Hog Heaven – Better Than Old Carolina?

Before my trip to Salt Fork State Park, I was given a suggestion to try out a place called Hog Heaven which is a BBQ restaurant with three locations, two of which are off of 77 South. My favorite BBQ joint in Ohio for the past two years has been a place called Old Carolina BBQ which I discovered during my trip to a local annual rib cook off. Old Carolina has great ribs but what has set them apart from the rest of the BBQ I’ve tried is their sweet sauce.

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Since we enjoyed our visit to the first location located in New Philadelphia Ohio, we decided to visit their Canton location. During our first meal, I consumed a plentiful pulled pork sandwich. While the meat didn’t have any distinct flavor, the sauce is what made it pop. I can only describe it as ketchupy but with a sweetness to it such as honey or molasses. There is no spice to it what so ever and is the only sauce they have. I continuously found myself drowning my pulled pork in the sauce. During our second trip, I ordered a half slab of ribs. The first thing I noticed with these ribs is that when I picked up the bone to start eating them, the meat fell off without any of my assistance. This impressed me and told me these folks know how to cook a rack of ribs. The meat had a glaze of their sauce while also having a crispy texture to the top of the meat from the grill. These ribs were delicious. In fact, they were so good that now my fiance believes she has found a BBQ sauce that is better than Old Carolinas which we are still hotly debating.

While their Canton location is farther south than Old Carolina, it just might be that good for me to make the drive. I’ve found myself drinking from the sauce bottle as if it were Mountain Dew, it’s that good. While the new Philadelphia location was more like a biker bar, the Canton location was geared more towards a restaurant atmosphere. If you’re heading on I-77 South, stop by the Canton or New Philadelphia location for some excellent BBQ. Before the suggestion, I’ve never heard of Hog Heaven and now I consider it a hidden gem in Ohio.

Review Of The 23rd Ohio Bigfoot Conference

The 23rd annual Ohio Bigfoot conference hosted by Don Keating has come and gone. I didn’t expect the turn out to be as good as last year when Bob Gimlin showed up but alas, about 600-645 people were in attendance for this years event. I wasn’t too impressed with this years event mostly because of the speakers. The speakers that kept my interest the best was Ron Morehead as he explained what happened during the course of time that the Sierra Sounds were being recorded, some of Dr. Esteban Sarmiento’s presentation and last but not least, Eric Altman, director of the PA Bigfoot Society.

I found myself falling asleep a couple of times during some of the other presentations throughout the day mostly because I didn’t have a clue as to what the speaker was talking about. Lack of knowledge on my part but the dry speaking and lack of humor killed my attention span. Out of all the presentations, Eric Altman’s was the most interesting because it dealt with sighting reports that his group was either currently investigating or has investigated over the past 2 years. I wouldn’t mind if somehow, an entire hour or two was dedicated just for folks to get up and tell their story of their eyewitness account or could at least get a few more investigators to speak on what they have discovered via their own research. Although I doubt very many people would be willing to share their sighting reports to an audience of 600 people.

Unfortunately, Don Keating didn’t present on his investigations into the Ohio Bigfoot over the course of the year which is disappointing because I’m unable to make it to the Monthly meetings that he holds. It would have given everyone a heads up as to what’s been going on in Ohio Bigfoot wise. There was also some technical difficulties that at times, made it very annoying to be part of the audience thanks to the interference projected from the microphone. During one of the sessions, there was a loud audible clicking noise that we had to listen to for the duration of his presentation. It was easy to drown out after a while but still, made it hard to focus on the information he was giving out.

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Attendees Starting To Fill The Room

Number 24 for Don is up in the air but if he decides to go through with it, I hope the speakers are geared towards more sharing of either personal sightings or accounts, sharing of information via their investigations or just a sampling of recent investigations that person or group has been on.

One of the reasons why I enjoy the Bigfoot conferences so much is because of the substantial discounted rates that the Salt Fork State Park lodge offers. For Friday and Saturday the rates were only $79.00 while staying Sunday was only $29.00. While I look forward to the Bigfoot conference every year, I’m equally content with enjoying a mini vacation in a beautiful park for a few days with my lady friend. Unfortunately, we were not able to hike our usual spots because of the miserable rainy weather over the course of the weekend. In fact, it’s been so wet that a lot of the plants that normally have giant flowers this time of year have yet to bloom or were just starting to. However, we were able to hike close to the lake before the start of the conference and before a heavy thunderstorm came rolling in.

