The Buckeye State

September 20 – 27, 2020

Basic Route of the Expedition through September 27, 2020

There have been bits and pieces that we pick up from each state that travel with us along our journey. For example, we continue to clean the red dust we picked up in the deserts of Utah, the grey dust along the gravel roads in Idaho, Oregon, and Montana. We remove sand collected from the Oregon coast as we walked along the beaches. Now, we are reporting stink bugs from our time dry camping in the wine country of Ohio. We aren’t sure whether they are in fact stink bugs as neither of us have that ology, but someone told us they were and as of this writing, we’ve never smelled anything terribly stinky. To our knowledge they don’t bite and aren’t poisonous. But mostly they keep turning up, behind curtains, between the window screens and windows, and everywhere else. They are small, brown-grey and useless to us, but then again, we’ve never tasted one either and likely won’t.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_marmorated_stink_bug

The other thing less material and more subjective than a stink bug of which I have carried along the way is a heightened awareness of my senses as I try to actively think through each one as we explore new areas. While hiking or at camp, I’ll work through each one mentally logging what I register with each sense or at least the ones that make an impact on me. Sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste. Sound, or the noise I hear in various places has become very impactful to me. Noise, as I have deduced, comes in two forms. One is man-made: the combustion engines of cars, planes and trains, industry, loud talking people, smart phones, music, generators and so on. The other is that of noises naturally occurring in nature such as birds singing, small animals scurrying in the underbrush, crickets at night, the wind blowing through the trees, insects buzzing, rain, thunder and, of course, Toohey panting. 

As we moved through Ohio, we stayed in two KOA’s then in wine country along the Northeastern part of the state. Every stop was full of man-made sounds to include interstate traffic, trains, and industry. This got me thinking about whether there were any noise studies that would show where in the US noise is concentrated and low and behold, there is and based on this study, Ohio is a noisy place. I’m sure the business mind will say that is the sound of money, much like the cattle farmer says the smell of cow poop is the smell of money, and likely that has merit. Ohio has always amazed me with the numbers of large cities, large enough to support many professional sports teams. This is indicative of population, which is based on jobs. With that comes robust transportation needs for interstate highways, rail lines, and air traffic. As I reflect on all of this as it relates to our journey through the state, I wonder where the quiet spots in the state are and if they’ve been identified by some research group and possibly marketed as such. I also wonder if the amazing backroads we drove that provided visual natural beauty would have been quiet spots if we’d only stopped, turned off our engine, sat, and listened. 

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sound/soundmap.htm

Our anticipation of the state was one of reuniting with family and past work colleagues, seeing the backroads while driving across the state, and hopefully staying in a Hipcamp or something more interesting than a KOA. All of this played out and each encounter was great, fun and soulful. There were more people we wished we could have seen but based on travel direction and the limitation of a year, we had to push on. In the end, we enjoyed the state for the personal relationships with family and friends and the beautiful country roads way more than for all the stink bugs we are likely to find hidden in our home for months to come. 

Travel Journal

We rolled into the state of Ohio on an early Sunday afternoon and quickly made it though Toledo before hooking up with coastal Highway 2. This stretch of road led us along, but mostly just out of sight of the lake, passing the Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station to our left, passing south of Port Clinton, and then into the town of Sandusky. My thoughts on this town as we entered it was of the past Penn State coach in jail, thankfully forever, and wondering if they would consider a name change for marketing purposes. Honest thoughts but not that enjoyable. We made a bunch of turns through the town and ended up at the KOA just east of town which was AOK.

KOA’s at this point of the year are winding down. There are sparse kampers other than the seasonal residents and the facilities appear not to be making improvements as things that have been broken or out of order likely will remain that way until they shutdown and prepare for the next season. But we stay as we still find some level of konsistency and komfort.

We set up camp and relaxed a bit into the afternoon, taking time to work on the blog stuff and plan the next day we have scheduled in the area. I made a phone call to my dad and then let the night thing happen.

