Ohio – Campbell Hill

Spanky Gazes Into the Distance From Ohio's Summit

Finally! A gorgeous, warm, sunny spring day. A welcome treat after dismal, snowy, rainy, foggy, cloudy, (trying to think of one more adjective – got it) and gloomy weather. There is absolutely, positively a direct link between sunshine and people’s moods (mine included). But we must have the rain and snow etc in order to enjoy the cloudless and sunny days. You know, you can’t appreciate the good times unless you experience some of the bad stuff in life.

Spanks and I have been on the road for three plus weeks now. Actually we kinda wanna go home for a bit but there is still work to be done. We’ve got thirteen summits to date and we’d like to end this particular round of traipsing about the countryside with a nice round number, like fifteen! Ohio and Indiana are just to our west. As previously mentioned, these are flat-land highpoints. Which means they are easy. At this point in our trek, easy translates to good.

On the morning of April 21st, 2007, we hightailed it out of Pennsylvania into the great Midwestern US – America’s Heartland. One of the generally accepted definitions of Midwest is the states that are bounded by the Great Lakes to the north, and the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys to the east and west respectively. There are, however, a bunch of different views on which states are included, which states are actually in the Great Plains, The Old Northwest, etc. The Census Bureau officially lists Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas as “The Midwest.” Take your pick.

Keep in mind that a few hundred years ago, this was “Out West.” Anything on the other side of the Appalachians was frontier, unexplored wilderness. There was a time when we (White Europeans) did not have a clue of what was really out west, the plains, the Rockies, let alone the geological craziness of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc.

Heading west to Ohio from Pennsylvania, one barely notices that you are leaving the Appalachian Plateau. This is in stark contrast to the eastern escarpment of the plateau where there is an abrupt change in elevation. To the west you just kinda coast on in to the Interior Plains. The real sign of entering the Midwest was crossing the Ohio River through Wheeling, West Virginia. Since we were cruising along on I – 70, I didn’t have much time to take in the sights. From my brief glance downriver, I could see that Wheeling has been around for a while. Lots of old brick buildings and, unfortunately, a blanket of smog hanging over the river valley.

Westward into Ohio. It can all be summed up in one word – Farms. Yep, farms, farms, and more farms. Most of the state is pretty flat (glaciated plains) making it very suitable for agriculture – Ohio is part of the “Corn Belt.” That said, Ohio, being the gateway to the Midwest has enjoyed the benefits of the commerce generated traffic through the state via its railroads and highways.

As we travel onward, I take a look over at Spanks. I thing he is starting to get pretty bored with the driving around for miles and miles part of the deal. Nevertheless, he hangs in there, sleeping in the passenger seat most of the time. Getting up to gaze at the passing scenery (I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking). Occasionally he sits right next to me and puts his left paw on my leg and licks my face for a bit. All I’ve got to do is look at him and I smile – man I love that dog!

Our route takes us to Columbus, Ohio where we get off the interstate, proceed northwest for about 40 miles along US 33, bang a right at the town of Bellefontaine and we are at Campbell Hill, Ohio’s Highpoint, 1,549 ft. This is totally different! Absolutely no challenge to find the place, well marked, out in the open, drive up to within a few yards, get out, take the pics, and done! Well, Delaware was similar. Yet, it is part of the overall challenge for me and the Spankster, so it is well worth the effort.

Because this area is all glacial plateau, there are no major prominences. Campbell Hill (named after Charles D Campbell, the former landowner) however, does rise just a wee bit above the surrounding countryside. Today it sits on the site of the Ohio Highpoint Career Center (vocational training center). The highpoint is well marked with a historical society sign, the USGS marker, and an American Flag. There is somewhat of a view out over the fields in the distance – not spectacular but a view regardless. There is plenty of grass around for Spanks to do a little search and destroy work (note that we always pick up after ourselves). We chill for while, happy to be able to put another notch in our belts.

I’m writing this back home in Florida, looking out the window, watching Spanky stalking a squirrel. There he goes! Almost got him! The squirrels have it figured out. They only come to within a few feet of the ground. By the time Spanks makes it to the tree they are history. Spanky does the Spanky, on his hind legs, I almost caught a squirrel dance for a while, barks for a bit, then goes back to his stealth position in the middle of the lawn. Truthfully, I hope he never catches one (probably would not know what to do with it). Its great exercise for Spanky and it keeps the furry little critters from digging up the yard - in search of bygone acorns.

But meanwhile, back in Ohio, me and Spanks are headed for Cincinnati. You’ve probably got this figured out already. An old friend of mine from the consulting days, Keith, has invited us to crash at his pad. Visions of a real bed, private bathroom with a shower, and a home cooked meal dance through my mind.

Keith, his wife Barri, their sons Kees and Aidan, and their doggies Nola and Crash live just a little bit east of the city (up the river a bit). What a great place. Their house is a post and beam (recycled posts and beams no less) ranch, cobblestone outer walls (reclaimed also), big ass fireplaces, slate and stone, way cool abode. It sits on four acres, on a hill side, partially wooded, with a huge green expanse of lawn surrounding a pool out back. Spring has definitely sprung, the trees actually have some leaves, it smells like spring, it is a beautonomous sight for the weary travelers – Spanky and Rein. (Hey Keith, bet you thought I was gonna use “Verdant” in there somewhere – it’ll be in a later chapter – special award if you find it).

Very briefly, Keith and I have known each other since ’93 when we met on a huge consulting gig at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati. We quickly figured out that we are two like minded rebels, malcontents, and miscreants - we’ve stayed in touch and been friends ever since.

Spanky thinks he has died and gone to heaven. Nola, Crash, and Spanky immediately shoot out into the back yard and a doggie frenzy erupts into a two day long game of chase each other in huge circles, knock each other down while running, play bite each other in the head, stop and bark once in a while, lie down to catch a breath, and start all over again. Not to mention that the boys really dug Spanky so he was also getting a fair share of their attention.

It is interesting to watch how dogs behave together. Crash (part chow – big cuddly looking guy) and Spanky are about the same age – still pups really. They ended up being the constant playmates. Nola (an elegant looking part husky – Hurricane Katrina rescue dog) is older. Nola would frequently sit on the sidelines, watch Crash and Spanks go wild, usually waiting until Crash got tired and laid down – then she’d go play with Spanky. Spanks, being the smallest of them all, took his share of hits from the bigger dogs but his size gave him an agility edge which allowed him to thwart some of the onslaught.

Gotta save some stuff for the next post so that’s it for now. For pics of our visit with Keith and Barri, please go to

I Just Love Getting My Stomach Scratched

Campbell Hill Historical Sign

The USGS Summit Marker

Ohio Farmland As Far As the Eye Can See


KAVS said...

Spanky, we loved having you and that old dude stay with us. You were the perfect guests! Crash and Nola stared at the door for a long time, wondering if you were coming back. And Crash kept running up to the guest BR to see if maybe that fun little dog was still around. Good luck and don't be a stranger! - Keith, Barri, and the Cincinnati crew

Rein & Spanky said...

Dear KAVs,

Spanky and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the most excellent hospitality.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ken said...

You make Ohio sound like a pretty nice place. The historical and geographical data you provided gives me the illusion of a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. I’ve been to Ohio several times and found nothing but ugly chicks and pollution (Cincinnati). Wait a minute…..my wife is from Ohio……never mind. Glad to hear you guys made it home safely.

KAVS said...

Hmmm... Bit of a shame you weren't able to pick up a little class from your Buckeye wife, there, Ken! But hey - my family, friends and I do appreciate the thoughtful public commentary! Warmest personal regards, - Keith

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