A tourist in my own town: Grant’s birthplace

Over the past few weekends I found reasons to take either my Cannon Rebel DSLR or my Samsung Galaxy S phone’s camera on short road trips, and take a few impromptu shots – a result of me wishing I could have my camera with me while on long runs.

My photo taking outings are mixed. Out of ever 10 or 20 pictures I take one that causes me to pause and say, “Hmmm, not too bad.”

My best are never too great, but I’m not too embarrassed to post them to Facebook for friends to see (perhaps I should be?).

This past weekend had me driving down US 52 in Clermont County, Ohio and straight through the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant at Point Pleasant, a place I’ve driven through a few times. Honestly, as far as historical markers are concerned it isn’t the most impressive – a plaque, brick home, church, small park, and some cannons on a bridge at a creek that spills into the Ohio River.

Still, a drive and a stop is not too bad a way to spend a brisk winter day. All I had on me was my camera phone that produced the historical marker photo. (The panoramic shot above that was taken later in the day at my gym. The plan is to use it for any future tourist posts.)

The best part about the stop though was while crossing the two lane stretch of road from where I parked to the marker. I saw an older gentleman built like a tank, slogging in his running shorts and long-sleeved T in the mud along the road.

The road itself, narrow, with small shoulders, is not made for running, but this man did not seem to mind as he stayed far off the road and gravel along the edge.

Perhaps the phenomena is sort of like buying a particular brand of car – you know, never seeing anyone drive your particular make and model until you buy it and then seeing them all over the road.

It’s pretty spectacular seeing what conditions, who, and where people run. The dedicated are everywhere, and it makes me laugh to reflect at the beginning of own running. Routes were all about – location, location, location. Basically, they were safe and familiar and boring.

Eventually I ended my afternoon at this little place called The Front Street Cafe in nearby New Richmond where I had a smoked turkey and bacon on rye and Earl Grey tea and struck up conversation with the restaurant owner. We started talking about interests and he told me about the list of bluegrass performances the cafe hosts regularly on Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The restaurant’s scene, right on the river, and atmosphere of the cafe inside made an evening of bluegrass there sound fantastic. I definitely plan  to visit there then. I also hope to build a run route on an afternoon when I have the time and desire for a drive along the river again.

As I left the cafe I took another shot, this time of one of two large Nutcrackers standing guard at the entrance of the cafe. I was heading to the gym for a short run and then home to get ready for a holiday party. The photo just put me in the right mood for festivities.

This week I plan to run Tuesday and Thursday with the small group (and hopefully not bonk) and get in a few shorter treadmill runs at least in between.

If I don’t have a chance to say it before – to happy holidays and healthy runs.


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