Friday, August 30, 2013

2013-29 Gallipolis Ohio


Berlin Ohio (Amish Country)
Geneva on the Lake
Gallipolis Ohio

Campground:  Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds,  189 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, Ohio 45631.  $20  Full hookups.  200 open grassy sites.  Lots of over the air TV stations and free wi-fi in the campground.

Ohio Continued.

beautiful Amish and Mennonite basket work

Amish and Mennonite women wear different hats
depending on the group they are in.

On another adventure, we took a drive down to Berlin Ohio.  What a gorgeous area.  Deep rolling hills with breathtaking views over each new rise into another valley filled with Dutch Barns, white fences grain towers and white painted farmhouses, some made of brick.  We visited the Berlin area, home of the Mennonite and Amish.  Having a really good home town meal at a local restaurant, the sidewalks were crowded with shoppers looking for all those Amish built products from quilts, to pewter platters, wooden toys, well you name it, it’s a shoppers delight with the best hand made products anywhere.

We took a tour of the “Behalt“, (An interpretive center and gift shop) the story of the Anabaptists - Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites.  Learning about the 2,000 Amish schools in one county alone.  A large mural 360 degrees around a large circular room provided the scenes (called an Historical Cyclorama) that where described in the evolution of the Anabaptist movement.  Of the Anabaptists, the Mennonites are the oldest and the Amish are the youngest, though the Amish are the most conservative of the group.  Learning about their beliefs, non violence stance, refusing to pick up a sword to defend themselves and that’s where the divergence came.  When the followers of the Amish group finally did pick up a sword to defend their faith.  Though even today, none of the Anabaptists will go to war.  Willing to serve in hospitals etc. to perform their duties to the country.  It was very educational to learn more about the Mennonites and Amish cultures and how they interact.  We learned about some of the changes that are occurring in the communities as well.

an authentic covered wagon.  families did not ride in the wagon
unless ill.  They walked along side the wagon usually no more than
10 miles a day.

There are a number of campgrounds in the area and I would recommend any RVers stay in the area so that you can explore more than we did in the one day we toured the area as it covers a 6 county region has the largest Amish population anywhere.  I might add they all appear to be very well off as well.  I was a little surprised that the county we were in does not accommodate the many horse and buggies on the road.  Having only a narrow shoulders on each side of the county roads, making the buggies ride part way on the paved road itself.  But then again, it does force the motor vehicles to slow down and often stop until they can pass a horse and buggy safely.

dining along Lake Erie

And last, we drove up to Lake Erie and the tourist town of Geneva on the Lake.  Passing through farm country, it was interesting to see a number of farm houses with those small electric candles in each window.  Making for a warm welcoming look as we drove by on a dreary rainy morning.  The town of Geneva on the Lake is quiet during the weekdays as everyone is off back to work.  We had lunch, drowsed a few shops along the main drag though most places were closed.  Opening only on weekends.  Can’t imagine that they are able to make a living just from tourists on weekends, and then only from Memorial day to Labor Day each year.

one of my favorite shots of the week
found in a second hand store

Distance traveled:  217 miles.

It was supposed to be a comfortable drive heading south on hwy 77, but along the way after stopping at a rest stop, I noticed I had a deflated tire.  Found a screw imbedded in the tire and had to change it out with my spare tire.  Then it was onto Gallipolis Ohio.  A small town of around 8,000 population right on the Ohio River.  I’ll be here for 4 days at a fairgrounds campground waiting for the holiday crowds to dissipate.   The fairgrounds has spacious campsites with full hookups and sits on top of a hill.  Southern Ohio has the most glorious large rolling hills.  Covered with forests and farms that have been cut out of the sides of hills and into valleys creating a patchwork quilt of trees and farms and trees.

longest covered bridge in Ohio

I normally don't have myself in pics very often,
but since Rich took a few shots of me, why not post them

Because this is the tail end of my Ohio trip, which I might add I had no idea I was going to end up in Ohio on this summer's journey,  I’ll keep this report short.

Wishing you all a Happy Labor day weekend.

