Hauling steel in a dump bucket

Hauling steel in a dump bucket

I’m riding the truck with Matt this morning and we’re hauling scrap metal to Butler Indiana. He operates a MACK 18 wheel “dump bucket” for B & K Trucking of Delphos, and he’s taking me on his regular route.  We are crossing the farmlands of Ohio, and I can see huge mega-farms, smaller local farms and even smaller Amish farms with their paddocks of draft horses as we head toward Indiana.

Our destination is a large steel processing plant where flat roll sheet products are manufactured. It’s an incredibly large and complex operation and our delivery and our 18-wheeler is just a tiny little speck in a bigger and very busy picture. Not only do we deliver 58 bundles of sheet metal, we also pick up 24 tons of slag, a by-product of the recycling process. The slag is destined for a homeowner who’ll use it as a base layer for a new driveway.

On the way we pass scores of hydro-electric windmills, just fields of them.  These farmers have harnessed wind power to run their operations. On route, I have the chance to chat with Matt and find out lots of info about the jobs in the area, the standard of living, his thoughts on trucking as a profession, and why the residents here voted for Trump in 2016. “He promised to bring back manufacturing jobs” was Matt’s take on it. (Trump won Ohio with 51% of the vote. Obama had won Ohio by 3%).

I also learned the quick facts on the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites both of whom live in the area.  The simplest (and somewhat tongue in cheek) explanation is that the Mennonites would drive their car to Walmart while the Amish would drive their horse and buggy there.

A Google search later tells me that “Ohio is home to the largest concentration of Amish in North America”.

Matt says that there’s a bit of conflict between the local contractors and the Amish businessmen who can put up barns for a lot cheaper than the union carpenters. Things are always more complicated than it seems to a casual observer or visitor to a region. It helps to have a local explain it to you.

All in all, today is turning out to be just the eye-opening experience I hope to have on this trip.

Hanging out in the heartland: Delphos, Ohio

Hanging out in the heartland: Delphos, Ohio

We’ve arrived in Delphos, Ohio to visit my step-son (Steve’s son) Matt, who moved out here eight years ago for college and never came home.  He recently purchased an old brick farmhouse on the original Lincoln Highway, one of the earliest transcontinental roadways built in 1912 to accommodate the increasing interest in auto travel.

We can’t wait to see his first real estate purchase and find out all about his plans for the property. We’ll be staying for four days, enough time to roll up our sleeves and give him a hand with some moving in projects, as well as meet his friends and see heart of Ohio.

Delphos is a town of 7,100 located in northwestern Ohio, about 14 miles from Lima, with the self-proclaimed moniker of “America’s Friendliest City”.

It became a major port on the Miami and Erie Canal in the 1850’s, and was the transfer point for multiple railroad lines.  Delphos eventually  became known as a major manufacturing community, spurred by the presence of the railroads and the establishment of the original, historic Lincoln Highway which runs through the town.

It seems as if we have a farmer in the family!  Matt has already started up his menagerie of farm animals with chickens who produce eggs on a regular basis.  Next up are pigs, cows, and we can just imagine that a horse is in the future.

Although the old farmhouse needs lots of work, the lovely plot of land and the vistas of cornfields as far as the eye can see allow the possibilities to shine through!



Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland Rocks!

Fog, fog, fog.   Lake Erie always has fog, I was later told.  But today is really foggy as we drive into Cleveland and search for a parking lot on the waterfront that takes RVs and buses.  A short walk to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, next to the Cleveland Science Center, in a really nice harbor area.

The Hall of Fame is in an I.M. Pei designed building of cantilevered balconies and ramps, visually stunning. It’s chockful of artifacts like guitars, costumes, lyrics, posters and much more with a nicely designed layout of exhibits and themes. We waited around to catch a 30-minute rockumentary of classic performances by director Jonathan Demme, well worth it!

For rock and roll fans this place is definitely worth visiting. We even found easy RV parking in a lot nearby.

It was hard to narrow down the great images from my favorite rock & roll icons, so here are just a couple of them, punk rock poet Patti Smith and voice of my generation and recent reluctant Nobel laureate, the singer, songwriter and poet Bob Dylan.

Off to Matt’s new farmhouse in Delphos Ohio on the “old” read “original” Lincoln Highway.  Three more hours in the rain were rewarded as the sun came out just as we arrived at his house.  What a place, full of potential and lots of hard work ahead, but set in a beautiful location in the midst of Ohio farmlands.

Our dinner destination was Cabo, a favorite Mexican restaurant of Matt’s and his friend Livvie. A couple of margaritas and Modelos later we headed back to our home in his driveway for the next few nights.  Ahh, the pleasures of RVing – free places to stay with family and friends!