Monday, July 29, 2013


Toppled trees on this small island in Mansfield's Clear Fork Reservoir near Lexington make it appear the island has, indeed, tipped over.

Recent heavy rain events have saturated the ground to the extent the moist soil is not always capable of anchoring shallow rooted trees, then the gusty winds of passing weather systems make short and fatal work of them.

This photo was taken by Tommy Barnes, a well known local radio personality at Mansfield's WMAN AM and FM stations and shared by Peggy Volz Smith who lives in the neighborhood of the reservoir and has offered frequent Facebook commentary on her own recent storm-related conditions.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Born New Rumley, Ohio, December 1839

One synopsis of the general's history reads thusly:

"George Custer was born on December 5, 1839 in new Rumley, Ohio.  He served in the Civil War with General George B. McClellan.  He became a brigadier general, and his pursuit of General Robert E. Lee helped to bring an end to the Civil War.  In September 1868 he joined the 7th Cavalry in Kansas.  On June 25, 1876, he led 210 men into battle at Little Bighorn against Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.  Custer and all of his men were killed in the battle."

We rolled into the general's hometown one recent afternoon during a geocaching outing.  New Rumley is located between Scio and Germano in very sparsely populated, northern Harrison County.  It's one of those rural towns so small the village limit signs could be displayed on the same post.  Well, more or less.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a fairly elaborate memorial display in this tiny village especially given the manner of death, often described as humiliating, suffered by the decedent.

There was a larger-than life bronze statue of the general with multiple, nearby panels depicting significant events of his short, 37 year life.  The display was done with taste and dignity.

But, we were chagrined to see the weed-infested condition of this memorial.

While the general lost the last battle of his life, he served his country with distinction while the country was struggling to place a solid foundation under its newly born form of democracy.

Shame on you New Rumley.  The general deserves better!

Saturday, July 20, 2013



The morning's forecast was for more of the same sunshine as grandson Dane (left) and son Brian with wife Kate (right rear) rolled across my dam.  That's my bike in the foreground enjoying the morning's sun.  I pushed it there from its shady parking place to help evaporate the night's condensation.

Soon I was suited up and we meandered southeast through Butler, Mohican State Park, Jelloway, and Danville, headed for a church camp north of Walhonding.  It was the last day of this camping cycle and we intended to surprise grand daughter Brittany who was there as a counselor.

Both she and Dane have enjoyed many, many years of camping experience at the remote facility.

Cycling enthusiasts will recognize Dane's ride as a "crotch rocket."  It certainly is.  Brian's ride is an older Yamaha cruiser, perfectly suited for the day's run.  Mine is nicely mixed in between and more than adequate to propel this 72 year old grand pa in exciting fashion.

Mostly we rode in staggered formation with Brian in the lead and me hanging on to the group.  Dane's youthful exuberance was often noticeable in between--and sometimes in the lead--when he would power through a sweeping curve with his foot pegs reaching to make sparks on the roadway.

Below Brinkhaven we turned north on something akin to a buggy trail and I shivered my way through several miles of graveled surface more suited to a Moto-cross event.

At the campground we joined a crowd of parents in pick-up-the-kid(s)-at-camp mode.  Our biggest treat was a short hike to a pavilion where the campers and counselors were enjoying a medley of rousing music as they said their good-byes in a formation of robust bodily rhythms.

Soon a young man approached Brian and Kate and they exchanged greetings of old familiarity.  Turns out he is now a youth minister and doing great things at someone's church.  It also turned out, he informed us, Brittany had left.

That's us below in his photo of us mimicking our chagrin at the news.

The ride home was a mirror image of our arrival except Brian and Kate split off for lunch at Loudonville while I chased Dane through the Mohican forest area then stopped for my lunch at the Butler custard stand as Dane disappeared around the town's big curve.

I munched my sloppy joe while the adrenaline high of the morning's ride slowly drained away; marveling continuously at how good life really is treating me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


May you rest in peace

Mr. Richey's tombstone shows he died in 1817 "in the 82 year of his age".  That means he was born in 1735, 54 years before George Washington became our nation's first president.

Ponder that for a minute.

We discovered Mr. Richey's tombstone in a Revolutionary War cemetery in southeastern Mifflin Township while on a geocaching outing.  It was quite close to the tombstone from that war we featured on July 4th.


It took three reaches of Sue's and my span, plus a a few inches for us to conclude the circumfrence of this tree was about 18 feet.  It is located in a small cemetery in Cass Township.  It was hard to speculate the year of this tree's "birth" but there is little doubt Native American's were roaming nearby trails when it's sprout first peaked above ground level.


...and a different kind of sadness.  That is a deteriorating silk flower in the foreground depression, the gravesite of some poor soul buried in a field serving as the cemetery for "Dayspring", the perky name of the old Richland County Home; visible as the silver roofs against the background woods.  The field at least is maintained by mowing the grass.  Otherwise, visible and identifiable markers are few and far between in this burial ground of mostly discarded citizens.

We found and did these three photos plus the tombstone of the Revolutionary War soldier featured earlier, while geocaching recently in Richland County.  All caches are placed with high regard and respect for the decedents.  

