Oct 6, 02
We prepare R-Way for an early morning departure on Monday. Sadly we say our goodbyes and start the next leg of our adventure.
We depart about 7am, stop by McDonalds for some morning nourishment, eat it in R-Way and hit the road. We are surprised at the lack of traffic this hour of the morning but just set the cruise control and enjoy the trip. We did not fill up our gasoline tank in Ravenswood because of the price. It's common knowledge in the area that the people in Ohio enjoy lower prices for gasoline. Once we crossed the state line we considered stopping but felt we had enough fuel to keep going for awhile. Once we reached Cambridge we decided we'd better fill up. We did and saved over a nickel a gallon. At 54 gallons, that almost paid for our morning nourishment. When you look at it like that, it's worth waiting.
I had called my Uncle in Akron to let him know we'd be coming through. We have a, good natured, running battle with each other about who's going to pay for a meal. This time I tricked him into paying. Perhaps, just perhaps by the time we come back through Akron he'll forget who paid and I can do it again. After a nice lunch, at his expense, we got back on the road heading for Perrysburg, Ohio to see my son, granddaughter and meet the love of my son's life, Karen.
There is a lot more traffic in northern Ohio. R-Way is doing well and holding her own. We hardly know the SAAB is behind us. Sometimes when Ginger asks, "Is the SAAB ok?" I have to actually look through the mirror to make sure. The Master Tow dolly is doing a good job. I am however, a little disappointed at the quality of the paint job. Some of the dolly is already showing a tendency to rust.
By the time we reach Fremont, Ohio we're ready to take a break so we look for a Wal-Mart, find it and pull in. After going inside and shopping for awhile we decide we may as well spend the night here and continue on tomorrow. We park near the McDonalds and settle in for the night. Unknown to us at the time, we're very close to the railroad tracks. The trains are running all night and there must be a lot of crossings near us because the whistle is blowing all night long.
The next morning I walk over to McDonalds for coffee. Fortunately, I remember to ask for the senior discount. That coffee always seems to taste better. A little later we walk over to McDonalds again to eat breakfast. Since we're not expected in Perrysburg until Wednesday we decide to stay off the interstate and just drive across country and enjoy the flat country. We eventually make it to the college town of Bowling Green, Ohio. We find a large, mostly empty, parking lot that used to be a K-Mart lot. It's across the street from Wal-Mart but we decide to stop there instead of Wal-Mart. The county has a small part of the building, in the old mall, to use as a library while the one in town is being remodeled. Loving books I make good use of that! We drive through town, on up towards Toledo and just generally look over the area. It's a nice little town and we enjoy the 'straight' roads. Quite a few large trucks running to the grain elevators but they keep on their side of the road so driving is still enjoyable.
We have a very peaceful evening, do some minor 'fixing up' inside R-Way and have a nice night's rest. Next morning we take our time getting up and about. Have a nice breakfast and get ready to head out. We do need to gas up so as we head north towards Perrysburg I'm keeping an eye out for the station with the lowest prices. There is also a tractor trailer rig on my left quarter that I'm keeping an eye on too. I figure if I slow down enough he'll go on by me and I can get in the left lane to make a particular station up ahead. Well, that was a big mistake. I should have been paying more attention to my own lane. I ran up against the curb, the wheel of the tow dolly tried to ride up the curb, didn't make it but I did take a chunk of rubber out of the tire and put a pretty good 'ding' into the rim of the right side tire. Shame, shame, on me!
We finally made it to Perrysburg. Dave and Karen are waiting on us and come out to meet us. It was great to see them. They had decorated the front of the house and it looked real nice.
We had a nice time meeting Karen for the first time and seeing the house for the first time too. We had the obligatory tour. A nice house. A little big for the three of them, hmmm, does that mean anything?
A trip to Chili's for ribs kind of broke up the evening for us. It was a wonderful meal and you just couldn't beat the company. Our granddaughter Jenn, was away at a friends when we arrived, after dinner she came in and visited awhile before she went off to work. She did say she'd be back before we left in the morning and sure enough, she was. We had a nice visit before we had to head on out for the next leg of our trip. Next time we're going to plan more time with them.
Oct 10, 2002
It seems like we have finished another leg of our adventure. We've finished seeing all the family East of the Mississippi. Now we're heading South and West to visit the Escapees RV Club Headquarters in Livingston, TX then on to visit friends in Texas. Our next visit with family won't be until late next month in Arizona, Thanksgiving with Ginger's oldest son, Ken. Then another of my Uncles in Phoenix.
Today we've decided to try another Family Camp at an Army base in Indiana. Camp Atterbury is located about 25 miles south of Indianapolis. We had a little trouble finding the Main Gate but once we found it we felt very secure. The Family Camp was rather small, and had very few visitors. I located the camp host (1st Sgt & Nancy Fletcher) and she told me to take my pick of sites. We picked #1, got the car off the dolly and the dolly off R-Way, pulled in, leveled up and set-up camp. We were only steps away from the laundry and showers. Nancy told me she was leaving tomorrow for the winter and heading back home but that her husband would return on Monday. It seems that a number of Army wives spend the summer 'camping' at the family camp so they can spend time with their husbands that are stationed there. They also maintain their home somewhere else. Not a bad life I guess.
