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Old 02-08-2010, 07:27 AM   #1
Macadam Drifter OP
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Utah to Ohio On One Fine Spring Day

Preface: This road trip actually occurred in the Spring of 2007. Both the notes and photographs of this trip were lost for several years and just recently have they been gathered together and organized. I hope you will enjoy this multi-part report of a motorcycle trip across the USA.

Background: In 2006 I had done some reading and research on US50. By Christmas 2006 I had decided I wanted to take a road trip down US50 from Utah to Ohio. From January though April the trip was planned and the bike prepared. What follows is the report from that trip. I hope you enjoy this belated ride report.

MkD



It was in late April, 2007 that I departed a friends house in Salt Lake City for a trip to Columbus Ohio. The original route was to follow US 50 from Utah to Ohio. But unfortunately weather was not cooperating, southern Colorado and Kansas were under the influence of a strong weather pattern that was producing tornadoes and flooding, so I had to pick a route that was much further north of my intended route..

Thus, I arose early on the morning of April 28th to take my Salt Lake hosts out to breakfast, check the weather, and make a route determination. During breakfast, we agreed that the weather in northern Colorado along US 40 was perfect and that I could review my route options once I arrived in Fort Collins. Just before 6am I was out past the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake and eastbound on I 80, zooming up Parley’s Canyon.

Just outside of Park City I noticed a low flying hot air balloon. Since I needed to check my load and I wanted to take some pictures of the balloon I pulled off the freeway. I could not believe it but this balloon was actually going to fly below the elevation of the freeway-JUST AMAZING.







After taking some photos and being duly impressed by the pilot’s flying skills I again got onto the freeway and turned south on US 40 for Duchesne and Vernal Utah. And, imagine that; there were more balloons floating in the calm morning sky outside of Heber City. The snowcapped peaks of the Wallsburg Ridge, the rich blue sky, and the colorful balloons drifting over the valley all helped make this the perfect morning to be setting out on a long road trip.



Never before had I left this early in the season on such a long motorcycle trip, and I was a little concerned about the weather; (considering it was April and that I needed to cross were the Rocky’s, I did have respect for the potential risks associated with such an early crossing). But, a strong high pressure pattern was dominating the weather over Utah and northern Colorado my crossing of the Rocky's,this time, should be an easy one.

Next stop was Vernal, Utah for gas, snacks, and I had to take a picture of the pink dinosaur located along the highway on the east end of town. After Vernal you soon enter Colorado, the first Colorado town is the town of Dinosaur which has a Visitor’s Center, C-Stores, and gasoline. A few more miles down the road is Dinosaur National Monument Visitors Center, a worthwhile stop should you have the time. The next town that held some interest for me was the town of Maybell (just east of the intersection of SR 318 and US 40). This small farming community has a friendly community café and the town offers camping in its City Park. Eastern Utah over the last few years has become an expensive proposition. I use to enjoy visiting Roosevelt. I usually would get a motel room in town for under $30 and right next to the motel was a good restaurant, and on the other side of the motel was the movie theater. A perfect small town in my mind; a room with a reasonable rate and entertainment close by. The last time I stopped here this motel now charges over $100 for a room. The reason for this substantial rate change is oil and natural gas companies. This part of the state is booming and the motels are all charging the oil companies per diem rate(s). Not only that, plan ahead you may find it hard to get a room. You will find similar situations existing in western Colorado, Wyoming, and parts of Montana.



The next major full service town is Craig, elevation over 6,000 feet. The town is located on the Yampa River and there is a KOA on the west end of town. There are plenty of choices for dining and lodging. After Craig the ride to Steamboat Springs increasing becomes more scenic and the river valley views are very refreshing, especially after the amount of time I had just spent transiting some of the most arid regions of Colorado.

Steamboat Springs is Ski town USA and I would have loved to spent the night there. Unfortunately my timing was all wrong, it was too early in the day to stop. Steamboat is one of those towns where you could spend hours or days just people watching.

