Trip to Lima (Final Day)

Sunday, the third and final day of our little jaunt to Lima, Ohio, was basically quiet and relaxing. As the original post indicated, we slept late, but then we got up and walked around the campground, and down towards the lake, for about an hour. We meandered back to the campsite, unbuttoned the windows, unplugged the shore power, and headed of for a drive around the area.

Driving around an old resort town in the off-season can be a bit gloomy: all the old stores and restaurants with empty parking lots, run down seasonal campgrounds with now-vacant mobile homes, beaches and playgrounds with no one enjoying the area … In a way it appeals to the introvert inside me, but I also realize that the income of most of the locals depends on the money of tourists.

My donuts had been some time ago, so we were in the town of Russell Point, looking for a place to eat. In one parking lot was a sign advertising freshly grilled chicken, $6.99 with one side, and the cook had a couple of pieces of chicken sizzling on an outdoor grill; but there were no customers about, even though the noon hour had come and gone. We considered turning around and going back – the thought of grilled chicken was particularly tempting – and pulling the camper along the beach for a lakeside picnic, but a small restaurant named Aunt Millie’s caught our eye. A small place, but there were quite a few cars in the parking lot. Mostly locals, I suspected.

When it comes to good eating, always trust the locals.

DW had the perch, and I had the lightly fried chicken, both accompanied by a soup and salad bar. The salad bar was small, but they had the right fixings (IMO), and all the ingredients were fresh. The homemade soups were particularly good – thick and tasty. Even the broccoli soup was excellent, and – to me – the only way to make to make broccoli edible is to cover it with something that completely eliminates its flavor. This time, however, I was suitably impressed.

I don’t remember much of the leisurely drive home: full tummy, warm sun through the windows, the hum of the tires on the road … you know how it is. Since I got out to the camper before DW, I was able to call ‘Shotgun!’ and jump into the navigator’s seat; and since a straight shot down the expressway require little effort from the navigator…

… the ‘thump’ of the curb by our driveway was the only thing to disturb my little siesta. Needless to say, I got the task of unloading the camper.


It was, however, worth it.



Trip to Lima (Day 2)

We woke up Saturday morning to a lovely frosting on the ground. Chocolate donuts for breakfast (are we noticing a trend here?) but, unfortunately, we didn’t have power to the electrical outlets to make a pot of fresh coffee. DW, however, being the rough-and-ready former Girl Scout, had brought along a couple of cups of a pre-made, microwaveable coffee product, optimistically labelled Mocha Latte. It was thick, brown, and syrupy, possibly chocolaty, with no hint of coffee flavor that I could determine. DW announced it an acceptable substitute. I did not.

I settled instead for one of those unnaturally flavored bottled waters. You know the type: they look like orange drink, taste faintly of orange, but – other than the water – have absolutely nothing natural or even organic used in it’s manufacture…

… which is more than I can say about the Mocha Latte.

Speaking of natural fluids, we had another interesting discovery at the Poor Farmer’s Campground: they specialize, it seems, in their own brand of mineral water. Unfortunately, that mineral is sulphur. We had used the campground facilities the night before, and we both thought the previous users had merely failed to flush the toilet. This morning, however, we noticed the water from the campground faucet had the same golden tinge.

It still beat the Mocha Latte.

We were in no hurry to leave, as BS’s (Beloved Son’s) cross country race didn’t begin until noon, and it was only an hour’s drive up the road. But we eventually got the GyrFalcon (and ourselves) into road-ready condition and found a scenic country route into Lima.

The race was being run at a country club on, of all things, a golf course. It was politely explained that participants were not welcome in the club area (porta-potties were provided) and all the greens had been decorated completely around the perimeter with lovely yellow stay-the-heck-off tape. Some were even decorated with pumpkins.

Despite the somewhat snooty surrondings, we had a great visit with our son. It was a fantastic day for running, and the course had only mild slopes – a wonderful opportunity for a personal best. Unfortunately, the fates are not always kind. It was a good, strong run, but no personal records were broken. The company and conversation, however, were enough to raise the spirits. I really wish we could find the time for more visits like that one.

Unfortunately, all too soon he had to catch the bus back to the university, and DW and I were left to our own resources, again.

Now, DW and I have lived in this area ninety percent of our lives, but – amazingly enough – neither one of us had ever been to Indian Lake; so we decided we’d take the back roads down to Indian Lake Campground and take a look around, to see what there is to see.

Indian Lake, for those not in the know, was a summer vacationing hotspot way back when I was young. Yes, they really did have vacations back then. There was even a song about it that made the charts for a while:

Indian Lake is the scene you should make with your little ones;

Keep it in mind if you’re looking to find a place in the summer sun…

Well, you get the idea. It was a place where thousands of people could herd together in the campgrounds, on the beach, in seasonal mobile parks … probably the reason DW and I never went there.

It’s off-season now, and I have no idea if it still gets crowded in the summer, but on this day it was still, and quiet, and colorful – absolutely wonderful! We had an entire section of the campground to ourselves. We hadn’t brought our bikes, because the forecast had been rain, but there’s wasn’t a raindrop in sight. Some very dramatic clouds, yes. Rain? No. We should have brought our bikes. But we got some excellent walking time together, and the sunlight was just at that point where everything in its rays reflected golden. Some very nice photos were taken. (Photos in side bar.)

Yes, the campground facilities were showing their age. The place would have been nicer with a bit of tender loving care. But still, some days are timeless, and no amount of repairs or fresh paint (or clean stalls) could made the day any better. After all, it’s not where you are that makes life living: it’s who you’re with. In that manner, on Saturday, October 29, was a grand day, and I felt I was the luckiest man in the world.

