Day 65 - Grand Rapids, OH - Avery, OH, 09/15/15
I KNOW I am not using the date format consistently, it depends on what language I am currently thinking in, SORRY! This whole journal is only the first of several drafts and extensions, please forgive me!!!!
9 - 26
A wonderful ride of 128 kms, plus a few to the next restaurant...; it will be anyone's guess how many kms or miles I will have really ridden in the end .... the closest guess will receive a prize from me, maybe a first copy of my soon-to-be-published-nevermore-having-to-work-first-edition-of my travel-journal book!
Well, I had the option of turning the ride from Grand Rapids to Rocky River, my next "fixed" destination into two or three day rides. And those of you who by now have an inkling as to how my mind works have probably guessed in an instant: 2! So today it had to be 128, see above. Tomorrow it will only be about 80 including a look at Vermilion on Lake Erie.
But one thing needs telling: In the course of over two months I have camped in about 50 campgrounds of very different character and quality - and it would be hard to create a list of the top five, although the Icefields Parkway definitely had the most spectacular from a scenic perspective .... Today was special. While riding (after all I was in the saddle for eight hours!) I more than once thought of just asking a farmer if I could pitch my tent for the night, I'm sure this would have worked - but the right moment and opportunity just wouldn't come. I gave it one last try. On a 12-mile stretch called Strecker Road I asked a lady with a toddler on a farm if she knew any place where I could pitch my tent and she laboriously tried to give me directions to a campground her sister had used in the past. My gps wasn't of any help because her directions were just awful. Until she called her dad who told me: "Just ride on for three miles, make a left under the Ohio Turnpike, and then after the first two motels you will find the RV park."
I thanked both of them for their effort and thought, "well, in Northern Dakota they would have just said, come on in, use our bathroom and you can pitch your tent in our backyard... and maybe aunt Mable has just made some brownies ..."
So I got to the campground indicated and checked in.
In anticipation of what was to come, so it seems in retrospect, my credit card needed three attempts to finally fulfill the manager's demands and I soon found out why. It was as if it had tried to warn me! Where to start?
I noticed immediately that this particular campground lay not only at the intersection of Interstate 80 and a major highway but also had a railroad running right beside it. So from experence I knew that my earplugs would come in very handy ...
I could not find a space flat enough to keep me from rolling down hill in my sleep on the site allotted to me, so I moved to an adjoining site which was slightly better; the bathroom doors could not be closed, not to speak of being locked; the shower was either freezing or boiling, no chance for a regular temperature; and the straw that broke the camel's back was the fact that the electrical outlet didn't work and I couldn't charge my phone and my laptop!
I would not dream of complaining about these circumstances - I have had much worse! - if the manager had not charged me 27 dollars for this "service", the highest rate for a campground in ten weeks of travelling. I was so annoyed that I went to the office and complained. The lady had the decency to refund me my fee - which was more than I had expected. I charged my phone in her office and we parted, both reconciled. When I returned to pick up my things she was on the phone whith someone discussing what to do about the bathroom doors ...