Dwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2022

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The road home -- right through Huntington, West Virginia

With lots and lots of lasting memories

We're on the road finally, 30 September 2022, a bothersome 4.5 hours to Rockford, IL: the Riverside Inn, just in time to share the facilities with the Basset Hound Club of America Nationals (front license plaque: 'My basset hound is smarter than your honor student!'). (Infrastructure renovations going on in the other lane. Throughout our four day journey, actually.)

Our attractive suite is, however, with its bedroom upstairs, a bit inconvenient, but . . .

. . . Choupette takes no time to settle in.

A short march across the bridge over the Rock River to mix among the wonderful (but dangerous) geese at their dinnertime.

Responding to a request that we take advantage of the Riverside Inn's bar, we 'belly up', as it were, and have a convivial chat with a bare handful of fellow travelers . . .

. . . though our brief conversations seem to be echoing.

The next night, in the Drury Inn and Suites in Lafayette, apparently in Indiana, a very nice place nestled amid a flat horizon of (in addition to a Walmart) Arby's, Chipotle, Olive Garden, Burger King, Ihop, Cracker Barrel, McDonalds, and (where we ended up) Mountain Jack's Steakhouse, just a limping mad dash across the highway, not a bad place, and with football on the telly.

The cats cuddled sleepily in the Drury Inn in the meantime, until . . .

. . . some sort of disagreement intervened.

Next night: The Log Cabin in the Field, just a few miles south of Huntington, which is in West Virginia, on the Ohio River. Inexpensive, rustic, friendly, rudimentary, cute.

The cats are settling in nicely (we can't open the windows lest they head back home to Wisconsin on their own), as we begin contemplating dinner.

Our host has recommended the Bombshell Burgers and BBQ just 500m back down the road, so here we go.

And there, apparently, is the Bombshell Burgers diner.

Once through the gun shop (where the proprietor told us that we can't eat here unless we buy a gun ['Just kidding!'], we settled into the sparsely populated diner, which wasn't at all bad, though lacking an alcohol license (probably because of all the guns).

For one reason or another, we're booked for two nights near Huntington, so why not spend some time sightseeing in the downtown the next day. It doesn't sound like a sightseeing mecca, but it will surely have its own wholesome attractions. Like a warehouse district and rail line bisecting the route into the centre along the river, with only a few underpasses for access.

Here we are in the vrai downtown, greeted by Homer Crank, one of the Huntington Heroes.
(The Hometown Heroes Banner Program is a large-scale phenomenon promoted by a maker of 'Outdoor Decor' materials. Usually, in participating cities, individuals or families or sponsoring companies pay for the display and installation themselves, but in the case of Huntington, WV, the city selects and funds 150 such banners annually, beginning in 2021 and here seen in its 2nd year. Applications must refer to 'past or present Huntington residents . . . who have been honorably discharged from the military, killed in action, missing in action or be a prisoner of war'. This year's curbside exhibition was begun in early October and is to be removed in mid-November 2022. [The source is the local Herald-Dispatch, but it's paywalled.)

Many people come to Huntington just to sample the Wicked Hot Mess Burger, but we're just planning to look around for a hour or two.

Huntington, 'a vibrant, energetic city where heritage comes alive', was first settled in 1775, but developed quickly after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway set it up as its western terminus; the city's named for that company's founder. The railway provided an efficient connection between the James River at Richmond, Virginia, and the Ohio River Valley and thus onward by that river to the Mississippi. Modern Huntington is still described as the second-busiest inland port in the US.

See? The old river boat tradition brought back to life. (There are identical models all over the downtown, prepared by local artists.)

It's time for lunch, and we've lucked onto this place, Le Bistro on 3rd Ave, which serves up an excellent BLT and hosts three walls full of some noteworthy art, mostly for sale by the artists.

Like this

That's the place, Le Bistro, worth traveling all the way to Huntington for. And it's only a block south of the Riverfront Park on the Ohio River.

Farther along 3rd Ave

And facing onto 3rd Ave, this is Pullman Square Park. Huntington presently hosts about ca. 47,000 residents in the city itself, nearly half down from where it was before the late 20th century decline of manufacturing industries and the suburban sprawl into the surrounding areas. The Pullman Square Park and shopping mall, created in 2004 on a vacant lot here in the town centre, has brought things back to life, with a new economic focus on education (e.g., Marshall University), tourism (e.g., us), and services like healthcare and biotechnology.

The first order business here is to visit the huge bookstore, The Inner Geek, to see what they've got.

It's certainly big enough, lots of stuff. We'll try picking out a likely subject and assessing whether they're well provided with it.