The next morning we woke up and again, worked on the blog, me writing and editing and Lysette going through photos. We then went for a short run out of the Kamp, up to the main road leading into the Kamp and back around a residential area before returning to the home. We have access behind the grounds to a small inlet from the lake that has lots of waterfowl activity which was fun to run by and see. 

Put-In-Bay and Fish’s Hole

The main event for the day was a lunch meet up with some friends (past work colleagues) and their spouses in the small town of Port Clinton. The spot was a small seafood restaurant specializing in fresh fried perch and walleye. We arrived to find them already there with a table outside. The umbrella was up which was good as the day, even though still morning, was cool with the definite prospect for warm, bright sun, and blue skies. Lysette and I went with the walleye fish and chips and a side of slaw. For me the show wasn’t the food, but reconnecting with these fine people with whom I always enjoyed. The conversation was good, engaging, and light. 

Port Clinton sits just south and a few miles from a small chunk of land surrounded by water called South Bass Island that provides a rocky foundation to the town of Put-In-Bay. The reputation of Put-In-Bay is one of a party place giving me images of lots of bars, staggering patrons, and New Orleans smelling streets and alleys. Access to the island is mostly by ferry, but there is a small airport as well. Actually, when the lake freezes over, plane, snowmobile, and dogsled are the only means of getting to and fro, the latter two only if the ice is reportedly thick enough. Anyway, our friends who have lived there part-time for years with the recent decision to move there full-time, kindly offered to escort us as locals on an inside tour of the island. 

We made a quick exit from the restaurant and drove to the ferry port to catch our boat. We boarded the boat and started the short 3 mile water crossing to the island. These ferries are smaller than those we’d been on in Washington, but still support cars, people and dogs. We chose to stay on the bottom along with the cars and completely enjoyed the fresh air, sun, and scenery along the trip over. We departed with a short walk up a hill to our friend’s truck where the six of us got in the cab, appropriately distanced, and Toohey in the bed, for the short drive to his house. 

Having yet to experience the town on our drive, the island turns out to be quite charming, with the middle of it surrounded by pretty lush forested areas much like we’ve seen along the other great lakes. Spattered throughout are small vineyards, businesses, state parks and lake front houses. The island shares proud history based on the war of 1812 where Oliver Hazard Perry and his armada defeated the British in a lake, ship to ship battle. Commemorating this is a wonderful National Park museum and the second highest monument in the National Park system, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. Also noteworthy while discussing parks is the State of Ohio’s smallest park which sits as a gazebo along the harbor and as sappy as it sounds, reportedly a romantic place to sip wine with your future wife. 

After a brief introduction to the place, we pulled into the driveway of the mini-estate referred to as Fish’s Hole. No one on this expedition was bold enough to ask for specifics behind the name as we were in mixed company and the task of unhearing it likely being too much to deal with, so we all uncomfortably left it alone. But the picture board of the creation of this slice of heaven, located in main living space of the main house shows the evolution from raw land, to the house being moved across on the ferry, to the construction of his garage and man-cave, or a structure of which we could store several 12-foot A-Liners in comfortably, was fun to see. 

We left Fish’s Hole (that just sounds wrong) for a local’s tour of the island, now with Toohey in the back seat between Lysette and me. We first went around the west side, we saw the full sized state park where kayaks were launching, our guide pointed out specific houses where he spent time watching sunsets, the most intriguing of these was the ship house. This is the front end (bow for nautical types) of a ship sitting on a cliff overlooking the lake complete with all interior ship finishings and equipment. We only saw a side view through some trees so can only vouch that it looks like a ship. The Travel with Toohey team did a bit of research to find this place is legit and our tour guide was not just out for bigger tips. 

The tour rolled around the eastern side of the island where we unsuccessfully searched some bushes for a reported Sasquatch style monster and then, slightly disappointed, we drove into the small town of Put-In-Bay. We made a quick stop to photograph the monument, checked out the museum, and then our tour guide made an attempt to show Toohey the proper way dogs should roll in grass on Put-In-Bay.

