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Friday, May 31, 2013

POST 1125; MAY 30, 2013; PIQUA, OHIO

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A surprise to me has been entering into the city of once an historic...and a modern city set in the farming / ranching prarie of central Ohio...certainly did not expect such a city out in the boonies.

URBANA...a city of wealth and elegence.

...with a Round-a-bout in city center.

...and nearby, another shallow slow moving waterway...a stream ?.,..a river ? thing is certain:  Corn Fields all about.

Followed by small villages nearly 200 years old...such as WESTVILLE, Ohio.

Roadside Church...of a different architectural manner.

...and cows still give SAM and ME that fascinated look of interest...waiting for me to approach their fence and chat for a while.

Another old yet modern mid-size Ohio town...St. Paris...offering jine living amongst the corn fields and meandering brooks...tempted to take out my fishing pole to try my luck.

Squeeky clean street lined with immaculate trimmed homes...St. Paris has them.

...and nearby, the horses canter to the roadside fence to receive nuzzles, soothing words, and friendly soft it me...or the horses...perhaps both because I feel a strong communication going on between us. they crowd together to receive attention.  Truthfully, I am the lucky receive such adoration from these magnificant animals.

Now, here is - for me - a new...and apparently highly successful...retail experience...

the DRIVE THRU Convenience Store.

Where spirits of all kinds are available from the same "cooler" as the Hershey Bar.

Created by two young brothers some 13 years ago, this from the ground up creation, drivers never leave their vehicles - 4 cars fit inside at one time - as products are brought from the coolers and shelves directly to their cars.

- would you believe I AGAIN did not write down the names of the Brothers...but as I drank my COORS Light in the air conditioned small "office", a never-ending stream of customers drove through...the cash register ringing without let up.

SR 36...State Road 36 as SAM and ME walked the seemingly empty miles...the horizon off to infinity in all directions. 

Must say...while being beautiful, the distances seem to stretch off into Never Never Land..."Will we ever get there, Mommy?"

Eventually the small village of FLETCHER, OHIO rises from the shrouded clouds - towering thunderheads - moving in from the Western weather front certain to bring more Tornados tonight.

Fletcher...small, but, as with Central Ohio towns, spit-shined clean and welcoming.

Please say HELLO to CONNIE BLACK...

As SAM and ME walked and rolled by Connie's driveway, I just had to ask..." far is it to the city of PIQUA..."   which brought on a lengthy conversation..."only another couple walked from where"   "...a few days ago a horse-drawn waggon passed by going East..."  "Oh, yes, I heard it overnighted in the KROGER's Parking Lot across from my motel in URBANA a couple days ago...

Suggesting since Dinner was already over...perhaps I would enjoy a slice of Connie's Home-made Lemon Pie (or was it cake)...

Only two miles to PIQUA...and me being hungry since early morning "Continental" breakfast in the motel...

Please say HELLO to Hubby 56 years old, still competing in barrel racing his, what was it about his 84 year old rancher friend...insisting on staying in the competion...even if he had to be held in the saddle with "seat belts". 

Again, was reluctant to continue on our way...but Jim and Connie both pleaded much to they walked away, leaving SAM and ME to return to complete those couple miles.

We did that...finding myself at a comfy table in the local CRACKER BARREL Restaurant...a succulent broiled TROUT lying on my dinner plate while a bevy of pretty waitresses hovered over me..." walked from where??? "

It is now 8:15 am on Friday, May 31, 2013.  TV news is carrying on about the new weather front bearing down on Western Ohio...promising three days of thunder storms and heavy rains.  I am truly tempted to close the window drapes, crawl back under the covers, and sleep away the next 48 hours.

Then again, what would folks think of that crusty old man who let a little storm keep SAM and ME from continuing on...we do, after all, have golashes and rain poncho...and so far, no rain storm has reduced me to a melted stain on the macadam.

So, time to pack up SAM and head out for our next destination for the day...the small town of FT. LORAMIE...about 25 miles up SR 66, which follows the Old Erie Canal.

Sister Carol is waiting our arrival...only a week or so 'til we reach her in the city of DeKalb, Illinois...perhaps then I can catch up on my sleep.

Gosh...only 2,000 + miles to all goes so quickly.......

Thursday, May 30, 2013

POST 1124; MAY 29, 2013; URBANA, OHIO

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Once again, we have two days of walking taking up a single blog update.  It is becoming normal that folks wish to talk...and yesterday, my host, Ron Brown, chatted with me until late into the evening...and again for nearly two hours in the morning before SAM and ME again took to the road.  Simply leaving no time to spend at the computer.

Please say HELLO to GENE.  Before walking out of the town of Circleville two days ago, stopped in at the local restaurant, where Gene and I struck up a conversation...after which Gene treated me to breakfast...very much appreciated, as my Social Security $$ need a bit of support now and again.

We have been walking across the relatively flat lands of Eastern Ohio for the past couple days.  The area in front of us will bring back small hills, making our progress a bit slower. 

We did, however, walk and roll a total of 37 miles before reaching the town of LONDON, Ohio two nights ago (it is now 7:00 am, Thursday May 30...)

Quite a few new tractors and disc machines travel the Ohio roads...fields are being prepared for planting...corn has actually been planted a few days ago, with the seedlings already a few inches out of the ground.

Being relatively flat in Central Ohio, the few streams flowing along the roadways tend to be shallow and slow moving.

Our first significant hill was reached at the outskirts of the town of MT. STERLING Ohio.

