It’s been a long time on the wish list, but finally we were ready for a return trip to Morgan’s Canoe Livery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Alan and Carie turned us on to this primitive campground on the Little Miami River several years ago and we have wanted to revisit ever since. Alan put this little camp-clave together over the June 3rd weekend.
We got off to a slow start having to load EVERYTHING into the truck and first go to Jackson Center to pick up the Silvermine – fresh off of her 2nd new AC installation. Alumapalooza was going on and we were able to briefly visit with our NOVA friends at the parking gate and then load our stuff into the Silvermine and take off. With a good hour of the trip already behind us, we only had another 1 ½ hours to Morgan’s.
We arrived at Morgan’s to find Alan and Carie in their TAB, and fellow Aistreamers Rick and Georgia already set up in several of the no-hook-ups-at-all campsites. Wonderfully large and defined by dense undergrowth, each site is designed to put as many camping units on as desired. Eventually, Steve and Cindy joined us in their Vista Cruiser, for a total of 4 camping units, 8 people, set up in campsites overlooking the river. Between the TAB and the Silvermine we had an easy-up and the Paha Que for shelter in case the predicted rain came through.
The river was moving entertainment as the canoe livery bussed people upriver to float back down to the landing at the campground. Recent rains guaranteed a fast trip down the 3-mile portion of the river. One little boy walked past our campsite and paused to pose for his 14th run down the river – within 10 minutes I got his picture as he floated past our campsite. More about that later as we took our turn on the river! For now lets just say we had a great spot to relax, chat, and enjoy camping.
We gathered around the picnic table for each-to-his-own supper, and then adjourned to the campfire pit. Tom and I had bought a "timber tote" (a.k.a stump-stove) to take for a test-fire, having always been intrigued by the concept. A single section of log, drilled vertically through the center, and horizontally along the bottom creates a chimney effect and a solid piece of wood that was to burn three hours. What a nice summer fire it was – a pleasant flame shooting straight up was bright but the heat from the fire was deflected by the thick surrounding stump. I wish I had gotten a picture of it burning!
On Friday morning we took a quick trip into Lebanon to see the Golden Lamb restaurant, and the courthouse. We had heard a lot about the Golden Lamb as it was an old establishment and Tom’s mother had visited it several times as a teenager. Although a working establishment, the Golden Lamb was used to inquisitive tourists walking in for a look-around. At this point in the morning the staff was cleaning and getting ready for the lunch rush.
We also visited the old Courthouse which has been partially renovated with updates, but also leaving some key elements of the 1800's interior. I especially liked the teal color of the woodwork and trim, however the courtroom itself had been "ruined" by modernization.
Then back to the campers for lunch and to wait for Carie’s arrival. She arrived in style on the Can Am Spider . . . and immediately got fellow cycle enthusiast Rick’s attention.
Then a trip to Fort Ancient, featuring Hopewell and Adena mounds recurrent in the southern Ohio area. Carie and Alan lead the way on the spider with the rest of us in our truck. Tom and I took the Stone Circle Trail with Charlie Button while the others took in the museum. Then we all drove the road route following the linear mounds.
Unlike circular mounds that we have visited recently, these were linear mounds that traveled in a straight line for long distances; they were hard to see in the darkness of the forest growth.
We reunited with Steve and Cindy who had errands to run in the Cincinnati area and all enjoyed a supper and traditional campfire.
There was a good rain during the night, and a light sprinkle early in the morning, but clearing was enough we decided to try a run on the river. A bus left from our campground on a regular basis and it was a quick trip to our drop-off spot at the canoe livery. Carie, Alan and Rick chose kayaks, and Steve and Cindy and Tom and I chose “old-town” canoes.
It took just a short while to all get matched with a ride, get settled in, and learn the rhythm of the stroke and paddle. The river was high and there was a lot of forward movement with little effort, but while we were bunched up paddles were necessary for steering. Then for an hour we enjoyed the low cruise of the river with two areas of white water.
Without going into detail, I will just show a couple pictures of Alan and Carie out of their kayaks, while Rick stands by to help!
After three miles we floated past our campsite, and around the corner, where we disembarked from the river.
Georgia stayed at the campsite and got these pictures of us as we slipped past.
It has been a long time since Tom and I have been on the river, and we had a great time. However, as we got out on shore and turned in our canoe, paddles, and life vests, I figured it would be another 10 years before we ventured out again!
The weather had been kind to us up until that point, but the rain finally moved in to stay awhile. It was all the excuse we needed to load up and head to the town of Mainville, home to Alan and Carie, to try out their favorite eating venue, Putter's. But first, we stopped at the local Kroger's to gather some special eats for our evening meal.
Rain continued the afternoon, but we were determined to have our steak and lobster feed! Tom fired up the turkey frier, which serves admirably as a lobster and corn-on-the-cob cooker. I quartered lemons, melted butter, and sautéd up some Pirogues with potato and cheese filling. Rick brought a bottle of white wine to the table, and everyone brought and cooked a steak. We had originally wanted whole, live lobster, but after seeing the price we opted for frozen lobster tails. Good choice!
It continued to rain during and after supper, but we gathered under the awning for a game of trivia and some important conversations! Up to this point, I have not mentioned any mishaps with the new air conditioner. . . that is mostly because we did not have electricity to try it out. The rain brought up another issue as we had a puddle of water on the floor directly under the air conditioner! Could it be it wasn't sealed properly when it was installed? This camping trip ended with the knowledge that we would be heading back to the factory early in the week.
Sunday was a leisurely take-off as we all dripped around waiting for things to dry up enough to pack up. I love Morgan's, and I hope it is not so for between visits the next time.
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