Salt Fork Lake

Salt Fork Lake

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Salt Fork State Park despite the miserable weather. After all, I beat my fiancĂ©e 5 times in a row in air hockey (I don’t think she enjoyed that part of the vacation). I also won four incredible pieces of Bigfoot artwork for my office wall for $40.00 in an auction during intermission. I’ll be showing those pictures in a follow-up post. The event itself was free to attend and I got to meet up with a couple of old friends. Hope to see news soon of a 24th conference.

Review Of The 22nd Annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference

I’m back from the 22nd annual Ohio Bigfoot conference held at Salt Fork State Park. The weather was perfect for squatching and the conference wasn’t that bad either. My fiancee and I didn’t get in until late Friday evening so we didn’t attend the meet and greet. On Saturday, the day of the conference, we grabbed a pair of seats in the back at about 15 minutes after three. Considering the seats were general admission, it was good to get seats early rather than closer to the starting time of 4PM. I did that one year and practically had to stand the entire conference. However, Don did a great job accommodating those who could not fit into the room by simulcasting the conference to the large TV just outside of the conference room. Don Keating who is the one who puts the Ohio Bigfoot conference together told the audience that at last count, at least 550 people were in attendance. This continues the trend of each conference becoming larger than the last. In fact, the Salt Fork State Park lodge had every room booked during the weekend.

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One of the biggest changes this year that I noticed is that the gift shop located within the lodge carried some bigfoot related merchandise which included a hat, a T-Shirt, some key-chains, books, and a doll of the hairy creature itself. I ended up purchasing two key-chains and a hat. The hat is black with a white bigfoot looking creature on the front with a foot print located on the side. Pretty cool to wear out in the field to let other people know you’re crazy. The other big change is that there was no guided tour on Sunday. Due to safety concerns with respect to an event that happened the year prior where someone lost their life not directly related to bigfooting, Don decided to just cancel the tours. However, he told everyone where they could go if they decided to venture out for themselves. Despite it being dangerous, the Hosack’s cave area has a rich history of sightings. Definitely don’t go anywhere near the trail once it hits dark or you could very well end up getting yourself killed.

As for the conference itself, Dr Jeff Muldrum had an interesting presentation on his research into the Asian variation of Bigfoot. After Jeff presented, Tom Yamarone played one of his bigfoot inspired songs to the crowd which sounded pretty good. I’m thinking about picking up his CD which contains four tracks. After the song, the moment I think a lot of people in the audience were waiting for happened when Bob Gimlin took the microphone. It was an honor to see Bob make it out to the conference and the crowd let him know by giving him a standing ovation before his presentation. Bob recounted the events that took place the day Patty was filmed by Roger Patterson. Bob came across as a very sincere man and I didn’t smell any signs of him participating in some sort of elaborate hoax. If I am going to believe anyone when it comes to the PG film, it’s going to be Bob since he was there as an eye witness. Everything outside of the scope of what Bob has said is speculation and speculation has harmed the bigfoot community more than helped. After Bob presented his story, he received another warm standing ovation. Bob stuck me as a down to earth, incredibly humble man who feels as though he has done nothing special. I told him that he was the most famous Bob I knew and he replied “I’m just Bob“. The guy had a great sense of humor and a smile that was great for pictures, as you’ll see below. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better in the bigfooting world than to be in the presence of Bob Gimlin unless of course, I’m in the presence of an actual Sasquatch!

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Small clip of Bob Telling His Story. Apologize For The Sideways View

Second Small clip of Bob Telling His Story.