The "stranded" pickup truck in this photograph has being playing "leap frog" with SAM and ME the past hour or so.   Once again SAM and ME pass the unfortunate driver, who is frantically trying to again start his no avail this time.

Downtown Mt. Sterling.  To the camera's right is a restaurant where I stopped for a bite of lunch (Buffet) @ $7.00. 

Mt. Sterling street...with passing railroad tracks.

A typical Mt. Sterling home.

Out in the country side, many older homes and barns are falling to the ground...the wooden construction having rotted away.

Another of my new friends.  Cows and horses are somehow fascinated by SAM and ME...especially when I talk to them...they often follow us as we walk the road beside their pasture.

Interstate 71 (I-71)

Many truly beautiful homes and properties are found along our Route 56.

Late in the day, SAM and ME finally reach the rather large town of LONDON, Ohio...some 37 miles from our starting point this morning in Circleville.  Yes, I am foot weary, hungry, and quite tired.

We also discover that there are NO motels in must walk some 10 miles to find the next motel.  

London home.

London sports a number of elegant older municipal and religious buildings.

...together with many stately mansions...the above one recently modified into an elegant Bed & Breakfast.  I was directled to ANDREA'S B&B by a local "Mason" (Deputy Sheriff), as the only possible place in town to find a bed for the night.

SAM contemplates the converted back-yard a fully serviced HOSTEL for passing bikers.  Finding our $$ resources to be limited, the owner suggested we consider the Hostel for the night...instead of the rather costly B&B rooms.

Two bunk beds are provided in "shared" rooms for hostel travelers...toilet, showers, fridge, freezer, computer table, and storage area is available for $25.00 per night.

Please say HELLO to RON BROWN, owner of our B&B.  Ron and I immediately started in on rather lengthy conversation(s), spending hours chatting during the evening and again in the morning...during which Ron gifted me a delicious breakfast...not normally offered to Hostel guests.

Of course, there remained NO time to do our computer work, se we again skipped our blog update.

Please say HELLO to GEORGE...the right hand man of Ron.  George managed and maintained the Hostel fact, George appears to have his own living quarters along with the eight bunk beds in the Hostel building.

Finally ending our hours-long conversations, SAM and ME said Goodbye to Ron and George...walking out of London, Ohio, past those many elegant homes...and a few not so well above.

As with nearly all dogs encountered, this young lady was boisterous, loud, and tried to be threatening.  She became instant friends when I chatted with her...our owner walking out of the house to join us.  "She is all bark...and a real pussycat...says the owner...but most don't challenge her as you did..."

A rather nicely constructed fountain / pond in the front yard of a local farm house.

Hills are beginning to show themselves in the distance.

...some of which are long and steep..

This big guy is one of three horses which trotted over to me at the roadside fence.  The other two were also "Paint" (White with color)...and fully dominated by the above fellow.  He insisted on laying his muzzle on my shoulder, demanding to be caressed and spoken to.  The other two tried to get chummy, too, but were pushed back by this guy.

Six miles outside the town of URBANA...our destination for today, lies the small village of MUTUAL...a village of neat-as-pin homes...with equally neat and pleasant residents.

Please say HELLO to MELISSA.  I held SAM back as Melissa turned her SUV into the paved driveway, stopped, got out, and purposely walked up to SAM and ME...and where are you walking from...and to...Melissa asks me. 

10 minutes of chatting and exchanging cards, Melissa clarifies her immediate mission..."Oh, says she", with that impish grin...I just stopped to pick up my mail...pointing to the mail box across from the driveway.

I felt kinda dumb founded...fantasizing Melissa stopped to chat with me...when she made it abundantly clear that SAM and ME had blocked her way - thinking she had stopped to chat with us - from picking up her mail.

From her mannerisms and grin, she was immensly enjoying herself as she led me along...making all OK, tho, by giving me a warm hug before skipping across the highway to fetch her mail.

Once again I am reminded:  We see that which we expect to see...such is not always what it seems.

Main street - SR 29 - of the comfy town of Mutual, Ohio.

One city block of Melissa's house, James, top right, RUNS from his home to intercept SAM and ME...with the usual questions:  from where do you where are you need hungry...

Please say HELLO to (youngest to oldest)

JOSALYN (3 years)
MAKAYLI (8 years)
MAKENZI (11 years - who gave me a hug)
JAMES (Father of the girls)
ROGER (Uncle)
DIANE (Step Mother)
BARBARA (Grandma()

Keeping the ice water flowing, this delightful family kept me chatting for over one hour...reluctant even then, to let me be on my way.  As so often is the case, my most difficult moment walking is that moment when we must say Goodbye...achieved this time only after agreeing that when (not if) I again walk this way, I will stay longer.

Arriving in the outskirts of the town of URBANA, Ohio, I stopped in at the local Mexican restaurant...then a bit of shopping at KROGER'S Supermarket...then a pleasurable stop at BIG BOYS for a LARGE Milk Shake - and conversation with the young woman who begged me to take her with SAM and ME...

Then across the street to a motel, where I have enjoyed a restful - but much too short - sleep.  Too tired to complete this blog udate last night, have managed to have it ready to post to the internet...time now being 7:55am.

Will complete the posting to GOOGLE and FACEBOOK, pack up SAM, and begin our 25-mile walk and roll to our next destination...the town of PIQUA, Ohio.  Rain and thunder is predicted for the next three days.

We shall see...