Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ohio, where the corn grows but in a good way

7/25/2014 Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Greeting from Ohio! For all the fun and mockery made of it, it’s actually pretty. I’d put it up there with Missouri and Oklahoma in terms of “I could totally see myself spending a week tooting about here camping” type states. I’m planning on not visiting any of the Ohio cities, so maybe that is why I like it: scenic routes and lesser interstates and parks parks parks! I rolled into Hocking Hills later in the day, but still with daylight and I set a new tent set up record: 4 minutes, 52 seconds. Got under 5 minutes! It’ll be tough to beat. Check out isn’t till 1pm, so I get to sleep in and utilize my site a bit before I head out. Tomorrow I’ll try and find one of these mounds Mom has told me about, and go to Riverside to get a photo of you know what sign, then it is off to Indiana! For…whatever is in Indiana!

Yesterday I had a nice drive from Grand Rapids, back towards Detroit and then down down down into Ohio. Blue skies, fluffy clouds, warm but not broiling. All together very pleasant! And Ohio has plenty of trees, and corn fields, but nothing too big and expansive for hours upon hours of dull driving. I got to Findley State Park early in the day, well earlier than when I usually roll into a campsite, and set up at site 27. Sites 1-27 were walk in and non reservable. Nice of a campground to set aside campsites for just that purpose. I had the loop to myself, and there were only a few campers on the way to the loop. Very quiet and peaceful. Talked to Mom. Updated my atlas. Organized. Ate some pudding. I did a little driving around the park, but no hiking. I retired to my tent and stayed up late reading. Later on when I was trying to sleep, there was something in the woods near my tent. Probably a deer. Could also be an Ohio Bigfoot. Bigfohiot?

Slept way way in. Slept so far in, I would have missed check out if I had been camping in New York (11am based on where I camped). Packed up and headed out to Cuyahoga National Park! Which would be a bicyclists paradise. Tons of paved trails all along this river. Very nice, but unfortunately a pain to navigate due to tons of road closures. But I did get a hike in at Brandywine Falls. A nice loop around and through the woods. Again, perfect weather. Hot, not terribly humid, sunny with some clouds.

It was about 3 hours to get to Hocking Hills. I’m in one of the youth group sites, so I have tons of space and no one nearby (there’s a bunch of space between the sites). The lightning bugs are plentiful. Wish we had them in Washington, but I guess we have phosphorescence in the water, and that is something!

It’s been nice getting back to the long drives and camping state of travel. Sometimes arranging places to stay can be such a headache. That being said, I’d really like a place to crash in Chicago. BUT as all I want to do is a museum and get a sandwich at this place Jeff told me about, it wouldn’t be so bad to parking garage it, then find parking near the sandwich spot, and then get outta there towards Milwaukie (where Andy is). Just need to look at the old Atlas and figure out driving times.

Hope all is well with you, see ya!

7/26/2014 6:40pm rest stop in Lebanon, Indiana

So it turns out that the Riverside that Kirk will be born in is in Iowa, not Ohio! At least it was on my way to Indiana. I left 11ish and then drove around mid/southern Ohio looking for these mounds that mom mentioned to me, but I couldn’t find any. Just lots of corn and small towns that looked fairly inhabited, instead of the usual destitute forgotten towns. Ohio isn’t so bad! Very scenic, though I can’t imagine living here. The Indiana page in my atlas provided little of interest, so I’m trucking on north to Chicago. Might rest stop/Walmart it, but there might also be some housing lined up kudos of Stephen. It’s all rather up in the air. There are no obvious “don’t sleep here” signs, so that’s a promising sign of these rest stops. I’m charging my devices and working on the communiqué, as that is something one should absolutely NOT do while driving.

Sweet, in the course of writing this, I have procured a place to stay for the night! Then it will be onwards into Chicago for the day (museum, pizza, sandwich) then I’ll see Andy and then it’s up up up!

12:06 am Crown Point, Indiana

I’m showered, my hair is clean, I’ve hydrated, I’ve had some ice cream, all is well! Stephen connected me to his friends Amy and Travis, and I’m at their place, and it’s wonderful. Only an hour and a half from that rest stop. Easy peasy. I’ve filled up my gas tank, so no worries about doing so near Chicago. Cities tend to add a quarter to the gallon price.

And I am going to go to Megan’s wedding. I think it’ll be the best way to kick off the final month of travel. I’m saying a month, could go faster. But then I also want to camp at some of the boss National Parks coming up.

My final route looks like this right now: Indiana (where I am now) Illinois but just for Chicago Wisconsin east into Michigan and south to Grand Rapids for the wedding, then south and back into Indiana and Illinois Iowa Minnesota North Dakota and South Dakota Nebraska Wyoming Montana Idaho Oregon and then back home to Washington! The loop de loop through Michigan solves the problem I was having with zig zagging through the remaining states and not back tracking. Plus I barely saw Michigan and it seems like a nice state, so it would be nice to, well, see more of it!

Also Travis & Amy have a lovely 8 month old baby named Calvin.

And I’ve gone back a time zone! So my body says midnight but it is 11. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but still. It’s been a while since time changed. It’s a sign of going west once again.

AAANNND I just thought about how when I was first heading east, the fields were not so grown, and now they are more grown! I guess a season has changed during my journey, and my planning for the weather has been mostly spot on. Go through the south early, and the north later but not too late.

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