I begin with this picture of the Silvermine, taken three days before our first camp-out of the 2015 season. A late season snow tempest pushed into Ohio dashing our hopes for a warm breakout camp-out with spring temperatures.
March 24, packing day, began with a low of 17 degrees and hopes that the sun would come out and melt the 3" of snow in the driveway - Tom had serviced the snow blower and stored it away last weekend!
We had made this trip in the Silvermine last year mid-March, and we enjoyed beautiful spring weather. That was our motivation for rounding up others to enjoy this spring experience this year. It turns out that the days we chose this year were destined to be winter's last revenge on camping folk!
Not only was it cold on Thursday, but it was also raining . . . and spitting snow. Imagine our surprise when we pulled into the campground and found a big Argosy parked right beside the bathhouse where we were supposed to gather. We just couldn't figure who this brave soul was that was joining the rally!
It turns out that George, from Georgia, was here for a work assignment with the natural gas pipeline/energy company he works for. He had seen this Argosy for sale and bought it as his home away from home when on a job location -- as an alternative to a hotel. He had been living at the state park for 3 weeks and loved his new bachelor pad! We instantly made him an honorary member of the rally!
After setting up, we drove to the little town of Circleville for a something-to-do-trip and found some interesting shopping and places to investigate. Unfortunately for Tom who likes to explore courthouses, the Pickaway County Courthouse closed just as we got there.
Supper was hamburgers hastily cooked outside on the grill and taken into the Silvermine to eat. We bedded down early for an evening with books and movies. The little electric space heater worked heroically but with the temperature dipping down to 19 degrees, it just wasn't able to keep up with the night's chill. The temperature in the Silvermine was in the 40's, and although we were warm in our beds, nobody wanted to get out in the morning to turn the furnace on!
The good news Friday morning was that the sun was shining brightly, and it gave the appearance of being much warmer than the 19 degrees it was. We turned out of the trailer at 10:00 and headed out for a day in the little town of Washington Courthouse.
Shopping was again a hit as we ran across this store and the one beside it -- Two Old Broads & A Geezer. But an even bigger surprise was the one waiting in the Fayette County Courthouse.
During the days before the rally, committed campers Jason and Beth with children Allie and Nathan and doggie Hutch, communicated their intention to attend the rally. Even when we e-mailed them on Friday telling them of the cold temperatures, they responded they would arrive at 6:00. And so they did in their 29', 1969 Airstream. Customized for the four of them, this Airstream was a winner. Before the sun went down we had time to introduce ourselves, sit around a big campfire, and then head to the 'streams for another cold night.
Saturday morning, at 29 degrees and sunny, Jason, Beth and family headed out to explore the area, and we drove into the town of Chillicothe (the 1st and 3rd capital of Ohio!) From our trip last year we knew we wanted to lunch at Carl's Townhouse -- a diner with a very busy history!
We tracked down an ancient Indian burial mound, that was tucked conveniently in a little neighborhood right in town! Story Mound is a classic burial mound of the Adena culture that lived in Southern Ohio in 800 BC. The Adena were the ancestors of the Hopewell Culture. The mound is about 20' high and 100' in diameter at the base and was partially excavated in 1897. It was surrounded by a fence.
Mid-afternoon we were back at the campground where we joined the Pratt family for a "pitch-in" dinner. Beth brought a wonderfully warming chicken 'n dumplings -- so perfect for the chilly weather. Tom had planned to deep-fat-fry a turkey, but it was too cold for the propane! Instead, we made small sandwiches from a spiral ham and deli rolls. They were wrapped in aluminum foil and heated through in the crock pot. George came home from work just in time to share some dinner with us.
There was a brief window of time in the afternoon and after supper to enjoy a campfire. As the sun went down and the temperature dropped below freezing, Beth and I headed for the indoors, and left the boys to hold down the campfire.
Sunday morning we were all up and leaving the campground by 9:00 a.m. Except George. George was going to be in residence for the next couple weeks at the state park.
That is the story of the Mothball Rally. Next year we will move the date to the middle of April . . . or the location to Florida.
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