The road to heaven isn’t paved

Wally Road on a foggy Monday morning.


My Buddhist friends speak of walking meditaion. Wally Road is driving meditation.

The Ohio Department of Transportation once proposed making Wally Road a link between Interstate 77 and Interstate 71, promising to bring progress and prosperity to this scenic corridor along the Mohican River. Part of that proposal would have involved paving it.

Speaking at a public hearing on the proposal, a state official said, “Have you driven on that road? Why, it’s a dirt road!”

To which the mayor of Brinkhaven responded, “It’s that way for a reason.”

Postscript: Wally Road was later designated one of Ohio’s Scenic Byways. It holds the distinction of being the only State Scenic Byway that is not entirely paved.

Post-postscript: I’ve learned that Wally Road is to be paved next year. As my Buddhist friends would say, the only thing that’s permanent is impermanence.”

God’s Country

Regardless of your religious views … or lack thereof … you gotta love Mohican Country.

This morning’s meanderings took me through Holmes and Ashland county back roads.

Sunrise on a hillside overlooking Lake Fork of the Mohican River in Holmes County.
I love this old barn on TR 451.
Hex sign detail.
Gotta love country humor — another site along TR 451.
I never tire of looking at old trucks. This one is in a shed on a very picturesque farm on TR 451.
Lake Fork valley viewed from what is probably the high point of Holmes County.
Meanwhile, back in “civilization,” the canoe liveries ready for another busy year on the Mohican River.
Speaking of civilization, George’s Place in beautiful downtown Perrysville. I can almost hear the “Cheers” theme song with pedal steel guitar and country fiddle accompaniment.



Eat Lancaster

Google Maps presented two options for getting from home to Logan, Ohio. Naturally, I took the longest, avoiding the interstate. Stopped in Lancaster, Ohio, for breakfast. (Some of these shots are from a previous morning in Lancaster.)

Entertaining the idea of adding a page to this blog about the eateries I’ve known — for better or worse. No reflection on this one, which is on a side street in downtown Lancaster.
Overcome with hunger after a scenic morning drive by way of Mt. Vernon, I had a late breakfast at a place called Four Reasons. Good food, pleasant atmosphere and an interesting mix of clientele — business people, students, mom with kids in tow.
I assume this had been a newspaper office. According to one YouTube account, it’s haunted. (Or they happened to have a defective flashlight.)
Perhaps I’ll stop here for supper on the way back home.




Highway 603 Revisited

My love for spurnpiking extends to commuting.

During the 16 years I worked for the Ashland Times-Gazette I often took alternate routes, particularly on the way home when time was not of the essence. Or less of the essence. I never had a specific starting time, as long as I got there early enough to make the rounds of the cop shops and fire department before the competition. A flexible starting time was one of the perks the job offered. (The other was not having to wear a damned necktie.)

Most mornings, I took State Route 603 to work, coming into Ashland by way of Mifflin. Even then I often found myself sidetracked, stopping to photograph something that caught my eye along the way. Or taking a detour to catch a sunrise or do a little random exploring.

From Mt. Jeez, Monday’s sunrise — dark and ominous. Pretty much the last I’d see of the sun that day.

One of my favorite spots was Mount Jeez, near Malabar Farm State Park, a good place to watch the sunrise or get a panoramic view of the morning fog rising in the valley.

I stopped there Monday morning. I also revisited the overpasses at Rocky Fork of the Mohican River and the railroad tracks. Over the years, I got a few good shots of both — using my Canon G-10. It was my first digital point-and-shoot camera. I bought it because the paper cut one photographer position and I knew I’d be doing more of my own photography.

No complaints there. I began to enjoy photography as much as I did writing. Maybe even more so.

Rocky Fork of the Mohican River from the SR 603 bridge.


Reprising my railroad track photo. I’d like to dig out the original for comparison.


From State Route 603 looking west. I love the way the sun lit up the structure on the grain drier.


Drove around Charles Mill Lake, hoping to catch a few migrating birds in the morning mist. None to be found. But here is the footprint of the North American Slob.


“Slobbery” on a larger scale. This would be a picturesque view of Black Fork of the Mohican River from SR 603 — if it weren’t for Mohican meringue floating against the downed tree limb on the lower right. Sadly, in Ohio we still regard rivers as open sewers.









The Allure of Alleys

At age 5 on Keiper Court.

I come by my love of spurnpiking honestly. I grew up in an alley.

Alleys were the spurnpikes of my childhood. I often cruised the alleys in lieu of walking along the main streets or side streets of my Cleveland neighborhood.

They were a trash-pickers paradise. In those days, alleys ran behind most houses and that’s where people put their trash cans. Mom discouraged me from trash-picking. Anything I brought home immediately found its way back to the trashcan. Unless it was small enough to sneak into the house and hide in my room.

Our house on Keiper Court fronted to the alley. In fact, there was no other access. Unless you walked through the restaurant on Lorain Avenue and went out the back door.

During my childhood, the charming brick streets were gradually paved over with asphalt. The alleys escaped the wrath of progress. The red glazed bricks were arranged in such a way to allow a gutter up the middle where the rainwater — and occasional slurry dumped by housewives and shopkeepers — could run off.

Alleys also offered solitude, something I’ve always craved. Hardly anyone else used the alleys. Perhaps it was out of fear of shady characters lurking there. Shady characters like me.