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gadfly homepage on the road home notes on places last contact: 5/30/2010 first contact: 3/28/2004

OH Trip Stats (6/10):


Counties visited: 23

Best county: Ottawa Co.

Town visited most: Cincinnati

Places slept in: Amherst, Cincinatti, Perrysburg

Most impressive town: Cincinatti

Least impressive town: Montpelier

Biggest town: Cleveland

Most scenic area: Ashtabula County

Most scenic spot: Scioto valley

Best Food: Skyline Chili in downtown Cincinatti


Road Trips: Niagara-Toronto Loop (3/2004); Appalachia Trip (2/2005);  New England (7/07); Between the Lakes (5/10)


Neighboring States: IN, MI, PA, WV, KY


Major passes: In March, 2004, I passed through the entire north shore of Ohio (along the I-80 corridor), stopping to see various sites, on my way to Niagara Falls. I did not return the way I came.


Future Plans: I think a weekend in Cleveland might be very nice. They had a few great museums. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems a most scenic destination. I have done some research on it for future trips. I want to see the Reds play the Cubs at the Great American Ballpark in Cincy and perhaps visit the historic sites along the Maumee River once they are developed.


Heroes: Ohio was home to a whole bunch of former presidents. Most notable as a hero, especially along the Maumee, is William Henry Harrison, the Indian fighter who defeated Tecumseh at Fallen Timbers and who served one month in the White House. Ohio was also home to James Garfield and Rutherford Hayes, two other men with extremely short presidential terms.

First Contact: I first stepped foot in Ohio in late March of 2004 while driving down I-80 at Columbia. Jessica and I were on our way to Cleveland for a driving break during a road trip whose goal was Niagara Falls and Toronto. The weather was changing constantly as we made our way across the incredible flatness and monotony that is northwest Ohio. I was never so bored driving and could not resist getting out of the car to stretch my legs at the Rutherford Hayes home in Fremont. Soon a thick fog settled in and I saw Lake Erie for the first time near the town of Ruggles Beach. We rested that night in the town of Amherst, more or less tired of driving through fog and ready for rest.

Williams Co. (2004)

Holiday City. This town is actually just a Holiday Inn. Montpelier. Very quiet place with a whole bunch of tattooed residents and zero public playgrounds. The people must prefer ink to swing sets.

Fulton Co. (2004)

Passed through quickly along Shocknessy Turnpike a couple times. Driving hell.

Lucas Co. (2004)

Toledo. A very impressive art museum for such a very average small Midwestern city. Who would've expected a Rembrandt in Toledo? Like Cleveland, I saw a large homeless population here around the art museum.

Wood Co. (2004)

Perrysburg A depressing sprawl of shopping centers, parking lots, and cheap motels. I was there for the cheap motels. Strange mixture of Canadian and Michigan fast food places.

Ottawa Co. (2004)

A nice drive through the countryside here in the summer along Lake Erie. Port Clinton. Visited during the Walleye Festival and enjoyed the carnival and fried perch sandwiches. The fish sandwiches matched the smells of the city. Seemed like a nice little city. Outside the city, we visited African Wildlife Safari drive through zoo and had my van covered with buffalo spit, much to the delight of the toddler in the backseat. Catawba Island. Lakeshore town with ferries to and views of Put-in-bay. The downtown is dominated by the ferry parking lots, but I did enjoy the lakeshore drive on Sand Road. Crane Creek SP. A beach with a view of Michigan and islands across the lake. Ottawa NWR. A handsome collection of lakeside swamps and wetlands that, when I visited in June, were inhabited by cranes. A very pleasant place to birdwatch for sure.

Sandusky Co. (2004)

Fremont. This larger town was home to President Hayes. His estate was quite large and extra-ordinary for the neighborhood of modest homes where it is located. It is a decent walk for a weary traveler. The carefully manicured lawn is set amongst trees, each named for a supporter of Hayes' library. He is buried here.

Erie Co. (2004)

Sandusky. Huron. Ruggles Beach. A small town in whose pleasant city park I first saw Lk Erie on a foggy day. Vermilion.

Lorain Co. (2004)

Lorain. Amherst. Stayed here overnight while on way east. It is one of those Interstate towns. I could sense a hint of suburb. Went to a local bar to eat, but couldn't find a place to settle in and instead ate some pizza and waited for the morning. I got to say that I definitely did not fit in here.

Cuyahoga Co. (2004)

Cleveland. This large city has a dense downtown area and an interesting warehouse district. I did note that homeless people slept anywhere and everywhere in a way I had never seen before. Visited the city museum/park complex on the east side and enjoyed an excellent art museum. Saw the magnificent grave of President Garfield and John D. Rockefeller. The city's layout reminded me of St. Louis. There seemed to be a lot to do here and seemed to be a city that is not afraid of work.

Lake Co. (2004)

Mentor. North Perry. A nice stretch of forested road lies near here.

Ashtabula Co. (2004)

There are some nice views along the shoulders of US-20. Geneva. Ashtabula.

Harrison Co. (2005)

This part of Ohio unfairly has a bad rep. Harrison. Where I first heard a Southern Ohio accent. Cincinatti. This Southern city was much nicer and about the best thing in Ohio that I have ever found. The riverfront along the Ohio River had some nice views and it is possible to cross the river via the Purple People Bridge to relax at the entertainment district in Newport. Cincy was a very relaxed and friendly town with a nice zoo, a beautiful baseball stadium, clean parks, and a million uses for chili. Visited Taft House in the inner-city Mount Auburn neighborhood.

Summit Co. (2006)

Cuyahoga Valley NP. Passed through the valleys and thick, tangled forests. The park is sprinkled with historic buildings and mills and such. It is probably a great spot for biking due to its hills and shade. Peninsula.

Portage Co. (2006)

Passed through a few times along the Ohio Turnpike.

Trumball Co. (2006)


Mahoning Co. (2006)

Youngstown. Austintown.

Scioto Co. (2007)

This is a stupendous site. A valley that widens as you ride doen the road. The valley is lined by two ridges and makes quite an impression. Portsmouth. Lucasville.

Pike Co. (2007)

Piketon. Waverly City.

Scioto Co. (2007)

Portsmouth. Lucasville.

Ross Co. (2007)


Fayette Co. (2007)

Washington Courthouse.

Greene Co. (2007)

Xenia. Beavercreek.

Montgomery Co. (2007)


Preble Co. (2007)

Passed through a few times along I-70 on the way home from the East Coast.

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A corner of Cleveland, a compact city. (2004)

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The day I first saw Lake Erie in Ruggles Beach was foggy. Perfect weather for grounded geese. (2004)

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I stop for a shot in front of the Hayes estate in Fremont. (2004)

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The Cincinnati skyline as viewed from Newport levee. (2006)