Showing posts with label utility trailer conversion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label utility trailer conversion. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Anticipation of Adventures and Meetups in Pennsylvania

 Good Morning!

I started to pack up this morning for moving myself and Lilac away from Stow, Ohio near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and onto our next location near Tionesta, PA.  Then it occurred to me that I may be quite remote there.  Without cell service or good cell service, how will I let you know about all the exciting things about to happen?  

Before my last post went out I heard from a couple people asking where I was at and how I was doing.  I want to share with you some pictures from my great time with Cindy and Regis Hampton here.  And I want to tell you about... well, other exciting stuff happening.  

First, my time here with Regis and Cindy near the National Park has been wonderful.  I just love these folks!  We feel like family, the kind that can argue around the dinner table with respect and that can sit in silence with each other and not feel the need to talk or entertain.  

If you don't know Cindy and Regis they are people persons.  They used to own a friendly little bike shop where bikers liked to go just hang out.  After we semi-retired and moved to Florida, George went to work helping out in the shop.  He loved it, assembling trikes and talking up trikes and recumbents all day.

Regis and Cindy are retired now.  About once a year they try to volunteer at a campsite.  They are super great at talking with just about anyone with curiosity and respect.  They are still turning strangers into friends. 

When I told Cindy about my short bike ride in a neat neighborhood in Cleveland, she asked if by any chance it was Shaker Heights.  


She and Regis had visited this area before and knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the big homes and shady boulevards.

Our first full day together we rode our bikes right from the campground and took the trail out and back. 

We stopped to check out Brandywine Falls.

Later in the day I went to Anytime Fitness to shower and workout.   I took some pictures of the new grey plastic dressers and the purple baskets.  I am slowly trying to get color coordinated.  I am sprucing Lilac up.

I had kept my laundry in a bag that flopped on the floor.  I found the perfect size bin (black and teal in the picture below) for my dirty laundry.

In the evening we gathered around a fire that Regis made and talked about our plans for the next day.  We would drive to Peninsula, Ohio (in the Cuyahoga Valley) and ride the Towpath down stream and then use the historic train to haul us and our bikes back up stream.  

But later Cindy discovered the train runs from Wednesday through Sunday.  Our ride day was Tuesday.  A change of plans.

We rode upstream and visited the farmers market near Hunts Farm.  As I anticipated, Regis and Cindy were thrilled with it.  We decided to return on our way back and pick up some more groceries.

The trail goes over a beaver pond with some bare dead trees.  Perfect for birding.  We enjoyed this spot and could have spent all day waiting for the next bird to identify.

We stopped again on our return trip and some woman came up to us and asked if we wanted our picture taken!  How cool is that!

We stopped again at the Farmers market and I got blueberries and eggs.

The day before when I stopped at the farmers market there were two bees on the barn.  As I was leaving a man in a lift bucket was trying to lift the third bee up.  It was quite heavy.

Back at Peninsula, Cindy had picked out the Winking Lizard for lunch.  It was very good!  I got a veggie wrap and one of the side options was steamed broccoli.  Five stars, I highly recommend.

They actually have a rescue lizard with one eye missing.  Hence the name of the tavern.  Pretty cool.

Another really cool thing... I was up on Facebook and our bike friend Rick from the Waukesha, WI area posted an interesting post.  I have not seen Rick since we sold the business in 2014, but I see him occasionally on Facebook.  He posted that his friend in Pennsylvania just published a book on the Allegheny Gap Trail.  This is the trail that I plan to ride with my tent and gear starting September 22nd this year.

He had pictures of some of the illustrations.   I shared his post on the Great Allegheny Passage / C&O Canal Enthusiasts group page on Facebook.  I asked if anyone had gotten the book and what they thought.  Well, of course the author of the book is on that page!  Bill Metzger wrote, "My thoughts are: buy the book. You'll have fun and learn stuff."

Then I got a message from Rick.  He wanted to introduce me to Bill and his wife Pam.  He thought we would really enjoy each other and maybe get to ride the gap together.

I am excited about that possibility too.  Bill's book is beautifully illustrated, he is not only an railroad enthusiast but an artist and cartographer.  So his maps of the trail are lovely.  I couldn't resist, I bought the book and had it sent to General Delivery to Tionesta, PA.  That is where I hope to pick up my mail today.  I sure hope it arrives before I leave that area.  

Next time I travel long like this I will have to hire a neighbor to pick up my mail and send me pictures of anything important.  Because it seems I have not been getting my mail forwarded very well through the P.O.   I sure hope I didn't get a jury summons or something else important that I will be in trouble for not responding.

