We left home Thursday morning at 8:30 -- a little eager to be on our way to Mounds State Park for the Indy 500 Time Trials weekend. For now it was just us, but later Caleb and Halie and Micah would be joining in. Arriving at 11:00 we found our site still occupied, and check-out wasn't until 2:00. The group at "our" campsite seemed pretty grounded for the moment. Rather than sit and stare at them, we left to eat lunch and do a little shopping at our favorite Fryes Electronics store and a newly opened Caballa's store. Timing was perfect as we arrived back at 2:15 to find our empty site waiting. Thirty minutes had us set up and the welcome sign out! Jeff Foxworthy says: "You might be a Redneck if you've ever used an ironing board as a buffet table!"
Close to our campsite was another Airstream, and it didn't take long to meet up with Ron and Boni for a get-to-know-the-other-Airstream session. We broke to fix supper, but met back around their campfire for a deeper session. Boni showed me an easy way to make 'smores: put your roasted marshmallows on a chocolate covered graham cracker -- how simple is that! Same key ingredients, but the chocolate is already in place! Thanks, Boni!
Friday morning was deliciously lazy with absolutely nothing planned. Tom was up to discover a raccoon had ransacked the garbage bags in the truck bed -- had we really neglected to close the tailgate -- or did that little critter manage to open it? I woke up at 8:00 and joined Tom outside for coffee. Ron and Bonie were hitched up and came over to exchange contact information before leaving. I am sure we will be camping with them again down the road . . . we bonded as Airstreamers so often do!
We had been intrigued by signs to the nearby town of "Historical Pendelton" and decided to check it out for lunch. Rarely have we seen a town as neat and tidy as this -- both downtown and every residential neighborhood we drove through.
We stumbled onto "Pierogi in a Pinch" for lunch -- an amazing little restaurant featuring . . . pierogis. Many different kinds of fillings to choose from (and the ability to mix and match) and served with grilled onions and sour cream and a wonderful cucumber salad. They were so good that we bought some of the cheese and potatoes pierogis for Saturday's steak dinner with Caleb and Halie. The town also boasted Falls Creek Park -- a park as clean and proud as the little town itself. We never did, however, find out what was "historic" about Pendleton . . . I had been hoping for a wool blanket outlet!
Our afternoon sitting session was under cloud-covered sky, and although it was 68 degrees it was a bit chilly calling for a sweatshirt. After a BBQ chicken supper we took the day's trash to the dumpster and walked back to the Great Mound -- a nice trail through the woods. By 8:00 it was apparent that rain would put in an appearance --starting as a light sprinkle but predicted to continue through the night.
It did rain all night . . .very steady, but not hard. By Saturday morning wake-up time the rain was out of the area for the rest of the weekend. With no plans for the day, we took a tour around the countryside north of Indianapolis with no destination in mind. I had promised Tom PBJ sandwiches in the pie irons, and we were back tending to them by noon. By 2:00 we were in our chairs waiting for Caleb and Halie to arrive. These two brave souls were going to try a new camping/sleeping arrangement -- in Caleb's mini van. We had it all worked out with a trial set-up in the driveway at home, but tonight would be the real thing. We had the seats all folded down -- hurray for stow-and-go seating! On the floor were two heavy duty camping air mattresses and two twin-sizes memory foams that curved up the side wall of the van. Each had a sleeping bag liner and a variety of cold-weather bedding on top. They declared the whole arrangement to be comfortable.
Sunday morning the boys left at 8:00 to pick up Micah, who drives to Indianapolis, parks his truck, and piles in the truck with us for the next week! Halie and I opted out of the all-day-track-experience for a little shopping excursion of our own. Halie got new shoes and while we were eating at Red Robin the waitress gave us the hot tip that Old Navy had jeans for 76 cents -- so swore a customer that had just come from the store! Of course we had to check that out, and while it was NOT true -- the store did have 40% of everything -- even already marked down items. Halie stocked up on jeans, making the trip very worthwhile.
By 2:30 we were back at the campground, which had emptied out considerably, and I taught Halie how to settle into the ZERO-G position. . . for four hours of sunshine, blue sky, nice breezes, books, naps - - - Halie got an A+ for style!
The plan was to meet the boys at a restaurant for supper and then split up with Caleb and Halie going home, and Tom, Micah and I spending one more night at mounds. That all worked out as planned, and Monday morning we were home by noon!
One little Airstream problem to document -- the AC quit working! Thinking it was just me not knowing how to work the AC, Tom planned to tinker with it at home. It was a no-cool for him also, and on Monday afternoon when the dealer, the factory, and the roadside assistance program couldn't trouble-shoot him through the problem, plans were made to take the Silvermine to the factory for hands-on help at 7:00 Tuesday morning! Tom was home by 5:00 with a newly installed AC . . . just 18 hours before our next trip out . . . camping at the Indy 500. On asphalt. With temps in the hight 80's predicted! Be sure to come back and check out that story.
