The first weekend in May Caleb had planned a Saturday “event” at the Newport Aquarium, and Tom and I decided to do double-duty by combining a little pre-event camping expedition to Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky. More about the “big event” . . . later.
A cold spell had moved in during the start of the week, and Thursday morning it was only 40 degrees as we left home at 8:00 a.m. Our first stop was in Cincinnati to have lunch with Micah and then Big Bone Lick was just 40 minutes beyond. Tom had reserved the last campsite available for the weekend, but as we arrived on Thursday there were only a few campers set up in advance of the weekend. The temperature did not get out of the 50’s, the sky was grey, and the wind was stiff, but we were happy to be out for our 6th trip in the new Silvermine.
Big Bone lick is the location of a still-active salt springs, a recreated Pleistocene marsh, 20,000 year-old fossils and . . . a modern day bison herd!
We made our way to the Big Bone Like Visitor Center and Museum arriving just as it closed. But the outdoor trail was open and we did the one mile walk-around, reading all the signs at the many stopping spots.
One of my favorite books has always been Follow the River – the story of Mary Ingalls who was abducted by Indians in the 1700’s and taken hundreds of miles away from her home. When she escaped a year later she walked 40 days and nights back to her home. It was here at the salt lick that Mary managed to escape from the Indians as they worked to secure a salt store to take back to their village a hundred miles away.
Our walk ended at the back side of the visitor center where there was a nice recreation of ancient beasts in the swamp bog.
Our short excursion got us back to camp just as the sun made a brief appearance. Just that tinge of sun made things feel considerably warmer! We got out the grill, set the picnic table, and made a meal of steaks, fried potatoes, corn on the cob, and sautéed mushrooms. It was just warm enough to eat outside at the picnic table.
Friday morning we had plans for a little side trip in Kentucky – Blue Licks Battlefield. This is one of those places that you can honestly say “there is no good way to get there from here.” Only class-3 roads lead to Blue Licks, and it is hard to read the little numbers and follow the light grey lines on a map. We got lost in the Kentucky countryside, but roads don’t get any curvier and scenery doesn’t get any greener that the roads we were lost on. Finally the map and the gps worked together to get us to this Revolutionary battlefied – right in the middle of nowhere, Kentucky.
It was here that Daniel Boon and some pioneers, had one of the last tangles of the revolutionary war against some British (and some Native Americans). Cornwallis had surrendered 9 months before, but the British were still trying to keep hold of some of their new territories. Now the area is location to one of Kentucky’s State Resort Parks with a smallish lodge, 2 cottages, camping, and a museum. We found a graveyard, and we found a monument, but that was about all there was to see of this Revolutional war site.
We had a little more a feel for the lay of the land on the return trip, and while we drove all country roads, we did not get lost. We got back just in time for lunch (left-over steak for sandwiches) and an afternoon nap in the recliners. Heaven. Naps over, there was nothing to do but enjoy the perfect weather (70 degrees and sunny) in the campground setting.
After a grilled hamburger dinner, before we were able to light the evening campfire – things took a tragic turn. Twelve year old Pomeranian Scout began coughing and gasping, and then bringing up white foam. Tom immediately sat down to calm him, but he continued with the fit, obviously having problems of some sort. I got on the smart phone and found an emergency vet just 20 minutes away, and I called to verify that they were open. We left in the car with Scout who was lying rather quietly in my lap. He was taking occasional, very deep breaths – not very regular. Tom pulled over just as he breathed his last deep breath – and he was quietly gone. With nothing else to do, we drove on to the Emergency Vet where they took his body for cremation and offered us condolences. Scout had had a great day and this whole episode was very unexpected. He was a good old soul, having mellowed considerably in his old age. Here is a picture of Scout enjoying a camping trip with us earlier this spring . . . RIP, Scout.
This weekend wasn't over yet . . . the "big event" would be on Saturday, and planned by Caleb. Check back to see what the hurrah is all about.
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