Well! We have been busy! After camping with Darling Daughter and partner, we were home for a week or so, and then back on the road again for Labor Day weekend (the first weekend in September).
I worked Friday, but we’d been warned we had to make it to Illinois to help a friend of ours celebrate his retirement from United Airlines. He’s been a captain flying mostly overseas for many years, but hitting 65 meant leaving that job behind.
He and his wife chose to celebrate with a fly-in pig roast at their grass strip — the same place our group congregates before heading to Oshkosh each year.
Unfortunately, it became clear on Friday morning that the weather in Illinois was not going to be conducive to visual flight rules flying on Saturday. And since The Engineer is not instrument flight rules current, this meant a road trip.
We left bright and early Saturday morning after throwing our camping gear in the van on Friday night. I’m embarassed to admit that since we knew this trip was coming, we’ve left it in our foyer since the last camp trip (with Darling Daughter and Partner).
It was a long drive (about seven or so hours), but we had all day and made stops as needed for meals and to stretch our legs, arriving in plenty of time for the evening’s festivities.
And although I loved seeing many of our friends from around the country at the party, I have to admit I enjoyed the day after more. It seems the older I get, the less I enjoy being part of a crowd for more than an hour or two.
So a Sunday hanging around the hangar chatting to whoever was around was just fine with me.
It really was wonderful to be able to visit with friends we only see once in a while.
I also enjoyed being able to sleep in before going for a late breakfast on Monday, and then packing up for our trip home.
We took the backroads instead of the freeway, stopping to spend a night in Marion, Indiana where we used up some of The Enginner’s many Holiday Inn points for a room, and went out for a Mexican meal.
Illinois and Indiana is farm country — mostly corn and beans — and the country roads are mostly narrow and straight.
After arriving home Tuesday evening, we got up to a day of preparing for our camping trip on Thursday.
First, I visited my mom, who is once again in lockdown at her nursing home. They have had four staff cases of COVID (most, if not all, of unvaccinated people) and one resident who tested positive after she exhibited symptoms.
Fortunately, none of the other residents have tested positive (so far), but this means Mom is spending most of her time in her room again, with no group activities.
How long will this go on, and why has protecting ourselves and others from illness become a political football?
And that’s all I’m saying on that subject.
In addition to seeing Mom, it was time to put in our second strip of Formic Pro in our three hives, so we did that too.
Also, we had to go flying.
I know …. such a shame, but someone has to do it.:-)
We decided to fly for dinner to a rural strip with a restaurant. We often visit there for breakfast, and their evening meals proved to be as filling (and cheap) as their breakfasts.
Plus, it was so nice to see trees again after all the corn and bean fields!
The sunset was magnificent!
Thursday, it was off to the campground, which proved to be a welcome haven from our busy month.
We set up our big tent in a beautiful spot in the shade of several large pines at the end of one of the roads. I say “big tent” to differentiate it from the smaller one we take to Oshkosh. They are identical except for size, with the little one being a four-person, much more suitable for loading in the plane, when weight is a concern.
The “big tent” is an eight-person, and it’s huge! The Engineer can stand in it, and he’s 6’3″. I got it for a ridiculously low price on Craig’s List, and we’ve been referring to it as the “Taj Mahal.” But in Illinois, a friend of ours called it the “Garage Mahal,” a name I think will stick.
Here it is in all its glory.
I also recently invested in a double pie-maker. We had a small single one, but I came across a book with all sorts of delicious sounding recipes to make in a pie maker, so I decided to splash out on a bigger one too.
Here are the samosas we made on Thursday night in our new cookware. I’m very proud I managed to not burn them.
We used one of those cans of croissant dough for the first ones (and then I made a chocolate croissant with the small bit of leftover dough). The Engineer also used the little round pie iron to make another samosa using the filling in plain, old white bread. (Well, it wasn’t actually plain, old white bread. It was the rather expensive white bread I buy because it actually has flavor, nutrition, and texture, but that’s sort of beside the point.)
Anyway, The Engineer said the second samosa was as good, possibly better, than the first.
The next morning, I once again used our Kelly Kettle to make tea. I know, I know — I go on about this piece of equipment, but it’s so fast compared to making tea on our old camp stove.
So I’ve dressed up the picture with a shot of the pine cones we used for kindling, honey from our bees, the tea pot and cosy I pack with our gear, and the freebie fan I got from Seltzerland and used to create a draft for the little fire.
Friday, we rented a canoe, and discovered Grumman — the maker of F-4 Wildcats and F-6 Hellcats (World War II combat planes) also made canoes.
Of course it was The Engineer who made the connection between the name on the boat and the aircraft-style rivets.
When we stopped for lunch, The Engineer discovered this.
He’s very observant, that boy.
I, on the other hand, am in charge of research, and all I could find (with a very quick search online) was that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Water does some kind of sediment survey using these markers.
Enlightening, that bit of information is, isn’t it?
The canoeing made us thirsty, and we retired to a local(ish) brewery. The place seems to be in the middle of nowhere, or at least a lot of farmland, but it was filling up when we left, so people seem to be finding it.
I found Muffleheads Brewery online (how else?), and we both found it delightful.
Here’s a view from the patio (before the groups of people began to show up). The owners have clearly spent a lot of money to make their brewery dream come true because the place was full of comfy seats and fire pits by which to enjoy your beverage.
The beer was good too.
If you’ve never heard the term “mufflehead,” it refers to an mosquito-like insect that invades western Ohio in early summer. They don’t bite, but appear in such great numbers as to be more than a little annoying.
Now they have a brewery named after them. Go figure.
Dinner that evening was our household specialty, which consists of chopping up some kind of sausage and throwing it in a pan or wrapping it in foil with potatoes, carrots, onions, and any other vegetables we happen to have on hand, along with a few dabs of butter. We put it in the fire and let it cook until done.
This time, the potatoes came out a little charred, but thankfully, my husband claims to prefer them that way.
On Saturday, we met our friend MJ at the local fairgrounds for the LCBA End of Summer Classic. Along with the educational sessions on bees, this beekeeper group had organized a Corvette Cruise-In, a Classic Car and Bike Cruise-In, Amish buggy rides, fair food booths, door prizes, vendors, and a variety of other activities.
We concentrated mostly on the bee presentations, though I did manage to find time to spend probably more than I should have on raffle tickets. I can’t feel too guilty though; the money goes to the organization, and they present several of these events a year.
Also, I won a basket, though I’ve not yet had time to see exactly what’s in it.
After the Summer Classic, we all drove back to the park for the “Friends of Findley State Park Tasting in the Woods,” which I’d seen on the park website a few days before.
I’ll admit Ohio hasn’t had a history of producing great wines, but when an opportunity arises to drink wine and eat pizza in a beautiful setting while supporting a worthy endeavor, you take it. Travel magic, right?
The people were friendly, and the three of us (The Engineer, MJ, and I) each found several wines we liked.
I should have taken a picture of the two delicious pies we consumed, but we scarfed them down so fast there wasn’t time.
Eventually MJ had to make her way home, and The Engineer and I meandered our way back to the campsite for one last campfire.
Since it was probably our last camping trip of the season, and thus, our last camping trip fire, I made a cherry pie to celebrate.
The next morning, after one last Kelly Kettle cuppa, we went for a short dam hike. (Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself from phrasing it that way.)
A few photos of wildflowers because they looked pretty, and soon after that, we were packed up and on our way home.