Sometimes I think it would just be easier to just add new pictures under the old blog posts! For instance, we made this trip exactly one year ago – same journey, same days, same destination, and same race-weekend venue! Before even getting started on this blog, you might say it is going to be the same old thing . . . but I bet the finer details are a lot different!
Micah came home Tuesday night, Aug 29th, to join us for our Labor Day road trip to Watkin’s Glen Speedway for the Indy Grand Prix road race. Wednesday morning we trekked 500 miles, landing overnight at the KOA that was just 5 miles from the Speedway. After turning off the interstate we followed Tony Kanan’s set-up rig for 20 miles through the New York Country-side . . . we knew we were heading in the right direction!
Thursday morning we dashed to the track and were all set by 9:30. The only rain shower that was on the horizon passed through quickly, leaving us with very little chance of rain for the next 3 days. The stage was set for a great Labor Day Weekend!
As we entered the Speedway, we had to stop to have our tickets scanned, and for the trailer to be searched -- for unticketed passengers. This is an open-seating venue all weekend, and once you are in you must scan tickets every time you leave and return!
Our campsite is the same as last year -- #7 in the paddock area. We arrived to find Helio’s motorhome-away-from-home all set up 6 sites down from us, the track right beside us, and Victory Lane ceremony stands across from us. You could say we are right in the middle of it all.
The rain had quit but it was still a little gloomy as we headed to downtown Watkin’s Glen for lunch . . . a pizzeria followed by a quick stroll of some of our favorite stores. I dropped Tom and Micah off at the bottom of the Glen Canyon Gorge trail with the intent to pick them up at the top. A bit of confusion broke out as I ended up at the wrong pick-up area, had a bit of trouble reaching them by phone in the deep canyon, then finally arranged a new pick-up point. Tom took some pictures in the canyon.
Back at the Paddock I sat in the sun (at 61 degrees it felt so good) while the boys walked the enormous track infield. Simon Pagenaud had moved in next to Helio, and Charlie had a little encounter with the Jack Russell terrier, Norman, that was with his entourage and running around loose. I was on the phone when Simon walked by and asked me if the gate behind us was open . . . with mouth wide open and phone to my ear, I nodded and pointed limply! (Yes Simon, and If I wasn’t on the phone I could tell you all about it . . . )
At 5:30 we headed out to dinner downtown -- Micah was treating us to an early (by 2 days!) 39th anniversary celebration. Our favorite restaurant in the Glen is Nickel's Pit BBQ, a 100% local establishments with delish signature brewed and bottled BBQ sauces. To top it all off, we brought home a bottle of my favorite Carolina BBQ sauce!
And that wasn't the end of the evening, either! We came back to the Silvermine for the opening Buckeye game of the season against Indiana. Not knowing we would have cable hook-up in the paddock, we neglected to pack a cable cord. Not to worry -- Tom found one laying right beside the post! That took care of the entertainment for the rest of the evening, and the #2 ranked Buckeyes started the year out with a great win.
Track activities start for real tomorrow morning, with practice sessions, qualifying, and driver autograph sessions. I'll leave you with a little video I took of the little rolling robot from the new Star Wars movie -- he paid a visit to the Silvermine! We're all OK!
I forgot to write up our first campout after we were home from Alaska, so I will post it with our second campout!
Now that the great Alaska Adventure is over, it was time to . . . go camping! I have decided that there is a definite difference in traveling (vacationing) and just camping. I was ready for some of the “just camping,” and with this in mind we headed to Grand Lake St. Mary’s for the August 17-20 weekend. Last minute plans added Alan and Carrie and Steve and Cindy to the mix, and we were all set up for a leisurely weekend.
My goal for the weekend was to not let my fitbit log over 2,000 steps on any given day – get the picture? As wonderful as vacation was, and as much as I loved the traveling that went with it, I was ready to sit in a lawn chair in a campsite and do absolutely nothing! That was the tone for the whole weekend!
I did make it over to the new splash pad to check out a sign Tom had told me about. I had to see it in person! What misguided Ohio State Park employee thought this sign would be appropriate?
The weekend was all I had anticipated; the only time I left the campground was for an ice-cream run. Otherwise it was wonderful weather, great company, good food, and a very, very relaxing weekend!
After getting home, I still wasn’t a ball of fire, and I didn’t get to the business of working on my blog. Thus, the St. Mary’s weekend blended into the next weekend (August 25-27) at Morgan’s Riverside Campground and Canoe Livery in Cincinnati. Months ago, when we had all agreed on this weekend, we were wondering if the weather might be HOT in August. It turned out just perfect – highs in the mid 70’s and beautiful sunny days. This time around (our second time at Morgan’s this season) the campground owner had installed 110v electric in the first three campsites. . . we like to think he did this to accommodate our little Airstream camping group!
We had a final total of 5 couples on 3 large campsites and the headquarters for the weekend was quickly established. Here are some head-shots of our group as we gathered around a campfire circle off and on the whole weekend.
During the course of the weekend we had a great out-to-eat dinner at a local BBQ place, an epic pitch-in breakfast cooked by everyone, and an amazing open grill dinner (the hit was Steve's jalapeño poppers filled with cornbread!) I guess you could say the weekend revolved around food!
Between the eating, there was time for a trip down the Little Miami River -- after all, we were camped at Morgan's Canoe Livery! We walked from our campsites to the campsite office, rented the canoes/kayaks, boarded the bus, drove 4 miles up-river to the drop-off spot . . . and paddled (mostly floated!) back to our campsites . . . 3 miles and about 1 hour! Carrie and John were up for more, and they went back for round #2 -- 9 more miles.
Morgan's is fast becoming a favorite gathering place, and while we were there we made it known that we would be back in early April to help open the campground in the Spring!
Meanwhile, Tom and I are home for 3 days, Micah is joining us on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we are heading for take 2 at Watkin's Glen!.
I’m wondering if I should spare my readers all the gruesome details of the last day's drive? But, if Tom drove it, Charlie and I rode it – you can read it!
I’ll keep it short:
Sunday morning we left our last real touring spot, the Nez Perce Battlefield. For two days (15 hours) we were riveted to the audio story of the Nez Perce as told by Elliot West in The Last Indian Wars. That helped the miles to pass quickly -- 445 Sunday and 512 on Monday.
Monday we passed through the geographical center of North America (Rugby, ND) and stopped for a photo op. It seemed appropriate!
Monday night we stopped close to the headwaters of the Mississippi River . . . and decided to wake up and head for home with no more detours!
Tuesday we were off by 7:30, knowing that the time-change would be working against us, and knowing that we faced Chicago traffic for the most direct route home. 801 miles and 15 hours later we pulled in the driveway at 11:00 p.m.
Here are few statistics to wrap up the story:
We were gone 62 days
We drove a total of 11,451 miles (including touring without the Airstream)
We put 9,666 miles on the Airstream
We were in 8 US states and 3 Canadian Provinces
We had two chips in the truck windshield and 3 small scratches on the Airstream
We never wore those mosquito head nets we bought!
We had "0" flat tires"
We never had to use the generator!
We had "0" fights, arguments, disagreements
Our biggest trailer issue was the loss of the low-point drain valve on the fresh water tank.
It is good to be home -- but we would go back in a heartbeat!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2018 25' Airstream Serenity with Salsa interior and front twin beds., 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