We have been spending time with our daughter Katie and husband Dain since our arrival in Dayton. They just moved here for a three year stint while Katie works on her Doctorate degree. They seemed to be happy with the house we found for them when we came through the area earlier this summer. So we are glad that it worked out well.
We are doing the usual things, which mostly somehow involve shopping. We visited the small town of Silver Springs that touts itself as an artist community, including decorating the street signs and power poles. There are plenty of stores to sell you the results of the artist’s efforts. There is an IKEA store near Cincinnati so we spent several hours there in search of needed items for the house.
Perhaps the most critical event of the visit was to see how Halley and her former dog buddies would get along. One of the reasons we continue to have Halley is that the other large female, Nova, nearly bit Halley in two just before we took her on as a member of the traveling team. To play it safe Nova has to wear her head gear when Halley is around. Nova spends a lot of time just staring at Halley and I presume thinking how she would love to finish the job. She will have to keep the muzzle on while Halley is in the house.
We did see a new kind of RV in the campground that allows you to enjoy two kinds of lifestyle without having to change equipment. I am not sure it is for everyone, but it seems to be working for these folks.
We are having a good time and plan on being back after a week or so in the Toledo area for visiting friends and having the motorhome serviced.
I should have known that it was going to happen. After all, we have gone such a long time since we had any problems going down the road. It figures that we would have to get under way in rainy weather, in an area with small roads and heavy traffic-namely Amish country on a Friday of mad shopping tourists that it would happen.
I hooked up the toad as I always do, checking the lights, and brakes. As always, Anneke watched the car and Blue Ox tow bar as I pulled ahead. So away we go. First in a steep incline on the road out of the park, I had to hold behind a Amish buggy, while those desperate to get to that next gift shop cut the buggy off every time it tried to take its turn off the stop sign. Finally, I got a clearance to make a tough right turn down a hill onto the narrow road against the same frenzied tourists. As soon as I steadied up, I glanced at the rear camera and thought something was not right about the way the toad was tracking. Sure enough, the car would track fine for a bit and then suddenly veer to the left.
Of course, in heavy traffic, no place to pull over, and rain our options was limited. I was concerned about damage to the car and tow bar, so was going slow, much to the annoyance of my road mates. Finally spotting a small area next to farm barn, I pulled over and was only listing about 30 degrees. Checking the tow, I could see that there was no way I could disconnect the car with the tow bar jammed against the motorhome. I thought that one of the locking arms mechanisms had failed. Checking the set up quickly, I noticed that one of my heavy safety cables had jumped up and was laying across the locking handle. On the Blue Ox, the handle has to pop up for the lock to activate. While I was a bit doubtful that could really be the problem, I cleared the cable and made sure it could not twist back over the handle.
Not having any other options, I got underway and watched the drama unfold in the rear-view camera. Amazingly, the car seemed to be tracking okay. I had to continue in this watchful mode for about 30 miles until there was another safe place to check. The Blue Ox was performing fine, so apparently that freak jump of the safety cable was the cause.
I have a set routine for the hookup I have used for five years without a hitch:) So this was really Murphy at work or in the rain I got a bit careless. I like to think it was Murphy.
We have spent five days in Amish country basically just enjoying the scenery and the campground. We are staying at the Scenic Hills Campground just west of Berlin, Oh. The campground sits near the center of the Amish area and has full hookups and level sites in pleasant surroundings. This time our site is next to the small side road and across from the school. So we see a lot of Amish buggy traffic and catching the local school soccer games from our site. The campground has free firewood provided by the lumber plant next door. So there are always a lot of campfires. It is a great pace to come and relax.
Our favorite thing to do in this area is to drive the smallest country roads we can find and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle. Of course, what makes this area so popular is for lack of a better term-Amish watching-also creates some of the problems. Traffic can become heavily jammed with the in a hurry tourists end up behind the many horse and buggies sharing the road, not to mention the many bikes going to and from work. Traffic can get out of control in the areas infested with gift shops and restaurants.
We have been in a bit of a funk the last few days. As were driving to our current location in Berlin, Ohio in Amish country, we received a phone call from a friend letting us know that Steve Ciccalone had just passed away. This came as a real shock, since we spent last weekend visiting with him and having a great time. He was in great spirits and was looking forward to the future.
Apparently, just four days after we departed, he suddenly died. We have not heard the cause, as yet, but it was very quick. He was 59.
He was a terrific person and will be missed greatly.
If you are in the Corning, NY area, it is almost mandatory to visit the Corning Glass Museum. This is the largest glass museum on the world with 35 centuries of glass making history. While I am not a huge fan of the art, certainly glass products are essential to our everyday life. Some of the art forms of this product are rather amazing.
Touring the museum you can learn how glass products evolved over 3500 years. One of the latest practical applications is literally changing the world. That is a design and product discovered and perfected by the Corning Glass Company right in Corning, New York. I think we have all heard about fiber optics. Honestly, I did not know exactly how this worked. We got a great demo of how the fiber is made and how it transmits information. He explained how one fiber the size of a human hair can send huge amounts of information. To make the numbers clear, they have a copper bundle over six feet tall that would be required to send the same amount of information. As they say, I can see how this could change everything. This alone was worth the visit.
Even those of us not obsessed with glass can spend over three hours looking at the history and uses over such a long period of time. I would say it is a must see.
Our next stop near Corning, New York was for the purpose of visiting two museums. The first was the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. As a member of the flying fraternity for many years, I was well aware that Curtiss was a name that was important to aviation. He likely does not have the name recognition with school children that the Wright Brothers have, but he was a vital part of aviation advancement.
Like the Wright brothers, he got his start in the bicycle business. He designed and sold bicycles from several stores around his home town of Hammondsport, NY and around the region. He was obsessed with speed and competed in numerous races. He then moved on to building and racing motorcycles. In 1907, he traveled to Florida and competed in a speed race with his own design motorcycle. He won the competition with a speed of 136 miles an hour. That speed record stood until 1911, when it was broken by an automobile. It remained the motorcycle speed record until 1930. He was called the Fastest Man on Earth.
Shortly thereafter he became involved with aviation and was to become one of the most important figures in early aviation. He flew the first witnessed flight of a heavy than air plane and received the first pilot license issued in the USA. He won numerous races in the USA and Europe.
He designed and built a number of aircraft that changed the course of aviation, these included the “Jenny” which was vital during WWI and lived long after in civil aviation and the float plane that started Naval Aviation. He is considered to be the father of Naval Aviation. During the years leading up to WWI and during the war he manufactured planes for the war effort and at its peak employed over ten thousand people in numerous plants.
One of his last designs during his retirement years was to build one of the first RV’s for use during his hunting trips. This design was put into general production.
The museum has a restoration department and I was lucky enough to run across a gentleman rebuilding and testing a 1908 engine for a special event tomorrow. We had a very nice chance to swap flying stories and give me some insight into this antique engine.
Anneke also found something of interest in the child play area that reminded her so much of her preschool play areas with all those wooden toys and kitchen. I thought I was not going to get her out of there.
The museum highlights his life, designs, accomplishments, and his fascination with speed. It is a must see for anyone interested in aviation, speed, or history.