Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September 27, 2017 Heading for Houston, sort of...

To avoid hurricanes on the East Coast, we have been traveling westward from Pennsylvania through southern Ohio and Indiana and then southward through Kentucky and are now in western Tennessee.

We have stopped for more National Park Service sites and have visited some nice state parks in Indiana. We camped in several national forests, our preferred camping venues.

Ohio Summary:

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Chillicothe, Ohio) – evidence of extensive earthen mounds built 2,000 years ago and artifacts of extended trading with other people all over North America. The intricate pottery and items made from copper and shells are quite beautiful.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Heritage Park – The Wright Brothers Cycle Shop and the Huffman Prairie Flying Field where they spent two years perfecting their flying machine and their flying skills (now part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). Two amazing and determined Americans.

 Huffman Prairie Flying Field, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton
The Wright Brothers dropped a large weight from this structure to get enough
force to propel the plane forward.

Write Memorial

Cincinnati – William Howard Taft National Historic Site. His childhood home and great exhibits about the contributions of several generations of the Taft Family. We were two miles from the World Peace Bell in Newport, Kentucky so we made a quick trip across the Ohio River to see it. It is supposed to be the world's largest free-swinging bell in the world. We were disappointed when it didn't ring at noon as expected – we were waiting for it.,_Kentucky)

William Howard Taft's home in Cincinnati

 World Peace Bell, Newport KY

In honor of firefighters, World Peace Bell Plaza


Big Bone Lick State Park, the “Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology” where William Clark collected mastadon and mammoth bones and sent them to Thomas Jefferson in early 19th century.  We camped here 10 years ago with our son, Phillip.

 Outdoor diorama depicting prehistoric animals in quicksand.


While driving into Vincennes to see George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, we saw an advertisement along the highway for Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy and were very glad we made the visit. Of course, we are of the age that we grew up watching Red Skelton's comedy show TV. We also learned about his early radio and movie performances as well as his humanitarian activities. He was born in Vincennes.

The George Rogers Clark National Memorial in Vincennes, Indiana is an impressive building as were his military contributions to our new country in 1778-79. He and his men helped to remove British control over the western territory of Illinois and Indiana.

 Friendly NPS ranger posing for us.

 George Rogers Clark
 one of the murals inside the rotunda
view of the bridge to Illinois over the Wabash River taken from the GRC Memorial

From Vincennes, we traveled south to the town of New Harmony, a utopian community of the early 19th century. We visited the Harmonists Labyrinth and the Roofless Church. We enjoyed a few days at nearby Harmonie State Park on the Wabash River where we hiked quite a bit and found some nice geocaches, including a night cache (hiked a trail in the dark using flashlights to spot reflectors on trees that guided us to the ammo can).

 Harmonists Labyrinth
 Can you see me?

 Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana

Passing through Evansville, Indiana, we spent some time at Willard Library that is supposed to be haunted. It has three webcams set up to try to capture the images of ghosts. One of them did get a glimpse of this guy:

We enjoyed camping at Lincoln State Park and visiting Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana. The area is where Abraham Lincoln lived from age 7 to 21 and acquired the character traits he is known for. We saw the gravesites of his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and his sister, Sarah. Bronze castings were made of the hearthstones and foundation sills of the Lincoln Cabin. A very nice Bicentennial Memorial was erected by the state in 2009 in a quiet area of the park.

 Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

 Reconstructed cabin similar to those built in 1820s.

Bronze castings of hearthstones and foundation sills of the Lincoln cabin.

gravesite of A. Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln
Bicentennial Memorial 1809 - 2009

In this blog, I try not to go into much detail about geocaching, but here is an example of how it enriches our traveling experiences. In Dubois County, Tennessee we were browsing for a cache to find and learned of a place “Geode Grotto.” An outdoor shrine was constructed by Father Philip Ottavi  and residents of Providence Home. The surfaces are covered with geodes, most of them whole but some with the interiors exposed. It is a unique site we would never have discovered and visited were it not for our geocaching hobby.

We are now in western Tennessee waiting for cooler weather to arrive in a day or two. It has been very warm (low 90s in the afternoons) and sunny. We have been getting campsites with electricity so we can run our fan in the truck camper at night. At least it has been dry. The corn and soybean fields are very brown now and are being harvested...memories of living in Illinois as a kid and watching the combines at work in the field behind our house.  We stumbled upon the Todd County 'Bale Trail' - here are the ones we saw:

 Nothing runs like a Deere
 Needle in a haystack

We drove through Paris, Tennessee

 Lake Barkley (historic Cumberland River) from Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Dover, TN

Seen while geocaching:

near Xenia, Ohio

                                                            Jackson County, Ohio

 mural in downtown Dayton
 The owner of this BBQ place in downtown Dayton is from Texas.
 Hueston Woods State Park, Ohio - covered bridge built in 2012
 "Rain" was falling on this stature in Hamilton, Ohio - we did not find the cache nearby.

 We love spotting barn quilts - they are becoming more common.
 Eastern Box Turtle, Harmonie State Park, Indiana

 We were looking for the last stage of a multi-stage geocache and had come up this hill, so...
... what goes up, must come down - on all fours, backwards, using tree roots for
hand and foot holds.  Part of the 6 miles of hiking we did that day.

 near Dyersburg, Tennessee

 Bear Springs Iron Furnace, Tennessee

Examples from the National Civil War Quilt Trail, Stewart County, Tennessee - not just on barns.

 This one was at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge.