Pictures From Jan-Feb 2020 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Sunday 9-29 Armstrong Air and Space Museum

Dreary rainy day

We are staying at Ottawa Metro Park another night.

We had two fabulous days of dancing C1 and A2 with friends to Johnny Preston and Jack Pladdys.

Today we took it easy. I slept in until 8:30, Larry got up about 6:30. I crawled out of bed and made mini waffles for breakfast. Afterwards we went for a walk around the park. We walked about an hour for 2.5 miles. We took a bridge over a river and walked by Lauer Historic Farm. The Lauer Historic Farm was a working farm back in the mid 1930's through World War II in the 1940's. The owner Ann Lauer was the first district commissioner in 1972 and gave the farm to the park district. You can rent the facility out for weddings, family reunion, retreats and other things. We had a wonderful walk through the park.

After lunch we took the motorcycle for a ride to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, about 20 miles from the campground. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum is an unique facility, it has a museum, picnic area, a grassy area and the F5D Skylancer Jet. Wapakoneta was Neil Armstrong hometown, the museum was built to honor him and tell the history of space flight in the Ohio area. The museum had great displays about Neil Armstrong, Gemini 8 spacecraft which Neil Armstrong flew and made the first space docking with, Apollo 11 artifacts and a moon rock. There was a cool walkway to the theater, it had mirrors and lights that look like stars. The theater showed a 20 minute movie on The First Moon Landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and their module pilot Michael Collins. Yesterday and today they had a special event going on where people were flying kites and drones. We saw a couple of kites flying today. We had a fun time reading about Neil Armstrong and the space program in the area.

Entrance to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum

Some kites flying on a pole at the museum

Spacesuit display

The F5D Skylancer
Sitting next to a young Neil Armstrong

After walking around the museum we headed back to the campground, once again we were lucky, we beat the rain. We had enough time to load the motorcycle onto its carrier before the rain came. It came down hard for a few minutes. When the rain stopped Larry covered the motorcycle.

It rained on and off the rest of the day. We read and caught up on some YouTube videos.      

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Saturday 9-28 Day of Dancing

Get your partner and dance

Today was a long day of square dancing. We rode the motorcycle to all three sessions. The first session started at 9:00 with Jack Pladdys calling C1. He did a lot of work on Tally Ho, Percolate and Linear Action. After walking us through the moves Jack called them with music. We had three and a half squares. At 10:00 there was a two hour dance/workshop for A2. Johnny Preston did the first hour. He worked on Mix, Switch the Wave, Switch to a Diamond and Switch to a Hourglass. Jack did the second hour but we left to go rest and have lunch. They were eight and a half squares of A2 dancers.

At 1:00 we were back dancing C1 with Johnny Preston. It seemed to me that the dancers were struggling a little more in the afternoon. Johnny did put us in some unusual positions. When 2:00 came around Jack Pladdys did an hour of A2. I think I did a lot better. I guess because I'm more comfortable with A2. Johnny did the second hour of A2. Once again we had three and a half squares for C1 and eight and a half squares for A2.

In the evening we were back at 7:00 dancing C1 for an hour and two hours of A2. A lot of the dancers dressed up for the evening dance. We had a super evening of dancing.

Johnny and Jack

Our friends Neva and Jim having fun dancing with friends

Our new friends all dressed up for the evening dance

Our new friends having fun dancing to Johnny and Jack

Our friends Cyd and Kevin having fun dancing with friends

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Friday 9-27 Opening Dances

Have fun 

We started the day off by walking the trail around Ottawa Metro Park. It is a bit less than 2 miles, it goes by Lima Lake, the beach, fishing pond, disc golf course and the playground. The beach area is really large and includes life guard stands, bathhouse and very nice picnic tables. The lake is about 100 acres and quite pretty. The disc golf course is well maintained and had a totem pole at the beginning of the course. The trail is paved and very easy to walk, it also allows you to access the trail to town. We saw people jogging, walking and riding bikes. We had a very nice walk.