After Steamboat, the road climbs, and at Muddy Pass I turned off US 40 onto SR 14. It was now time to start looking for a place to camp. But not until after the last major climb of the day, which was the Medicine Bow Mountains where I had to cross Cameron Pass (elevation 10,276 feet). It was here on the backside of these mountains in the Cache la Poudre that I would find my campsite for the first night.



The campgrounds at the higher elevations were all gated closed and not scheduled to open until after Memorial Day (a theme that would haunt me most of this trip), and the campgrounds at the lower elevations were all full. A nice couple from Fort Collins offered to share their site and I was thankful for the kind offer.

I set up camp and got to bed fairly early since tomorrow would be a long day.



MkD
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:38 AM   #2
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:56 PM   #3
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Day 2 Cache la Poudre to McCook, Nebraska

Background: I was lucky that Jim and his wife were willing to share their campsite, otherwise the next closest place for lodging would have been Fort Collins. The planned trip was to follow US50 and I was looking forward to stops at Grand Junction, Colorado (with its downtown street art and microbrewery), the Royal Gorge, Gunnison, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and etc. US50 is steeped in history and is known as the "Backbone of America". My goal even now was, that as soon as I could I would try and work my way back onto US50. But, really hazardous weather was forcing me off my planned route and how fatally dangerous this weather was I would soon discover.



I got up early on the 29th, I was cold and sore from sleeping on the ground, and really did not want to get up out of a nice warm sleeping bag. It was still dark when I started to break camp. Everyone else was still asleep and I tried to get leave as quietly as possible.

The ride down the Cache la Poudre Canyon was much colder than I had expected and I was thankful that I had installed my heated seat for this trip, as well as, the heated grips proved to be a very functional addition. Being up and about before the sun doesn’t give the Earth much of a chance to warm up, and the cold air that was flowing down the river valleys from the snow crested peaks of the Rocky’s made sure that this would be a cold and brisk morning ride. The scenery kept me going, but after about an hour of riding, I was looking forward to a rest stop which included a nice hot, steamy cup of coffee.

The Canyon la Poudre is very narrow and the walls are particularly steep. I can see why this section of road was designated as a National Scenic Byway.

By the time I got to Fort Collins the backs of my hands were very cold. My first stop was for breakfast and I finally got myself nice hot cup of coffee (with 4 refills, please), next was the fuel stop.

During breakfast I learned that, the Texas/Kansas’s (Tornado Alley) region once again had been devastated by supercell tornadic activity, and that Highway 50 was flooded closing various sections. Based on this information, I decided to stay remain on SR 14 through Colorado. I would review the weather conditions again this evening and then decide on what route to take east.

With the Rocky’s now behind me, a full belly, and tank of gas, I departed Fort Collins. The sun had by now warmed things up a bit and I took off some of my riding gear and did some re-arranging, making sure that the rain gear was easily accessible, just in case. The land east of Fort Collins is mostly used for agricultural purposes and has been divided into some very large rectangular pieces. SR 14 (which was in very good condition) runs pretty much on a course that is straight east and west with an occasional zig or zag around some geographical feature. Oil wells starting popping up along the road and for a long stretch of SR 14 an old abandoned railroad bed paralleled the highways path. For the next few hours it slowly got warmer, then hotter, and then the humidity increased significantly. Because the road conditions were so mesmerizing and the heat index was rising, I needed to take a break and drink some fluids. So I pulled over somewhere near Briggsdale to satiate my thirst and cool down a bit.

At the town of Sterling SR 14 comes to an end and I picked up US 6 eastbound. The South Platte River crosses the highway near here and a highlight feature of the town is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone RV Park.

The last town in Colorado before crossing the border was the small farming town of Holyoke. The town has a nice and clean family run drive in, known as the Dairy King. They had just opened up for lunch and the ladies were making sandwiches for the farmer workers who were calling in orders on cell phones. From time to time one of the farmhands would come by to pick up their lunches. Though few people stayed to dine in, the place was quite busy. Young wives and girl friends also stopped in to get their loved ones lunch, this way the couple could spend some time together during lunch.

