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When last we shared this blog, we had crossed from West Virginia over the Ohio River, taking a room at the SUPER 8 Motel in the town of Gallipolis, Ohio. That was four days ago!
SAM and ME have arrived this afternoon - Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the small historic town of MC ARTHUR, Ohio, where we have again taken a room in the HOTEL MC ARTHUR. I say "again" because about this time last year, I also took a room at the Hotel McArthur, where I enjoyed Krazie Kattie and her staff.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Our three previous days have been full of excitement and new - and old - friends...
The Ohio River, looking from Gallipolis, Ohio to the hills of West Virginia.
Gallipolis (pronounced: GAL i POLICE)...not to be confused with the WWI battleground. Here one finds the big box stores (WAL MART, K-MART, etc), as well as historic old town founded by the famous Frenchman...coming up !
Runaway Slaves - prior to the Civil War - were protected by an "Underground Railway", moving fugitives of slavery out of the South. We have visited a couple of these hideaway locations before...there are more to come.
Some historic facts...on another of the many "infomercial" signs found throughout the South. Click to enlarge.
After walking from US 35 bridge over the Ohio River...then through Gallipolis...SAM and ME headed North and West on SR (State Road) 160...a journey through over 200 years of history, heading for SR 56 which we will follow to the State of Indiana.
Many old and elegant homes / properties ... and many more not so elegant ... we will pass along the way.
Now that we are West of the Mountaineer State (West Virginia), we find our first modest farm...discing the soil of the Ohio River Valley. The next 75 or so miles will rise from the river up heavily wooded hills to the Ohio plains...where corn will become the primary crop...all the way to the Rocky Mountains, some 1,500 miles West.
An excellent way to insulate a home from HEAT and COLD...bury it in a wall of solid soil.
...and we still find painted mail boxes.
Please say HELLO to DAVID. David hunted SAM and ME down...and in the process, got his pickup truck stuck on a slope of slippery tall grass...which I tried to help by pushing...to no avail. We will meet David again, as he has invited SAM and ME to stop overnight at his home near the small town of VINTON, Ohio.
With a bumper crop of RAIN this Spring, Ohio is Green everywhere, including on many ponds.
We have also entered the land of the AMISH...folks who live on farms, performing most of the work by hand...and shunning cars for the preferred Horse and Buggy. I did not meet up with any Amish Buggies, but did dodge quite a few horse droppings along the roadway pavement.
This gentlemen, I am sad to say, cannot be given a name...as after three days, I have forgotten it. Try to write down all names, but this time, I failed.
Not often have we seen so many cows lying down on the job.
Vinton...home of David...and my "old" friends the McCoys, whom we shall meet today.
David and family live in a house trailer...with the above river running by it.
Please say HELLO to MICHAEL and SHAWNELLE.
SR 160 is the main drag of Vinton.
Please say HELLO to (l.) DILLON - DAVID - ALISSA.
I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon - and overnight in their home...Alissa giving up her bedroom to me...thank you again, Alissa.
Mom, LaDonna, works some 60 miles away, and got home so late that I, in the rush of things, failed to get a photograph of David's lovely wife.
David and Me.
David's home...the river scant feet behind the camera.
...next to this country road - crossed by a long abandoned railroad bridge.
SR 160 as SAM and ME head on in to the village of Vinton.
The interior of the town meeting place...country music hall...and restaurant. Last year, I enjoyed an evening of real old South country stomping music is this room ... which was packed ... serving girls delivering tasty offerings from owners Pauline and Lauche MC COY.
This year, my $$ was no good in the MC COY'S ONE STOP.
Please say HELLO to Pauline MC COY.
The Country Music Wall of Fame takes up one entire wall and the better part of a second wall...I was honored by Lauchey by signing one cinder block next to the Wall of Fame. Lauchey says my "block" will be coveted by never being painted over.
Please say HELLO to LAUCHEY MC COY...with whom I spent many hours chatting.
Lauchey is the current generation of the famous - perhaps infamous - American historic family who for generations fought a futile battle in the hills of Pike County Kentucky...with / against the equally famous HATFIELDS.
