Thursday, April 24, 2014
Easter Sunday was absolutely beautiful this year and the lush green countryside kept calling to me. And since it was Sunday, my favorite day to ride, I took off on the Buddy with no particular destination in mind.
On Olive Branch Road I passed this low-lying log cabin situated on a little fishing lake. I stopped to admire the view and watch some ducks paddle over the pond's glassy surface:
About 25 miles east of my neck of the woods in Clermont County is the East Fork Lake State Park. I decided to head out that way and do a little exploring.
The East Fork Lake is an "artificial" lake, which means years ago the Army Corps of Engineers basically flooded the valley and farmland and created this huge lake. Kind of like they did in "Deliverance" when they flooded the land to make that huge lake. Kind of fascinating, kind of creepy.
No banjos today, thankfully!
Anyway, the park has several access points and I entered it from the area where the camping sites are, which is off of Old SR 32.
Sadly all these camping sites are occupied by concrete parking pads for RVs! No tent camping so there went any idea of riding out here and camping solo or with a group on scoots! Boo hoo...
They do have primitive backpacking camping on the other side of the park, but I am a bit timid for that. Particularly since there have been multiple Big Foot sightings around the park! No, I am not kidding!
So I entered the park from Old SR 32 between Williamsburg and Batavia and parked my scoot at the camp store, hoping to get some maps and learn more about the park:
Here at the camp store I bought a tee shirt with a heron on it and a Payday bar and some lemonade to wet my whistle. The lady in the shop was very nice and offered me lots of information about the area.
I honestly had not been here in a few years and so got a good overview of what all is at the lake: boating, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking trails, a paved bike trail, horseback riding, and miniature golf to name a few of the many things to do at the lake. Also bird watching and Squatching should be added to the glossy brochure IMO!
I left the camp store and headed out into the camp site area to see what it was like. There were many sites and many of them were "pet friendly". The settings were quiet and nicely nestled back among the the trees and grassy slopes.
I counted very few campers and all of course in RVs. Lots of crepe myrtles and red buds and forsythia lent color to the sunny green backdrop of the woods.
Down at the boat launch I looked out over the expanse of the lake where a few people had set up to fish from the outlying pier platform:
The boat launch was very busy with lots of boats being hauled out of and put into the water. They were lined up all along the parking lot waiting their turn:
Looking out over the water there was this island of trees which appeared pretty in the otherwise utilitarian setting of the boat launch frenzy:
Looking at this reminded me that this lake's creation actually flooded out and destroyed many farms and a few villages. Old timers will tell the stories though I am not sure there is really any definitive history detailing the scope of the lost villages and farmlands.
There is evidently some fine backpacking in the park and this website offers some additional facts about the East Fork lake and trails:
From this site:
"Head about 30 miles due south from Caesar Creek Lake and you'll hit the shores of William H. Harsha Lake (a.k.a East Fork Lake). This 2160-acre man-made lake created for flood control in 1978 is the centerpiece of East Fork State Park-one of Ohio's largest.
Man's history in this area dates back to 3,000 years ago when the mound building Hopewell and Adena Indians occupied the area. Some of their handiwork stills remains in the southern section of the park. Fast forward to the late 1860s, when gold was mined at two locations in the park's vicinity. This minor "rush" resulted in the formation of the Batavia Gold Mining Company, whose existence didn't last a year.
Like Caesar Creek, East Fork is located in the glaciated Till Plains, so expect similar topography. Despite advancing development from the west, low rolling wooded hill, abandoned farmlands and swampy lowlands create the park's landscape and lay protected inside the park's boundaries.
East Fork Wildlife area occupies approximately 2000 acres at the eastern one-third of the lake. The areas woodlands contain beech, sugar maple, red and white oak, shagbark hickory and wild black cherry trees. The wetter lowland forests are composed of silver maple, American elm, black gum and sycamore. The meadows and remnant prairies contain big blue stem grass, purple cone flower and more."
More about the park's history and natural beauty can be found here:
Also, if you're curious:
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous! Spring was starting to burst out all over and I spent most of Saturday out on my Yamaha C3 scooter exploring the county and the nearby village of Batavia.
Then on Sunday we all took a car ride on Route 52 along the Ohio River, just exploring randomly and occasionally stopping to watch the barges go by.
In all this meandering I was in search of a Dogwood tree to photograph. I never found one!
The green was barely showing on most bushes and trees, though the sun was warm and the air was laden with that sweet spring freshness.
On Saturday I scooted over to the county seat, Batavia, a pretty little village nestled along the east fork of the Little Miami River.
