So after a great night's sleep(Mmmm chocolate donut dreams!), we were raring to go on the first official day of the vacation. Seeing as the first day was spent driving, I don't consider that day part of the actual vacation.
This hotel room came with a free Continental breakfast deal, but we slept in and didn't want to rush ourselves to get to our toast and coffee downstairs.
So we took our time preparing for the day and then went across the street to the Bob Evans Restaurant for breakfast. And of course, I had brought with me a BOGO Free coupon for 2 breakfast entrees.
We got eggs, meat and a bread/grain item and I also got a big side bowl of fresh fruit. I had to at least try
to keep myself regular, you know.
We are sitting in Bob's and I realized that the guy Bob Evans was from Ohio and his chain of restaurants started out and is based in Ohio.
That would explain the enormous number of Bob's we had passed on the ride down here.
And it would go on to explain why there seemed to be a Bob Evans on the corner of every third intersection in town.
We had a big day planned for Monday! Well, conditions beyond our control dictated our plan really.
Hubs is a "let's go see historical things on vacation" kind of guy.
I'm a "let's go see weird stuff on vacation" kind of gal.
So we both made a long list of things to see/do(mostly see)and then we synced up the lists.
We prioritized our favorites, found out where/when they were happening so we could pair them up on the same trip/day.....that sort of thing.
After all that, and some arm wrestling, we come up with a trip itnerary.
When doing this final list prep, we hit a snag. It turns out that everything historical that Hubs wanted to do was somehow connected to the Ohio Historical Society or some such state funded/affiliated organization. Go onto the Ohio Tourism website and all those historical sites you see there, that you can visit?
Well NOTHING is open on Mondays!
Ohio rolls up the historical sidewalks on Monday.
Ok, except for maybe 1 or 2 that are very large and outdoors and there is no way they can fence them off and close them down for a day.
Which meant that out of all the historical things Hubs wanted to see in the whole state of Ohio, 1 thing was available to see on Monday.
And it was an hour's drive away in Newark.
Number one on his list is was what we lovingly refer to in the family as his mounds of dirt.
Hubs has been jonesing for years now to go see Indian Mounds. There are lots of them in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, but there is a site east of Columbus that is not as famous, called the Newark Great Circle Earthworks. Go HERE
if you want to read more about this site.
Seeing as they can't close down the outdoors(at least not til dark), we were traveling to Newark on Monday.
The main thing I wanted to do/see?
A graveyard in Columbus.
You should have known it would be something weird, right?lol
So we would be driving all over the place on Monday....an hour east to Newark, then lunch, then back to the west side of Columbus, then dinner and who knows what else?
I had some little other things we could do around Columbus, if time and traffic allowed.....like seeing a Giant Praying Mantis in a park(metal not a real one), or seeing topiary styled to replicate the George Seurat painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".
(seen from a different angle here)
It's been a running joke in the family that Hubs wants to drive hours and hours to go and stare at piles of dirt...Ok, piles of dirt covered in grass.
But he is a Native Peoples History fan so off we drove to look at grassy mounds.
We found the site quite easily and pulled into the parking lot. The temperature was already in the mid 80's. Because of my arthritic knees and the heat I figured I'd be able to walk around a bit at my own pace and Hubs could charge ahead and explore his mounds to his heart's content.
There was a long inclined pathway from the parking lot up to the Earthworks with some picnic tables under a shade tree about halfway up. I figured I'd try to make it the tables first and see how I was feeling.
After resting there about 10 minutes, I climbed the rest of the pathway to a small building/museum type thing. I didn't know if it was closed like every other historical site's building in Ohio that day, but if it was, there was a bench I could rest my knees at outside the entrance.
Gratefully, the building was open and air conditioned....yes!
Inside was a film about the aboriginal peoples who lived here in prehistoric times, whom they refer to as as the Hopewell Culture, and information on the Earthworks as well as a gift shop.
