Day 86 - Connor Prairie - Balloon ride

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Aug 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Friday, August 23, 2013

We drove about 40 minutes to Connor Prairie Interactive  History Park - a privately owned non-profit company.  The park features living history centered on 1] an 1800's fur trading post and Indian hut, 2] the Connor farm [one of the first settlers in Indiana], 3] a reenactment of a 1893 southern raid on an Indiana city -- Dupont, and 4] a recreation of an 1859 tethered balloon ride.

We started with the trading camp.  It consisted of a few axe hewn log buildings and a bark covered Indian hut.  The trader was preparing a deer hide for clothing and an Indian was working on a small loom making beaded belts, sashes and ornaments.  The natives really liked the beads because up until they traded with the Europeans - the beads were only made from shells, quills and other limited variety of beads.  But the European beads came in different sizes and colors.

Conner Homestead consisted of a variety of houses [different status of people], various trade people along with a working farm.  The Connor house was built out of logs and covered with stone and brick.  The inside had wall paper, a working kitchen and a bed room  - much was the original furniture [or replicas] and reconstructed to look as it would in the day.

At the homestead a Carpenter and potter were at work.  the carpenter showed how they built houses without nails - using pegs and mortise cuts  and simple hand tools.  It was especially interesting to see how he used a clamp to hold the wood while he shaved it into a peg.

The potter showed us how he molds and works the clay, shapes it into form, cuts it with a wire to get it off of the potters wheel, and prepares it for the Kiln.  I have seen demonstrations of part of this process but never taking it from clay to the finished product.

The farm featured a pair of oxen being trained to pull equipment.  The farmer was showing the ways that they get the oxen to go in the right direction.   Also how they raised the cattle and oxen and how important they are to the farm.  In managing cattle - only one bull is needed to breed 25 cows.  The farmer picks the bull with the best traits and  uses the rest for meat, sale or as oxen.
The next section was the recreation of the 1863 raid by confederate General Morgan with 2000 confederates attacked and burned much of Dupont Indiana. The presentation was much like Disney does in its theme parks with movie projections [outside fake windows so it looks real], loud noises, and props that move during the simulated raid.  It was really well done.

The final section was entertainment  in 1859 - a balloon tethered ride -- 377 feet in the air.  Linda really wanted to go so we went - even though the balloon was grounded most of the morning because of weather - wind and visibility.   The weather was clear and the visibility was great.  The ride confirmed my suspicions that there sure is lots of flat land out there -- we could see much more of it from the balloon. The ride was a little bumpy and wind blown.  Linda had a great time -- I would have been much happier on the ground.  Being up in the air - looking straight down -- into nothing - did not really agree with me. 

Tomorrow we head west, move out of the eastern time zone and head toward Rapid City, SD and Mt Rushmore.

We are ready to leave the east. Some of the  indicators are below
You know you are ready to leave the east if ----
--the first thing you do in the morning is turn on the air conditioner
--you see more lawn pottery deer than the real ones
--you know all the daily specials at the Cracker Barrel
--you routinely order sweet tea in restaurants
--you view the large pot holes in the road as the state's most scenic attraction
--your car's GPS only point west
--you need 4 showers a day [but can only take one]
--you wonder why the sun does not set in the ocean

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