Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mammoth Cave National Park

Wednesday, June 15 was my 50th birthday. I had decided to spend it at Mammoth Cave National Park. Meg had never been, and I'd only been once, when I was 10 to 12 years old.

We chose the 4 mile, 4-1/2 hour long Grand Avenue tour. It started at a man made entrance that was tunneled in the 1930's.

Our ranger guide showed us how it looked when people used to tour the cave with oil lamps. Not much to see.

There were formations of Gypsum on the walls for the first mile or so.

About a third of the way, we made a stop in the Snowball Dining Room.

Then, it was on to a section that had its ups and downs.

We made our way through a maze of stone passageways.

Watch your head there, Birthday Boy!

Meg took over 250 pictures, and as a result, we fell behind the rest of the group. That is my only criticism...we felt like we were being rushed. It was our day off, and we wanted to enjoy a more leisurely pace.

Toward the end of the 4 miles is Frozen Niagra.

At the bottom of some stairs is the Drapery Room.

The last part of the tour is where all the formations are to be found.

...and more formations...

As if 4 miles wasn't enough, we hiked down from the visitor center to see the historic entrance.

The last stop of the day was Kroger's, so that I could get some Guinness Beer. When I came out, there was this rainbow. A great sign toward the end of my 50th birthday. There's no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, but there is a glass of amber...Happy Birthday to me! (all photos copyright Meg White)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meg's Terre Haute Installation

It was finally time to install Meg's bronze sculpture "Light of Hope and Healing" for the Hux Cancer Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

We rented a Penske box truck with a lift gate on Friday, loaded everything up and made the 4 hour drive to Terre Haute. On Saturday morning, we were joined by Mike, Tom and Dave of Sycamore Engineering, who had agreed to help us with the installation. We've been lucky to have great people to work with, on tough installations. Some of the top experiences that come to my mind are the crew at Art Castings of Colorado or the Cajun crew that helped at the LSU installation. But, these guys were incredible. You can't beat real life experience - they were a blessing!

We moved the black granite base into the site and set it up on boxes so that I could eventually crawl underneath to fasten the bronze sculpture.

Next, we brought in the bronze sculpture and fed the electrical wires into the base.

We used a Genie material lift (from Arts Equipment Rental on English Station Rd. in Louisville, KY) to raise the bronze sculpture onto the base. To the right, in the light green shirt, is Mary Kramer of Art Spaces, Inc. She was Meg's art director for this project.

After it was attached with threaded pins and nuts with washers, we lowered it onto the legs of the lift and rolled it into position. Meg was then able to visualize the complete sculpture and see how it related to the site.

Once the final position was determined, we marked the placement, rolled the piece out of the way, and marked the mounting holes with the template that Art Castings had provided.

The guys from Sycamore Engineering drilled the holes for the electric and the 4 mounting holes. When I say that they drilled holes, that is the extremely abridged version. In reality, that was a task. The floor is Terrazo over concrete over a steel 'pan'.

We hoisted the sculpture off the lift, set it on boards over the holes, and lifted the legs of the material lift for the final setting. you the short version, and sparing you the agonizing details....the pins were added under the sculpture base, and it was lowered into place.

While the Sycamore crew made the final attachments of the pins under the floor, I attached the light fixture, added a light bulb and set the globe over the spring clip of the light fixture.

When the electric leads were wired up, the power was turned on. This is the final sculpture in its new home.

This is a detail of the bronze portion of the sculpture. It was really great to see it all come together successfully at the site. Awesome job, Meg! (all photos copyright Meg White)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park

This posting will show some of the pictures from our trip to Colorado last week, to get Meg's bronze sculpture from the foundry in Loveland.

Colorado is the land of extremes. The eastern portion is very flat, featureless and sparsely populated.

(...not the kind of place that you want to hear a fuel alarm for a big diesel truck...)

A few miles west of Loveland is the road that twists up Big Thompson canyon toward Estes Park (Meg's favorite place on Earth).

Estes Park is a tiny little town that is nestled in a mountain glade. A few miles out of town is Rocky Mountain National Park.

It's difficult to catch the sense of scale and magnitude of the mountains with a 2 dimensional picture.

Soon, we saw our first Elk.

Then, we saw many, many more Elk.

There are coyotes, bears, moose and many more types of animals in the park. This Magpie was very curious about us, and came in quite close.

We took Trail Ridge road up to about 12,000 feet in elevation. The top portion of the road was still impassable in the last week of May because of snow drifts.

...back in Loveland...too bad that we didn't know about these guys last month when we were dealing with Meg's bears.
(all photos copyright Meg White)