Saturday, November 21, 2015

LEON and the CAT

We encountered this rock formation while geocaching in the back country of northeastern Licking County.  The cache container was a pill bottle wrapped in camouflaged tape and stuck in a crack near Sue's foot.   Like all traditional geocaches it contained a log we signed to prove our hunt's success.

Someone had painted a mouth and a couple of beady eyes on the rock which someone else evidently thought looked like a cat.  To me, it looked like the head of a giant catfish petrified for eternity.

Actually the stone is likely a slump block, as a geologist might explain.  A ridge of higher rocks behind my camera's angle of view could be the heavily eroded remnants of plate tectonics, the movements of the earth's crust over geologic times, wherein the collision of two continents along what we now know as our country's east coast, formed the Appalachian Mountains.

Those mountains originally rivaled the Rocky Mountains in size but the soft sandstone has eroded to the miniature remnant we see today.  Underlying rock eroded away more quickly than harder formations above which eventually caused a collapse in the formation leaving us with these "slump blocks" which tumbled and arranged themselves in peculiar locations.

So, to the casual observer we have a fanciful and imaginative stone.  If one's curiosity ranges above mere imagination, you could be enjoying something far more historically intensive than a smiling visage of a feline.

Still curious?  Pangea

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lexington High School Ladies Cross Country Team

Mackenna Curtis-Collins (standing atop #4 above) sneaks a peek as coach Benson (right) waves a championship salute while they are announced at the event in Hebron, OH today.  The girls, who finished second in last year's championship event by an extremely small margin, demolished the
competition this year with a score twice as fast as the 2nd place team.

That's a very proud grandma with the new champion (right), my lady Sue Brooks.

 An impromptu victory lap! the champtionship trophy begins it way home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Summer's final romp (maybe)

Son Brian and I meandered gently over 145 miles of Ohio's country roads in today's beautiful but waning days of summer.

Here we are paused at the Chambers Road covered bridge in northeastern Delaware County.  This truss-style bridge was built in 1883 and continues to serve traffic on this bucolic country road.

From here we temporarily endured the mayhem of I-71 traffic for a lunch hook-up with Brian's bride Kate and son Dane in Fredericktown where after lunch we treated ourselves to a visit to the village gun shop.

Felt bad about that with Brian's wife and son having to head back to work while we continued our scholarly journey.  

From there we roamed the back roads to Danville for a peek at that town's gun shop which a friendly clerk described as Danville's answer to Cabelas.  Yup, that fits.

Just south of Danville we enjoyed a refreshing pause at the Honey Run Creek Park which hosts the
only natural waterfall in Knox County.  From there we ricocheted back through Danville to Brinkhaven which hosts Ohio's longest covered bridge coined the Bridge of Dreams.

Click here for some earlier blog stories on this marvelous structure.

This bridge (below) is so long a telescope would be handy to see folks at the other end.

Alas, while the day was mimicking mid-summer, failing light was chasing the sun into the western sky and we headed for the barn, so to speak.  Besides, looking down from the side of this towering structure was making me dizzy (below).  Some would say "dizzier".

Those are our two motorcycles parked between the vehicles viewed from far above and with a slight dose of Photoshop applied.

Two covered bridges, two boy's toy stores, lunch with family, one waterfall and nearly 150 miles of mostly gentle meandering on colorful country roads, it just doesn't get much better than that!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I asked the uniformed guy just inside the fence at Mansfield Lahm Airport today if he knew any of the specifications on the huge airplane that arrived in town Monday morning.

"T'is a big one, sure 'nuf," he opined.

I guess that about sums it up.

Turns out the airplane was acquired from the European Space Agency in a barter agreement where NASA took ownership of the plane in return for carrying ESA equipment to the International Space Station in two (then) future space shuttle flights.

This aptly named behemoth of an airplane has a cargo compartment that is 25 feet high, 25 feet wide and 111 feet long.  It has a weight carrying capacity of more than 26 tons.
You can see the seam in the above photo where the nose area is hinged and can roll open 200 degrees toward the camera's view on the nose wheel to allow unobstructed access for loading and unloading.

The small photo (right) from NASA shows the nose opened on an earlier model and a loading/unloading platform handling two small NASA jets.

The plane was here to offload future space mission equipment that will be trucked to NASA-Sandusky for further fabrication.  

