S: 2011 Sweepstakes Convention - Ft. Wayne, Indiana
FC: 2011 Fort Wayne Sweepstakes Convention and 4th Annual Road Trip
1: 2011 Fort Wayne Sweepstakes Convention Everyone's A Winner and 4th Annual Road Trip Pictures by John Miller, Greg Johnson and others Text by Greg Johnson
2: Day 1 - Grand Rapids, MN to Big Bend, WI June 15th - 8am to 3:55pm Miles traveled - 406 | The 2011 road trip began cold and rainy but that did not stop us from visiting two Paul Bunyan statues in Eau Claire, WI. In the same park we came across a flock of geese! Before arriving at Oranjkaat's we stopped at a Dick's Sporting Goods in Madison to pick up something that I would need once I arrived at the convention. More on that later!
3: Our destination for the first day was Oranjkaat's. An AWESOME OLS'er we know from chat and who we met on our 2nd Annual Summer Road Trip. | Oranjkaat gettin' her Bag O' Crap that she won from Baked's MOC | Oranjkaat took us to Milwaukee so we could check out some attractions along the Riverwalk | Gertie the Duck. | Aaaaaayyyyyy, it's the Bronze Fonz
4: Also along the Riverwalk was the Public Market, a bowling ball sculpture and giant ladybugs! Then we drove down by Lake Michigan and found a giant motorcycle on the way back to her place where we had Milwaukee bombers, fish fry and cheesecake for dinner!
5: Day 2 - Big Bend, WI to Fort Wayne, IN June 16th - 9:29am to 4:15pm Miles traveled - 265 | Orankaat gave us some yoga lessons before we let! | We had an AWESOME time hangin' out with Oranjkaat! | As we drove through Chicago we made a quick stop at the Leaning Tower of Niles, a nearly exact replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Nearby was the famous Superdawg drive-in where we stopped for lunch.
6: Our destination for Thursday was the 22nd Annual Sweepstakes Convention in Fort Wayne, IN. I was super excited cuz I was already a winner! The convention had a design a logo contest - I was one of the runner up winners! Here is the one of the 3 logo's I designed and entered - and the one that was declared a runner up. After checkin' in at the hotel we went to the meet and greet for the convention. They gave away a few prizes then it was off to the baseball game. The sweeps convention was one of the honored guests groups - we got a great ballpark meal and great seats! | One of the prizes given away at the meet & greet was the opportunity to throw out one of the first pitches. A convention regular - and someone who has probably won one of the best prizes in a sweep (The 7 Wonders Of The World sweep) was the winner. | Me, Brent, Nicole, Panda, KB and Rebel2003 | Me, Ziggywag and her hubby
7: Day 3 - Fort Wayne, IN June 17th | On Friday the convention officially kicked off! I won $75 for my convention logo entry! One of the great things about this convention was that EVERYBODY won a prize the first day! Each of the convention attendees were given an envelope - in each envelope was a gift card worth either $25, $50 or $100! Other winners in the Friday morning session were Brent, KB and Beanie!
8: As many of you know, me and Baked love to check out the local places to eat. Fort Wayne had a few great places to eat, one of them is Cindy's Diner. The following pic I think is a bit larger than the actual diner - it only seats 15 people on the inside! We had their infamous Garbage meal! | Winners from the afternoon session! | ariyana9501 | TripletA and Bucbratt
9: After the Friday sessions were over several of us met up at the Thirsty Camel to help celebrate the 30th b-day of vgmaster81. Some of us had LOTS to drink that nite - but I won't say who
10: Day 4 - Fort Wayne, IN June 18th | I don't recall the Saturday morning session - probably cuz I was still sleepin' on the floor back in our hotel room. But I did hear there were a few winners! | Rebel2003 | KB | Nicole | Bucbratt | On my way to the costume contest! Luckily there was a comic book convention goin' on at the same hotel as the sweepstakes convention so I didn't look too out of place!