The beach area in Ottawa County Park

Lima Lake

Paved trail

Totem Pole at the entrance to the disc golf course

Our opening dance for the Smokin' In Rail City Advanced (A2) and Challenge (C1) weekend started at 3:00 at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center. It was an A2 dance. We had six squares plus a couple of extra couples. It was computer run. The dancing was very good, Johnny Preston and Jack Pladdys did a great job. They kept the dance moving. 

At 5:00 we went back to the Minnie to relax and have dinner. While we were relaxing a front came in. The wind came up, Larry looked at the weather and saw a lot of rain coming in. When it was about 6:30 the rain hadn't arrived so we took a chance and rode the motorcycle to the dance. By the time we got there it was starting to sprinkle, we just made it. Our neighbors at the campground are square dancers, Jan and Don and they said we were lucky we left when we did because the rain really came down hard at the park.  

The first evening session was an hour of C1, we had three and a half squares. It had been a little over a month since we danced C1 but we did study Taminations. Taminations is a program that shows you each move and tells you the definitions of each move. Taminations helped me get through a lot of the moves. We also had strong dancers in our squares which helped the most. A2 dancing started at 8:00 and went to 10:00. We had eight and a half squares of dancers. The dancers were very good. When people were struggling with a move both Jack and Johnny did a super job walking the floor through the moves. During the dance the rain came through so when we left the seat on the motorcycle was wet. Larry dried it down the best he could. We had a super evening of dancing with friends and to Johnny and Jack.

Johnny Preston and Jack Pladdys

Friends from the valley Linda and Dan

Nancy, Mike, Jan and Don

Neva and Jim

Mary and Roy

Myrna and Ken

Friday, September 27, 2019

Thursday 9-26 Allen County Museum

Having fun

We have been on the road for a little over a month and are having a blast. 

After a night at The Home Depot we continued our adventure in Ohio. We drove about 100 miles to Lima Ohio. We drove interstates and highways. At one point we had to go through construction and traffic came to a halt, but it was just a few minutes. We arrived at Ottawa Metro Park a little after 10:00. We drove around and found a site, we were lucky, there was only one left. We're going to stay four nights. The reason for staying so long is because we're attending a two day square dancing event at the civic center in Lima.
Ottawa Metro Park is part of the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. The park is on 287.3 acres and has a lot to offer. Lima Lake is 89 acres, people go fishing and boating. The park has a beach and paved trail that goes into town. The campground is very nicely laid out. There is a bathhouse with showers. Each site has power and water. Some of the water spickets are pretty far away. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. If you want firewood you see the host and get a permit for $10.00, you can now use as much firewood as you want and the firewood you don't use has to be returned.
After setting up the Minnie, Larry got the motorcycle off its carrier. We had lunch and then went to town. This is our first time in Lima so we wanted to get to know it. Larry wanted to see if he could park the Minnie by the civic center while we dance. We saw a few empty lots but were not sure if we could park the Minnie in them. We decided we will probably ride the motorcycle to the dances. We prefer having the Minnie close by so we can rest in between dances. After driving around downtown Lima we went to the Allen County Museum. 

The Allen County Museum is free but they recommend $5.00 per person donation. It's probably the best county museum we have been to. The layout of the exhibits are excellent and each section has a lot of room. There were two floors. The entrance is on the top floor. The exhibits were in different sections; 19th Century Life, Children's Discovery Center, Folsom Auditorium, Transportation, Music, Buggies & Wagons, Bicycles, Mount Vernon, Noah's Ark, Changing Gallery (Quilts Exhibit) and Elizabeth MacDonell Library, where you can do research on your family history. They had a 1925 Shay locomotive. The lower floor had exhibits on John H. Keller Railroad Archives, Research Room, Rocks & Minerals, Fossils, Saber-Dillinger Story, General Store, Fire Fighting, Barber Shop, Wood Working, Agriculture, Firearms, Native American, Far East, Roll of Valor, Military, Neon, Business & Industry, Canteen, Oil, Gas Station and Railroad. The museum was about the history of Allen County. We saw a automated illustration of Noah's Ark. It was made by a local man somewhere around 1900. It was a cute reenactment of the bible story. We watched a short movie about Saber-Dillinger. The quilt exhibit was very nice with quilts from the 1800s. We walked around the museum for about an hour. Afterwards we walked around the Children's Garden. It was very well done and gave children the opportunity to learn about plants and have a hands on experience. We had a great time at the Allen County Museum.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the Children Garden