The film was self-directed and you could view what you wished at your own pace. Hubs came into the building while I was watching the film. I must have been watching it for a very long time because Hubs said he had already walked around the whole site and taken some photos.
He watched some of the film, talked with the historical society lady there and then went and bought a book in the gift shop.
I almost said something about the book, since we were on a tight budget and he hadn't told me he was going to spend money here(and the book was $25!). I figured if we did end up stranded on the road home somewhere, out of money and gas that I could have a good "told you so" out of him spending that money on a book. lol
Anyway.....here are some shots he took. You really can't tell much since the site is so large area wise(though it is only a small fraction of the original size of the intricate complex that was here). It's hard to appreciate unless you see it from above but a helicopter rental was not in the budget.
You have to imagine that all the trees weren't here back when it was built too.
Here are the picnic tables where I rested. The entrance to the large circle(formed by the mounds that run around it)is where the small grey sign stands in the middle of the shot. This is taken from the outside of the Great Circle....
This is another shot taken outside of the Great Circle.
Hubs took this shot from inside the Circle, looking back at the entrance standing about haflway inside the circle....
Here's a shot, again inside the Circle from the middle, looking at the other end of the Circle, where you can see three mounds inside the Circle that form what looks like a paw pattern....
Another shot from inside.....
They think that this was a ceremonial place, a sacred gathering place, as well as a burial place, for indigenous peoples from all across the continent. They have found large amounts of natural resources(rock and metal)that are not native to this area, that they feel were carried here from as far away as North Carolina, Michigan and from some Western states too. It was a geometric marvel in it's design and execution.
This plaque outside the little museum there shows you how the Earthworks originally was situated in relation to the river and how expansive the whole place was. There are only 3 pieces left intact as indicated by the burnished metal parts on the plaque. The circle to the far right is the Great Circle where we were standing.
Two things that struck me about the Earthworks.
* As early as 1820, a large chunk of these prehistoric works had already been lost to progress.
Ohio was still considered the frontier in 1820 by the Europeans who came to settle here. By 1820 the railroad had come through and plowed under/excavated these lands and as towns sprang up, no thought was given to preserving and building around them. Long time area residents in the 1840's put pen to paper to map out what they remembered the Earthworks had looked like before most of it was lost.
That is the only reason we know as much as we do now of it's design. It's so sad that one culture couldn't fathom the value of what had come before it and protect it.
* There is still a battle raging to this day, between the native peoples and the scientists/archeologists.
The native peoples still view this area as a sacred place(and a burial sight)and resent that the scientists continue to want to destroy and disturb the land here, in order to gain further knowledge by studying what secrets the land gives up. It is hallowed ground and should be protected and studied only if that doesn't involve destruction, as in digging things up.
A proponent of keeping the sight as it is commented that if we wanted to take a backhoe and dig up the Sistine Chapel for scientific study, would that culture not be offended?
I would have loved to have been there for sunrise or sunset, as the shadows grow long and the mist rises from the earth. That would have been amazing but it wasn't going to happen this trip unfortunately.
I just wish we could have planned the trip better, so that Hubs could have been here for the Summer Solstice as there were to be some Native American ceremonies held here. But by Thursday, we were already back home.
We'll have to put that on the list for the next time we are out this way.
After I hobbled down the hilly pathway back to the car(thank goodness it was DOWNHILL this time!lol), we got in the vehicle, cranked up the a/c and headed back toward Columbus.
It was after 1pm by this time.
I didn't think we'd been there so long, but we had.
Now it was lunch time.
So we drove back into Columbus and started looking for some place to eat. As we drove the hour back, I noticed that the a/c was NOT blowing cold air. When we stopped at a light, it actually blew warm air. It was now about 94 degrees outside according a bank sign we passed.
I like to eat small and local when we can, and avoid the fast food joints. We passed an ass ton of Mexican places....little hole in the wall places, not chains. I just couldn't bring myself to tell Hubs to go to one however. I find that "Mexican" food can be really good or really bad. Consistency is all over the map. So I tend not to want to eat a 'cultural' food some place that it's not known to be good.
