Stop Number One: Blanchester, OH.
Sometimes a girl just has to answer the call of nature. The Sav-A-Lot in Blanchester provided not just facilities, but delightful treats! First of all, I LOVED vienna sausages as a kid. LOVED THEM. But now, I don't eat pork. I thought the joys of vienna sausages were lost to me forever. But look! Chicken vienna sausages! I jumped up and down in the aisle. Secondly, we both have a sincere belief that pumpkin flavored things can and should be enjoyed all year. Presenting - pumpkin spice pudding. We got two. Third and lastly, I thought I would be the only one to giggle with childish glee in a small town grocery store - until Leah saw Kung Fu Panda Pez dispensers. The face says it all.
Stop Number Two: somewhere along OH 132.
As with any road trip, there was roadkill. Yuck, I know. But sometimes roadkill means vultures! Now, I know this isn't the best picture, but trust me. This is a Black Vulture. It was eating...something...in the road and when we drove by (three times - I really wanted a picture) it flapped ponderously up into a tree and waited for us to lose interest so it could go back to its meal. We see Turkey Vultures all the time, mostly soaring around on thermals. But this was our first confirmed Black Vulture sighting.
Stop Number Three: Edenton, OH.
Edenton is your typical speck along a rural route kind of town; one auto related business, one convenience store, a smattering of stationary and mobile homes, and one abandoned school building built in 1917. I particularly liked the tower. Can't you just see yourself with a crossbow, standing guard in that tower? No swarms of zombies are going to break into your compound, no sir. I thought the wisteria creeping out of the chimney lent it an air of charming ruin as well.
Stop Number Four: Point Pleasant, OH.
This is the Ohio River, where it intersects with Big Indian Creek at Point Pleasant. And across the street...
is the house where Ulysses S Grant was born. According to the plaque out front, he was born Ulysses Hiram Grant but when he went into the army, they messed up and called him Ulysses Simpson Grant. When he pointed out their mistake, they informed him that his name was now Ulysses S Grant. So don't mess with clerks, people. If they get cranky, the consequences can be severe.
Stop Number Five: Higginsport, OH.
Higginsport was a larger town right along the river, and the rest of it was in much better repair than this abandoned school building (it says Higginsport School, 1880). You could see shelves and furniture through all of those broken out windows. It was genuinely creepy and imposing. I could only get the second story in the picture, but I think the crazy angle conveys the feeling. If you're ever in Higginsport, please do check out The Dinner Bell (http://www.higginsportohio.com/restaurants.html) and if you like catfish then you are certainly in luck. It comes with a whole salad bar and sides and even corn muffins, which honestly tasted more like corn pound cake. Corn pound cake? Is that a thing? It should be.
Stop Number Six: Brown County Rural Water District, on Route 132.
I promise I'm going to get a better camera any minute now. But see that clump of sticks level with and to the left of the top of that lamp post? That is a Bald Eagle nest. Really!!! There were two very kind photographers there, with tripods and huge long lenses and really strong binoculars which they actually let us use for a little while. One of the eaglets kept peeping out over the edge of the nest. A ways on down the road we saw one of the adults soaring overhead. According to the Brown County Tourism Bureau, the eagles have returned to this area to nest every year since 2005.
Stop Number Seven: Near Dover, KY.
Because I cannot resist a plaque, especially in Kentucky. The plaque held details about the Castro-Metcalfe Duel, fought near the spot in May, 1862. It's a tragic story of a man obsessed with revenge. Find more at http://www.nkyviews.com/bracken/text/castro_metcalfe.htm. Hard by the plaque was a small cemetery. I'm still amusing myself with the continuing adventures of Anna E. Goff, Immortal. She could be roaming the Kentucky countryside as we speak, perhaps teaching her great great grandchildren the secret art of pie crust, or taking advantage of changes in the status of women by running an avant garde art gallery or flying crop dusters. The possibilities are endless.
Stop Number Eight: Augusta, KY.
Augusta is impossibly charming. There is a row of buildings along Riverfront Drive dating all the way back to the 1790's. The Rosemary Clooney House is there, and even the ones with no plaque at all are beautiful. We walked around just a little bit here and it is definitely going to get a return visit, probably with my parents in tow. I'd also like to explore Chandler's at the Beehive, a tavern in a building erected in 1796. They had a wonderful candle chandelier hung outside the front door.
We finally took KY 8 all of the way back to Newport and (after a quick stop for just a tiny bit of bourbon) headed back home. Another weekend of adventuresome success!
Today: At least twelve. That's the number of stops I want on the next road trip.