Ok, one more exciting thing... or two.

Ann and Fred Abeles will be meeting me and Jean Hawks and Keith May at the Allegheny River Trail tomorrow to ride!  Finally we meet up, they have been traveling some of the same areas as I have been only a few days difference.  So I am glad we can meet up.

Did I tell you also that I got a message from Will Byers of a trike riding group from Polk City, FL.  I have ridden with them in the Everglades at least once.  He is having another moonlight ride this November, but I have decided that I really need to be home to get my house ready to rent out and to settle myself.  But I am meeting up with his group on the coast of Georgia.  I will be riding with them on Jekyll Island at the end of October.

Marie is part of that group and will be there!  She is the woman who was supposed to travel in her motor home with me on the first part of this year's journey all the way up to Iowa.  She had to cancel because of health issues, but they are resolved now, YAY! And we will get to ride together in Georgia.  She is concerned about COVID though, two of her close neighbors have or had it recently.  

The vaccines really help people stay out of the ICU and stay alive if they get it.  The thing is, they can still get it and spread it.  So we vaccinated folks still want to be careful.


UPDATE!  Regis and Cindy just stopped by to say goodbye for now.  They are heading out  before me.  They told me it looks like the eye of Ida the hurrican, now storm, is heading right for where I am going.  They said it would be best if I stayed here one more night.

I have looked a bit at youtube for news of the Ida devistation, then I have decided that there is nothing I can do about that or the fires out West.  So I am putting my fingers in my ears, closing my eyes, and singing, "la la la."

That had been my plan.  I still have the night reserved.  But what about meeting up with Ann?  I will call her.  She will know what is happening and whether we will be able to ride tomorrow.

I will write to you again when I get to a place with cell service or WIFI and I have time between moving, biking, and happy hour conversations. 


Friday, October 2, 2020

Backing Up Hill


I am writing in a lovely campground overlooking a shimmering lake.  It is morning and I have on a jacket and a quilted vest, but I have moved my computer, tv-tray, and chair out of Lilac to get better cell service and to enjoy the scenery.  Earlier the song birds were singing, but now it is mostly crows making noise.

I can't believe I let so much time and travel pass without writing you.  It just seems like my time has been filled with driving, maintenance, exploring, and visiting.  But some of the gap might be due to procrastination... I don't really know. 

Today I have a pause, a time to reflect and share.  One of the reasons for this is I am not unhooking the camper.  

There are two reasons for that.  One, I am only here two nights and I need to just stay put a day to regroup and rest and write.  The second reason is that where my trailer is sitting is flat, but I had to back up quite a hill to get it there.  

The picture doesn't really show the slant, you can't hear the roar of the van engine as I backed that trailer up the hill.

My van is still sitting on that hill.  If I unhook then I would have to re-hook.  On the flat is is trickiy enough to make the one or two inch adjustments using the gas pedal.  Up a hill I would hate to give it too much gas and ram into Lilac.  So instead, I am playing it safe.  Besides, I need to stay put and it is a good excuse.

For those of you who are just checking in, Lilac is my Weeroll trailer.  It stands for Life Is Living Adventurously Camper.  

To you people checking in from the far future, We are in the middle (I guess) of the COVID-19 pandemic (this is 2020) and President Trump and several in his circle have just tested positive... or so it has been reported. He is a showman and has lied a lot before, so you may know better than we do.

So let's start where I left off...  if you want to know where I am right now, you will have to scroll down to the end, because I am not revealing it just yet.


Historic Jubilee College State Park


Peoria, IL

When I arrived at this State Park I had no idea what this Jubilee College was.  I had thought (and hoped) it was something exciting like one of the first black colleges in Illinois, or first college for women, or ???

I walked over the hilly roads to the site from the campground.  It felt like at least two miles.

It was an Episcopal Bishop that wanted to train ministers to spread the religion in the frontier West.  But he didn't get enough volunteers so instead it was mostly a boys prep school and a school for girls.
I didn't bring money on my walk for the museum so I sat in the garden and chatted with my sister on the phone.  Then I went through the cemetery.  Sometimes you can find interesting tombstones in cemeteries.   This man had two wives for a while, I thought, looking at the dates.  Silly me, sometimes my brain...

I noticed on my walk back to camp that there appeared to be lots of three-leafed plants that could be poison ivy.  I wasn't going to do a cut-through.

