Union County, Ohio – July 2019 – Covered Bridge Tour + 1

Union County, Ohio has a number of covered bridges. Unlike most counties, not all of them are vintage, with 3 of them being built in the last 20 years. Still they have character, so it was worth riding around the countryside for a couple of hours checking them out.

The one non covered bridge was, in my opinion, the best. The Streng Road Bridge was built in 1914 with steel trusses. It replaced a covered bridge that was destroyed in the 1913 flood.

All of the original ornamentation and decorative elements are still in place. So highly thought of it is the only non covered bridge to be listed as an Ohio Historic Bridge (which is amazing as there are literally hundreds of cool old bridges throughout the state).

Marysville, Ohio – July 2019 – Music Machines

For more than 60 years Dave Ramey has been one of the best in the country in restoring old music machines. These mechanical devices date from the early 1900s, and feature a number of instruments including pianos, banjos, drums and others.

Dave’s business has been located in Marysville, Ohio for more than 10 years. In an effort to encourage people to check out downtown Marysville, they have placed the machines in a number of the small shops. All you have to do is show up, use one of the free nickels, and get a song from a cool machine.

Marysville, Ohio – September 2018 – Bluesgrass on a Covered Bridge

What do you do with a covered bridge that is no longer viable for traffic – close it and put it in a park. Once a year they hold a bluegrass festival on the bridge.

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The shuttle was rustic (we walked).

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Although more stylish rides were available.

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The covered bridge was decked out with lighting, including the only chandelier I have ever seen on a bridge.

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The first band we saw was the Rock Island Plow Company.

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The dobro player was very good.

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With a couple of exceptions, they played traditional bluegrass.

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There was a second ‘stage’ where individuals played.

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The last band we watched was the Tyler Williams Band.

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‘Emily’ the bass player had a cool, thin electric bass.

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Tyler, who has been blind from birth, was a great guitarist.

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He had a unique finger picking style to his play.

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Emily also provided excellent vocals to the band.

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It was a unique setting for some traditional music, and worth the couple of hours we stayed.

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Marysville, OH – August 2018 – What Goes Up Comes Back Down

Each year Marysville, Ohio hosts a balloon festival. Since it is nearby we usually drive up to check it out, but most times the weather is uncooperative and they don’t fly. On this Saturday evening however it was sunny with light winds so we knew they would get in the air.

We found our spot on some train tracks with a number of other people.


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About 6:30 they started to inflate them as a helicopter kept watch.

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From our vantage point they appear to be very close to each other as they inflated.

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Eventually they took off, one immediately after the last one.

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And into the air!

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Unfortunately we were facing into the sun for the takeoff, but it make for some interesting lighting – even the bird had a good silhouette.

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Once most were airborne we took off to follow them.

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It was easy to know where to go – follow the chase vehicles.

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Most of the balloons seemed to struggle to gain altitude and came down after a short distance. Apparently there was too little wind.

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With all the huge open fields they unfortunately all starting landing in yards with wires and trees – but all the pilots managed to set them down without incident.

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The people who lived nearby came out to assist.

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The crews arrived to help.

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This house has a 2 car garage and 2 balloon side yard.

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Deflating was quick.

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It did cause a mini traffic jam on the small road (we helped cause the traffic jam by parking along side the road).

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The Remax (a real estate company) balloon landed in a narrow patch of grass between numerous trees.

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Uncle Sam was the last one standing.

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It did leave the neighbors amused with the unexpected guests.

While the flights were short hot air balloons always make a good subject for photography, and we enjoyed the evening.

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Marysville, OH – August 2015 – Hot Air Balloon Festival

In doing my research for things to do for the summer the Marysville All Ohio Balloon Festival was high on the list. Scheduled for Friday evening and all day Saturday, it conflicted with another event I really wanted to see on Saturday, so I made sure I got out of work a little early and we hurried up to Marysville for the Friday even events.

Arriving at the airport as the crowd started to collect, we were directed into a field along the runway to park. Entrance to the festival was $10 each, not outrageous but more than most.

Immediately I was disappointed that not only couldn’t you get close to the balloons (still sitting deflated), but we were herded into a pen on a tarmac, with a small grassy area. Then it got even worse as a really bad band started playing, with their amps apparently going to 12 because they were loud.

Finally, it was time for the balloons to be inflated, and as they were the winds picked up and they started to be blown around, so they were deflated.

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Eventually though the winds subsided enough for them to get the balloons into the air, but not until we had given up and were ready to leave. This actually worked in our favor since you couldn’t see well from the viewing area, but could from the parking lot.

