The Long Way Home

Treasures in Pottery Valley

Thanksgiving weekend took Jeff, Bill and me  to Pottery Valley, the Ohio/West Virginia/ Pennsylvania pocket of towns that once served as the china capital of the world. We traveled Route 65 to 68, passing through Rochester, Beaver and Industry along the Ohio River.

We know this route pretty well since we go trash-hunting along it quite often. Jeff has taken some more ominous shots of the nuclear plant in Shippingport, but it was surreal to see the plant puffing out clouds in the background of this quiet rural town on such a beautiful sunny Saturday. Nobody was around and you couldn’t hear anything except for a low hum coming from the plant and our footsteps echoing in the church parking lot where we took these photos.

Our main reason for going this route was to shop at our favorite antique mall in East Liverpool. I love exploring this city full of ghosts and history and I’m trying to talk Jeff and Bill into going on one of the ghost hunting tours, mainly because we’d  gain access to places we normally wouldn’t be allowed to enter, as well as satisfy my curiosity in the supernatural (they’ll give in eventually).

I didn’t buy much on this trip except for a Bell & Howell Electric Eyewww 127 camera for $5.00, still in its original leather case. Now I have to buy 127 film so I can use this little beauty (it’s sitting on the desk here as I type so I can keep looking at it). 

But the treasures I found on this trip were more about photo-taking. Bill programmed his trusty GPS navigator to take us the ‘shortest’ route, which took us on  Ohio county back roads instead of Route 65. This view from inside the car made me beg Bill to pull over so I could capture it:

I’m disappointed that this turned out so blurry — the sun was going down, I left my tripod at home and the boys were hungry, so I felt rushed to take pictures. The factory is an abandoned chemical plant. Jeff and Bill went exploring the old offices,  paint peeling from the floor in hundreds of delicate flakes. It was in disarray as if the men who worked there were called away for only a moment, not years.

While they explored, I set the timer on my camera and placed it in the middle of the road to get this self portrait. I was afraid of a car coming around the bend, which is why it caught me about to stand up. I originally wanted to lie on my stomach and look directly at the lens. The shit I do for photography!

I promised the boys we’d eat at Brighton Hot Dogs for dinner. I ate  a hamburger and a dog loaded with chili, cheese and onions. I have a vegetarian friend who breaks anti-meat law once a year just to eat one of those dogs, so yes, they are that good – a perfect way to cap off the Thanksgiving weekend.



2 Comments so far
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Like Pittsburgh has the Steelers, East Liverpool a minor league baseball team (now defunct) called the East Liverpool Potheads! (sike!)


Comment by Bill

It’s so early, I read this and almost believed you.


Comment by Lisa

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