I was in the frame of mind for a computer design session, and Tom was in the mood for a scroll saw project . . . it led to a great addition to our Airstream trappings.
This sort of sign is different than the usual scroll saw cutouts where the letters are cut OUT – instead, all of the space around the letters is cut out. As I quickly discovered, this meant that the letters themselves and any sort of design would need to be firmly anchored when planning the drawing. The choice and shape of this font, along with the addition of the line above and below just fit the bill. The scrolls also had several touch-points that fit into the design to offer stability. Tom thought the drawing would be feasible, so he . . . set to work.
My final step was to print the sign in the size that I needed. Because the design was longer than a single sheet of paper, I had to print it on two pieces of paper and paste it together. Giving it to Tom, I was done . . . except for encouragement . . . and blog documentation!
Tom’s first step was to the cut the board the size needed for the project. He choose a ¼” board of Maple and used spray glue to adhere the paper design to the face. Then he used clear packaging tape to cover the whole front of the board. Believe it or not, the packaging tape helps to lubricate the saw blade!
The whole covered board disappeared to the basement where Tom drilled access holes for the saw blade in every piece of the design that was to be removed.
After that, it is just a lot of tedious, close-up, bending-over, detail work of following the pattern to cut away the unwanted wood. Tom mostly uses a skip-tooth blade for straight and circular cuts, but sometimes has to use a 360 degree blade that cuts in all directions for very small spaces. His scroll saw is set up in the garage where the light is good on a sunny day and the dust is easily swept away. However, during this project he learned that cold hands (temps in the 30’s and 40’s) could really slow him down . . . he had to keep coming in to warm them up! This meant that his progress was in lots of short attacks – not a continuous long siege. Here are some pictures of his progress.
At this point, SILVERMINE stands out in full relief, and Tom has only the areas around the scrolls to cut away. His worry was that it would be so thin and fragile, a piece might break off. He removed it from the saw, posed for a picture, and changed the blade, ready to start on the background cuts.
The final task was to cut away the wood around the details of the scrolls that anchored the letters to the frame. This was some of the most tedious cutting of the whole project. When done, Tom removed the project from the saw and gently pulled away his paper/tape guide. After a bit of gentle sanding, he posed for another picture.
At this point the sign is ready for several layers of clear-coat finish. Then, we will decide where to hang it inside the Silvermine. My biggest fear is that, now that I know what Tom can do. . . I will keep him busy with future scroll cut-out designs!
Those of you that have suffered the insult of a rear-end accident leaving you with an “almost” totaled vehicle know our pain! We have been feeling this the last 3 days as our truck languishes at Superior Auto with an original estimate of 5 weeks of repairs – mostly waiting for a new frame, truck bed, and other major parts to arrive from the factory. Imagine our delight when Superior called to inform us that that frame had arrived in just 48 hours, and our truck was well on the way to total recovery! Just like any good parents, we went down to visit her.
Feeling wonderful about the progress on the truck, and knowing that it would NOT be 5 weeks till we are back in business, we celebrated Friday with a picnic-trip to our favorite Harrison Lake State Park. The prediction was for 72 degrees with a storm and much colder temperatures moving in by the end of the day! We stopped in Bryan, Ohio and grabbed a lunch to take into the picnic area.
Harrison Lake is a beautiful state park with lots of tall trees, summertime shade, and green grass. Here are some views of the park in the winter!
Our travel buddy for the day was little Charlie Button. She is trying to stay in travel shape for the two-month long Alaska trip this summer. We had the park completely to ourselves, and Charlie enjoyed running free . . . looking for squirrels and running back to check on us!
While we were there, over the course of 2 hours, the clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Obviously, the cold front was on the way. We arrived home by 2:00, pacified by our little day-trip picnic and energized knowing that our wrecked truck was rapidly moving forward.
The unseasonably warm February weather lined up in perfect alignment with the weekend that friends Alan and Carie picked up their new 2017 26U Airstream. A full-blown camping weekend was launched to record the event! In mid February!
