Wednesday, September 2, 2015

and a wee bit of geocaching, of course

The high-voltage US Navy band Cruisers performed their first traveling concert of the season in downtown Akron recently.  They are described as the "...Navy's premier contemporary entertainment ensemble" and most certainly lived up to that billing in their performance.

Band members are setting up their equipment in Akron's Lock 3 Park outdoor Amphitheater (above).  Patrons set up their lawn chairs on the grassy area which was packed by showtime that evening.

Navy veteran and friend Mark Meinzer explained band members attend naval boot camp as recruits
but upon graduation are immediately advanced to the rank of first class petty officer from which they advance in their navy band careers.

Leading the band is drummer and senior chief musician Leon Alexander shown to the left of the female band member in the official navy portrait (right) where band members are presented in their navy blue uniforms.  They did Akron's show in their summer white uniforms.

Click here for their official web site and schedule of all navy band performances.

While enjoying the show's recorded music prelude we discovered there was a geocache in this very park.  (You may remember it was the Meinzers--Mark and Nancy--who introduced Sue and me to this delightful activity).

The photo below reveals the cache location which was about 200 feet or so to the left of the area visible in our lead photo:

There is a blue kiosk visible in the left-center area above.  Sue is barely visible standing where we found the cache in a magnetic container on the metal railing.  The robust splash of water is in the course of the original Ohio & Erie Canal now flowing among and under downtown buildings.

Also joining us in this magical, summer evening were our good friends and chauffeurs, Don and Roberta Karger.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Left home Monday, 8/31 for a geocaching romp through a slice of western Ohio  We are working on caching in each of Ohio's 88 counties and trying to cache in at least 55 of her state parks along the way.

Managed to add 6 counties and two state parks this outing and rolled into my home driveway early that evening with exactly 350 new miles on the odometer.

Over in Paulding County we encountered this tree, representative of a species that chooses to discourage geocaching.  A search of my Audubon field guide suggests this might be a Honey Locust but I certainly will yield to a more informed opinion.

Our favorite stop was in Bellefontaine where the very first, concrete street in America is located.

Yup, a very enterprising fellow named George Bartholomew in the late 1800's was experimenting with a mineral he had found in abundance near Bellefontaine.  He thought it could cure the muddy quagmire that plagued local streets after every rain.

He presented his "mudstone" idea to city council but they were very skeptical of Mr. B's creation.  After all, no other successful samples of artificial stone pavements could be found--anywhere!  Finally, council authorized the test "paving" of the square around the courthouse.  They also required Mr. B to donate the "cement" and post a $5,000 bond that guaranteed the pavement would last 5 years.

That was in 1891.  The pavement remains in use to this day.

That's Sue admiring Mr. B's memorial with my silver car parked in the immediate background of Court Ave., which continues to serve as the street and and parking area south of the county courthouse.

We certainly wish the town's fathers would consider converting this historic site into a pedesterial boulevard, this preserving it from future automotive damage.

Several weeks back we were caching in Elyria's Cascade Park, the south end of which offers a
miniature version of the geologic features common to the Hocking Hills in Central Ohio. Sue (right) is looking for a cache in the remnants of an ice-age waterfall site high above the current river level. The huge stones are slump-blocks.  They once formed an elongated overhang over which the water fell and dissolved softer stone below over geologic time until the upper rocks collapsed of their own, unsupported weight.
Shortly after the Elyria experience we were caching in the rural hills of Tuscarawas County and discovered a delightfully natural rock formation totally hidden from the view of a nearby county road intersection and totally undeveloped commercially.
It was an acre or two in size and was a labyrinth of overhang-tunnels, cracked rock paths and randomly explorable geology that man would be hard pressed to duplicate.  We didn't find the cache that was hidden here, largely, I suspect, because I became a kid again and was lost in purely, imaginative exploration.

That's Sue peeking around a corner where our random wandering just happened to provide this encounter.  Finally we reoriented our bearings and made our way out of this forest-enveloped stone theater of natural creation. 

May the curiosity regarding what is around the next corner never cease.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


This terrific rainbow sparkled across Ontario, Ohio's late afternoon skies late yesterday afternoon; the northern half of its arc, (left) from our perspective, dancing on the roof of the Meijer store.  A hint of a double rainbow is barely visible top right.

The aerial performance was viewed near the intersection of Lexington-Springmill and Walker Lake Roads.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Greg and Leslie (orange kayaks) prepare their lunch stop while Bill Niehoff heads for his shoreline lunch-munch mooring.  We were about half-way through a string of 11 geocache hides, mostly in overhanging cedar trees, retrievable without leaving our spiffy little boats.

We wound up, on this near perfect summer day, with 100% success enjoying this aquatic geotrail which covered nearly 3 miles of shoreline on this southern Ohio state park lake.

