It's hard for me to claim just one town.
It's more correct to say I live in Northwest Ohio, and Southeast Michigan too, I suppose. I'll explain as I go, just hang in there.ÔÇª
Northwest Ohio was formerly the Black Swamp, until the early farmers drained it and began farming. It's ideal farmland, having been planed flat by a series of Ice Age glaciers that came in from the North, carving out and then filling the Great Lakes, reversing the flow of the Maumee River in the process.
Most of Northwest Ohio is flat farmland, like the background in this photo of my son and me:
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 01:11 AM.
I grew up in Toledo, Ohio; and my Dad still lives and works there. Toledo has various ports which support Great Lakes shipping of grain, and other bulk commodities. Though we are 600 miles from the east coast, ocean ships sail into Toledo from all over the world.
The exporting of grain is big business in Toledo, with the farms all around and the lake port to ship the grain out.
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:14 AM.
Toledo is a supporter of Detroit's auto industry, several automotive suppliers and engineering firms are in Toledo. Jeep Wranglers are built in Toledo, as is the new Liberty, in a new factory at the junction of I-75 and I-280. Toledo also has the Mud Hens, Tony Packos restaurant, Jamie Farr, Danny Thomas, and Gloria Steinem.
Toledo's East Side is a bit rough, having a refinery, and formerly home to LOF glass. The glass plant, formerly across from the school where I attended kindergarten, is long goneÔÇª but Sun Oil is still going strong:
Sun Oil, taken with a 22 y/o Olympus XA compact 35mm, three shots spliced together:
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:13 AM.
Toledo is also getting a brand new bridge across the Maumee River on I-280, a single-pier suspension bridge, replacing the drawbridge, tall enough for the lake and ocean freighters to pass by without disrupring Interstate traffic on I-280. My son and I visit the construction site often, sometimes kayaking next to the new piers in the river, sometimes stuck in traffic on the bike, other times in the car. It's a sight to see. The builders rig a huge monorail from 2-3 of the piers, and then raise pre-cast sections of road into place. I go that route to Dearborn, so I get this time-lapse picture in my mind, a long-term movie that's due to finish sometime in 2005.
New Bridge Project:
But I live mostly in Luckey, Ohio; just a tiny farm town in about 20 miles outside Toledo, not too far from Bowling Green or Woodville. Just a small town nobody ever heard of, with a closed-up lime quarry, and a factory that used to make plastic wheels for cars. Luckey doesn't have tractor pulls like Bowling Green, nor do they have a famous son like the Shuttle pilot from Woodville. It's just a quiet place.
I work in another small Ohio town, the town of Clyde, about 30 miles to the east. Clyde's claims to fame are the home of General McPherson, a Civil War hero who didn't come home. Clyde is also the home of Sherwood Anderson the writer, the author of the classic "Winesburg, Ohio". It's a book of vignettes of people of Clyde of the early 1900s; websites explain that the book was well-received everywhere but in Clyde.
The biggest employer in Clyde is Whirlpool, which has their washing machine factory there (world's largest!), and has been there over 50 years. I work in engineering, and get to spend lots of time in the plant as well.
Sherwood Anderson worked here, back when this plant built a two-stroke automobile called the Elmore, in the early 1900s, and before the book and his fame as an author.
Commuting between Luckey and Clyde, I cross 2 rivers and 3 counties. Two of the counties I cross, together host about 25% of Ohio's entire bald eagle population.
The Sandusky and the Portage Rivers both contain excellent whitewater if you're into that sort of thing, as does the Maumee upstream of Toledo. The really neat thing about knowing these three rivers is that each also have Northwest Ohio's only curvy roads. So when the rivers are up, I'm in my boat, surfing the standing waves and dreaming of whitewater trips to West Virginia.
Sandusky River in a 2-seat whitewater kayak, surfing a wave... Imagine 2-up motocross when in real whitewater. That's me in the back.... See why I insist on weather-resistant cameras?
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:16 AM.
When the rivers are down, I ride the state and county roads along them, visiting the replica canal boat at Providence on the Maumee, Fort Megis at Perrysburg (a wooden fort from the War of 1812), the covered bridges and broken dams and eagle's nests along the Sandusky, or the little towns along the Portage.
North of Clyde, and east of Toledo, we have Lake Erie. Well inland from the lake are marshes which were preserved in various ways, many by duck hunters, way back when, so they'd have a place to hunt as farmers drained the rest of the marshes. Those areas are now bird sanctuaries, and birders come from all around to watch the migrations of various species as they pas through.
Here's one of the preserves, Pickerel Creek State Park:
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:18 AM.
At Port Clinton, a ferry will take you to the Islands, which are a fun place to visit. They have a party atmoshpere, and a tall monument commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, in the War of 1812. Fought by sailing ships, the British Navy against the Americans, just about 30 miles from where I sit now...
The Lake Erie shoreline is also the heaviest concentration of bald eagles in Ohio, and paddling a half-mile or so offshore of Crane Creek nature preserve in my kayak I can see them perched in the dead trees along the shore.
