The summer went well, with the family week at Oastler Lake (near Parry Sound), a week with just the two of us at Killbear (magical, and we both swam in the lake!). The Fergus condo is great, and we were starting to “settle in” when we embarked on our latest trip, heading for Texas. Ahead of the snow this time.
We started in the Allegheny Mountains, and it rained a lot. First night near Kane, PA, and we found the campground full of tame rabbits.
Then down the winding and hilly US 219 to see our old friend Al on Indian Lake, where some misfortune fell on us. First I literally fell …by stupidly tripping on a big speed bump on a supermarket lot. Luckily they had a pharmacy, so I was able to get some patch-ups. No harm done except possibly a cracked rib, which was a mite painful.
Next we had to find Shawnee State Park, and what with rain and fog (hence no photos) we ended up in a “closed” road and had to turn round (non-trivial with a trailer in the pitch dark!) Faced with a bog or a tree I chose the tree, and damaged a vent on the trailer. Eventually we groped our way into the park and poured a glass to celebrate our survival. “Maybe we are getting too old for this,” said Elaine. “Nonsense,” I replied, “we would be too old if we had not made it.”
Lunch and catch-up gossip with Al, who, being a lawyer, suggested that my fall would be construed as “contributory negligence”, and he could have been right. Onward to a magical forest park in West Virginia, a bit of Maryland and Ohio, and into Kentucky. We crossed the Ohio to Russell, and met a T-junction with no signs (you know the ones!). Guessed, and hung a right –then found a seriously low bridge. While it could have been worse (trying it for size!), we managed to tie up the rush-hour traffic. Various helpful folk arrived, and then the police. After three police cruisers stopped the road in both directions with amazing flashing lights, we managed to back up and turn round. The police were super-nice and said, “happens all the time … we keep telling ‘em to put up a warning sign, but who listens to policemen?” The policeman escorted us the other way, and shook my hand. Elaine got a hug from one of the other helpers. Clearly we are in the South!!
Next stop was Summit-RV in Ashland, Kentucky, where they fixed the broken lid on the roof very reasonably. But this proved an expensive visit, since we found a newer Wildcat trailer in their lot, and weakened. This deal proved to be another challenge. Initially the owner said he would not trade with Canadians, since there was too much paperwork. I volunteered to help, having no idea of how much paperwork would be needed. First we had to drive 2 hours to Lexington airport to get the import documents from Homeland Security. We also had to spend a week around Kentucky working on the details. No doubt we will have more grief when we take the newer trailer to Canada, but that’s later. In the meantime we have the odd insurance conundrum, but fortunately I have played chess, and this is similar.
We maximized our stay in this beautiful area, and the weather settled in around 20C as we paddled off in the 100-year-old steamer “Belle of Louisville” on the Ohio.
An amazing experience, and not to be missed if you pass this way. For those accustomed to lake and seagoing boats, the proximity to the water was initially worrying. But this is a river, and lacks waves of any significance. The engine is actually from around 1880, salvaged from a boat that had sunk. Fascinating technology, and I asked if it would go in reverse, the better to dock. It turns out that it will run backwards, but it takes ten minutes or so to do so. Thus the docking was by way of several strong guys and a lot of ropes.
Lexington is nearby and we decided to visit the famous Horse Park and its museums. While not a keen horseman, the whole place was fascinating, and extremely well presented. Great emphasis on racing of course, but also an excellent museum that traced the development of horse and man through the ages.
There was an enormous RV campground there, but it was full because of Halloween, which is celebrated big-time there. The whole Lexington experience was worthwhile, and we did advance the paperwork for the trailer purchase.
So … we grit our teeth for the final round of trading our 2006 bucket of bolts for a 2009 model.
Nobody should visit Kentucky without studying one of its primary industries — bourbon. We toured the Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery and picked up some excellent stuff … this is to be opened when (if?) we spend our first night in the new trailer.
In case you wondered … yes … they do provide free samples!!
The fall colours are magnificent here, but we want to move further south before the winter catches up with us. Maybe I will write more … though only if more adventures come our way.
John … with much help and support from Elaine.