11: I don't know how I did it but I won my 2nd voting contest! Not only did I win the costume contest I got a few tips while goin' back to my seat! Here's the MC of the costume contest Alison and me. The theme of the Costume Contest was to have a costume that represented your favorite win. Way back in 2003 I won a Donzi Classic Sweet 16 speedboat so I put together this ensemble in the hopes of winnin'!
12: Dallasdol | Tangee | KB | For dinner on Saturday nite the convention treated us to an AWESOME buffet and dessert table! Some of the winners Saturday night included:
13: After the Saturday nite banquet Baked and I checked out another Fort Wayne institution - Powers Hamburgers Later we went back to the courtyard at our hotel for a get together hosted by Beanie and her mom!
14: Day 5 - Fort Wayne, IN to Akron, OH June 19th - 12:34pm to 6:57pm Miles traveled - 250 | Sunday is the sad day of every convention cuz it's the last day. But there were several OLS'ers who were happy cuz they won! I had an AWESOME time at the convention and can't wait til next year! | TripletA | ariyana9501 | KB and Nicole | Panda | SweepsAng
15: After the convention was over we headed to MzAttitude's - but first we had a few stops to make. Johnny Appleseed's grave in Fort Wayne. and A giant Campbell's Soup can in Napoleon, Ohio.
16: As many OLS'ers know M*A*S*H is my all time favorite TV show. Last year we visited the site in CA where M*A*S*H was filmed. This trip we stopped at Tony Packo's, a hot dog joint that Klinger referred to several times. They have on display a shipping box that was used as a prop on M*A*S*H! Hundreds of famous people have signed a Packo bun over the years including Paul Stanley and Bruce Kulick from KISS.
17: Day 6 - Akron, OH to Seneca Falls, NY June 20th - 10:59am to 10:38pm Miles traveled - 375 | The next morning we woke up to some fresh KrispyKreme donuts - YUM YUM! Before we headed out we got out the wigs and glasses and took some pics! MzAttitude and her family rock! | We arrived at MzAttitude's place in time to hang out with her and her family. It was great seein' her again!
18: Our first stop of the day we had to sneak in to get the best pics! It's the Goodyear Airdock! It was used in the 30's to build dirigibles, but now it is used for building military blimps. Luckily we got in and out before security showed up! | Then we headed over to Kent State University. | There is a sculpture there that has a bullet hole from that tragic day. The location where each student died is marked by a square of four foot light posts.
19: Our next stop was at the site of Neil Armstrong's first flight in Warren, Ohio, it's marked by a replica of his moon landing. Later we stopped at the worlds largest Amish horse and buggy in Mesopotamia, Ohio Then we stopped at a spillway known as "Where The Ducks Walk on the Fish" in Linesville, Pennsylvania.
20: Next we shuffled off to Buffalo to meet up with IronButterfly and her hubby! The last time we were in Buffalo we went to the Anchor Bar - the originator the the hot wings. This time we wanted to try out one of their competitors, so we went to Duff's. After trying both...our vote goes to the Anchor Bar! Professor OLS found a menu signed by his hero...Conan O'Brien!
21: After dinner we headed east to Avon, NY to meet up with one of Baked's former techs and his girlfriend. He works in a Kraft factory making Lunchables, but hopes one day to move up to making Cool Whip! I told him the factory really needs a giant tub of Cool Whip outside it and he said he would see what he could do about that!
22: Day 7 - Seneca Falls, NY to Plattsburgh, NY June 21st - 9:56am to 8:20pm Miles traveled - 343 | Our plan for this day was to drive around Cayuga Lake and get some AWESOME pics of the lake then head north to Lake Placid and then end up in Plattsburgh, NY. Unfortunately most of the property around Cayuga Lake is privately owned so we didn't get as many pics of the lake as we wanted. One of the public places we did stop at was Taughannock Falls.
