Before blogging this little outing, I have a confession: we went on another camping trip in 2015 that I didn't record in the blog! On December 4th we joined our NOVA friends for the NOVA Christmas party in Dublin, Ohio, and two other brave couples (Rowbottoms and Woodruffs) camped with us at Alum Creek State Park. The temperatures cooperated for a nice outing, and now we have two more nights and 250 more miles to add to Airstream 2015 totals.
Due to El Nino (or is it La Nina?) we have been experiencing a much warmer than normal season; just enough to entice us to head to southern Ohio to explore new-to-us Shawnee State Park. We had lots of rain recently, but there was a dry spell opening up with temperatures above freeIng, and we jumped on that prediction to head south to the Ohio River area of the state.
On Tuesday we left Van Wert at 9:30 a.m. and 40 degrees and by lunch-time we were up to 43 degrees as we pulled over in Urbana for lunch . . . at Teabaggers. It was a nice little mom and pop coffee/tea/wine joint, but we hadn't counted on taking 1 1/2 hours out of our day for such a leisurely dine!
As we left Urbana I obsessively checked Weather Bug again, which assured me that the temperature was 58 degrees at our destination, just 2 hours away. The drive on Ohio Route 247 was one of those up and down, and gee and haw roads, making Tom wish he was driving the MG instead of the rig.
We arrived at Shawnee State Park at 3:45, to cloudy and 50 degrees -- missed it by 8 degrees! We set up next to the open bath house (no heat, but hot water) and took a quick drive around the campground.We were the only ones in the campground. There was no cell service. At 5:30 it was pitch black!
Tom had our agenda planned for the day -- a drive along the Ohio Scenic River Route 52, through the historic little towns in this southern-most section of Ohio. Almost immediately we could see where this area of Ohio earned the reputation of "hillbilly" and "red-neck". Mile after mile of country roads and homes reeked of neglect and poverty, and the small towns were bare from abandonment. It was so inconsistent with what should have been a beautiful drive along the Ohio River. When we got home, I did some research that verified that Scioto County is the poorest county in Ohio!
Our first stop was in Portsmouth, Ohio at the huge flood-wall that stands between the city and the river. Starting in 1993, artist Robert Dafford painted large sections of the wall with murals that depict the last two centuries of Portsmouth's history. Each are 20 feet high and the whole wall is 2,100 feet long.
Our drive continued to the little town of Hanging Rock. The population was 221 at the 2010 census. It is regularly labeled a speed trap as the state auditor reported $109,186 in mayor's traffic court receipts in 2000. . . compared with $3,106 in property taxes! We saw local police out patrolling in souped up pick-up trucks! Slow down, Tom!
Crossing a bridge at Ironton, we left the Ohio River Road . . . and began our trip back on the Kentucky side of the River. The towns and the scenery were much the same, and the river was even on the same side of the car (my side!) Think about that one!
Looking at these two pictures, I am glad we chose the right bridge to head back over the river to Ohio!
Back at the Silvermine we took Charlie Button and Scout for a good leg-stretching, and put them up on the picnic table to record the fact that they went camping with us. Supper was bar-b-que beef brisket, and we had a nice campfire.
Heading for home Thursday morning we had 110 miles of slow and easy river road, driving east toward Cincinnati. We detoured again to the Kentucky side of the river for breakfast in Maysville. Finally -- a nicely-cared-for small downtown! Marty's Kitchen had just been taken over by Donna, and Donna was hustling the breakfast folk while Glenda was cooking in the kitchen . . . Tom says the best fried 'taters' he has ever had!
We stopped briefly at Point Pleasant, home of General Grant's birthplace, just to scope it out. You will have to wait for it until next September when it will be a feature of the NOVA President's Rally.
We jumped on the Cincinnati beltway and back into civilization, skipping the exit to Micah's new home in Amelia, Ohio, and were arrived home around 3:00. Nice time . . . and nice to be home!
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