Well, I think we've discovered that Camp Atterbury is a training base for helo pilots. We have helicopters flying overhead (but just barely overhead). Ginger said she though one was going to land on the roof. We can also hear the firing range. It was in use all day . . . often late into the evening. The wildlife seems to have adapted to it okay. So far we have seen deer (two bucks and about 18 does) and a pretty good size flock of wild turkey. Those turkeys are just about fat enough to eat.
Saturday night we thought we might go 'out on the town' and discovered that when people in Edinburgh, Indiana go out on a Saturday night, they go to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. So, not wanting to stand out as odd balls, we joined them. What a crowd! We had about a 20 minute wait, the hostess was standing right by the front door to take your name and party size. Every chair on the front porch had someone in it. It seemed as though the whole town was there.
The Cracker Barrel was close to the Interstate highway (I-65), there was also a large outlet mall there. It appeared to have just about every outlet you could think of. We drove around it looking for something that might carry RV parts and/or supplies but didn't see a thing. I knew it was difficult for Ginger to just drive around it and not go in, but she did really have a great shopping experience with Linda when they went to Parkersburg. I guess that will have to do her for awhile.
One difficult thing about Camp Atterbury was the lack of mail service. I asked the guards at the gate where I could mail things, where was the nearest post office and they didn't know. We really were out in the country. I finally located a corner mail box on base but they only picked up mail Monday through Friday. This was Saturday and Monday was Columbus Day so that meant nothing would leave the box until at least Tuesday. Time to check out the ole Delorme Street Atlas. Sure enough we located the nearest post office. It was just down the road about 10 miles in Taylorsville. It was easy to find using the street atlas.
We planned on leaving Sunday but I decided to wash R-Way and was only able to do part of it on Saturday and the rest on Sunday, so we put off leaving until Tuesday morning. That way we could rest up on Monday and be ready to go bright and early Tuesday. The whole long weekend we were the only people in camp. Finally on Monday another RV pulled in. It was a small 5th wheeler. A retired Navy Chief and his wife. We had a great visit, enjoyed watching the deer together and generally sit around and swapped stories. They were welcome company. We were however, anxious to head south (it's kind of chilly here), see the Arch in St. Louis and get on down to Branson. We actually had our first heavy frost on Monday morning. Thought we'd have one on Tuesday as well but only the SAAB had frost on the windshield.
Tuesday morning we broke camp and headed out. The Delorme Street Atlas laid out a route for us that took some of the back roads. I mean really back roads. At places it was only one lane. We were not really sure the program knew what it was doing but eventually it got us to the Interstate heading south. It was a relief to see the signs to the Interstate. Most of the traffic on the back roads were heading into the city and we were going out so our side of the road (when there were two lanes) was almost empty. We had an uneventful trip to St. Louis. Ginger was excited about seeing the Arch, the gateway to the west. Using the Street Atlas program we were able to tell just where it would be so when we crossed the mighty Mississippi River we would be able to see it. It didn't let us down. Ginger had one eye on the Arch and the other on the traffic. She did manage to snap a picture or two but the traffic was getting pretty heavy.
We had planned on stopping at a Wal-Mart south of St. Louis but it was still early in the day and I was feeling pretty good so we decided to just keep rolling. Eventually we stopped at Sullivan, MO at a Super Wal-Mart, Ginger put her pictures in 1 hr developing and we got permission to stay overnight in their parking lot. When we got up the next morning it was 37°. Underway looking for warmer weather. We're getting into the Ozarks now, the hills are getting bigger and the valleys are getting deeper. We've turned off the Interstate onto Rt. 65 which was very much like the interstate. It was four lanes with a good sized median between the north and south lanes. They really cut away the mountains to put this road through. There were times I wished they had cut more of it away (they were getting pretty steep) but we managed to get to Branson without incident.
Both of us were really surprised at Branson. It was nothing like we had pictured in our minds. There was, of course, old Branson. The 'downtown' area. Quite small and fairly hilly, not like San Francisco, but still quit hilly. The shows were all 'up' the hill, almost everything was 'up' the hill, that is, everything except the campground. We found Turkey Creek campgrounds at the bottom of the hill in Hollister. It was an Escapee Rainbow Park, the greeting was great! Hugs all around. Quite helpful. Coupons and discount tickets for lots of shows. We settled into our spot and set up camp. Felt good to finally settle down. We were anxious to get the car going and 'see' Branson.
While going from old Branson to the 'strip' (uphill) I made a wrong turn (my very first one, really) and started winding down hill, around mountains, and up hill. One hill was so steep that I pulled the SAAB over to the side so traffic could pass us (doing about 15mph) but the traffic behind us couldn't go any faster either. These mountains have to be the Alps of the South. We finally got on the right road and followed it for quite awhile. Tried to get a picture of Mickey Gillie's place for Ginger's sister, but it didn't turn out very well so we'll have to try again. It was quite a place. Motels, fast food, show places, tee shirt shops, even a Wal-Mart!
The next day we decided to stay in bed instead of getting up for the morning shows. We seem to be enjoying staying in bed a lot recently. As a matter of fact, we can now recommend it to people. Anyway we decided to go to the afternoon show instead of the morning one. We had a discount ticket for Larry King and the Black Hills Band. We were told we should get there early. At noon (show starts at 2pm) we located the theater, didn't see any vehicles in the lot and figured we could take time to have lunch before the show. Just down the hill we found Odee's Bar-B-Q. It was a small place but let me tell you, the food was out of this world!