What do you do after the very best wedding experience of the decade? You go camping to relive the memories, of course!
Our son, Caleb, and beautiful Halie tied a very tight knot in an outdoor setting, celebrated with family and friends, on Saturday, September 16 at 3:30 in the afternoon. The pronouncement was made at 4:10 (according to the world clock) and the gala began afterwards in a big ballroom – hors d'oeuvre, dining, toasting, dancing, and just general all-around festivity. Here are some ceremony pictures and reception shots taken by my sister, Tink, who relieved me from having to tote the camera around! We will try to be patient while waiting for the professional pictures to come back!
Tom and I had a secret plan to disappear into the wilds of Ohio after it was all over, and on Monday we set out for a park we had never visited – Burr Oak State Park. south and east of Columbus; it is one of the big resort parks with a lodge and lots of hiking trails.
Along with us on this trip, was Annie; she accompanied us for the week so her mommy could focus on some health-care issues that arose. Annie’s presence reminds us frequently to keep her mommy in our thoughts and prayers! Here are Charlie (left) and Annie (right) -- good camping buddies!
The Burr Oak campground is an older campground, and could use a little updating. The electric sites are high on a hill, mostly out in the sun, and the shaded sites are down below in a small ravine. Our site did have grass and large walnut trees -- that kept dropping walnut bombs, 2-3 at a time.
After a dinner of ribs, we bedded the pups down in the trailer and drove to check out the lodge. It was getting dark as we arrived (8:30!) and I wasn’t able to get outdoor pictures of the lodge – but we grabbed a few photos of the lodge entry lit up from the inside, and the various sitting areas inside the lodge. The lodge, like the campground, was mostly empty on a Monday evening in late September!
Tuesday morning began with a cup of coffee sitting outside, watching the walnuts crash down, and a beautiful pair of cardinals flit around.
What do 78, 376, 792,676 and 555 all have in common? They’re all some of the most beautiful scenic back-county roads we have ever driven in Ohio. . . . I know Tom was wishing to be driving the MG instead of the Truck! Our loop trip around Morgan county took us past covered bridges, bucolic farms, the Muskingum River wetlands, small picturesque towns, and even a battlefield. At times the road disappeared from view as we climbed a hill, or turned a sharp corner – or both! We wondered why someone hadn’t mapped out this loop trip as a scenic drive or even a motorcycle road trip.
Wednesday we headed south 40 miles on back-roads until we hit the Ohio River Scenic By-Way – Route 7, at Pomeroy. Although we have traveled the river road from Cincinnati to Ironton previously, this was our first voyage on this eastern portion of the bi-way , and we passed the southern-most point of Ohio -- called South Point! Eventually the road became Route 57, but was still the same route following the Ohio River.
Along the way we passed a sign marking the tragedy of the Silver Bridge, and stopped for some pictures.
We drove 120 miles and veered off at Portsmouth to find the Shawnee State Park/Forest. Here, there were just a handful of campers, and we were told to drive around and choose whatever campsite appealed to us! By 2:30 we were set up and enjoying the usual, lazy camp routine, and here we stayed put for the afternoon and evening.
Thursday continued our rural trip through southern Ohio, but veering away from the Ohio River on a northern track. Along the way we notched another State Park – Adam’s State Park. It appeared to be a day park with no camping, and we enjoyed a walk along the paved hiking path along the lake.
Down the road was Serpent Mound, the world’s largest surviving ancient animal effigy mound. Winding 1,348 feet over the ground in the shape of an undulating serpent with an open mouth and coiled tail, it was thought to be excavated as far back as 1650 AD. The exact creation is unknown because no artifacts were left that would help identify which Indian culture constructed it. In 1900 an observation tower was construct4ed when the Ohio Historical Society took over the preservation of the mound. From here, Tom had a good picture of the layout of the serpent.
Thursday night we stopped at another State Park that we have never visited – John Bryan State Park. Located east of Dayton, it is billed as “the most scenic state park in western Ohio.” It contains a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River and reminiscent of our favorite Hocking Hills State Park. Aside from hiking and biking trails, it also has several locations for rock climbing and rappelling. The campground was small, had only pit toilets and no shower house, and only 10 campsites had electric hookups. It was too hot and humid to spend much time on the trails, but this little scouting expedition guaranteed we would be back for a more detailed excursion. It would be perfect for an early Spring or Fall rally site.
Friday morning found us an easy 2 hour drive home. We're now in the process of getting re-geared for the 7th Anniversary Rally at West Branch State Park this weekend.