Today, the day before Mother’s day, was forecast to be a glorious day – in more ways than just the weather! We started the day in that spirit with egg sandwiches cooked outside on the grill. Tom headed to the shower house while I headed for the shower in the Silvermine. By 10:00 we were ready to go – a bit early by the schedule!
We also got a message from Caleb that he and Halie were on the road to Cincinnati. (Caleb zipped me a picture of Halie to show that she was ready!)
And he sent me a selfie once they were in the car!
Our first stop was at the Party Source to buy our favorite (Portuguese) Lancer’s wine . . . and a commemorative bottle of champagne with flutes and chocolates for . . . you’ll have to wait to see why we needed that! Then, on to the Newport Aquarium right in the middle of the outdoor plaza Newport on the Levy – always a busy place. The Cincinnati skyline offered a backdrop while we waited for the rest to arrive.
Next to arrive were Caleb and Halie -- easy to spot as they rolled through the plaza. While we waited for Halie's family, I took some pictures of the cute couple.
And, of course, Caleb and Halie took some selfies!
Shortly, coming down the steps to join us were Halie's mother, Teresa; Father, Rocky; and grandmother, Pat. Hugs and greetings all around!! Knowing that sister Heather and boys Lynden and Leelan were close by, we went into the aquarium.
As we picked up our tickets (pre-ordered by Caleb) he informed us that we were given complementary tickets to visit the back-stage of the Penguin exhibit at 2:30. (Hummmm -- what could be so special at the Penguine house?) We had just enough time to do the loop around the aquarium – through the World Rivers exhibit, past the Shark Ray display, on to the Shore Gallery, and finally to the new Seahorses show. Past that we strolled Gator Alley and the Frog Bog, and ended up at the Jellyfish Gallery and Shark Bridge. . . . just in time for the 2:30 Penguin encounter.
I could go on and on with pictures of the sea life -- but that would be a tease, and I am anxious to get to the purpose of this trip! I did grab this nice photo of Halie's family: Teresa, Rocky, Heather, Pat, Leelan and Lendan!
Several young ladies prepped us for the encounter in the penguin enclosure, giving us all the rules of behavior and touching and a little background bio on each bird. Then our little friends lined up to greet us, and we entered the pen.
Penguins came up to be petted (always with a two finger stroke) and we learned about each little personality -- some were shy, some more inquisitive, one a little ornery -- Green Bean got put in a "time-out" box for not sharing toys! All of the penguins had names and colored bands to identify them.
After a bit Caleb seemed to focus on business other than the penguins and moved into position to face Halie. This was a subtle signal, while our penguin keeper handed Caleb an envelope -- The Penguins paint with their feet, and had made a little art-work that, on the back side, said: "Will you marry me?" There was a moment of preparation for Caleb while he got out the ring and got ready for his speech. Tom got it all on video! (Turn up the volume to here all the sweet words!)
There was a moment when I was holding my breath, watching Halie to see if she said “yes” and trying to take pictures! Oh sweet moment when it appeared that he pulled it all off! Everyone recorded the moment and it was sealed with a KISS!
Leaving a very successful encounter with the penguins, we all trooped across the street from the Aquarium to the Hofbrauhaus House and the outdoor beer garden to celebrate.
The party split up and Tom and I returned to the Silvermine to savor the memories. I would say "welcome to the family, Halie," but the truth is that Halie has been a beloved part of the Brown family since we first met her in the fall of 2014. Enjoy the rest of the journey, Caleb and Halie!
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.
Quite a change from our recent Amish camping and State Park camping, this campout was smack dab in the middle of downtown Columbus – Urban camping at it’s best! This was a repeat of the “Share the Dream” rally from two years ago at Haydocy Airstream dealership – with upgrades! The deal is this: Haydocy invites our NOVA group to set up camp in their front parking lot for the weekend – Haydocy proceeds to sell Airstreams while NOVA shows off the WBCCI lifestyle. It is a win/win situation for both Haydocy and NOVA.
Tom and I earned an early entry to the parking lot with a few little warranty items that needed serviced, and we arrived at 10:30. Not long after we got in line for service, rally host and hostess Terry and Sue arrived, and not long after that several more trickled in. So much for arrival any time after 1:00! It didn't matter, because the parking lot had been cleared out to make room for our entourage.
The weather cooperated with coolish temperatures, but no rain. As Airstreams trickled In during the afternoon the parking lot filled up! During the course of the weekend we had about 12 Airstreams "camping" on the lot . . . with a million dollar inventory of other Airstreams that were for sale!