In fact, I make it a personal practice to maintain the little flags often found on veteran's graves.

The true benefit of geocaching is quietly reflecting on such things as those above; things that likely would otherwise go completely unnoticed as we travel elsewhere in our usually busy lives.  


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Flint Ridge

History presented from geologic time

Sue is looking into a pit from which flint was mined by the earliest civilizations to reside in what is now known as Ohio.  To her right, an artist's rendition of an early man is shown with samples of products made from this same flint; axes and knives and spear points and arrow heads; the sharp tools of defense and sustenance that allowed early man to survive.

The phrase "early man" is representative of humans living here since the last ice age, some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.

A native American (left) is depicted mining flint in the pit Sue is viewing from above. 

The mineral, flint, that Sue sees began its formation under the pressure of an overlying ocean that once covered this area eons ago; a length of geologic time that generally defies human comprehension.

Plate techtonics ultimately pushed the North American continent above sea-level exposing the bounty of it's minerals.

The ridge, spreading across Licking and Muskingham Counties, is a mineral deposit some 3 to 9 miles in size and 2 to 10 feet thick.  The site's museum (above) was built over one of the pits used to quarry the flint and to preserve it as the artifact of history it truly is.

Hundreds of quarry pits and workshop sites are scattered across more than 2,000 acres of ridge top in these Appalachian foothills.

Flint mined here was as important to early man as iron and coal have been to their modern successors.

During the stormy day of our visit (hence no outside photos) we had the pleasure of meeting Bill and Pat Weaver, site managers.  Over recent years the Ohio Historical Society has suffered budget problems, consequently moving the responsibility of funding and maintaining many, if not most, of Ohio's historically significant sites to community history groups.

In this case enter the Weavers and their small cast of dedicated volunteers who are working hard in the critical task of historic preservation.

They are doing us a more obscure favor in the process:

It has been said, "Folks ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it's mistakes."

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Do yourself a favor.  Load 15300 Flint Ridge Rd., Glenford, OH 43739 into your GPS and do what it says.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Thursday dawned with brilliant sunshine; the first in about three weeks of wet and stormy days.  But, the celebration was tarnished when by 4 p.m., yesterday afternoon we passed 24 hours with no electric service.  Finally I was shaken awake near midnight with a blast of illumination from a near-by lamp I had left on for just that purpose.

Let the ceremony begin!

Here's a big Tip-of-the-Hat to the American Electric Power Company line crews who obviously were working around the clock to restore service to the balance of their customers.

But, here's an equally large vote of no confidence to the local radio station which continuously broadcast the fact 2,000 Richland County AEP customers--among many others--remained without power while never once exercising journalistic initiative and informing customers of efforts or areas of success in getting power restored.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Compare this scene with the bottom photo of the three we posted last evening.  As you can see the emergency spillway did its job.  Now I simply have to dispose of the log and the stump that washed ashore; a very small price compared to what could have happened.

Some work remains, however:

The foreground trail used to lead to the bridge that gave us access to the trail along the north side of the pond and on into the northeast woods.  That's the approach end of the bridge surface (far right) hiding behind branches that piled up behind it when it reached this resting place (lower right).

With some manpower four of us should be able to clear the debris then pick the bridge deck up and replace
it.  The ends are chiseled into each bank and the center is supported on a 4 x 6 wood beam visible in the center of the stream just under the water.

That it was not attached to its moorings probably saved it from being destroyed by the incredible force of the storm's flow.

The stream pictured is the watercourse for approximately 300 acres of upstream watershed.  Two other wood bridges on the east side of the pond were undamaged.  That watershed is only 85 acres in size and doesn't produce enough flow to be damaging. 

My Honda


For you purists she's a 2008 Honda Shadow Spirit VT750C2.

For you with a more artistic nature she's warming herself in the driveway's morning sun for what turned out to be a three-generation family ride that we will tell you about Saturday, July 20th.

Last Saturday we chronicled a 210 mile geocaching ride I enjoyed with my oldest son mounted on his classic cruiser.

In a nutshell she is a dream come true; a dream of ownership that eluded my dad his entire life and one that eluded me too--for the first 72 years of my life, that is.

Finally, she's here.  That happened in early May, already 1,100 miles ago--a very pleasurable time of she and I getting acquainted.

I think she likes her new home.  Her belly is filled regularly and she really doesn't have to work too hard entertaining her geriatric driver.

Mostly we just trundle along, mostly on the back roads, savoring the wind on our collective skin and the view of Nature's glory that almost always soothes our soul.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

An inlet creek where there usually isn't one.  This water is flowing out of the west woods and passing directly in front of the house.
The boat dock is fully submerged in this photo.  The third step down usually is some 8" above the dock surface which, itself, usually is about 12" or so above the normal pond level.

This is the pond's emergency spillway which flows directly across a low spot in my driveway.  It is designed to do just that but I've never seen it this high in the 20 years I have lived here.  These pictures were taken about 6:15 p.m., Tuesday, July 9th.  Hoping for a little dryer weather soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

County caching...


