GIBSON CITY – Stories abound about people who come home to their roots. But few do so by traveling 2,500 miles by bicycle, and even fewer do it to raise money for their hometown soccer club.
That's what Paul Supawanich, 26, is doing over the next few weeks – bicycling from the San Francisco Bay Area to Gibson City, his hometown.
Prague is a jewel of a city, well worth the visit, if only to see what a country is like 20 years after throwing off communist rule.
My husband and I visited there in October, a fabulous time to see the changing colors dotting the hillsides. After claiming our bags at the airport, we took a shuttle bus to the city center (500 CZK or $27). The four-star Hotel Certovka ($230/night) was our home base for several nights. Located on a corner directly below and next to the Charles Bridge, it was the perfect spot. Our later hotel, the Green Garland Pension ($184/night), is a few blocks from the Charles Bridge on the other side of the Vltava river.
Early this spring, Gary Perkins and Ginny Dewar of Cable, Wis. (formerly of Urbana), suggested Gail Taylor and I meet them for a bike tour of Milwaukee in early June.
The promotional material on the Fat Tire Tour made the ride sound more like a social event with a good chance to explore the neighborhoods and brews of this fine city.
WEBBERVILLE IN MANSFIELD – It's a trip back in time.
A Shell antique gas pump, last inspected in 1963, parks itself in front of an old Shell gas station, sharing its space with antique cars from 1933 to 1965.
The gas station – a yard barn cleverly disguised – displays old-fashioned oil cans, signs, car parts and soda bottles. A huge gas station clock hangs in the front, showing the same time day after day.
Call the phone number, 21-R-21, on the station window – it won't connect anywhere now. But it did work back in 1953.
The creator of all this, Mike Webber, found the phone number in an old Mansfield Homecoming book and painted it on the Shell station window. Webber works as a mechanic operator at Plunk Farms in Mansfield, but he plays with objects from the past.
An overnight trip to South Africa was the first leg of living a dream to visit the continent.
Landing in Johannesburg, we hopped on a plane to Cape Town, where we were met by the Shonogololo Tour Co. Whisked off to our train, we were shown to our rooms, where we would spend 17 nights traveling across the vast country. Each day was different, and we had our choice of what to see or experience by going to a corresponding van that would take us out for the day with an extremely knowledgeable guide.
If you want to experience genuine Southern hospitality, try Lowcountry cooking and visit a city of unique charm and 300 years of rich heritage, pack your bag and chart a course to Savannah, Ga., fondly referred to by Savannahians as the "Southern Lady."
You can explore the historic district, delight in blended styles of architecture, visit 21 miniparks graced with oak tree allees, view stately mansions enhanced with tall white columns, take a Savannah River paddleboat cruise, peek through elaborate wrought-iron fences guarding intimate formal gardens, and encounter the essence of Southern life of bygone days, artfully wedded with modern development.
BISHOP HILL – Check out ethnic and folk arts from around the central states at the ninth annual Midwest Folk Festival on Aug. 1 and 2.
The free festival focuses on arts and music from the region's post-World War II immigrants.
My parents were turning 50 and celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, my sister graduated from high school and I completed by bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois. Clearly, this was a time to celebrate. So our family booked a trip to Italy – where my parents vacationed for their honeymoon – to see the sights, taste the wine and of course, eat all the pasta and pizza we could stand.
We were also able to see the small towns where my paternal grandparents grew up; my Nonna Russo hails from Cervarezza in northern Italy and my late Nonno Russo was a native of Cosenza in southern Italy.
Faith, Hope and Charity and the greatest of these – apparently – is Hope.
Not many people know that in the mid-1800s, the three communities of Faith, Hope and Charity were settled in western Vermilion County.
Nearly every one of the 195 big cats currently at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Ind., has a tragic history of abuse and neglect – a tragic history with a happier ending, thanks to the center's founder and director Joe Taft and his team of professional staff, interns and volunteers.
A tour of the center's extensive facilities, located an hour west of Indianapolis and about 15 minutes east of Terre Haute, is both educational and gratifying – these animals are visibly healthy and content, and each one is guaranteed its place at the rescue center for the rest of its days.