There's a peaceful little cemetery there where I often stop to enjoy the woods and the quiet:
I had stopped and bought some snacks, so a little rest became a little feast!
The C3 opens up to make a great buffet table!
Pausing along a back road out of town the daffodils provided a beautiful background:
The C3 rolled along the back roads quietly and tackled hills like a champ! What an awesome little 49cc!
On Sunday we headed out in the car. Our first stop was the village of New Richmond, a river town rich in history and local color. I know I will return there on the scooter just to explore it in more detail:
A little riverside park provided a place for the girls to sniff about and explore:
Our youngest furry daughter:
Just enjoying the serenity...
Looking over to the Kentucky side, I spied this "castle" on the hill:
Zooming in, it really does look like a castle! Well, sort of. Eat your heart out, Sonya! ;=)
We drove easterly on the river road and made a few more stops along the way. These were our constant travel companions out on the river. This one was near Moscow, Ohio:
Near Utopia, Ohio, I snapped this purple carpet of heather rolling across the field:
We ended our afternoon with chicken dinners in the park beside the river in Aberdeen, Ohio. Across the way is Maysville, Kentucky, another historic little river town:
Hope you enjoyed hanging out with us on our "spring fling"!
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Last Sunday I took a little ride out to the Stonelick Covered Bridge in Clermont County Ohio on the Buddy Psycho. This is a nice 20 mile loop ride from my home on back roads.
The bridge site is located off Stonelick-Williams Corner Road near Owensville. On February 11 of this year the bridge collapsed while under renovation. Luckily no one was hurt, but the bridge was a total loss. There are, however, plans for future restoration at some point.
Here is the bridge as I saw it last year when I discovered it on a car ride:
This was the last surviving covered bridge in Clermont County, built in 1878. Here is a brief history of the bridge from Wikepedia:
"The Stonelick Covered Bridge is located on Stonelick-Williams Corner Road in Clermont County, Ohio, crossing the Stonelick Creek. The one-lane covered bridge was built in 1878. It is 140 feet long and supported using a 12-panel Howe truss. The property was added to the National Register on September 10, 1974, being the last surviving covered bridge in Clermont County.
In 1983 a garbage truck broke through the floor. It also suffered some fire damage in 1991. A creek bank revetment project was undertaken in 1999 to prevent further erosion from undermining the bridge.
The bridge was permanently closed to all traffic in May 2010 after its floor and supporting structure was severely damaged by an overweight truck. Repair and rehabilitation, including improvements to raise the weight limit from 3 to 12 tons, was initially estimated to cost $1.2 million USD.
After funds and approval for the rehabilitation project were obtained, a request for bids was made in April 2013, with an updated engineer's estimate of work at $720,000. Construction work began in October 2013. A temporary steel falsework was constructed under the bridge to give additional structural support during the work and to provide work platforms, followed by the removal of all the siding. Additional work to be performed included the replacement of all siding and the roof, additional structural support, repointing and grouting of stonework, and addition of lighting and security systems.
On February 11, 2014 the upper shell of the bridge unexpectedly collapsed, falling off the deck and into the river bed, as repair work was being performed. All workers escaped without serious injury. After assessing the collapse, the County and the contractor have determined to continue the process of restoring the bridge. They now plan to completely disassemble the bridge, inspect each component to determine whether it needs to be replaced, and continue the restoration as originally planned, using as many original components as possible."
Last Sunday I took the 10 mile ride over to view the bridge, or what was left of it. This is the south entrance to the construction area:
This is the view from the side, looking northeast. As you can see all that remains are two steel rails spanning the river:
I turned around on this road and scooted less than a tenth of a mile over to the historic St. Philomena Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic church in Clermont County, built in 1839:
As I face the church, to my backside is the Stonelick Creek. This grated platform spanned the bridge and was closed to pedestrian traffic, but I couldn't resist a closer look:
A man had been standing in the middle of it earlier when I arrived, shooting photos of the churning Stonelick Creek. I passed on that photo op as I don't do heights!
Here is a view of the newer span that I came over to get to the covered bridge and church:
I left the area and headed back home. Along the way I took one of my favorite back roads and passed by this "free range" chicken farm. Or at least a farm with lots of chickens running loose and a few cow friends hanging out too:
I stopped to chat with her and she was a bit curious about my black scooter. Perhaps a relative?
Naw, probably not!
The Buddy performed flawlessly. It was comfortable to ride and easy to manage. I've added a basket to the back, zipped tied right on to the stock seat rail. This is temporary until I get a real rear rack.
I am concerned about visibility on this black scoot, awesome as it looks. I may add a hi viz yellow flag this weekend.