This is the weekend for the annual Pumpkin Run car show in Owensville, OH, and the weather promised to be good. Attending this really big show seemed like a good idea and, since it's about one third of the way to Ripley, a drive to that Ohio River town seemed a strong possibility. Ripley came to mind since there were a couple of things in that direction that I wanted to checkout. I started out fairly early with the idea of stopping somewhere for breakfast before hitting the show. But no opportunity, other than some chains, came up and I found myself in Owensville around 9:00 AM. I could see that show cars were still arriving in some number so I thought it might be a little early to enter the show grounds. And there was still that matter of breakfast. I drove on through Owensville but found nothing before reaching Fayetteville more than ten miles away. Lights were on at the Pike Street Bar & grill and, when I asked a couple of fellows standing out front whether they served breakfast, I got a resounding, "Yes. They got anything you want in there and it's cheap." They were right and it was also good. The carved wood bar is original but I didn't get an age.

I returned to Owensville about 10:00. There are quite a few reminders that this is called the Pumpkin Run and there are many examples of the classic "hot rod" where the focus is on the engine. But, even though they may be secondary, the bodies usually get their share of attention.

There were also plenty of cars that were not modified at all. Only cars from 1970 and before are permitted and there are many here that look much as they did when new. Some through preservation and some through restoration.

There were also some cars that weren't exactly hot rods or show room condition classics. There was a VW Beetle disguised as a Ford coupe and a '57 T-Bird pulling a camper. The car in primer carries a slogan that seems designed to discourage tailgating. There were several stands selling engine parts, clever signs, and hi-tech polishes. Picking up that missing fender is also a possibility.

I had heard talk that there might be 4000 cars here. I suspect that came from the fact that there were "nearly 3000" here last year and, to some, 4000 seemed the next logical number. That "nearly 3000" was repeated this year - 2816 when I left.

I headed toward Fayetteville shortly after noon. I've stopped at this bridge in the past and almost passed it by today. But I decided that another visit wouldn't hurt. As the day progressed, I'm very glad that I stopped. This is the 1877 McCafferty Bridge that crosses the East Fork of the Little Miami River just off of US-50.

I passed by here earlier this summer and noticed some barrels standing in a yard near the road. There were sticks poking from them and what I took to be prices painted on their sides. I just had to stop today and that's how I met Reuben Keeton. He's 81 and spends a lot of time carving and sealing the canes and walking sticks he sells from his yard. Today he was sitting in the shade, working on a stick, when I pulled in. Keeton's handiwork sells for less than $10 for simple items to over a hundred for the more intricate pieces. As the summer ends, sale prices prevail for the common canes and sticks. Last year he cut prices in half. This year it's 2-for-1. "Some people tell me that's the same thing", he says, "but I know better." I bought a pair of small walking sticks and Reuben gave me the single use lighter. He says he likes to give customers a gift and he actually gave me two. The "lighter" and a tiny book of Bible verses. If you are ever within range of this front yard business about 2 1/2 miles west of Fayetteville, I recommend a stop.

In Fayetteville I turned south on US-68 toward Ripley. One of the things on my checkout list was this covered bridge just a few miles north of Georgetown. Becky Repp, of American Road magazine, mentioned the bridge and, although I've probably driven through here a half dozen times, I couldn't recall seeing it. Somehow the long New Hope Bridge, on the west side of US-68 and easily visible from there, had escaped me but I was on my guard today. The bridge is closed to vehicles but there is room to park at either end and walk across. Note the big reinforcing arch along each side. Consisting of eleven laminated layers, the wooden arches were added in 1902 when the bridge was already 24 years old.

I had parked at the west end of the bridge and walked to the other side. While I was there, a motorcycle also pulled up to the west end. The bike and its rider were still there when I returned and a conversation about covered bridges was soon underway. With his Harley idling near by, Taylor told me that this was one of five covered bridges remaining in Brown County. One, of course, was the McCafferty Bridge that I had stopped at earlier. Another, the Brown Bridge, was just a couple of miles away on the other side of Sixty-Eight on the New Hope-White Oak Station Road. That's it in the last picture in this panel. So now I had an additional mission for the day. Thanks to this chance meeting, I was off to photograph all five Brown County Bridges before I got home.