We then made the short two block walk into town to enjoy a refreshing beer, and to get Toohey a bowl of water, on the back patio at Frosty’s. Conversation was again, good and jovial, the place quiet which was great for our party, and the staff masked and friendly. 

We left through the front entrance and back onto the main drag of Put-In-Bay. The streets, mostly lined with nice looking structures, was quiet and appeared clean. Based on reputation, this isn’t the way it is most warm sunny party days but for us, it was a perfect way to spend time here with friends on a beautiful afternoon. We will remember the island as extremely quaint, lush with trees, fields of vineyards throughout, and a nice clean downtown district with lots of places to grab a drink and overall, lots of island character. We said our goodbyes and set off on the ferry, then the Tacoma for the drive back to the home. 

The Ohio Nussbaum’s and Buckeye Lake

Having accomplished the northwest corner of Ohio, our destination now was the Buckeye Lake KOA with two primary goals for the drive. Enjoy the small back roads and find a USPO to mail some important stuff. The backroads bit was accomplished as we left Sandusky, headed south through Norwalk where we found the USPO in a lovely, older downtown district. From there, we bolted down through the small village of Savannah, OH where we stopped briefly for the Photography Department to capture some pictures then through Ashland where we marveled at the large victorian homes on the Southside of town. The best part of the drive was when we picked up highway 511 through Widowsville (named for the large number of men killed fighting in the civil war), and Perrysville. We then connected with a series of roads from 3, 205, to a small unmarked farm lane of a road call Purity, which took us on a roller coaster ride through beautiful farm country. Along the way, we happily slowed to a one-horse power pace while following an Amish carriage with a young girl peering and waving to us from the rear window. After the disappointment of passing them, the scenery was just slow farm country quaint as we twisted and wound our way through. 

We arrived at Buckeye Lake where the Buckeye Lake KOA actually sits as advertised. Lysette checked us in and then we were escorted by the golf kart to our site, No. 85. Home sat in the back, next to residents who, he and his wife, were current staff for the park, which is odd given the open number of sites available and the required bike ride distance to the bathrooms. But it was nice enough, well treed, clean, and with the typical highway, train, and industrial noise we have grown accustomed to while sleeping at KOA’s. 

We set up camp and took off for the short drive to Canal Winchester, OH to see the Nussbaum’s. This gaggle of Nuttrees includes my son, his wife, and my adorable, smart, and active 2-year old grandson. We made a quick stop at a nearby Kroger before backing the Tacoma into their space. Toohey anxiously greeted their cat, Elwood, while never making eye contact, their dog and son, mostly ignoring them all for a quick search for any potential unattended food that might be had. We all hugged it out and started in with all the family pleasantries. We toured their home stopping in grandson’s room to marvel at his books and other toys. My daughter-in-law prepared a wonderful dinner of fish tacos which we all enjoyed. After dinner we went outside to blow bubbles while grandson yelled “bubbles!” stomping any that happened to survive the float down to the ground. We were entertained as he turned over patio furniture and tossed dirt from the garden onto the patio. In fact, I could sit and watch this remarkable little guy do just about anything and enjoy that time. As night quickly approached, we said our goodbyes looking forward to another gathering the next evening. 

With nothing but chores on the agenda and a bit of time before the afternoon family gathering, we decided on a run to Buckeye Lake, the namesake of the town and KOA, to see what all the fuss was about. We left the RV park turning east on the main drag then after about a 1/4 mile we spotted a drainage to the lake and formal pathway between several houses. We followed it which led us to an opening to the lake and a two bike lane wide path leading along it. We chose left for no particular reason. What we found was a long, somewhat wide lake boarded by houses that if they had arms, would easily touch. Most of these houses are small weekender looking cottages with evidence of good times having been had. There were some with names and others not and no two seemingly the same. The eclectic lake neighborhood reminding us more of a small beach community full of summer cottages was something we enjoyed seeing. 