It all started two weeks before when Alan and Carie got word that their newly ordered Airstream was progressing down the line (4 weeks early!), and we met them at the factory for an early screening. Here is a very happy Alan visiting his very new Airstream.
The next weekend was the Columbus RV show, and a group of Airstream allies that met up to view the 2017 Airstream lineup brainstormed a camping weekend to join Alan on his first campout after his walk-thru and pick-up on Friday.
Our week started with a flurry of trailer activity – dragging out all the bedding, clothing and basic supplies that we would need for a camping weekend. Disaster struck on Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) when our truck was rear-ended and completely put out of commission. After a lot of detours, our truck was declared fixable with a complete new-frame-build – but it wouldn’t be ready in time for the weekend. Not wanting to miss this weekend, we opted for a day trip visit on Saturday. Here are some sad pictures of our "almost" totaled truck!
Deer Creek, because it is open all year round, tends to attract break-out campers on the first warmish weekend of a new camping season. Alan arrived Friday afternoon after his walk-thru at Haydocy Airstream. Joining him were John and Suzie and Randy and Chris in their Airstreams, and Pat in his little retro-drop. When we arrived Saturday before noon, they were all firmly rooted in a camping routine including a campfire circle down by the water. I walked around and got a few pictures of the rigs, but didn’t put enough effort in getting pictures of the campers. Here are a couple more of Alan's new 26U.
At noon some of us took advantage of the near-by Deer Creek Lodge for a quick eat. Tom loves the Reuben, and I love their large salad with chicken, goat cheese, cranberries. . . .
Another tradition at Deer Creek State Park on these early spring campouts, is that we meet new Airstreamers! George, Rose and Doug showed up in their 25', vintage, Sovereign, Airstream that had recently been beautifully renovated. We wasted no time in knocking on their door and inviting them to join our afternoon campfire. We'll be looking to have this Airstream join us on some upcoming spring trips!
For us, this little afternoon taste of circle-time-with-friends-around-a-campfire would have to suffice our urge for an early spring campout. It was hard to leave knowing that there rest of the crew would be lingering over the campfire, preparing wonderful camping meals, and snuggling down in the comfort of their Airstream.
Next on tap for us is the Mothball Rally the last weekend in March at Hocking Hills State Park. Hopefully the truck will be back in commission by then.
January 1st signals . . . the start of a brand new camping season! Rather than take the Silvermine out of hibernation for just a couple nights, we did the next best thing – we booked reservations at the Starved Rock State Park Lodge in Illinois.
So, we left New Years morning at 8:00, and arrived a little after noon – the time-jump “back” gave us a little extra time to stop at Cabela's on the far side of Chicago. We had a gift card from Caleb and Halie, but discovered that the sales had not really picked up yet. We did browse and get some ideas in mind and will keep our eyes on the catalog. There are two sections of the lodge – the original lodge-type rooms, and the newer hotel rooms. Yeah Tom – he booked us in a sweet little knotty pine room with all the modern conveniences . . . and all the old-world ambience. Upon arrival, we didn’t spend much time enjoying the charming room – just enough to haul in our luggage, snap a picture, grab some maps of the area, and head out on our first eagle excursion.
The lodge is just a mile from the Visitor’s Center, and it is from here that the trails stem. Studying the map, we left the back door of the Visitor’s Center and headed out on the trails towards the dam and “Eagle’s Cliff.” The trails are a mixture of maintained woodland walkways with stair-stepped boardwalks for the climbs up and down along the river cliffs. Many people had the same idea we had for celebrating New Year’s Day, and the trails were teeming with people out enjoying the 40-degree sunshiny day and hoping to spy some Eagles.
Long story short – we saw one lonely Eagle perched in a pine tree, on a cliff, overlooking the dam. Rumors of the Eagle sighting were all up and down the trail, with assurances that it would be easy to find because of the depth of people gathered at the trail rail overlook. He was magnificent, but I am not sure that my pictures at all do him justice.
