NASA is planning two missions to Venus to assess if the now-toxic planet once had an ocean, continents and life. Scientists are beginning the effort on Earth by training sensors and machine learning systems to analyze the building blocks of our own planet. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann
Boeing and Airbus dominate global aviation, but China’s Comac wants to challenge the duopoly with new planes. WSJ’s Jon Sindreu explains how supply chains, technology and geopolitics could help the Western aircraft makers to protect key markets. Photo Composite: George Downs
Watering the Country’s Food Basket Is Becoming a Challenge
Droughts are part of a natural cycle of water. But the drought currently gripping the Western U.S. has climate scientists concerned that the cycle may be shifting. This has major implications for those who rely on the water the most: farmers and the communities they surround. Photo Illustration: Carter McCall/WSJ
Low-wage work is in high demand, and employers are now competing for applicants, offering incentives ranging from sign-on bonuses to free food. But with many still unemployed, are these offers working? Photo: Bloomberg
This summer it’s harder than ever to rent a car in the U.S., especially at popular vacation destinations. To learn what’s behind the spike in rental car prices, WSJ speaks with an industry analyst and WSJ’s Nora Naughton. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
YOU’LL BEGIN your 433-mile traverse across the Buckeye State by crossing the Ohio River on a car ferry, heading into the wild Northwest Territory. That’s your first clue that Ohio is nothing like a flat, monotonous cornfield. The route winds through the Hocking Hills, graced with waterfalls and towering hemlocks, and passes through the farms of Amish country rich in buggies, bonnets and butterfat. Such pastoral landscapes contrast to the buzz in the state’s “Three Cs,” the cities of Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Day 1: Cincinnati to Logan
From the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport rental lot, travel back in time via KY-20 East. Follow signs to the Anderson Ferry. A hair-pinned road leads you down to Kentucky’s Ohio River bank, where for $5 (plus $1 tip) a ferry operating since 1817 will float your car over to Ohio pioneer-style. Head east to downtown Cincinnati on US-50. Enervated vinyl-sided houses and warehouses punctuate the drive, but your destination, Over-the-Rhine, is fizzing. The neighborhood’s 19th-century corniced tenements, originally crammed with German immigrants, form the country’s largest collection of Italianate Revival architecture. Neglected for years, OTR is now coated in creamy paint and optimism, and restocked with bright young things and craft breweries. Busy Washington Park is fun to explore.
Day 2: Logan to Columbus
Spend the morning exploring the trails around Hocking Hills State Park. The mile-long Rock House loop is a good introduction to the park, or you can follow the rock-hewn steps down to Old Man Cave, J.R.R. Tolkien’s elfish Rivendell come to life. Should it rain, linger over breakfast at the Hocking Hills Diner (hockinghillsdiner.com) or call on Lockhart Ironworks (themakersofhandforgediron.com), a small family firm making high-end artisan cookware forged by cheerful blacksmiths clanging away out back.
Day 3: Columbus through Amish Country to Cleveland
Take US-62 East past sweet-smelling meadows, a covered bridge and the occasional horse-drawn Amish tricyclist or buggy to Berlin. Just before town, detour south about 2 miles to Miller’s Bakery for cheese tarts and doughnuts stuffed with in-season fruit jams (4250 Township Road 356; 330-893-3002). Berlin is likely clotted with tourists ogling the rural-themed souvenirs. The real action is further north at the Mt. Hope Auction, where Amish farmers bid and buy livestock. The arena’s competitive excitement is good fun to watch (mthopeauction.com). Cross the road to Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen for a lunch of fried chicken, egg noodles and green beans served buffet style.
Day 1: Denver to Salida
Breakfast from Crema Coffee House (cremacoffeehouse.net) fuels the 2-hour-15-minute launch out of Denver’s orbit and into the mountains toward Buena Vista (“BYOO-nuh Vista” if you want to blend in). Along the Arkansas River, the town is a jumping-in point for kayakers, white-water rafters and stand-up paddleboarders (which is why you see so many signs asking you “SUP?”). If the rapids look too rapid, stroll instead along the banks in South Main, a meticulous neighborhood of gabled homes and shops that feels slightly staged but nonetheless stylish. Pop into the bar at the Surf Hotel, which anchors the area, for a refreshment on the wraparound balcony that overlooks the river (surfhotel.com).
Day 2: Salida to Paonia
Show no restraint when selecting your breakfast items at Salida’s Little Red Hen Bakery (littleredhensalida.com). The drive west over Monarch Pass offers a panorama of the Sawatch mountain range as you cross the Continental Divide, the boundary that decides whether a river flows east or west. Continue on to Crested Butte, carved with plenty of hiking and biking paths. During the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, July 9-18, local guides lead walks to the lushest spots, including the Rustler Gulch and Beckwith Pass trails (crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.org). Back in town, brightly painted buildings along Elk Avenue host convivial places such as Secret Stash (secretstash.com), which serves cheeky pizzas like the Booty Call (a heap of meat).
Day 3: Paonia to Grand Junction
Before leaving Paonia, stock the car with tamales, honey and cider from Big B’s store and cafe, which sits steps away from their apple orchard (bigbs.com). Then drive over to Western Culture Farmstead & Creamery for some fresh feta and chevre and to coo over the adorable baby goats (westernculturefarmstead.com). It’s 2½ hours south to Telluride, sitting in a box canyon of 13ers and 14ers in a landscape that could be Switzerland’s stunt double. The emerald peaks crowd around this former mining town, now an upscale enclave of art galleries, cafes and shops. Get a lay of the land aboard the town’s free gondola, which lifts riders 1,750 feet above the valley floor. By late afternoon, the final leg of this tour sends you north 2.5 hours to Palisade, where in summer, orchards all over burst with the town’s prized peaches. Then, with space left on your camera-phone for one more astonishing landmass, take the scenic Rim Rock Drive through Colorado National Monument, 32 square miles of sandstone plateaus and rock formations with plenty of roadside overlooks along the route.