Day 5: September 2, 2013
Parkway? What Parkway?

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This is Lake Horse Inn, the B & B I mentioned. In the second picture, which was taken through the window of my room, Lake Erie can be seen beyond the trees and house. The owner's last horse died recently but it will likely be replaced before too long and the neighbor has a couple so the image is maintained. There is one resident dog and a couple of cats and Wendy, the owner, was pet sitting another four or five canines during my stay. It's no secret that pets are not on my favorite things list so the critters weren't really welcome but neither were they bothersome. I quite enjoyed my stay. My room is here.

My primary reason for coming to this area was to visit the site of the Battle of the Thames. This is where one of my earliest heroes, Tecumseh, was killed. He was born in the Ohio region where I've spent my life. General "Mad" Anthony Wayne was probably my very first hero but Tecumseh wasn't far behind. There is no question that my initial attraction to both of these men was based entirely on appearance. Wayne looked quite dashing in his cocked hat and Tecumseh, usually shown wearing some sort of cross between a turban and a beret, sure looked different than those Disney Indians with huge feathered headdresses. Over time I learned that there was much more to these men than cool hats and that they really did deserve my admiration.

There is a nice marker and plaque at the site and someone even left flowers not long ago. It looks as if another plaque has been stripped from a second marker leaving its purpose a mystery although the etched name Tecumseh can just be made out. Signs bearing "Tecumseh Parkway" line the short roadway next to the monument. I encountered a few references to the Parkway while researching the location of the battlefield but could find few details about it. Still can't. Its organizers seem to have fully embraced modern technology to the point that the only map available is part of a smart phone app described here. That's not entirely a bad idea but it is of no use to a dumb Yank whose smart phone has no service in Canada. The signs were well done and offered quite a bit of information on the battle with one side in English and the other French. I wondered if this short bit of pavement, seen almost entirely in the second photo, was the Tecumseh Parkway.

Curiosity caused me to drive a bit further on and I was rewarded with another Tecumseh Parkway sign less than two miles up the road. It marked the site of a Moravian village named Fairfield that was destroyed by American soldiers following their victory at the Battle of the Thames.

Apparently I took no pictures of the Parkway sign but I did now have reason to believe that there was more to the Tecumseh Parkway than a single set of signs on a cul-de-sac. I imagine I could have learned all about the parkway at the Fairfield Museum but it was closed. I drove on a few more miles without finding another Parkway sign so turned back toward Chatham.. Although it certainly was not marked as such, Fairfield seemed to me to be a reasonable place for the Parkway to end

About halfway to Chatham, I spotted a Tecumseh Parkway directional sign. There may have been others I'd missed but I turned to the south where this one pointed. At an intersection less than a mile away, a sign with a two headed arrow indicated that the parkway ran both left and right from the intersection. Perhaps the sign I had followed was pointing "to" the parkway.

Some four miles before Chatham, I spotted another Tecumseh Parkway informational sign. A Canadian couple was already parked nearby and out reading the sign.

"Did you start at the other end?" the man asked.

"Maybe", I answered and explained that I really didn't know what this Tecumseh Parkway was.

The couple had driven by the signs several times without stopping and had decided today would be the day to read them all. The signs essentially marked the path that the various combatants followed on their way to the big battle. That was the Tecumseh Parkway. The couple told me it began near a place called Jeannettes Creek and they described a couple of the other stops. That was certainly helpful.

The next stop on the parkway was Tecumseh Park in Chatham. The nearby museum probably had information on the parkway but it, like the one at Fairfield, was closed for the holiday. Apparently Canadians celebrate something similar to our Labor Day which they call Labour Day. Strange, eh?

I now watched carefully for Tecumseh Parkway signs and followed it to its easternmost stop. The stop wasn't actually marked as beginning or end but it felt like a starting point and when I saw that Jeannettes Creek was nearby I was fairly confident that there was no more Parkway. That stone marker in the middle picture was one of the things the couple I spoke with had mentioned. It is near where American soldiers established an outpost following the Battle of the Thames. That lasted about two months until Canadian militia appeared one morning and captured the lot. As the man had pointed out and one of the signs explains, this is the only time that Canadian militia captured a unit of the regular United States army.

Canadians are somewhat proud of the capture and actually somewhat proud of their performance in the entire war. As with most wars, the War of 1812 had no real winners. At war's end, the borders between the US and British territories were pretty much where they had been at its beginning. But Canada, with the help of American bungling, turned back every attempt of the US to invade Canada which certainly entitles them to think like winners. The losers, of course were the Native Americans. When the people from Europe stopped fighting each other, the natives had lost lives, land, and hope.

I knew that I had missed a couple of Parkway stops near the other end and wanted to go back and catch them. I also wanted to return to Buxton in hopes that the museum there would be open. My first thought was to do that after I'd picked up the missing stops but a quick check showed me that I was about as close to Buxton as I was going to get. The signs, I decided, could wait. The museum was indeed open and so were the school house and log cabin next to it.

Today was the biggest day of the whole homecoming. There had been a parade at noon which I wanted to go to but feared it would really mess up my plans to visit the Tecumseh Memorial. Though things were starting to wind down, the town was still full of people and cars. Food and other vendors were going strong and the athletes were, too. Organized foot races were in progress on the field in the first picture. That ball in the air in the second picture? Nothing but net.

I returned to the Tecumseh Parkway to drive the section I'd missed before seeing the directional sign and meeting the helpful couple. I'd only missed a couple of stops and they were not critical but I feel much better having included them.

It was now dinner time. Wendy, at Lake Horse Inn, had recommended a place just up the road and the Inn's other guest had seconded her recommendation after he tried it last night. I had pulled pork with some wonderful BBQ sauce. I realize it would be too sweet and not hot enough for some people I know but I really liked it. It was half gone before I even thought about a picture. The owners are super friendly and helped me talk myself into some fresh peach cobbler for dessert. I did get a picture of that.

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