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Once a number of them were in the area we left and did a balloon chase around Union County. This actually turned out to be a lot of fun, and we were able to get some great photos of the balloons as they flew over the fields and barns, eventually landing close enough where we could get action shots of them hitting the ground.

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To sum it up the All Ohio Balloon Festival as a festival was a bust, but the balloons were great.

Marysville to Marion – April 2015 – Honda’s and Popcorn

This weekend’s adventures began at the Honda Heritage Center, across from the Marysville Honda Auto Factory.

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In 1978 Honda began to produce motorcycles at a factory in Marysville, with an auto plant following in 1982. Because of this Ohio connection the company chose Marysville to built the company’s new Heritage Center, which will showcase its advances in automobiles, powersports, power equipment, aviation and robotics over the past 55 years.

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The displays included a number of automobiles, motorcycles, engines and even a jet airplane. While the museum details the brand’s 55-year history in North America, its primary focus will be on Honda’s history in Ohio.

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The day we visited it was very quiet as they hadn’t yet advertised their opening and we had the place to ourselves.

From Marysville we made the 30 mile trip to Marion, the adult home of Warren Harding. Marion in general is a run down town, and the Harding Home is in a nondescript east side neighborhood.

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The Harding Home, the residence of Warren G. and Florence Harding from 1891 to 1921, has been open continuously as a museum since 1926. The museum opened just three years after President Harding died from a heart attack in 1923. Mrs. Harding died just 15 months later from kidney disease, which had plagued her for many years. In her will, she made arrangements for the home and the bulk of the contents to go into the hands of the Harding Memorial Association.

The home was built for Harding and his then fiancé in 1891. When the principal contenders for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination deadlocked, party leaders picked Harding as the compromise candidate. During the campaign Harding spoke to thousands of people from the wide Colonial Revival front porch of his home. He was famous as an orator, with a powerful, expressive voice. So many people came to hear him that the family had to replace the front lawn with gravel.

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The small white clapboard building behind the house served as press headquarters during the 1920 campaign. A portable tin voting booth used during the 1920 election is on the property as well.

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Across town is the Harding Tomb. The structure was completed in 1927. It is designed in the style of a circular Greek temple with marble columns, built of Georgia white marble and are 28 feet high and 5 feet in diameter at the base. The structure is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet in height.

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At their deaths, the bodies of the Hardings were entombed in Marion Cemetery.  Once the Harding Memorial was completed in 1927, the bodies were re interred in the Memorial’s sarcophagus and it was sealed. Because Harding’s reputation was damaged by personal controversies and presidential scandals, the Harding Memorial was not officially dedicated until 1931 by President Herbert Hoover.

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The Marion Union Station is still standing, and it serves as a clubhouse for the Marion Railfans. This station sits at a unique rail crossing where the tracks cross each other at 90 degree angles.

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The Old U.S. Post Office in Marion was built in 1910, it is currently used as the Heritage Hall museum by the Marion County Historical Society. Heritage Hall is also home of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, the “only museum in the world dedicated to popcorn and its associated memorabilia.

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Some of the notable items in the collections are: a large collection of political badges used during the 1920 Presidential campaign; an 1879 hand-pulled pumper used by the Marion Fire Department; memorabilia related to the 1938 Miss America reign of Marilyn Meseke, as well as Prince Imperial Norman horse born in France in 1865.

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Under a colorful circus tent inside Heritage Hall is the largest, most impressive collection of popcorn wagons and peanut roasters in the United States. The perfect setting for the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. These priceless wagons date back as far as the turn of the century and have been restored to their original condition.

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Actor Paul Newman’s antique popcorn wagon, which sat in New York City’s Central Park, is also on display at the museum. All of the classic antique poppers are here – Cretors, Dunbar, Kingery, Holcomb & Hoke, Cracker Jack, Long-Eakin, Excel and more. Even a few homemade one-of-a-kind antiques. Wyandot museum craftsmen have done the restorations so well you will think they were built yesterday. Two are 100 years old.

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This museum center was nicely done, the docents were enthusiastic, and best yet, they gave us fresh popcorn at the end of our visit.

The Marion County Fairgrounds has a building that houses the Huber Manufacturing Museum. Edward Huber came to Marion to build his revolving hay rake. Besides the hay rake, you will see almost every model of early gas farm tractor and, a 1914 Steam Traction Engine, a corn shredder, several separator/threshers, and other farm machines. Some of the construction equipment include an original 5D grader and a Model 600 Huber Maintainer, a 3-wheel road roller, two two-wheeled transportable road rollers and a 1920 Model 21 Marion Steam Shovel.

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The building was open to wander, with a few of the machines open to climb on. The volunteers had first had knowledge of the equipment and gave great insight into the company, the equipment and their functions.

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