Imagine having to leave your hometown and drive 80 minutes away just to visit with your . . . hometown buds! This is fast becoming a habit as we have our second VW camp get-away at Harrison Lake. The first get-away was last fall and we all decided that this needed to be a frequent event!
Tom and I were so anxious to get away to the get-away that we were packed and ready to leave Wednesday morning -a day early! One of our excuses for jumping the gun was that Wednesday’s weather was supposed to be 75 and sunny and we were still trying to thaw out from that last Amish Rally campout in the blizzard!
A short hour drive north landed us at Harrison Lake State Park near Bryan, Ohio, where we set up our two awnings as command headquarters. I sent a tease picture to everyone that would be coming on Thursday and Friday and told them to hurry . . . hurry! Then both Tom and I sat in the sun and enjoyed the most perfect weather of blue sky, bright sun, 68 degrees and a light breeze.
I came to the conclusion that you wouldn't know PERFECT sitting-out weather if the breeze and sun didn't work together; just as the sun would get a little too hot the breeze would pick up and gently cool. And as the breeze got too chilly it would die back down and let the sun take over. We napped in the chairs, walked the dogs, read, listened to music and generally enjoyed the perfect sitting-out weather. Who would have thought we could be such do-nothing campers!
Supper was beef on the grill, and I roasted potatoes and peppers and onions in the convection option of the microwave/convection oven. I was specifically wondering how much it would heat up the camper – not much – and it worked just like an oven; great indoor option for camp cooking! During dinner, which we ate outside, the temperature quickly cooled down. Wanting to save the firewood for the group campfires, we opted to sit outside and read until chased inside by the cold. For me that was promptly at 8:00! Tom wasn’t too far behind!
Yes, it rained Wednesday night, but it was a nice, light rain and the temperature only got down to 55. Thursday morning we headed into Bryan to see the William’s County courthouse. It is undergoing a remodel project, but nothing that compromised our being able to tour the inside. It is another Courthouse that has lots of pink and white and grey marble, and much of the inside trim was a pale pink to match! We went all the way to the fourth floor which is just miscellaneous and small county offices. There were no stairs that we saw leading upward, but from the outside view we know that there is a very tall and substantial tower above that fourth floor where a lot of the renovation is going on.
With light rain, we ducked into the local puppy shop to hold puppies and smell some puppy breath . . . cleaning time for the large pythons about convinced me I didn’t need to linger over the puppies. Next door at the antique store I found a beautiful and very sturdy vintage, wooden, ironing board. My plans – make it into a folding outdoor side table for under the awning beside the Silvermine. Tom’s encouragement made it hard for me to pass it buy . . . but I did . . . for now!
It was still lightly drizzly back at the campground for lunch, so I tried the grill/microwave combination for grilled sandwiches inside the Silvermine. Wonderful results and another great option for indoor cooking! I used to always brag that “we do all our cooking outside” when camping . . . I am quickly rethinking that boast!
Steve and Cindy arrived at 3:00 and took up residence in the campsite right beside us. Bill and Deb arrived in another hour and set up across the street. That was the extent of new arrivals for the day. We enjoyed a break in the drizzle and brought our meals to the awning-covered tables but with the impending rain we didn’t even try for a campfire. We got cleaned up and put away just as the rain started and most of us made it to our campers for the night, except Steve and Cindy. They didn’t move quick enough (Cindy had a seriously sprained ankle and Steve was tending a bad knee!) and they got stuck under the awning as the light rain suddenly turned heavy.
Friday morning Tom was up at 7:00, walked the dogs, and started a fire. I ventured out after all the work was done and enjoyed a lazy cup of coffee. One by one, the others appeared, made the trek to the bathroom, and landed in front of the fire for a morning jam session. I finally decided I had to have that antique ironing board and Tom agreed to drive me in to Bryan to pick it up – Cindy went along for the ride, and we all took a tour around Walmart for necessities!
Mike and Lynda arrived in with their 5th wheeler in the late morning and added to the row. Rain was in the area over the noon hour, and we collected under their big awning to wait it out. Late afternoon the rain fizzled out, leaving us with a clear forecast for the rest of the weekend. Alan and Carrie arrived, followed by Gail and Dave and Bob and Susan. All in all we numbered 7 campers – 14 people – 4 dogs.
Supper was an open grill on shared tables under awning central. A campfire materialized and we drifted from the picnic tables to the fire ring, with the circle getting smaller and tighter as the temperature dropped. I, as always, was the first to the trailer, and then the others broke up 45 minutes later. There was a lot of exchanging of movies back and forth before everyone burrowed in for the night.
Saturday was cold, but clear and sunny, and we popped out of our campers ready to enjoy the day. Which began with breakfast! A big breakfast! Deb and Bill’s yard girls contributed 4 dozen eggs – good job girls! These were cooked to order by our grillboy Tom and sandwiched onto warmed English muffins . . .with bacon. Go-withs were Cindy and Steve’s homemade breakfast brisket, Mike and Lynda’s fresh, trailer-baked coffee cake, Bob and Susan’s cinnamon pancakes (served with peanut butter or Deb’s homespun fruit preserves) Gail and Dave’s fresh strawberries, melon medley, blackberries, bananas, and grapes . . . well, you get the idea! When it was all over, we gave ourselves quite a pat on the back for having laid the best breakfast this side of Bob Evan’s!
Activities aren’t scripted for these camping get-togethers – they are motivated by different inspirations. Gail, seeing my ironing board, was inspired to go and get the other one that I saw in the Antique store in Bryan. Six of us girls loaded in the truck for a quick road trip to Bryan.
The nearby lake inspired Dave to break out his new portable kayak and a group marched down to watch him unfold, set-up, launch, and paddle around! Tom was on hand to document the whole story!
Bob and Susan were inspired (and instructed) by Carie and Alan to give the Segways a go . . . and seeing Bob and Susan inspired several others to try it out. Carie and Alan are always so generous with sharing the Segway experience.
Afternoon temperatures finally reached the point that several sun-napped in “0” degree lawn chairs while others divided into different splinter groups to chat and enjoy the beautiful afternoon. By 4:30 snacks started appearing on the picnic table, and brought us back together for a busy hour of eating . . . before starting dinner! No-one was quite hungry, but we all agreed to go ahead with the planned fish-fry dinner. Out came the cooks with another great assortment of food, and Tom tended the deep-fat-fryer pulling out beer-battered cod and breaded ocean perch.
Clean-up from dinner led back to the campfire. It chilled down quickly and there was a good couple hours of personal accounts, yarns, legends, narratives, fairy-tales and . . . rumors. Enough to last until our next planned campout September 22-25. Mark that on your calendar. Right NOW!
Sunday morning, in the midst of a campfire and coffee and reluctant packing, Carie and Alan surprised everyone with breakfast-burrito-makings delivered to the campfire – warm flour tortillas, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, salsa . . . This jamboree will forever be defined by the amazing food!
Tom and I were home by noon and mostly unpacked and cleaned up by 2:00. Our next rally is in just four days, and we are excited to make the switch from State Park to an urban get-together at Haydocy RV in Columbus for the NOVA “Share the Dream” rally! Check back in a week for details!
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