We headed back to the truck and back to the lodge when Tom’s hip started protesting. (Surgery is in 17 days to replace that rusty hip!) At the Lodge I reconnoitered the lobby and lounge areas, and checked in on the dining room to make a 6:00 reservation. This left us with 2 hour to enjoy the room – the lounge areas – the large fireplace - our books . . . .
Evidently the welcome girl at the restaurant didn’t understand the essence of a “reservation.” She said “we are not seating anyone now, and you need to come back later.” She stubbornly stuck to that story . . . so we went into the bar for drinks – and a full-service menu! After dinner we meandered around the Lodge and I took some pictures.
Monday, January 2nd, is the official day that New Years is celebrated this year – because the 1st falls on a Sunday – and you can’t celebrate New Years day on a Sunday? The lodge was open, but minimally staffed, and the Visitor’s Center was closed. The good news was that the rain that had been forecast all week long went somewhere else! We walked all around the lodge getting pictures of the main structure, the cabins and outdoor pavilions, the totem poles, and the visitor's center from the high cliff outside.
In the truck we did a drive-by tour of the little towns close by – Utica, LaSalle, Ottawa. Sad to say they are all in the need of revitalizing. Aside from everything being closed for New Years (Jan 2nd), the towns are dingy, dull, and very lacking in stores, restaurants, or other amenities. But, our drive followed the river on the opposite side of the Park, and afforded us a good view of Starved Rock.
We did see a couple of Eagles on the drive – sitting in trees at a distance that didn’t give many options for my camera. We also saw a hawk tending to a possum/cairn right down by the roadway, and he held his ground as I took a picture.
Our stomach were still fooled by the time change, but we arrived back to the Lodge before breakfast was shut down to make way for lunch. It was only a 15- minute wait, and we were seated directly in front of the large fireplace.
Part of the plan for this trip was to enjoy the confines of the lodge, and this we did for most of the afternoon. We had hoped to venture on another trail at 4:00 (the time that Eagles like to come out!), but it was raining and the lodge seemed awfully snug and cozy. We ended up with drinks in front of the fireplace, dinner in the bar, and movies in bed.
Tuesday morning there was heavy fog – and clouds – and mist – and nothing at all enticing about hiking the trails. We checked out and headed for home. Most of our mission had been accomplished; we had seen 4 eagles, a lot of hawks, hiked some trails, and we greatly enjoyed the lodge setting.
That sad time of year comes around every year when the Silvermine is bedded down in the driveway for the winter. First she enjoyed an end-of-the-year SPA treatment at the factory where she was maintenance and winterized. At home everything that shouldn't freeze was removed from the basic on-board supplies, and there was one last clean-up for the winter. As she takes a 3-month hiatis, we are busy making camping plans for next season!
6 nights in one place might not seem like a lot to many Airstreamers – but for Tom and me it is somewhat of a record! Seven days, six nights, in the Smoky Mountains National Park! First though, on Tuesday, November 1st, we headed for East Fork State Park, around the corner from Micah, to celebrate his birthday. Leaving at noon on Tuesday, we were set up in our campsite by 3:30, and shortly after Micah called to say he was off work, done exercising, and ready for us to descend.
We arrived at Elkmont at 1:30, just as our Airstream neighbors-for-the-week, Terry and Sue, were returning from a morning hike to Laural Falls and a climb up Clingman’s dome -- they pack a lot into a morning! We wasted no time in choosing a spot and setting up the Silvermine for the next six nights. Terry and Sue were on their first adventure in their new 28' Airstream, and had already traveled from Ohio to North Carolina, and then joining us at Elkmont. Here are pictures of our rigs sitting side-by-side -- they all look alike, RIGHT?
Trails from our campground lead back to an abandoned village, and we wasted no time showing this little hidden gem to Terry and Sue. We ran into a painting club that was capturing the derelict buildings on canvas . . . while we did likewise on film.
This little collection of days-gone-by retreats always amaze me. They are inside the National Park, and I think they just can't decide what to do with this bit of nostalgia --- let them continue to crumble into decay . . . or fix them up for the sake of preservation.