Friday, October 23, 2015


The conservatives in the US House of Representatives finally got rid of the soon to be x-Speaker. Now it appears the GOP majority is about to elect a new speaker endorsed by Sen. Harry Reid.

God help us!

Monday, October 19, 2015


Good grief.  How many miles would that be?  The sun is about 93 million miles from Earth so that would be the radius of a very large circle.  The formula for determining the circumference of a circle is Pi times the diameter.

So, the circumference of our very large circle would be 93 million miles X 2 or 186 million miles X Pi.  Let's use the short form of 3.14.  That's close enough for our purposes.  So, that leaves us with 186 x 3.14 or 584--million miles.

That's how many miles I've traveled while hitching a ride on Earth as it has circled the sun for those 75 years since my birth.

No wonder I feel a bit tired once in awhile.

Now that I think of it,wouldn't it be great to convert that into a frequent-flyer reward!

At a more pedestrian level my bicycling-birdwatching-geocaching-kayaking friend Greg hopped enthusiastically on the thought of riding our bicycles 75 miles one day to celebrate my then approaching 75th birthday.

After all I did 65 miles then 70 miles to celebrate those birthdays.  Completely forgetting I am not getting any younger as these years roll along, I did not discourage his enthusiasm.

Woe is me.

Yup, we gave it a shot--and, to my surprise, did manage to pedal ourselves 55 miles that day on the local bike trail.  We both had some energy left but I was about out of gas and the end that usually follows him around was complaining too.

So, that ended that.

But, as my birthday continued to creep up on me my son Brian proposed we do a fairly hefty ride on our motorcycles.  A sunny day presented itself and we meandered around the Ohio backroads, mostly in Amish country for about 130 miles.

Ignoring the fact this latest 2-wheeler had a throttle, I felt perfectly exonerated from that measly 20 mile failure in our bicycling challenge.

That evening at our student's square dancing lessons my birthday continued its celebration with a boatload of hugs and handshakes when my birthday was recognized publicly.  The very next morning Sue and I joined Mark and Nancy Meinzer (above) in that amazing, geocaching outing in Wapakoneta discussed in the previous story.  Saturday night Sue treated me to dinner at a local, Italian restaurant then the musical "Singing in the Rain", on stage at the Mansfield OSU campus.  The celebration continued Sunday with a visit with Sue's sister in Newark where Patsy treated me to a yummy steak dinner.

Leave it to me to screw up this delightful chain of celebratory events--by scheduling some car repair work on Monday's actual anniversary of my birth.  When the young lady at the car doctor's office offered me an appointment that day, I took it, being completely unmindful the day had some other significance attached.

Now, let me see; where did I put that list of frequent-flyer reward offers. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015


The mystique of Stonehenge is alive and well in a quiet residential neighborhood of Wapakoneta, OH where an unbelievable collection of boulders from geologic time anchors this reverent assembly of folklore whose ultimate meaning is left to the scholarly instincts of the beholder.

During our geocaching visit we had the marvelous experience of a rambling discussion of his creation with the creator; James R. Bowsher, Writer - Archaeologist - Folklore Collector - Lecturer and Master of his assemblage of antiquities, geologic and otherwise; where a nudge of pious reflection oozes from--everywhere!

As he described the assembly of rocks, many of unfathomable weight, my thoughts wandered to construction techniques from antiquity where "machinery" consisted of ropes, rollers and ingenuity uncommon in today's understanding of such things.

His temple includes an aging residential structure and some equally geriatric outbuildings, all adorned with relics of the past.  It's a stone garden confined within an antique, wrought-iron fence, with cubbyholes begging for discovery around every corner.  

We were there hunting for clues that would lead us to a geocache container and our hobby's reward of discovery; vastly exceeded by our sense of discovery in absorbing the meaning of Jim's creation.

Jim admitted having no formal, scholarly acclaim but I chose to think of his life's PhD being in the form of pious, geologic philosophy...

...with a great sense of humor as evidenced by this jarring artifact hanging from the eaves:

Photos:  Sue (top) ponders the grand-daddy of backyard stonework.  Jim (top left) creator.  Mark Meinzer (right) who with wife Nancy were our caching companions for this expedition, and (lower) this grand-daddy of conflicted meaning.