My recent trip to Ohio has been in the making since June, when our family got together for our “Family Gathering” in Illinois. I come from a family of twelve children and for years we have had this gathering once a year. Even after our parents both passed on, we’ve continued to keep this tradition. So this past summer we gathered in Arthur, Illinois.
During this trip, my sister’s children secretly planned a 60th surprise birthday party for their mother, Betty. The party was to be in Holmes County, Ohio where our roots are. Since Betty’s birthday is toward the end of October it was decided to have the surprise party October 25th.
So on the afternoon of October 22nd I boarded the Pioneer Trails bus in Pinecraft, Florida to go north. The Pioneer Trails bus line has been making runs from Ohio/Indiana to Florida for over thirty years. The majority of their passengers are the Amish, who don’t drive vehicles. I mentioned to the owner some time ago that he struck gold when he started making these runs. His only reply was, “It is not all gravy.” which is true. All disabled people get free rides, along with anybody who is over 90-years-old. I am one of those who ride for free.
The day I boarded the bus we started off with 18 passengers. We left the parking lot behind the Tourist Mennonite Church at 3:30 PM and made such good time that we had our “midnight stop” at 10:30 PM.
Our next stop was at a Cracker Barrel in Lexington, Kentucky at 6:00 AM. This Cracker Barrel knows when to expect us and prepares ahead for the masses of people. After our breakfast, we headed for Cincinnati, Ohio (and got stopped for speeding) where we split ways with the Indiana passengers. There was a bus waiting for them to continue to Indiana, while we got on I-71 going north to Holmes County, arriving in Berlin, Ohio. Altogether, it was a twenty-one plus hour bus ride. My sister, Clara, two of her daughters, and a few little children were waiting for me in Berlin.
This trip to Ohio was strictly family. I did not visit or do anything else that did not involve family.
The following Tuesday morning another sister took me to Canton/Akron airport for my flight back to Sarasota. I chose to fly home rather than take another bus ride. I was back on the ground in Sarasota, Florida after only four hours!
Katie Troyer is a photographer and blogger who makes her home in Pinecraft, Florida. She says when she first bought her camera in 1997, she realized the opportunity she had in preserving future generations. When she is at family gatherings she always takes photos that will eb appreciated and treasured for generations to come. She also takes pictures of the town she calls home: Pinecraft, Florida.
This is Katie with her great-nephew, taken in October of 2014.
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