23: As we head into the Adirondacks we shake things up by stopping for dessert before dinner! | For lunch we stopped at the Buffalo Head Restaurant. Great food! Unfortunately we forgot to charge the battery on the camera so we didn't get any pics of the food. We we able to charge the battery up while we ate lunch
24: Our next big stop was in Lake Placid, NY - home of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. Baked, NeanderTroll and Jebus tried out the speed skating track! | We got into Plattsburgh but didn't feel like heading out for dinner, so we ordered a pizza and got everyone settled down for good nite's sleep!
25: Day 8 - Plattsburgh, NY to Durham, ME June 22nd - 7:54am to 7:11pm Miles traveled - 295 | Our first goal was finding the ferry dock so we could get from NY to VT. Then we made our way to Battery Park in Burlington where we saw some guns and another Peter Wolf Toth statue! Around town we also found Champs the lake monster and the world's tallest file cabinet! | As we left Burlington we saw a pair of whale tales far from any ocean!
26: One of the things we like to do on trips is visit cemeteries that have interesting monuments. We visited one in Middlesex and one in Barre that had some unique tombstones.
27: Our next stop was also in Barre, VT - the whispering statue. People can carry on conversations while sitting on opposite sides of the statue! Then we stopped at the Knight's Spider Web Farm in Willliamstown, VT - it's the original web site! Will Knight harvests the spider webs and preserves them on wooden plaques using his own unique process.
28: Our next stop was the Vermontasaurus in Post Mills, VT, it's made from just about every kind of scrap wood they could find. Ladders, guitars, toboggans and tons more! We left Vermont and made our way through New Hampshire on a very scenic drive through the White Mountains.
29: Next we visited Sabbaday Falls in the heart of the White Mountains!
30: Next we went to see a big rock in the middle of the forest, left there by a receding glacier!
31: Day 9 - Durham, ME to Durham, ME June 23rd - 9:05am to 6:03pm Miles traveled - 337 | Lobster, lobster, lobster - our top priority for today. But first we had a few stops to make. Unfortunately we had to change a few plans after seein' this at a rest stop! | Stephen King's home in Bangor, ME. | Stephen King's mailman! | The USS Maine Memorial.
32: In Bangor we also visited a huge statue of Paul Bunyan! Bangor is supposedly Paul's birthplace. Finally - LOBSTER! A lobster roll and lobster bisque at the Ruth & Wimpy's in Hancock, ME. And Wilbur who hangs out in front of Ruth & Wimpy's!
33: It was low tide as we drove along the coast through a secluded section of Acadia National Park.
34: On the home stretch back to my friends Elaine & Lance we visited the Giant Old Salt Fisherman in Boothbay Harbor, Maine and Mainer C. Lobster in Woolwich, Maine. We revisited Red's Eats for an awesome lobster roll! We also had an unexpected roadside encounter with a big blue moose!
35: Day 10 - Durham, ME to Ashby, MA June 24th - 8:27am to 4:46pm Miles traveled - 181 | It was another very rainy day, we had more rain on this trip than an other! We stopped in Manchester, NH to have lunch with rewcatherine and her hubby Andrew at the Red Arrow Diner. Cat had a very good seat, sitting where Hillary Clinton had sat! Afterward we met up with Tania and her mom to chat about sweep conventions past and future!
36: Cat was the other winner of Baked's Bag O' Crap PMOC! Pharaoh and Chanupa were happy to see Jebus and NeanderTroll again! Arthur was happy when Cat emptied out one of the bags of crap!
37: Day 11 - Ashby, MA to Ashby, MA June 25th - 11:15am to 7:08pm Miles traveled - 108 | Our destination for today was Boston to meet up with schmoolander and to tour some sites in Boston, mostly around the harbor since we didn't see that area on our last visit. We also picked up a new road trip traveler....a Boston lobster!
38: We ate a lunch of mussels and sammichs at Boston Sail Loft, a great little dive along the harbor! Schmoo had to get going, but he gave us some ideas for what else we could see close by!
39: We visited the Old North Church and saw a statue of Paul Revere! Cat had fun with another statue we found!