Details of this iconic feud can be found on Google and numerous pieces of literature and film...Lauchey shared with me that the crux of the feud was over PIGS. The Mc Coys raised pigs...who were "branded" with recognizable cuts on their ears...and allowed to roam freely in the hills of Pike County. Seems, says Lauchey, the Hatfields helped themselves to more than a few of the McCoy's pigs.
Smiling during the telling, I received the impression Lauchey shared only a part of the real story.
In any event, Lauchey says the two families declared a mutual cessation of hostilities in the year 1970.
Me, Pauline, and Lauchy MC COY.
I have an open invitation to return to Vinton, where I will be welcomed to hang for as long as I like...VERY TEMPTING ! Appears that a rather large clan of "MAYNARDS" live within a 10-mile radius of Vinton...a possible resource for Nephew Carl to pursue in his quest to round up the family history.
SR 160 heading North and West out of Vinton, Ohio.
Mamo horse was not pleased I showed interest in her baby.
More bovine lying down on the job.
Anyway one looks at him...this guy is a big hunk.
A newly planted family garden.
Please say hello to a real Fighting Cock. There were eight more such magnificent roosters tied by a leg (look closely at his left leg) to a very large keg...each chicken having plenty of room to roam about, but never close to it's neighbors.
A handsome ranch house...one of many SAM and ME passed.
This road has some severe - albiet short - hills.
Barn and Pond.
SR 160 is in the process of receiving about 10 miles of new macadam (asphalt) paving.
One of two COMPACTORS compressing the hot asphalt immediately after being placed on the prepared roadway...prepared by skimming off a layer of old pavement, leaving a rough surface for the new asphalt to adhere.
SAM and ME had a difficult time walking and rolling over the many miles of rough roadway...SAM did receive some damage from the constant shaking and pounding of the uneven surface.
The above Paving Machine received HOT asphalt from the Dump Trucks...which is them spread precisely over the prepared - roughened - roadbed. Dozens of large Dump Trucks passed SAM and ME, shuttling back and forth to keep the macadam coming so no interruption occurred in the paving process.
Better days used to be !
Ever popular murals.
A cross roads...town of WILKSVILLE, Ohio...only two blocks long.
Please say HELLO to BRITTANY and MICAH.
While purchasing a drink and sandwich for lunch a couple miles from Wilkesville, Brittany approached me...just what is it you are doing ???say she...
So, I tell her.
She immediately invites SAM and ME to come to her parent's home for the night...her home in the (small would be misleading...as there is only a church to identify her town of RADCLIFF), some 10 miles distant further along SR 160.
Brittany has a celebration in progress...she graduated from High School (at 17) last week.
Please say HELLO to JOSH...Josh pulled up along side SAM and ME...hey, are you Bruce? (Yes)...I saw the printing on the back of your reflective vest (SENIORS WALKING AMERICA)...checked it out on GOOGLE, which identified you, giving your bio and blogs...just had to drive out to find you and chat.
We chatted...whereupon Josh handed me $20.00 ...to get a good meal...
Please say HELLO to LARRY WRIGHT. Larry's car pulled up behind the car of Josh...and when Josh drove back toward his home, Larry took over the questions...handed me another $20.00...for a good meal, says he...
Walking seems to be nearly as productive as the "ANYTHING HELPS" signs one finds on nearly every street corner back home in Bellingham, Washington.
There is NO town of Radcliff...just the church and the sign. Brittany's folks, however, live only a few hundred yards from the above sign.
Please say HELLO to CHUCK...father of Brittany and her two sisters. Younger sister was in Gallipolis with her Mom, "SAM", standing by as Chuck and SAM received a new Grandson. Since the new mother was away at the hospital, I was directed to spend the night in her bedroom...which I redially agreed to...following burgers and endless conversation.
Chuck and I had lengthy discussions on a number of subjects...including his limited mobility from a severly broken back. Not being able to do physical labor, Chuck spends endless hours on the internet, buying, selling, and trading on E-Bay, etc...apparently doing quite nicely.
