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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cruisin' Up the Ohio

Left the motel and headed through Madison on Indiana 56. Just outside of town we came to a huge power plant, the first of many we would see on both sides of the Ohio. Madison itself is a old river city with  beautiful homes and not much else. It was difficult to take pix as we were driving into the sun and with cars behind us Bill worries about holding them up and won't slow down to the town speed at all. Or drive on the right side so they can pass us as we sightsee. I guess he's right--we're probably as irritating as leaf peepers in Vt.

The most wonderful thing about this road in both Indiana and Ohio is that is truly follows the River and we are often on its banks. Sometimes the road moves away a bit to allow for campgrounds or rest areas or cultivated fields or little communities. For the most part, however, you can see the ribbon of water--very muddy brown and the opposite shore which today was Kentucky.

We went through many little River towns, each one welcoming us to "Historic" X,Y or Z and in fairness many of them were established in the early 19th C.  At Vevray 56 goes inland and 156 follows the River as the truck route. We followed it. I was able to get a nice shot of the Ohio River Scenic Byway sign and it perfectly tells the take--church spires, domed city halls and River traffic, though not Riverboats but rather tugs pushing barges as long as a football field and churning up muddy water as they go. I'd love to be able to cruise the length of the river on one of them--it looks so serene and relaxing. Riding alongside it on a narrow, winding, non-shouldered road with potholes and slight roller coaster heaves was actually peaceful and soothing. Though maybe not so much for the driver. LOL

One never knew what would be around the next bend---in one case, this little town had a huge resort and golf club and in another, a big marina!  The rest of the town was the old buildings that are distinctively river town. Patriot was interesting--huge eagle bedecked banners and elegant welcome signs and a historical marker about a native son, in charge of the damming of the Colorado. Wonder how he would have felt had they dammed the Ohio. The creation of Lake Mead was controversial at the time and my father and his friends were still against the whole project when I was growing up.  Probably no one left now who remembers it before the dam or gives a damn about its impact so many years ago.

56 rejoined 156, which thereby came to an end and on we went through more little towns.  Aurora and Lawrenceburg run right into each other. Lawrenceburg is the town in which a tornado set down for a few streets and then rose back up into the air last night, causing some damage but no injuries. We didn't see any evidence of its arrival. At this point we were due south of Cincinnati and in order to avoid it we crossed the Ohio into Kentucky and then crossed it once more back into Ohio.  Once more we were aware of the congested sky--thunderheads still all around despite the sun and cool temperatures.

As we proceeded east once more on Ohio 56 we came to a tiny crossroads called Pt Pleasant and we spent a pleasant half hour exploring the site of US Grant's birth. We read the hours of operation on the house and saw that on Sat they close from noon to one. As it was almost one we wandered down to the River and the memorial bridge and park. Read all the signs and were amused by the movement all over of this house and its final return to its original foundation. When we tried to open the door to the house after our explorations we found it still locked. THEN I read the first line " April-October"!  Oh, well, it was a nice stroll and one always needs to stretch one's legs while sitting for so long. Now I've seen where he was born and where he died. We did not go up to Georgetown to see his school and boyhood home--where he lived until he was 17 and went away to West Point--but we did eat at the corner of 221 which was just 8 miles south of the town.

In my picture on the stone wall, Big Indian Creek is right behind me and the Ohio River is to my left. In what seemed like minutes after leaving Pt Pleasant--actually it was minutes for I saw the cooling tower just up river a bit from the Grant Park---we came to Moscow, Ohio. Trees were ripped to pieces and had been cut and bucked up, a gift shop which is in a three story house had part of its roof missing and the Marathon gas station was no more.
Moscow is a village in Clermont County, Ohio, United States. The population was 244 at the 2000 census.
The William H. Zimmer Power Station, nuclear power plant converted to coal-fired generation that creates 1300-megawatts of electricity is partially located within village limits.
On March 2, 2012, a tornado destroyed over 80% of the town and caused 1 death, as multiple tornadoes ripped through Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
So horribly sad!

Passed through Utopia, of which there was not much, into Higginsport and The Old Dinner Bell. Had club sandwiches with fries and cole slaw.  Stuffed!!

Aberdeen Ohio has TWO bridges connecting it to Maysville Ky--you could almost toss a rock from one to the other and hit a car they are so close. Somebody from one of these towns got some PORK!

Manchester is an elegant old town--and then I started to doze on occasion; but not before having noticed a Tobacco Museum in Ripley and the claim on the Higginsport welcome sign that white burley tobacco was grown here first in 1864. Now the landscape was filled with old tobacco drying barns. Some of them are in desperate shape but others have been maintained and are used for storage or as business offices. The fields that stretch to the River are not cultivated now and are just beautiful green expanses. I would say the valley on this side of the River, at any rate is no longer used for tobacco growth. Some of the fields have been converted to housing developments or, as in one case, part of the Shawnee State Forest which contains an extensive golf course and marina. Farther along some of the fields are used to grow corn.

In Higginsport we had decided to call it a day in Portsmouth and I'd called ahead for a reservation. As we turned northward on Ohio 23 to our motel the clouds that had threatened all day finally opened up in a heavy downpour and we were glad we'd planned it this way. Upon arrival, Nanette told us she had upgraded us to a suite and so we raced between the raindrops and got cozy in our spacious apartment for the night. I gave her one of the 1000 points cards I have from Choice Hotels.

Tomorrow our plan is to continue along the Ohio to East Liverpool--at the tippy top of West Virginia but still in Ohio. Don't think we'll take the detour to Cadiz and Clark Gable's birthplace!  LOL  Until tomorrow and our continued cruise we bid you good night. Storms are well northeast of us in Va so we should be fine.

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