Gear check

Testing travel gear is a top priority here. Dive gear,
cameras, heavy sunscreen and the duds for an assignment
to develop stories and photos on Honduran Bay Islands are
filling luggage crannies just emptied of items from a road
trip Barbara and I took to Ohio from the New Jersey
home of baseball and Frank Sinatra. My first glimpse of
myhome in ages was drawn not so much from nostalgia
but the chance to see the
Creature From The Black
in full 3D color while sitting in a field once known
as the Black Swamp. It was a highlight of Portage
Quarry's Legends of Diving Festival, which lived up to its
name. Zale Parry, who's brought us so much more than
Sea Hunt, reminded us that plastics don't go away. They
kill for centuries if not disposed of properly. Sam
Lecocq's creation – the single-hose regulator – is used by
millions. These days you've got to shop hard to find a two-
hose reg. Legends indeed. Although they failed to break
the record for divers underwater simultaneously, a few
hundred had a lot of fun trying. Plus Scubadoo was
handing out snorkels and masks to kids Hey! Hooking 'em
young works for the crack dealer in my urban 'hood. Why
not for scuba? Worked for me. Being so close, Gilboa
Quarry demanded a visit. It's more than a scuba park,
with facilities to train teams to respond to emergencies
above and below the water, even rescuing people who fall
into grain bins. Just overlook the symbolism of a big
plastic bull that marks the point to turn toward the facility.

Goin' home
What little changed in intervening years made "home" a lot
less homey, I thought, standing in the parking lot that was
the family house looking at an Old Mill Stream that
probably was more like the industrial waterway of Tell
Taylor's day than the fishing and boating river I once
knew. Nearby, was still the capped-off pipe from the Karg
Well that ushered in our nation's appetite for hydrocarbons
and spawned Marathon Oil Co., still anchored on Findlay's
Main Street. Across from it is Wilson's Hamburgers,
which inspired the Wendy's chain. Greg has taken on
Miller's Luncheonette, serving up his dad's menu of foods
and friendship to a tee. One alma mater, The Courier, is
surprisingly unchanged with former co-workers still in
place. Another, the University of Findlay has mushroomed.
St. Mike's similarly has outgrown its shell with a posh
palace in the upscale end of town. Much humbler is the
family farm my brother and I now share near Billtown.
Not sure how St. Mike's is doing in miracles these days,
but the Millers, who now farm our land, say well-timed
rain saved the soybean crop. Thank you universe! And to
thank those who came before them, we had to drop in on
Findlay Reservoir, Lake Erie and other fishing holes to let
their denizens know how much their forefathers were
appreciated as dinner guests while making ends meet on a
Midwest newspaper's pay scale.
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Bob has beans / Barbara Krooss photo
Marathon Oil
Barbara n Bob
Dave Hanneman / Barbara Krooss photo
Kurt Leonard / Barbara Krooss photo
Greg Miller
St. Mike's
Karg Well
Old Mill Stream
Reservoir II
Marblehead Light
Port Clinton Fish Co.
Bobbin' down the road
Zale Parry / Jeff Rice
Sam Lecocq
Record Attempt
Zale's fans
Gilboa Quarry
Mooooving along
Drop in on Gilboa
Hooking 'em young
Roatan / Barbara Krooss photo