Lessons in life

Just a little lesson today.

Tiny, in fact. Check out the little plant below. It is a volunteer growing out of the hole in a concrete bumper block where the anchor pin is driven into the parking lot!

Sorry to be so quiet this week. We’ve been nearly house-bound while we’ve gotten routine maintenance on the coach, and there’s just not much to say or show. But this sweet little plant was certainly an inspiration. Our bumper actually hangs over it. It’s sure making the most of what it has!

Our living arrangements have repeatedly caused us to rethink what we have, what we need, how things need to be done, why we follow this pattern or that…..

We have so much. We see others with so little who do such great things.

We constantly run across parents who tell us of their special needs children. Most are unable to provide exactly what their children need, and most are unable to spend constant time caring for their children. Our arrangements are so close to perfect, for Ross and Ryan, and for Robyn and me.

Back in the heartland

We traveled a broad, smooth road across the Ohio and Indiana border, passing the two scenes below within minutes of each other.

It was a good day: Sabbath, hazy but clear, hotter than a pistol but we stayed inside, and through familiar territory. Robyn and I both grew up with these views and have shared them for over 17 years together. No drama like Kentucky mountains, just solid, smooth, and straight.

And yet again our plan for the day was changed without a moment’s notice, and without input on our part, for an ending that was beyond our expectations. We’re sitting here with full hookups in the customer parking lot of a factory that makes motorhomes, but not ours!

We were driving slowly past some of the buildings….rubbernecking….because they were only a block off our route, and a man flagged us down. He thought we were lost and looking for the customer lot! Turned out he’s the head of the company’s club for RV owners. When we told him we were just driving through town, he insisted we stay. The factory has a service center, and they have just expanded to perform work on other brands of coaches whose makers no longer operate (that’s true of ours).

So we spend the night in Nappanee, deep in the heart of Amish country. Buggies keep going past our window. Just as we finished plugging in, a huge rain storm blasted us and the passing buggies. After it finished, the light was too dim to take pictures. Maybe tomorrow.

Depends on where you look

We’re parked at a truck stop, so the photo below is understandable….almost expected….right?

Stopped to fill up on fuel just as a big storm blew in. Rather than move out in blinding rain, we decided to hesitate in the very large, very empty parking. Pulled to the edge facing a field, away from the building and rest of the lot. So empty we spread our sliders and made it into Home.

Rain cooled the temps by 20 degrees. That was welcome, because even while moving down the road we had been having trouble keeping the generator and ACs cool enough to function! They’re just not made to work their best in 95 degees and extreme humidity.

Going from Coach-on-the-Road to All-sliders-out-we’re-Home only takes about 5 minutes. Makes all the difference in the world. Not only does it add over 4 1/2 feet of width up front, it gives a straight aisle from front to back, and it allows the HVAC systems to breathe properly and work effectively.

And we can get up and walk around!

With lots of windows, it’s nice to park where the scenery is pleasant. Of course, with lots of windows, at night there’s the issue of privacy when we have all the lights turned on (but we have two levels of shades for every window).

Interestingly, we have only one little window that opens toward the back, so we are generally unaware of what’s going on behind us.

Which brings me back to the photo below. I specifically shot it through the front window after the rain stopped. Wanted to emphasize that even if we can’t get out, or don’t want to, we are often surrounded by things of beauty. Maybe not on all sides.

Depends on where you look.

Look who joined us for breakfast!

Love those laps at Lowe’s

I said brief relief? Rain Wednesday evening dropped temps 15 degrees. Riiiiight…..it was Mother Nature saving her energy for Thursday: 97 degrees, highest temp in Dayton for the past 12 years!

Ross and Ryan need their daily exercise, and when it’s rainy or too hot or cold, we take them to the nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s to push shopping carts up and down the large aisles. We steer.

Thursday, we had the company of Michelle, the twins’ peer tutor from last school year. You know her from the prom photos we previously posted. Michelle wanted to say Hi while the boys were in town, and we arranged to meet her at Lowe’s.

Ross and Ryan had a blast! Thanks, Michelle!

Brief relief (don’t get used to it)

Shortly before sunset, strong storms sweep the area, and temps drop 15 degrees.

We drive to downtown Dayton after the evening rush hour to scope out a travel route and possible parking spot for the morning, because Ryan has a routine dental appointment at Grandview first thing.

AHA! Found a handicapped section of three spaces at the curb just outside the hospital’s ER, so we’ve parked for the night! No time limits on the signs, so we’ll stay for the morning.

There’s an old Door’s song playing quietly in my head…..

People are strange…..

You probably have to be us to appreciate how appropriate all these arrangements really are.

Just another pretty place

Tough putting up with all the greenery and hills. Pretty much left the hills today as we crossed north into Ohio. Passed across the Big Muddy (just the Ohio River) at Portsmouth.

