On the Road – Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio

On our way to Missoula, Montana for a conference on fire science. Missoula is a center for the study of wildfire, so when I saw a conference on the subject in that place, I thought it would be great to go at least once.

A few interesting sites along the way. One is a rest stop in Maryland that you see in the first picture. It has to be one of the best rest stops I have ever seen. Next is a place that claims to have invented the hot dog, at least in its current form. We checked into it. There are other claimants. This place was a little cramped. Worth seeing but not worth going to see. Chrissy had the hot dog. It was like other hot dogs. Later that day we stopped at Jackie O Taproom in Athens, Ohio. It is not named after Jackie Onassis, but they admit that it is a draw. Next two pictures are our usual beer drinking pictures.

Also on the road are pre-Columbian earth mounds in Chillicothe, Ohio. The people who built them disappeared from the archeological record around 1500 years ago. While they are probably related to some contemporary groups, there is no direct line.

By the time Europeans arrived, none of the local tribes were mound builders, so the ancient culture is called “Hopewell” after the guy whose farm they were found.

The Hopewell people did not build cities or villages. Archeologists have never found remains of more than a few huts. They were mostly pre-agricultural. But they did like to build earthen mounds. This was no easy task. They did not have metal tools or pack animals. There is evidence of long-distance trade, including copper from around Lake Superior and shells from Gulf of Mexico. My first two pictures show the mounds. You can see me in the first picture for scale. Last is a groundskeeper doing some work. It occurred to me that this guy with his metal shovel and powered vehicle could move as much dirt as a hundred guys on foot carrying baskets and digging with sticks.