Camper tip:  Try to arrange a campsite at a Fairgrounds (which are rarely full), County Park or City park during major holidays as the National and State Parks fill up quickly and commercial campgrounds often charge full price or more for holiday weekends.

 A few more photos on Picasa as always.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013-28 Berlin Center Ohio


Alliance Ohio
Canton Ohio
Niles Ohio

This is an Army Corp site.  Reg $24, Senior rate: $12.  Electric only.  Water and dump station available.  Easy back-ins.  Mix of open sites and sites with mature trees that are well trimmed.  Some with lake views like my site shown above.

Location:  East of Akron Ohio

Distance Traveled:  177 miles

I continued my trek across Ohio on Route 30, a very pleasant drive.  One of those secondary roads that’s actually a four lane divided highway with wide swaths of grassy medians and embankments.  Perfect for the RV driver.  I’m heading towards the Akron/Youngstown area of Ohio to visit with fellow RVers Kaye and Rich.  They’ve been wintering in a 24 foot travel trailer and traveling out west.  Where they discovered Desert Trails RV park where we met.  I had led an Rv travel Club and our friendship led from there.

One of the joys of being a full time camper is that I can change my route at any time.  I had been planning on started south from the Elkhart Indiana area when I checked out Ohio on my map and decided a few hundred miles to the east and I could visit with Kaye and Rich. From there I’ll easily continue my trek south.

Kaye and Rich visiting my campsite

Our first day together found us on lake Milton, the same lake my campground site is on.  Kaye and Rich have a great pontoon boat and though it doesn’t have the speed as their previous speed boat, it provides tons of seating for guests for a leisurely trip around the lake.  We even traveled up the river feeding into the lake a ways.  Kaye pointed out many of the newer large houses that are gradually overtaking the small cottages that once dotted the lake shore.  Even a former church that’s now a winery.  One of the larger homes they pointed out had been added onto and the design matched the original home so perfectly that I couldn’t tell the original home from the newer construction.  Beautifully landscaped as well.  I wonder sometimes if these lake side second homes aren’t just a way to fill the weekends with more projects that have to be done rather than enjoying the lake and countryside.

Perfect weather for a days ride around the lake, under bridges, past lakeside cottages, waving at the few passing boats and good conversations to fill the afternoon.

One of our day trips took us into Niles to check out the McKinley Memorial Library.  His Birthplace home (reconstruction) was closed by the time we got to it.  25th President of the United States, 1897-1901.  During his presidency he guided the country through the Spanish American war.  After 110 days of fighting, he acquired Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.  During his presidency he also acquired Hawaii.  He was the third president to be assassinated.  Theodore Roosevelt would become President after McKinley’s death.

On the outskirts of town is a large former steel mill.  It is now being converted and new buildings are going up to support the newest venture in Ohio, fracking.

We also drove over to Youngtown to their Butler Institute of American Art.  I’ve been fortune to have seen a number of art museums that have concentrated on American Art.  This one concentrates on the late 1880’s through the early 1900’s and has quite a good selection.  The painting called Flanders Fields was a favorite.  Done in a French Impressionist style it was both dreamy and thought provoking.  The museum is adding current artists as well and their were a few I really enjoyed.  I understand in Sept they will be opening a whole new wing which should be exciting for the locals and visiting public.

is he real?


Flanders Field

When I travel around the country I’m able to learn more about each region I’m in.  Here in Ohio, where farms are often dotted with small oil rigs pumping up oil from deep within the earth. In Carroll county alone 275 permits have been issued for new wells with 102 wells producing.  Fracking is the newest form of extracting oil and gas deposits and it’s a big business.  One of the problems with any form of oil and gas extraction is the excess oil and gas waste materials that must be disposed of safely.  Ohio now has almost 14 million barrels of that waste from it’s own state as well as from Pennsylvania (which no longer permit’s the disposal in their state).  Where does it go?  It used to go to evaporation pools which eventually started to pollute the local water supply.  But it’s now deposited deep into the earth once again in what are called injection wells. Along with all the injection wells, the latest concept is fracking.  The fracking industry has gotten so big here in Ohio that they are building new facilities to make the pipes, refine the oil and gas and manage the whole industry.  Making for some high paying jobs here in Ohio.  Not sure that they’ll have any clean water left after all is said and done.  Fracking requires the drilling down about 4,000 feet (average cost per well is $8 million), then the pipes go horizontally forcing massive amounts of water injected into the rock to release all that oil and gas.  What with cracking loose all that petroleum, adding water and reintroducing the waste gas and oil back into the earth I can’t imagine it will be long before the water and earth will be adversely affected.  Finally, new pipelines are planned to distribute all those petroleum products to us consumers.  Creating more jobs in the oil industry for sure.

