Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When I was about 8 years old, our family took a vacation that led us through Ohio into Kentucky to see Mammouth Cave. We stopped at what is now Hopewell Mounds and my mom's reaction was, essentially, "We came all this way to see bumps in the ground?" I thought the mounds were kind of cool.

I've been back a couple times and driven through 4 and a half times now, and Ohio still tends to evoke both those responses from me. I can understand why those prehistoric peoples put up mounds to break up this landscape. Not that it's boring--it isn't. Just relentless at times. Hours of driving take longer here than anywhere else in the world except Antarctica. So sure of that fact am I that I give Snapple permission to print it under their iced tea lids. Why do people go to Ohio? Duh--to buy buckeyes (a chocolate and peanut butter confection that looks like the nut that gave the state its motto).

We stopped at the rest area just over the PA border to get a map. Caroline asked if they had any information about our destination, Preble County. The answer was no, and you got the impression they hadn't heard of the place. Preble County is the last one you go through on I-70 before hitting Indiana. We were there to visit the library branch in Eaton. On a personal note, I was there to meet in person someone I'd talked books and politics with online for the last 10 years or so (hi, Suzanne!).

Something those folks back at that eastern rest area could tell people: Eaton has a really good Skyline Chili. Skyline Chili is an Ohio chain--I'd eaten at one in Cincinnati and was underwhelmed. At the one in Eaton I finally found out why people love their food. Another reason to go to Preble County? The people are super nice, especially the folks who work in the library system. If anyone from Preble County is reading this--you've got a gem in those libraries. Support them.

On to Indiana today.


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