The bike, as usual attracted attention, and what followed was the customary questions and answers period, with some local commentary mixed in on the side; where are you from, where are you going, watch out there is bad weather to the south (flooding and tornados), and of course the ever present technical questions regarding engine displacement, horsepower, and how fast can it go?

It was now getting really hot and humid. Cumulus clouds were building rapidly. I needed to stop once more for a cool drink--- so I stopped in Enders, Nebraska for gas and a Root Beer. This small store had a large selection of fishing supplies since located just to the west of town was a popular lake and local fishing hole.

The weather now was changing rapidly, the cumulus clouds were towering above 30,000 feet and it was only a matter of time that I would be hit by one of these storms. So I decided to get a motel for the evening. I pulled into McCook just minutes before the clouds let loose with heavy rain, hail, and lightning. I was thankful that the manager let me park the bike under some shelter. After the rain ceased I removed some of the bug collection that had formed on the bike’s radiators, (there were some really big grasshoppers in that bug collection).

I wanted to get some Italian food for dinner. The only place in town that met that description in the Yellowpages was the “Pizza Hut”. So I got some Chinese food and then watched the news and weather channel. There were severe weather watches out all over the place. In McCook the watches were in effect until midnight. The storms were moving north faster than what was forecast that morning. I decided that I needed to stay ahead of these storms and to do this meant re-plotting a course further north, and that my planned trip down US50 had officially come to an end and a new trip would be planned on the fly.

My original route took me south of Chicago, this new route would be a traverse from Nebraska to Upper Michigan that would add some 600 to 700 miles onto my trip distance. From there I would need to drop down into lower Michigan and pick my way south to Columbus, Ohio.

What I learned from the news was that over 70 tornadoes had been reported between Texas and Kansas. In Kansas a small town had been removed from the face of the Earth, killing 12. Also the Missouri River and its tributaries were breaking over their banks causing severe flooding issues. I saw no reason to drive into this mess.

I was so involved with the weather issues today that I did not stop to take pictures. So I added a few more pictures from Day One.

The first picture was taken at Daniel’s Summit on US 40. About two miles north of the Summit is Lodgepole Campground, a clean well taken care of campsite.



The second picture was taken at mile marker 40. Since there was highway construction in this area I decided to pull over, I was surprised to find a beaver dam just below the roadbed surface.



The third picture is one of Strawberry Reservoir, the picture was taken from the US 40 Overlook. US 40 is known as the Old Victory Highway, A memorial to the veterans of World War I.



There were multiple Prisoner of War Camps in southern Nebraska during World War II. Prisoners were used to help with the harvesting of crops. The picture below is of a sign that recognizes these past historical events.



This ends the report for Day Two. The next reports will have more pictures as I am forced to divert north in order to avoid the severe weather creeping up from the Gulf Coast.

MkD
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #4
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:25 PM   #5
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Day 3 McCook, Nebraska to Rock Rapids, Iowa

Once again I was up before sunrise.



The bike was quickly packed and I was on the road eastbound On US 6. Normally, I try to avoid riding when its dark, but because of the approaching weather it necessary to get some dark hours of riding in. Several times deer on or near the road forced me to slow down and take evasive action.

At about 6:30am, I stopped in the town of Arapahoe for a light breakfast. It was a small older run down establishment but the food and service were excellent. While waiting for my breakfast to arrive I listened to the local farmers talk about the weather, farm equipment, and family life. They were all concerned about the possibility of crop damage if the storms currently in Kansas rolled into Nebraska.

As the sun rose in the eastern sky, I could see that large cumulus clouds were already building in the southeast. At the town of Holdredge I finally turned north on to US 183. US 183 passes just to the west of Kearney Nebraska and the rolling hilly terrain slowly climbs after you cross the South Platte River.

My first stop on US 183 was at an old abandoned farm house. For some reason it struck a familiar cord with me though I knew that could not be possible. I enjoyed my short rest stop at the old farm and after taking a few pictures was on my way.