Chuck and his daughters (a second daughter arrived late at night...and refused my offer to give up her sister's bed) made light of the reality of their all being somewhat severly overweight...professing to absolutely LOVE deep fried foods.
Homestead of Chuck, SAM, and two youngest daughters.
Typical of the lush vegetation found climbing out of the Ohio River Valley...dense to the point of being apparently inpenetrable.
We will soon, however, reach the highlands above the Ohio River...which will continue on past the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers all the way to the Rocky Mountains.
For now, SAM and ME enjoy the slowly rising back roads up the undulating forrest covered hills of the Ohio River Valley.
...but all too soon, we leave the lush forrest behind...
The coming flatlands will be with SAM and ME for the next 1.5 months.
...where it seems one can see forever.
Dundas brings us to SR 93...with our chosen destination of McArthur only a few miles away.
Church...many less churchs since we left the deep south.
A solitary lady working her small plot of garden...choping at the hard clay-like soil with a tiny hoe.
Finally, we arrive at our old friend of last year...KRAZY KATIES Bar and Grill.
I stop in for a cold beer...only to be greeted with the words...well, you are back again...
Interior of KRAZY KATIES
Please say HELLO to JIM...who greeted me as an old friend as I walked into the bar room...beer's on the house, says Jim...then proceeds to whip up a magnamunous breakfast...
fixed up a bit of everything...says Jim, slipping a massive platter of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and biscuits smothered with gravy...
biscuits and gravy...the STAPLE OF THE SOUTH...after deep fried chicken and BBQ Pork...with GRITS coming in a distant fourth on every restaurant menu.
Please say HELLO to JORI, Jim's replacement...and a new face to me. Jori and I quickly became acquainted...she scooting her tush up on the counter next to my plate as we chatted about her second pregnancy - at the ripe young age of 23 -...appraising me of all the "local" hang outs...you grow up around here, you know where all the good places are...and insisting that I stop at the "caves" when we reach SR 56.
Seriously considered NOT telling Jori I will be 80 years old in a few months.
I continue to loiter long after breakfast is finished...no rush to leave such a delightful Jori (interesting name !).
SR 93 as it enters the town of Mc Arthur, where KRAZY KATIES "MC ARTHUR HOTEL" waits for my return.
...but first...Please say HELLO to MICHAEL O'BRIEN...cub reporter for the VINTON COURIER newspaper.
Michael heard I was coming into town...and so, tracked me down. We spent nearly one hour bantering back and forth about my walk and his chosen profession .
...and there, in the middle distance, lies Katie's MC ARTHUR HOTEL...no longer offering her personal touch from the kitchen...no longer offering the soft music of the bar...no longer repleat with comings and goings of overnight clients...
I, however, was welcomed by TAMMY with her invitation to come on up and choose my room for the night...and will you be staying with us for more than one night...and Katie isn't here at the moment...and we can put SAM in one of the downstairs rooms which have become storage areas...and sure is good to have you back...and and and
...across the street stands the ever-present Southern memorial...favorite Son from Civil War Days.
The Lobby...quiet now...furnishings still waiting as for the past 100 years or so...I fell asleep in the overstuffed chair while waiting for TAMMY to fetch me upstairs.
SAM has her own room at the end of this hallway...last room on the left.
The Grand Staircase...leading to current rooms consigned to family and friends...I fit into the "old" friend category. My room is the first one on the right at the top of the stairs. No one has mentiolned registration...$$...just, let me know what you need...and glad to have you back.
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We arrived at Katies at 1:30 this afternoon. I started preparation of my 200 or so photographs...taking one hour out to enjoy a steak dinner in the restaurant across the intersection...and have been sitting at this computer without letup since.
It is now 12:30 am. I have done my best to bring this update to fruition...just hope I did not leave anyone out.
Will have a chocolte chip cookie...a swallow or two of the Mountain Dew gifted to me this afternoon by Michael O'Brien...then slip into the feathers for a few hours.
The past few days have been memorable...emotional...and bringing many old and new friends together.
Hope all is well with you'all