Road Trips

Visiting Cambridge City, an Indiana National Road town

Along the National Road in eastern Indiana, a lot of the action is in Wayne County. From Richmond through Centerville to Cambridge City, there’s plenty to see and do. Dawn and I easily spent half of the time on our trip just in these three towns.

When we got to Cambridge City, the sidewalks were lined with antiques for sale. It’s an annual event, and we stumbled right upon it.

Cambridge City

Several details had changed around Cambridge City since our last visit, back in 2009. Here’s what this great old sign looked like then.

Cambridge City

A new owner changed the center plastic panel, but unfortunately hasn’t kept up with repairs to the fragile glass tubes.


This great sign from 2009 is no longer there.

Cambridge City

And while this building is still there, the food mart present in 2009 has been replaced by a restaurant.

Cambridge City

As you can see in this shot, the shingled awning has been removed, revealing the building’s original entrance. It was a shame to cover it up.

Cambridge City

One thing that hasn’t changed is the wonderful Vinton House, built in 1847 at the intersection of the National Road and the Whitewater Canal, which has long since been filled in. Here it was in 2009:

Cambridge City

Here it is in 2015. It was an inn and stagecoach stop back in the day.

Vinton House

This little log cabin still stands, too. Built in 1830, it was also an inn for travelers. The cabin was built a few miles away, but moved to this location at some point. This is a 2009 photo.

Cambridge City

While walking along, looking at the antiques for sale, we came upon this 1967 Pontiac Bonneville. It’s in nearly original condition, with some fading paint. It’s wheels aren’t original, but they’re sized to take modern tires.

1967 Pontiac Bonneville

I had my Canon TLb along as we walked through town, and on Kodak Gold 200 film, the images I got looked like postcards. I’m sure the local convention and visitors bureau would approve.

Downtown Cambridge City

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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Road Trips

The bicycles of Knightstown, on the National Road in Indiana

Knightstown, pop. 2,182, isn’t what you’d call a big town. But it’s the biggest one Henry County has to offer along the National Road, which cuts across the very bottom of the county. It’s a typical Indiana small town, with most buildings fronting the main drag built within 20 years either way of 1900. What makes Knightstown stand out to the person just passing through is the bicycles.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

Chained to every pillar and post, a basket or tub or pot sits on each one, filled with flowers. Mums, actually, given that it was autumn when I passed through.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

Each is painted a bright color — not just the body, but the tires, the chains, the gears, the seat, everything.

Bicycle planter

But it’s a clever idea that makes Knightstown stand out.

The bicycle planters of Knightstown

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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Camera Reviews

Canon TLb

I love gifts to the Jim Grey Home for Wayward Cameras. I wasn’t in the market for any more all-manual Canon SLRs, but when this TLb landed in my hands, of course I had to shoot with it. Turns out, it’s a competent basic performer.

Canon TLb

Produced for a few years starting in 1974, the TLb was Canon’s entry-level 35mm SLR. It was based on the earlier, more fully featured FTb QL, removing three features: the 1/1000 sec. shutter speed (the TLb tops out at 1/500 sec), a hot shoe, and the Quick Loading (QL) film-loading system. Everything else is the same, down to the match-needle metering.

Canon TLb

The TLb, along with the FTb QL and the F-1, were Canon’s first cameras for the new FD lens mount. It replaced the earlier, similar FL mount; indeed, all of these cameras take FL-mount lenses, but then you have to stop down to meter.

Canon TLb

The TLb follows the 35mm SLR idiom well; all the controls are in the typical places. The only quirk is that the battery cover is on the side of the top plate, next to the rewind crank, rather than on the bottom. The meter runs on a dreaded, banned 625 mercury battery. As usual, I substituted an alkaline 625 cell with its slightly different voltage, worries about misexposures be damned.

By the way, if you like Canon SLRs, check out my reviews of the FT QL (here), the T70 (here), the AE-1 Program (here), the EOS 650 (here), and the EOS A2e (here). Or check out these non-SLR Canons: the Canonet 28 (here), the Canonet QL17 G-III (here), the Dial 35-2 (here), and the AF35ML (here). Or have a look at all of my camera reviews here.

I’ve owned a few Canon cameras with the QL system, and I always manage to screw up loading film with them. But I got film loading right with the QL-less TLb on the first try. Go fig. With Kodak Gold 200 inside and a 50mm f/1.8 Canon FD S.C lens out front, I took the TLb out on my recent trip with my friend Dawn along the National Road (US 40) in eastern Indiana. This scene is from a building in Greenfield. I can imagine it as a painting. Maybe I’ve seen one like it before.

Dog pumpkin shadow

When we reached Cambridge City, the sidewalks were lined with antiques for sale. We always seem to stumble upon some sort of festival or fair on our road trips. One of the dealers had this pottery for sale.


The antiques sale spilled into an alleyway off the highway. All of my daylight images seemed just a shade too bright. But detail is good.

Junk for sale

Up in Centerville, this old iron railroad crossing sign stands inexplicably in a courtyard, no tracks in sight.


The white and green Huddleston Farmhouse is hard to miss as you pass it by. It’s an Indiana Landmarks property; tours are available. I always manage to stop by when the house is closed, but the grounds have always been open for self-guided tours. This photo is of the well house on the property.

At the Huddleston Farmhouse

I could have taken all of those easy touristy photos with any of my cameras. Part of the point of owning an SLR is that you can do more than that with it. So I moved in close to this flower.


And inside an antique shop, I braced myself and the camera, opened the lens wide, and got this lovely shot of this old toy truck on a shelf. The depth of field is probably an inch or so here.

Allied Van Lines

I always like to see what kind of bokeh I can get out of a prime lens, so I moved in as close as I could to these mums in my front yard, opened the lens wide, and made this photo.


I brought the TLb with me one day after work when I met my brother Downtown for a drink. He likes rye; I like bourbon. Liberty Street has an impressive selection of both.

Liberty Street

To see more from this camera, check out my Canon TLb gallery.

I liked this TLb, shot after shot. It handled easily, moreso than many other manual, mechanical cameras in my collection, including the similar FT QL.

The TLb is a fine shooter. If you want a decent basic body for your FD mount lenses, one that still works (except the meter) when the battery dies, one you can pick up for cheap every day on eBay, the TLb is a fine choice.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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At the bar

At the Bar
Canon TLb, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FD S.C.
Kodak Gold 200

I sat this camera I’ve yet to review, a Canon TLb, on the bar for this shot. I looked pretty funny peering through the viewfinder all hunched over from my seat, whiskey before me.

Film Photography