Between 7PM and 8 was the scheduled amount of time for dinner. My fiancee and I generally eat the buffet which is at a reasonable price. This year, they had turkey, ribs, potato and macaroni salad, salad, corn bread, green beans, mashed potatoes, and moose for dessert. Now I’m not sure what the heck caused it but soon after dinner, during the 8PM presentation, I felt something that I could only describe as a bomb being set for detonation in my stomach. The next 20 minutes of my life were agonizing as I thought I needed to dial 911 because I was going to die on the shitter. After that was over with, I found out that my fiancee vomited at about the same time I was in the bathroom. This has me thinking that we encountered some mild food poisoning. We both ate the same thing. Macaroni salad, turkey, salad, some mashed potatoes, a few green beans, some whole kernel corn, and I had a chocolate moose while she had a pink moose. My suspicion is that we received the food poisoning from the macaroni salad but I can’t confirm this. If you attended the conference and ate at the dinner buffet, I’d love to know if it had the same effect on you.

From left to right: Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Bob Gimlin, Larry Lund, Tom Yamarone, John Horrigan, Don Keating
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All in all, Don Keating put on yet another great conference filled with interesting speakers. I’m not sure how you can top a bigfoot conference after having Bob Gimlin present his side of the story other than having an actual dead bigfoot on display at the event. I joked around, telling Don that Tom Biscardi could help out with that which generated a good laugh from those around me at the time. My fiancee and I enjoyed our time at the lodge which we always use as a mini vacation throughout the year as the rates on the rooms are fantastic, especially for the conference. We saw a red-tail fox, a large number of deer, hawks, a few toads on the trail, but no bigfoot. Maybe next year!

View the entire photoset from our trip via Flickr.

Video From Severe Weather Event On May 7th

On the evening of Friday., May 7th, 2010 I noticed a line of severe thunderstorms on the radar making their way across Ohio via the Lake Erie shoreline. These storms were pumping out a ton of electricity so I decided to go to my favorite spot with a milkshake and try to record some cloud to ground lightning strikes. Not only did I successfully record some great lightning strikes, but I was able to capture the giant shelf cloud that was being pushed in front of the supercell thunderstorm that tracked all the way from NW Ohio to the Cleveland area. This particular storm had a history of producing tornadoes but didn’t do so around the Cleveland area. However, the illuminated shelf cloud was incredible to see. Below is a video of the lightning in action but before you watch that, here are a couple screen captures from the video I recorded.

You can barely make out the shelf cloud to the left hand side

Shelf cloud starting to encroach on downtown Cleveland

My favorite picture clearly illustrating the shelf cloud in action

Very ominous roll cloud moving through downtown

Beach Photos With iPhone 3GS

Last Monday, the girl and I decided to hit up the beach despite it being a crisp 75 degrees outside to view the sunset. It was a relaxing time to say the least. The only camera I had on hand with me was the one inside of my iPhone 3GS and I must say, I think it takes pictures equal or slightly above the quality that is provided by my Kodak EasyShare. Both the iPhone and my stand alone digital camera have a 3 megapixel sensor in it but while the maximum size of the iPhone photos is 600X800, my digital camera takes pictures at much higher resolutions. But this photoset at the beach proves to me that while I may not have my digital camera on hand, the one provided in the iPhone does a pretty good job in its place.

Sunset 3

Check out the full photoset here.

21st Annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference

On Saturday May 2nd, 2009, I attended the 21st Annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference held at Salt Fork State Park. The event was headed by Don Keating of EOBIC. This is an event I’ve been attending the past few years. I’m always looking forward to getting out and spending time in the park while meeting with a bunch of bigfoot enthusiasts. Unfortunately this year, I didn’t have the funds to stay at the lodge so I had to drive their on the day of the conference.

I got a late start but I arrived 10 minutes before the event started at 4PM EDT. Worthy of noting is that on the way to the Lodge, I passed an area known as Hosacks Cave. As I did, I noticed quite a few emergency vehicles in the parking lot which made me wonder if someone else had fallen off the cave. At the beginning of the conference, a small prayer was conducted for the 20 year old student who had fallen off the top of the cave. You can read about what happened in this story published on the Daily-Jeff.com but she ended up dieing later on due to her injuries which makes her the second person to die from falling off the top of this cave. My sympathies go out to her family and I won’t go into another argument on whether the trail should be closed or not.

As for the conference, I had to stand up in the lobby as ALL of the seats were taken. We’re talking four to five hundred people in a conference room. That is a lot of squatchers! No worries though as after the first few speakers, I managed to grab a seat in the back but because of rude people in the lobby, I was unable to concentrate on the speakers and their presentations. I think next year, the lobby doors will have to be closed to prevent this from happening.

