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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, March 25, 2012

From The Junction of Pa, WVa and Oh!

Woke to bright sunshine and almost cloudless sky after overnight rain and the cacophony of Spring peepers beneath our window. Since the Ohio makes several rather deep Southern dips that would be time consuming to follow we decided to cut across them by travelling through some of the hills of Appalachia on the Ohio side. The path lead north on 23 and then east on 124. Some of the hollers are filled with trailers, broken down shacks and debris all of which are inhabited. Yet others have very nice homes and manicured fields. It seemed to depend upon the richness of the fields for either cultivation or pasturing and/or the nearness of a mining operation. The roads also reflected the relative affluence of the county in which they were found but this seems to be the case in almost every State in which we've travelled.

It was fun to come across the historical marker for Brewster Higley VI since Barb and I came across the sod cottage in which he lived and wrote Home on the Range in Kansas. It too is on a back road--as a matter of fact it is in the farmyard of a family in Kansas and is being held up by a very stout chain about its middle. Just goes to show that when you travel the less traveled ways in this country you keep crossing paths with the same historical figures.

A couple of miles east of Rutland we picked up 32/7 and so returned to the Ohio River in Belpre, continuing on through Marietta---plants of all kinds on both sides of the river---one right after the other and the first of many bridges connecting to West Virginia on the East shore. Downtown Marietta is quite beautiful but the strip that follows is industrial and dirty. I think we may have skipped more of the quaint and beautiful portions of the River drive by cutting across the dips. For the rest of the way to E. Liverpool there was power plant after power plant--mostly on the East side--all coal fed, all spewing steam into the air.

Several places along the River, either because of rapids or shallows there are dams and huge lock arrangements. Still, there were some stretches of mirror smooth, wide River with little villages and WV rte 2 visible to the East and a tug or two moving a string of barges up with gravel or down with coal.

Hungry, we stopped in Fly, Ohio at the Riverview Restaurant overlooking the ferry landing that connects to Sistersville, W Va. As we ate we watched the ferry carry one or two cars in either direction. At one point it sat idle outside our window until two cars lined up on the WVa side and it went to fetch them. Today was its first day of operation for the season. If it had been upriver from Wheeling we would have crossed but we did not want to deal with the confusion of merging roads in Wheeling.

Visit the historic Fly Ferry Landing in Fly, Ohio. Operating since 1815, the ferry is the longest continuous working mode of transportation in Monroe County and one of only four remaining on the Ohio River between Pittsburgh and the Mississippi River. It is the only one in operation along the 277 miles of river bordering West Virginia.
The Fly Landing is located on the apex of the longest straight stretch on the Ohio River called the "Long Reach." The landing is near the site where George Washington encamped during a survey trip to the west on Oct. 25, 1770. It is owned and operated by the City of Sisterville, WV.

For an interesting article on the ferry check out this link:http://www.themariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/537488/Crossin--the-Ohio.html?nav=5002

Steubenville is the hometown of Dean Martin and there is a Dean Martin Boulevard. The city is so dirty--a typical mining, mill, factory town. I bet he was happy to get to the clean air and sunshine of California. 20 miles northwest is Cadiz, the hometown of Clark Gable. We did not venture there.

In this area of the River are huge stratified cliffs on both sides--laid down by this water over many millennia. The new bridge north of Steubenville appears to lead one right into the immovable cliffs on the East side. From here on the bridges come one right after the other, just as they do along any River where cities have grown on each side. The ages and styles vary greatly but all of them are beautiful works of art and examples of fine engineering of the time. I don't like crossing them but I do think they are wonderful to look at.

Eventually, we reached Stratton and were able to pull over and watch a tug and its barges move downriver through the locks. I didn't take a full picture of this Power Plant and should have since it has one of the tallest chimneys in the world! It is the W.H. Sammis Plant and I took a picture of the tunnel because there is a Powerhouse on the East River in NYC which also has a tunnel for the Eastside Highway to pass under. Haven't thought about it for years!

Block 7 includes one of the tallest chimneys in the world (305 m), which was built in 1970. The power plant includes a tunnel for State Route 7, a four-lane freeway. The tunnel goes under the Baghouse structure, which filters particulate and toxic gases from the exhaust before entering the smoke stack.

Across the River--Homer Laughlin --my sister would love to check that out!  LOL

As we turned to the West away from the River, we glimpsed one last bridge crossing the Ohio from East Liverpool to Newell ,West Virginia with a tug-pushed barge passing beneath it.

Arrived at the Comfort Inn just outside town toward Calcutta. A comfy suite with the best whirlpool tub I've ever seen. I want one!  Two person and comfy. I'm off to enjoy a soak once more. Tomorrow--we cross into Pennsylvania and leave the Ohio and its head in Pittsburgh in our rear view mirror. We do not cross it but head along it for a bit before swinging north east toward New York's Alleghany Plateau and the Finger Lakes. More on that tomorrow night. We are painfully close to home, alas.

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