Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hello, and Goodbye, Ohio

Hello Ohio
The back roads
I know Ohio
Like the back of my hand
Alone Ohio
Where the river bends
And it's strange to see your story end
--words and music: Karin Berquist
To hear Over the Rhine sing Karin Berquist's song, Ohio, click here. I have to admit, that this is not a song I had ever heard before, but my shtick is to always open this blog with a song, and in searching for something about Ohio, I found this lovely ballad. I hope you enjoy it.

I have no idea what this is, but they appear all over the mid-west
My cousin Ron suggested that it's a storage unit for highway road salt
Taken 5/20/2011 in Peoria, Illinois

After breakfast in Peoria, we continued eastward with the goal of spending the night in Richmond, Indiana. Richmond is the eastern-most city in Indiana on I-70, and a mere 30 miles from Dayton, Ohio, where Kevin was planning to attend the largest Ham Radio gathering in the U.S. (for all I know, in the world), the Dayton Hamvention. The trip across Illinois and Indiana was uneventful, and we arrived in Richmond mid-afternoon. After checking in to our motel, we rested a while, then decided to see what the town had to offer. The first thing we noticed was an extremely long detour as the main street into town was closed due to construction. According to Wikipedia, the population of Richmond is 36,812 with 68,917 people living in Wayne County, of which Richmond is the seat. As our detour led us further and further afield, it sure felt as if the population was quite a bit larger.

Richmond was founded by Quakers moving west, and even today the town is home to many Quaker institutions, including Earlham College. It also hosts branch campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University. The campuses appeared lush, green and quite prosperous as we drove by. The grounds of the Reid Hospital were also inviting, with a large pond and fountain separating the facility from the highway. Once again, Kevin did all the driving, and I didn't ask him to stop for photo ops, my bad.

The Wayne County Government Center
Taken 5/20/2011 in Richmond, Indiana

Getting up early on Saturday, we drove directly to the arena where the Hamvention was being held. The good news is that we had no trouble getting a parking place, even though every thing was blocked off and the police were directing traffic so that you could not turn left into the arena's parking lot. The bad news was that we were there hours before anything opened--and hadn't yet had breakfast. In time, the outdoor flea market opened, and we wandered through the almost endless rows of vendors selling everything from sun shade hats to a full-sized Dodge van. Mostly radio stuff, which was to be expected, but also camera equipment, clothing, leather goods, crafts, food, and even leather chaps and vests. Note to Keith--I almost bought a cap and had it embroidered to read "W1KGK/3rd Party/Bryan," but the vendor didn't accept plastic and I didn't have the cash. (Ham operators will get the joke.) At nine, the exhibition hall opened, and we entered the mass of people filling the aisles between the vendors' booths. A week earlier, Kevin had purchased a new Kenwood radio which we had installed in the Volvo, and he wanted to get the navigation system that connected to that radio. The Kenwood booth had none in stock--they had sold out on Friday, and the Ham Radio Outlet booth gave us the same response. A third vendor did have them on hand, and we picked one up, paying the sales tax and taking it with us rather than having it shipped to Montana. As Kevin continued to roam the hall, I left for what, to me, was more interesting--the flea market. After a couple of hours, even Kevin had had enough, and we met at the car to head on toward West Virginia.

The main exhibition hall at the 2011 Dayton HamVention
Did I mention I hate crowds?
Taken 5/21/2011 in Dayton, Ohio

It's a straight shot from Dayton to Columbus and on to Wheeling, West Virginia on I-70, and that's the route we took. While sitting in Dayton waiting for Kevin, I got a message from Michele Holloway, the woman who served the Smith River United Methodist Church at the time of my mother's death. The Smith River parsonage is right across the street from my house there, and Michele and I became friends while I was staying in California. She left to pursue her degree in divinity, and as it turns out, she was graduating from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio at the same time we were driving across the state. I would have liked to stop and see her, but with her commencement and our time schedule, things just didn't work out. I do want to say "Congratulations on your graduation, Michele!" (She's a faithful reader of this blog.)

Home-built gazebo at one of the "Seasonal" cabins at Roseland
Taken 5/21/2011 at Roseland Resort, Proctor, West Virginia

Following Derwin's directions (Derwin is Cousin Ron's partner of 25 years), we left I-70 on the Ohio side of the river, and followed Ohio Highway 7 south till we crossed the river on the Moundsville (WV) bridge. Once at Moundsville, we began the trek up into the mountains to get to Roseland Resort, the gay men's campground I had first visited back in 2007. It was at Roseland that I was given the business card that led me to meet my first cousin, Ron Stephens. I wrote about Roseland and about meeting Ron four years ago. If you wish to revisit that post, you can find it here. There have been a lot of changes at the resort since I last visited, but the staff is still friendly, the men handsome, and the grounds well tended and in full bloom. The one disturbing addition is a plant on a neighboring ridge where hydraulic fracturing is being performed. This process, usually called "fracking," enables energy companies to more easily remove oil and gas from the ground by beating the earth into submission. The process is noisy, dangerous, and has potential long-term risks. The short term damages include the way the pavement on these mountain roads has been broken by the weight of the trucks carrying materials into the plants, the visual pollution of seeing a 24-hour a day plant operating just across the holler, and the constant noise that continues day and night as the underlying rock is ground up for gas. Does it say anything that this process was first developed by Halliburton? Still, I was able to stop and smell the roses, er irises, and we spent the night in Ron & Derwin's camp trailer.

Just one of the irises in bloom at Roseland
Taken 5/21/2011 at Roseland Resort, Proctor, West Virginia

1 comment:

redwinecarl said...

Sounds like a nice time but the campground a sad disappointment with the awful noise disturbing the peace. Have fun in West by God.