40: After leaving Boston we stopped in Lexington where we visited Lexington Green and the Minuteman statue. Cat thought he had a nice ass! Then it was onto Concord and the Old North Bridge where the "shot heard round the world" was fired.
42: Day 12 - Ashby, MA to Ashby, MA June 26th - 11:42am to 6:34pm Miles traveled - 183 | Today we took a day trip to Cape Ann, north of Boston. We stopped at Halibut Point State Park, where an old quarry is located right along the Atlantic coast.
43: Then we stopped at the Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester and the Bewitched statue and Witch Trial Memorial in Salem!
44: Cat got a special treat after we got back, I cooked for her! I made juicy lucy's for everyone! Afterward everyone had fun dressing up with wigs, glasses and speedos!
45: Day 13 - Ashby, MA to Durham, CT June 27th - 12:27pm to 7:12pm Miles traveled - 149 We took a scenic drive through the Connecticut countryside where we saw a statue of General Putnam. Then we visited the Mohegan Sun casino, the largest casino in the United States where we found the KISS star on their walk of fame!
46: After a quick stop at Tater Hill and a ferry ride across the Connecticut River we arrived at Terfool's house where they had an awesome home cooked meal for us! All our road trip pals even found a spot to settle in for the night!
47: Day 14 - Durham, CT to Durham, CT June 28th - 11:13am to 9:18pm Miles traveled - 95 I think one of the coolest things that happened on this trip was that NeanderTroll and Jebus were recognized by someone unrelated to sweepin' who happened to find them on OLS from a Google search! On our last road trip to the New England area we stopped at a place called Wild Bill's - a pretty cool store on the outside and inside. We went there again on this trip - it's one of those places ya gotta visit when your nearby. They were in the process of repainting the outside, painting a new design on the front of the building. The guy painting noticed us and the first thing he said to us was - 'Hey, I know those trolls!' He came over to us and told us that he recently did a Google search on Wild Bill's and one of the things that popped up was the pics from the last time we were there. It was great chattin' with him and he said he's gonna put one of the trolls in the mural he was workin' on!
48: Next we stopped at a car wash, but it wasn't to wash the Cube! This car wash has all kinds of cool statues to entertain you as you get your cars clean!
49: Next we headed to the Hartford area where we visited an Iwo Jima memorial that's a replica of the one in Washington D.C. At the children's museum they have a 60 foot long sperm whale (named Conny) that you can walk inside! They also have a cow ballerina!
50: Before leaving Hartford we visited Mark Twain's house. Baked knocked at the front door but no one answered! Next we headed down to New Have where we visited the Yale Center for British Art. Afterward we returned to a stop from a previous road trip, Louis Lunch - the birthplace of the hamburger! We had some of their awesome burgers and cold sodas!
51: Later that night we went on a short trip to the Connecticut coast to have dinner at Bill's Seafood in Westport. We sat our on their deck where we could watch the seagulls and ducks and listen to the famous singing bridge.
52: Day 15 - Durham, CT to Somerset, PA June 29th - 9:52am to 10:38pm Miles traveled - 492 | After a quick pic with Terfool we were off to see a giant cow! Then we stopped in Williamsport, PA to visit the home of the Little League World Series!
53: For lunch we stopped at a place with HUGE burgers! I had a typical 1/3 pound burger while Baked ate a 1 pounder that was the size of his head! On a side note...don't try to bring your motorcycle in the building!
54: After a drive through Amish country we visited Punxsutawney Phil! We were very quiet so we wouldn't wake him from his nap. There were all kinds of cool groundhog statues on every corner!
55: A bit outside of town is Gobbler's Knob where the Groundhog's Day ceremony is held every February! Jebus and NeanderTroll both saw their shadows! Our last stop of the day was Indiana, PA which was the hometown of Jimmy Stewart.
