Oh-Hi-Oh

Dawny (she says hello!) and I are on vacation.  We are taking the month of August off from our workamping duties to roll around the middle parts of our beautiful country.

We have greatly enjoyed our recent travels through Ohio, and this post is offered to give a short review of three Ohio state parks.  Everyone’s camping/RV park preferences vary widely.  Dawny and I love state parks the best.  There is usually plenty of space to take long walks.  Often lakes and/or rivers are involved, which enhances the beauty and the “my-oh-my!” factor by several satisfied sighs or so.

Many state parks, including the three discussed in this post, do not offer much beyond electric hookup, but that is fine by us.  We operate off of our tanks and fill up and dump when we arrive/leave.  The parks listed here range from $26 to $28 per night.  While that is on the high side for me, it is still better than parks in Pennsylvania and Virginia which are well into the $30’s for simple electric hookup.

Beyond the price, Dawny and I place great value on the beauty of our surroundings as we take our many walks (bingo Ohio!) and the overall upkeep and cleanliness of the premises (kudos to Ohio state park maintenance teams).  Oh, and I do require a good Verizon connection for my internet and at least a couple of TV channels to keep from going totally bonkers inside of the silence in my head (Dawny couldn’t care less).  All three parks met these basic requirements.

Here are the three Ohio State Parks that rate high on our list from this trip, starting with our favorite:

Harrison Lake State Park, Fayette, Ohio (link:  parks.ohiodnr.gov/harrisonlake):  I love it when the campground is on or within easy walking distance of the loveliness that gives a park its name.  The campground at Lake Harrison is perched uphill from the lake and, while most of the camping sites don’t enjoy a lake view, it is a comfortable stroll away.  For campers with children, playground equipment is scattered throughout the park and camping loops.  There is a swimming  beach, although one day I noted the “white” water from children’s splashing was tinted bright green/blue due to lake algae–swimmers beware!  They even have a dog beach (non-fenced), which Dawny enjoyed surveying from a respectful distance.  Poor dear hates water.  Perhaps wise, given the algae situation.

The campground was kept immaculately clean and the entire park was beautifully tended.  Considering my recent Lyme Disease struggle, I truly appreciate all those conscientious lawn-mowing souls.  It seemed that as soon as a camper vacated their site, staff/workampers were on the spot cleaning up.

On the most mundane yet critical of notes, whereas the two other parks in this post have vault toilets to supplement their single bath house/flush toilets, Harrison Lake’s North Campground has flush toilets located in the camping loops.  (Note:  This is not the case in the smaller South Campground, which still has vault toilets.)  I have to admit that long ago I left the rough camping years of my youth way far in the distant, barely remembered hinterlands eons and miles, ages and galaxies behind me.  I now prefer certain creature comforts.  A flush-toilet and a warm shower with lots of good water pressure so that I don’t have to worry about conserving the water from my on-board water tank are high on that list.  Thank you, Harrison Lake!

Mosquito Lake State Park, Cortland, Ohio (link:  parks.ohiodnr.gov/mosquitolake):  The feature that impressed me the most about this park was the dog park/beach.  And I don’t even have a dog that likes water or can enter a dog park if another dog is in it (she would try to eat him/her).  It was very refreshing after being in Pennsylvania, which tended to have entire areas totally off-limits to dogs, to be in a park that granted a big chunk of valuable lake-side real estate to it’s canine visitors, fenced it in, and then plotted out a bit of beach area (buoys and all) for those intrepid four-legged guests who enjoy a good splash.

The fine-print caveat to this apparent pet-friendliness is that Ohio state parks have a two-pet limit.  I have a good friend who travels with two dogs and two cats.  If you ask me, cats shouldn’t count against that limit as long as they are not outside being walked with their doggies in a fur-coated gaggle-gang.  Really now, how often is that going to happen?  Never!  Can you imagine the twisted leashes and bruised/scratched egos and legs and other body parts?  I asked at the office about that policy, and they said that if you call ahead and describe the members of your menagerie, an exception can be made.  (P.S.  I met a camp host at the park who had three cats.  Three.  Wicked.  Cats.  Just sayin’…  God, I love my dog.)

As for the two-legged guests, this is a really beautiful park.  Mature, tall trees provide shade to most of the camping sites.  Compared to the other two parks in this post, the sites were spacious and the roads very accomodating to bigger RV rigs.  The only downside would be that there is only one shower house/flush toilet location for over 230 sites.  Otherwise, people need to rely on their own household plumbing (take care of those tanks upon entering/exiting!) or the vault toilets located in the campground loops.