Overall, I just wasn’t into the conference this year as I was last year. The highlight for me though was John Cartwright retelling his sighting/experience. You could literally hear the fear in his voice as he recounted what happened to him. I met some old friends, talked a bit of bigfoot, ate a great buffet dinner which set me back $15.00 and then went home. Don Keating mentioned that he will probably do 4 more conferences and then, perhaps end on the 25th one. So, I have four more conferences to look forward to. Hopefully, I’m in a better financial position and can stay at the lodge.

Click here to visit my photo gallery of the event on Flickr.

Here are some YouTube videos of the event.

Lake Effect Snow

Here is a small video I took the other morning showing off the Lake Effect snow that my area sometimes receives.

Lake-effect snow is produced in the winter when cold, Arctic winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the lee shores. The same effect over bodies of salt water is called ocean effect snow, sea effect snow, or even bay effect snow. – via Wikipedia

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Salt Fork And The 20th Annual BigFoot Conference

Salt Fork State Park Entrance

First off, special thanks to Don Keating of the E.O.B.I.C. for putting on yet another memorable BigFoot conference. This was the 20th time Don has hosted the conference and this time, at least 415 people showed up for the event. In fact, many people ended up having to stand in the conference room with some members of the audience having to sit near the room entrance in order to encompass the speakers. The conference included speakers such as Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, M.K. Davis and Eric Altman. I thought the conference was really well done.

There were quite a few rumors that this conference may be the last one Don puts on, but until we hear otherwise, that is not the case. All indications that I witnessed during this years conference point to another one being put together for 2009. However, Don now has to deal with the fact that there may not be enough room at the conference room at Salt Fork State Park to do the conference. If he ends up hosting it somewhere else, the costs go up exponentially. How Don will treat this double edged sword is beyond me, but my girlfriend and I really look forward to attending the conference each year while also staying at the lodge as a mini vacation for a long weekend. If the event is hosted elsewhere, I’m not sure we’ll be able to afford staying at Salt Fork any longer.

So that’s my mini review of the conference. On Sunday, after Don Keating gave the group a guided tour of sightings that have taken place at Salt Fork over the past few years, my girlfriend and I decided to do a bit of hiking. We walked a trail known as Morgan’s Knob. This trail is a loop which provides walkers with an excellent opportunity to get a grip with the type of terrain that the park has to offer. Hills, plenty of trees, ravines, cliffs, mini waterfalls, you name it, it’s part of this trail. At some points, you feel like you’re hiking a trail in the Pacific North West. After hiking a trail such as Morgan’s Knob, you get the idea as to why it would be pretty easy for a creature such as Sasquatch to move around the park unnoticed.

The following photos as well as videos are from our hiking trip into the woods. These are only a few of the photos from the gallery, if you would like to see the entire photo set, click here. Here’s to hoping that there will be a 21st bigfoot conference/expo at Salt Fork State Park. Continue reading

Spring In Ohio

I’ve been on my first week of paid vacation which means I was able to spend some more time than usual with my girlfriend. I couldn’t of picked a better week weather wise as it was mostly in the upper 60s mid 70s for most of the week. On Thursday, we took a ride to an area called Whipp’s Ledges which is an area of glaciated rocks that make for an excellent starting point for beginner rock climbers. During the walk, I noticed how Spring is in full swing with the trees starting to bud their leaves as well as bumble bees who were out in full force. Here are a few shots taken with my Kodak Easyshare highlighting what I like to call, “New Beginnings“.

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Check out the rest of the photoset entitled New Beginnings.

Short video clip highlighting the awesome view from atop one of the rocks at Whipps Ledges.

Trip To Crocker Park

The other week, me and the lady went to Crocker Park which is a shopping development located in Westlake, Ohio. The stores are lined up on both sides of the street and are accessible by walking outside to each one. I think of this place as an outside mall.

This $480 million project encompasses 12 city blocks and features a mixture of internationally known retail stores, spacious office buildings, great restaurants, luxury apartments, and spectacular homes. It’s all in a park-like setting filled with the captivating charm and bustling energy of a traditional downtown main street.

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Check out the rest of the Crocker Park Photoset