What we learned by patiently observing the area is that the homes along this northside of the lake were all built along the earthen dam used to create the Buckeye Lake reservoir as the lake water sat higher than the first floor and street sitting to the north of them. What we were seeing in these lake front cottages was basically the top story, sitting lake side all equally butting up the edge of the damn. In fact, and after a bit of research, Buckeye Lake was originally formed to support the Ohio and Erie Canal system of waterways prior to the rail and interstate systems enjoyed today. It once was the location of an amusement park and has a long history of Ohioans recreating in the area. 

We ran the path east until it ended at a small park with trees then turned and ran a few miles in the other direction, remaining more interested in the cottages to our right than the water to our left. The water side mostly had docks with many of the boats being pontoon style. We estimated that a recent renovation had been done to the dam as each place, whether it had a dock or not, had a square concrete pad used to support docks. What we would earn later from my daughter-in-law is that there was, in fact, a recent major renovation to the dam where they added lots of earth, took out lots of old trees, and created the two bike lane wide path that runs for 4 miles between the houses along the dam and the water. An interesting place that seems like a fun community of which to be a part. 

We returned to home, had breakfast, did some laundry, washed the truck, blogged, showered and then set off for the main event which was to see the Ohio Nussbaum’s. Grandson was rested and in motion when we arrived, provided smiles and entertainment. We watched in amazement as he did the wood letter/number puzzle, using his whole body to passionately announce each one before placing it in the proper cut out hole. Beyond his letter and numbers, the parents of this really smart little boy seem to be nurturing a love of reading as he seems to really enjoy all his books which is so awesome. 

In fact, watching my grandson and how he eagerly explores the details of the world around him, taking time to learn new things every day, explore the gravity of the objects as they tilt and fall, and announce to everyone repeatedly while he points with pride that that is a tree, provides energy to me as an adult to be a better adult. Energy and passion for experiencing new things and constantly taking the time to explore the world around me, challenging what I think I know, learning as much as I can along the way to make sure I constantly grow.

While ordering dinner, we went outside and hung out in son’s new truck with even Toohey enjoying the truck bed life. Next, and with grandson safely loaded in the van, we set off to drop off recycling, pick up a BBQ dinner, returning for a nice square table dinner complete with quality family conversation. The night ended too quickly but with a few selfies and lots of “byes” and kiss blows as I drug my feet to the Tacoma for the drive back to home. 

Ohio Amish and the Wine Country

Move days still bring an energy but our recent ratio of move to fun days is at 2:1 so now a bit of fatigue is setting in. But we pack up the home, connect it to the Tacoma, and pulled our possessions out of the KOA for a reserved Hipcamp near a winery in the Northeastern section of the state close to the town of Geneva. The drive out started on the same backroads that led us to Buckeye Lake several days prior, then turning right, east, more into Amish Country. We know this as the National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas that is guiding us marks, in small red font, Amish Country. Wanting to see quiet rolling hills of nice Amish farmland and homesteads with the occasional horse and carriage sighting was the plan for the slow trip north. 

What we got instead was the confirmation that Amish, or at least those living in the area, are indeed profit seeking capitalist. So, they live in their traditional Little House on the Prairie attire, go to school together, pray together, ride bikes, and have farmland which is beautiful. The place however, specifically the town of Berlin, was a Swiss cheese factory of craft fairs, restaurants, hotels, furniture showrooms, theater houses, and all that is Amish tourist. Admittedly, we stayed on the main drag taking the brunt of it, but all the square blue information signs telling you which show was down which little rural farm road was a turnoff. The bikes, now showing signs of technology creep, some having electric motors, still exist along the road and they still have the carriage parking and of course the scenery was beautiful. In fact, Thursday must be laundry day for the Amish as the clothes were strung from barn to house with all the undergarments, dresses, and overalls as most houses still exist without a washer and dryer. But the stench of this being propped up for the tourist dollar wasn’t fun or interesting for us. We were definitely in the minority as we busted out of town with only a bag of Snyder of Berlin Kettle Style Potato Chips.

