Day 5: back at it in Ohio

Glorious sun & cinematic clouds — nature’s been very kind to me the past couple days.  Hustling around NW Ohio.  One or two preplanned stops per town & a little trickle of unplanned discoveries.  I sat & waited on so many train crossings today.  Stuck behind very slow drivers and gigantic trucks.  So much for relaxing, country driving.  But it was quite scenic and less stressful than city driving.

Let’s get to today’s big event.  I was about halfway into the day when I was passing through the relatively small town of Delphos.  There in the road, Lincoln Highway in fact, was a dog wandering around.  Cars being careful to go around.  But I didn’t feel good about it.  I watched & yes, the dog was definitely disoriented.  Not one of those dogs with the confidence of a destination or with a hanging-out attitude.  I watched a postman walk right by him.  No one seemed to be doing a thing — the cars kept going by.  I decided to intervene.  The dog went over to a gas station with me in hot pursuit in the van.  At least she was out of traffic.  Hanging out at the pumps, everyone deliberately looking the other way.  I was offering good doggie treats with one hand and a concealed hand behind my back with a slip lead.  Dog not interested in me or cookies.  I started asking people if they recognized the dog, where the nearest shelter was, etc.  Nobody really wanted to get involved.  As the dog headed for the station’s convenience store, I made my lasso-ing move.


So now I had a large, sweet Dalmatian in my possession.  And not the slightest consideration of keeping her of course!  She appeared to be about 8 years old or so, a little hip displaysia but super friendly.  A  little dirty — maybe on the street a few days I guess but certainly not feral and weirded out.  I know my dogs can handle just about anything and have perfect social skills with all kinds of dogs.  Just had to take a chance and stuffed this big galoof in there with them.  They couldn’t believe it at first — a new dog — just like that — jesus!  But I conveyed to them that just had to get over it and I promised them it was temporary.

The van was suddenly WAY too small for Nik and he started growling but shut up when I told him to knock it off.  He then insisted on staring out the window for the rest of the ordeal — pretending this wasn’t happening to him.  “Spots”, as I quickly temporarily named her, remained neutral and perfectly well behaved. 


Grippie was very unhappy.  Dalmatians are actually her least favorite breed.  I believe she considers them freaks of nature — the Million Eyeballs Dogs — and she always barks at them and acts all tough to get them to keep their distance.  So this was one of those moments where you have to face down one of your biggest fears.  She was too terrified to bark in this small space.


Fix stayed up front with me.  She’s a total wuss.  Grem tried to get “Spots” to play since she prefers the company of big dogs anyway.  But “Spots” was just not in the mood — probably very hungry & thirsty but too freaked to do either.

I managed to get directions to a vet’s office that would take her.  Got there — they wouldn’t.  The gave me directions to the Humane Society in Elida.  Drove there — they were full up and sent me to the “Dog Warden”.  That name had me a little reluctant but once there, I knew she’d be in good hands.  They called the Delphos warden and there had been no one looking for a Dal.  But they recognized, too, her great temperament.  She was wagging her tail and kissie.  No microchip.  If the owner didn’t turn up, they’d contact Dal rescue groups & put the dog on Petfinder.  No way is this dog getting euthanized.  Whew.  I’ll call in the next week or two & see what’s happened & report back.

So anyway, that event took about two hours out of my day.  But some things are more important that shooting pictures of buildings and signs and giant stuff.  I think.  I was amazed at how unhelpful and uninterested everyone was — esp. the people at the vet’s office and the folks pumping gas at that station.  If there was a kid wandering in traffic they would be completed panicked.  This “just a dog” attitude is horrifying.  Maybe if the dog had been hit the vet would’ve taken her?

OK — enough — time for some pictures.  From Swanton — I love the folksy, homemade skate:


A rusty, crusty Masonic Temple sign in Delta:


Here’s a shot taken over my shoulder while driving at 60+ mph in the country.  Nik’s new birds eye view position.  Watching for motorcyles and/or water sources.  The D90 seemed to auto focus for me on the foliage at the left — but hey — this blur was my fault — a miracle that I got the shot at all.


Okay, and for laughs, yours truly.  My first attempt at a self portrait with the new camera.  This is what you would look like if you were up writing blogs until 2am & later & then got back on the road at 7am after five days.  But really, this is pretty much what I look like even on a good day, gotta face it.  Sucks getting old.  I know I have gone into stores to get Diet Coke with both pairs of glasses on my head.  I have to keep switching back & forth in the van so it just seems easier to store them on my head — though I try not to display this behavior in public.  I do often hold the lens cap in my mouth while shooting.  Seems faster than pocketing/unpocketing it and when you have a hundred plus stops to make per day, these little things matter.  The sticky on my nose a goof though — if you’re not familiar with the “sticky system”, you might want to check out the “How To Do a Roadtrip” page here at the blog.  This sticky was actually pulled off the  map for the Uncle Sam in the background — a non-blurry photo of him over at the agilitynut Flickr stream here:


I’m pretty sure this Deco Dream House was in Delphos — shot just before I saw the wandering dog:


Irony and sadness.  The long gone paint store with the peeling paint, in Lima:


So, here’s the deal.  I went to see/shoot the Plaza Bowling Lanes in Celina.  This guy up on the ladder was painting the undersides of the panels with black paint.  The panels on the other side of the sign were gone.  (That’s why I was forced to shoot into the sun & got those nasty spots — again, not the D90’s fault).   He told me that they are replacing the panels with “aluminum core and vinyl lettering”.  The neon was removed but will be replaced.  All you Ohio Flickr-ers out there should keep an eye on this one.  I’m very curious (and apprehensive) to see what the finished product will look like.


Somewhere out there in farmland — too late now to check my notes for the exact town.  This makes me not want to climb on a ladder again ever.


This was west of Covington.  I don’t know what it means and the building behind it, if even related, was vacant.  Perhaps some sort of VFW type place.


This gal was in the window at a piercing & tattoo studio in Troy:


Quick, all you Ohio-ans, Ohio-ites, where am I?


That’s right, The Spot in Sidney.  And Gale, I hope I got your favorite booth in the photo.  And yes, I got the pie!  There were several cream pie choices — but none of them banana which would’ve been my first pick.  There was custard cream (which sounded the yummiest) and chocolate cream and “original” (I think that’s what it was called).  But I went with the coconut since it was the most photogenic – the only one with the mound of meringue.  I was skeptical since usually coconut cream pies are way too sweet and the coconut too dry & chewy.  But this pie was more creamy than sweet.  The crust had that slightly undercooked quality but still flakey — probably Crisco — or maybe lard — as a vegetarian,  I’d rather not know in this case.  The dogs found it just as yummy.


And lucky for all of us, I went with the waitress’ favorite and got us a slice of blackberry pie for tomorrow.  Sorry about the styrofoam plates — no time for proper food styling.


This post is a little light on architecture — so I’ll include a couple shots from the magnificent Louis Sullivan building just across the street from The Spot.  It’s a little more orange than in reality since the sun was setting — again, not the D90’s fault!   And I’m sure there’s a way to ISO or white balance to deal with it.  I promise to study hard over the winter before the next mega trip.



Tomorrow night, I will probably be taking a well-deserved break from Flickr-ing and blogging since I’ll be meeting a Flickr pal.  I’ll catch up with a double dose on Friday night.  Maybe I’ll give up on sleep entirely.

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