Old Abandoned Farm House



Close Up of Farm House



Old Barn



Farm




The next stop was about in the middle of the state in the town of Sargent. The town had been around for a while and the downtown buildings were of brick construction. They had a really nice bakery and here too the ladies were making up lunches for the field workers. As I was heading north I could swear it was getting colder, but all the threatening clouds were now behind me.

Sargent Grocery Store



Downtown Sargent




End Ride on Day 3. Part 4 Next: Rock Springs to Northern Wisconsin.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:06 AM   #6
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Utah to Ohio-Part 4

It rained last night in Rock Rapids and the temperature dropped by almost 30 degrees now that I was on the cold side of the front.I entered Minnesota at its southwest corner and I was going ride a diagonal to Duluth via St. Cloud. My goal for today is to reach Sandy Beach Lake in northern Wisconsin by the end of the day.

Wisconsin Snowmobile Trail Marker:



From Rock Rapids I work myself north to Pipestone, Minnesota and then picked up SR 23, the long traverse to St Cloud. It’s amazing how the landscape changes along this route from prairie to forests and beautiful glacial lakes. Every lake I passed I could visualize myself retiring to some water front property in this senses pleasing country. I also noticed that compared with southern Nebraska spring was still a few weeks away from happening. The trees still had not budded. When I was in Pipestone I stopped for breakfast and in Wilmar I called home to check in with family. Also the four cups of coffee that I had in Pipestone needed some relief, and then it was off to St Cloud.

Windmills in SW Minnesota:




Rolling into St Cloud I came to the realization that this town was much bigger than I had anticipated. But, it was a nice clean town, a college town, and it was a community and region of the country that I would like to visit again and invest some more time into exploration. From St Cloud my traverse continued northeast toward Duluth. Just short of Duluth I turned east on SR 48 and zigzagged my way to Hayward, Wisconsin you know the place with the big fiberglass Muskie at the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

I stopped for gas in Hayward and now I had an urge to run down to Rhinelander and visit the land of the Hodag. Who comes up with this stuff! When I was a kid that Hodag really scared me. Well I’m not heading to Rhinelander, I need to continue more easterly towards Manitowish Waters and from there find Sandy Beach Lake, my destination for tonight.

Sandy Beach Lake:





When I arrived at Sandy Beach Lake the campground was gated locked and was noticed closed until Memorial Day Weekend, (this is getting old). So I rode up to Manitowish Waters, there is a general store/bar up there that was known as Chuck’s Place. I didn’t know the general store was closed, but the bar was still open when I arrived. I wanted to ask for some directions and find a good place to camp for the night. Stopping the bike out front I walked in and asked the lady behind the bar if she knew of a good place to camp for the evening. The young lady called for her mother and as we talked I found out the mother was one of Chuck’s daughters and she had remained in Wisconsin to run the family’s business. Chuck who ran the store and bar back in the late 1950s when our family would go up north for vacations and fishing at Sandy Beach Lake, we would come up to Chuck’s to buy things like, ice, fishing supplies, white gas, and ice cream. When the mother learned that we use to frequent the area she offered me a camping spot next to the bar in their back yard. I graciously accepted the offer and went out to set up camp and then returned to the bar to get some dinner.

My Campsite for the Night:



They made me an extra special pizza and I ordered also a couple of beers and bought everyone a drink (all five of them). As the early part of the evening went on locals popped in and some local conversation ensued; family issues, local politics-“those politicians down south do not understand the needs of the north”, etc. The big conversation was the drought that had been going on for quite some time and that even though it was approaching spring everything was still dry and the fire danger in this region was rated “Extreme Hazard”.

Chuck's:



Eventually the conversation turned to me. Who are you and what are you doing up here? I explained that I was on my way to Ohio and I had decided to stop up here, after hazardous weather had pushed me off course, and visit a place where my family vacationed and that we would come here to Chuck’s to get our camping supplies and this place held for me some fond childhood memories.

Remembering Chuck:



One guy stated that this route was definitely not the shortest route to Ohio. I agreed and again mentioned the hazardous weather that had pushed me this way. This is when a couple of other locals chimed in and mentioned that the tornado warnings that were in Kansas had moved further north into Illinois and southern Minnesota.