Life here isn't all nature preserves and kayaks and motorcycles: the Sandusky River empties into Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio; home to Cedar Point amusement park. Cedar Point claims to have the most roller coasters of any amusement park in the world, and maybe they do.. I think it's around 17 at last count, and th coasters are huge, looping up from th forest and then diving back down. You can see them from about 10 miles away, on the Rt 2 bridge across Sandusky Bay, as you drive / ride there... One that scares the Hell out of me just looking at it is the TopFuel Dragster, which goes 0-120 MPH in 4 seconds (launched by a hydraulic ram), then goes straight up 420' before taking a U-turn and coming back down.. The lines are long, the ride is quick, and so far I've just watched that one. And no, the 0-120 in 4s is not a typo.
Cedar Point's Top Fuel Dragster, 420' roller coaster:
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:19 AM.
I also enjoy the water parks in that area. There's Great Bear Lodge, Soak City, and Monsoon Lagoon. Jean-Luc learned to swim this past summer, courtesy of the local YMCA and a program at Whirlpool Park in nearby Green Springs, so now he can play hard in the water. The really big slides that still scare him, he cheers me on with "Go, Dad! You do it first, tell me about it, and then I'll think about doing it tooÔÇª"
Picture from Monsoon Lagoon, taken with a waterproff disposable camera, of Jean-Luc styling down the water slide:
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:10 AM.
The lakefront towns have a combination of party atmosphere, and history. There are lighthouses and marinas and touristy places there. My favorite scene in that area is the lighthouse at Marblehead, built on a rock outcropping that has deep grooves worn in it from the last batch of glaciers that passed through here.
However, most of my weekends are spent in Dearborn, Michigan at my girlfriend's' house. So I end up with a mix of Ohio country manners, farm life, and conservative thinking; Detroit culture, and corporate life.
Currently with winter in full swing I'm trying to find fun where I can. Sunday nights in 2004 have been spent kayaking indoors, sometimes with my son Jean-Luc. We're working on his eskimo roll, poolside. That's how it starts, with the basics, rolling the boat inverted and then uright at the side of the pool.
Bearing in mind he just learned to swim this past summer, and take a look here:
He already knows how to ride a motorycycle. At age 9, he learned to ride a dirtbike over a year ago at the Honda site in Troy, Ohio; near the Honda factory:
Ohio has a lot of factories, but that's not all badÔÇª. They bring a nice standard of living to many parts of Ohio, and in Honda's case especially the factory is a very clean, very modern facility.
In Dearborn / Detroit / Ann Arbor area there are museums, concerts, theatre (as in plays), colleges, etc. . The Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, shows at Cobo Hall, etc.
We never run out of things to do, but we do sometimes run out of time to do them.
So I guess I don't have a single town I can really call home right now. My time is divided among several, and each one is home, whether I'm in Clyde or Sandusky or Luckey or Toledo or DearbornÔÇª
Last edited by Doug Grosjean; 01-28-2004 at 02:21 AM.
Wasn't the Sandusky watershed the site of fierce fighting in the 18 th century?Mohawks,Mohicans,Iroquois,French and British?American revolutionary War?
Nice pictorial essay doug.
Looks like you love Ohio the way I love Manitoba: "It isn't really flat;just slow down a bit and notice things!!"
Nice report and thanks for the tour!
<<< Wasn't the Sandusky watershed the site of fierce fighting in the 18 th century?Mohawks,Mohicans,Iroquois,French and British?American revolutionary War? >>>>
Maybe... there were battles all around here. One near Maumee, Battle of Fallen Timbers, with General Anthony Wayne. Historians had located it on the banks of the Maumee, but a couple years ago a new shopping center project un-earthed butttons and lead balls and other artifacts, and now it looks like the park commemorating the battle is in the wrong place.
In Maumee itself, about 2 blocks from my first design job, are the earthworks of a British fort, Fort Miamis. I often kayak around an island in that area, one lap being about 3 miles according to my GPS.
Lake Erie had the battle of Lake Erie, out near the Lake Erie islands.
And I think Fremont, on the Sandusky River, had an American fort after the Revolution.... the French-Indian wars, maybe? I think that was Fort Stephenson, but am going from memory and may be wrong on the years.
Tiffin, further upstream, had Fort Ball.
Johnson's Island, connected to the mainland now by a causeway, was a Civil War POW camp.
Along the Maumee River is the Miami & Erie Canal, which used to go to Fort Wayne, IN. A stretch of that has been re-habbed, and has a mule-drawn canal boat you can ride, through the locks at the grist mill at the former townsite of Providence.
Camp Perry, near Port Clinton (headed to PC for dinner tonight, company function) housed German POWs in WWII. My dad's dad used to rent POW's from the government for farm work in WWII, they came in lots of 10 and the government supplied a guard with each group of 10.
Probably way more than you wanted to know, but sometimes that's what you get for askign questions....
<<<< Nice pictorial essay doug.
<<<< Looks like you love Ohio the way I love Manitoba: "It isn't really flat;just slow down a bit and notice things!!"
It's here, it's where I live. I can complain about how all the good stuff is far way, and NW OHio is just flat and boring.... or I can shrug my shoulders, get out a map, read some history and geology books, and find good stuff here.
The choice is mine, and I choose to love the one I'm with. Does that kinda make sense?
Sometimes, because I write a lot, I get people stopping in from Alaska or Washington DC or Washington state, or somewhere else far away. They seem pleased after I show them around.
Maybe they're just being polite, but I don't think so.