Leaving the ghost cabins we took our time walking the campground loops back to our site, and admiring some of the very different camping fashion statements.
Back at the campground we did the minute-math, and figured we had time to head into Gatlinburg, only 7 miles away, and shop up our favorite outdoor supply store. An hour shopping yielded mosquito head-nets for next summer’s Alaska trip – a cheap trip!
We were back at the campsite with a fire going and dinner on the grill by 6:30. By 8:00 it was dark, and we shut down for the evening!
Up at 7:00 and ready to check an item off my bucket list! For many years (actually decades!) I have wanted to ride around Cades Cove in a lawn chair, in the back of a pick-up truck – redneck style. Leaving the campground at 8:00 it was a bit chilly, and I wasn’t sure that it would be good redneck-riding weather. First we took a quick trip around Cades Cove campground and stopped at the store to empty our tanks and snap some pics.
Before we even got to the start of the loop road we sighted our first wildlife - which the loop road ride is famous for. Unfortunately, this was about it for close-up wildlife viewing for the trip.
By now the weather was warming up, and Sue and I decided to try the redneck ride. Terry and Tom took over the cab, and we enjoyed the lovely views and smells in the open air,
We stopped at several of the viewing opportunities listed on the loop road map . . . and passed by several more. One interesting stop was at the Primitive Baptist Church where a volunteer gave a great lecture on the importance and meaning of the church in the lives of the valley people. He pointed out that they did not have welfare, health insurance, or any of the other stop-gaps between catastrophic loss and survival. But, they did have the church, and the congregation stepped to fill the shoes of all of our social programs!
Half-way through the ride, we stopped for a more extensive walk around the Mill area of Cades Cove, where there are several buildings on display and a nice little store. By this time it was well past the lunch hour, and we settled back in the truck with a switch of the girls up front and the boys in the back, and finished the loop without another stop.
A drive of 10 miles led us to the Subway restaurant in Townsend, and a late lunch. By 2:30 we were back at the campground, and settled in for a peaceful couple hours of enjoying the 70-degree temperatures.
We rallied in the afternoon for a walk around the “other” part of the campground which was closed off for camping at this time of year. Our favorite campsites, the “G” loop has large, flat, sites that are by the river.
We enjoyed a Cornish Hen dinner, and as dark settled we invited new friend, lone-camper Ruth to join us around the fire. Ruth’s husband had passed away in January, and she was on a solo camping, hiking trip, reaffirming her passion for the great outdoors in this new unaccompanied stage. Camping in a very small pup tent, Ruth relayed to us that she had just become owner of a 1962 25’ Tradewind Airstream. We certainly will keep our eyes out for Ruth in the future!
Friday morning Terry, Sue, Tom and I left the campground at 8:00 – destination: breakfast at the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg. There are scores of pancake places in Gatlinburg, but our favorite is the Pancake Pantry, and it is the first pancake house in Tennessee.
Shops were not open yet in Gatlinburg, so we headed for Pigeon Forge and the little shopping venue called The Island – Margaretville. It was also just waking up for the day, and a stroll through the little shopping street scored a new pair of shoes for both the girls! We rode the giant Ferris wheel for a great view of the surrounding mountains. The ride is not at all like a carnie wheel – the seats are enclosed and climate controlled, and the ride is very smooth and quiet! Here are some of our views from above.
Back on the ground we lingered just long enough to hit up a few stores and take in the views of the shopping smorgasboard
While in Pigeon Forge, Tom had two stops to make in his quest for an Outback jacket for the Alaska trip. The particular brand is famous for the below-hip and ankle-length “duster” styles, but Tom is looking for the oiled canvas that fits at the waist. No luck, but he still had some addresses of places to try in Gatlinburg later in the week.
Exploring ended early for the day as we headed back to Elkmont with the intent of taking showers in the Airstream. We were meeting brother Richard and friends for dinner in Townsend at our favorite Trail Head restaurant.
