Driving to Ohio

I had never had a chance to go to southern Ohio to see Greg's parent's place. They own 45 acres of beautiful hillside and forest in Beaver (southern), Ohio. So we planned to take the Memorial Day weekend to fly the Cessna down to visit his folks. Greg's brother, Mitch, also flew in commercial from the SW for this little visit.

But Mother Nature had other ideas about Memorial Day weekend, 2001. A band of thunderstorms kept us grounded. So after several hours delay Saturday morning, we decided to just toss some stuff in the car and get on with it. Our visit was shorter than expected, since we had to drive about 10 hrs each way versus 3.5+ hrs flying time. But it was a wonderful visit...ONCE we got out of the storms over Illinois/Indiana!


We started out when the weather wasn't TOO bad yet...just a little rain. Maybe the drive wouldn't be so bad?

The sky quickly turned black and it was only 2:00 in the afternoon!

This was pretty much our view for the next 6 hours...as we moved in and out of thunderstorms, blinding rain, thunder and lightning.

Note the lightning hitting the gound.
Note the lightning across the sky.
Note the...hell! Just RUN AWAY!
Yeah...you could say it was a little hard to see the road!

What's that?

Is that actually BLUE SKY!?!?!?!?!

Could it actually be clearing...FINALLY?


We're nearing Dayton, Ohio. And FINALLY there seems to be blue sky ahead.

But check out the black overhang. That's NOT something in the lens...THAT'S the clouds above us!


It was like coming out from under a huge spaceship that had settled over our heads for the last 6 hours.
Check it out! Does that look wild or what?
Slowly we emerge out from under the band of storms.
But not before Mother Nature shows off her stuff...a bit more.
And she included all her tricks!

Possibly, even a tornado!

It's very hard to see in this film, but there is a dark vertical band in the middle of those clouds through the back windows.

It looks more like a reflection in this pic...but that's NOT what it looked like when you looked OUT the windows!

Go faster...must go faster!
Wicked...yet beautiful.
Almost out of it.
Finally...it's daylight!
After we go through Dayton...it's a beautiful day and a pleasant 1.5hr drive to Beaver, Ohio...where Greg's parents live and where he grew up.
We even get to take the top down...although I think it might have been easier to see in the rain!<g>
We're here!
Greg and his dad.
Greg's brother, Mitch, and their mom.
Mom & Mitch.
Dad & Greg.
Greg's not the ONLY smartalec in the family!<g>
Hi there...how ya doin!
Are YOU lunch?
  After we settle in...it's time to view the land. Dad pulls out the *horse* (ATV), I prop the camera on Greg's shoulder...and away we go.
  "Don't forget to lean forward up those hills!"
  Blair Witch...here we come!
  Humm...now WHICH way did he say to turn????
  Oh great! Greg told me about the bugs...but I didn't realize we'd be taking one for a ride on the lens of the cameras!
  Nice backyard, eh?
  Turned out to be a beautiful weekend.
  So pretty!
  Hummm...they have Windows 95 kinda days here, too.
  All kinds of nice things to see in the woods. ;-)
  Ewwwwww! Greg points out a tube spider web.
  Off in search of adventure...
  Humm...nice place to pitch a tent, eh?
  Big rocks!
  Big bugs!
  Weird rocks!
  "Hey lardass...ya wanna get off my back!"
  Enjoying our walk...
  ...and finding critters along the way.
  Arrgghhh...he's coming AFTER me!
  I didn't realize this was a two-lane!
  There's a tree in our path...so Greg fishes out gloves from one of the many survival kits dad has on the *horse.*
  Isn't it great to have a man around to do the dirty work.
  I'll just check out the scenery.
  "Little to the left, please dear...ok...that's right. No wait...more to your right, please. Yeah...that's just right."


The tree's root was rotted and it literally exploded all over Greg!

"I'm NOT laughing, honey...really!" ;-)


Phooey! Tree boogers!

  Off to see the creek bed.
  Sadly...the creek is pretty much dried up. Greg remembers when it a pretty little water runway.
  Greg backs up our horse to head back.

These incredibly beautiful pens were MADE by Greg's dad! He started it as a hobby and gifts for friends and family.

Now he's creating a collection for himself with pens made out of every conceivable wood he can get his hands on. Both local and exotic woods.

  Greg's dad explains how he works the wood to get the best grain...and how a simple wrong cut can make the difference between an ordinary looking pen...and an extraordinary one.
  These shots don't do the pens...or dad's talents...justice. But you get the idea.
  He's even made pen/pencil sets...creating mechanical pencils.

Each one is labelled with the type of wood he used...from all over the world and especially his own land.

He EVEN has a PINEAPPLE wood pen!

Yup...the top is Pine and the bottom is Apple!<his joke>

  Tons of wildlife are regular visitors.
  Fine...be that way!
  Cute little finch.
  View out their livingroom window.

Time for one last tour of Greg's ol' Beaver boy stomping grounds!<g>

Break out the barf bags...your stomach is about to flip.

  This car LOVES the curves...
  ...and there's enough of them in this foothill area.
  Cool! A PERFECT tree!
OK...so it was rather large and I had to *splice* it together and now it's not QUITE so perfect looking...but it IS in reality!

Well...it's been a wonderful couple of days...but we'd better get moving...we have a long drive ahead.

Break out the camera for some parting shots.


"Did someone say parting shots?"


  Ok you little brats...be good boys!<g>
  Greg does his Smiley Burnette (their grampa) impression.
  One last vista to say "see ya 'round" to Ohio.

And growing up with a view like this...
I can easily see how Chicago can sometimes make Greg nuts!