So far I had stayed ahead of these nasty beasts, I finished my pizza and thanked everyone for their hospitality and I went to bed.

Though it was cold that evening I slept real well. End Day 4.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:55 AM   #7
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I keep stumbling across pics you post and they always catch my eye and of course there's that thing about the TW - - - Even though you are on that great big orange thing for this one I'll be along for the ride.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:33 PM   #8
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Ohio Bound

The bike, as usual attracted attention, and what followed was the customary questions and answers period, with some local commentary mixed in on the side; where are you from, where are you going, watch out there is bad weather to the south (flooding and tornados), and of course the ever present technical questions regarding engine displacement, horsepower, and how fast can it go?

..
Your still posting but so far looks like a great trip with a little weather adventure thrown in for excitement.

Funny how people are so curious about a motorcyclist on a cross country trip. Riding solo seems to put most at ease if not foster conversation. I answer politely and with patience. Riding ambasadore thing I guess. It's important.

I like your bike color by the way. Sort of sassy looking.

Thanks for posting.

Jed




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Old 02-13-2010, 01:04 PM   #9
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I really enjoy reading this kind of trip report and looking at the pictures. I'd like to train myself to slow down and take more pictures while enroute. Afterwards it sure seems like it was more worthwhile to slow down than go fast. Thanks for sharing...
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking us along

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Old 02-13-2010, 08:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048
I keep stumbling across pics you post and they always catch my eye and of course there's that thing about the TW - - - Even though you are on that great big orange thing for this one I'll be along for the ride.
Thank you for noticing my wayward style.

A TW200 and a Goldwing-now that's what you might call two riding extremes.



MkD
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:00 PM   #12
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Day 5 and 6

I departed Chuck’s Bar early in the morning and headed north on highway 51 to the Upper Peninsula (UP).

But not before going back just one more time to Sandy Beach Lake for a quick good bye. I have many fond camping and fishing memories from this place.



Today will be a slow travel day; there are places along the way I want to see and photograph, and I plan to do laundry somewhere along the route. I stopped for gas and breakfast in Hurley, Wisconsin, everyone at the café was complaining about the cold; (it was chilly out and I was glad that the heated seat and grips were doing a good job for me). The only problem with heated grips is that the backs of your hands can get cold and I want to look at heated gloves to see if they can do a better job?

Indianhead Ski Area-Looking North:



After a quick bite to eat at Hurley, I crossed into Michigan----Ironwood, Michigan. Both Hurley and Ironwood are old mining towns with a long history, and both towns have seen better times. On the east end of Ironwood I spotted a laundromat, so I pulled in. I got all my laundry off the bike and did a quick change out of my riding clothes in the bathroom. I got quite a few stares--- since I must have looked sort of strange walking around in my gym shorts, long underwear, and riding boots while doing my laundry. Various locals would engage me in conversations; (again--asking the usual questions). One young lady spent some time talking to me about her uncle and his bike trips out west and how she loved listening to his stories. This for some reason annoyed her boyfriend.

Indianhead Lodge:



After the young couple left, an older gentleman started a new conversation about the Harley he rode as a young man here in Ironwood after World War II (a really nice guy).

With laundry finally finished and bike loaded again, it was time to hit the road. Next stop Indianhead Ski Area.

Indianhead Parking Lot:



When my parents’s lived in Wisconsin, a big ski vacation for us was not a trip to the Colorado Rockys, but rather a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Ski the frozen tundra of Indianhead Ski Area where normal winter temperatures were always subzero. So I decided to stop by and get a few photos of this Ski-Mecca from my youth. Below are a few pictures of this ski area.

Rest Stop:



The crossing of the UP was as usual, beautiful but remote. I stopped in several towns along the route but cannot remember their names. In the picture below there is a beautiful building with a clock on it, if you know the name of this town please email me, (I’m guessing this is Cyrstal Falls??).



The highlight of the day was crossing a bridge, a really big bridge, the Mackinac Bridge. Did I mention this is a BIG BRIDGE, Wow its BIG. And yes I was impressed by the size of the bridge---It only cost $2.50 to cross and that was a sweet deal. Below are some pictures of the bridge.





After stopping in Mackinaw City and taking a few more pictures of the bridge and the town I started south and finally stopped in Levering, Michigan where I spent the night in a small quaint motel. There was a nice local family run restaurant across the street so I had everything I needed before I went to bed.



The following day I finished my ride to Columbus, Ohio. Traffic got busier as I headed south so I was not inclined to stop and take any pictures. It took me six days to get from Salt Lake City to Columbus, Ohio via the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.



Tomorrow I will go visit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and a State Park that has a turn of the century farm-a working farm. Story and pictures to follow.

MkD
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:00 PM   #13
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This is intensely good. Thanks for writing this up.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:11 AM   #14
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Visit to AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

So now I’m in Ohio, now what?

Well one reason for the trip was to find and visit some interesting places near Columbus. One such place was located in the community of Pickerington, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. So off down the road I went to find the Hall of Fame Museum. It took a bit since its nestled into a beautiful residential community. Approaching the place I thought it was a private gold course, at first. The facilities were lush and well manicured.



I parked the bike in the covered motorcycle parking area, (how cool is that?). and put my riding gear away and walked over to the entrance. Entering the door the first bike to meet you was a 1953 Vincent Black Shadow which was being raffled off for a fund raiser. I couldn’t resist and bought my fair share of tickets. I have to confess I did have some wonderful dreams that were about me winning that bike and touring the country. Well needless to say I did not win the raffle, but for a while there in the fantasies of my mind, Rollie and I were one.



Most of this thread will just be pictures with some short descriptors. But there was one exhibit I want to focus on first, Dick “Bugsy” Mann.

There was a large tribute and exhibit to Dick Mann. He was one of few riders/racers who gained notoriety and success on dirt tracks, road racing, and motocross, earning 24 national victories.

It’s nice to know that he started by riding a Cushman scooter when he was a child. Mann retired in 1974 with 24 victories and raced in over 230 AMA Nationals. Way to go Dick!.





Ok now we can go for a quick tour of the Museum.

Moto Guzzi:



Old Motorcycle



Ossa:



Harley, Baja:



Thumpers:



Bultaco:



The place was fantastic. But, it was time to go. I hope you enjoyed this quick photo-tour of the Museum. I high recommend that you consider making your own pilgrimage sometime.

Next a visit to a Park/Farm.

MkD
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:06 PM   #15
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Visit to Slate Run Metro Park-Marcy, Ohio

After visiting the AMA Hall of Fame Museum, the following day I decided to visit Slate Run Historical Farm.

Slate Run Farm House:



The park/farm are maintained by the Metro Park system as a turn of the century living farm reflecting what life was like on an Ohio farm over 100 years ago. Both the farm house and barn have been restored, and visitors are permitted to stroll the grounds and interact with costumed staff and volunteers.

The park has picnic facilities, hiking trails, horse trails, playgrounds, fishing, and programs for schools and families, (throughout the year the park offers various educational programs that a very engaging). I ran into the park just by accident as I was exploring some roads south of Columbus.

The park is located on State Route 674 near the town of Marcy. So let’s take a quick tour of this wonderful facility.

Here I am walking up to the farm house that was built in the mid 1800s and recently restored. It was such a nice warm perfect spring day.



These next pictures are from inside the farm house.






Here we have a mouser guarding the spuds next to the farm house.



A picture of a shed near the farm house that has multiple uses, anything from canning to carpentering.



The smoke house-mmmmmm-smelled good, now I'm hungry!



In this part of the shed it appears this room was used for canning and washing.



Storing Preserved Foods.



Some Pictures of the Barn.





Equipment Shed



The living farm was an enjoyable visit. That evening I had dinner with some old friends who live south of Columbus. My next few trips will be to some of the towns close by and a trip to Hocking Hills Region.



MkD
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The TW200 is slow but the Earth is patient
A Solo TW200 Travels From WA to MN
My Travelblog Updated 11/22/2011
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