Sunday, June 30, 2013


Saturday morning I was up early to head out and explore my old stomping ground!   Stopping for the night at Wilmington allowed me to savor the “memory lane” portion of the trip on a fresh day, and after Friday, I needed a fresh day!

I headed out from Cowan Lake the same way I used to go back and forth from camp!  I thought about stopping by camp but I hadn’t made arrangements and I wasn’t sure if they had kids or if the few people I still know there would be there on a Saturday morning.  As I drove around I found that I somehow remembered how to get everywhere I wanted to go, even though I couldn’t have given anyone directions, it all just came back to me!  Many of the landmarks had changed in the 10 years since I’d been there, but a lot was still the same. 

The first thing I wanted to check out was our old house.  I took the scenic route past all kinds of other things and soon was heading down our old street, wondering if our old neighbors still lived there and marveling at some of the changes folks had made to their houses!  Our old house looked mostly the same, however I knew  from Google earth that the new owners had put on an addition in the back so I wanted to try and see it.  I knew there was a trail that went from another street and ran right behind our old house. I drove over to where the trail crossed the road and discovered there was a place to park Roxy on the other side of the railroad tracks!  I changed my shoes, grabbed a hiking sticking and headed out!  I soon remembered that the trails in Indian Hill are meant for horses and they are very torn up! And, it had rained recently, so it was very muddy!  I was getting mud all over my nice clean “going out to lunch & dinner with friends pants”.  ugh.   I walked a ways down the trail and then came to a steep ravine – it was very short but it was nearly a 45 degree angle and it was muddy and slippery and that’s when I said “that’s enough” and turned around.  I didn’t make it see the backside of our old house!

I then continued my tour and visited my old High School – which had been seriously renovated, the church we attended, which had also been seriously renovated, and the mall I used to shop at, it took didn’t look at all the same!  I kinda wanted to go in the mall but I had to get to another part of town to meet my friend Sue for lunch!  I ended up getting to Mariemont pretty early, but that was ok, I could browse the Variety Story next doo to Mios!  Mios is a great local pizza joint and I’d really been looking forward to eating there!  It was amazing to see Sue and chat about everything!  Sue’s daughter Amy was one of my best friends in High School and from hanging out with Amy I got to know her mom too, then I was an intern at our church and worked with Sue there!  We had a great time catching up over pizza and of course Greater’s Ice Cream!

After lunch I decided to head to my campground – Winton Woods – since it was in an area that I wasn’t familiar with! The campground is 22 miles from our lunch spot.  I had to go through a major shopping location and go about 10 miles on the Cincinnati beltway.   It was raining, thunderstorming in fact.  Yet, I didn’t have to sit in any traffic.  none!  Each light I got stopped at I only had to wait through one cycle.  No traffic was stopped on the highway!  Amazing!  I shudder at having to make a similar drive on a rainy Saturday in DC!

Getting checking at the campground was very easy. I got my gate passes and found my site and did a practice back in to see how level it was (it wasn’t) and took off to Jungle Jim’s. 

Jungle Jim’s is hard to describe, it must be experienced.  Basically, it’s an international grocery store and they have all kinds of normal stuff and weird stuff.  It was very entertaining to walk around and see all the stuff they had, even though my fridge is jammed packed with stuff and I couldn’t buy any more food!  After Jungle Jim’s I hit Meijer – kinda like an upscale Super-Wal Mart, very nice store – to get a tire pressure gauge.  One of the tires looked low and I decided I wanted to check it out. 

I checked the tire pressure right in the parking lot – all the tires were at the right PSI, except that label inside the van said “cold PSI” and they weren’t cold.  I’d have to check in the morning.  I did find that it’s *very* hard to get an accurate reading with the pressure gauge I bought – not sure if it’s the gauge or the tires!  It’s much easier to check the pressure for the inner duallys than the outer ones, which seems odd. 

