South Portsmouth -- Vanceburg -- Maysville -- Alexandria; 109.7 m. State 10.
Hard-surfaced roadbed throughout.
Chesapeake and Ohio R.R. roughly parallels this route.
Hotels chiefly in cities.
State 10, called the Mary Inglis (or Ingles) Trail, runs along the Ohio River most of the way between South Portsmouth and Vanceburg, makes a detour to the outer Knobs plateau, comes back to the river at Maysville, and then relegates itself again to the back country, though at several places it is fairly close to the Ohio in point of miles.
At one time the slopes of the billowing plateau that rears up beside the Ohio were densely wooded. Besides the common maples and sycamores, this region had a good deal of poplar and some scrub pine. Then, in the early nineteenth century, lumbering took away the best timber, leaving the land scraggly and subject to erosion. All the topsoil was soon carried off down the river. Attempts to till the badly wornout land have almost completely ruined it, and today it climbs bare to a meager tree line.
Except for Vanceburg and Maysville, the communities along the route are tiny, and cluster beside the, highway or along the railroad tracks. The road is seldom out of sight of habitation, which is usually a frame house that has somehow managed to remain erect. The people eke out a slender existence by farming and have a few mangy dogs, cattle, and horses, but they go out hunting 'possum and rabbits during the fall season and at all times seem less unhappy than the stranger expects them to be.
Life along the route is closely tied up with the river and the road; the traveler is conscious of one or both throughout his journey. From 1780 to 1815, the period when the wave of Western settlement crossed the Alleghenies and penetrated the Ohio River region, the river brought boatloads of restless immigrants down to Limestone (now Maysville), then picked them up again and took them westward. Some people remained in Limestone and along the Kentucky shoreline. Except at Limestone, Vanceburg, and Augusta, the succeeding era of great river traffic brought little prosperity to the immigrants scattered along the river and among the near-by knobs.
When the Maysville & Big Sandy R.R. rushed up to compete with the steamers in the early 1880's, the towns became sprightly and hopeful. But the C. & O. R.R. bought the Maysville & Big Sandy in 1888,