Where There Is a Road

The Start


Ohio as I remembered and expected it is farms and wayward old farmhouses, a similar vista to southern Lower Michigan. I was able to stop and catch, what was for me the quintessential Ohio landscape, a lonely old abandoned farmhouse.

Abandoned Small Red Ohio Farmhouse in a fallow field. Travel Photography. by Marquette Michigan Artist Taryn Okesson.
Abandoned Ohio Farm House

Southern Ohio was my surprise. Hills and what could be defined as mountains set back from the empty fall fields with morning fog rolling back. Winding narrow roads with old wood barns built up tight to them covered in vines and bereft of paint. Covered wood bridges heaving their last breath of life, or in a few cases carefully conserved. Federal Style houses set neatly right up to the sidewalks in tiny towns or elsewhere abandoned to the woods. New builds up in the hills with winding driveways and gated across from the river. On the river little houses toggled together defying paint and right angles. Indian burial mounds both set aside in state parks to enjoy and popping up lonely in farmer’s fields.

In southern Ohio near the Ohio River the fog rolls back in a valley. Travel Photograph by Marquette Michigan Artist Taryn Okesson.
Morning Fog Along the Ohio River
The Serpent Mound in Peebles Ohio. Travel Photograph by Marquette Michigan Artist Taryn Okesson.
Serpent Mound, Peebles, Ohio


Frosted Fall leaves on the ground in early morning Kentucky, Travel Photography by Marquette Michigan Artist Taryn Okesson.
Fall Leaves with Frost in Kentucky

Kentucky and Tennessee are combined in my memory as one big green drive from before. On this trip we crossed into Northern Kentucky from over the Ohio River and drove along narrow winding tree covered roads hugging the side of a small mountain. Eventually this gave way to rolling green hills with little farms as far as the eye could see. My first thought was “this must be that Kentucky Blue Grass.” I felt like we were high up in elevation maybe we were, maybe it was my imagination. Each turn another perfect vista. Old barns with tobacco drying. Cows and horses and sheep in the fields. The horses. Tall delicate golden, brown, black, white, silver stately dancing horses. Huge horses. Running horses. Horses to make you weep they were so perfect.

Exterior of 1792 Barton Distillery. Black with red painted wood-framed pane glass windows Travel Photography by Marquette MI Artist Taryn Okesson.
1792 Barton Distillery


Tennessee sticks in my head as all mountains and huge valleys containing the roads and the houses. This human felt very small driving through those valleys trying to see all the rocky outcrops. The houses changed to a lot of tin roofs and front porches. The cities we saw were busy building and it all felt new. Brick paver sidewalks and the muted fall colors just starting at the beginning of November.

A wood door in German Town Nashville Tennessee, Travel Photography By Marquette Michigan Artist Taryn Okesson
A building in German Town, Nashville, Tennessee

We took an unplanned lunch in Nashville and walked German town. Checked out the farmer’s market. There was a moving monument to Tennessee’s history from the geological formation of the area to the state’s part in the Civil War through when it the monument was constructed.

The Upper Peninsula was so untouched by the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement for example, that as we drive through towns and cities richer in American history for better or worse, I am not tempered to its realities emotionally. And there I am reading on a stone wall about the end of a nation. About Tennessee’s role in the downfall of the Cherokee, this thing I read about. This thing that I watched documentaries on. There. In stone in front of me, because this is one of the places the people should be.

I walked away feeling mixed up▪️

Continue to Part 2

Nashville Tennessee Skyline by Taryn Okesson
The view of Nashville from Germantown
Monument to Tennessee History, downtown Nashville, Tennessee. A wall following Tennessee’s historical timeline

Enter Your Email For a Newsletter with Book Recommendations and More