First it was a rally – then it kind of folded – then is was a rally again! The weather prediction (drastically dropping temperatures with rain, storms and maybe snow) was enough to reduce the “yes–no-maybe” response list from “maybe” to “no.” But Tom and I with a brand new trailer to break in knew just the right couple to contact for a little company -- our old T@B buds Alan and Carie! And as the weekend progressed we collected some great new Airstream friends!
Tom had mapped out a different way to get to Deer Creek, through country roads and little towns that we have not traveled/visited before. We know the destination of Deer Creek State Park (south and west of Columbus) quite well, and it is one of the state parks that is open, with bathhouse, all winter. It also has a lodge, and I had an ulterior plot afoot to eat our evening dinner in the dining room.
The drive was a mixture of same and different, as planned, and 3 ½ hours teased us with signs of spring: daffodils, some early-blooming trees, yellow forsythia, and some spotty areas of bright green tree buds.
By 4:00 we were set up, and by 4:15 it was sprinkling. By 4:30 it was clear again, and Tom put down the awning and sat in his lawn chair for a beer at 68 degrees! Who cares if it is to drop down to freezing tonight! Don't you think Tom looks happy sitting in front of a 23-footer?
There were no Airstreams around at that time, but there was the next best thing -- a couple of Roadtrekkers! Roadtrek friends look and act like Airstreamers in almost every way (or is it that Airstreamers look and act like Trekkers?) We were happy to meet Leanne and Randy from Michigan who are only a year into their traveling journeys. We're hoping we helped them to make a successful link-up with our Van Wert Trekkers who are planning a fall Rolling Rally along the Lincoln Highway. We had an enjoyable hour getting to know these folk around a shared campfire.
As plotted – I mean planned – we drove to the lodge for dinner. There were a respectable number of cars parked out front and the dining room was open for eats. Tom had the Reuben (so-so) and I had the eggplant parmesan with fettuccini – a total cop out on my carb counting, even if you don’t include the two dinner rolls I ate before the entre arrived! Tom enjoyed a sit-out with Scout when we got back to the Silvermine II, and I enjoyed preparing for bed . . . .which DID NOT include making the front dinette into a bed. Love the queen-size walk-around bed that is always made!
Lots of rain moved through overnight and the temperature dropped to 35. Breakfast began at 8:00 with coffee, donuts, and Good Morning America on the TV – while we relaxed at the large u-shaped dinette and waited for Alan to arrive! That might be the last time this season the TV gets turned on, and we did want to know that it worked! Alan and Carie have a blue, ocean-themed TAB that has been camping them without issues for almost 10 years! A quick 20 minutes had him in a site and set up.
We all went to the lodge – Alan for lunch, and me for pictures for my blog. The lodge is not a very beautiful piece of architecture from the front, but the inside is appropriately rustic with furniture made from logs, large fireplaces, overhead balconies, and views of the many verandas overlooking the lake.
Another Airstream showed up while we were at the lodge . . . Rick and Georgia, our newest NOVA members! Fresh off a successful birding stroll they joined us at the campfire for a meet and greet session. Within an hour we landed some common ground that will make for a strong new Airstream bond! How coincidental could it be that Georgia had actually taught in the Van Wert Crestview School system years ago? Here is their 2004 25' Classic -- as seen through my dining window . . . and outside reflected in another window!
The plot thickened during the evening as two more Airstreams showed up – seemingly independently – and set up in other areas of the campground. It is not too often that we see other Airstreams at a campground, and it was tantalizing thinking about who they might be. So Georgia and I jumped in the truck and rounded the campground and knocked on the door of the first one we saw. Poor girl had gone to bed early because she didn’t feel good – but Georgia and I had at least done our Airstream-welcoming duty!
Saturday morning we formed a two-truck caravan and drove into Chillicothe to re-greet some of our favorite places. First we stopped at the Hopewell Cultural National Historical Park. . . . and enjoyed the history of the largest earthen mounds in the world, built by basket-fulls of dirt by ancient peoples.
The 23 mounds in this collection were a ceremonial center for the Hopewell Culture 2,000 years ago. . . it was not a residential area! People came here for feasting, trading, presenting gifts, marriages, competitions, and mourning ceremonies. By about 1,500 years ago, the Hopewell way of life had ended and only the great mounds and earthworks remained.
A short distance away, in a residential neighborhood in Chillicothe, was Story Mound. It is a burial mound of the Adena culture -- ancestors of the Hopewell peoples, living from 800 BCE - 100 CE.
Chillicothe was the first and third capital of Ohio! With all that history we spent an hour in The History Store – a store specializing in miniature diorama soldiers representing almost every war in history. What an interesting place with these little figurines meticulously painted in people-specific persona.
Our last stop was Carl’s Townhouse Diner, which I have recounted in our previous trips to Chillicothe. It has quite an interesting history, having originated at the 1939 NYC World’s Fair, being purchased and torn apart and reassembled in Chillicothe. We arrived at high noon – peak lunch hour – but were seated and cycled through the process fairly quickly. Good lunch!
This ended our tour stops of Chillicothe, and I was anxious to get back to the campground to assume the position in the rapidly warming afternoon . . . . .
Arriving back at the campground we were jolted to attention seeing that a new Pendleton Airstream (only 100 made by Airstream this year!) was set up in the campsite next to us! Nobody home, but I vowed to keep an eye on it until the owners identified themselves! Not long to wait until Brian and Brenda showed up from their bicycle ride and gave us their whole story. New owners of less than 2 weeks, purchased from Haydocy in Cincinnati, trading up from a 2014 25’ Flying Cloud – they saw one of these extreme 100-of-a-kind, 27' Pendleton special edition Airstreams celebrating 100 years of the National Park services – and had to have it! And evidently the dealer had to do a little slight-of-hand work to get one off the line for them -- good job, Eric! This was their second camping trip out with it, and we were so glad they stumbled onto where we were set up for the weekend.
Another afternoon treat was in store for Tom and me. Alan and Carie, always generous with the toys, taught us how to cruise the Segways! For some reason I had it in my mind that I would not have the balance or coordination necessary to navigate the campground while standing on one of these floating footboards. But, after a 5-minute lesson, we both caught on quickly and had a wonderful time seeing the loop roads from an upright, smooth, and effortless, vantage point.
Dinner was a conglomeration of contributed foods – fresh salad greens with feta cheese and strawberries, shrimp cocktail, roasted Cornish Hens, melons, hash browns . . . followed by a campfire.
Sunday morning was a slow pack-up for our new Airstream friends, and a chance for some final pictures of the Silver show.
By early afternoon, as Carie also had to return home, we were back down to just Alan, Tom and me! What to do . . . . absolutely nothing but hold down the lawn chairs and enjoy the 75 degree weather. It is nice to know that we will see some of the new Silver Friends in just 2 weeks at the TAC Amish Rally!
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