July 23, 2017, Jeffersonville, IN-
I stayed, last night, at an off-the-beaten-path inn, made all the more interesting by there having been an intense storm, which had caused a power outage. Spanish Manor Inn lies on the eastern outskirts of a small Bluegrass Country town: Olive Hill, itself a far exurb of Lexington.
The motel is run by a pastor’s wife. The pastor himself uses one of the buildings as a wedding chapel. They graciously received me in their home-office, and explained I was fortunate to get the last available room. Given the intensity of the storm, I scarcely blame them for putting up a no vacancy sign, as soon as I headed back down the hill to the rooms. There was no Internet, of course, but I surely got a restful sleep, despite the booming and crashing outside.
I texted my nephew, who lives in the Louisville area, just across the Ohio River from the city. It has been a game of schedule tag, up to now, for me to meet his wife and children. Today, though, they had a few hours, so off I went towards Slugger Town, going through a bit more rain on the way. I ditched the rain, around Shelbyville, stopping only to pick up some gift items for the young family.
I had no trouble finding their suburban home, and after an impromptu tour of the house, the five of us went to a pleasant Mexican restaurant- my second confirmation this month, that there are people in Indiana who do such cuisine right. This takes care of the contention of several people, that there is no proper salsa in the Midwest. We had it, aplenty. Once back in the house, I joined my nephew, niece-in-law and grand niece, in the family room, to watch Aladdin, for the first time in twenty-five years, while grand-nephew took his nap. Once it was time for life’s errands to resume, I bid thank you and farewell to the wakeful members of our family’s Indiana branch.
The Ohio knows when to be gracious to a visitor. This often overlooked sibling to the Father of Waters has been on my radar for a visit, for many years, and there was no time like this afternoon, at the Falls of the Ohio, a sometimes tempestuous section of river, shared by Louisville, on the south bank and Jeffersonville, on the north. The Indiana side has an Interpretive Center, closed on Sunday. The river itself, however, offers a wealth of walking trails and rocks on which to sit and meditate, or, as several were, fish.
The Ohio is not always accommodating, to put it mildly, and there is much deposited in the woodlands, on either bank, from Devonian and Silurian fossils, in the soil, to broken branches from the roiling storms of summer and winter, alike.
Here are some scenes of the cataracts, which both draw people to the salubrious banks and make life difficult for those plying a trade, along the Ohio.
I chose this spot to sit and reflect on how nice the drive through Kentucky and southern Indiana had been.
Of course, the River answered, “Thank you”.
This is a surreal view of Louisville, hidden by a railroad bridge. There is a sign, on I-65, that warns of a toll booth, but I saw no toll booth on either northbound or southbound, and there were no cameras, either. Methinks the toll has been discontinued.
Lastly, before I headed south again, en route to Paducah, a wink to Lewis and Clark was in order. This area was integral to the planning phase of their monumental exploration, and there was a family tie: George Rogers Clark, who secured the then-Northwest Territory for our fledgling nation, was William Clark’s brother. Clarksvillle, Jeffersonville, New Albany, Corydon and Vincennes are all filled with historic sites, associated with the Clark family and the pioneers of the Ohio Valley.
My spirit guides were calling me westward, to Paducah, for a further appreciation of the Ohio River, just a few miles shy of its meeting with the mighty Mississippi, at Cairo, IL. So, on went the Hyundai and I.