For those that arrived in time for lunch, the Haydocy Land Yacht BBQ food stand was on site and serving! Wonderful BBQ pork and brisket, beans and cole slaw.
Mid-afternoon a detail truck arrived and started at one end of our Airstream formation and washed their way down to the other end! All of our Airstreams got a bath, as well as any tow vehicle that was parked in the way! In the process the parking lot also got a good wet-down!
Later in the afternoon A fire pit materialized in the parking lot, and soon a ring of chairs circled the campfire. . . just like in a real campground. Tables appeared, and at 6:00 hot dogs, beans, all the fixins’ and ample side-dishes filled the tables for a parking lot picnic.
After dinner followed the usual camping routine – sitting around the fire and enjoying stories and company. Temperatures cooled off even more as the sun went down, and at 7:30 a light sprinkle started. It was enough to motivate a flurry to put everything away and move into the comfort of the Haydocy showroom. I don’t know how long that pow-wow went on, but I soon retired to the Silvermine to read more of that new David Baldachi book!
Friday morning I didn’t hit the showroom floor until 8:30 a.m.to find that most were up and about. Coffee and donuts, compliments of Haydocy, were on tap. Within an hour we collected Alan and headed off for REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) It is one of our favorite stores, and I especially like their promotional vibe “Made on Purpose.” We came out empty-handed (even the clearance sale clothing was way beyond Tom’s mind-set!)
Because it was 11:15 we started looking for a good salad bar for lunch – ended up at the Hollywood Casino Buffet. As we walked in, the hostess/greeter wished us “good luck” – obviously she didn’t know we were just visiting the buffet? (Casino note: In most places you have to walk through all the food to get to the “things to do”; at the casino you have to walk through all the “things to do” to get to the food.)
Back on the blacktop new people were joining the fun. Pendleton Special Edition #96 had been delivered early in the morning and the family, up from Kentucky, had arrived to play in their new trailer. Suzie and John came in their recently acquired 16’ with an interest in trading for something a bit bigger. (Before the weekend was out they moved out of the 16' and into a 25'.) New NOVA members Chris and Randy Shiplett, from just 15 minutes away in Plain City, did a drive-by to meet their NOVA family, and long-time NOVA members Brad and Jane showed up to say hello.
Tim Maxwell (a regional Airstream representative) planted his 2-stroke, John Deer propelled ice cream maker on the front stoop of Haydocy, and everyone was drawn to the distinct bursts of the little engine as it churned away
Alan brought out the Segways and a pack stood in line for instructions and to take a turn around the parking lot.
By middle of the afternoon a DJ showed up to gauge the “type” of crowd gathered and to entertain us with properly profiled music. The fire pit was fired up . . . . and the chairs formed another ring. And the busy comings and goings went on like that all afternoon! At one point, Tom and Rick dodged out to a local go-cart racetrack to do a few laps against each other.
At 6:30 Haydocy manager Mike Harlan, Regional manager Tim Maxwell, and ace salesman Eric Davis herded us toward the showroom where Bar-B-Q from the Land Yacht was set up for our dinner. This expanded into a bigger fire and a larger circle, and a “State of the Airstream” message from Tim Maxwell.
I surprised myself by staying out until 10:00; at 11:30 I peeked out my wrap-around window to see at least 8 people still in the circle with more tossing a football in the parking lot. (Nice catch to whoever made that last minute snag to keep the football from hitting my bedroom window!)
Tom and I did not have electric hook-ups, and we made the decision to go without the furnace for the night! I already had my fleece map of the USA blanket on the bed, and I added for Tom his heavy log-cabin quilt. Over all of this I layered the heavy, wool, Yellowstone edition, kingsize Pendleton blanket. As the temps dipped down in the low 40’s overnight – we were comfy.
Saturday was to be the big sales day with hopes of people coming in off the streets to look at the Airstreams and see the NOVA/ WBCCI backdrop. Starting out it was cold; later in the morning it dribbled. The parking-lot setting broke up, and small groups relocated here and there to take cover. The good news was that wheelin’ and Airstream dealin’ were going on inside on the showroom floor, and outside on the front lot – all day long! NOVA members had some good opportunities to inject some WBCCI speechifying. Three Airstreams were sold on Saturday as three new couples "joined the dream."
Late afternoon the rally turned to food consumption as we met in the showroom to caravan to Der Dutchman for dinner. It was still raining as we returned, but we snuggled in the showroom for the evening to chew the fat one last time. (We'll need some new fat before the next rally!)
Sunday morning was a slow get-away, but Tom and I were still home by noon. As we pulled in the driveway we realized that the calendar was empty for the next weekend, and Tom promptly took care of that little detail by making reservations for Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky! Just the two of us (Home Alone in the new Silvermine)!
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