This is the town that decided to have fun with its big concrete wall that keeps the river’s waters at bay during flood stage….they painted old-time scenes on it, which were taken from authentic, historical photos and paintings of the town and its citizens. Below, check out the photo of the large red brick building: the scene behind the van, with what looks like bridge arches, is actually the wall and its murals.

Continuing our run of staying at State Parks: Rocky Fork, outside of Hillsboro. Sheesh, Ohio takes the cake for cost: $33 for full hookups tonight. We just need to get our Golden Buckeye card to knock that down to something reasonable. We think the twins qualify for the card.

Still, pretty glorious to have a waterfront campsite! Notice Robyn already checking out the lake’s shoreline trees for Bald Eagles.

By the way, a sad note about Dayton’s nesting pair of Bald Eagles. They successfully hatched and fledged two chicks this year….their first! The sad news is that one of the chicks was found injured on the ground near the nest, but also very near one of the utility poles he or she favored for roosting….with its high tension electric wires. No serious clue about what caused its injuries, but the most noteworthy was a broken knee. After near two weeks of vigorous efforts to save it, including surgery near Akron, the bird was put to sleep a couple days ago.

It’s not our plan, it’s His

You’ve heard me talk about…and poke fun at…the plan we operate by.

The Prime Directive for us is to move only a short distance and take our time doing it. Under the What’s next tab we list a few dates and destinations, and these give us some very general guidance for planning a route. A further part of our Prime Directive is to use the smallest roads that will suit our rig, and to explore the environment through which we pass.

You know how dire circumstances have rewritten our route (when the generator belt broke and kept us from using AC during a period of breathtaking heat and humidity, which caused us to be introduced to a new friend, who introduced us to a new shop to do work on our coach, which has become a great source of good work and comfort to us).

You know from this week how readily we change our plan over something as trivial as rain in the morning.

Today, we planned to drive only about 60 miles, because it was Sabbath and we wanted to catch a park along the route to spend the day. We figured to make Ashland and its Wally Park (you do know that’s RVer talk for Wal*Mart, right?).

We found Yatesville Lake State Park just 4 miles off our route, and headed there. Arrived to find it really had only a marina and a campground, no day park area. On a whim, we asked if the campground had any suitable spots available for the night. No, we’re full, they said.

But just then the camp host arrived on his golf cart. He came over to admire the Taxi, and as we talked he saw Robyn and the boys get out for a walk. He was nearly overcome with emotion. Turns out he’s a man of God, a casual preacher whose father was a Baptist minister for 54 years. He was deeply affected by Ross and Ryan, and by how we’re living with them. We didn’t know it, but the day’s plan had just changed.

He said to climb in his golf cart and let’s see about some spots. Turned out there were two vacant spaces that could fit our coach. Found the one was reserved for tonight. Found the other had been occupied, and was scheduled for that family through tonight, but they had left early. We could have the space, and it would be free because they had already paid for it!

It was the best space in the campground!

It’s been a lovely Sabbath. We truly have stopped to smell the roses (or whatever these flowers are); only made 45 miles today.

By the way, the best I could do to capture Kentucky coal country for you was the slogan in the pickup’s back window, sorry.

HA, new plan!

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain pouring down and campers pouring in. Breaks campground gets busy on weekends, and we were about to experience it.

Oh no we won’t….change the plan….we’re moving.

Decided to come off the mountain, move on down the road, and head in a more northerly direction toward Dayton.

Roads on the western side of Breaks were more gentle, and much shorter to reach what passes for flatland in eastern Kentucky. Made good time, without much effort, and found ourselves right alongside Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Decided to stay for the night.

Hardly got out of the coach today, so no photos.

Tomorrow, maybe we can do something to capture the flavor of Kentucky coal country and share it with you.

Oh my, the goodness!

Things improved today.

Oh? you say, thought they were superlative yesterday.

Indeed.

But you take away the morning rain, drop the temperature a bit and the humidity a bunch, and keep the sun shining nicely, and voila! Everything is just that much better.

We rented the golf cart again (“the Little Taxi”), because it’s so perfect for our needs, and it gives a nice breeze as you roll along. We visited the same places today. Took some of the same photos. But it was all different….earlier light and changed shadows, clearer vistas, more patience because we weren’t suffering from heat and humidity, shafts of light punching through the canopy way up there to highlight some point of interest.

Ross and Ryan can be so hard to read, because they don’t talk and don’t really react to circumstances. But even they seemed to enjoy today more than yesterday. Check out the photo of Ross walking down the rocky path holding onto the railing: he would ordinarily have little patience to navigate that by himself, but he was quite intent about following it today.

Decided to extend our stay another day.