Entrance to the Children Garden

First exhibit we saw in the Allen County Museum

Weaving loom from the 1800s

Washington's Mount Vernon
Crazy Quilt 1880-1910 by Mary Homan

Star of Bethlehem Quilt

Buddhist shrine

The Sarber - Dillinger Story exhibit

Once we got back to the Minnie we relaxed for the rest of the day.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wednesday 9-25 Cuyahoga Valley National Park

It's my birthday

Today was my birthday. How did I celebrate it. Well, we spent the day in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a very pretty park with no camping. It is about 20 miles long and has over 125 miles of hiking/biking trails. The park is open year round with activities for the summer and winter. The summer activities include picnicking at one of the many areas, golfing at four public golf courses, fishing at one of the many ponds, canoeing and kayaking on the Cuyahoga River and visiting the small farms in the park. The winter activities include sledding at Kendall Hills, cross-country skiing on the trails and skiing at Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort. The park is between Cleveland and Akron. You can ride on a train that takes you through the park. As you drive through the park there are 14 points of interest to see. These don't include the hiking trails. Dogs are allowed on the hiking trails but not the mountain bike trails. The park goes through towns and has private homes and businesses.

We arrived at the park around 9:15 and found that they were in the process of working on the RV parking lot at the Boston Mill Visitor Center. We ended up parking in the ski resort parking lot. We walked over to the visitor center and had to wait a few minutes because it doesn't open up until 9:30. Once it was open we went inside and a gentleman helped us out by giving us some information. While he was talking about places to see in the park a forest ranger said he was starting the movie about the park so we went to the movie, it was about 20 minutes long. It told the history of the park and how the land was purchased to make the park. It was very interesting. After the movie we got back with the gentleman and he gave us suggestions on sites to see and maps of the park. He highly recommended taking the Cuyahogan Valley Scenic Railroad.

We had an hour and half to get to the train station. On the way there we stopped at a couple of waterfalls. The first was Brandywine Falls, which is a 65-foot high fall. We took a boardwalk to the upper part of the fall and then we climbed stairs down to get to the lower part. It was a small fall because they haven't had a lot of rain. The second fall was Bridal Veil Falls. It wasn't a large fall nor was there a lot of water flowing but the scenery was very pretty. The next stop was Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (Rockside Station). We arrived an hour early so we purchased our tickets and then had lunch. 

The train ride was three and half hours. We had some stops along the way. A gentleman talked about the different stops and the sites to see in the park. He told us that the train staff were all volunteers and that the railroad company only owns the trains, the National Park owns the tracks and the land around the tracks. There are three stops where you can purchase tickets (Rockside, Peninsula and Akron). There are other places where bikers and kayakers can put their hands up and flag the train to stop. There is a special car just for bikes and kayaks. At Peninsula and Akron you can get off and go shopping or get a bite to eat. At this time of the year the train runs twice a day during the week and three times on the weekend. We were on the second train so we didn't get off because we wouldn't have a way back. As we drove down the track we went by the train yard where the trains are stored and worked on. At times they use a steam engine and it was sitting there running as we went by. The ride was very pretty, we saw a lot of beautiful trees, rivers, beaver ponds and Indigo Lake. We had a great time on the train.

Larry walking the boardwalk to Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Larry buying our train tickets

A volunteer and me before boarding the train

A volunteer and his pet coyote

Neil telling us about the park

One of the businesses in the park

Larry and me on the train

A Native American and his kayak at the canal

The Ohio and Erie Canal

Indigo Lake

We got back after 4:30, since we are very near Cleveland and Akron we knew the roads would be very busy so we decided to wait an hour or so for traffic to die down. While waiting we had dinner. We ended up driving about 60 miles to Ashland Ohio. We decided to spend the night at The Home Depot. After setting up the Minnie for the night we walked over to Buehler's Fresh Foods, which is a grocery store. Larry wanted to buy me dessert for my birthday. He told me to decide what I wanted. It almost killed me because I hate to make a decision. decided on something we never had before, cinnamon raisin biscuits. When we got back to the Minnie I started the generator and heated up the biscuits. They were very good. They remind me of cinnamon rolls but a little heavier in texture. 