Richard, Paula, Barb and Josh arrived within 10 minutes after we got there – I spent the 10 minutes with the phone service and catching up on emails. Then it was time to catch up with my brother while we ate dinner Tom had a hamburger and I had the fried catfish, and we enjoyed 1 ½ hours around the table with chit-chat and catchin’ up. We got back to the campsite at 7:00, just as it was getting dark, and enjoyed a last campfire with Sue and Terry. They would be pulling out for home in the morning.
It was only 39 degrees when we got up this morning – we had fortunately closed all the windows before going to bed. I had the Yellowstone Pendleton wool blanket out, but we didn’t have to layer it on our regular quilt bedding. I did, however, sleep in a hoodie!
Tom started a fire and made egg sandwiches on the griddle outside. I perked coffee on the stove-top in an old-fashioned percolator. Tom said it was the best coffee he had in years, and that is how I felt about his egg sandwiches!
By 9:30 we were off to Gatlinburg in search of a couple more stores that might have Tom’s Outback, oiled, canvas jacket. Both stores that we found had the jacket, but they all just had the long, long, duster style in stock. We came back to the camper for a quick sandwich lunch and to pick up Charlie Button and then did the Roaring Fork auto tour that takes off from downtown Gatlinburg and winds up the mountain for 15 miles. Hiking trailheads are sprinkled along the 16 mile road, and although there are signs to prohibit parking on the roads, at each trailhead there were dozens of cars barely pulled over and parked. In several places it was a tight squeeze. On the back half of the loop, the road turns one-way, and become really tight. But the scenery is Tennessee forest at it’s very best, as well as several well-preserved log cabins and a grist mill.
In Gatlinburg we stopped for a splash of gas to fill up the generator (yes we are cheating and using a generator to recharge our battery, and power my hair dryer!) By 4:00 we were settled into the campsite for the duration of the evening . . . the temptation was to go into Gatlinburg to watch the Buckeyes play Nebraska, but Tom resisted that urge. Supper was lamb chops on the grill, salad, and potatoes.
Another cold morning in the 40’s (and a time change) greeted us, and a plan for a big day of more auto touring. The Heintooga Ridge road would require a trip past the famous Chimney-Tops, up to Newfound Gap, across the top of the mountain, down past the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and a short stint on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had never done this drive before, and were anxious to check out the Campground on Balsam Mountain.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was quiet and peaceful and beautiful, as always, and we had no trouble finding the turn-off on the Heintooga Ridge Road. We drove along several miles just to find that it was closed for the winter! Turning around we headed back into Cherokee for lunch and a brief shop-stop to see if the local outer-wear store carried Tom’s Outback jacket. NIX!
With that we reversed our trip back down and through Gatlinburg, with a quick jaunt out to a grocery store in Pigeon Forge to buy a steak for the evening grill. We were back at the campground by 3:00, with plans for a book-session, a quick nap, dinner, and a movie in the camper.
Our last day began with a run in towards Maryville, my home town, for a visit to our favorite hiking store, The Little River. I saw the exact jacket that I want for the Alaska trip – the light-as-a-feather shell that is reported to be toasty warm. For $300 it ought to be! Tom had the same experience with looking for new hiking boots. We drove on into Maryville to the Route 401 cut-off to Sevierville – thru beautiful developed country homes scattered along secluded valleys. In Sevierville we renewed our relationship with the Smoky Mountain Knife Works – the largest knife shop in the . . . . .. area? It was a favorite of our kids when they were little and it has been at least 5 years since we have visited. Stock full of knives and guns and ammo and kitchen slicer and dicers, we left without a purchase. In Sevierville we settled on Long John Silvers for a quick lunch, and a return through Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and back to Elkmont. The temperatures were in the mid 60’s, and it was our last day to enjoy the 0-G experience in the lawn chairs at our campsite. Beautiful.
This last trip of 2016 was a great way to end the camping season. The Silvermine has an appointment for a spa day at Jackson Center, and we have managed to accumulate a list of items to be taken care of. She has performed admirably for 9 months and is ready for a few months rest. This ends my blog, also, for the season . . . except that I will be writing a summary of our statistics for the season! Tune back!