56: Day 16 - Somerset, PA to Dayton, OH June 30th - 9:42am to 4:48pm Miles traveled - 320 | Our destination today was Dayton where DaytonCat was letting us crash! On the way we stopped in Newark, OH to see a building shaped like a giant basket! Later that night DaytonCat took us out to eat the Little York Tavern for pizza and Coney dogs!
57: Day 17 - Dayton, OH to Springfield, IL July 1st - 8:18am to 7:38pm Miles traveled - 402 | Right around the corner from DaytonCat's is the cemetery where Agnes Moorehead of Bewitched fame is buried. Next we visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force!
58: More pics from the National Museum of the Unites States Air Force.
59: We picked up a new road trip pal, Smiley! A waitress gave him to us when we stopped for some fried chicken for lunch! After making it to Springfield we met up with JusLikeHoney and her crew where they treated us to the local delicacy, a horseshoe!
60: Day 18 - Springfield, IL to Springfield, IL July 2nd - 9:31am to 6pm Miles traveled - 71 | The Land of Lincoln! We met at Lincoln's Tomb with JusLikeHoney and her family, including her sister Jazzyblue21! | Outside of Lincoln's tomb Jebus and NeanderTroll rubbed his nose for good luck! | JusLikeHoney bought us a new road trip pal, our very own Abe Lincoln!
61: Our next stop was Lincoln's home. We saw a movie about Lincoln and took a tour of his house. For lunch we went to the Cozy Drive In, the home of the original corn dog!
62: New Salem is a recreation of a village where Lincoln lived before moving to Springfield. Most of the buildings date from the 1930's but are built on their original locations. | On the way out to New Salem to see more Lincoln sites we took note of the temperature!
63: We had an awesome time hanging out with JusLikeHoney and Jazzyblue21! | Thing 1 and Thing 2 | After leaving New Salem we hit the nearest DQ for some yummy ice cream treats!
64: Day 19 - Springfield, IL to Winterset, IA July 3rd - 7:46am to 6:04pm Miles traveled - 445 | Baked bought a new road trip vehicle a couple of years ago - a Nissan Cube. So, on the past couple of road trips we've been playin' the Slug Bug game - but subbing a Cube for the Bug. After last summers road trip I had quite the bruise on my arm - so on this trip I made a better effort to see a Cube before he did. I was quite successful in my efforts - I think I spotted a lot more than he did. One of the rules we agreed upon was that if we saw a bunch of Cubes in a car dealership or something like that we could only slug once - not one for each Cube on the lot. I regretted that rule when we were leavin' Springfield and I spotted these! When we met up with Jus and her family the day before she brought along a Springfield favorite - Mel-O-Cream donuts! They soon became our favorites so we stopped and got some on our way out of town
65: We stopped at Victors Point roadside park in Missouri for a break and saw this - on the day we were there it was exactly 7 years later - I hope they're still together and as happy as they were when they wrote it. | All the little towns along the way were getting decorated for the 4th! In Ilasco, MO we visited a historic two room jail. Next to the jail were these Slavakian Dancers. Maybe they used them for mug shots!
66: In and around Hannibal, MO we saw Lover's Leap, and part of the lock system on the Mississippi River | We even saw a paddle wheel boat coming down the river! In Hannibal is a statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
67: We swung back into Illinois to have lunch at the Hamilton Family Cafe! | We revisited the American Gothic House in IA before arriving at Xan's where Simon was super excited to see NeanderTroll again! We also met Kimkij who made a special trip to IA to meet up with everyone for the 4th of July!
68: Day 20 - Winterset, IA to Winterset, IA July 4th - 9:30am to 10:06pm Miles traveled -162 Our first stop of the day was to the grave of Willson Scott - he donated his land to the state of Iowa where the state capital is now located. Mr Scott's grave is just yards away from the Iowa Supreme Court. Since it was the 4th of July we knew there wouldn't be anybody in the courthouse - that's the best time to visit since there isn't a judge there to send ya to jail!