One of the cinnamon raisin biscuits

I had a super birthday.           


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday 9-24 Basilica and Museums

Outstanding Day

We started the day out by going across the street and taking a shower. Then we got the Minnie ready to leave Mosquito Lake State Park.
Today we drove a total of 90 miles, we went down both two and four lane highways and through small towns. Our first stop in Youngstown, Ohio was at Tim Hortons to buy a couple of donuts. Our next stop was at the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It was the smallest Basilica we have seen but it was gorgeous. While walking around taking pictures a gentleman came on the alter dressed for mass, he wasn't a priest but he helped out in the Basilica. He was getting the Basilica ready for daily services at noon. We visited with him for a long time about the history of Youngstown and history of the Basilica and the grounds. We asked if we could leave the Minnie in the parking lot while we walked around Youngstown, he said it wasn't a problem. 

Standing in front of a statue of the Pope

Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The alter inside the Basilica

The Holy Family (Joseph, Baby Jesus and Mary)

Our Lady of Mount Camel statue

The next stop in Youngstown was The Butler Institute of American Art. It was in an old beautiful building with three floors. The first floor had a cafe, gift shop, nine galleries, a couple of other sections of art and a wing with other art. The galleries were: Sports Art, Impressionism, Mid to Late 19th Century, Early 19th Century, 18th and 19th Century, Contemporary, Mid 20th Century, Early 20th Century, Temporary and Permanent Collections, Burger Gallery and Cynthia R. Debartolo Gallery. We saw a lot of beautiful art and it was amazing how the paintings kept their bright colors after all the years. The second floor had Executive Offices, the library, data room, board room, Western Collection by Adler and Susko, Giffuni Gallery, Davis Gallery, Finnegan Hynes Gallery, Macintosh Gallery and Waldman Gallery. The lower floor didn't have a lot of exhibits. Most of the exhibits on the second floor were temporary. The Butler Institute of American Art is one hundred years old this year, it is free but they do accept donations. While we are not art aficionados we do enjoy visiting some art museums. This Museum was larger than many and we had a great time.  

Afterwards we had lunch at their Collects Cafe. We had a turkey bacon ranch wrap, it came with a pickle and chips. The wrap was delicious.

Standing with a young warrior at the entrance of The Butler Institute of American Art

Larry getting ready to enter into the museum

Mrs. Knowles and Her Children by John Singer Sargent in 1902

Ivan LeLorraine: A Self Portrait in Georgia in 1967/68

Americans, Youngstown 1977-78 by Alfred Leslie

Kneeling by the security guard Art

Queen Catherine made out of plaster by Audrey Flack in 1992
Our lunch at Collections Cafe

After lunch we walked back to the Minnie. Our next stop for the day was the National Packard Museum in Warren Ohio. We did a self-guided tour of the museum. The lady at the desk told us the history of the Packard brothers, they started out in Warren in 1899. There was a section about the history of the Packard family. They started out making light bulbs. There are 30 Packard automobiles on display. It was a very nice museum. We walked around about a half hour and enjoyed it.

The National Packard Museum

The 1901 Model C Packard

The Packard hood ornament

A 1934 Packard, first sold in Austin, Texas

1956 Caribbean Convertible

Our final destination for the day was a county park in Stow Ohio called Silver Springs. It was about 40 miles from Warren. It is a beautiful campground with 15 amps electric sites on a grassy field. The sites aren't level or defined. We parked the Minnie and later in the evening when the gentleman showed up to collect the fee he asked us to move over about 20 feet to where he thought the site should be. Seemed strange to ask us to move since there are very few people here and nobody was close to us, oh well. Each site had a fire ring and picnic table. The park has a fishing pond, dog park, picnic area with shelters, hiking trails, playground, tennis courts, horseshoe courts and basketball courts.

As we were relaxing after dinner we heard this noise and it was getting louder and louder. Larry looked out the window and saw a hot air balloon flying over the park. I got the camera and took a picture of it. We had a super day.  

The hot air balloon that paid us a visit