Tuesday, August 28, 2007
23-26 August 2007
We spent four days camped in Meadowbrook Township park in Bascom, Ohio. This was for a joint campout of the Winnebago Club we are members of, The Maumee Valley Winnies, and the Mid Ohio Winnies. This type of event is always fun, as you are gathered with people who, by definition, you have something in common with. We all enjoy RVing and we all own rigs produced by Winnebago industries.
We arrived early on Thursday and set up in the designated area. One of the advantages of camping with a group is the mutual support that can be provided when needed. When we saw one of the coaches from our club arrive and head across the grass, as directed by the campground, to a parking spot, it soon became clear that there was a problem with the soft ground after all the rain of the last few days. Their motorhome rear wheels became stuck in the muddy ground and would not budge. Several of us arrived on scene to see if we could help. After several failed attempts and with the help of the campground tractor, the rig was finally released from the soggy ground. The co-pilot ended up driving the coach backwards thru the mud with the pilot giving guidance via hand held radios. The weekend adventure was underway.
The events included simple get togethers for chats about RVing issues, family, upcoming trips and general fun topics, campfire gatherings, large breakfast gatherings, and a bean bag baseball game where all who wanted to take part in the wine and cheese event participated. This was particularly fun since our team carried the day by a very large margin.
Small groups went to dinner together and several of us went to a nearby small town for BBQ that was reported to be very good. Our results were mixed, but a good time was had by all.
The weekend ended with quiet chat circle where stories and jokes were shared and a discussion of the next event, which will be in two weeks at Maumee State park, where a traditional fish fry is the big highlight.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The rain has relented in favor of high temperatures and humidity. We wanted to explore a local town that was a bit different, Lakeside, Ohio. This turns out to be not an incorporated town or village, but rather a closed community that seeks to feed the whole person with its life style. It is modeled after the Chautauqua community in western New York State. It is a bit hard to describe, it is part summer resort, entertainment center, and residential area and claims to strive to fulfill the whole person. You can own a house there, but the land belongs to the community and the association must approve all home sales or leases. It has been operating in this manner since 1872. The residents must pay all local government taxes and assessments along with the assessments of the governing board. They get no support from the government, as it is not an actual town but rather, all private property.
It is a gated community and you may not enter without paying a fee. It has homes, shops, numerous churches, hotels, bed and breakfast places, rental cottages, beaches and various entertainment forums for all to use.
It was interesting to walk around and it appeared very neat and relaxed, however, it seemed a bit out of place with the modern world-and indeed perhaps that is the very idea.
After using up our limited approved time to be inside the community, we headed to Marblehead, Oh to revisit the Marblehead Lighthouse and enjoy the views of the lake and islands. Once operated by the Lighthouse service and then the U S Coast Guard, as an important lighthouse and rescue station, it is now a state park. It has been carefully cared for and a pleasure to visit. It has some significance for me, in that, one of my former shipmates was living in the lighthouse keeper’s home, while serving as the Officer in Charge of the Marblehead Search and rescue Station.
Tomorrow we are underway again for a short trip to Bascom, Ohio for a Winnebago owners get together. We can only hope that the weather will get a little better. In any case, I am sure it will be a good time.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
21 August 2007
The birth place of Thomas Edison is located in Milan, Ohio. Since the weather was moderating a bit today and there were no reports of flooded roads between the motorhome and Milan, we headed in that direction.
Milan turned out to be one of those small towns that had a maritime history. Much to my surprise, it was a major port in the mid 1800’s. This was more surprising since it was not located close to Lake Erie. They built a canal and soon had dozens of barges and small ships calling for crop cargoes.
They were doing so well with this water born transportation that when the railroad approached the town about running the rail line through Milan, they decided to stick with the port alone. This, of course, proved to be a major mistake and they soon lost the transportation business to the railroad in Norwalk, Ohio, who had welcomed the railroad with open arms. Today, Norwalk is about ten times the size of Milan. That may be good or bad depending on your point of view.
Today, Milan appears to be a very well kept mid-west town of around 1400 people. We enjoyed lunch at one of the main street eateries, and a stroll around the square. Then we proceeded to the Edison Museum.
The museum is located in the house that Edison was born in and spent his early years. The staff provided a very good description of his family history and how the museum was set up by one of his sisters who had remained in the area and purchased the building to preserve it as a part of Edison’s history. It contains a number of examples of his many inventions and some of the products that he manufactured. A visit here and to the Greenfield Village in Detroit, Michigan will give you a good understanding of the life and times of this truly remarkable man.
On our way back, we stopped in Monroeville to see how the Huron River was doing after all the rain. It was still in its banks, but certainly running fast.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Saturday, we headed to Erie Islands Resort in Port Clinton, Ohio. This trip was a bit of a leap of faith, as the weather forecast was for plenty of rain. Unfortunately, this time the weatherman got it correctly. Saturday evening we went to dinner with friends in downtown Port Clinton and by the time we emerged from dinner, the rain was starting and has not let up since.
Deciding that the only thing we could do on Sunday in the heavy rain was visit the Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermillion. It has a relatively small exhibit area but does have an excellent research library, if you have such an inclination. It was good to get out in such weather and enjoyed revisiting some Great Lakes Maritime history.
The rain continued very heavy throughout Sunday evening and into Monday. I was beginning to think I should watch for animals marching two by two. Plans to visit South Bass Island in Lake Erie and Put in Bay were put off for hopefully a better day. Instead, we settled for a movie and dinner in Sandusky. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better weather.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
4 August 2007
Today is the U S Coast Guard’s 217th Birthday. It is also the Grand Finale day for the Grand Haven Festival. Today, they had a parade through downtown with 164 entries. Also, there was evening entertainment on the center stage, followed by fireworks that provided the conclusion to the festival.
Various sources indicated that there could be as many as 100,000 to 200,000 people downtown for this final day. So we decided to get there early and make a long day of it. While we did not stake out a spot for the parade in advance we did manage to place our chairs on a key corner of the parade route for a good view of all the entries. Since we had purchased tickets to the evening entertainment, we were also set for the Grand Finale entertainment and fireworks.
The parade was a bigger version of any small town parade with lots of attention for the US Coast Guard. Our favorite Michigan band-the Scottville Clown Band- brought up the rear of the parade.
After the parade, we had lots of time to kill before the evening entertainment, so we walked the waterfront and watched those already gathering for the evening performances and the many pleasure boats getting themselves a good spot in the river, as well.
We then headed to the local museum, which provided some history of the area and had a great collection of ship models.
The evening show was a great finish to the festival and the fireworks display was one of the best we have seen in years. Reportedly they launched over 7000 rockets in around 40 minutes.