Saturday, July 9, 2011

Travels With Clancy: Versailles

In spite of what you might think, Clancy and I did not head to France and the palace of Louis XIV for our latest travels. Although it sure would have been nice if we had! But, Clancy's never been on a plane and we don't have that kind of time or money right now anyway, so we stayed much closer to home, and drove to Versailles, Indiana.

Versailles is about an hour west of Cincinnati, and traces its history back to 1818, when it was established as the county seat of Ripley County. County Commissioner John DePauw named the new town after his native city in France. But as the years passed, the French pronunciation of the name was lost, and the town is now known as "VerSALES." Somehow, that Americanized pronunciation doesn't have quite the same panache.

At any rate, Clancy and I had heard good things about the park in Versailles, so we hopped in the car and headed west on State Route 50. We were expecting a peaceful drive on a sunny morning, but that didn't turn out to be the case, as I was cut off and nearly driven off the road by a guy driving a pickup and towing some kind of huge recycling dumpster behind him. While my hands shook and my heart pounded as if it would leap right out of my chest, he drove on, completely oblivious to the fact that he had nearly sent Clancy and me to the great beyond.

We probably should have taken that as our cue to just turn around and head back home.

Instead, we continued on, and quickly came to the Indiana state line. I have always found the drive across the border to be kind of funny on Route 50, as it is a tad seedy. On the Ohio side, there is a motel that has been there for as long as I can remember, and looks like it hasn't been remodeled since the 1950s. It's simply called "State Line Motel," and I would be willing to bet that the rooms are rented out by the hour. I also wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Norman Bates and his stuffed birds behind the desk if I went inside.

The sale of fireworks is a big business around the border, as fireworks are technically illegal in Ohio, so Ohio residents who want to purchase fireworks for the 4th of July or other summer holidays have to travel to Indiana or Kentucky. As a result, Route 50 is lined with billboards advertising fireworks dealers. The signs shout "POW!" and "KABOOM!" in huge red and yellow letters, as if they are straight out of the old Batman television show. I can't help but find the signs funny, even though they are not exactly high-class.

About a half an hour after crossing into Indiana and leaving the garish fireworks signs behind, Clancy and I made it to Versailles State Park. As we drove in, we came to the Versailles Lake, and it was immediately clear that this was indeed a peaceful and lovely park.

The problem was that it was too peaceful. Because there wasn't anyone else there. Our only companions were these guys.

I'm normally not one to complain about peace and quiet, but this was too quiet. To the point of being eerie. Clancy and I walked around, and saw a huge pool with several water slides, numerous picnic shelters and tables, and a variety of playground equipment. But there wasn't a single soul to be seen. I felt like I was in some post-apocalyptic movie, and Clancy and I were wandering around looking for other survivors.

Even the boats along the lake were empty and unused.

We found a trail across from the lake that looked like the start of a great hike.

But it became obvious very quickly that this trail was heading deep into the woods.

Since I couldn't see another human being within shouting distance, and I had lost my cell signal, walking on didn't seem like a very wise decision. Clancy can be intimidating when he views something or someone as threatening, but that really wasn't enough to reassure me. We turned around and headed back out.

The more we walked around, the more my imagination went into overdrive. By the time we got back to the car, I really had the creeps. And our duck friends were still our only companions.

We got in the car and drove out, but I did stop the car and get out again in order to take a picture of this covered bridge from the 1850s. I love old covered bridges like this, as I think there is something so romantic about them. I would imagine the red of this bridge is beautiful in the winter up against a snow-filled white backdrop.

With that,Clancy and I left Versailles and headed back to Ohio. Versailles is a beautiful park, and I've no doubt that on the weekends it is alive with children playing and swimming, families picnicking, dogs barking, and walkers hiking. But on this particular weekday morning, the place was not for me.

So this trip was a swing and a miss, but I knew we couldn't have a successful outing every time. We're staying on our side of the state line for our upcoming travels, and keeping our fingers and paws crossed that we have some human companionship!


  1. A wonderful educational post, and those pictures are exceptionally good.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Enjoy your weel-end.

  2. Bummer you drove all that way to creepville. :) It does look like a wonderful park though. Clancy and you are becoming quite the travelers. :)

    Sorry I've been MIA, my temp job is just draining me. I'll be regular soon though. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. I would've been outta there long before you were. That kind of eerie silence creeps me out big time.

