Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Punderson State Park, Newbury, OH



We drove just about 100 miles yesterday, and are now east of Cleveland at Punderson State Park. Driving through Cleveland we were happy to have our new GPS with the lane assist feature, which shows a little picture of what lane you need to be in for the next exit or turn. Too bad the navigator didn’t quite understand the picture, and we ended up in the wrong lane, which when it recalculated took us through the ‘hood! We were hoping we didn’t have a mechanical breakdown, but made it out and finally into a really scenic neighborhood of huge old homes. The problem was the road was very narrow, rough, and only had a 35 mph speed limit. It was a long last 20 miles to the park!

We got a nice site on the lake, but the trees are so dense it is hard to see it.


Last evening we took a bike ride to explore the park, which has a golf course, lots of cabins, and a lovely lodge and restaurant.


Unfortunately this is not one of the Ohio parks that honors Passport America, so we are paying $25 a night for our site. What surprised us is there are almost 200 sites, 5 with full hookups for $31, and the rest with only 20 amp electric. This is the first time we’ve stayed at a campground that didn’t have at least 30 amp service. We tried the AC and it didn’t trip the breaker, but it is cool enough that we didn’t really need it anyway.

The zoom on our camera is malfunctioning and the lens is scratched, so today we drove to Mentor, 20 miles north, to check out Best Buy and for me to get a much needed haircut. Jim would like a camera with a better zoom, but we got so confused and overwhelmed with all the choices, we didn’t buy anything.

After we got back we hiked a few miles around the lake. We are getting tired of trees and woods, and long for the vistas we were seeing out west. Didn’t see anything interesting on the trail until right at the end when we found these colorful mushrooms growing on a fallen log.


It has been a week since Oreo died and we miss him horribly. Fortunately our other boy Quincy doesn’t seem to be aware that he is gone. Probably because he is getting all the attention now.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Put-In-Bay, OH


On Saturday we took the Sonny S, a passenger-only ferry, from Middle Bass Island to Put-In-Bay, a village on South Bass Island, and only a 10 minute ferry ride away.


Put-In-Bay is the party island, whereas Middle Bass is the quiet one.


Everyone rents golf carts or walks and rides bikes to the various restaurants, bars, and shops on the island.


It was really crowded, but we went in a couple bars and listened to some live music from the 60’s and 70’s played by a bunch of guys who looked older than us. The crowd wasn’t real young, either.

Then we walked to the Perry Memorial, part of the National Park system. They have a large piece of land on the water with a very nice visitor center and a huge monument, which is currently under reconstruction. Put-In-Bay was the location of the squadron of U.S. naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, who sailed from the port on September 10, 1813 to fight the British just north of the island in the Battle of Lake Erie.

A view of the memorial from the ferry.


Kim and Dave, with the monument on the side of his head.


We had a very pleasant weekend and left today on the 12:15 ferry. The weather was much better, light winds and sunshine. We were even able to get out and go on the upper passenger deck during the ride.

We are in the front, and there was a big Class A behind us. There were also two large dump trucks and many cars. Kim said she never saw so many large vehicles on the ferry at the same time. Luckily we made to the mainland without incident..


Approaching land. Good thing Jim washed our roof this weekend.


The car was still there when we got off the ferry and we drove a whole 5 miles back to East Harbor State Park to spend the night. I forgot to mention when we were here last week that many of the Ohio state parks honor the 50% off Passport America discount Sunday-Wednesday, so we are only paying $13.50 a night to stay here, a great deal.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Middle Bass Island, OH


First I would like to thank everyone for the kind comments about Oreo. I don’t know how Jim was able to write that last post, because I don’t think I could have done it for a long time. 

We managed to get aboard the ferry yesterday at Catawba, a rather anxiety inducing trip. It was windy so Lake Erie was very choppy and we were squeezed in so tightly the driver’s door was the only one with barely enough room to get out, which Jim did to take a couple pictures. Our mirrors had to be pushed in.


It was a 45 minute ride to go 7 miles, with a cost of $140 round trip. We left the car in one of several free parking areas, since that would have been another $40.


A house we saw on South Bass Island from the ferry. They cut this boat in half and built a house around it. Quite unique.


At least we have a free place to park behind our friends, Dave and Kim’s, house on the island.



We’ve gone for a few walks and a bike ride so far. Although the island is only a bit over 800 acres, we managed to ride our bikes almost 10 miles last night. This is a beautiful place, mainly private residences, with just a couple restaurants, bars, stores, a state park for tent camping only, and an RV park.

Dave and Kim got a couple cute dogs since we last saw them in Columbus three years ago. This is Jake and Ellie.


A few scenes from Lake Erie.



You can barely make out the nuclear power plant on the horizon on the left.


This has been a nice diversion, enjoying time with old friends, having a few drinks and laughing a lot. It still seems very empty coming back to the rig and only one cat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Loss




This is one of life’s little adventures we and I am sure everyone can do without but is unavoidable.

Today, we finally lost our best friend, Oreo. He was as the saying goes a different breed of cat and I mean that in the personality sense. Gayle and I have shared space with quite a few cats in the past nigh on 29 years. Despite what dog owners may think cats are all different, each with his or her own personality.

We loved them all. Some were more of the standoffish variety and some were more people kind of cats, if you know what I mean.

