2018-08-19. The Journey Begins
We left Doylestown on Thursday, August 17, and headed to Timothy Lake South campground in the Poconos near Delaware Water Gap. Initially, the plan was to stay until Saturday but, when talking about the miles to cover by Monday when we are scheduled to be in the Chicago area, we decided to start the trip on Friday instead. So, we left Timothy Lake and headed west along I-80. Where else would we stay the first night but a Wal-Mart; this time in Grove City, Pennsylvania. We parked in the horse and buggy section of the parking lot which gives you an idea of the population of this small college town. We did see an Amish couple in the store and later loading their groceries into a bright red pickup truck driven by a non-Amish guy so, obviously, horses and buggies may not be the norm. Still it was sort of surprising that there were so many Amish this far north and west of Lancaster county. The Wal-Mart was not a great choice because it was quite small but it worked for us.
Leaving Pennsylvania, we decided to by-pass I-80/90 in Ohio as much as possible because it is an expensive toll road and so, I routed us a bit south between Akron and Cleveland along I-271 and I-71 to US 224 which runs all the way across Ohio. We drove through the lovely town of Peninsula situated along the Cuyahoga River near Cuyahoga National Park, the only National Park in Ohio. We will visit here another time but its creation was designed to preserve the river communities and the natural communities along the Cuyahoga River. The countryside is rolling, lovely and gradually gives way to the flat expanse of Ohio farmland. Here, there are many Amish communities and in the larger towns, older Amish men had stands set up on the corners selling their hand made baskets and home-grown produce. Lucky for Bob, we can't fit one more thing into the RV so I didn't ask him to pull over. US 224 is a great way to get across Ohio in a relaxed way with few traffic signals, many small towns and acres of farmland where soybeans and corn are the kings and queens.
Ultimately, we took US 224 until Tiffin, Ohio and then headed northwest to US 6 since we planned to continue our journey to Nappanee, Indiana via US 6 on Saturday. We wound up staying at Sauder Village Heritage Site, in Archbold, Ohio. This is an interesting recreation of a working farm in the 1830's, 1920's and 1930's with costumed workers operating the three different farm sites. Sauder Village is also the home to the factory for Sauder furniture which is apparently handmade furniture that you put together yourself a la Ikea, but I suspect with easier instructions. Unfortunately, it was Saturday night when we got there and the store and quilt barns and other stores in the village were closed on Sunday and Monday. So, we didn't pay the $17.00 pp to get into the village on Sunday. Still, the RV park attached to the village was lovely with long, level full hookups. We were able to get one of the 3 open spots and took a nice walk around "Little Lake Erie", a small lake on the property. Then, Roadie and I went for another walk; this time, taking the 1 mile path carved between two fields of tall, mature horse corn. Every 100 yards or so, there was a small copse of trees with a stone bench to rest and listen to the sighing of the wind through the corn. We walked the entire 1 mile to the end of the path in the middle of beautiful, Archbold, Ohio. By that time, however, the low rumble of thunder could be heard so, we ran most of the mile back to the campground and arrived just as the storm began in earnest.
The only negative about this place was the gnats. In the morning, I took Roadie out again for the 2 mile run/walk down the cornfield path and, gnats were swarming all over the RV. The car and RV were simply covered with gnats and it was impossible to open any door without the swarm following. When we opened the door to the RV, a swarm of gnats flew in and for two days, we swatted at them or vacuumed them off the ceilings and dashboard. But, Sauder Heritage Village is a nice option for an interesting view of rural Ohio farming life in the 1830's through the 1930's. And...for those who don't have an RV, there is a very beautiful hotel in this resort with a lovely pool and hot tub and a Barn Restaurant serving "home cooking". But, don't go on a Sunday or Monday to the Village unless you don't care about going into the shops.