Becky had also mentioned this barn a bit closer to Georgetown. The barn, unlike the bridge, had caught my attention in the past and I even photographed it on an August 2003 drive. The advertising message is more difficult to read today but that may be more a function of lighting and the time of day than real fading. But better light will not make the barn's siding reappear. The barn was hardly in good shape in 2003 but at least the siding was largely intact. It now looks as if this old land mark may soon be gone.

Ripley is home to the Ohio Tobacco Museum and today is the first time I've found it open. Edie Fath guided me through the museum today and told me much about the history of the plant and the many operations involved in growing and processing it. There were once four tobacco warehouses in Ripley and the yearly auctions were major events. Tobacco brought a lot of money to this area. Two of those warehouses have been totally destroyed and another, right next to the museum, turned into a flea market. The fourth will now be nothing but a warehouse dealing with contract crops. No more auctions. In fact, last year when the last auction was held it was a silent auction. Buyers with wireless PDAs did their bidding with screen taps and there was no silver-tongued auctioneer anywhere near what little action there was. No fun in that. But the museum is working at preserving much of the history of this crop that was once the region's life blood. It's one of the few places around with a "THANK YOU FOR SMOKING" sign on top of the mantle.

Next August the 25th Ohio Tobacco Festival will be held in Ripley if the organizers can hang on. The festival lost money this year but the town really wants to make that quarter century mark. Of course, most of these negative changes are the result of the public's growing recognition of tobacco's unhealthy aspects. But one change in the festival, and one that could be at least partly responsible for its drop in popularity is mostly due to improved technology. The festival has always featured a tobacco worm race but modern farming methods and chemicals have pretty much made the once common green worm a thing of the past. Last year they had to settle for a frog jumping contest. No auctions and no worm races. Ripley is going through some big changes.

When the well traveled Baby Boomer Bob reported on his Labor Day outing, he spoke of a neat sounding place in Ripley called Rockin' Robin's. I'm not an expert on Ripley but I've been here a few times and somehow missed it. The place lived up to its billing with a 50s/60s atmosphere and a genuine soda fountain. I ordered a chocolate malted and watched as the hand dipped ice cream and other ingredients went into the metal cup. After it was mixed, about half of the cup's contents were poured into a tall glass, topped with whipped cream & a cherry, and set in front of me with the remaining half at its side just waiting in that mixing cup. Can you tell that I enjoyed this? It's actually the second time in less than a month that I've had this experience with the other being at Twisters in Williams, AZ. I also had a shake from the delightful fountain at Fair Oaks Pharmacy in Pasadena but that was in a go cup without the extra treat of that second helping. I still don't know how I missed that bridge but I think I know how Rockin' Robin's escaped my notice. They hid the place just a couple of doors from Snapper's Saloon. See, it's not all my fault.

After sucking down the malt, I set out for the other two bridges. On the way to the first one, I encountered this young deer grazing by the side of North Pole road. It finally moved a little bit away from the road but never did bolt. North Pole Road goes east from US-68 about a mile north of Ripley and reaches the North Pole Bridge in about three miles. A very pretty drive and one that will probably get even prettier as the leaves change. I guess I enjoyed the drive a little more than I should have and wandered around for a while before ending up back in Ripley. Then it was up US-62 toward Russellville and a right turn on George Miller Road about a half mile south of the town. The George Miller Bridge is just a couple of miles down the road and is shown in the last two photos.

I finished up the day with stops at a couple of other spots I photographed on that 2003 drive. In 2003, I noted some evidence of painting at the train depot in Mt. Orab and commented that there might be a "nice white depot here on my next visit". Well, it's yellow instead of white but it is freshly painted and being used for some local activities. The name painted on the building triggered some research and what I found is that there is some uncertainty as to whether town founder Daniel Keethler meant it to be called Orab, Oreb, or Horeb. While most maps and other references call the town Mt Orab, it appears that the railroad referred to its stop here as Mt Oreb. The refurbished depot, it seems, is historically correct.

Another stop in 2003 was Randy's Diner near the intersection of US-68 and OH-32. At that time it was a pretty good looking chrome diner with a "Temporarily Closed" sign on the door. Today only the concrete slab is left and the "Temporarily Closed" sign on the door has been replaced by a "PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING" sign on a heavy gate. Just not enough business for a "24 hour drive-thru" and Randy too, I guess.

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