Put In Bay
South Bass Island, Ohio
Did you ever find a place that was so good you can’t wait to go back?
Well, I found it – the best kept secret in Ohio – Put In Bay!
In early October, the hottest week of the year was bearing down on our farm. Temperatures near 100 degrees were forecast and frankly, I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I pulled out a map and drew a line due north. My finger landed on Put In Bay, a tiny town on an island in Lake Erie.
Knowing nothing about the place, I packed up the RV and the dog and headed north, leaving poor Tim at home to deal with the cats and the oppressive heat.
Are you a Coastie? Ever heard of the radio show Coast to Coast? It’s on in the wee hours of the morning – 1:00 to 5:00 am – so you’re pretty much a night owl if you listen to George Noory’s broadcast. Or, like us, you can listen online at a more sensible time of day.
Coast to Coast fans tune in to hear the far-out alternative news. Want to learn how to read tarot cards, talk to angels, or build a time machine? Or maybe you’ve got a Bigfoot or UFO story you want to share? You can hear it all on Coast to Coast. Each night there’s a couple of experts who talk about their (wacky) fields. It’s mighty entertaining and some folks take it really seriously. George Noory is a pleasant radio host and hardly ever laughs at his guests, bless his heart. A couple times a year he puts on a live stage show, which is what brought us to Columbus, Ohio.
This summer we welcomed part of our expat family for an extended visit. They live in Europe and haven’t been back to the US-of-A in a while. So home seemed a little foreign. “The cars are so big!” they said as soon as they stepped off the plane. Other American habits struck them as odd, like our super air-conditioned buildings and the constant drone of background noise from TVs.
A two week stay at Summer Camp was on the girl’s agenda. They came halfway around the world to get dirty and sweaty at a good old-fashioned American camp in the woods.
What a surprise to find a good place to nest for a couple of days!
We don’t judge state parks too harshly – they do the best they can. Many were planned decades before giant RVs became popular, most are sorely underfunded, and we’re just happy the land has been dedicated to recreation at all. But Hueston Woods State Park was a delight in every way. We weren’t expecting a whole lot, but found a whole lot to do and see here.
On the hottest day of the year (so far) we took my dad to a Reds baseball game at the Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati.
The temperature was well into the 90’s, the humidity about as high, and we sat in the blister section in full sun. Mom was the only smart one and stayed home. She had seen a baseball game back in 1977 – been there, done that!
After a weeklong visit in Vermont, we headed west and settled in for a good long drive toward home. It’s a 1000 mile trek, and I looked for an interesting route that would take us home without having to scale too many mountains. We ended up following a course of waterways, starting with the Mohawk River in New York State.
It’s my habit to pick up a road map at every state line we cross. Each Welcome Station has a nice pile of official state maps waiting on the counter. It’s one of the small courtesies still offered to travelers for free. There’s something about a paper map that’s just deeply satisfying – the creases of the paper, the colors of the lines, and the staggering size of the unfolded map. You can see the whole state at once in fabulous detail without having to scroll a tiny electronic screen. A paper map gives you a sense of your place in the state; where you’re going and how far you’ve come. And the detail offered in a paper map just can’t be found anywhere else. Google Maps will happily show where you can spend money, like the closest Starbucks or Arbys. But only the Official State Map will lead you to the Shrine of Saint Kateri.
After 145 years, we are bidding farewell to Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. This was the big one – the combination of three famous traveling shows into one giant extravaganza. A real three ring circus. It was P.T. Barnum who said, “A sucker is born every minute.” And who isn’t a sucker for a big flashy circus show?