The cache containers were mostly small, weatherproof tubes fastened to tree and brush branches with plastic wire ties.  They all contained small, rolled-up logs on waterproof paper which we signed "K4" to prove our success.

Greg and Leslie are known by the caching name "GOC+me".  Bill is "Lighthouse Nut" and I am "Skagway330".  We shortened all that to the day's team name K4 (kayaks 4) to preserve space on the small logs.

Terry, Leslie and Bill celebrating the caching conclusion at the marina (left); photo with Greg's compliments.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Mary Kellogg 
Born A Slave
Died Free

We encountered this ground-level headstone in the Westwood Cemetery, Oberlin, OH; a town with a deep history of supporting the Abolitionist Movement in our country's early history and the attendant Underground Railroad which gave slaves access to the potential of freedom while fleeing to the North.

I pondered her grave and shivered a quiet chill of thankfulness for all the Mary's of her period who escaped the contemptible evil of that time in our country's past.

*            *            * 

We were visiting Oberlin while enjoying a geocaching trail presented by the Lorain County tourist bureau featuring historical and cultural highlights of that lakefront county west of Cleveland.

Just days later we had the challenging experience (below) while hiking our way back to civilization while caching near the Harding Presidential Memorial in Marion, OH.

Our activity of geocaching continues to provide experience uncommon to folks our age who are confined to or simply prefer pursuits of a more pedestrian nature.  We are grateful for that with each new day's caching adventure.

With respect in this case, of course, to Mary and The President.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Geocaching style

We had just finished a celebratory meal along the Little Miami Scenic Trail near Morrow, OH when my teammates determined a picture was in order.  Thas's Leslie Cornet (left) showing 3 fingers, Bill Niehoff showing 5 fingers, Bill's wife Diane and my lady Sue Brooks both with zeros; collectively representing my new total of caches found--3,500.

Leslie's hubby Greg was doing the photo duty.

The day's count of caches found was 19.  Added to my then balance of 3,481 added up to the above total I had logged as we ended that day's bicycle caching along this very beautiful trail in Southern Ohio.

It's fun to note the end of my third year of geocaching would occur in the week following this outing.

In the lower picture we had paused along the trail just south of where it passes under I-71 high above where that super highway crosses the Little Miami River valley.  Said to be the highest bridge in Ohio it currently is being doubled in width with a second span paralleling the original bridge deck.

Standing on the bike trail you would need a telescope to identify any of the workers.

Conversely, riding that scenic trail was a peaceful oasis from the noisy mayhem of that super highway travel far above.

Thanks "Bike6" the name we had assumed for the day to save space in signing the cache logs.

I thought that was much better than something involving "Old Fogeys" that I heard mentioned as we grappled for our day's team name.   



Sunday, July 5, 2015


If you look closely you will see a street name sign on the south side of SR 39 as it heads east out of Millersburg toward Berlin.  It advertises "Port Washington Rd".  I've been curious about that road name since my days of delivering corrugated products in what is now very well known as Amish territory.

Port Washington,  then and now, after all, is a mere village 26 miles from Millersburg as the crow flys.  If you are inclined to follow the roads you will travel 41 miles.  Yup, roads tend to snake up and down and all around in that neck of the woods.

The second curiosity is how in the heck did it come to be considered "Ohio's First State Road" as announced in the sign above and dozens of others like it along it's route.

Turns out there is a fairly good reason for the name.

The road began as a buffalo trail which the Indians followed when traveling basically north-south in this area.  After Ohio became a state in 1803 Millersburg was first platted as a town in 1815.  Ultimately lots of local farmers began clearing the land and raising both subsistence and marketable crops.

About the same time a canal system was growing across OH and the most convenient one for those local farmers to use passed through Port Washington on its way to the Ohio River.

So, the old buffalo/Indian trail slowly morphed into a road capable of supporting horse-drawn wagons loaded with products headed to far-away markets.

That road continued to be an important link in the local economy and passed through present day Baltic, OH.  When a railroad arrived in Millersburg and Baltic in 1852 the days of canal importance were doomed.

The canals continued to decline in the second half of the 19th Century and were pronounced dead when huge storms in 1913 destroyed most of their infrastructure.

Ironically, all three of those towns, Millersburg, Baltic and Port Washington, failed to ever achieve "city" status and remain villages to this day.

Meanwhile, back to our sign.  History reveals Port Washington Road was the first official state road in Ohio.  It was designated as Road Number 20 by the state on February 6, 1832.

How can it be Road Number 20 and, at the same time, be Ohio's first official road?

My head began to hurt as I ricocheted through web sites in pursuit of that answer.

Good night. 

*            *            *

Still curious?  Here's a detailed description of the current route  Click! in the event you would like to take a ride through incredibly bucolic Amish Country in Holmes and Tuscarawas counties in Ohio.  We did a series of 10 geocaches which largely, but not exactly, followed the route of this road.  Therefore, my field notes do not reveal the actual location of the above picture.