Mexican in Texas, or the Southwest? Bring it on!
Mexican in Columbus Ohio? Not feeling it.
This all stems from stopping in West Virginia a few years ago at a Mexican Restaurant.
Never again in WV!
It was flavorless food, overpriced, a dirty restaurant, and the customer service was nonexistent.
So we tried to eat at a Ruby Tuesdays.
We drove up to it and it was closed.
We saw this a lot with eateries on this main artery we were on.....lots of closed up ones.
Just as we were about to head back to Bob Evans(at least it was safe!lol), we turned into a little fast food type building's lot and went in.
This place was called "Raising Cane's".
Some kind of regional fast food type place.
And they only serve chicken fingers.
Ok fries and a couple other sides too, but the main item is chicken fingers.
Evidently, the place is named after the guy's dog, Cane. I had never heard of them before.
You can get a chicken fingers platter or a chicken fingers sandwich. That's it.
I chose a platter and gave Hubs my fries and 1 of my tenders since it came with 6. These were quite large fingers. The batter was light and flaky, not greasy. Very well done.
I had an unsweetened brewed iced tea. That hit the spot.
The dipping sauce was a thousand island type thing with a lot of pepper in it, but not too much.
This chain seems to be quite successful given all the locations they have. I can see why.....they know how to do chicken right. And it seems popular with the young people. Nobody over 30 in the place but Hubs and I and the lady who took our order at the counter.
2 thumbs up and I'd go there again in a heartbeat.
And the prices were very reasonable.
It's going on about 3 pm when we left Raising Cane's. Now it was on to my activity for the day.
I spent a good deal of time back in May working on this.....
It's a notebook I started compiling all my Civil War soldier ancestors in.
As I got back into the 1860's in my census searches while working on my family geneology, I started finding lots of ancestors who had served in the war. Some family lines had scads some had none. These are all from my mother's side of the family, the Southern side, which is the side I've been concentrating on lately.
My father's side, the Northern side, won't prove as fruitful in this area, since many on that side were immigrants who arrived after the war was fought. And I don't have as much/many ancestors located to work with yet on that side.
So if I found a man who had served in the War of Northern Aggression, I'd jot him down into the book and add any information I could dig up for his page.
When I got to this guy......
I found a Find A Grave entry for him on Ancestry dotcom.
It had where he was buried, which sometimes is impossible to find out if the soldier didn't survive the war.
You got a lot of mass graves and burial far from home and the information is lost to family and the future.
But this ancestor had the good fortune(well, not really good!)to die as a POW.
At Camp Chase outside of Columbus Ohio.
Camp Chase began it's life as a training camp for recruits in the Norther army. As wounded soldiers began to flood from battle, it became an ersatz hospital, and then a prisoner of war camp for captured confederate soldiers.
I won't bore you more but if you find this interesting, you can read more on Camp Chase HERE
My 3rd Great Grand Uncle was detained as a wounded POW, died and is buried in Camp Chase Cemetery.
I thought I should make an effort to see his final resting place when we went to Columbus.
Hubs dropped me off at the gate and went to park the car on a side street, as the cemetery is on a very busy avenue in an urban neighborhood.
It was strange to go from that traffic and noise into the high stone wall enclosure of the burial site. The noise melted away.
There was this cannonball next to the entry gate.
As I looked around I saw 4 or so massive oak trees to keep me from melting in the high humidity and heat. It was devastatingly hot and muggy but there was a nice breeze under the canopy of the trees.
In my haste to get out of the car before another car plowed into our stopped vehicle, I forgot to grab the notebook, which held the row and section information. Having to check 2,260 grave markers was NOT going to cut it in this weather. They would need to come dig a hole for me too!
I just started walking down the rows and said under my breath, "Come of JJ, help me out here, where are you?!"
And I turned down a row, a row I felt like I was being led down, and started walking and checking names.