For us, however, he was a cat of a different color. When I picked him out of the carrier at the humane society some 15 or so years ago he immediately draped himself around my neck and purred. He did the same with Gayle, although, he sneezed in her face. He also did it with the air conditioner repair guy who happened to be in our house on a job.

He was the only cat who would come to you when you whistled for him from wherever he might be in the house. While we always had at least two cats at any time he would seek us out to play with him. He chasing us and we him. Him hiding behind a doorway and leaping out at you when you walked by. You get the idea.

He seemed as though he tried as hard as he could to understand what you were saying to him and, of course, we all talk to our friends. He didn’t talk so much to us at first but as he grew older and especially after we started full timing he talked to us a good bit. He liked very much going outside and sitting on the picnic table or a chair we had for him and he would tell us about this quite often nagging us at the door and looking at you with that hopeful expression.



When we traveled in the rig he had to ride in the lap of the passenger whoever that might be.


In other words he was a people cat of the highest order. I don’t want to bore you with all of it as we can only stand so much cuteness.

Of course, he has another buddy who will likely be missing him as well on those cold nights and when he wants to play.


I use to find myself sort of hoping that he would outlive me although I realized that meant an early demise for me because I always dreaded this day.

So, from the blog some of you know he has been sick for awhile but his quality of life seemed good until these last few weeks. It became worse in the last several days although for some silly reason we were hoping he would make it back to Erie with us. The real truth being we hoped he would never die.

But all good and bad things come to an end and so it was today with our friend.

Luckily for me I married well and made at least one good choice in a buddy. He will be truly and sorely missed but never forgotten.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Airstream Factory Tour


No, we’re not buying an Airstream, but since we were 27 miles from the factory in Jackson Center, OH, we decided to take the tour. Jim realized he forgot the camera while we were driving there, but as it turned out they don’t allow photos, so it didn’t matter. The tour starts in the service center lobby, and the whole building has aluminum walls and Airstream decor. Pretty classy. There is also a store which sells everything from Airstream clothing to Christmas ornaments.

The only thing they allowed us to photograph was the service area, where they had this chopper and sidecar designed by Jesse James. We were told his ex-wife Sandra Bullock has an Airstream trailer, too.


The tour lasted about an hour and a half, and it was really fascinating to watch the workers assembling them from the ground up. It only takes 9 days to build from start to finish. They turn out about 35 per week now, but back in the 60s at their peak they turned out 23 per day.

They are then shipped to RV dealers around the country, so there is no showroom at the factory. We didn’t get to see any that were completely finished, but as much as we like the exterior, the ones we went in felt kind of cramped inside. Guess it’s good we didn’t fall in love with them, since they’re pretty pricey for a travel trailer.

Today we drove about 120 miles to East Harbor State Park, in Lakeside- Marblehead, OH, on Lake Erie. This is one of those giant parks with over 500 campsites. Most of the sites are fairly close and open but we managed to get a shaded, private site. Even though we can hear the boats in the harbor behind us, there are no views of the lake from any campsites.


Tonight we rode our bikes around the park and to the beach. I grew up in Erie, PA and spent lots of time on the beaches of Lake Erie. When I moved to Pensacola I was awestruck by the white sand. I always thought sand was supposed to look like dirt.


We were planning to take the Lazy Daze on a ferry to Middle Bass Island Thursday, but Oreo is not doing well and we aren’t sure we want to be on an island for 4 days where there is no vet. Guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bicycle Museum of America, New Bremen, OH



Not only did we get to ride our bikes a couple times this weekend around the lovely Grand Lake area, but we also took a short drive 10 miles south to New Bremen, OH, home of the Bicycle Museum of America. I saw the museum advertised in one of the tourist magazines we got at the park office, and thought about going, but when we got a comment from fellow bloggers at Palms-Americana telling us about it, we knew we had to go. And are we glad we did!

The museum has hundreds of bikes on three floors, and it’s hard to know where to begin looking. We first watched a video on how to ride a high wheeler, or an “ordinary” as they were called. They even have one on a trainer that you can ride, which we did. Not a very comfortable seat, and they didn’t get on them using steps!


I’ll post a few of the more interesting bikes, but if anyone really loves looking at bicycles, you can see all the pictures Jim took here.

One of the first bikes ever built, the 1816 Draisine. No pedals, you straddle it and push with your feet like a scooter. There is a leather cord to pull for the brake.


The Shire Boneshaker, from the 1870’s. I’m sure it was deserving of the name.



An unusual trike.



A 1901 Sled Bike. It has a sled runner for a front wheel and giant studs on the rear tire for use in snow and ice.


Lots of innovative drive trains.







Strange looking saddles.



And just some of the coolest bikes we’ve ever seen.






And if that wasn’t enough, the elderly man who sold us our tickets (only $2 admission, by the way), asked us if we wanted to see some more bikes before we left, and showed us down into the basement. Wow! I think we liked the Bicycle Museum even more than the RV Museum.


Saw this ad for an organized ride coming up in September in Arcanum, Ohio. It’s a timed 30 mile ride. For every donut you eat along the way they deduct 5 minutes off your time. Jim was ready to sign up, even though we don’t even know where Arcanum is!


After leaving the museum we took a walk around New Bremen, where Bremenfest was taking place this weekend. Your usual fair food, amusement rides, and the ever popular mud volleyball.


Glad we came to this part of Ohio. Who would have known?