Rocking Hocking

The Hocking Hills region of Ohio is a remarkable geological gem, and quite a departure in terrain…if your only contact with Ohio consists of interstate travel!

Our recent journey through the region gave short shrift to the many, many really lovely features….partly because the travel to and from occupied so much of the day, and partly because some areas require climbing too many steps or traveling along forest paths that are too rough to be sensible with Ross & Ryan.

But Ash Cave had a fairly short and nicely paved path from the parking lot, as did Cantwell Cliffs (but not clear to the cliffs…).

The jewel we discovered was Rock House….

Late in the day, when the boys were done in, we came to this very rugged section of the park. Many uneven steps, very steep hillside climb, and quite a distance from the parking lot to the main feature.

I ran the course with my camera and monopod, and got lucky. Lucky, because the so-called rock house is unmarked…and it’s not at the bottom of the hillside, so you could go waaaaay past it and have to come clear back to see it! My luck was in the form of a nice older couple who were on their way back up, who told me how to find the house.

Cave, actually.

And apparently it’s the only true cave in the whole area. I wouldn’t know what is required to be a true cave, but you can see from the first two pictures below that what is called Ash Cave is actually just a large, deep area under massive overhanging rock.

Gotta go back sometime and get more pictures of the Rock House gorge, and more detailed photos of the cave!

Quite a treasure, Hocking Hills….

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Cornucopia

Farms occupy a large portion of the real estate around Dayton. As we approach harvest time, the colors of fields change, and shortly they undergo rapid changes in shape and texture as tall crops are cut to ground level.

We love the fall season for its many transitions, and share these pictures from our daily drives of late.

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Weekend of wings

We were fortunate to catch the annual fly-in for Waco planes at the airfield north of Dayton where they were built in the late 1920s and early 30s.

About 25 planes were flown by their private owners for the weekend….all lovingly and painstakingly restored to perfection….and shown to crowds of admirers.

As originally built, each plane was custom in its design and decoration, but all had double wings and a single engine in front. Notice that some were open cockpit, some had a single canopy for two seats front-to-back, and some had a modern cabin.

In the final picture, notice the unusual arrival with two wings….(you’ll probably need to click on it and view on a large screen)….

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Runnin loco….I mean local

There’s a lot to see and do in the Dayton area, and we’ve seen it and done it in recent weeks….sometimes over and over!

You know, like short walks at Cox Arboretum, Lincoln Park, RiverScape, Carillon Park….not to mention special events like the 33rd annual Franklin car show with over 800 cars parked in the streets.

Yep, did them all.

Some of us are worn out….some are still grinning….

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Runnin to the Windy City

We spent quite a bit of the summer parked in Kokomo, and realized Chicago wasn’t all that far away.

On a bit of a lark, we made hotel reservations up there….partly because there were no convenient places to park the coach near downtown for several nights, partly because it would cost as much in diesel fuel to drive the coach as a modest hotel, and partly because we wanted the adventure….

Oh, and check this out: we were driving a new Lil Taxi!

DSC_0733_aWe found that quiet & smooth Caddy was just a smidge tight in nearly every important dimension….and we spend much too much time in our car to put up with cramped quarters. So we swallowed hard, visited the Honda dealer near Kokomo, bit our lips, and signed the papers for this van.

Which required buying a trailer to carry it, because it can’t be towed flat behind the Big Taxi. Life is complicated, but now all our daily needs would be met in full…and in comfort!

And in Chicago!

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We spent two days driving around downtown and walking along the waterfront….what a great place!

DSC_0821_aFrom probably a half-mile away, the Grant Park fountain stood tall against the backdrop of downtown. Off-shore, a specialized tour boat added drama to the view.

DSC_0768_aThe city has worked hard to preserve pedestrian access to a great deal of the shoreline, and we enjoyed much of it.

DSC_0928_aClearly there are many dedicated boat owners, because the marinas were large and full.

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Runnin the wheels off

We found the best solution for Ryan’s need to always be on the go and our need to avoid walking in circles with him was to get in the car and do errands. You know, like to the Home Depot in Marietta, OH (190 miles away). Well, in that case we actually headed out to drive a stretch of road called Rim of the World, and ended up in Marietta as night fell. Ran across a cool church in town as we were leaving: DSC_1823_a I didn’t like the road noise our car generated…felt like it interfered with Ross and Ryan being able to appreciate anything else as we drove (could barely hear the satellite radio we thought they liked). And we were racking up the miles…. So we bought a new Lil Taxi. Check out how our salesman, whose first name was Michaelangelo, presented it for pickup the morning after our late-night negotiation session. 20140401_104132_aOhhhhh baby, was it quiet! And smooth…. We really started racking up miles….over 4000 a month! We traveled to all the area state parks….aaaaand to some that were a little farther away. We really covered the territory, but we stopped to smell the roses, err, thistles. DSC_1964_aDSC_2928_aDSC_2922_a

Whimsy

For many years, Robyn has loved to visit a nursery and garden center outside Dayton and admire its many luscious displays and floral offerings. She always came away with something to add to our yard.

This summer has provided her with several opportunities to stop by, although now she’s “just looking, thanks” because our rolling stone gathers no moss.

They offer much more than flowers and fertilizer…thought you’d be amused by some of the special visual treats they provide.

Click on any to see it in greater detail. The second one, in particular, offers a couple interesting points: first is the roof-top garden; second is the sky-high narrow walkway with fence; third is the sign. The walkway and sign involve goats that didn’t put in an appearance on this occasion….

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