It’s been a long time since we have been to one of our favorite Ohio State Parks on Lake Erie – Maumee Bay. What better time to revisit this “great” lake-side park than just as fall is emerging. We arrived to see that we were headquartered in the loop that we had occupied with TABs and Rpods, over 7 years ago. This time the rally was the annual Anniversary Rally hosted by Loren and Mike St. Peter with an anticipated 16 camping units to arrive.
The thing I love about this campground is that every campsite is carved out of the low-growing wild hedges and shrubs, giving each a complete sense or privacy. At the back of the site, sometimes a little pathway/tunnel is mowed to connect the campsites, but the impression is always that you are alone in the campground. Here we are in our little private oasis.
One one side of us were Doug and Terry in their new-to-them 1950 Spartan trailer. Every inch of the inside and outside was revamped and modernized . . . It received an A+ on my home-worthy index.
Across from us were Terry and Sue, reliving some memories from past years. They had recently traded for a new 28' Airstream that was not off the production line yet, and they gamely joined the rally with cots and coolers and lights and heaters . . . in this big tent:
We went to bed that night expecting rain to move through during the night.
Just as the rain began at about 8:00, John and Suzie pulled in, and Tom and I reported to their campsite to guide them in by flashlight. Meanwhile, back at the tent, Sue and Terry found that through 10 years of storage, the tent was no longer waterproof! We heard all about that the next morning!
The rain washed through in the middle of the night and Tom was up with a morning campfire burning at 7:00. The plan was to visit the Toledo Glass Pavilion, an off-shoot of the Toledo Museum of Art. The Pavilion itself is built of over 360 panels of glass -- many of them curved -- and just seeing the facility was a delight.
Inside the Hot Spot, we watched as a guest artist fashioned . . . tumors! It wasn't until later, when Tom and Terry returned to listen to her evening lecture, that the rest of the story came out. Her sister had a facial tumor that caused people to stare, and now she makes tumors as a part of her art form -- designed to make people feel uncomfortable. And stare. Tom and Terry learned a lot more about her various art media and subjects -- a lot of them sexual and almost pornographic in nature. Enough said.
The rest of the glass displays were very traditional in nature, with beautiful vases, bowls, plates, and other glass objects!
That little tour took us right up until lunch, and just a short drive away was Tony Packo's -- made famous by MASH. Mostly a hot dog and chili joint, for us it was all about those wonderful old MASH television episodes.
It is an election year, and Tom has been (like many people) a little mystified about what to do about voting. I bought him this shirt at Tony Packo's; not exactly sure what it means, but it did seem appropriate.
We returned to the campground to find that lots of people had moved in since we left. Here are some of the faces that joined us for an evening dinner gathering.
A campfire ended earlier for some than for others. We haven't followed daylight-savings time yet, and the dark came pretty early! Before heading for bed, though, we made plans to tour some local historical venues on Friday!
Breakfast was pancakes on the griddle provided by our hosts-- but Tom and I were up and ready for breakfast before the griddle was hot! We resorted to our own breakfast -- not too shabby!
Friday's tour plan included two historical reviews; one from the French & Indian Wars and another from the war of 1812. Fallen Timbers was our first stop.
Fallen Timbers was a quick walk-around battlefield. The victory by General Anthony Wayne's troops fully open up the Northwest Territories to the settlers who were always moving west.
We stopped for a late fast-food lunch and a shopping trip through a very large Field & Stream outdoor store before returning to the campground. There was just enough time to enjoy a nap session in the sunshine and a walk around the campground to view all 16 of the attendees, including the newest arrivals. Supper was a beans and wienies dinner with lots of contributions, and a fire took us into the evening.
Next door Rob worked on his chili for the competition cook-off. Real men make their chili outside over the open fire. In a Dutch oven. Hanging from a tripod!
Later in the morning people gathered at our host's campsite for chili judging and a goodie raffle. There were 9 chili entries, and the chili that Tom and I both voted for in a blind taste-taste -- won! It was made by Suzie, and was a family favorite recipe with beer, wine, and other hard sprits. . . what is not to like!
