical site, located just west of the Missouri-Kansas state line. Dan explained how various church groups gained a foothold in the area during the mid-19th Century by bringing European civilization to the indigenous people. Then we went to the Turkey Creek Diversion Tunnel, a flood control project built in 1919, cutting right through a big hill near the Kansas River, which empties into the Missouri River at the state line. Then we drove through the West Bottoms area, filled with old warehouses that lay abandoned for many years but which are now being restored. Kemper Arena (home of the NBA Kansas City Kings from 1972 to 1985) is in that area, but it is aging and doesn't get much use anymore, since a new arena (the Sprint Center) was built a few years ago. Then we went to Terrace Park, on the northwest edge of downtown, perched on a bluff that provides a great view toward the west. We saw several homeless people while there, another sign of social problems in Kansas City. There are several historical monuments and prominent churches nearby, as well as a quaint old bar called Quaffs. (I kept the plastic cup as a souvenir.) Next we went to world-famous Arthur Bryant's barbecue place, and savored heaping platters of ribs. Finally, we toured the historic 18th & Vine (African-American) neighborhood, a sprawling outside patio bar called Knuckleheads (which features live rock and blues music), as well as the Little Italy on the northeast side of downtown. There are many signs of public investment in improving living conditions, but it seems to be an uphill battle.

South Dakota

On Monday (July 31) Dan and I drove north, and paid a visit to our parents' grave site in Vermillion, South Dakota, where we placed a Chicago Cubs World Series champion flag that I had bought while in Chicago. We only stayed a few minutes there (our home town growing up), and then drove the rest of the way north to Sioux Falls, where Chris lives. Soon we were joined by John, making it the first time since Dad's funeral that the four Clem brothers had been together.

On the first day of August, I took Chris's Hyundai Sonata on a lengthy "test drive" to the northeast part of the state. Back when I was planning this trip in the spring, I had hoped to do at least an overnight trip across the state into the Black Hills, but without a person familiar with the territory, that just wasn't practical. So I drove up I-29 and had lunch in the town of Waubay, and then drove toward the nearby Waubay National Wildlife Refuge to do some birding. (I'll discuss that in a separate blog post.) Later on, I drove south via Webster and Watertown, returning to Sioux Falls at dusk. The car worked fine!

On Wednesday Chris and I went to Madison, about an hour west of Sioux Falls, where his son Justin is getting established as a medical doctor. I hadn't been to that town since the 1970s (if at all), and exploring the local college and seeing all the lakeside residences was fascinating. On Thursday, I did another solo trip in the Sonata, but my birding activities were cut short by a rain shower. Chris took me on a drive through some interesting parts of Sioux Falls that I had not seen before, and we stopped at the scenic falls themselves just as dusk fell.

Dakota State University Beadle Hall

Dakota State University Beadle Hall. (Aug. 2).

The return trip

On August 4, I loaded my stuff into my "brand-new" car (!), said good-bye, and left Sioux Falls heading east on I-90. The skies had turned mostly clear again, and the only notable event as I drove through southern Minnesota was when a crop-dusting airplane swooped up within 100 feet or so of the highway right ahead of me! I stopped in the town of Albert Lea, where the rock group Kansas was scheduled to perform a show that night at the Freeborn County Fair. It was quite a coincidence that another of my favorite groups from the 1970s was playing during my trip, but I decided that staying to see them would have added almost an entire extra day to my trip, and I was eager to get back home. So, I kept going and crossed into Wisconsin during the afternoon. Just after 5:00 I arrived at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and did some birding there. (Separate blog post pending...) I thought I could get a motel room in the town of Mauston, but struck out there, so I had to keep going southeast on I-90. Around 9:00 I arrived in Madison, the capital of Wisconsin -- the first time I had ever been there. I navigated the busy Friday night downtown traffic, found a place to park, and took some photos of the state capitol building. I remembered the bitter political struggle over the state budget that took place a couple years ago, when opponents of Governor Scott Walker occupied the capitol for several hours. Finally, I found a nice place to spend the night in the city of Beloit, just north of the Illinois state line.

Welcome state signs - 2017

Welcome state signs: SD, WI, OH, KY, IN (Aug. 1 - 6).

The next day, I hit the road early so as to get good parking in Chicago for the Cubs-Nationals game, which started at 1:20. (That was discussed in my baseball blog post of August 16.) The traffic was pretty heavy approaching the city on the I-90 toll expressway ($$$), and likewise after the game as I drove south past downtown, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I went straight south on I-90 rather than take the I-94 toll expressway southeast toward Gary, Indiana, probably saving at least six bucks. Eventually I got onto I-65 south and spent the night in Lafayette, Indiana.

On Sunday, August 6, I resumed my southward course and stopped in Indianapolis for a couple hours, taking photos of the Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL Colts), the minor league baseball stadium (Victory Field), and the downtown area. For some reason, getting through Indiana always takes longer than I expect. I took I-74 southeast to Cincinnati, stopping to take photos of Great American Ballpark (where the Reds were playing the Cardinals), among other things of interest. I had considering attending that game, but the scarcity of time dictated otherwise. I had to get back on the road! From Covington, Kentucky (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), I took the "AA Highway" (which I believe stands from Alexandria-Ashland, the two cities that it connects) toward the east, eventually getting onto I-64 not far from the West Virginia border. It was just steady driving from then on as the sun went down. I got home some time after 10:00, all safe and sound -- and exhausted from all that driving!

I updated the Chronological (2017) photo gallery page with dozens of new photos from my trip, and I'll probably add a few more in the days to come.

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