Synthetic orange drink, organic coffee and questionable mineral water notwithstanding.

What else needs to be said?

P.S. For those who read the Day 1 blog, who caught on to the fact I’m going to be drinking REAL coffee Sunday morning, but are puzzled because they know I can’t use the electric outlets to power the coffee maker: I ran an extension cord outside to the 20 amp service Saturday night just long enough to brew a pot of coffee. Sunday morning, 9 am, I reheated it in the microwave.

Mystery solved.

Trip to Lima (Day 1)

It’s been an interesting weekend so far. Currently, the temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s frosty, clear and beautiful outside, and we are still ensconced under the quilts: 9 am Sunday morning. DW crawled out of bed long enough to microwave the coffee we made last night, and to grab a box of donuts from the hamper – chocolate covered, of course. Frosty morning, warm bed, coffee and chocolate: it doesn’t get any better than this.

Friday afternoon I gassed up the GyrFalcon, then went to have the propane tank filled. we’ve had this camper for almost four years, and never needed to fill the propane tank. All we’ve used it for was heating up the water at night – ten minutes and the water is hot. Shower at night, and enough warm water left for the morning. We don’t full-time in the camper, but we’ve put about 25,000 miles on it, so I’m surprised how long it lasted.

Anyway, the poor guy at the RV place had a difficult time getting the hose attached to the tank. He kept his humor, but wasn’t happy, especially since he had to lie on the cold ground to reach the reach the tank. After ten minutes of fussing, it only took a few seconds for the tank to fill. “You’ve got a small tank,” he mentioned, “only five gallons.”


I apologized for putting him to so much trouble for a small sale, and he just laughed. So, I headed up north to get DW – she was visiting her mother, and since that was on the way we were heading, towards Lima, Ohio, it saved time to pick her up there.

We only drove up I75 for about an hour, and as we were coming into Piqua, decided to stop at Wendy’s for a burger. I took the iPad inside, and we found there was a campground just a few miles down the road – Poor Farmer’s RV and Campground. It’s getting dark early, and it was about six in the evening, so we drove down to get a spot, after calling to make sure someone would be there.

It’s an interesting campground. The woman lives in a trailer next to the camp office, so campers can pull in at any time. She has an aggressive dog named Taco: aggressive, that is, until you scratch him between the ears.

The lady asked us if we wanted to spend another $2 for a sewage hookup – she had one available – and we said, “Yes,” so as to avoid having to stop on the way to dump, but when we go to the site, it was literally wedged between two other large units. The rest of campground – sans sewage attachments – was beautiful, nice spots and relatively empty, so we drove down to a remote spot and plugged in, buttoned up the unit, and enjoyed the quiet dark of the surrounding woods.

We discovered one glitch: the circuit breaker to the electric outlets kept tripping, rather a bane to those wanting to use an electric heater to stay warm overnight. Good thing I’d followed my hunch and filled the propane tank. We set the thermostat to just keep the edge off the cold.

We had the chance to take some photos, but I discovered I had left a cable at home, so I can’t transfer them from the camera. I’ll have to wait until Sunday night to post any images.

We went for a walk, played a game of Scrabble, and eventually we opened up the sofa, laid down the memory foam, sleeping bag, blanket and quilt, and crawled into bed. It was a warm, quiet and blissful night…

… with the occasional cold jolt of reality when we had to leave the warmth of the quilt to make a potty run!

In the Beginning…

In January of 2008, while wandering through our local RV dealership, my wife and I stumbled across a unique class of camper referred to as a Class B: essentially a long based van, modified with a fiberglass top to increase the interior headroom, and equipped with everything necessary for comfortable outdoor living. Such amenities included refrigerator, stove, microwave, bed, toilet, shower and a sink. My first thought upon entering the B was, “Cramped,” but we considered the unique advantages: it was small enough to park in our driveway, could be driven into some remote locations larger units might find inaccessible, was rated at a much higher fuel efficiency than other classes we had been considering, and it could  – if conditions required – be used efficiently as a spare vehicle for every day use. So, with only a modicum of consternation, we laid our money down.

Our first trip in the camper – an Intervec Falcon – took us to Brown County State Park, in Indiana.  The February weather ensured we pretty much had the campground to ourselves, with the exception of one grungy looking fellow who spent the evening sitting at his fire, staring at the chunk of wood on which he was forlornly chopping – for hours.  Now, neither my wife nor I are aficionados of the horror movie genre, but even we were aware of the pervasive air of ‘foreshadowing’; the type which causes a savvy audience to yell, ” Get out of there, you idiot!”  The audience knows  one lone camper obsessing on his ax is a stark raving lunatic, but the [generally minor] characters in the movie are painfully clueless as to the probabilities…

…very painfully.

We weren’t, however, about to let a specter of impending pain and doom interfere with our first night out, so we closed up the shades, locked the doors, made sure we had cell service and the ranger’s emergency number, then spent the night huddling in bed with cups of hot coffee in hand, waiting for the seemingly inevitable sound of an ax on sheet metal. Eventually, however, exhaustion overcame terror, and throughout the quiet night, as we slept, it snowed.

In the morning we woke to a wonderful vista of white: we couldn’t even recognize the campground as such, the layer of snow of being so thick. Better yet, our solitary neighbor must have moved on during the night, and the only sign of life was the small herd of deer which surrounded our camper, apparently oblivious to our presence inside, and their tracks in the snow which led  out from the forest. It was there we coined the sobriquet we now now use for camper: the GyrFalcon, a graceful white creature which traverses the land, although most comfortable in the colder climes. We also realized we had made the perfect choice for our second home.

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