Saturday, September 22, 2007

(32) From Nasville Indiana to Cincinnati Ohio

Nashville Indiana

Cincinnati Ohio

New Richmond Ohio

I’m heading south now, on my way, I’ll be visiting with fellow campers that I’ve met during my winter stays in Florida. The campground is having a western weekend and my buddy Walt will be bringing his 4 horses for rides.

The campground is tucked away in a wooded section of the state, where the roads meander around farms, making 90 degree turns and curves as the road boarders each of the farms. What a fun weekend.
The campground had a movie night outside by projecting the movie on the whitewashed wall next to their swimming pool. I brought my gas fireplace over and we all huddled around it to keep warm. Tim brought over hotdogs and we roasted them while watching the movie. How cool.

The next day I was able to get a ride on one of Walt’s horses, Raven. I did pretty well too. Didn’t fall off or anything. There were a couple times while riding along the wooded trails, past a secluded pond, that we had to go down a steep embankment. At least it seamed steep to me sitting on top of a big ol horse. Raven knew how to navigate the hills and I just held on. What a fun rush.

Nashville Indiana

On Sunday we drove through these remote country lanes and went to a town called Nashville Indiana. A tourist Mecca about an hour and a half from Indianapolis. Apparently a writer/ comic strip creator for the New York Post (?) used to come here to get away from the big city. He liked it so much, that his friends started to follow him there as well to get away. Even a president, Franklin Roosevelt started to come here. Before you knew it, there were 350 shops filled with artists and craftsmen.
There are even two covered bridges in the area and a large state park. It’s a great town to walk around, have lunch or dinner and search for just the right gift for someone and enjoy art and even take in a play at the local theatre or enjoy the Little Opry house for some music. Oh and they have trolley tours and buggy rides through town providing some history of the area.

Finally weaving my way out of the campground and surrounding country side, I hit hwy 74 and headed towards Cincinnati. Amazing how the landscape changes between states sometimes. Indiana being mainly farm lands and the closer I get to the boarder of Ohio, the hillier it becomes and heavily wooded.


Cincinnati has an extensive highway system that surrounds the city and even cuts into a corner of Kentucky. I’m staying at Steamboat Bend Campground, run by the county and it borders the Ohio River. What a great campground. They only accept stays by the week or month. $120 a week (about $17 a night). I’ve been watching the long barges being pushed up and down river by those powerful tug boats. I absolutely love being on the water.

My friends Walt and Ben have brought Walt’s horses to Cincinnati to stay on a farm for a while, so we’ll have some time to tour the area. After setting up at the campground, we headed off to New Richmond. A small historical town right on the Ohio River. This area was well known for the underground railroad and a number of buildings have signs providing information on this part of our history. Cincinnati has a huge museum dedicated to the subject.

The next day, we all went to the museum that’s housed in the original Train Terminal, an absolutely beautiful art deco building that began it’s decline almost before it was completed as cars quickly reduced the need for passenger trains and mass transit. The building has wings for taxi’s, busses and trolleys to meet up with the trains. They never connected the trolleys.
The Train Terminal has a couple different museums to visit and we selected the history of Cincinnati. An expansive history going back to the native Indian tribes that built some of the most extensive earthen mounds in North America. One in the shape of a snake covering many acres. I got a scoop from a park ranger a couple of days later that the local Chippewa Indians now think it could represent Halley’s comet. More research is going on behind the scenes so you’re the first to hear about this publicly. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t give this part of native Indian history much space or information.

A complete miniature scale town showing the area back in the 1800’s is super cool. Especially the incline rails that took the trolleys up each of the hills surrounding Cincinnati. They’ve all been torn down along with the trolley lines and canals that ran through the city.

Walt told up that the city built subway tunnels around the time the canals were filled in, including the stairwell leading down to them. They have never been used. No subway ever ran in the subway tunnels. Hmmmm. You can still see some of the tunnel entrances from one of the highways going through town as well as the blocked of stairwells. I did a Google search and you can see some of the remaining couple miles of tunnels online.

Oh, and the city built some great over head bronze glass enclosed walkways between all the major buildings downtown for use during inclement weather. One goes from the second floor of a large skyscraper to the other side of the street and just ends. Doesn’t go anywhere, apparently never completed. Walt said the city is beginning to tear the overhead walkways down. Hmmm.

And the city has one more thing to be famous for. Jerry Springer was the mayor here before he became a famous T.V. star. Now isn’t that interesting.

There is little rhyme or reason to the road system from the first timers perspective to the city so it takes a while to get used to. I’m staying on the east side of town and I have to travel into Kentucky to get downtown. But it is a neat city built around heavily wooded hills and the river flowing through it separating Ohio from Kentucky. Lot’s of industry and a very active downtown area as well. Proctor and Gamble is headquartered here.

On the darker side of Cincinnati, the downtown has a couple of sections that aren’t safe to be in. There’s usually a couple of shootings reported on the local news every night and in the morning, the traffic reports show at least 6 accidents on the major highways as well as the usual 5 mile back-ups. Hate to say it, but the shootings usually involve blacks. 5 people were shot just the other night. Kind of sad, since this town was a main center for helping free the black slaves during the civil war period. Even being a major part of the underground railroad.

Although I’m camping right on the riverfront and it looks so idyllic from the tree lined bluff, I take a dirt path down to the rivers edge from the picnic area. I walk along the brown sandy shoreline. The waters warm to the touch. The hillside covered in weeds, brush and trees. From the waters edge all I see are old tires, tree trunks, rusted out metal boxes and part of a barge that sank along the rivers edge. Deer tracks, raccoon and a few other animal tracks are clearly visible in the wet sand. None of this is visible from on top where my camper sits.

I met up with Sam a newspaper editor today. I drove downtown then walked across the Purple People Bridge over to the Kentucky side to Newport on the Levee. It’s a shopping complex with good restaurants, movie complex and aquarium. It’s one of those places that wants to be a popular destination, but half the shops in the new complex are vacant. Waiting to be discovered.

Over lunch we had a great discussion about the city, it’s politics and we even got into discussing ways I could possibly make a few $$ on my writing. My new BLOG could be the beginning of it all.

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