Race day drizzled in – cold, damp, soggy, and wet! Nonetheless, the alarm went off according to “the plan” at 5:30 a.m. The boys shot out of bed, hastily dressed, and headed off (in the truck) to the other side of the track and their far-away favorite stadium. The plan called for a quick hike to the top to drop off their backpacks on the top row to secure their seating. The plan also called for them to leave the truck close to their seats in the parking lot and walk back – but the ongoing dribble made it too tempting to drive the truck back to the Silvermine. They were back by 6:30 and crawled in bed and got a few more hours of shut-eye! I was vaguely aware of the going and comings.
Still convinced that they might miss something, they headed back to their seats at 9:00 – still mizzling! Micah was armored with a full rain suit, but Tom had forgotten to pack his, and suited up in a cheap, $1. Poncho – and five layers of including a hoodie! The menu for the day started with the 9 AM Indy Car Warm-up and the Indy LIGHTS race. At 1:00 the Verizon Indy Cars hit the grid, and after some pre-race festivities, the drivers were introduced and the green flag was dropped at 1:47 for the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen. The following pictures show the wet track during the Indy LIGHTS race -- and the view that Tom and Micah had of the cars coming down the track from the start/finish line towards them . . . clockwise!
Before I hiked to my choice spot for the start of the race, I walked to the end of our camping area and spotted Tom and Micah high up in their stands. I had to text them and tell them where to look to see me waving at them! That's them in the top/left row!
I was miscalculated the time it would take me to walk from the Paddock to the location where I could cross the track via the bridge, and then backtrack on the other side to the main grandstands – all to end up directly across from where we were parked in the Paddock!
I missed the first few drivers as they were introduced, but had a good view standing at the top walk-way of the stands of the pre-race doings – not so good for pictures as everything was through the tall, curved, shielding fence. I stayed until the cars took off and then worked my way slowly back to the warmest and driest seat in the Speedway – the TV in the Silvermine!
The boys were back quickly after the race, and we all walked the 50 paces to the Victory Circle aftermath where Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Hunter Ray received 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies provided by the Corning Glass company. Micah got a picture of Tom and me with the drivers in the background.
Dinner was on Micah again, as he had brought some of his famous Ribs – tenderly cared for in his new pressure cooker InstaPot. Tender! I put some baked sweet potatoes and fresh blueberries and steamed broccoli with the ribs. Around us, people were packing up and moving out, but our plans included spending one more night with an early launch in the morning.
Time will tell if this event is offered again next year – attendance was very low. It might just be time to move on and explore some other possibilities for Labor Day Weekend.
And, this will be our last campout for a few weeks, as we have details to attend to for . . . . . CALEB'S WEDDING! If I'm not back in a few weeks --- that means I didn't survive!
Friday morning the boys disappeared to the track all morning for practice and qualifying runs. Charlie and I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells all from the comfort under the awning at the Silvermine.
After lunch, we headed off with Tom and Micah for the Autograph session. Charlie was all togged out in her race duds, and before leaving the paddock she posed on Helio's door mat!
The autograph session took place at the Indy Car Fan Village – the line was already long when we got there, and there was an interview of Josef Newgarden, James Hinchcliffe, and Graham Rahal going on. Hinch demonstrated some of his dance moves (from his appearance on Dancing With The Stars) with a very embarrassed white-haired woman from the crowd! While standing in line, we were able to get some good pictures of the drivers.
And that was just a warm-up! As we walked down the autograph line, Charlie did her little “dead dog” trick for each driver! I had to think of a little something different to say for each driver to get Charlie to keel over. At first Simon Pagenaud didn’t understand my instructions to “make a gun with your fingers and say bang” – but then he caught on. Charlie performed for Hinchliffe when I said “Charlie, what did you think of Hinch’s dance moves on DWS?” For Charlie Kimball, I said: “Charlie, he has the same name as you.” The favorite was when I said: “Charlie look – it’s Helio!” It took us awhile to make it through the line as drivers called us back for round #2!
I have never been able to figure out how or why Charlie responds in a dead faint at the right moment – regardless of what I say -- but she always does! If you haven't seen the trick live, Charlie bends at the waist when I am holding her and make a statement, and hangs upside down with her head swinging!
Micah stood by taking pictures of the whole thing!
I returned to my spot in the Paddock, and the boys returned to whatever-it-is-that-they-do when they disappear for hours at a time! I took a shower and visited with different people up and down the row, and finished an audio book.
Happy hour found us all gathered back at the Silvermine for grilled steaks and deep-fat-fried (well -- oven baked) macaroni and cheese bites. What a wonderful day!
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