Early afternoon Tom and I headed for a walk around the beautiful lodge; we had hoped to hike the nature trail, but as a part of the birding trail, dogs were not allowed. But the lodge was spread out giving a nice long walk, with the back side bordering the lake.
The rally was winding down, with one last grand gathering for the traditional potluck dinner. The fire circle thinned out early as the cold moved in -- and there was also the Ohio State Buckeye evening game that made the Airstream seem cozy and inviting! A great game is one that comes right down to the last play -- and this game was a GREAT GAME!
Tom and I headed out early in the morning with a stop at a Waffle House for the traditional brunch. It had been a wonderful campout with a beautiful introduction to true fall camping -- with leaf changes and cold nights.
We bought a new house -- not for us to live in, but as a retirement investment! Oh, and we just happened to find our first set of renters -- son Caleb, and finance Halie! What a coincidence that they were just starting to concern themselves with where they would be living!
The location is in New Haven, Indiana, which will be almost equal-distance for Caleb to come to Van Wert to work, and Halie to drive to Turnstone of Fort Wayne for work -- 25 minutes max for each.
The subdivision is new and situated circle-style with neighborhood homes backed around a pond. This particular house is only 5 years old and has not really even been lived in . . . a man living out-of-state used it for an office and place to stay when he was in town tending to business.
Today was the house inspection, and the inspector told us in all of his years of inspecting he has only had one other house that had "0" issues -- ZILCH! While he inspected I was able to go around and get some pictures.
I guess I didn't get pictures of the bedrooms and spare bath -- but you get the idea! Meanwhile at home, we up to our ears in packing and boxes and re-organizing!
Our site was so large that we set up in a big spread – chairs under the shade tree, Kelty shelter next to the airstream. The afternoon was chilly at 63 degrees, heavy clouds, and breezy. Still, we preferred sitting out with light jackets and . . . lap blankets!
At 4:00 I suggested a dash in to Frye’s, my favorite super-electronic store, before supper. After a quick walk-around we got out without a purchase and returned to the campground just in time for supper: lamb chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and grapes. It was dark shortly after supper, and with a light sprinkling of rain, we saved the campfire for morning coffee and went inside. I had The Shallows downloaded on my computer and couldn’t wait to settle down with a good shark attack.
Lunch was Chuy’s Mexican and we made a brief attempt to go to a movie – but the one we wanted to see wasn’t on for another few hours. We headed back to the campground to rescue Charlie Button who was cowering from all the thunderstorms! It was a drippy evening and again we retreated to the Silvermine without a campfire.
Saturday Tom fixed us egg sandwiches for breakfast; there is nothing better than two eggs on an English Muffin with bacon and cheese to start the day out right! We were off to the races by 9:00, planning to meet Micah and friend Paul by 10:00 when the gate opened. The track arrival strategy was different for the AirRace as it all took place above turn 4 – but Tom knows every inch of the track and surrounding parking lots, and he navigated straight to the infamous Coca-Cola Parking lot. We arrived 20 minutes after Micah, but were parked just one row over and a dozen cars down from him.
Entrance to the track was easy, and we quickly chose seats in the top row of the NW Vista, and made the march to the top. It was hazy and foggy, but our view of the flying field was first-rate, and we settled in to get our bearings. Here is a diagram of the flying field and pictures of our view from the top. As we climbed to our seats, in Turn 4 Stand Row RR (same row as our Indy 500 seats located in Turn 2) we noticed everything was shrouded in the fog and barely visible in the distance is the Indianapolis downtown skyline.
We didn’t know quite what to expect from day #1 at the air races, but our race guide booklet showed a pretty active agenda of practicing, entertainment, and qualifications . We were in our seats by 10:00, anxious to see what would happen.
Practice was first, with a chance for us to get a feel of where the planes would take off, how they would negotiate the course, and where they would land. As each pilot left the runway, the announcer broadcast: "smoke on."
A motorcycle stunt-rider performed with a variety of tricks in front of our stands.
