Friday, October 21, 2016

Autumn Color Tour

Pleasant Hill Lake
“Another Time” has arrived.  Time to depart!   We thought the truck and trailer was all packed but after we pulled out, H thought of something important we forgot so – around the block we went!   The sun was shining and traffic was fairly light on the expressway around town so we finally got started on this “Fall Color Trip” to and thru sections of southern Ohio -starting in Loudonville and the Mohican State Park.   In Ohio and Michigan there are pumpkin, apple and Halloween festivities ALL month long.  He thought that we’d have no trouble getting a site since we were arriving on a
Wednesday and not Friday.  HA  - they fooled him - It was their Halloween Weekend coming up and they were already full!   So were several other nearby campground/resorts.  Those that weren’t full – weren’t worth staying at so we left Loudonville and headed around the other side of the reservoir to Pleasant Hill Campground.

Pleasant Hill is not a state park but belongs to the Muskingum Watershed, a flood control group that oversees the local rivers, the dam, the resulting reservoir and the land surrounding them.  The campground does not have organized activities and no campwide Halloween decorations so it was a much quieter stay!  Our trailer is decorated tho!  On the front jack, sits a large gourd with purple bat wings and goofy head.  A stick on purple and black witch clings to the side of the kitchen slide, greeting us as we climb the steps to the trailer! A flat styrofoam pumpkin looks out from the kitchen window.  A jack-o-lantern lampshade has replaced the plain one on the dining area table lamp.  A plastic blow up pumpkin grins out the big back window!
Halloween at Mohican State Park

 Back at the state park there were a plethora of families, with their sites loaded with fake tombstones and blowup ghosts and goblins – each hoping to win a prize. The campground hosts even got in on the festivities and decorated one entire corner with cobwebs, talking ghouls, witches and skeletons.  Some were seated in various camping scenes.  Two were fishing in an empty ditch and three were even floating down that empty ditch in their innertubes!  In town, the quaint streets were festooned with pumpkins, cornstalks and bright fall flower plantings. We shopped our favorite shops and even toured the local history museum.  H was quite taken with the big display on the company “Flexible” which made the first motorcycle sidecar that had an axle that actually flexed when going around a corner.  The company went on to manufacture intercity buses and ambulances and had several factories in town.   “HAD” is the operative word!

From that area we continued our fall back roads color tour down and over to Rocky Fork Ranch Resort with a stop at Roscoe Village and Coshocton on the way.  The restored historic canal town had plenty of folks wandering in and out of the small era type shops and the weather cooperated perfectly!  The colors on the hillsides were really starting to pop!

Rocky Fork “Ranch” occupies a small green valley where the guest area and the horse barns are located and several “mountain” ridges where the actual campgrounds and the recreation center are.  We pulled in on Saturday and were just in time for the 3RD of their 4 Halloween Weekends!   All the little ones and teens were kept busy with trick or treating in the afternoon and in the evening was the costume judging.  The adults held their golf cart parade and late evening dance!  Sunday was the grand exodus as they all pulled out and left the place almost empty! 
Winding narrow roads

Our days were filled with exploring the narrow, winding back roads that connected all the small towns.  Once we drove right thru a muddy farm complex with free roaming chickens in the middle of the road.   
          Up the road (or down?) we spotted a deer by the side of the road.  She didn’t move as we slowly stopped near her.  Perhaps she thought it was just a big smelly blue cow talking to her - since we had just driven thru the muddy barnyard and the farmers were spreading manure in their fields (and on the road?).   One skinny road wound down and around to Cambridge, the home of William Boyd and the Hopalong Cassidy Museum.  There used to be a festival & parade but there are only a few of us who still fondly remember that name so they are no longer. The museum has even burned down and is no more!

On another day’s journey we ended up over the Ohio River to downtown Wheeling W Va. – a tired old river town that is trying to make a comeback.   Down that side of the Ohio River we passed coalmines with their long reaching conveyors that spew their black contents onto waiting barges or train cars that would haul it to other destinations.  On the river, huge tug type “push” boats steered their collections of barges filled with coal or gypsum up or down the river!  We crossed back over the river in Hannibal Ohio and spotted the lock and dam.  We parked just in time to watch a tug with 4 barges, slowly ease her way into the narrow lock.

The fall colors are growing in intensity!  Golds, oranges and reds are spreading across the hills and valleys.  The wind has picked up and now the leaves are even starting to fall – it must be time for us to move on, too.