It’s been a long time since we have been to one of our favorite Ohio State Parks on Lake Erie – Maumee Bay. What better time to revisit this “great” lake-side park than just as fall is emerging. We arrived to see that we were headquartered in the loop that we had occupied with TABs and Rpods, over 7 years ago. This time the rally was the annual Anniversary Rally hosted by Loren and Mike St. Peter with an anticipated 16 camping units to arrive.
The thing I love about this campground is that every campsite is carved out of the low-growing wild hedges and shrubs, giving each a complete sense or privacy. At the back of the site, sometimes a little pathway/tunnel is mowed to connect the campsites, but the impression is always that you are alone in the campground. Here we are in our little private oasis.
One one side of us were Doug and Terry in their new-to-them 1950 Spartan trailer. Every inch of the inside and outside was revamped and modernized . . . It received an A+ on my home-worthy index.
Across from us were Terry and Sue, reliving some memories from past years. They had recently traded for a new 28' Airstream that was not off the production line yet, and they gamely joined the rally with cots and coolers and lights and heaters . . . in this big tent:
We went to bed that night expecting rain to move through during the night.
Just as the rain began at about 8:00, John and Suzie pulled in, and Tom and I reported to their campsite to guide them in by flashlight. Meanwhile, back at the tent, Sue and Terry found that through 10 years of storage, the tent was no longer waterproof! We heard all about that the next morning!
The rain washed through in the middle of the night and Tom was up with a morning campfire burning at 7:00. The plan was to visit the Toledo Glass Pavilion, an off-shoot of the Toledo Museum of Art. The Pavilion itself is built of over 360 panels of glass -- many of them curved -- and just seeing the facility was a delight.
Inside the Hot Spot, we watched as a guest artist fashioned . . . tumors! It wasn't until later, when Tom and Terry returned to listen to her evening lecture, that the rest of the story came out. Her sister had a facial tumor that caused people to stare, and now she makes tumors as a part of her art form -- designed to make people feel uncomfortable. And stare. Tom and Terry learned a lot more about her various art media and subjects -- a lot of them sexual and almost pornographic in nature. Enough said.
The rest of the glass displays were very traditional in nature, with beautiful vases, bowls, plates, and other glass objects!
That little tour took us right up until lunch, and just a short drive away was Tony Packo's -- made famous by MASH. Mostly a hot dog and chili joint, for us it was all about those wonderful old MASH television episodes.
It is an election year, and Tom has been (like many people) a little mystified about what to do about voting. I bought him this shirt at Tony Packo's; not exactly sure what it means, but it did seem appropriate.
We returned to the campground to find that lots of people had moved in since we left. Here are some of the faces that joined us for an evening dinner gathering.
A campfire ended earlier for some than for others. We haven't followed daylight-savings time yet, and the dark came pretty early! Before heading for bed, though, we made plans to tour some local historical venues on Friday!
Breakfast was pancakes on the griddle provided by our hosts-- but Tom and I were up and ready for breakfast before the griddle was hot! We resorted to our own breakfast -- not too shabby!
Friday's tour plan included two historical reviews; one from the French & Indian Wars and another from the war of 1812. Fallen Timbers was our first stop.
Fallen Timbers was a quick walk-around battlefield. The victory by General Anthony Wayne's troops fully open up the Northwest Territories to the settlers who were always moving west.
We stopped for a late fast-food lunch and a shopping trip through a very large Field & Stream outdoor store before returning to the campground. There was just enough time to enjoy a nap session in the sunshine and a walk around the campground to view all 16 of the attendees, including the newest arrivals. Supper was a beans and wienies dinner with lots of contributions, and a fire took us into the evening.
Next door Rob worked on his chili for the competition cook-off. Real men make their chili outside over the open fire. In a Dutch oven. Hanging from a tripod!
Later in the morning people gathered at our host's campsite for chili judging and a goodie raffle. There were 9 chili entries, and the chili that Tom and I both voted for in a blind taste-taste -- won! It was made by Suzie, and was a family favorite recipe with beer, wine, and other hard sprits. . . what is not to like!
Early afternoon Tom and I headed for a walk around the beautiful lodge; we had hoped to hike the nature trail, but as a part of the birding trail, dogs were not allowed. But the lodge was spread out giving a nice long walk, with the back side bordering the lake.
The rally was winding down, with one last grand gathering for the traditional potluck dinner. The fire circle thinned out early as the cold moved in -- and there was also the Ohio State Buckeye evening game that made the Airstream seem cozy and inviting! A great game is one that comes right down to the last play -- and this game was a GREAT GAME!