By now it was time to head over to meet my best other best friend from High School, Keri.  We were meeting a LaRosa’s.  Yep, more pizza. When I realized I’d doubled up on the pizza places I decided to go with it – both places are unique to Cincinnati and they are different and I hardly ever eat pizza!  I will say that in a back to back contest, Mio’s is the better of the two!

I got to LaRosa’s early so had to wait! No problem, I opened the windows and read my book while a thunderstorm rolled through! :-)  I love always having my house with me!

Dinner with Keri was great! :-)  We talked about old times, new times, and everything in between!  After dinner we went back to my place (which of course was parked in the parking lot!) and I showed her around.  By now it was getting dark and I needed to get back to the campground. 

At the campground I backed into my site after dark for the 1st time ever!  I even didn’t run over the tent that was pitched mere inches from my site.  I quickly discovered however that I couldn’t have the RV both level and plugged in.   It was level enough at the top of the site, but the electrical post was at the back, the cord wasn’t long enough.  It was low in the back, which has the dual tires and I don’t have enough leveling blocks to level all 4 tires.  If I pulled in rather than backing in I’d have to level the front tires then pass the cord under the coach to get to the correct side.  Considering that it was already 9:30 and dark, I opted to dry camp a few feet from a plug!  Luckily it wasn’t hot so I didn’t need the AC! It was however, very loud.  There were people coming and going until close to 11 and the people who had their tent pitched just inches from me were up talking very late.  I couldn’t make out their conversation to eavesdrop though. 

Sunday’s plan was to attend church at Clifton United Methodist, which is where my former youth pastor, David, is now the pastor, after church we were going to lunch and then I was heading down the road.  Since church didn’t start until 10:30 I had some extra time which was great! I was up early and went for a walk before getting my shower and breakfast!  On my way out to walk I decided to check the tire pressure, it was a cold as they were going to get.  I’m sure the tenters weren’t a fan of my clanging the tire gauge right by their tent!  Oh well!  Best I could tell 2 of my tires were low so I decided to get air when I got fuel this afternoon. 

I left for church around 9, I didn’t know where I was going or what the parking situation would be.  I’m glad allowed extra time – the church didn’t have a big enough parking lot and I had to park almost a mile away up a big hill in a park!  It worked just fine though, it was easy to get Roxy in and out and she wasn’t in the way or illegally parked!

I really enjoyed my time Clifton UMC!  David introduced me to folks who were very friendly – she’s a teacher and they were heading to Acadia in a few weeks so we had plenty to talk about! Soon other friendly people had joined us and I instantly felt like I had a group of new friends! The service was wonderful – lots of singing great songs, old and new, and plenty of food for thought!  After the service David and I walked to a great little brunch place and devoured yummy omelets while catching up the last 20 years!

All too soon my time among the familiarity of old friends and places I know came to an end and it was time to head down the road! My plan was just to drive about 3 hours to Kickapoo State park, just over the the line in Illinois. 

As I headed out of Ohio the sky was looking dark.  again.  So I decided to stop for fuel and air a little earlier than I’d planned so I wouldn’t have to do it in the rain.  It was more complicated than it needed to me – I drove around doing several u-turns trying to find the best gas station, and finally ended up at the Raceway.  It was a maneuverability lesson to get to the pump, but I did it.  Then I went to get air.  The air machine was high tech – you had to tell it what you wanted the pressure to be and it would put air in until it reached that pressure.  Well, I knew the cold PSI I wanted, but not the hot.  My plan was to put in 10lbs since that’s how far off the cold PSI it was. I put some air in both low tires, and tried to get the tire pressure but I couldn’t get a good reading.  I’ll check again in the morning and if it’s still low I’ll stop at Jiffy Lube or something. 

The drive this afternoon was better than Friday!  :-)  We did get torrential rain and wind, but not at the same time!  The rain came before Indianapolis and the wind picked up after.  I don’t mind either or too much, it’s both together that’s rough!

I’m camped tonight at Kickapoo State park in Illinois.  It’s lovely!  Big sites, very quiet!  It’s going down to 58* tonight too!  :-)

Tomorrow it’s on to Iowa!

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