Findley State Park, Wellington, Ohio (link:  parks.ohiodnr.gov/findley):  Smack in the middle of north-central Ohio, Findley State Park is a very convenient stop-over on your trek from wherever to wheresoever, should it happen to be on your path.  Like many other Ohio state parks, there is only one shower house/flush toilet location, in this case serving over 250 camping sites.  A few vault toilets are located elsewhere in the camping loops.  Big rigs, beware.  Many of the sites are fairly short and some are quite sloped.  For my shorter rig (25 feet with no toad) it worked out fine and was a welcome stop between eastern and western Ohio.

That’s it for Ohio this trip.  Afterwards, Dawny and I visited Elkhart, Indiana and got our annual honey-do list done.  Thank you, Phoenix USA (link:  www.phoenixusarv.com) and Doug for putting up with all of our questions and for keeping our little house-on-wheels rolling smoothly along.

We are now meandering towards Missouri to join two dear friends for a camping get-together that serendipitously coincides with the upcoming full solar eclipse.  We will be somewhere around the 98th percentile-coverage point.  Cool, eh!?!?  I just think it’s cool Dawny and I will be basking in it together with these particular friends.  They are two of our favorite people.  And, while they like me plenty, they adore Dawny.  Which is as it should be.

A Woodland All Hallows’ Eve

Tents covered in spiders

Lost souls on patrol

Who knew?

Hallowed spirits still wander

if you know where to look

or

like me

stumble upon their scene

in the midst of the forest

A magical moment of

sweet serendipity . . .

 

Beware!

Traditional fare parades on by

in the form of

cowboys and cowgirls and cows alike

werewolves and witches

skellies and mummies

Awww . . .

Only one ghost in sight

(maybe many more, unseen?)

 

Look there!

Family values on bold display

Minnie Mouse in a stroller

pushed by fully-tattoed poppa

and purple-haired momma

A little green imp

carried by Frankenstein’s bride

Ladybug in a buggy (what else?)

bundled against a fell chill

 

Pirate and cop

pulling two ducks in a wagon

followed by a caterpillar a’waggin’

his big rear-end

There goes a Lone Ranger princess

running ahead on a sugar-high

her parents falling far behind

Awww, dalmation puppies

Watch out, here comes Cruella!

 

Batman, Superman, Spiderman

Ninja in a turtle

foam muscles all a’bulging

Belle, Ariel, Cinderella

Ballerina in a tutu

plastic curls all a’bouncing

Death himself, oh no!

The Incredible Hulk, oh yes!

Pikachu, I hardly knew you!

 

Witches with black cats

Genies full of wishes (mo’ candy!)

Fairy pink princess hand-holding

her Jedi Knight in white

Teenagers in trash bags and bunny ears

out for the take

Dinosaur chasing a football star

chasing a cheerleader

Robin Hood, help!

 

There goes Freddie Krueger with Fred Flintstone

Now that’s a time warp accident in waiting

 

Oooo, a princess-pirate-witch

So cool!

Groovy, there are some hippie girls

(When did I become an antique curiosity?)

Gasp . . .

The hippie girl’s romantic elder cousin

Gypsy girl all a’glitter

ruffled skirt and dotted headscarf

flirting away with Father Winter . . .

 

Is it the saintly fresh air

filling our lungs?

Or the wilderness digging deeply

into rich pagan roots?

Whatever the explanation

this has been the best Halloween parade

since I danced forth in my own

polka-dotted

three-tiered

ruffled gypsy skirt

several lifetimes ago!

 

This poem was saved for Halloween but written in early October on the afternoon that I lucked into one of the last sites available in Ohio’s Barkcamp State Park Campground.  It was packed for their first annual Halloween celebration complete with decorated campsites, costumed trick-or-treaters, and a haunted walk through the woods.  I usually call parks ahead of time to double check if there is any reason or event that is liable to fill the campground on the date of my arrival.  I did not do that this trip.  I have stayed here several times already when crossing Ohio.  It is quiet, out of the way, and for heaven’s sake, it was early October.  Kids in school, camping season winding down… even on a Saturday, I did not expect there to be an issue.

So, let this be a lesson to anyone’s ears open to hearing that calling ahead is always prudent, and a gift to anyone’s heart open to magic that serendipity is an unplanned treasure.

— Dedicated to my good friend, Carol:  Texas co-rancher extraordinaire, super-mom, super-duper grandmom,  maker of the most delicious meals, and, I must say, a very well-organized sort (that is my highest complement, you know).  Happy birthday, girl.  You sure picked a great day to start your parade! —