Several paraglider jumpers landed in front of us.
An Aerobatic Helicopter stunned with climbing, diving, free-fall and tumbling moves that helicopters are just not meant to do!
A paraglider trailing a long, long, tail, soared high over our heads and then did a death spiral with the tail twisting into a large corkscrew. I was so shocked -- I missed the picture!
With that, we left the stands to scout out the midway, the merchandise and the food stands. A foot-long corn-dog later we were back in the stands for another practice session followed by qualifications.
I got a few more pictures, myself, and then headed down to do a little sight-seeing on the ground level and left the boys to cover qualifications.
From the darkening sky, I had a feeling that some rain was moving in, and sure enough, within an hour it was spitting rain. I made a quick jump for the car, and within 20 minutes Tom joined me. So ended our first AirRaces and another great experience at the Indianapolis Speedway. Next weekend we're taking a weekend off from camping and will be hanging around the house with Caleb and Halie to make apple butter!
Late September and it should be coolish weather, but this past camping weekend had plenty of hot temperatures during the day and barely a hint of changing leaves to signal the shifting of the seasons. This Caesar Creek campout was a merger of good ole camping buddies and new and offered some interesting events for us to focus on.
As customary , Alan arrived first, without Carie. She would show up to visit on Thursday night (arriving in style on the Spider/Can Am!) and then come back on Friday to spend the weekend.
Tom and I arrived Thursday early afternoon and were happy to find that we had a nice shade tree at our campsite -- many of the Caesar Creek campsites are in open sun!
Steve and Cindy pulled in Thursday late afternoon on a mission to conduct a virgin run with their new truck tent. The Vista Cruiser was along as base camp and for extended family members (Steve's sister and BIL) to sleep in.
Dinner and a campfire finished off the first night with me heading in early to finish the book that had me hanging -- The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule.
One of our favorite little towns for junk/antique shops is just 15 minutes away from Caesar Creek -- Waynesville. Steve, Cindy, Alan, Tom and I headed out with the intent of walking the streets and being gone over the lunch hour!
Early afternoon found us back at the campground for a drive-by of an egg-shaped camper gathering -- mostly Casita and Scamp, with a few other lesser-known brands thrown in. There were probably over 30 eggs, but they were spread out all over the loop.
The afternoon nap-session took place under the shade tree . . . with a little help from the heavy-duty air-blowers.
Friday evening brought in the last of our weekend peeps -- Steve's sister Lynn and her husband Rick. Meanwhile, Cindy headed off to go care for the grands overnight in nearby Troy, Ohio, and Carie arrived on the Spider Can-Am. Nobody was keeping score, but I think by bedtime we all ended up in the right place at the right time!
Cindy returned with her three grands in the car, and her daughter and S-I-L (Erin and Anthony) following in their car. The stage was set for a full day of activity. Carie had missed our little town trip yesterday, so she, Alan, Tom and I headed back for Waynesville. The other faction headed for the Medievel Festival right down the road.
The views downtown were the same as yesterday, with different stores, merchandise and lunch options. We ate at the Hammel House Inn, offering bed and board in Waynsville since 1799. This structure, where we ate on the open front porch, was built in 1817 and has been remodeled several times over the years.
I didn't take as many pictures today, but I couldn't resist this one of a troop of little ventriloquist dummies -- is it politically correct to call them dummies?
The afternoon sit-around session offered another chance for me to practice close-up portraits with my new camera. Why is it that children are so much more interesting that adult subjects -- Cindy's grands had enjoyed the Medievel Festival and enjoyed playing around the campground with their wooden knives, swords and shields souvenirs!
I got a few pictures of the adults, too, but they aren't nearly as cute as those kids!
That about did it for the evening . . . and the campout. We did have a pitch-in dinner, a birthday cake for Carie, and a campfire . . . but everything began winding down. In the morning we were slower to take off for home than usual, and we indulged in a waffle-house breakfast -- a new tradition that we are developing every Sunday morning on our way home from weekend get-aways!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown