Monday, September 26, 2011

Hurricane WVa to Lafayette IN

Monday September 26

Day 2 of our marathon drive to the headwaters of the Mississippi and the beginning of the Great River Road is now behind us.  The day began with an interesting interface between us and Mr. Brit - our GPS.  Ben had downloaded updates just before we left TN so the fact that we were driving in the middle of nowhere on a very new 4 lane hiway was a surprise. For about 15 miles we followed a river on the new road with Mr. Brit constantly saying recalculating - drive to the correct road!  Finally we made it to the end of the new road and Mr. Brit was content.

GPS Shows us driving to nowhere

Nice New Road to somewhere

West Virginia surprised us - in this part of the state very nice farms along the river bottom as we drove north on US35 to Point Pleasant. There we would cross the Ohio River into Ohio. The farms had huge fields of corn, soybeans, and tobacco and most had nice barns, outbuildings, and farm equipment.  As we came close to Point Pleasant and the Ohio River there were numerous coal barges transporting coal to the power plants along the Ohio.
 Crossing into Ohio

The farms continued into Ohio and continued to be well maintained with all the fields planted with much the same crops - seems we saw less tobacco than we had seen in West Va.  There was also lush growth of New York Iron Weed,  Ragweed, and New England Asters - these and other wild flowers were abundant along the roadways and in the fields not cultivated.

The first Ohio town was Chillicothe where we had an unexpected treat for Ben - the discovery of the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park - one of the side interests along the Great River Road was to be visiting several Indian Mound sites - and here was another one !  We stopped, watched the film, viewed the museum exhibits and looked over the mounds from the visitor center. Light rain kept us from hiking among the mounds. These Hopewell Indians were quite the artisans with carvings and metal work of very high quality.  There were numerous earthworks at several sites along the rivers in this part of Ohio.

  Ben Reviews the Mounds area

 The Hopewell lived in this area because it gave them access to both flat lands and the more mountainous hills for hunting....and as we left Chillicothe we did indeed leave the hills and mountains of eastern Ohio and West Va and enter the flat farmlands of the mid-west.

  Corn and Soybeans

Back on US 35 we continued to Dayton where we picked up an interstate to take us to Indianapolis. These three days of driving 350 - 400 miles a day are not our preferred travel pace but will get us to MN in 4 days. Then we will slow down and enjoy. Stopping for a quick lunch and two good walks kept us functioning. Somewhere around Indianapolis our crime solving book was over -this 9 disc book had taken us through almost 3 days of travel!  
We did experience some closed Rest Areas in Indiana and some of the roads had less than perfect patches - these were the only signs of budget issues we have observed so far. 

About 50 miles north of Indianapolis was Lafayette IN where we planned to stay the night. Ben had picked motels at random at approximately the right mileage - this one was perfect we walked to an Olive Garden for a spaghetti dinner and to Wal-Mart for a couple things. Not having to get back in the Sprinter after a long driving day was really nice. Plus the short walks were good for us...and we have enough leftover spaghetti for lunch tomorrow! 

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