We made some quick moves over and up to the town of Louisville where we stopped for groceries. Then the Google lady navigated us along all kinds of unmarked backroads until we reached Highway 534 north which would eventually deliver us near our destination. As we rolled along, we saw more of the quaint Amish scenery that we wanted, more traditional appearing without all the industrial tourism seen in Berlin. The drive flattened out a bit as we passed a few vineyards, the Grand River, and a turn left towards our destination of the Winery at Silver Hill.

Our camp host for the next few days is the owner of this place. This establishment is a large building with tastings and restaurant in addition to wine and hard cider production. He came, mask on, from the back, we exchanged pleasantries before we followed him about a half mile to a spot in the field, along a pond near his house. He recommended this spot as having the most privacy of which we appreciated. We unhitched, set up camp, and relaxed into the evening. As the sun set, we did a short walk down the quiet road behind camp returning for the night of sleep with the Ohio hum of interstate and an occasional railroad horn in the distance.

As we rolled into the area yesterday, passing over the Grand River, we looked left and saw a covered bridge over the river. What we’d learn is there are many of these old structures around this wine country area and after a little research we realized that if we tried we could run to this bridge from camp. So we did. 

We woke to 95% humidity and warm temperatures producing lots of dewy damp conditions. The home was dripping and walking through the tall grass wet our feet through the crocs. We did our morning thing, dressed and left the home from the back of the property, accessing Van Pelt, a small single lane road of crush and run type material, providing a hard surface, just short of asphalt. We followed this south crossing over the interstate, then to the intersection with North River Road. At this point, we hucked a left now running against traffic on the left side of the road as good runners do, passed several vineyards to include a “pick your own grapes” place and one much more fancy before getting to a road we thought was the right turn to the bridge. Going with gut versus maps and justifying a Dead End sign as likely a bridge that you can no longer drive over because of structural issues, proved to be a fail as we added about a mile to our run when we got to the end of the road and had to turn back. I guess we haven’t learned from our experience with Dead End signs yet. 

We returned to North River Road, more committed than before to make the bridge, made the right turn back east until we got to a road with a sign that indicated historic covered bridge ahead. This time, and with all the right information, we turned right, proceeded down a steep hill to the old covered bridge. In fact, for those interested and according to the sign, this is the longest covered bridge in Ohio. We crossed it on the pedestrian piece sitting on the west, down river side of the structure then went down the bank to get Toohey a drink. 

The bridge sits just west of a dam slash spillway, slowing the water which has created more of a cess pool of muddy water versus the natural flow. Toohey didn’t mind and had his drink and quick dunk to cool off before moving on. 

We snapped some photos along the bridge and headed home. The return trip, now with much more sun and higher temperatures, made this seem much harder. We pushed on and as we slugged it into camp sweaty and tired, Lysette and I catching a chair and water, Toohey, sprawling in the tall grass, still damp from the morning dew, with long tongue dangling to provide cooling for his hot body.

We ate a brunch and relaxed for most of the afternoon before heading to see Lysette’s friend and past co-worker who now owns several vineyards and a winery in the area. The preamble to this was a visit to our Hipcamp host’s place for a tasting of their wines and a salad. We also used this time to grab an electrical outlet for charging up computers. The wines were good, especially the drier ones and the salad filling. 

We left there for the short drive to her friend’s winery, down several small roads, through a few small older towns with attractive old buildings and homes leading us to his place, Silver Crest Cellars. https://www.silvercrestcellars.com/

The building, which includes production and tasting room is new, tastefully done, and somewhat quiet as compared to some of the other wineries we’ve seen. There is a large vineyard across the street and a smaller one across the parking lot. Picnic tables are scattered throughout hardwood trees located to the east and reportedly a cliff edge drop to the Grand River on the other side of the trees. 

Her friend was behind the counter and the standard Plexiglas glass barrier where we said hello’s and pleasantries. We each got a tray of samples and moved outside among the trees. A short time later, another of her past coworkers came up with his glass of wine. Living close, he comes by for grape picking and is familiar with all the product offerings. His wife, also a previous coworker, arrived a short time later. The owner sat down with us and introduced us to his wife, another former Bailey Controls engineer and they all reminisced about the old work group, where everyone is today, all with light hearts and some laughter at the history and where they all are. 