My oldest son Brian and I are kibitzing (above) on Milan, OH's historic town square midway through our slightly tardy, Father's Day celebratory ride.  Scheduling conflicts shifted our cycling/geocaching outing ahead one week to a day that rewarded us with delightful weather for our rolling adventure.

Our statistics were:  220 miles ridden with 8 geocaches found, 2 each in the four Ohio counties  I added to my count of attempting to cache in each of Ohio's 88 counties.  That county total is now 34.

We left my place at 8 that morning and rolled north on my shadow-dappled township road with early mist dissolving in the rising sun and headed east on the Lincoln Highway out of Mansfield through Mifflin and Hayesville, joining SR 58 north of Polk in Ashland County.

We were headed for our first caching stop near the Findlay State Park just south of Wellington in Lorain County.  I had my eyes on two caches on a county road just west of the park.
In preparing for our ride I had selected two caches in each of the four counties I hoped to record.  I only needed one to log the county so the second cache was a spare in case we couldn't find the first one.  Turns out we found two caches in each of the target counties; a perfect score for the caching day.

We parked the bikes just off the berm of that county road, promptly found the first cache and decided to walk to the second one just 1/10th of a mile west.  Once again the caring side of humanity emerged when folks in several passing cars asked if we needed some assistance.  We no-thanked them with a big smiling wave and enjoyed a restored sense of the basic good in people--at least the country-folk variety.

With the second cache in hand we headed back to the bikes and decided on a fuel stop in Wellington which would leave both of us with enough gas to complete our ride.  That tank rewarded me with a score of 57.8 MPG by my 750cc powered Honda Shadow.

We rolled west from there on OH 18 and turned north on OH 601 right beside the Norwalk Raceway where I could imagine myself racing the cars I could hear blasting from the start-line and heading north right beside us.

Route 601 deposited us on Milan's town square where we zig-zaged our way on town streets to the birthplace of very prolific inventor Thomas Edison.

We found that cache while pondering the fact Milan once, very early in Ohio's history, was a world-class sea port with hard to imagine nautical commerce launching in the vast-for-its-time basin/harbor right behind what is now Edison's museum.

From there with a little more zig-zagging on town streets we nailed the alternate cache for Erie County in a local cemetery then wiggled our way to the town's square for lunch at the Invention eatery then a brief stop for the above photo, done by an obliging, fellow tourist.

State route 113 treated us to a nice ride west to Bellevue, passing Lyme Village, a delightfully reconstructed showcase of Ohio antiquity.  Right smack in the middle of Bellevue we were careful to note the Sandusky County boundary which bisects the downtown.  We were careful to insure the neat railroad museum there (and our next cache) was on the correct side of the county line.

It was and we scored it quickly then hopped into their museum for a brief visit and an extremely welcomed bottle of water as temps by then had achieved the mid to high 80s.  I was grateful I had invested in a very protective, armored jacket with terrific ventilation--at highway speeds.  Even my helmet, with its adjustable visor and adjustable sun shade, has a variety of adjustable vents.  The vents were wide open on that ride.

Our only caching glitch of the day happened in that town/county.  On the morning of our departure I had discovered my alternate cache for Sandusky County had been destroyed and archived so I hastily picked an alternate near a score board at the town's near-by high school athletic field.

As we prepared to head that way I remembered concealed handguns and school facilities, dormant or not, do not play well together so we abandoned that cache attempt and ad-libbed our way west to a little country cemetery found on my smartphone's caching app where we were rewarded with #6 cache for the day.

We continued ad-libbing our route from there, heading south on a county road we hoped would lead us to SR 18 on the way to our next intended town.  It did, and after sailing along on that arrow straight highway we slid through Republic with a gentle turn south on SR 19 and were delivered to another cemetery beside an aging, arched stone RR overpass.

With that cache found and recorded in the day's log we had one more to go; our alternate for Seneca County.  That turned out to be yet another cemetery and a quick find on SR 162 east of Republic.

I wanted to cheer after we had our perfect score safely tucked away but chose to continue a decorum more appropriate for the location.

That left us with the comfortable task of trundling leisurely toward home:  SR 162 east to SR 4 south through Attica then a left turn in Caroline down a county road to New Washington (once known as Dutchtown) where we stopped at the local custard stand for another refreshing beverage.

From there we rolled east on SR 103 to SR 39 south through Shelby and into Mansfield.  Along that last four-lane stretch son Brian took the lead and headed us to their family pontoon boat on Charles Mill Lake for a wonderfully relaxing boat ride and fitting conclusion to our adventuresome day.

Happy Father's Day indeed!

*            *            *

Postscript:  On the final leg home, I stopped by lady friend Sue's digs to insure my day's dalliance on the motorcycle without her would be forgiven.   Shortly thereafter I wound up leaving the cycle in her garage and appreciating her driving me home under a dousing thunderstorm.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4th

As you enjoy our country's celebration today please join Fogeyisms in saluting the grave of this Revolutionary War soldier as a representative of all who have served in achieving then maintaining our country with the greatest liberties and freedoms ever known to mankind.