I have found that a good way to clean my wash cloths is to, wash them a bit and then set them in the sun.  It bleaches out any mustiness.

The site I had was quite slanted front to back.  I had the toungue all the way down to get close to level.

I called my childhood friend that lived in the house behind ours as I was growing up.  Her sister was my best friend when I was in the neighborhood.  George and I had visited her on our tricycle ride from Illinois to Florida.  I arranged to visit her.

I arrived early before she was home and so I sat in the back yard looking over the valley.  Lovely.

I had a great visit with her and her husband Michael.  While I was there we called her sister to wish her a happy birthday.
Sandy had prepared a yummy egg-plant parmesan for dinner.  We dined on the back patio.  I went in her home, but didn't feel comfortable doing so without my mask.  
Sandy wanted to show me a lovely throw she had knitted and crocheted.  

As I was getting into the car she drew me back into the house to show me the wood carving done by her 92 year-old friend.

When I got back to camp I had left a window open a jar.  It has a screen on it but there is a gap between the screen and the window and bugs can find their way in.  I usually stuff paper towel into the gap, but I had gotten lazy.  There were about a dozen of these big bugs on my curtains and walls.  I think they are stink bugs but I never smelled anything.  I killed and took out a bunch, but kept finding more... on my bed, on the floor, just yukky!
It was a long drive for me from Peoria to Rend Lake, IL.  I used Google maps to find a park to stop at and stretch my legs and do some exercises.  This one had a lake and walking path... and wow, I bike path!

It turned out I had stopped in Marine, IL which is a town at the end of one of the branches of the many trails in Madison County, IL.  Madison County is just east of St. Louis, Missouri and is a good place to visit if you like trail riding.

Remember when I was with Mark and Jane at the Elroy Sparta Trail?  Mark, as I have told you before, started sending out a picture a day in about Mid-March when we were isolated during the COVID shut-down.  Since we are still in the pandemic, he is still sending out pictures.  He sent out these three pictures from our ride on the Elroy-Sparta.  His pictures are so much better than mine, so I am sharing them with you.  Three Photos by Mark Blackman


 Riding Rend Lake, IL

 I met Jane Weber Lewis first via the Ohio Impromptu Trike Riders Facebook group and then rode with her last winter in the Miami area along with several other trike riders.  She started riding trike after she had a stroke at a young age (she is still young compared to me).  The stroke and the trike were both big life-changers for her.  She is living her best life and shines. I camped at the KOA by Rend Lake to see her.  She is a work-camper there.  She took me on a nice trike ride on the trails there. 

A large flock of Pelicans were on the lake.  Jane and I wondered if they were migrating or getting ready to migrate.

We rode about 26 miles.  I only stayed two nights at the KOA south of Rend Lake.  

Tunnel Hill Trail

The Shawnee Forest Campground in Vienna, Illinois is where I stayed in June on my way to Wisconsin.  It is clean and short drive (2 miles) to the Vienna Trailhead

On the drive from Rend Lake to Vienna I stopped to stretch my legs at a park in Frankfort?  The park had at least 10 baseball fields in it.  They must host tournaments.

My first morning in Vienna there was a lovely cloudy mist.  This campground used to be a golf course, so there are cement walkways that were used by the golf carts.  I went up to a beautiful location and did some yoga.
Oh!  Wow!  Sitting here writing this, I just looked up and I see an otter playing on the shore.  Now it is on a log sunning and preening.
At nine that first morning in Vienna, I was scheduled to meet up with Jeannie Clayton.  I met her on Facebook when I put a showt out there to trikers asking if anyone was in the area of the Tunnel Hill Trail and wanted to ride.  I had a lot of fun with her on on the journey north, so I had returned to ride with her again.

She has electric assist on her Catrike 559.  So she bought these nifty, sturdy yet light-weight ramps for getting the heavy trike in and out of her car.
Jeannie's friend, Candy, joined us for the ride.  Though the day started out cool, riding up hill to the tunnel, we warmed up quickly. 
Now, what are the chances of this?  When I finished riding the trail in June, in the parking lot I met a woman just unloading her trike, an orange Catrike Villager.  She was from Missouri and was visiting the trail for the day.  
Well, now it is September and I am riding the trail and who do I see, but Dianne from Missouri!  I gave her my card so she could email and we could meet up to ride.  Later I remembered I gave her my card last time and she never contacted me.  So I guess she prefers riding alone.  But she sure seemed excited to see fellow tricycle riders!
I was telling Jeannie that I had several women interested in renting a room from me.  I had listed the rooms on  I said that if I got a roommate, I would need to move my fridge that I use in the trailer back into the house.  That means asking friends for help or hiring someone because it was too heavy.

