Day 1: April 25, 2009
Madonna Day
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The Golden Inn near New Paris, Ohio, was the group's home on the eve of our cruise. I've stayed here before and the place was just as nice and comfortable as I remembered. I left with apples on my last visit and today's blooming Bing Cherry trees indicated what I might expect on some future stop. The group gathered at Baumbach's BBQ for dinner and chatter. Here's a picture of owner Tom and an unnamed sidekick that I took on last week's sampling visit.

We started the day with a little west bound travel for the official cruise start at Indiana's Madonna of the Trail Monument. As seems to often be the case when I'm in somewhat familiar territory, I forget to take pictures and I have nothing from our Madonna stop. I did a little better in the Whitewater Gorge where the Starr Piano Company and Gennett Recording Studio once stood. The Starr Gennett Foundation's "Walk of Fame" honors many of the artists who were part of Richmond's musical history.

After a stop at Richmond's National Road Welcome Center we hit the road in earnest but didn't get too far before encountering one of Ohio's premier roadside attractions. Foot Print Rock has been drawing visitors to the state for many decades. No one was barefoot today and Pat's shod foot was way too big but Jennifer's was just right.

Next up were stops at the two parks denting the National Road near Dayton. In Englewood Park we checked out the bridge that once carried the National Road over Patty Creek. My own first visit is here. Our stop in Taylorsville Park was at the site of one of George R Stewart's photographs in US 40: Cross Section of America.

In Springfield, we lunched at Joe's 40 Grill where I completely neglected taking pictures. Photos are not permitted in the Pennsylvania House so I've got an excuse there. Even with cameras muzzled, the guided tour was really enjoyable. At Ohio's hard to reach Madonna of the Trail Monument, Chris was among those who ventured along the road side to reach the statue.

We left the National Road at Springfield to head south on US-68 then switched to US-42 in Xenia. The large amount of divided four-lane made us appreciate Old Stage Road even more. The Accommodation Stagecoach Line established this route in the 1820s.

We were a little early for the pool at the Shaker Inn but the Sandersons found a cool spot to relax. Cool was actually important as temperatures, just 32 degrees as recently as Thursday night, were in the 80s. We couldn't have done much better weather wise and Sunday promises more of the same.

A most enjoyable dinner was had at the Golden Lamb, Ohio's oldest business, but again no pictures. I promise to do better.

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