Meanwhile, Toohey was steadily protecting the assets in the Tacoma after a brief introduction to the group. Me, I mostly enjoyed the stories, it was fun and nice. There was an amazing sunset behind the group, which I faced and enjoyed on my own during one of the stories, wishing the Photography Department was around to capture it. What I saw was the last bit of sun illuminating the tops of healthy, lush grapevines across the street, with the darkened green trees behind them, the sky, turning shades of pale pinks and light blues. The entire scene and setting was gorgeous.

We made the dark drive back, dodging headlights of oncoming traffic, while hugging the solid white line on the right side of the road when one was available, to the home, sitting alone in the dark field. 

The next day we decided to wake the bikes up after they’ve sat dormant for a few weeks. The weather forecasted as nice, and the terrain perfect for a fun ride through rural small roads with low traffic was the carrot soliciting us to ride. We set off. Our first destination was the place called Geneva on the Lake State Park which was due north of us on Van Pelt. This road as previously mentioned, is a single lane with no paint, and crush and run packed surface. We passed several intersections, over a few train tracks, and an interstate before arriving at the park. We headed for the marina and boat ramp to hopefully get our lake view. As luck would have it, there was Lake Erie in front of us, boats zipping about, and fisherman fishing from the large rock along the shore. To our right appeared to be a resort of some sort with folks out walking the lakefront path. We snapped a few selfies and headed for the path, now moving north along and through this resort area. Couples and families were hanging around this place still enjoying mostly summer garb. The path ended on the main highway 534. We jumped off the bike path and onto the highway to check out what was on the map as Geneva on the Lake, or GOTL, as the town signs and oval bumper stickers would show. This place was as much beach tourist as anything we’ve seen. Hand painted signs as marquis suggesting cold beer in GOTL, gyro shops, pizza parlor, an old school small ferris wheel, Eddie’s Diner, and a series of other bars and restaurants. There were a good number of folks out walking, many smoking cigarettes, and a line up of large motorcycles along the sidewalks. We rode the mile through this town before pulling a brodie and headed back on 534. The highway with good bike lane took us through the actual town of Geneva which was bustling, a bit larger with a full-on grocery store, Family Dollar, and our first covered bridge of the day. 

The tourist maps, for which we qualify, show all the wineries and covered bridges in the area and the best routes to visit them. There are lots of each. We stopped at one in the town of Geneva which is reportedly the smallest covered bridge in the county. We can testify that it was indeed, small. We rode our bikes over and through it before checking the map for covered bridge two for the day. We headed back along 534 before hucking a left onto Clay Road which we followed for a few miles until we got to Sexton Road where we turned right. We flowed through the small rural farms, here mostly corn and soybean with the occasional vineyard. This road turned into Mechanicsville before a long steep swooping road, curving first left then right opening to the long white framed bridge over the Grand River. We rode through it, took selfies, and checked the map for the ride back towards home. 

Cyclist and runners all know a good downhill is only the preamble to the eventual  trudge uphill that is sure to come and it did. Short but steep, out of the saddle, we drove hard on the pedals to get out, and we did. The ride, now on South River Road continued to provide us the farm scenery adding some old farm structures. The road intersects with 534 where we turned right then a pretty quick left towards Harpersfield bridge, the longest bridge and the one we ran to the other day with Toohey. This time, we rode over it on our bikes before another short steep climb up and out. 

The return to camp was along North River Road then left on Van Pelt before swinging the bikes into the drive and across the field to find our pooch, Director of Security, sitting quietly and patiently in the back of the Tacoma cab, protecting the assets. We opened the door, helped him down where he immediately walked over to a patch of tall cool grass getting and rolled over. He would sit there, enjoying the ground beneath and the warming sun overhead for a good while. 

We spent the next hour just hanging out, me checking some college football scores, Lysette, well, I’m not sure. It was quiet with little conversation. We finished a bag of chips, and me, a lime flavored La Croix, before deciding to clean up and head over to the Winery at Spring Hill, owned and managed by the camp host, and a place to hook up to electricity and plan our future. 