How about 'Bibles'?
Oh yes, very well provided.

A very nice cinema upstairs in the mall (first run films, too), and . . .

. . . a nice view back south across 3rd Ave.

Farther along the Pullman Square Park, towards . . .

. . . the Edible Arrangements gift shop and Chico's clothing store, and at the end of the street . . .

. . . the Black Sheep, which looks interesting, so we'll be back this evening.

Wandering about now, this is 4th Ave, with its signature Marine Corps recruiting station.

And there's the Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse.

It's best not to intervene.

Back along 4th Ave a few blocks, here's the Cabell County courthouse, said to be built in 'the Beaux-Arts Classical style in 1899'. Nearly all, but not all, of Huntington City is in Cabell County (a few leftovers are in Wayne County).

Somebody's making a ferocious racket on the far sidewalk, shouting angry threats that don't seem to make any sense at all. We'll keep a watchful eye.

In fact, it turns out that the very disheveled gentleman is brandishing a large knife and shouting at an associate, so we're going to go back down 4th Ave for a good ways.

Marshall University's contribution

Here's the church district, evidently (unless the entire town is the church district). This is a rather sombre Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church.

This nicely crenellated palace is the First Presbyterian Church, just a few doors down.

We're looking next for the Trinity Episcopal Church, but that turns out to be round the back. We agree to skip it.

That's just a nice house on 4th Ave and 11th St (with a sign indicating 'Family Dentistry'). We're on our way to that Gothic Era cathedral just along the road.

That, we discover, is the First United Methodist Church, very nice indeed, and a far cry from John Wesley's outdoor sermonizing in the 18th century English countryside.

And just across the street, this is the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, with a rather unspiring look to it.

The Methodists seem to have won this little competition, even in the company of . . .

. . . the next in line, Central Christian Church (Disciple of Christ), just across 12th St., backing onto the Huntington Work Release Center and a place called Creative Kitchens.

The Methodists have even got a pretend Noah's Ark on the lawn for the kids.

Back on 4th Ave, here's a very nice 'vaporizer store', just across the street . . .

. . . from a little restaurant called Spudz Potatoes, alongside The Stelli deli. Now for the pièce de résistance​​ . . .

. . . The Robert C. Byrd Institute ('Celebrating 30 years'!), named for the lovable Senate Majority Leader, and President pro tempore of the US Senate, through the 1980s to 2010, who began his political life by organizing a Ku Klux Klan chapter in West Virginia but later regretted that. Though he filibustered against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and supported the Vietnam War (but opposed the Iraq War).

Approaching the T-Mobile story and the Marshall University Visual Arts Center, graced by a poignant photograph of Gid Crum.

And now back to the Pullman Square Park and its iconic whatever-that-is. Now we dash back to the Log Cabin in the Field, and return for dinner in . . .

. . . the Black Sheep. Our waitress (who turned out to be very congenial) started us off by urging us to place our orders over that strange 'Scan Here' thing. (A QR code, we discovered, before getting her to take our order.)

A feast fit for a dinner, breakfast, lunch, and snack on the drive home.

Huntington, WV, sort of by night.

Cats awaiting our return, comfortably

Leaving the Log Cabin in the Field, with a promise to return in less than a month's time (since we have to go back to Chicago at the end of October).

A view of the state capitol building of West Virginia. This is, errrm, Charleston. It's Charleston! Look quick.

West Virginia, despite is long history and heritage, is perhaps best known these days for its 'mountain top mining'.

Lovely

Could that be the Blue Ridge of Virginia?

No, it wasn't. 60 miles still to go, but . . .

. . . finally we're home. With a colorful prospect over the funeral home and the long row of cookie-cutter banks ranging off to the right.

Guess who's happy to be home. Even as he maintains his quiet dignity.

Next page: October in Staunton, and back to Chicago


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 October 2022.


The USA

Wisconsin Northwoods,
June-Oct 2022


Wisconsin Northwoods,
June-Oct 2021


Wisconsin Northwoods,
June-Oct 2020


Wisconsin Northwoods,
June-Sept 2019


Virginia and Wisconsin, July-Sept 2018


Wisconsin on the lake, July-Sept 2017


Wisconsin on the lake, July-Sept 2016


Wisconsin on the lake, July-Sept 2015


Wisconsin & road trip, July-Sept 2014


Wisconsin & Virginia, July-Sept 2013


Wisconsin on the lake, July-Sept 2012


Wisconsin 'Northwoods', June-Aug. 2011


Wisconsin on the lake, July-August 2010


Wisconsin,
August 2009


Boston and Maine, 2007


Marlowe's wedding, 2006


Olympic National Park, 2004