Day 2: August 31, 2008
A Pair of River Towns
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This is where I woke up this morning. I first noticed the Tu Lakes last week on my way home from Chillicothe where I had attended the Saturday night performance of Tecumseh. I liked what I saw as I drove by on US-50 and turned around for a better look. I liked it even better close up plus Jerry, the manager, was in the lot as I pulled in and chatted with me as I sat in my car. I also liked what I heard and noted that it would be a good place to stay but didn't realize it would be so soon. As I started working out an agenda for the post-Crabfest weekend, this looked like a pretty good stop. It was.

I didn't do a trip report on last week's outing but would like to mention a few places that I visited then and will be passing near on today's drive. Last Saturday's dinner was a burger that I ordered with a table side telephone at Sumburger. Sumburger has been in business since 1953. Saturday night was spent in the Chillicothe Inn and I can recommend it as a low-cost clean place to sleep. Then, on the way home, I visited the house that was once the first dental school in the country and is now a very interesting Dental Museum. It's in Bainbridge, Ohio.

I followed US-35 to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where Robert Dafford is applying his magic and $200 per gallon paint to more flood walls. Stainless steel statues (The town really likes stainless steel statues.) of Chief Cornstalk and Colonel Andrew Lewis stand in front of a mural of the Battle of Point Pleasant. The brick building in the fourth picture is the Lowe Hotel. The big red "INN" must come from its sometimes alias of Lowe's Motor Inn.

The 1904 Lowe Hotel is certainly historic and is quite cool looking. It's also haunted, they say. It would look even cooler if one of the resident ghosts moved that anachronistic Dr Pepper machine out of the lobby. This is a place I need to stay in someday.

There was a time when the whole town was haunted. No, haunted is not the right word but the town was kind of spooked for about a year and a half in the 1960s. That's when several people reported encounters with a "big bird". "Big Bird" is what the locals called it but that's not a particularly catchy name. Fortunately, some newspaper guy came up with "Mothman" and that has worked out much better. There is a book and a movie and a museum (second picture) and no end of things to print on T-shirts. On balance, it seems those "Mothman" visits have been a good thing.

Just a couple of blocks south of the "Mothman", the Point Pleasant River Museum features other aspects of the town's history including the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge. Forty-six people were killed when an eye-bar failed in the forty year old bridge. This was just thirteen months after the first "Mothman" sighting so some people blame him; others blame the curse of Cornstalk. Another popular theory is rust. Who's to say?

A 2400 gallon aquarium provides a look at some contemporary Ohio River residents.

Tu-endie-wei State Park, with its 84-foot monument to the Battle of Point Pleasant, is right across the street from the River Museum. The park also contains a marker for the powder magazine used to bury American battle casualties and another containing the remains of Chief Cornstalk. A large 1796 log cabin houses the Mansion Museum. The bridge behind the magazine monument is the Silver Memorial Bridge that replaced the collapsed Silver Bridge in 1969.

I stayed on the West Virginia side of the river until just north of Clifton then crossed over and followed OH-7 to Marietta. I checked into the Lafayette Hotel and walked up the street to the Marietta Brewing Company for dinner. I then spent some time just looking at the Ohio River as it flows by the hotel.

The ninety year old hotel at night.

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