Monday, April 29, 2013

Lake Erie

Odometer 31413
Trip 271 miles

It rained all night, but hesitated long enough for us to get hitched up and ready to go this morning.  We really like this area and the Wheel- In Campground- can't wait to see more.  We pulled out of the campground at 10 AM after studying maps for an hour or more, deciding on a path to take us to the Toledo area.  We ended up taking SR422 north and west towards Kittanning, PA.  When we got there we wanted to take on some diesel and maybe find a Dunkin Donuts as a bonus.  We took the most circuitious route into town, I felt like I turned in about 3 circles over bridges, through canyons- I totally lost my orientation- but we found both a diesel station and a Dunkin.  Only thing is- we couldn't get in to the fuel island with our motorhome.  So we parked on the street and got some coffee and wandered across the street to the Allegheny river bank to sip coffee and munch on our maple bars.  This is one interesting town- I liked it a lot (wish I'd thought about taking a picture or two).  In the early 1900's Kittanning had large steel and iron works, foundries, coal mines, glassworks, flour and lumber mills.

This is a picture we took of the Allegheney as an afterthought on our way out of town- sorry!

  All that is gone, and the population is around 4,000 now, but the old buildings are rich with history, and the waterfront parks are beautiful.
At the waterfront park, I asked one of the locals about a diesel station that would accomodate our bus and toad.  He thought long and hard and finally decided our best bet was to get back on SR422 and stop at the Gulf station near Butler a few miles further on.  After another series of left and right turns dircted first by the GPS and then by Joan with the iPad, we found SR 422 and did indeed find the Gulf Station and although it was easy in- easy-out, the price jumped from $3.89 in town to $4.10 on the highway.  We bought $200 worth of diesel and were on our way.

The topography is like driving on a rumpled up towel- up hill- down hill with almost no flat space in between.  For the next two hours, I swear we were either climbing a hill or descending one. And the rain started again.
Oh yeah, the airbrake warning light which has been behaving very well, decided to be an irritation today.  In a previous post I recounted how a bad solder joint in the VDU can make the air brake warning light and buzzer come on for no reason.  Did I mention that it is designed to be irritating and get your attention?  We recalled that stopping and restarting will sometimes put in back in order, so we found a good turn off for lunch.   When we stopped in Hubbard, Ohio, just over the state line from Pennsylvania, for our quick lunch- I just about couldn't recognize our towed car.  It was slimed, as was the bus.  Oh well!  We bought two reuben sandwiches and took them back to the bus to eat with a small salad and some chips.
When we started back up the bus had healed itself, and we heard no more from the air brake alarm for the rest of the day.  I keep telling myself- I'll have to fix that soon, but I need to be in one place for at least a day to get the job done.

I should mention that Joan picked up a bug of some kind in our tour of DC and has a scratchy throat and a wicked cough.  Last night she slept fitfully so I let her sleep in- hence the 10 oclock start this morning.  She sounds much improved today- but still feels generally miserable.

As we passed through the outskirts of Akron, OH today I had Joan snap a photo of the road sign.  I'm pretty sure my buddy Jim McNeil spent some quality time here as a youngster.

We took I-77 and then switched to I-71 both heading north towards Cleveland.  Near Cleveland we just about got snookered into getting on I-80 which is a toll road- but I did my famous (read highly illegal) U-turn and got back to I-71 to I-90 which is a freeway going the same way as I-80.  By now I-90 is taking us West along the shore of Lake Erie, and our destination is East Harbor State Park near  Port Clinton, OH.
Without too much fuss, we made it to the park and discovered two things.  A- there is no one at the office yet (too early in the season- they just opened 3 weeks ago), and B- they only have electricity- no water and no sewer.  However they do accept Passport America and the night is just $15.50.

We got set-up and I took on the task of cleaning up the car and bus on the outside, while Joan did the inside.  It took a couple of hours with a bucket and a microfiber towel or two and they both shine again.  I have gotten good at the xerophytic shine.  Meaning I use a small canvas bucket and a cap full of rinseless RV wash in water.  I use the towel wet to rinse off the grime and wring it out- away from the bucket then damp towel the same area to remove the water droplets.  I didn't invent it, but I have perfected it.

As I finished the clean-up, Joan announced that dinner was ready.  We had a great taco salad and it was still light enough at 7 PM to get out and stretch our legs.  This is the biggest campground in the Ohio State Parks system, so we walked about 2 miles without even leaving the park
Look at the beautiful end to what started out as a very rainy day.  This is east harbor, a short walk from our RV space.  We are debating staying here another day to check out the area.  We have come north so early that the leaves are not on the trees yet.  In South Carolina the trees were all leafed out.  We're a little leary of going up the Michigan lower penninsula too early and having it be miserably cold.  We'd also like to take a side trip into Ontario, Canada to visit George and Shona, some friends we met in Rockport, TX.  We'll give them a shout and see what they are up to before we crash in on them.

We'll keep you posted.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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