And about three quarters of the way down THAT row, I found him......
May I introduce Joseph James Hamilton. Born 1820.
He enlisted on 16 Apr 1864 in Marion VA as a Private, at the age of 43.
He served in the 6th Battalion, VA Reserve Corp, Company A.
At his age, he was part of the second line of defense, the Home Guard as it were.
He was involved in the Battle of Saltville I, which took place in Saltville, VA in early October of 1864.
Do you know who's ancestor was also in that battle, on the opposing Union side?
Go look HERE
While the Battle of Saltville I was a Confederate victory, Joseph Hamilton was still captured by Union forces on 2 Oct. 1864 and was taken to Camp Chase.
He avoided dying in the smallpox epidemic at the camp(since he didn't arrive until it was over), but he still succumbed to gangrene due to his injury not being treated properly and he died a slow lingering death 2 months later on 6 Dec 1864.
I spent a good amount of time there at his headstone, talking to him. Yes, I talk to dead people.....
I commiserated with him, about a good old Virginia boy having to spend eternity buried up in Yankee land(my Southern peeps will get this).....but at least he had a whole bunch of Southern gentlemen alongside him to keep him company.
I told him his service was appreciated and that even though his contemporaries where long gone, his "family" had not forgotten him. And I apologized for forgetting the little Confederate Flag I meant to bring to put next to his headstone.
Then Hubs showed up and I let him take this horrible photo of me with the headstone.
No make up, my hair is plastered to my head and I am dripping in sweat and about to fall on the ground.
And I took a shot of another part of the cemetery.....
The headstones stretch out as far as you can see.....2,260+ graves......
And I talked to Hubs about what a waste this war was and the high price paid in lives and the repercussions felt in the families of these men. Children growing up without fathers, wives with no husbands, men not allowed to grow up and live a normal life into old age.
And I cried.
This is the archway seen from the front that is on the right edge of the shot of me with Jos. Hamilton's headstone. Under the bronze statue of the Confederate Soldier it says, "Americans".
This place truly moved me.
Once back in the car, we got a drink so I wouldn't pass out. The a/c in the car was so bad now it was cooler outside the car, so we turned it off and rolled down the windows to get a cool 96 degree breeze.
It became obvious to us now that our a/c was deader than Kelsey's nuts.
And we had to find our way back to the hotel during rush hours in downtown Columbus.
I had planned on taking Hubs HERE
for dinner. But with the traffic(we'd have to return to the hotel first and shower and change and then go back into Columbus)and no a/c in the car, Hubs said no thanks to my plan.
So after freshening up back in the room I told him to go next door to here....
Hubs loves pasta and he loves chili.
What could be better than a place that serves chili on your pasta?lol
We've never had Skyline Chili before so another first for us both.
Hubs got a 3-way....so here is where I make the obligatory joke that what man doesn't want a 3-way.....*snort*
And I opted for my chili and cheese on a baked potato.
I also got a Greek salad that was very good.
In hindsight, I should have stuck to just the salad. I ate about half of my potato and I was done.
After a day of walking and sweating, I just wanted fluids really.
We've heard people rave about Skyline Chili.
Neither of us particularly liked it however.
I thought it was spicy.
Hubs just though it was neither pasta sauce OR chili.
Of course that didn't keep him from eating every single morsel!
Thinking about it later, I think this chili stuff was closer to the consistency of hot dog chili. I know the inventor was Greek and you can taste the Greek spices in it. I just think it's maybe an acquired taste. It tries to be many things therefore it is not successful at being anything.
Just my humble opinion here....
So we only got 2 things done on Monday...outside of eating that is. Between the traffic and how large an area Columbus takes up, we just couldn't fit another sightseeing spot in.
Between the heat and the food, we were ready for some downtime in the hotel room. A little tv and bed and cranking the a/c down to 60...woohoo!!!
And I drifted off to lullaby land burrowed down deep inside a heavy winter blanket on the bed with icicles forming on the tip of my nose.....