  4. @Yvonne, thank you, and I hope you had a nice weekend too. :)

    @Jules, sorry your job is so draining, that can really take a toll. Thanks so much for your comments, and creepville is how I will always think of this place now LOL.

    @Carol, yeah, it was creepy as can be. It felt like Clancy and I had stepped into a Stephen King story!

  5. What a beautiful place. I've only ever passed through Indiana.

    There's lots of places out here without another soul or phone service. I've gotten used to it.

  6. Love the pics. I've always like covered bridges. Fireworks are illegal here in GA and most people drive to AL or TN to get their fireworks.

  7. awesome pictures! I felt like I was right there with you and Clancy. I'm glad the trip gave you lots of great ideas!

  8. I love that you're doing these travels with Clancy! Also, doesn't surprise me that the French pronunciation was lost. It's similar in Coeur d'Alene, ID - people looked at me weird 'cause I pronounced it the French way. Hehe.

  9. This post made me laugh. There is nothing creepier than an empty state park. Usually there's always someone there, especially in the summer! I'm hoping you and Clancy have better luck next time!

  10. Love the photos! I'd forgotten that more than just one state (Iowa) has beautiful covered bridges!

  11. I'm glad that you didn't really run into a Norman Bates type! Sorry your outing was less than adventurous, but I'm sure the next one will be. At least you captured some great photos! Julie

  12. @Mary, it really was a nice place. Usually I like places that aren't crowded but this just creeped me out.

    @Ciara, thanks! Yeah, it's kind of silly to me that they are illegal here when people just drive to the neighboring states to get them.

    @nutschell, thanks!

    @Trisha, thank you! Oh, I wouldn't even know how to pronounce the ID place in French, I'm sure I'd mangle that LOL.

    @Kendal, yeah, with it being summer time I was sure there would be others there. It was just kind of strange!

    @Becky, thanks! I just love covered bridges, you don't see many around here at all, so this one was a nice surprise. :)

    @Julie, LOL, luckily no Norman Bates around. Thanks so much. :)

  13. Beautiful photographs, but I'd be like you and get the post apocalyptic feeling in a place that quiet.

    I'm glad you're ok after the road incident.

  14. Creeeeppppy. I can imagine that would freak you out somewhat - especially those boats!

    Love the photo of the covered bridge.

  15. Oh I miss the Midwest! The photos really took me home. Good thing you left the park. I've learned to trust those kinds of creepy feelings. Whew! I'm kind of scared just reading about it!

  16. Hi, Julie. I came over to meet you after reading your comment on my blog where I'm hosting memoirist Karen Walker today. I know you'll LOVE her book. And if you read my memoir also, I'd love to hear what you think of IT.

    This was certainly a creepy experience. I was nervous just reading the text and then seeing the pictures. Though the area is lovely and definitely one to see--when there are people around!

    Kanab, Utah caught my eye in your profile. I've never been to Kanab, but I did grow up in Utah (in Salt Lake City). Small world.

    How is your novel coming along? Good luck with it!
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

  17. @Rebecca, thanks! I really think the road incident should have been my cue to go home LOL.

    @Tallie, yeah, the boats and the pool were the things that creeped me out the most!! Thanks!

    @Karen, oh, I'm so glad you liked the photos! It really was a nice place. Thanks so much.

    @Ann, thanks so much for coming by, I really appreciate it! About Kanab, I've never been either, but I volunteer virtually as a writer for Best Friends, which is located there. I'd love to visit soon, fingers crossed! I'm really at the beginning stages of the novel, thanks so much for asking. I'm looking forward to following your blog. :)

  18. I enjoy covered bridges, as well! I always think of the movie Bettlegeuise where Gina Davis and Alec Baldwin crash and die on a covered bridge, and come back as ghosts. :)

    At least you got a great shot of all the boats in a row. I really like that photo and if it were crowded, you wouldn't have gotten that photo opp!

    Lake Forest, CA
    **Down 10lbs in 2 weeks.

    P.S. I don't know if you followed our month-long driving journey from Southern CA up to British Columbia Canada.

  19. @ahhsome, oh, I forgot about that scene in Beetlejuice LOL. I will have to catch up on your driving journey, thanks for the heads-up. I've always wanted to visit British Columbia, I'm looking forward to the virtual trip! :)


Thank you for your comments!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.