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Ohio to New York

June 22, 2013

Mount Vernon, OH to Evangola State Park, NY (263 miles)

Our time in Mount Vernon was interesting.  We had settled in at Rustic Knolls Campground upon arrival, then in the middle of the second week there, the weather forecast turned bad.  Severe storms with possible tornado activity were forecast, and since there had been a similar storm last year, the owners of Rustic Knolls asked that no one stay there overnight.

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We opted to move the motorhome to a spot next to the barn at Nell’s sister’s place, just up the road.  The storm passed without much damage, but we decided to just stay at the Bridges place.  This had been our little hideaway last year, and we love it.  We have water and electric here, and this year it sounds like there may be a place nearby to dump the tanks when necessary.

While in Mount Vernon, we….

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Visited with Nell’s mom…

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Spent some time with kids and grandkids…

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Watched a few T-Ball games…

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Hit a couple of car shows…

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And visited Schnormeier Gardens in the nearby town of Gambier.

After two weeks, it was time to get back on the road.

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We got off on Wednesday morning around 10:30, a little later than we’d planned, but the windows needed cleaning, and there was last minute visiting to be done.  Then we needed to stop for gas and propane.

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We stopped at a nearby gas station on Hwy 36.  This was where we had planned to hook up the Honda, so while the tank was filling, we attached the towbar, safety cables and wiring harness.  As we were doing that, we didn’t notice a tanker truck pull past and stop directly in front of us.  Before we realized it, he had his hoses run and was beginning to fill the station’s underground tanks.  If we’d known how long that was going to take, we would have unhooked the Honda, backed out, and reconnected it where we could drive out.  Instead, we waited.  And waited.  Far too long.  By the time we pulled out of the gas station, we were really behind schedule.  And we still needed to drive to the other side of Mount Vernon to take on propane.  We finally rolled out of Mount Vernon around 1:00 pm, and we still had at least a five hour drive ahead of us.

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Fortunately, it was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky and cool temperatures.  We took back highways north through Fredericktown, and finally got onto Interstate 71 north of Bellville, Ohio.  Traffic wasn’t bad, but we did hit some long stretches of construction in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Nell had called ahead to Evangola State Park in New York and was told we didn’t need a reservation for that night and the next, that they had plenty of available sites.  We know we could probably easily find an RV park when we needed one, but we still like to know we’ve got a place to park at the end of the day.

This was one of the longest drives I had scheduled for the summer, and the late start combined with the construction took its toll in sore neck, shoulder and arm muscles.  I had pinpointed an earlier stopping place at a KOA, but really wanted to get further along, so we soldiered on.  The last few miles through New York countryside on U.S. 20 and Hwy 5 were scenic and made it worthwhile.

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Although there was a brief moment of panic when we rounded a bend not far from the state park and I saw this bridge with a sign that said “Clearance 12’ 6”.  I had the new Garmin programmed to avoid low overheads, but I just had a sudden concern.  I pulled onto the shoulder, trying to remember what I had measured two years ago, and what I had put into Garmin.  Finally, we just pulled out the owner’s manual and checked the specs, saw that it said 12’ 1” and decided to go for it.  We now know we can clear a 12’ 6” overhead.

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We finally arrived at Evangola State Park in New York around 6:30 pm.  The park office was closed, but there was a note on the door saying which sites were already reserved and which were open.  We picked Site 32, which gave a bit of a view of Lake Erie through the trees, and provided us with a really colorful sunset.  We had a great dinner of leftover fried chicken, potato salad and baked beans, took a walk around the campground, and then crashed.

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The campground is set apart from the rest of the park, and when we walked to the lake’s edge, we found there was a steep dropoff with a chain link fence.  The photo above was shot through the fence.

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This was the view out our front window the next morning.  It’s unfortunate that the park service didn’t keep the trees thinned out along the fence line.  If left alone, they will eventually totally block out any view of the lake from the campground.

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We know not to expect a sewer connection, be we have found that while state parks in the northeast have electricity at their RV sites, few of them have individual water connections.  In addition to a central dump station, there are usually water spigots with potable water scattered throughout the campground.  Most parks have bath houses with showers.  A couple of one-gallon water jugs have become part of our equipment.  Our motorhome is 15 years old, and after seeing what the inline filter was caked with last year, we don’t use the fresh water tank for drinking water.  We’ll eventually do a thorough flushing and cleaning.  Meanwhile, we did recently invest in a water purifier that attaches to the kitchen faucet in order to make better use of the tank, but I still hate having the added weight of 40 gallons of water when we’re travelling through mountain areas.

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On Thursday morning, we drove around to the picnic and day use part of the park.  There is a really nice sand beach and a ton of picnic tables scattered around the grounds, almost all of them with a beautiful view of Lake Erie.

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We drove the Honda about twenty minutes back to the town of Dunkirk, NY.  One of the things we marveled at was the number of homes that had the expanse of Lake Erie at their back door.  We could imagine having coffee on the back porch every morning with that view.

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We decided to visit the old Dunkirk Lighthouse.  We were expecting to find the typical round lighthouse, and were pleasantly surprised to find this beautiful old house instead.  The house was built in 1876.

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From the front, it looks like the light tower rises out of keeper’s house, and it’s a delightful surprise to walk around and discover the tower.  Construction of the tower itself was actually started a year before the house.  The tower and the house both  have wonderful charm and character.  The little brochure we picked up says several paranormal societies have set up their equipment in the old house and spent the night.  Supposedly, they have discovered several ghosts in the house.  We chose not to take the tour of the house, so we didn’t see any ghosts.

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There are a number of reenactment events schedule for August to commemorate the ship battles that took place on Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  We have put the reenactment at Put-in Bay, Ohio on our schedule for late August.

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We have found this part of New York state to be beautiful, and we’ve been surprised by the number of huge vineyards we’ve seen here.

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Our introduction to this part of our country has been wonderful.

Next stop:  Cedar Point State Park in Clayton, New York, on the St. Lawrence River

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2013 4:59 pm

    continuing on route 11 you would eventually come to were my first husband and I tried our hand at organic dairy farming in the ’70’s. It is beautiful and devilish cold in the winter with the temperature sometimes in the -40’s. One year we saw the Northern lights and lay in the snow for hours with our kids. It was unforgettable. aw memories. Keep safe.

  2. June 23, 2013 3:02 am

    So you’re on the move again; that’s great. I’ll be in upper and western New York for most of August. By then I expect you’ll be further along. Hope you enjoy the trip.

    • June 25, 2013 12:18 am

      PG, we’ll most likely be back in Ohio by mid August. Good to hear from you.

      • June 26, 2013 12:13 am

        Really? I’ll be going through Ohio when I leave NY; probably early September or late August. Depends on how efficient I am at seeing those there I want to visit.

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