Monday, October 17, 2011

Whales & Snails

Fall weather blew in, and we blew out, cutting across Michigan and just into Ohio. We stayed at Maumee State Park, a great campground on Lake Erie, just east of Toledo. Huge, grassy, level, private, electricity, trails and lakes - all the ingredients of a good place to park The Whale. It got very rainy and windy, strong gusts rocking us on our suspension. But it was pleasant enough the next day to go for a walk down to the lakeshore, where the wind stirred the water brown.

After a day of rest we put in another longish drive into central Pennsylvania. The strong tailwind gave us our best fuel economy, under tow, of the trip at 12 mpg. Our friend Sharon, in the Silver Snail, was camping at an exclusive airstream park near the town of Clarion. We couldn't camp there (common white slab-sided rectangles not allowed!) but she scoped out the campground across the creek, so that's where we headed. It had a steep driveway with a sharp transition, but we made it down despite our long overhang. All of the recent rain had rendered the ground spongy. Despite my best efforts to pick the firmest ground along the creek, when I backed in we made deep ruts. I pulled back out and pulled onto higher ground where we did less damage to the turf. We had the whole place to ourselves, and were very close to Sharon, so it was great.

After we got set up we went over to reunite with Sharon and her exuberant dog, Harley. We also got to meet Sharon's friend Jason and his two dogs, Kirby and Suzie, jack and rat terriers respectively. Jason has embarked on his own tour of the country in an '88 34 foot Airstream motorhome (the Silver Caterpillar), towing a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Pretty cool rig. Sharon made some excellent crabcakes, and then we went out to a pizza pub for dinner proper.

That night we somehow blew the breaker on the 110 outlet we'd plugged into. We made it through the night on batteries, got things going in the morning with the generator, and then when the campground owner came by he flipped our circuit back on. He showed me where the breaker was, in case it happened again. It was hidden behind a broken door in a shed, a tangle of wires and no covers. Not a confidence inspiring electrical system! Luckily it was not necessary to reach into the rat's nest and flip the breaker...

The next day rain clouds were scudding by, but I went out for a good walk with Sharon and Jason, plus a subset of our pack: Toby, Harley and Kirby.

We walked on a paved multi-use trail along the Allegheny River, stopping to admire an old railroad bridge at the confluence of the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers.

Back at camp we collaborated to cook up a taco dinner, and Sharon mixed up a batch of cocktails: bourbon, her own ginger syrup, and soda water, with a slice of beach marinated in bourbon. Very nice! We had a great visit and hope to see these guys again someday.

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