It’s been a fairly quiet week out here on the road this week. The weather has warmed back up again and the shorts and T-shirts are back on. Halloween stores are still popping up though, and the live haunted houses that have proliferated in recent years are starting to open. I have seen the borders on the leaves in some trees starting to take on some color as well. As for me, I’ve made my way down the far western edge of Ohio and am writing to you today from Covington in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I finished my 2nd Ohio podcast this week (find it HERE), and will be wrapping up my final posts about the Buckeye State in the next few days. I’ve also been doing some planning and trying to figure out where the next few weeks will take me as I begin my journey through the Bluegrass State.
After I wrote last week, I did go back downtown in Toledo. The weather was so nice I went back to the Old West End and took some “blue sky” photos of some of the houses there. It was such a beautiful neighborhood, and I collected a lot of my photos into a post which you can find HERE. It is currently my most-liked and most commented on post, which is really nice. When I started this project 10 months ago, I was hoping to engage people and converse with them about where I have been and what I’ve been seeing and doing. Please always feel free to leave a “like” or a comment on my posts, it makes me feel less alone out here.
Leaving the Old West End, I went down to the Maumee River waterfront to take some photos of downtown. I also went up to the wonderful Heights Rooftop Bar for a Buckeye Beer and some great views of the river and downtown. It was a great place to watch the sun go down and get some good photos of the city. They lit up some outdoor fires after the sun set, making for a wonderful experience all around. If you’re ever in Toledo, this place is a gem.
The next day I headed out to see some of the old forts around the greater Toledo area. I had a wander around Fort Miamis and the battlefield at Fallen Timbers. These areas are a newly designated National Park Service Site, and the Park Service is in the process of developing facilities there. These sites interpret the region when it was still considered the frontier and highlight the different people fighting for control of the land. I look forward to returning when these sites have been fully developed for interpretation. From there I headed out to Providence Metropark, one of the hidden gems in the greater Toledo area. While there, I visited the old Ludwig Mill which had all the wheels and gears turning and was in full operation. It was pretty amazing to see. I also got to see an old canal boat make its way up the canal with period interpreters manning the controls. The boat was towed by two mules, and they even made their way through a lock. The canal is not stepped today, so the lock didn’t fill or empty, but it was still cool to see them show how everything would have worked. I have learned a lot about canal life in my time in Ohio, and have a new appreciation of how important they were to the development of the country.
When I finished there, I made my way down to Lima for the night, and then headed off to Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta in the morning. It was a charming place with the whole downtown appearing like it fell out of a Norman Rockwell painting. There is apparently a good air and space museum there as well, but I didn’t visit as I had to make tracks south. I did enjoy wandering around, though and thinking about what it must’ve been like to be the first person on the moon. I can’t remember who, but someone stated that as long as we have history books, he’ll be in them. They are currently getting ready for the film First Man, which is about the life of Neil Armstrong and will be out soon and will, I’m sure, generate new interest in Wapakoneta. Pop culture has a funny way of influencing people’s travel plans. There are a few empty storefronts in town if anyone wants to get in while the getting is good!
From there I headed down to Oxford, driving through some beautiful small towns as I did. I got into town in time to enjoy a barbecue with some of my fraternity brothers there at the University of Miami before we headed out on the town for a few beers. It was a lot of fun.
The rest of the weekend I spent writing and recording my podcast. Episode 11 ended up being called Apple Orchards, Protests and 10 Cent Beer Night at Cleveland Stadium. It came out really well. There are some great stories about Ohio history, from the early frontier days through to the seventies. The music is from Canton based rock band Hey Monea who I met and recorded at the Little C Music Festival in Canton (read about the festival HERE). You can either stream or download this episode HERE, or you can search “American Anthology” wherever you get your podcasts. Give it a listen, I hope you enjoy it!
I took a break from my work to watch the Penn State-Ohio State game on Saturday night. While I’ve spent a lot of time in Ohio over the last two months, I’m still a die-hard blue and white fan and I thought we were going to win this year. I enjoyed watching the game in Ohio though, and that we were all cheering for our team and nobody gave me any grief about it. Oh well, there’s always next year.
I finished up my podcast yesterday in Hamilton which is a nice outer suburb of Cincinnati. I enjoyed being back in the Greater Cincinnati region, as Cincinnati was one of my favorite places in the state. I got some Skyline Chili for dinner last night which was as good as ever. Today I made my way downtown for breakfast with goetta at Tucker’s on Vine Street - a wonderful dive of a place which has been dishing up homemade food for 70 years. It was a great spot for my last meal in Ohio. Then I headed down for a quick beer at Arnold’s, which has been around since the Civil War, and finally made my way across the Roebling Bridge and into Kentucky.
Now I’m going to finish this off and try and go and take some sunset photos back towards Cincinnati and then head off into the sunset myself. In the week ahead I’m going to start my exploration of Kentucky. My plan is to head south and east from here and make a wide eastern loop down to Lexington. I’ll be there for the weekend, then head to Frankfort and by this time next week I may be in Louisville already. From there I’m making my way west across the north and then I’ll turn back east and come back across the south. I’ve got lots of good plans so far, but I’m always open to suggestions. If you can think of things you’ve seen or things you’d like to see or know about Kentucky, let me know. It was an amazing stay in Ohio, but it’s also great to have a fresh start and a new state to explore. Until next week then, have fun out there and don’t be afraid to try something new!