69: There was no security in sight, so we got a special tour of Iowa's Supreme Court Building.! | Baked, Kimkij and I along with all our road trip pals standing behind the judge's bench. | A view of the Iowa State Capital from the Supreme Court Building.
70: Next it was off to Smash Burger where we met up with Beanie, Sparkle8 and her BF and Sparkle's daughter and her BF. | Beanie, her mom and her dad took us our on a lake in their party boat! Everyone had a great time swimming and sunbathing!
71: DJsPrincess, Sparkle8, Xan, KISSaholic4life, Kimkij, bakedalaska We all had an awesome time at the 1st Annual Beanie Bash and can't wait to do it again! Big thanks to Beanie and her family for putting together a great outing for us.
72: I stayed away from the Hall of Flame! They have a eating challenge where you can win a t-shirt! But if you throw up you are disqualified! Then it was off to the carnival Two tips...never get on a tilt-a-whirl with Sparkle8 and don't go up against Beanie in a bumper car! | Before heading to the carnival we stopped at Cactus Bob's for a bite to eat!
74: Day 20 - Winterset, IA to Home July 5th - 10:32am to 7:22pm Miles traveled - 463 Before leavin' Winterset we had to stop to say hi to the Duke! On the way home we stopped to see mrbike and kim and met our last new olser of the trip, MyThreeCats! | Total miles - 5,346 Total time drivin' - Lotsa time! Most miles traveled in 1 day - 492 - While goin' from Durham, CT to Somerset, PA Least miles traveled in 1 day (not including the days we were at the convention) - 71 - While site-seein' in the Springfield, IL area Number of days for this road trip - 21 Maximum speed - 85mph Number of OLS'ers met on this trip - 30 Number of OLS'ers met for the first time - 14 (I'm up to 97 on my list of OLS'ers I've met!) Total number of attractions/stops - over 50 Total number of pics taken - 3,096
75: Number of new travel buddies - 6 - A soon-to-be-named Lobster, Voodoo, bird, frog, Smiley, Abe, Total number of travel buddies - 21 - Neander, Jebus, Rocky, Spam, Gene, Ace, Peter, Paul, Plex, Dandy, Funyun, Lobster, Voodoo, bird, frog, smiley, Abe, Duck, Duck, Duck, ProfessorOLS Total number of states traveled thru - 14 - MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, CT, WV, IA States traveled thru more than once - WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, NH, IA State traveled thru the most number of times - IL - 3 times! The most states we traveled thru in 1 day - 4 - NY, VT, NH, ME The OLS'er we stayed with the longest - RewCatherine! Top 3 road kills seen on this trip - 1 - Bugs 2 - Raccoons 3 - Deer Number of time we were pulled over by the police/number of tickets/arrests/nites spent in jail - ZERO! Baked and I would like to thank the followin' OLS'ers for lettin' us crash at their place - Oranjkaat & family, MZAttitude & family, RewCatherine & hubby, Terfool & family, DaytonCat, Xan. We'd also like to thank my friends Lance & Elaine for lettin' us crash at their place! We'd like to thank the followin' OLS'ers for meetin' up with us - all the OLS'ers at the sweeps convention, Ironbutterfly & hubby, TaniaNH and mom, TinyMoMo, JusLikeHoney and family, JazzyBlue21, Kimkij, DJsPrincess, Sparkle8, MrBike & Kim, MyThreeCats. We'd also like to thank Baked's friend Kenji & GF for meetin' up with us! Thanks to Beanie's family for helpin' organize the AWESOME 1st Annual Beanie's Bash - we all had a great time! Can't wait til next year for the 2nd Annual Beanie's Bash! Thanks also to Nicole & Brent for givin' us some premium memberships to hand out to the OLS'ers we met on the road trip! Congrats to DaytonCat for winnin' a 1 year premium membership! Y'all made this road trip an AWESOME one - y'all ROCK! We had a great time everywhere we stopped and with everyone we met! I've said this in the past and I'll say it again - y'all are the reason OLS is the bestest!