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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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29 November 2011

Thanksgiving Journey 2011

After nearly 2,300 miles of highway travel over a 10 day period (November 19-28), my wife and I are back home in New Hampshire.  The purpose of this epic journey was to visit family and friends in the States of Kentucky, North Carolina and Delaware.   We explored the possibility of flying to these locations.  However, driving became the preferred option after considering the multiple flight changes involved in getting to our particular destinations.

Although we encountered some rain-free weather during our road trip, the photo below is fairly representative of weather conditions for a large chunk of our travels.  However, the rainy conditions were fine.  If it had been snow or ice, THEN it would have been a problem!

We spent approximately 2 days at each of the 3 places we visited.  As you might imagine with such a short visit, there was scarcely enough time to do much more than eat and chat about family-related topics.  During the course of our travels there was only one thing which might be of general interest.

While visiting family and friends in Ashland, KY we spent a few hours walking around the Port of Ashland. It is one component of a larger complex known as the Port of Huntington Tri-State which is the largest inland shipping port in the United States, both in terms of total tonnage and ton-miles.  This is due in large part to nearby coal and petroleum industries who load their products onto barges for shipment via the Ohio River which feeds into the Mississippi River system.

The snapshot below shows a portion of the port, as well as a nearby highway bridge that spans the Ohio River and connects the States of KY and OH.

And, the next snapshot shows a portion of the port from a different viewing perspective.

To protect communities along the river from flooding, floodwalls have been constructed.  Many cities, such as Ashland, have opted to adorn sections of the floodwall with huge murals to commemorate events of the city's history.  The snapshot below shows one such section of floodwall.

The next snapshot is a close-up view of one of the panels.  This particular panel was painted using a photo that was taken of a victory parade down the main street of Ashland to celebrate the end of WWII.

Shown below is another close-up photo of one of the panels on the floodwall.  This one is an artistic rendition of a scene along the river during the early days of the port's history.

Ashland is also renowned for the holiday lights that are erected each year in the massive park in the center of town.  Shown below is a snapshot of one of these festive light displays.

Okay, so that is about it in terms of items that might be of general interest.  There was no time to do any hiking other than some short strolls in local parks and neighborhoods.  These walks included some picturesque vignettes here and there, such as shown below.

To sum it up, our journey involved many miles of highway travel which was pleasurable in its own way, plus it provided a means to spend many enjoyable days visiting with family and friends.   Oh!  And I suppose it should also be mentioned that we had a total of 3 Thanksgiving meals, one at each of the locations we visited!  We eventually waddled our way back home to NH with full bellies and fond memories.


Steve Smith said...

Welcome back, John - glad you had a good trip!It's always nice when you're traveling this time of year and don't have to deal with snow and ice. I haven't been out much myself, but it sounds like trail conditions here have been generally "yucky" since the pre-Thanksgiving snow.



1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Steve for the “welcome back” greeting!
Of course, now begins the really “fun stuff” of catching up on a myriad of things that have piled up while we were away! :-)


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi John - Welcome home to a warm and wet New Hampshire. Thanks for the pictures of Ashland, Kentucky. I knew nothing about that community - it looks quite beautiful in your photos.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Ellen - Ashland, KY is an interesting place. The city is within a stone's throw of the States of OH and WV. For most of the 20th century the town was dominated by heavy industries such as steel, petroleum, coal, chemicals and such. However, in more recent times it has undergone a renaissance and is now much cleaner and attractive.


Summerset said...

Welcome back - nice to see you had a great road trip complete with fond memories!