Excursion 8, Part 7 (The Flatlands)

In which our intrepid hero enjoys the pleasures of the horizontal plane…

There’s more than one type of flat.  First, there’s Western Flat.  Western Flat may be very flat and it may be very flat for a very long way but typically there are mountains in the distance.  Among other things, this allows you to orient yourself.  Then there is Closed In Flat.  That’s when the country is flat but vision is obscured by buildings and/or trees.  When I moved from El Paso to Columbus I went from Western Flat to Closed In Flat.  You lose your bearings in Closed In Flat because there is nothing you can see with which to orient yourself.  I easily get lost in Closed In Flat if I am not familiar with the area.  Lastly, there is Open Flat.  That’s just plain flatness to the horizon.  Northwest and North Central Ohio is primarily Open Flat.  No hills, not much woods, just a lot of farmland.  That’s what I was driving through on this, the final leg of my eighth excursion.

[Remember that you can click on each picture below to see a larger, better version]

It was basically just a straight shot south from where I was to Columbus, so I took random back roads that headed south, switching up as the mood hit me or the road ended.


There are lots of scenes like this in north central Ohio.

exc8pt7-2 Although generally prosperous, you’ll see abandoned houses from time to time (often abandoned when the property is bought by someone else to expand their own holdings; since they already have a house, they don’t need another one down the road).

exc8pt7-3 I liked this old house, with its nice porch.  It probably looked pretty swell a few decades ago.  I am a sucker for porches and have never lived in a place with a nice, big porch.  If I win the lottery, or rob an armored car, I will buy me a house with a porch.

exc8pt7-4 This tiny old country church, with its two outhouses (one for me and one for women, I can only presume), is pretty awesome.

exc8pt7-5The windows have grates on them to keep them from being broken.  I wish I had snapped a picture of my navigation system at this point so I could go back and do a little research on this building.


I like railway bridge underpases because I can scan the graffiti.  In rural areas like this, it is usually “x loves y” messages from local kids.

exc8pt7-7 With this overpass I was most interested by some of the items scratched into the stone:  “H. L. 1900” and “A. C. W. 19” (or what I think is 19).  Assuming these are date references, this is 100 year old graffiti.

exc8pt7-8How is that for Open Flat?  In some parts of the country where there is Open Flat, like the areas around Lubbock and Amarillo there is so much wind that all the trees are bent in a consistent direction, from the constant west to east winds.

exc8pt7-9 It took me forever to figure out what this building originally was.  This was the home of the S. J. Kibler & Bro. Company, which was a company that produced hides, furs, wool, pelts, and tallow in New Washington, Ohio.  I guess it was basically a tannery.  Members of the Kibler family went on to establish a similar company in Sandusky.  The business started in 1902.  This was in the family because S. J. Kibler’s father was also in the same line of work in the mid-1800s.  I wasn’t able to tell what eventually happened to the company, although the corporation status seems active with the Ohio Secretary of State, I can’t find any current record of its actual existence.

exc8pt7-10New Washington itself is a village in Crawford County (population 967, salute!).   It is interesting to take pictures of old business locations on the weekends, as here, because their deserted nature makes seem seem even older and more mysterious.

exc8pt7-11 I believe this grain elevator belongs to the Sunrise Cooperative.

exc8pt7-12 A country house and more Open Flat.

exc8pt7-13 Here’s a junked ambulance out in the middle of nowhere.  If you drive around back roads long enough you will see every variety of junk vehicle.  I’ve seen abandoned schoolbuses, ambulances, fire engines, city buses, street cars (!), and much more.

exc8pt7-14 Mount Gilead, Ohio (population 3,660, salute!) is a nice little village in north central Ohio.  Among its attractions is the Capitol Theatre, a very old movie theater (the building itself opened in 1894!).  Very few such theatres are still in operation, even in small towns.

exc8pt7-15 Here’s the town circle, complete with its World War One monument (Warren G. Harding spoke at its dedication).

exc8pt7-16 This was an interesting little man-cave.  Its owner and a friend were grilling something as I drove back—it smelled delicious.

exc8pt7-17 A selfie!!  Bald, overweight and hairy, that’s me.  Luckily, I have a difficult personality to make up for it.  After doing these incursions for the past five months, I now (as of this writing, not when this photo was taken) have truck-driver arm (when only your left arm is tan).

exc8pt7-18It is hard to tell what this is, but this is a house built into the ground.  You can only see the top of the house from this view, because this is the “hill” side, but if you were to follow the driveway around to the side, you’d see the front of the house jutting out from the ground.  I see these every once in a while as I drive around, but I only have a few pictures of them, because they are hard to recognize—so little of them is visible that by the time you figure out what it is you have already driven past.

exc8pt7-19One interesting side effect of climate change is that I see tons more geese in Ohio.  In Columbus, where I live, they are omnipresent.  Some people hate them, because geese are kind of assholes (and can hurt children if they attack), but I love having the geese around.  Seeing them always makes me happy.

exc8pt7-20 Some nicely overgrown old farm structures.

exc8pt7-21 And another one.

exc8pt7-22 You can’t quite tell it from this angle, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time taking shots, but this is a “junkyard house.”  A junkyard house is when the owner decides to turn their property into their own personal junkyard.

exc8pt7-23 These horses caused me a lot of angst.  As I drove by and looked at them, they seemed in horrible condition, the brown horse in particular seemed to have its ribs really showing and to be in quite bad shape.  I got quite angry and turned around and drove back so that I could document the horses and photograph the street address in order to contact the authorities about this mistreatment.  When I got home, though, and saw the pictures close up, I discovered that I wasn’t really seeing what I had thought I had seen.  It was actually just a trick of the light caused by the brown horse being halfway through the process of shedding its winter coat.  You’d think I’d have caught that, since the horse my family owned when I was a kid shed its winter coat every spring.  But I was very relieved to discover myself wrong.

exc8pt7-24 An interesting little derelict business building.  Its original purpose is not clear.

exc8pt7-25 I took my camera down from taking that last picture and put my hands on the wheel to start moving again when an antique car suddenly sped into my vision.  I whipped my camera up and took this completely hasty unprepared shot.  As a result, it is a crappy picture, but it does document the sudden appearance of this very nice old car.

And I was home not too long after that!

One thought on “Excursion 8, Part 7 (The Flatlands)

  1. Mark….On your next excursion in Ohio check out Kirtland,Ohio.I think it’s north of Columbus,that’s where the Mormons built there 1st Temple. I think it was built in the early 1800’s,I’d like to see what condition it’s in and your history opinion of the area and the people living there today. Thanks in advance Uncle Ed.

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