Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Update and Visiting Falls of Ohio State Park (Free!)

Clarksville, The Good...

And the not so good. While it's great that Amazon is paying for our lot, it also means we have to stay at one of the three parks that Amazon has picked for its workcampers. One of those 'parks' is actually a mobile home park with a very long commute to Amazon's fulfillment center in Sheperdsville. Another park is White's in Bardsville, which has an unfriendly driveway for motorcycles. 
Which means we are sitting in Louisville North Campground. As you can tell from this photo, the spots are ridiculously close together. There is also a train track along the back of the park and while we generally love the sound of trains, this line is apparently where old trains go to fall apart. Seriously, some of the trains barreling through here sound like they are going to self-destruct at any moment. 
Here's another shot from our window. Yep, we can practically touch both of the neighbors' trailers in front of us. Sigh. Oh well, it's free, right? So let's focus on the positive. The one good thing this park has going for it is location. 

I-65 runs through Indiana, heads south across the Ohio River, and then goes straight through downtown Louisville. Clarksville sits on the east side of I-65 and Jeffersonville sits on the west side of the highway. This means it's only a fifteen minute walk to most everything in Jeffersonville, including the Big Four Bridge.

The Biker spent last week in training, but we did carve out some time to see the Falls of Ohio State Park, which is another easy fifteen minute walk, through a cute and older neighborhood. 
The park is free if you walk in, but parking is $2, and there is also an admission charge for the Interpretive Center.

Clarksville is one of the oldest towns in this area, and was founded in 1783 whe General George Roberts Clark was awarded a land grant for his service. The General not only single-handly led the Continental Army to winning the Northwest Frontier during the Revolutionary war, but he also took on a ton of debt to keep his soldiers clothed and fed and armed. 

The United States never bothered to help the General with his debts while he was alive, but they did give him a LOT of really cheap land.  As in 8,000 acres. (The United States finally began making payments to his estate after his death-  the last one was made in 1913!)
William Clark was the General's youngest son. In the fall of 1803, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis set out from Clarksville on what would become one of the most famous expeditions ever.
Three years later, the expedition would end at the Falls of Ohio. Since we were just out for a leisurely stroll, we didn't go looking for the Clark homestead site, which is also in the park. 
The Falls were a serious problem for early travelers, and in the 19th century, a series of canals and locks were built to help boats navigate the falls. The first dam was built in the 1880s and the current McAlpine dam was built in 1964.

Much of the original falls were flooded by the damming of the river, but there are still 300 million old fossil beds that can be explored. Since this is a wildlife conservation area and a state park, taking fossils home is not permitted!

 You can also view the Big Four Bridge from the park. The Big Four Bridge was a railroad bridge, built in 1895 and later closed in the 60s. In 2013 the bridge was re-opened as a pedestrian bridge. We're looking forward to walking across the bridge to downtown Louisville sometime soon. We've heard the view of the river is fantastic and of course, it's free!

Know Before You Go: The park is part of the Falls of Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area, and is sandwiched between the Ohio River and Riverview Drive. The eastern end of the conservation area is Ashland Park, and across from Ashland is a popular ice cream shop, the Widow's Walk. If you want to continue walking, Riverview Drive will take you to Jefferson's riverfront restaurant row (map available here) and Warder Park, where free concerts are held on Fridays in the summer.


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