Later in the day, I had Jeannie over to my campsite for a roasted-veggie supper.  She brought her collapsible thingy... yes, I am definitely losing my ability to find words.  Scarey!

We rode on the trail in the opposite direction the next day.  This time her friend Pam joined us!  We wanted to ride all the way to the Nature Center at the South
end of the trail.
The nature center was open!  We donned our masks and went in.  I learned that there were two 1000 year old trees that we could bike to!

I told my companions I was going to go see the trees and they could ride on without me.  But they decided to join me.  It was only a mile or so off the trail, out of our way.  We went to two trails but didn't find the trees and then Jeannie saw that her battery was losing power and she better head back.  They went on and I went only .2 miles further to a very mosquito infested trail where I found the trees... at least I think I did.  They weren't labeled.

 I couldn't linger with the tree.  The mosquitos wouldn't let me.
I rode back to Vienna on my own, listening to The Jew Store audiobook.  Ruth Glick and Ann Abeles had recommended the book when we were talking books this summer on the Root River Trail in Minnesota.
Jeannie met me at a El Torito for dinner.  We were the only customers on the patio.  I drank a margarita and found myself staggering when I got back to camp.  I better not drive after a margarita!

Nature Observations

I didn't tell you that on the first day I saw several hiking trails and decided I needed to be here a couple weeks later in the season next year so that I could hike some trails and enjoy the fall colors without bugs and snakes.   
Jeannie had pointed out a Polk plant.  

She said her grandmother gathered the leaves to eat, "you got to get em when the leaves are no bigger than a squirrel's ear."  Don't eat them bigger than that because they get poisonous.   
Jeannie also told me she learned that the juice of ragweed is good for wasp stings.   Though she tried it once and didn't think it helped.  The ragweed blossom I took a picture of was crawling with yellow lady-bug-like beetles.  Unfortunately none of it was in focus.

When we were at the nature center they had a nice display about the Monarch Butterfly.  I took pictures of their flight patterns for their migration.

The Viceroy Butterfly looks a lot like the Monarch.

What is the difference?  Ann Abeles knows.

I have been working on this writing and uploading for a few hours now.  I stopped and made my lunch, actually I made my weekly pot of veggies that I put in jars and use throughout the week.  For lunch I added pesto sauce.
Then I  did some squats and physical therapy exercises for my back and hip.  
Now I am having to move the computer around to get out of the sun.  I have removed the quilted vest.  I am still trying to find the spots where the cell reception is at least two lines.  It is a challenge.

Traveling Toward Hattiesburg, MS

My next meet-up with someone is near Hattiesburg, MS.  So I am traveling toward there.  On October 1st I packed up in the dark and left Vienna while it was still early dawn.  Soon I was telling the map to get my off the interstate.
For a while I followed this truck and tried to figure out what he was hauling.  Does it hold hay up off the ground?  Looks like a door in it...
He turned into a field.  Maybe it does have something to do with hay.  Any farmers out there know?

It was over four hours of driving.  I stopped at a Civil War battle field.

If you like that sort of thing, I recommend this place, Parker's Crossroads.  There was a nice paved pathway with kiosks along the way.  A sign at the beginning said it was about 8000 feet.

I had my packed lunch in a cemetery.  I expected graves for Civil War soldiers, but didn't find any.  Nearby was Buford Pusser Museum.  I had never heard of him so I looked him up with Google instead of visiting the museum. 

Those dang bugs are still appearing!  I found two last night and one this morning!

I am two nights here at the Davis Lake Campground near Tupelo, Mississippi.  The sites are big and the place is very quiet.  The lake is a "no-wake lake". 
I drove about 20 miles on the Natchez Trace getting on at Tupelo.  George and I rode the Trace on our tricycle ride, but I don't remember where we got on or where we got off.  As I was driving it I noticed there is no shoulder and the speed limit is 50 mph and there are quite a few cars.  It used to be a great place to ride, I don't know if it is anymore.
The day is turning out lovely.  Time to go hike one of these trails.  I guess I better call Debra and let her know I am going on a hike and I will text when I get back.  Just in case.

Topping It Off In Wisconsin

 Hello, A special shout out to the three guys that advised me through the purchase of my Ford Truck in May, Jim, Bill and Regis. On July 26t...