When traveling the wonderful countryside here in Ohio, you will probably only see the occasional reminder that oil is big business here.  What’s on the surface, those green farms producing all kinds of corn, soybean, and other vegetables.  The lakes and reservoirs so useful to the vacationer and small farming towns along with the occasional factories like the one in Lordstown producing the Chevy Cruze.  But deep underground is the where the black gold lies and the oil industry in coming after it.

sun sure is bright

Kaye and Rich... happy face

An RV Tip:  For those who enjoy Geo-caching, there is a new game in town called ISQ which stands for Indiana Spirit Quest.  The geocache sites are centered around unusual grave sites where you get to learn about some real characters.  So warm up your gps and start searching for ISQ’s the next time you're in Indiana.  Additional sites are now available in Michigan, Ohio, and North Dakota as well.

Lincoln Highway thru Canton OH
The sun is just coming up over the trees, highlighting the tops of the trees as it spreads sunshine across the lake.  While waiting to have my morning coffee as it perks gurgles and spits each drop in the coffee cup (I use a single brew system most mornings),  I’m reflecting on our tours we took yesterday.  Kaye, Rich and I drove over to Canton Ohio the home of both the First Ladies National Historic Site as it’s officially called as well as the First Ladies Library.  It consists of two buildings, an old bank that has been beautifully renovated and the Ida Saxton McKinley House.  Our tour started in a library room where they had a Tv with 6 selections of programs for viewing.  Interviews with first ladies.  Part way through our guide came to pick us up to begin the tour, but just stood at the door with a quizzical look on her face as she watched us watch the film.  Finally I said, are we supposed to follow you for the tour and she woke up from her stupor and announced the tour was about to begin.  She huddled the group around the entrance of the Tv room and she proceeded to tell us about the tour.  That is, over the sound of the video being played.  Much of the displays in the old bank building were on loan and we weren’t permitted to take any photos.  Dishes used in the White House, Miniature copies of dresses worn by the first ladies, beautiful display cases containing all those little historical pieces making up the lives of the first ladies.  The tour continued as we gathered around two square posts in the large room.  Each side of the posts contained small displays about the wives of Presidents that died in office.  As we moved around each post, the guide described the first lady and the cause of her husbands death in office.

Downtown Canton Ohio

Ida Saxton McKinley House

Native American Rug, purchased by McKinley while touring the west

originally a ballroom on the third floor

We then were shuffled off down the street to the Ida Saxton McKinley House, the sister of McKinley’s wife and where the couple lived off and on during and after the run for presidency.  Most of the first floor had to be reconstructed as it had in it’s later years been converted into shops and apartments.  The front being unrecognizable during it’s commercial ventures.  The house represents the era that the McKinley’s lived in and now houses static displays of the first ladies in the third floor ballroom.

We drove through town to the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum as well as the McKinley Monument.  Actually the mausoleum where he, his wife and daughter are buried.  It is One Big monument on top of an imposing hill.  The library and museum is perhaps the least impressive Presidential library that I’ve seen.  Only my opinion folks.  On the second floor against the back of the building is the long narrow McKinley Galley containing mostly furniture and pieces from McKinley’s campaigning period.  The rest of the museum is devoted to the history of the area and the Stark County Story.  Good, but not what I had expected in a Presidential Library.  The museum closes at 4pm so we were a bit rushed to see everything before closing.

much of the museum is devoted to local history

Young McKinley

as always, more photos on PICASA
Note:  I'll post a story on Berlin Ohio next week.  I'm currently staying in Berlin Center not the same as Berlin Ohio.