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.

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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. 

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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.