Tom and I headed out early in the morning with a stop at a Waffle House for the traditional brunch. It had been a wonderful campout with a beautiful introduction to true fall camping -- with leaf changes and cold nights.
We bought a new house -- not for us to live in, but as a retirement investment! Oh, and we just happened to find our first set of renters -- son Caleb, and finance Halie! What a coincidence that they were just starting to concern themselves with where they would be living!
The location is in New Haven, Indiana, which will be almost equal-distance for Caleb to come to Van Wert to work, and Halie to drive to Turnstone of Fort Wayne for work -- 25 minutes max for each.
The subdivision is new and situated circle-style with neighborhood homes backed around a pond. This particular house is only 5 years old and has not really even been lived in . . . a man living out-of-state used it for an office and place to stay when he was in town tending to business.
Today was the house inspection, and the inspector told us in all of his years of inspecting he has only had one other house that had "0" issues -- ZILCH! While he inspected I was able to go around and get some pictures.
I guess I didn't get pictures of the bedrooms and spare bath -- but you get the idea! Meanwhile at home, we up to our ears in packing and boxes and re-organizing!
Our site was so large that we set up in a big spread – chairs under the shade tree, Kelty shelter next to the airstream. The afternoon was chilly at 63 degrees, heavy clouds, and breezy. Still, we preferred sitting out with light jackets and . . . lap blankets!
At 4:00 I suggested a dash in to Frye’s, my favorite super-electronic store, before supper. After a quick walk-around we got out without a purchase and returned to the campground just in time for supper: lamb chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and grapes. It was dark shortly after supper, and with a light sprinkling of rain, we saved the campfire for morning coffee and went inside. I had The Shallows downloaded on my computer and couldn’t wait to settle down with a good shark attack.
Lunch was Chuy’s Mexican and we made a brief attempt to go to a movie – but the one we wanted to see wasn’t on for another few hours. We headed back to the campground to rescue Charlie Button who was cowering from all the thunderstorms! It was a drippy evening and again we retreated to the Silvermine without a campfire.
Saturday Tom fixed us egg sandwiches for breakfast; there is nothing better than two eggs on an English Muffin with bacon and cheese to start the day out right! We were off to the races by 9:00, planning to meet Micah and friend Paul by 10:00 when the gate opened. The track arrival strategy was different for the AirRace as it all took place above turn 4 – but Tom knows every inch of the track and surrounding parking lots, and he navigated straight to the infamous Coca-Cola Parking lot. We arrived 20 minutes after Micah, but were parked just one row over and a dozen cars down from him.
Entrance to the track was easy, and we quickly chose seats in the top row of the NW Vista, and made the march to the top. It was hazy and foggy, but our view of the flying field was first-rate, and we settled in to get our bearings. Here is a diagram of the flying field and pictures of our view from the top. As we climbed to our seats, in Turn 4 Stand Row RR (same row as our Indy 500 seats located in Turn 2) we noticed everything was shrouded in the fog and barely visible in the distance is the Indianapolis downtown skyline.
We didn’t know quite what to expect from day #1 at the air races, but our race guide booklet showed a pretty active agenda of practicing, entertainment, and qualifications . We were in our seats by 10:00, anxious to see what would happen.
Practice was first, with a chance for us to get a feel of where the planes would take off, how they would negotiate the course, and where they would land. As each pilot left the runway, the announcer broadcast: "smoke on."
A motorcycle stunt-rider performed with a variety of tricks in front of our stands.
Several paraglider jumpers landed in front of us.
An Aerobatic Helicopter stunned with climbing, diving, free-fall and tumbling moves that helicopters are just not meant to do!
A paraglider trailing a long, long, tail, soared high over our heads and then did a death spiral with the tail twisting into a large corkscrew. I was so shocked -- I missed the picture!
With that, we left the stands to scout out the midway, the merchandise and the food stands. A foot-long corn-dog later we were back in the stands for another practice session followed by qualifications.
I got a few more pictures, myself, and then headed down to do a little sight-seeing on the ground level and left the boys to cover qualifications.
From the darkening sky, I had a feeling that some rain was moving in, and sure enough, within an hour it was spitting rain. I made a quick jump for the car, and within 20 minutes Tom joined me. So ended our first AirRaces and another great experience at the Indianapolis Speedway. Next weekend we're taking a weekend off from camping and will be hanging around the house with Caleb and Halie to make apple butter!
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