The long drive-
Saturday morning 5 am, time to make the donuts….er, leave for Columbus Ohio.
This next week I’ve scheduled a whirlwind bonsai teaching tour of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
They all wanted me to bring tree material so I figured, sure, why not, how hard could it be?
I can make the drive.
I didn’t bother to look up the mileage until a few weeks ago (I’ve had the tour set up for a half a year or more).
From my door to the first gentleman’s door (Thank you Mike!) is 1000 miles.
That’s right, 1000 miles one way.
Which means that after all this is said and done and the last tree is styled and the last beer is drunk, I have to drive 1000 miles home.
I am visiting the Columbus Bonsai Society on Sunday for two sessions, the Ft Wayne club for a session starting at 2 pm on Tuesday and lasting until we are done, the Dayton club has a demo for me on Wednesday night and then the Cincy club Thursday and again on Saturday. And there are three private sessions thrown in there just so’s I don’t get bored.
The first stop was, of course, a pit stop.
Still in Florida, I think it’s near Gainesville.
This is actually where I stopped when I did a carving workshop for the Gainesville club a few months back.
And here I was hoping to see new things and use different shitholes on my most incredible journey.
It was about this time that I noticed my first hitchhiker.
I shall call him George.
Cute little fella, I just hope I’m not importing an invasive species into Ohio.
For those of you who know Florida geography you will be expecting this amazing pic next, but for those of you that don’t, the next mile marker is……
Georgia. That’s all.
Sorry for the buildup and the massive letdown.
Driving up 75 in Georgia, the most interesting things to see are the giant billboards, the change from advertising Florida oranges to Georgia peaches and pecans (I guess we Floridians only have oranges to offer the weary traveller) and the red clay.
The red clay, which makes me go hmmmmmnnn.
More on that later.
Just before Atlanta I hit the Devil’s mile marker:
I had just randomly looked down at my phone, saw the mile count and said,
“Well damn, that’s an ominous number”
This is usually a prelude to a tragic interlude but, no.
I’ll save you the suspense and say now that, so far, I’ve had no problems (as I write this. It’s day three, in Ft Wayne Indiana).
Since I’ve ruined the surprise I’ll go quickly.
That would be Atlanta to the uninitiated.
And the halfway point, which I probably should have noted what city it was in, is in Georgia (I think. Don’t quote me, the photos could possible be mixed up. Gimme a break, I’d been driving for 6 or 7 hours at this point)
Which, soon, leads us to the Greenest State in the Land of the Free.
And the beginning of these weird topographic features called hills (and maybe even some mountains, but I’m not sure where a hill might need to be called a mountain. Like the difference between a boat and a ship. Who knows?)
Study the pic above.
I’m amazed at the fact that those road builders back in the Fifties and Sixties found it necessary to blast roads into the mountains for a more level and uniform riding experience.
It seems very aggressive and maybe even a bit unnecessary.
Maybe it’s because car transmissions weren’t so well built back then?
It just really amazes me though.
This is also where the “Beware Falling Rocks” signs began.
I mean, how many people get hit with rocks driving down the interstate?
A lot, a little?
Is the answer that, if even one car hood is saved, any money spent on signage is money well spent?
I must apologize this time, usually I can find that answer for you but it seems that not every bit of human knowledge is readily available on the World Wide Web. Maybe I need the correct username and password to access the public (read that as: supposed to be open and accessible) NHSA’s online statistics database.
Or I need an obsolete IBM computer to do it on.
That might be it.
I can tell you that there’s a city in West Virginia called Falling Rock.
Anyway, next state is…
All I know about Kentucky is what I learned from Country songs, fried chicken buckets and the back of bourbon bottles, which are hard to read after the bottle is mostly empty.
Oh, and it’s pronounced “lew-vill” not “leweee-ville”.
Which brings us, almost all the way through Kentucky, to my friend Evan’s house in Covington.
I made a short stop to unload the Cincy and Indy workshop trees and take a small break from the road.
I wrote a post almost two years ago on the big ficus salicaria in the middle there.
That was where I had to use the fabled “hammerfist” technique, first pioneered by Peter Warren, on the trees roots.
Now, while I was visiting with Evan I must reassure you that no alcohol was consumed (I promise dear), but we did dabble in his pot stash.
He has some good stuff, local Kentucky and Ohio artisan stock.
If you’ve never heard of Rob MacGregor, he’s a fantastic potter in Ohio who’s bonsai pots are artistic, well made and affordable. His website is newworldhorticulture.com.
I find that I’m buying stuff before I’ve made any money yet.
From Covington I still need to drive to my first stop, London Ohio.
Ohio is just over the river from Covington (and over the famous yellow bridge too!)
At this point in the day I had been traveling for about 11 or twelve hours and I was ready to crash; I don’t drive well in the dark and it was getting close.
Then I remembered that it gets dark late here, whereas in Florida it gets dark at 8:30. It’s past 9 already.
I should be okay.
Downtown London is a neat little town.
I finally make my way to my new friend , Mike’s house.
He’s the president of the Columbus Bonsai Society and he pulled the short straw.
If you meet me in person I will warn you now, I might be somewhat witty on this blog but I’m pretty quiet in person. It takes a little while for me to warm up to you and really get me talking (or many beers works too).
I two mottos.
I believe that we have two ears but only one mouth for a reason.
And that’s it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and erase all doubt.
After some dinner at a local sandwich shop I was ready for bed.
I was tie-red out and pooped.
As I said earlier, I’m on day four (four? Did I say three earlier?) and getting ready for a marathon workshop with the Ft. Wayne club.
The next post will skip over day three (which really deserves it’s own write-up, and I’ll be cruel and tease you a bit now….ready? Can you say “8 foot tall ficus retusa”?) and combine at least days two and four, depending on how many pics I get.
Stay tuned and check my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds for up to date photos of my journey.