Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 3--Ohio

I have to tell a story about the highway that Dad gave on the first day of the trip before it gets left out.  On the Lincoln Highway, about 2 miles east of the house where Dad grew up is was the homestead of his grandfather.  It was a two story home, the foundation made with cedar logs that he cut from the Loup River, nearly 25 miles north.  My great grandfather died in 1907 when my grandfather, Royal, was 16.  Royal's brother, Kent, was killed that same year in a blue rock shooting accident.   Royal lived at the homestead with his mother (Elizabeth) and unmarried sister (Edna) until he was married to Hilda in 1920.  When the Lincoln Highway came through after 1913, it passed the homestead, right through an old buffalo wallow.  When it would rain, the wallow would be terribly sticky mud and grandpa had to pull automobiles out with a team of horses!

We spent the first night with the RV in the parking lot of a Family Express /Subway gas station about 2 miles west of Valparaiso, IN.  It was clean and had pumpkin Spice Latte!  We had cereal with fresh blueberries at our RV dinette table, then headed into town to use the free wi-fi at Home Depot for uploading the blog from yesterday and plan the roads ahead.

About 11am EDT, a highway patrolman near Plymouth, IN stopped us for going 69 in a 50mph zone!   Keith thought he was following the traffic (what???!)  It was interesting to have a cop knock on the door to our house and ask for license and registration.  Keith, wearing his Lincoln Highway t-shirt, explained we were on our way to NY to explore family heritage for Mom’s 80th birthday.  After reviewing all the documents, Officer Schuh gave our golden boy a warning!  It wasn’t until seeing the time on the warning ticket that we realized we were already in the Eastern time zone!                                

The best part of this day for me was the stop in Van Wert, OH.  The Book (Wallis and Williamson) raved about Balyeats Restaurant (pronounced bal-ee-uts).  Lured by their classic neon sign, we stopped there at 2pm for pie (we sampled cherry, raspberry, peach, custard, and butterscotch!)…and the requisite ice cream. Sitting on yellow vinyl counter stools, we watched Dale and Marcia Davies serve up mashed potatoes with fried chicken or chicken and noodles or roast beef from their 1950’s era stainless steel steamers to a surprisingly busy crowd of late lunchers. They even autographed our book.

Right next door was the Van Wert County Courthouse—a beautiful, ornate structure designed in 1873 by T.J. Tolan and Son of Delphos, OH.  I went in to see if they had any details in print and the Recorder’s office was full of happy people.  89 year old Wilson Duprey was there visiting.  He grew up in Van Wert and worked at the Library of Congress while attending George Washington University.  He later worked  at the Stanford University Library and for many years at the New York City Public Library—“the one with the lions!”  When we expressed frustration with staying on the original LH route as it crisscrosses the later adjustments and doesn’t exist in places, Wilson adjusted our attitudes, pointing out “that’s part of the adventure!”

Highlights of Day 3:

Van Wert County Courthouse from 1873
Wilson Duprey in the Van Wert Recorder's Office

Mr. Duprey insisted we check out his beautifully restored library

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