The winery was much busier than the day before with several bachelorette parties, the field around the winery filled with a few other campers, and a real buzz with the nice weather and outside seating. We had a drink and a small food order before finally deciding on a KOA in Erie for our next stop, a night, a shower, and some provisions. 

We left the winery and headed back along the small roads looking for scenery and enjoying the fading light of the late afternoon. We passed by many wineries, now all packed with wine enthusiasts. The roads, not busy, but used by connoisseurs of good wine moving from place to place. We stopped to get a view of the large cliffs cut by the Grand River at what Ohioans call a Metro Park. We drove past the parking lot and down the hill hoping it would lead us the magic we sought. The road dead ended with a small three car pullout to the left. We swung the car in and saw a human walking up some nicely placed stairs. We thought of reversing but he yelled something like “Colorado.” Toohey now on alert and barking from behind our ears faded much of what he said.  What we learned was he was there setting up camp with his family and that each Metro Park in Lake County has one reservable campsite. They were on the one for this park and had a great view of the river, the stone column where a bridge once spanned, and the large, high grey cliffs along the Grand River. This jovial fellow, who I feared might eat us, invited down into his hamlet, alleged a Colorado connection having purchased his car from a friend moving on from Boulder, CO. His Korean wife and their child were there as was a guy wearing a large brimmed hat, long hair pulled back into a ponytail, using a metal detector and sifter, like you’d see panning for gold, to work the dirt and rocks around the fire ring. He nor the others ever looked up or said a word while our new friend chatted up a storm, providing slices of information on his life even though we never really asked a question. He searched for life connections as he learned that Lysette had lived in the area long ago. He offered us a beer to stay and chat of which we graciously declined before moving back to the Tacoma for the rest of our evening drive.

We returned to camp where we spent then next hour or so sitting in our chairs enjoying a bottle of Silver Crest Cellars Cabernet Franc purchased the previous day. We packed most of the stuff that we didn’t need into the Tacoma so as not to have to load dewy wet gear in the morning and retired to the home. We called my dad to check on scoring rules for gin before playing a few practice rounds then called it a night. 

As we leave this camp and the state of Ohio, we celebrate both. Ohio being our 10th state of our journey and this camp, sitting in the Northeast corner of the state, was our 50th camp since we left Golden in May. Not only is this a milestone of our four months on the road but also the first time we’ve had to use our packable go anywhere toilet now celebrating our use of all equipment that has traveled with us. Well mostly.

Ohio has also been a great place for family and friends. What we didn’t have in monumental scenery and escape into nature, we found in visiting with long time friends and the love of family which is irreplaceable and needed to fill the human spirit. We bid the state adieu and now move east into the state of Pennsylvania. 

Journey Announcement

The trip news is that we have made the decision to turn south in Pennsylvania versus our original plan to head to New England. This was a tough choice but one based on COVID restrictions being much tighter in those states. This is the second casualty/opportunity of the trip but as with our decision to skip California and Alaska, we will slow it down and find the charm and magic in the places we’ll visit next. 

4 thoughts on “The Buckeye State

  1. I’m happy that the Travels With Toohey team made time to stop and visit our little island and got to experience Fish’s Hole. Okay, now THAT sounds bad! lol It’s probably better to leave you wondering as to the origin of that name, as I’m pretty sure your imagination can conjure up a better story than the real one.
    Great seeing you a Kemp, and meeting the rest of the team!
    As always, your prose eloquently painted a picture.

  2. I love feeling a part of your travels as you traverse the country. The pictures of Lysette will provide a phenomenal calendar ! I am sure it was hard leaving that adorable grandchild.

  3. Catching up…
    When I worked on the sign business magazine, someone sent me a write-up about one of the last guys who tramped around the country painting those mail pouch ads on barns. I guess it was a big deal back in the day and there were hundreds of them in the farm country back east. I never saw one in real life and wasn’t sure if any were still around; so they are, which is very Cool.
    Thanks for the great fun reads and pix.

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