I never got my pancakes. For some reason, I decided writing was more pressing than moseying over to wherever it was they were serving. As we walked the camp last night I saw the second home built movie screen showing a film for kids. More evidence this type of camping is not to get in touch with nature but more for social interactions with others. Which in this day of texting, sexting, face time, instant messaging, Facebooking or however one uses technology to interact, is refreshing to see. How often do people just hang out and talk? Now I understand they all probably have a phone close by to check whatever it is we feel needs to be checked but person to person conversation prevailed.
We got on the road heading south and stopped in Liberty City at a small burger place just off the road. It was themed for the local high school with their colors adorning the side of a small cinder block building. It was a better alternative to a McDonalds and I had a great burger. To avoid becoming a suspicious old man to the local girls behind the counter, I refrained from asking too many questions. They closed the window after each interaction only to open it to ask me a question on my order. It was here that I decided to alter my route a bit and spend the weekend in New Jersey instead of pushing towards Sag Harbor, I wanted to see family and the Sunrise highway on a Friday… enough said. My destination was Arabella’s birthplace, Sugarcreek, Ohio and I was interested in the process used to build her. Tours run 12:00 – 4:00 and it quickly became apparent that I was going to miss the time window but pressed forward anyway. Holding on to the slightest chance that I might be able to talk to someone at the factory, I used Dumb & Dumber for inspiration; “So your telling me there’s a chance”. There was a lot of driving on this leg much more destination oriented instead of journey enjoyment. Continuing South on 109 to Cairo we cut East on Hwy 30. ** (I know many of you aren’t concerned with the route or road #’s but I was surprised by the number of people that like to read maps. These descriptions are for them.) Highway 30 is the Lincoln Highway which stretches from coast to coast. It has the small road feel but is in great shape and the scenery is nice as you travel at decent speeds. (maybe another road trip could be in the works)
Mabel and I traveled through Berlin, Ohio; a very Amish town that has embraced Amish tourism. The streets were packed with tourists looking to spend their $$ on Amish goods. The situation had a different feel to it, more like the stores were corporate and not authentic. I didn’t think Toms shoes were Amish though. I could be wrong as I saw the town pass through my side window. We continued through the hilly, beautiful country and headed to Sugarcreek. I made the wrong decision at the fork in Sugarcreek, going right into a neighborhood instead of left through town which eventually brings you past the nuCamp RV factory. I found a place to turn around (remember the backing up issues) and stopped to ask a woman for directions. She was working in the yard and had a small dog that took offense to Mabel being so close to her property, lots of barking which impaired the woman’s hearing. I asked if she knew of the road the factory is located on and she returned a blank stare but her memory was jogged when I said “they make the camper that I am pulling” and pointed to the back of the car. "They are on top of the hill by the Speedway station" she responded, I thanked her and was on my way.
The nuCamp doors were locked but I got lucky and delayed an exiting salesman from his trip home to ask some questions about the trailer. He told me it is based on a German design from the Tabbert company and they have the license. I let him be on his way and I started on mine. I saw many homebuilt swimming holes on farms as I traveled to Sugarcreek and they were filled with surprisingly blue water. Some had a small swimming platform or boat, others were just a hole of water, but they looked inviting. I wonder if they are called "the swimming hole” or if a fancy name, maybe with French connotations, is used when referring to them. A number of the towns had either a race track or area defined as the fairgrounds. I thought as I passed by the race tracks if young people come here on first dates that eventually turn into long marriages? Who races at these tracks and is it cash or pride that motivates their effort. Do they talk smack at the feed store the day after the race? Questions I may never answer.
To get some feeling of accomplishment from this leg of the trip I pronounced out loud so Mabel could hear that we would “rest our heads in Pennsylvania for the night”. The statement was made in similar fashion to when Michael Scott declared bankruptcy. This required more driving on larger roads but she gave the okay and we were soon on Highway 77 heading South to Highway 70 to conquer the hills of Eastern Ohio, a sliver of West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania.
We ended up at the KOA in Washington, Pennsylvania pulling in after the office had closed. This camp is very open and my least favorite of the trip so far, but I met two very nice couples to talk with. They mentioned the camp is host to fracking workers who are busy harvesting gas and I am thinking that’s why it was so quiet. There was no outdoor activity but a young couple from Connecticut were across from me. They were heading home from a visit to Austin, Texas and experienced a raccoon infestation at a park in Tennessee. They said there were many albino raccoons there as well and it prompted a late-night stay at a dog friendly hotel. They admired my air conditioner and the security of my trailer. It was hot and they were in a tent. The other couple, from Pennsylvania, had two big basset hounds that greeted Mabel with a booming bark. All were pleasant but tired, no fires or s'mores to socialize around so we went to the dog park, did some much-needed laundry, then called it a night.