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.”
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.
I saw the detour sign at State Routes 3 and 97. So I took a detour down Hanover Township Road 629 instead. This scene caught my eye right off the bat.
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.)
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.
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.
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.